Michael Faolan, Elise Faolan and William Faolan.
The Rings of Faolan-Emeralds Excerpt
Elise Danielle Faolan stared through dove gray eyes at the dark waters of the loch behind Blackstone castle. Fog was just starting to rise off the warmed surface from a day of sunshine and stretch its fingers across the muddy banks as evening arrived. Greens and browns in every shade imaginable reflected from her eyes. She soaked in every detail as the sun set behind the evergreen forest at the edge of the Wicklow Mountains.
Soon the cool night air would descend like a blanket over the warm earth. Mists would arise and enshroud the lands surrounding the castle. She shivered and wrapped her robe tighter as she tucked her feet underneath her small body. Frogs and crickets sang their melodies. Night creatures from the forest began to wake from their daily slumber. They were like ghosts—only revealing their faces under the soft light of the moon.
This was her world—mysterious, dark, and beautiful. The one part of the day she identified with, for Elise was born neither woman, nor wolf, but something in between. The monster parents told scary stories to their children about. A wild and free creature that stalked the forest in the late evening and night. The part of herself she cherished, but now someone threatened to take it all away.
Over the centuries many names had described her kind—werewolf, Lycan, beast, or shifter, but this night she labeled herself “killer.”
Her eyes burned as tears leaked out and left a wet trail over her high cheekbones. She swatted them away in frustration and anger. This was not the time for tears. It was the time for retribution. Her parents’ murder changed how she viewed the world. Two innocents killed only because they were different. How many times did her father warn her about the threats to their kind? How many times did she roll her eyes at one of his repetitive lectures? She assumed she was safe here in this isolated part of the world. How wrong she was.
She bared her straight, white teeth and growled at the timberline. Enemies watched her and her home. She felt their eyes. The hair stood up on the back of her neck. It made the dormant beast inside edgy, aggressive, and eager to kill. A predator backed into a corner snarling and growling to defend itself.
The memory of her lifeless parents found in the forest repeated in her mind. They never returned from their run two nights before, so worried she decided to look for them. She picked up their tracks less than a mile from Blackstone, but the smell of death soon filled her nostrils. Blood-soaked dirt cradled their skinned bodies. Metal arrows protruded from their chests. Deep claw marks remained in the soft ground from where her father dragged himself to her mother’s side. She was the one who made the call to her brothers. It fell on her shoulders to notify the Lycan council. She was the one they wanted next.
She crumpled the typed note in her hand, delivered to Blackstone just this afternoon. A faceless enemy who claimed surveillance of her family for years. Someone who labeled her kind an abomination. Cowards dedicated to the eradication of any creature not fully human. No signature, no identifiable marks, and no return address. Just a white piece of paper folded in an envelope and left in the mailbox. A snippet of black fur and one of milky white were taped on the inside of the note—pieces from her mother and father’s soft pelts. She brought the crinkled paper to her nose and sniffed for any kind of scent then stuffed it in her robe pocket. No one needed to see it. No one needed to tell her who murdered her parents.