Authors: E. J. Stevens
Blood and Mistletoe
By E.J. Stevens
Blood and Mistletoe
Published by Sacred Oaks Press
Copyright 2012 E.J. Stevens
All rights reserved
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Table of Contents
Pronunciations are given phonetically for names and races found in
Blood and Mistletoe
, the first novel and novella of the Ivy Granger series. Alternate names and nicknames have been provided in parentheses. In some cases, the original folklore has been changed to suit the city of Harborsmouth and its environs.
(Bargheist, Black Dog)
(Bwca, Urisk, Hearth Faerie, Domestic Hobgoblin)
(The Blue Hag, Cailleach Bheur, Queen of Winter, Crone, Veiled One, Winter Hag)
(Faerie Cat, Cait Shith, Cait Sith)
(Fairy, Sidhe, Fane, Wee Folk, The Gentry, People of Peace, Themselves, Sidhe, Fae, Fay, Good Folk)
(The Red Man)
(Demon, Great Marquis of Hell)
(The Green Lady)
(Brownie, son of Wag-at-the-Wa)
(Water Horse, Nyaggle)
(Lhiannan Sidhe, Leanhaun Shee, Leannan Sìth, Fairy Mistress)
(Merrow, Moruadh, Murúghach)
(Peg Powler of the Trees, Water Hag)
(Phooka, Pouka, Púca, Pwca)
(Gyl Burnt Tayle, Jack o’ Lantern, Wisp, Ghost Light, Friar’s Lantern, Corpse Candle, Hobbledy, Aleya, Hobby Lantern, Chir Batti, Faerie Fire, Spunkies, Min Min Light, Luz Mala, Pinket, Ellylldan, Spook Light, Ignus Gatuus, Orbs, Boitatá, and Hinkypunk)
Welcome to Harborsmouth, where monsters walk the streets unseen by humans…except those with second sight.
Whether visiting our modern business district or exploring the cobblestone lanes of the Old Port quarter, please enjoy your stay. When you return home, do tell your friends about our wonderful city—just leave out any supernatural details.
Don’t worry—most of our guests never experience anything unusual. Otherworlders, such as faeries, vampires, and ghouls, are quite adept at hiding within the shadows. Many are also skilled at erasing memories. You may wake in the night screaming, but you won’t recall why. Be glad that you don’t remember—you are one of the fortunate ones.
If you do encounter something unnatural, we recommend the services of Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective. Co-founder of Private Eye detective agency, Ivy Granger is a relatively new member of our small business community. Her offices can be found on Water Street, in the heart of the Old Port.
Miss Granger has a remarkable ability to receive visions by the act of touching an object. This skill is useful in her detective work, especially when locating lost items. Whether you are looking for a lost brooch or missing persons, no job is too big or too small for Ivy Granger—but you may be on her waiting list for awhile. Hopefully you are not in dire need of her immediate services. After her role in recent events, where she was instrumental in saving our city, Miss Granger’s business is booming.
If matters are particularly grim, we can also provide, upon request, a list of highly skilled undertakers. If you are in need of their services, then we also kindly direct you to Harborsmouth Cemetery Realty. It’s never too early to contact them, since we have a booming “housing” market. Demand is quite high for a local plot—there are always people dying for a place to stay.
"If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "Every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart."
A Christmas Carol
woke to the smell of gingerbread and coffee. Too bad the two were one and the same.
“This is why I hate the holidays,” I muttered into my cup. “Who messes around with a perfectly good cup of coffee?”
“You’re just grumpy because Ceffyl stood you up last night,” Jinx said.
“Well, it was a lame excuse,” I said.
I dropped my gloved hands into my lap, staring through a sheet of sleep mussed hair at the snowmen that danced maniacally around my pajama pants. I was pouting. Damn, I never pout, but I had been excited about our date last night. Which in retrospect was silly—I hate Christmas.
But this was my first holiday season with a boyfriend and I had wanted to do all of the normal date stuff. Instead, I sat home and watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the gazillionth time. Jinx had suggested wearing the Christmas pj’s we’d exchanged as gifts last year. I traced the smiling snowmen with a gloved finger, wishing I could be that happy for once.
Ceff had promised to take me to the tree lighting in Fountain Square. I didn’t like crowds, and usually avoided them like the plague, but Ceff had lured me with promises of hot chocolate and my weight in peppermint cookies. He also said he had a present for me.
My heart thumped and I shivered as chill fingers of fear and anticipation ran up my spine. What kind of gift would a kelpie king give me?
Would it be something pretty, romantic, practical, magical—would it drive me insane?
I discovered early in life that touching unknown objects could lead to terrifying visions. I was nine years old when my psychic gift reared its ugly, traumatizing head. I’ve been wary of receiving gifts ever since.
Strong emotions leave behind an imprint. People like me, with a talent for psychometry, can tap into that psychic imprint and see glimpses of an object or persons’ past.
Psychometry requires physical contact, thank Mab. That’s the reason why I wear gloves twenty-four-seven. It’s definitely not a fashion statement—Jinx is the fashionista in this friendship. I had learned the hard way that covering my hands helped to keep me sane.
Too bad an impermeable, full body suit wasn’t practical. In fact, it would be potentially fatal. I may be part fae, but my human half still has to breathe. Plus, Jinx would never let me leave our loft apartment dressed in a full body condom. That would be breaking too many fashion rules. Alas, I should have been a pooka.
“Pfft,” Jinx said with a shrug. “Ceffyl is king of the kelpies, give the guy a break. I’m sure he isn’t thrilled to be swimming in the freezing cold ocean while negotiating boring hunting treaties between kelpie and selkie tribes.”
It was true. Ceffyl hadn’t been happy about cancelling our date. He’d broken a length of wooden railing in frustration when the call came in.
We’d been walking along the waterfront under the stars, our new favorite pastime, when Ceff had stopped to stare intently at the bay. Ceff leaned casually against the railing, but I could hear his teeth grinding over the lapping sound of the waves.
A head surfaced near the docks, bobbing like a fishing buoy on the gentle waves of the harbor. The water fae waved its webbed hands and began speaking to Ceff in a high pitched chatter that sounded similar to the squeaks and chirps of dolphin song. The words were unintelligible to my ears, but the message was clear. Ceff was needed elsewhere.
And when duty calls, kelpie kings have to listen. He wasn’t happy about it. Storm clouds passed across Ceff’s dark green eyes, making them shift to black, and he held the railing in a white knuckled grip.
Ceff nodded once toward the bay and, with a strange bobbing bow, the water fae messenger returned to the dark waters from which he came. Ceff continued to stare into the harbor as if he could alter the message the tides had brought him by will alone. I held my breath and waited.
“I regret that I must cancel our date for tomorrow evening,” Ceff said.
His voice sounded calm, like a gentle burbling stream, but the shattered railing beneath his hands told another story.
“But it’s the tree lighting,” I said. “It only happens once a year. Can’t they wait one day?”
“I’m afraid not,” he said. “My people and a neighboring selkie tribe are both insistent that if they do not gain exclusive fishing rights over one small patch of ocean, then they will starve to death. It is foolishness, and I suspect the truth behind the dispute will have little to do with food supplies, but I must go before a small argument spirals into a war between the water fae. It is my duty.”
“Do you really think they’d wind up killing each other over a patch of water and some fish?” I asked.
“Fae wars have been started over much less,” he said. “But do not worry. Selkies are some of the most peaceful of our kind. I am sure I can negotiate a treaty and return before the Winter Solstice.”