Tag Archives: The Elven Prince

Dear Fellow Humans,

It’s been a rough few days for me. My country elected a man I did not vote for and did not want to see win. (To be fair, I didn’t want the loser, either.) But I’ve lived through plenty of elections where ‘my guy’ didn’t win and I’ve survived. The vast amount of fear I am seeing on my Facebook news feed though, is disheartening and has depressed me.

I have also seen some magnificent people come forward to share ideas on how to make things better. Those people make me happy.

But, due to politics, I have dreaded going on Facebook since Tuesday. This morning, a fan made things a little lighter.

I received a message from a fan, from a woman I’ve never met, asking me if The Elven Prince Two was in the works.

That. Felt. Amazing. It felt so awesome that I decided to write this! I wanted to thank that fan for helping me to find peace. And to reach out to all my fans (friends and strangers alike) and remind them to not let fear win. Reach out to the people you love, to the things you love, and surround yourself with love. And then reach out to strangers and share that love as well.

As humans, we may have a rough time ahead of us, but when do we not? Any time we have a bad time, we seem to forget what makes us the happiest. Find what makes you happy, what brings you peace and concentrate on those. Then, help others find it as well.

And to the fan that wrote to me, and to others that would like to know, yes, I am writing The Elven Prince Two, it is just slow going. Once the book is out, it will have an introduction that explains why it’s been slow going. I apologize for the time is is taking and ask that you please stick with me, the book is coming. And thank you for asking.

Love,

Cat Stark

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Eloran the 2nd

I am happy to announce I finally know what The Elven Prince 2 is about. I have beginning, middle and end in my head. I don’t know all that will happen, but I know what kingdom kidnaps Garett. I know how it happens and I know why no one stops it. I now have to go about placing the thoughts onto paper. Or, you know, word doc. The world is open to me again and I am diving in head first.

For those of you who don’t write, this doesn’t mean the book will be done any time soon. I am still battling writer’s block but I know what the world looks like. It is a familiar place and is awaiting my attention. I am debating on whether or not to do the same thing with Eloran the 2nd (working title only) as I did with The Elven Prince. With the Elven Prince, I decided to write from beginning to end and not work on anything else until I was done. It took me under 60 days to finish writing it. I don’t remember how long any more exactly and don’t want to look it up. At any rate, I finished it in one fell swoop.

Part of me wants to do the same with this one, but part of me understands my heart might not be in it. Either way, the door to the world is open and I have stepped through. Chapter one is complete and I am in the midst of writing chapter two. I just wanted to take a moment to tell my friends and fans.

And yes, I am still working on Enter the Maze: Shorts, Poems and Thoughts; and I am working on editing my next project, which I may or may not have announced. Since I’m not sure, I will leave that one alone and bid you all a good night.

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Reviews

Hey! 6 people have reviewed my book The Elven Prince! Go check out the reviews then buy the book!

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Elven-Prince-Cat-Stark/product-reviews/1495900053/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

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Update July 13, 2014

My book signing party is coming up! Rockford Il, Wired Cafe August 2, 2014.

I will have two surprises for the first 20 people that show up and either buy a book, or have already purchased a book. I will also sign your book if you’ve purchased it already and bring it along.

This weekend, I finalized the first surprise. I love chocolate. For those who don’t live in this area, there’s a chocolate shop that I frequent A LOT. I have ordered 20 lavender infused chocolates from Chocolat by Daniel. First 20 people will have one each.

You’re welcome.

When I have the second surprise purchased, I’ll let you know!

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Update on books and things

I thought I was going to do a Kickstarter project to gain some funds to get my book printed. Turns out, the cost of shipping, and extras is way more expensive than just getting the books printed. Therefore, there will be no Kickstarter. There will however, be a book release/signing party at Wired Cafe’ on August 2nd. Event page to come. I will have books there, but if you prefer, you can get a book now, either paper or electronic. Here are the links:

Paper book (that can be signed if you live near me or feel like sending me your copy):

http://www.amazon.com/The-Elven-Prince-Cat-Stark/dp/1495900053

Electronic copy if you like that better:

http://www.amazon.com/Elven-Prince-Cat-Stark-ebook/dp/B00LF2P7PK/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404186790&sr=1-2&keywords=The+elven+prince

 

Have fun reading and thanks for your support!

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Chapter Eight: part two

Eloran smiled as he walked through the gardens. His last visit to Anan was three days ago. It went better than the previous time, when Xyta placed a hex on him. He and Anan were undisturbed for two days. It was bliss.

Camilla was not out in the gardens today, but he wasn’t here to see her. Klaes asked to see him privately in the gardens. The elven advisor preferred the gardens to the castle. Eloran found the King’s advisor near the violets. The Prince smiled as he approached Klaes.

“This is my mother’s favorite spot.”

Klaes smiled. “It is mine as well, but for different reasons, I would think. The violet is one of the few flowers that grows both here and in Finara. It reminds me of home.” He looked to the Prince and ignored the bit of blue he could see glowing near the Prince’s heart. “Why is it your mother’s favorite?”

“Purple is her favorite color. She says the violets are the perfect shade.”

Klaes smiled and nodded. “Anan is quite fond of you.”

A warm smile slowly came to the Prince’s lips. He looked at the flowers, but saw Anan. “I am quite fond of her.”

“Prince Eloran, do you understand what it means for an elf to marry a human?”

The Prince turned sharply to Klaes. “We have not talked of marriage.”

“But you have both thought it, yes?”

He thought of his declaration to Anan the first time they slept together. He wanted to be her last lover. He had said it without thinking of the full meaning. Did he want to marry her? He closed his eyes as he answered his and Klaes’ question. “Yes.”

“Elves are long lived, Prince. Do you understand what that means?”

“She’ll outlive me.”

“And if you have children with her, she will most likely outlive them as well. It is a hard decision for elves to marry a human.”

“But I wouldn’t be her only love, would I? How old is she Klaes?”

“She has lived almost two centuries.”

The Prince thought about this for few moments then nodded. “Why has she not married yet?”

“You would have to ask her that.”

Eloran nodded.

“Prince, there is more to it than just an elf choosing a human.”

The Prince was silent for a moment then sighed as he placed his hand over his heart. “Her position as Guardian of the Gate. She can’t keep it, can she?”

“And not only because she is your protector.”

He blushed as he lowered his hand. “She said other Finarans might be able to see it.”

“Only those with strong magic will be able to see it through your clothing, young Prince.”

He nodded as Klaes continued.

“Anan’s sister, Isra, presented her with potential replacements for the Guardian position after you left. She is training them now, finding out who is worthy.”

“She’s training them at her home.”

“Yes.”

“I won’t be able to see her until the ball.”

“Correct.”

Prince Eloran sighed. The ball was still three weeks away. “She cannot come see me?”

“She has to train the replacement. Her sister will take over when Anan comes for your brother’s birthday, but until then, you will not be able to see each other.” Klaes took a good look at the Prince. “How much of a problem is that, Prince?”

“I will miss her.”

“The time will pass quickly.”

The Prince made a non-committal noise in the back of this throat.

“I hear Randolph will be here tomorrow to speak with your father on the troubles in Taren. Perhaps you can join them and help them.”

“I still don’t understand why the bandits haven’t been stopped. King Nassir’s guards caught Xyta.”

“She empowered another and no one knows who.”

He frowned slightly. “What does that mean? Pixies have magic. Does that mean she gave her magic to another?”

Klaes tried to hide his surprise. The Prince was far more intuitive than most humans. Upon hearing what Xyta did, most other humans asked for an explanation. Though the Prince was asking about it, he was asking if he were right, not what it meant.

“That is exactly what that means.”

The Prince inhaled sharply in surprise. “That sounds terrible.”

“It is. If the person she empowered decides it, they can keep her magic and Xyta will be without it forever, unable to release or recall any magic she has used or handed out. The person holding it would be twice as powerful as before. If we do not find out who the person is, then the bandits can keep their stolen magic. Only Xyta can remove the spells she gave them, and only if she has the magic to do it.”

“Why would she do that? Why would she empower another with her magic?”

“She either trusts the other person completely or had no choice.”

“I didn’t meet her for very long, but she didn’t strike me as the trusting type.”

“She isn’t.”

They both stood silently for some moments, letting the breeze ruffle their hair.

“I will join them. When are they meeting?”

“Tomorrow at lunch, in the war room.”

“I’ll be there. Thank you, Klaes. For everything.”

“You are welcome, young Prince.” Klaes bowed and left the prince to his own thoughts.

*****

Halfway through lunch meeting the next day, Eloran wondered why he agreed to be here. He was having a hard time concentrating. Randolph and five others were talking strategy, which Eloran never saw as one of his strong suits. He sighed and tried to keep it quiet. He picked at his leftover food and let his mind wander to Anan. He missed her already, but then, he missed her as soon as her house faded from view as he rode away from it.

He sighed again but no one seemed to notice. Randolph’s overpowering voice was handy for something. Eloran smiled at the thought. He had never been fond of his brother’s loud voice, but now, he was grateful for it.

Eloran glanced out the window, which was just beyond his brother’s chair. Eloran leaned back in his chair and let his eyes stray to the land beyond the castle. Gateway and Anan were in the direction it faced. His mind easily strayed to her. Propping his elbow on the armrest, he hid his mouth with his hand, thus hiding his smile. Deep in thought of being in Anan’s bed, he nevertheless heard his brother’s voice as Randolph said something interesting.

“The four girls were easy to locate, we just cannot stop the magic they have unleashed.”

Eloran perked up. “Four? But there were five pixies. Xyta and four others.”

Klaes, who had remained silent during most of the luncheon, seemed to come to attention. “At the beginning there were five, but Yxal went home when she was able. She is the one that told us of Xyta.”

Eloran nodded as he remembered. “Right. The guards took her home. I forgot.” He frowned lightly. He vaguely remembered two of the pixies looking alike. “Are the two related? Xyta and Yxal?”

“Sisters. Xyta is the eldest.”

The young prince looked to Klaes. There were many words brewing in the man’s mind, but he tried to keep them at bay. He had to think this through carefully. “And you said that Xyta empowered another? Gave her magic to someone else?”

Klaes nodded. “We do not suspect that she gave it to Yxal. She was the one who came home to tell us of Xyta’s plans.”

Eloran stared at Randolph. “When I was younger, and I wanted to play instead of studying and father confronted me, I would always speak in half truths. ‘Yes, father, I’m done with my tutors for the day’, was one I used most often. It meant that the tutors were done, but that my studies were not.

“As I grew older and he and mother taught me not to do that, father let me know that he used to do the same when he was younger. He said you were the only other of his children to do the same.”

A large grin came to Randolph’s face. “I remember that! I could see a smile in his eyes when I did that, but did not understand why it was there.” Realization dawned on his face. “You think Yxal told us part of the truth to hide the full truth.”

“I think she did.”

The brothers stared at each other for a moment then looked to Klaes. The advisor nodded slowly.

“You may be right. I will send word to King Nassir. He will be able to look into this.” He looked directly at Prince Eloran. “Thank you, Prince Eloran. I knew you would be an asset.”

The young Prince sat up a little taller. The talk continued for a while and this time, Prince Eloran became a participant rather than a bored observer.

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Chapter Eight: part one

“You gave him your mark.”

“I did.”

“Your protection whenever he needs it.”

“Yes.”

King Nassir turned from the window and looked to Anan. Though they were in a safe place, Anan wore her armor. The full metal plate armor covered her from neck to toe. There was a helmet as well. That sat on a side table. She only wore the armor when fighting, or attending to official Finaran business where her fighting skills might be needed. It was a sign that she knew what she was doing.

The armor shown brightly, even in the room’s low light. They were in the king’s sitting room. It was a lovely day in Finara, not a cloud in the sky. There was a warm breeze blowing off the ocean, stirring the leaves in the trees.

“You only just met him, daughter. This is not a thing done lightly.”

“I started to dream about him before I began my training with Klaes. It is the oldest vision of the future I’ve had. It is the only constant one as well.” A small frown creased her brow. “Before I started training to be a warrior, there was about a year or two when I didn’t remember dreaming of him, but it wasn’t long, and I know I dreamt of him, as I still woke with a smile on my face, his voice in my ear.”

A surprised look came on his face. “That is a long time.”

Elves lived a long time. They were not the only long lived Finarans, but they lived longer than most. Trolls lived the longest. Anan had been appointed as Guardian a century ago.

“When I first dreamt of him, I thought I would meet him quickly. After a few years of dreaming the same thing every night, I stopped believing I would ever meet him. Then I saw him on the road. After more than a century of believing him only a dream, do you really think I would place a simple protection spell on him? I want him well protected.”

“You’ll need to train your replacement, Anan. You cannot be Guardian of the Gate if you protect a human.”

She shook her head. “Protecting him will not remove me from my position. Marrying him will.”

The King raised an eyebrow. “You know what it means for an elf to marry a human, Anan. Do not take this lightly.”

“Father, I have had more than enough time to think about this. I understand the implications.”

He nodded slowly. “All right. Your sister will contact you when she has a few names.”

Anan smiled and bowed.

“You will be staying a few days, yes?”

“Yes. It has been a while since I saw mother and my sisters.”

King Nassir went to his daughter and held her close for a moment. He kissed the top of her head and let her go. “Be happy, my daughter.”

“I am, father. Thank you.”

“Come, let us join the others for lunch.”

Anan smiled and followed her father out of the room.

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Chapter Seven: part two

“Xyta placed a hex on Prince Eloran. She wanted him as her slave. I had to break it. I also placed a protective spell on him to make certain she could not do that again.”

“By why your symbol?” He made it sound as if this were unusual and Prince Eloran held his breath for the answer.

“I…” She seemed reluctant to speak further.

“You could have placed a simple protection spell on him, but instead, you placed your symbol there. Why, Anan?”

“Anan?” Prince Eloran sounded very curious.

Anan turned to him and placed her hand over his heart. She smiled softly to him. “Long before I met you, I dreamt of you. I loved you long before I saw you in the woods. I started to think you were nothing more than my imagination. Then I saw you in the woods, in need of help. I recognized who you were from my dreams. I chose to protect you because I love you.”

He looked about to kiss her. King Nassir’s voice broke that thought.

“Tell him what it means, daughter.”

She closed her eyes. “It means that if you are in danger, no matter where you are, I will know and I will be able to come to you in an instant.”

Eloran frowned a bit. “Does that mean that if you are helping someone through the Gate, and something happens to me, you will know? You will leave and come to me?”

“Yes.”

The Prince shook his head. Though he knew little about magic, he did not think it a good idea for someone to leave in the middle of a spell. “You can’t. That’s dangerous to you, isn’t it?”

“It is dangerous to the Gate, and to my daughter.” The King answered.

Prince Eloran looked up to the King sharply. “No.” he looked to Anan. “You have to remove this, Anan. You can’t do that.”

“I have seen the future, Prince. I know the gate will not be harmed.”

“Daughter.”

She turned to the King.

King Nassir gave her a stern look. “When he has left, we will speak.”

She curtsied. “Yes, father.”

The King looked to the Prince. “Why are you in my daughter’s home anyway?”

Eloran blushed and gave Anan a sheepish smile. “There was a reason, other than being with you. I almost forgot.” He stood tall and looked to the King, then Anan. “I came to invite you to my brother’s birthday celebration. It’s in one month.” He looked to King Nassir.

“I wanted to invite your daughter to the Spring Ball, but Klaes said there was not enough time. He also said that if I invite Anan to my brother’s birthday celebration directly, she does not need to mention who she is, but that if King Falk invites King Nassir’s daughter, she would give a formal thank you from her father. There are, unfortunately, some that would not appreciate a Finaran at the Crown Prince’s birthday celebration.”

King Nassir nodded in thought. “If I were not here, what would you do?”

“Ask Anan what she wishes.”

The King looked the Prince in the eye. “What do you wish?”

He turned to Anan. “For Anan to be safe.”

She smiled as she placed her hand on his cheek. “I am your protector, Prince. You are not mine.”

He placed his hand over hers, turned his head and kissed her palm. “We shall protect each other.”

The King cleared his throat to remind the two they were not alone. Both grinned and turned back to the King, who looked Anan in the eye.

“Daughter, what do you wish?”

“As it is the Crown Prince’s birthday, I believe it would be prudent to keep my full identity secret until another time. I want to go to the celebration, but feel a formal invitation and thank you would take away from Prince Seth’s day.”

“So be it. Leave the formal invitation to another time.” He took his daughter in his arms and kissed her cheek. “I will send someone in a few days to take over the Gate. Then we will talk. The squadron should be here shortly.”

He let Anan go, nodded to Eloran, and left. The couple looked at each other as the door closed and smiled. Eloran took Anan in his arms and held her close.

“You really shouldn’t be my protector if the Gate might be harmed. I know the implications of that, Anan.”

She looked up into his eyes and smiled. “I know what I’m doing, Prince. Trust me.”

He stared down into her eyes for a moment before nodding. “All right.” He gave her a curious look. “Your father saw your symbol on my chest. How?”

She smiled and placed her hand over his heart. “Those with Finaran blood will be able to see it,” the smile turned slightly sheepish, “even when it is covered with clothing.”

He gave her an odd look, but she spoke before he could.

“Don’t worry, Eloran. Those who see it will know to be quiet.”

Eloran looked relieved. Anan smiled then kissed him. They soon found their way back to her couch. They wanted to be in bed, but knew that with the squadron of soldiers soon arriving, they needed to be patient. Once the squadron came through, then they would be able to adjourn to Anan’s bed.

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Chapter Seven: part one

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Anan heard the sound of a hand on wood. Her lids fluttered for a moment, then stilled.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

She breathed deeply as the sound came again. She heard the knocks as numbers in her mind: one, two, three. There was significance to the knocking, but she didn’t remember what. Anan moved slightly and felt an arm on her stomach. She smiled and tried to let sleep take her.

One. Two. Three.

She gave an exasperated sigh, but rolled over and cuddled closer to Eloran.

One. Two. Three.

Anan frowned and opened her eyes. The persistent knocking finally pulled her out of sleep. She took a deep breath and realized the sound was coming from the Finaran side. She then frowned deeper. The door wasn’t locked. Her eyes grew wide. Or was it?

She raced off the bed and pulled on a robe as she ran to the door. She yanked it open before her mind could fully register that her father’s symbol glowed green upon the wood. On the other side of the door stood a tall elf with long silver hair and piercing blue eyes. There were five armored guards with him.

“Father! What are you doing here?”

King Nassir stepped into the house, placed his hands on her cheeks and peered into her eyes. He looked terribly worried. “The door has been locked three days, Anan. Are you all right?”

Shock made her gasp. “Three days? I didn’t…” She closed her eyes as she realized. “The spell.” She looked up at her father and tried a smile. “I’m sorry father. I had to break a hex. I wove a protection spell as well. That must have triggered the locks.”

King Nassir took his daughter’s hands. “Who?”

“Xyta placed a hex on Prince Eloran.”

He nodded. “When?”

“If the doors have been locked three days, then three days ago.” Her hand flew to her mouth. “Xyta has been gone the entire time. She only had a one-day pass. Father! I’m sorry!”

King Nassir’s eyes narrowed as he turned to two of the guards. “Go fetch her.”

“She came with friends. Five in total.”

The King nodded. “They are my guards. They know what to do.”

She nodded and watched as the men jogged by. They headed to the human door and did not bother changing. When they opened the door, they called to the King.

“Sir!”

Both the King and Anan came, but Anan stood in front of her father, in case of danger. On the other side of the door stood Yxal, Xyta’s sister, in her true pixie form. She looked terrified.

“She wouldn’t stay. I begged her to, but she wouldn’t. She convinced the others to go with her.” Yxal saw the King and ran to him. “Please sir! You have to stop her!”

The King gently pried the girl’s hands off his arms. “Who, Yxal?”

“My sister, Xyta. She does nothing but hurt others. She has mother under a spell. No one knows but me and she may kill me for telling you, but I can’t let her do this any more!” The girl burst into tears.

The King looked to the two guardsmen. “We will need more help. Take Yxal to my castle and keep her safe. Bring back more guards.”

“Father.” The tone of her voice made the King raise his hand to stop his men. “We need permission to go after her. If you send a squadron out, King Falk may not be happy, despite our friendship with him.”

“I’ll give permission.”

All turned to see the man standing in nothing but pantaloons. King Nassir frowned at the blue symbol over the man’s heart, but dismissed it for the moment. “And who might you be, boy?”

Prince Eloran walked to the King and bowed. “Your grace, my name is Prince Eloran. Though I am the youngest of King Falk’s sons, I am able to give your men permission to enter Grenlacks.” The Prince looked to Anan. “If my dreams are true, Xyta is trying to take over Taren. My brothers Randolph and Leo are in charge of Taren and appreciate any help Finara can give us in stopping the bandits.”

Anan stepped forward and placed her hand over his heart. “What did you dream?”

“Xyta sat on a…large chair that was almost a throne, in my brother’s home.” He paused, as he tried to remember the rest. “There were bloody bodies all around her. She was laughing.”

The King turned to Yxal. “Is this true? Is she trying to take over Taren?”

The girl shook her head. “I don’t know, but she goes to Taren whenever we’re allowed into the human world.”

The King sighed heavily. “Go. Fetch more men. Send a message to Klaes to let the King know our actions. Tell him also that Prince Eloran knows of our plans and gave us permission to enter with a squadron.”

A guard nodded and two left. A third picked Yxal up and carried her back to Finara. The King looked to the other guards.

“Wait outside.”

They nodded, and went to the Finaran side. King Nassir closed the door to the human world then turned and walked to the Finaran side. He closed that door as well and came back to his daughter and Prince Eloran. He looked to his daughter.

“Care to tell me why Prince Eloran has your symbol over his heart?”

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Chapter Six: part two

Eloran smiled again, but this time, he followed when Anan led the way to her kitchen table. She pulled out a chair and let him sit. “Take off your clothing.”

“Why?”

“I will not harm you, Eloran. Trust in me.”

She smiled at him as she brought a small scale closer to Eloran. There was a wooden bowl resting on one of the brass plates, but the scale sat at zero. She used the bowl with the scale exclusively; the scale was calibrated for the weight of the bowl.

Eloran frowned, then did as told, removing his shoes first. By the time he was undressed, there was a knife and various herbs and flowers near the scale. There was also a pestle resting near the scale. Anan turned back to the Eloran and looked him up and down. He was a handsome man in good shape and all she wanted to do was take him to bed.

“I need three things from you, Eloran. I need your saliva, your blood, and your seed.”

He backed away from her. “Why?”

“To make her want you.”

It wasn’t a lie. If Anan broke the hex, Xyta would still want Eloran, but the pixie would not be able to have him.

It worked. Eloran nodded and moved toward Anan. She smiled, and took the bowl with one hand. The other hand went to his chest. “The fun part is first.”

He inhaled sharply as her hand moved to between his legs. He tried to protest, as he felt Xyta should have the pleasure, but he did not have time to think. Bliss engulfed his mind and he ceased thinking. In moments, euphoria set in as he grunted. Anan let him sit as she placed the bowl on the scale. She placed weights on the other side of the scale and nodded when she had it where she needed.

Anan turned back to Eloran with the knife in her hand. “As pleasure came first, the pain should not be as sharp.”

It was a spell to dull the pain he would feel. She took his hand and quickly cut his palm. It was a long cut, but shallow. She held his hand over the bowl and allowed the blood to drip in. Once the scale was balanced again, she moved his hand away and used a scrap of cloth to stop the blood. She tied it in place then looked into his eyes.

“One more thing, Eloran.”

His head swam with pain and pleasure. A name tried to take over his mind and confused the words Anan spoke. He shook his head and took deep breaths. “What do I need to do now?”

“Stand for a moment. I need to move you closer to the table.”

He did as asked, then sat back down when she indicated. Anan moved the scale in front of him, but made sure the balance was facing toward her. She leaned his head over the bowl and held a plant under his nose. He pulled away immediately.

“What is that?”

“Garlic blossom from Finara. It is much stronger there. Breathe in the scent and leave your mouth open to allow your saliva to drip into the bowl.”

Eloran gave her an odd look, but did as asked. He even held the blossom for her. It took a while, but finally she moved him back. As he sat back, she took the bowl and added a pinch of this and a pinch of that. Other than herbs and flowers, he did not recognize what she used. Anan used the pestle to ground some herbs into the fluids and mixed everything together.

Done, she reached to a tall earthen container on the table and pulled out a brush. She dipped the brush into the mixture and stopped. Nodding, she picked up the knife and pricked her finger. She allowed three drops to fall in and mixed that in. Eloran inhaled sharply when the mixture momentarily turned as blue as her eyes.

Anan looked to Eloran and smiled. “We start with your feet.”

“This will make her want me?” His voice held confusion.

“Yes.” She moved another chair in front of him. “Place your feet on the chair.”

He did as asked with some hesitation. Once his feet were up, she knelt down and painted runes on the soles of his feet. She stood and moved closer to his face. As she moved the brush close to his forehead, he moved back.

Anan smiled. “These are your fluids, Eloran. There is nothing to fear.”

Eloran frowned for a moment then nodded slowly. She moved the brush and wrote runes on his face and neck. Once that was done, she asked him to stand and continued to write runes all over his body, leaving the space over his heart clear.

When she was done, Anan moved the brush to his chest, to the clear spot and stopped. She recited the spell to break the hex as she stared at the spot. While still reciting the spell, she looked at her hand. She nodded and wrote a symbol on her palm. She then placed her hand on his chest. As she recited the spell, Eloran only recognized the last word she said: Anan.

As soon as she said her name, the runes on his skin glowed blue then faded. At the same time, pain stabbed him in the heart and he could no longer breathe. She caught him as he collapsed. They sat on the floor as Eloran caught his breath. Anan brushed hair out of his eyes and spoke softly to him.

“It’s all right. The hex is gone now.”

He held her closer. “What did she do?”

“Xyta placed a hex on you to make you fall for her. You would have become her slave.”

Eloran held her hard. “You broke it.”

“Yes.”

He drew back a little to look into her eyes. “Why did you say your name at the end?”

Anan placed her hand over his heart. “It was not enough to break the spell, you have to be protected against her in the future. I assigned myself as your protector.”

Surprise blossomed on his face. His eyes grew wide for a moment, then closed halfway. He slipped his hands into her hair, brought her close and kissed her deeply. Without breaking away, he pulled her closer, stood and carried her to the bed.

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