Priestess of Storms & Stone (Rogue Ethereal #5)
by Annie Anderson
Publication date: March 31st 2020
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
If there is one lesson I’ve been taught in my life, it’s that fairies are the absolute worst.
Finding a fledgling succubus in Faerie is like locating a needle inside a realm-sized haystack. With a guide I can’t trust and a goal more ephemeral than smoke, my odds of success are tenuous at best. Not to mention, as the last Elemental in existence, I have a giant target painted on my back.
Because one half of Faerie wants me dead, and the other half wants to use me as a sacrifice to open the gates to Earth. But I swore I would find my quarry, and I will. Even if I have to rip the entire realm apart to do it.
There is a storm coming to Faerie, and that storm is me.
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Following closely behind Torren, we kept our eyes peeled for more Seelie guards. Rowan overtook our little group, beckoning for us to follow him. This didn’t feel like a trap, and yet it did at the same time. Once we entered the mouth of the cave, I felt a ripple of magic against my skin.
Immediately, I went on high alert, which ended about three seconds later when I caught sight of the walls of the cave. Crystals of every color jutted from the walls as they pulsed with magic as they lit our way. A soft voice in my head told me not to touch them—not because they would hurt me, but because they did not belong to me.
Bad things would happen to those that took without asking.
“Don’t touch the crystals,” Rowan and I said at the same time, and he whipped his gaze back to me.
All I could do was shrug. It was like the forest and the lightning. I had no idea how I knew what I knew, just that whatever—or whomever—was guiding me, they had my best interests at heart. A part of me wondered if it was Dušan whispering in my ear, our spirits connected over space and time. Or maybe it was the knowledge Zeta had given my mother in her passing, filtering down to me.
It was completely possible that it was both, and my spirit was bolstered a bit by that thought.
The caves seemed never ending, the tunnels snaking around stalactites which appeared to be made of the clearest crystal and stalagmites of a living, breathing metal. They were almost molten, but no heat came from them.
Alistair and I moved closer to Rowan. I wanted to be there if he struck out on us. I was stronger now—thanks to him—but my trust had limits.
Rowan seemed to sense when I was behind him because he began talking like we were continuing a conversation. “The Seelie have been searching these caves for years trying to find us, but they never do.” His chuckle was dark as he hopped over a set of Fae bones propped against the cave wall—the breastplate marking him as a Seelie guard.
I wanted to inspect them to see what killed the man, but Rowan wasn’t slowing down.
“Seelie magic doesn’t work in these walls. The crystals keep the taint out. The Resistance might have cells all over, but here is where we do most of our work. Helping those that need it, trying to repair the damage wrought by the queen and healing the wounded.” Rowan’s steps faltered for a second as we come to a fork in the trail. He seemed to be searching for something before he chose the third tunnel from the left.
“I thought the Seelie were supposed to be the good guys. That’s what all the stories say,” I wondered aloud, my questions multiplying in my head too fast to keep them in.
“History is written by the victors, Max. That’s as true in Faerie as it is on Earth.”
Rowan shuffled to a stop again, turned ninety degrees to his right and knocked on the cave wall three times, paused, two times, paused, and then five more times. The cave wall rippled, the rocks moving like blocks as they peeled themselves back to make a person-sized hole in what used to be a solid wall.
Was everything in Faerie creepy as fuck or was that just me?
Without another word, Rowan marched through the newly made doorway, and against my better judgment, I followed. This new cavern was dark, and even though I’d had no trouble seeing in the tunnels, it was black as pitch now.
Unable to make myself wait for Rowan to turn on a freaking light, I snapped my fingers. The goal was to put light in my hand. Instead, I managed to light every torch, ignite every candle, and flare every single non-lit crystal in the immediate vicinity.
Which would have been super awesome had we not been completely fucking surrounded.
Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she'll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life... interesting.
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