So I wrote this novel… and I didn’t know where to stick it in the canon of my fantasy series, The Chalam Færytales. Why? Because it’s a companion story. It’s parallel. Going on at the same time as the main story. But it’s not the main characters.

It’s delightfully feisty and…tiny (this is a pun. Read the novel and you’ll see why. But I digress…). And those who have read it say it’s their favorite in the series so far.

So I did something insane.

I’m releasing the novel a chapter at a time over on Patreon. Unedited. Raw. In the buff. You get it. I’m releasing it to the world in all its unpolished glory. A sort of peek-behind-the-curtain, if you will. In fact, if you join my Patreon at the $5 level, you’ll get access to this novel today (not to mention support the curation of all manner of færytale artisans: authors, musicians, artists and more — the people who bring a bit of magic to the world.)

But for now, I thought I’d share the first chapter with you. A little taste test. I hope you love it as much as my Patrons do. And I hope you’ll join Patreon so that you can keep reading!

Also, just FYI, there is some language ahead. You’ve been warned.

The Perdurables

The Chalam Færytales, Lost Novel by Morgan G Farris

© 2019 Morgan G Farris. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. In other words, don’t share this without permission. I have hunting dogs. We will find you.

 

Chapter One

The attacks—they always happened in the open air—the wind in her face, the skies clear and cool, and she a target, a beacon. A fool. She banked hard left, dodging a branch as she made for the cover under the canopy.

The attacks always happen in open air, she scolded to herself. This one would be no exception.

She flew as hard as her wings could carry her, not daring to risk the time it might cost her just to look over her shoulder, to see how close they were. The forest stretched before her—a maze of shadow and moonlight, flora and rot. She could not fly hard enough, her own breath shards of ice in her lungs.

She didn’t need to look to know how close they were. She could practically taste the foul air around them as she sped through the night, cutting through the air, around trees like a human weapon—a blade, honed for killing. Four. There were four of them this time, damn it!

Maybe they were the murderers, but she was no blade. And she was certainly no human.

But tonight… maybe tonight she was a shooting star, outrunning the darkness that chased her.

The darkness that had chased her for as long as she could remember.

She picked up speed, a streak of lightning through the damning darkness.

~

“Holy Eloah, Meren, you look like shit!”

“Thanks, Ash,” she said, brushing past her friend. She plopped down on her dandelion fluff cushion, helping herself to a huge cup of water before so much as taking a breath.

Asher stood in the doorway with his arms crossed, furrowing his brow. No, not furrowing his brow. His brow was in a constant state of furrowed. Because he was always miffed with her for one reason or another. Like the brother she never had. Or wanted. She rolled her eyes, keeping her attention on her glorious cup of water, kissed with just the perfect amount of honeysuckle nectar, ignoring the ache in her back.

Fast. She had had to fly fast this time. Too fast. Her wings seemed to scream in protest.

She picked broken leaves from her thatch of curly hair. One of these days, those bastards were going to catch up with her.

“What happened?” Asher scowled, his legs spread shoulder-width apart, his face set in a determined grimace.

“You know what happened, Ash,” she said, not bothering to look at him. But that midnight hair of his, that skin rich and dark, those thick arms peeking out from under his sleeveless oak leaf tunic—he was hard to ignore for long. There weren’t any of the legendary warrior færies left—all of them either murdered or tortured decades ago. But Asher with his human-like weapons he had fashioned himself out of bone and stone, Asher with his short temper and feral need to prove himself—he was as close as it came. One of those weapons—a bone blade so jagged she doubted it left much that was recognizable when he was done with it—hung menacingly from his belt.

“Tell me anyway,” he said, glaring at her from across the odd-shaped room.

She picked at the vines growing around her cushion, silently reminding herself to prune soon lest her little nook in the chalam tree become overrun with the nuisance growth, still not bothering to meet his pointed stare, uninterested in another one of his lectures. When he let the silence grow long and damning between them, she finally sighed through her nose, taking another long drink before she said, “I don’t know how they always find me.”

“I do.”

“Here it comes,” she said, but he ignored her, pushing off of the jamb.

“You’re too brazen, Meren. You take too many risks.” He crossed the room, one step at a time. Asher always opted to walk instead of fly when he was frustrated. She lifted her gaze to his, but showed no remorse, no apology. “It’s not safe for you out there.”

“We can’t hole ourselves up in this coven forever, Asher. Jotham is wrong. We can’t keep pretending like nothing is going on. There are more of us, I know it.”

“We’re not pretending like nothing is going on.” Another step. Another. Closing the gap between them. Towering over her like he was…

“Stop acting like you’re my father, Ash.”

That comment—he didn’t like that comment one bit. He knelt before her, gripping her chin a little too firmly, his face—his entire countenance shifting to something… Something she wasn’t sure she liked.

“I’m not your father,” he said, his tone menacing, reprimanding. “But you’ll forgive me if you scare the shit out of me too often.”

She breathed a laugh, unable to move her face for his fingers still firm on her chin. But the way he was looking at her…

“Stop,” she said, jerking her chin from his grip.

She could feel his searing gaze on her for a long moment before he finally sighed, pushing on his knees as he stood again.

“You can’t keep hoping you’ll be fast enough to outfly them, Mer,” he said, taking to her hearth, stoking the flames to life.

“I’ve outflown them every time,” she said, watching him as he gathered a loaf of bread that was probably too hard to eat.

His back was still to her as he said, “That is beside the point.”

“I’m faster than you, Asher. And I’m faster than they are. They’re not going to catch me.”

He turned to face her, the knife in his hand like an extension of his arm. “And what happens when they do?”

It was the concern in his eyes—sincere and suffocating—that kept her from exploding into a fit of frustration. It had been that genuine concern that had kept her from killing him most of the time.

She stood to her feet and padded across the shiny wooden floor, putting a hand on his shoulder.

Friends, that’s what they were. What they had always been. What they would always be.

“I’ll be all right, Ash,” she said as kindly as she could.

To her surprise, he seized the moment to close the remaining distance between them, to set down the knife he was using to slice the stony loaf and put his warm hands on either side of her face. “I worry about you, Mer.”

“I know,” she said, brushing him off. “It’s annoying.”

He breathed a laugh through his nose, the small gesture changing his whole demeanor. “When are you going to let me take care of you?”

She nodded to the loaf of bread. “What do you call that?”

“Sustenance,” he said. “You seem incapable of so much as boiling water.”

“I am not,” she protested.

He laughed and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a bone-crushing hug. His fiery wings flickered softly—a cat swishing its tail as it lazed in the sun.

She absently watched those wings over his shoulder before she pushed out of his arms, pressing a smacking kiss to his cheek and then trodding to her bed, plopping down on the fluffy feathered mattress.

He turned back to bread and set about buttering a slice.

“I’ll be much more impressed when you learn to make me toadstool soup,” she quipped.

He kept his back to her. “That will never happen.”

“Why?” she protested.

He looked over his shoulder, a sly grin on his mouth. “Because it’s disgusting.”

“It is not!” she barked, incensed. It was, in fact, her favorite. And had been since she was a youngling.

“You have terrible taste, Mer,” he said, still buttering the slices. She stuck out her tongue at his back and those formidable amber wings of his, lined in black, sliced with patterns of gold and crimson.

By no means a cook, Asher was, at least, somewhat aware of her needs. She was starving, after all. Which was why, she supposed, that she let him come in here, let him act like this was his home, his things. Let him feed her like she was a helpless færyling.

Just as he had always treated her like a helpless færyling.

She rolled her eyes and flopped onto her belly, turning the giant page of a book she had found on one of her ventures—a mortal story. Of prophecies, and kings, and wars, and epic love.

“I still can’t believe you made me lug that stupid thing in here,” he said over his shoulder.

It was true. The book was not færy-sized. No, it was a human book she had found. Found and then sweet-talked Asher into helping her heave it up the side of the tree and into her little home. Which, consequently, was hardly large enough for the book. She had turned it into a platform, a dais of sorts, on which she sat as she read it. Asher had suggested she throw a cushion on top and call it a bed. She had merely rolled her eyes and set about reading it.

And it had fascinated her. Page by page, she hadn’t been able to put it down.

“Why do the humans call these stories færytales?” she asked absently as Asher drizzled honey from the comb on a slice of the crusty bread. “They don’t even believe in færies anymore. They think we’re butterflies or moths or something.”

“Eloah knows,” he said. “Humans are strange.”

Strange, perhaps. But intriguing. And as Meren read more of her book, she couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to meet a human. To help them as the færies once had.

To be a true færy of the Light.

He turned to face her at last, bringing her a slice of honeyed bread, biting into one of his own. “Jotham wants us to meet tomorrow,” he said around the unnecessarily large bite in his mouth.

She ignored the sight of him chewing the food and took a bite of her own. She swallowed before she said, “Why? So that he can tell us to keep hiding? Keep pretending like they won’t find us as long as we stick together?” She savagely ripped another bite, frustration mounting as she chewed on the tough bread. The butter and honey did little to hide the fact that it was as hard as a rock.

“It’s a good plan, Mer.”

“It’s a coward’s plan,” she quipped.

“I suppose you have a better one,” he said, but she didn’t answer. “That’s why you went out there tonight, isn’t it?” When she still didn’t answer, he sighed. “Meren, what is it that you think you’re going to find?”

“More of us, Ash. I know there are more of us.”

“There aren’t,” he said, standing to his feet. “They’re all dead. Just like you will be if you keep going out there.”

“So this is it?” she barked, standing to her feet. “This is our life forever? Hiding here, hoping we won’t be found?”

“It’s better than dying, isn’t it?” he yelled.

“Hardly!”

“Meren—“

“Ash, I’m tired of this! I’m tired of hiding away like a coward. I’m going to do something. I have to do something!”

He crossed the space between them, gripping her shoulders in his calloused hands. “You are one færy, Meren. One. What exactly do you think you will do?”

“Whatever it takes,” she said, and pushed out of his grip.

***

What’s the best thing about a faerytale? It’s deeply romantic, full of magic, and chock full of dark, mysterious villians. Check out this list of some of our favorite faerytales out there! Don’t see your favorite on the list? Comment and tell us about it!

The Princess Bride


Uprooted


The Enchanted Swans


Remembering Majyk


Cruel Beauty


Golden


A Court of Thorns and Roses


Beauty and the Beast


The Hazel Wood


The Purloined Prophecy


Mercury Rises


My Lady Jane


Trial By Song


The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest


The Sleeping Beauty


Spindle’s End


Till Midnight


A Dream of Ebony and White


Lost In A Book


The Court of the Faerie Queen

All Hail the Magic Horse!

If you’re like me, you love a good story with a magic horse. Whether they fly, talk, or just have some sort of otherworldly power, horses are some of the most majestic creatures in fantasy. Check out these 15 fantasies and faerytales, all of which either feature magic horses, or weave the creatures into the story!

Unicorns of Balinor: The Road to Balinor


The Horse and His Boy


Goddess Games (The Demi Chronicles Book 1)


Shadows of Lela


Death’s Dark Horse


Areion


Girls Can’t Be Knights


The Promised One


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


The Black Unicorn


Pegasus


Choices (Valdemar)


The Heavenly Horse From The Outermost West


The Gatekeeper’s Sons


Wind Rider: Tales of a New World

It’ll Cure What Ails Ya

With the Throne of Glass series wrapping up recently with the epic conclusion, Kingdom of Ash, we’re all in a bit of a book hangover. So here are 15 Fantasy series to get you out of your Maas hangover. Full of action, adventure, magic, and of course romance, these picks are sure to cure what ails ya!

The Lunar Chronicles

The Tainted Accords


The Seven Realms


Lela Trilogy


A Tale of Snow Series


The Ashen Touch Trilogy


The Tidal Kiss Trilogy


The Shattering Darkness Series


The Frostblood Saga


The Chalam Færytales


The Kingkiller Chronicles


The Bargainer Series


The Sand Maiden Series


Druid’s Brooch Series

The Mystic Series

Looking for new epic fantasy reads?

These books from 2018 represent some of the best in indie publishing, full of swashbuckling heroes and swoon-worthy love stories. Check them out!

The Pirate Princess by K R Martin

Sometimes, to become a princess…

Raised to marry a king, Renee’s greatest desire is to be a true queen. So, while other girls learned the art of embroidery, Renee perfected her skills with a sword. She was prepared to earn the respect of her future husband, but a chance encounter with a handsome stranger awakens her heart to the possibility of love.

… a girl must become a pirate.

When tragedy strikes, Renee flees, right onto a pirate ship! Surprising herself, she offers to join their crew. Happy to finally put her swordsmanship to use, she fights injustice on the seas, but when her kingdom is threatened, can she give up the safety and happiness for an uncertain future? Or can she finally become the leader, the princess, her people need?

Shadows of Lela by Tessonja Odette

A forgotten princess.
A deadly quest.
A threat that hides in shadow…

Sixteen-year-old Cora is a princess with a dark past. Exile has kept her safe. But when she rescues a dying unicorn from a mysterious band of hunters, her identity—and her life—are in danger.

Prince Teryn has the perfect plan—win the quest, marry his betrothed, and become king. But his mission goes awry when he faces a feisty young woman in the woods. Although they meet as foes, she shares a secret that bonds them.

Teryn and Cora’s fates are entwined in a plot far deadlier than they ever imagined. Can they face the threat together? Or will a terrifying enemy destroy the land they love?

Shadows of Lela is Book One in the Lela Trilogy. If you like swoon-worthy romance, adventurous quests, breathtaking magic, and surprising twists, then you’ll love Tessonja Odette’s epic fantasy tale.

Buy Shadows of Lela to embark on a magical journey today!

An Heir in Shadow by Sofia Drake

Morrigan has spent decades hiding in plain sight as a celebrated agent for the Bureau of Preternatural Creatures. As the most powerful fae spell caster alive, she has long stood against the rising tide of evil stalking the innocent people in her home city of Baltimore. When her cover is suddenly blown, Morrigan must finally decide to either embrace the duty of her heritage or to abandon the people she has come to love to one of the greatest enemies she has ever faced.

The Promised One by Morgan G Farris

“But that’s just it: my mind does not remember, but my heart has not forgotten. And I’ve been going out of my mind trying to understand why I should fall in love so quickly, so completely…with a stranger.”

***

Magic is not real, thank you very much. It’s a faerytale. It can’t be real, because if it is, then that means that the love of Elizabeth’s life hasn’t just forgotten her.

He’s been cursed to forget her.

When stubborn, logical Elizabeth discovers that Prince Ferryl remembers nothing of their fabled love, she is determined to uncover the truth. But the clues keep pointing to the most illogical answer of all: that magic is not just the stuff of faerytales—and it may be both the problem and the solution. But while Elizabeth is busy trying to figure out what happened to Ferryl, he’s busy trying to explain his father’s mysterious headaches, grapple with a band of rebels threatening his kingdom, and dodge a queen determined to control every detail of his life.

The Promised One is the first book of The Chalam Faerytales series—a coming-of-age epic færytale of what happens after the first kiss. It’s a journey to remind us that magic is everywhere, if only we look—and love may be the most powerful magic there is.

Chapter I

It had been love—deep, abiding, earth-shattering love—the kind about which færytales are written and wars are fought.

So she could think of no logical reason why he could not remember it. Or her. In fact, she could only gape as she watched him ride, the morning sun casting buttery shafts of light across his back and through his unruly golden locks as he galloped away, growing smaller and smaller with each clomp of the horse’s hooves.

She could think of no logical reason why the crown prince did not remember her, at all.

It had been a strange morning, to be sure. Had anyone told Elizabeth that she would wake up and tend to her duties in the stables, only to find that her dearest friend in all the world—a boy she had grown up with on the grounds at Benalle Palace, the man she had fallen in love with over the course of those years—suddenly had no earthly idea who she was, she might have scoffed and said such things only happen in stories. Færytales. Fables.

Not reality.

But here she was, staring off into the golden plains of the Navarian countryside, watching her beloved ride away like a stranger.

A strange morning, indeed.

Unsettling, really. No, not unsettling. Crushing. It was crushing dread that bloomed in the pit of her stomach.

What had happened to him?

Start reading the epic færytale today!

Crown Prince Ferryl, heir of Navah, had arrived at the stables like he always had every morning from the time they were children. And he had headed straight for his blood bay stallion, Erel, just as he always had. To ride. To greet the morning with a race, with a trek to the forest, to start his morning off with his Lizybet. Just as he always had. Every morning from the time they were children.

But unlike every other morning in her memory, this morning, Ferryl had not greeted his Lizybet with a cheerful salutation. Or a warm embrace. Or by pulling her into his arms and kissing her soundly—as had become his habit of late.

No, this morning, Ferryl had merely spoken to her as if he had never met her before.

“What’s this, then?” Elizabeth had asked, her back to the prince as she fussed with a bucket of oats in the shadows of the stables, surprised that Ferryl hadn’t already snaked his arms around her, planted his lips at her neck, whispered little sonnets of love and need and desire. A flirt, that’s what he was. He had always been a shameless flirt. “You make me meet you out here at the crack of dawn and don’t even have the decency to greet me with a good morning?”

Yes, Elizabeth had always spoken to the crown prince with a healthy measure nonchalance. And cheek. Such is the nature of the relationship between a prince and a servant who had known each other since they were young children.

“I beg your pardon?” Ferryl had asked.

A puffed laugh and then, “You’re in a silly mood this morning, Ferryl. Addled from lack of sleep, is it?” She grinned, biting back a smile as she kept her back to him. The heavens knew she certainly hadn’t slept much last night, for yesterday had been…like a dream. So she waited…waited for the quip, the punch line that would not come.

“My lady, I’m afraid you must have me confused with someone else. As it is though, I must get my steed saddled. I am expected in the city this morning.”

“The city?” she asked, whirling to finally face him. “But I thought—” It was only then that she had begun to understand. At least as far as she could understand. Something…something was fundamentally different about Ferryl.

His eyes, usually so violently blue as to make a sapphire pale in comparison, were hazy, cloudy. Like a foggy autumn dawn, like the mists settling over the ocean. And in his countenance she did not find the familiarity that a decade and a half of friendship could afford. No, in his countenance she found a stranger.

She swallowed back the barrage of retorts she had thought up and heard herself instead say, “The city. Of course, Ferryl.”

It was then that a grin found his sensuous mouth. And in a gesture so familiar, he pushed his hand through the messy thatch of blonde hair spilling on his brow. For a blessed moment, relief tapped on her soul. Relief at the sight of that effortless smile, that familiar gesture. But that fledgling little bud of relief was short-lived, dying a sudden death when he said, “Do you always address your superiors in such a manner, then?”

She found she had no retort and instead stared with mouth agape as he continued. “Indeed, it would not bother me, but seeing as you are new here, ah, what did you say your name was?”

“Lizy—I mean, Elizabeth,” she stammered. “My name is Elizabeth.”

A smile. A smile that could melt chocolate, damn him. He slipped his hands in his pockets. “Well then, Mistress Elizabeth, seeing as you are new here, I feel that I should inform you that while it might not bother me to be called by my given name, were you to make such a mistake around my mother, I’m afraid the consequences might not be so pleasant.”

“Of course, Your Highness,” she managed, the title strange, foreign on her tongue. She could not ever remember a time when Ferryl had insisted she use such a formality.

With a tremble in her hands, she made her way to the wall of saddles that she might retrieve Ferryl’s. Never mind that she had never once had to saddle his horse for him considering he had always insisted on doing it himself. Never mind that she couldn’t have lifted said saddle with her scrawny arms if her life depended on it. She made her way to the saddle wall anyway, acting on instinct like…well, like a stable hand. For while she might have been a stable hand in name, she knew no more about the beasts than Ferryl apparently knew about her at the moment.

Ferryl, still a gentleman even when a stranger, noticed her ineptitude and quickly came to her aid.

His nearness was simultaneously unsettling and so achingly familiar that she had to close her eyes for a moment just to breathe. She had loved him for so long, so many years, that now, this unfamiliarity was…well, it was gut-wrenching, to say the least. She had half a mind to just grab him by his jerkin and kiss the sense back into—

“Are you all right, Mistress Elizabeth?” he asked. It was only then that she realized she was standing before the saddles. Eyes closed. Just…breathing. Awkward behavior for a stable hand, to be sure.

“Uh, yes. I’m fine. I—”

“Here,” he said, making to retrieve his own saddle, his solid arms pulling taut his gauzy white shirtsleeve. She found she could not tear her eyes from him, not even as his deft hands strapped the heavy leather onto the back of the sleek stallion, not even when he finally met her eyes again.

“I’ll be off, then. It was a pleasure to meet you, Elizabeth.”

She couldn’t remember what a proper response should be. Couldn’t think past the desire to yell, to cry What in all the realms of Sheol is wrong with you?

Oblivious to her inner turmoil, Ferryl mounted Erel and turned that he might ride out of the stables and into the sunrise with nothing more than a nod of his head and a lingering chuckle on his mouth.

And then he was gone, leaving nothing but a thousand screaming questions in his wake.

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