"You met them in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their legends!"
Fenian Warrior, Conn MacRoich has traveled the earth for thousands of years, guarding the realm between mortal and Fae. His deeds are legendary. Yet, one mistake will force him on a journey to fix a broken time-line. However, on Conn’s quest, he must face a human female who will eventually bring this ancient warrior to his knees.
When Ivy O’Callaghan inherits her uncle’s estate, she never imagines there will be more secrets to unravel, including the one she hides from the world. With the help of a mysterious stranger, she learns to trust and step out of the shadows. However, nothing prepares Ivy when she learns Conn's true identity.
As the loom of fate weaves a thread around the lovers from two different worlds, will the sacrifices they make lead them to love? Or will their secrets destroy and separate them forever?
Read an Excerpt
Beneath the Hill of Tara, Ireland — Late Summer, the season of pleasure and growth in the Fae Realm
"To sit in silence requires a quiet mind and a peaceful heart."
~Chronicles of the Fae
Conn clenched his fists so tightly, the veins threatened to burst, spilling his blood against the walls of his prison. A new day was dawning as the sun's tentative rays streaked through the canopy of trees above him. They teased him as they inched closer — tormenting him with his confinement. Morose gloom weighed heavily on him with each breath he took. It splintered a piece of his soul.
Yet, he found he could not ignore the calling to greet the new day. It was in his Fae blood, seeping into every pore of his being. The land called out to him, and he responded in welcome, no matter the circumstances of his current situation.
Leaning against the crystal wall, Conn gazed upward, his body tensed in anticipation.
He willed the light to brush against the glass rooftop and touch him with its warmth. Watching as the last star blinked from his sight, he could feel the stirrings of rebirth — a new beginning, and he stepped away from the wall. With each step, the pulse of the bare earth surged through the soles of his feet, extending upward throughout his body.
Conn embraced the energy.
His hands unclenched, and he reached outward — stretching as far as he could to capture the flimsy radiance. Minutes passed, but he could sense the time drawing near. As the light shimmered through his fingertips, he absorbed the essence, breathing deeply.
Although fleeting, this moment was enough for him as he eased his hands back down. Collapsing to the ground, he pressed his palms to the earth in reverence. This was his daily ritual — one where he had lost track of how many times he had done so in this dungeon of a room.
An area of space with four crystal walls, the earth beneath him, and a prism of glass above him, so he could witness each new day — each season within his prison.
Yet, with each passing hour, day, and month, Conn grew restless and bitter. Bitterness toward those that would still call him family, friend, brother. They made him wait in this room, refusing to listen to his account. Ignoring his pleas for a swift and fair trial.
Each day food was brought to him. And each day he issued a request to meet with the Fae council. The Fae guard delivered the same message at the end of day. "When the Fae were ready, they would summon him. This was a time of reflection, and he should use it wisely."
Conn dug his hands into the dirt. "Rid me of this anger, Mother Danu. I find it growing daily." Though in his heart, he believed she also had turned her back on him, as well as his own people.
Removing his hands, he blew out a sigh and leaned back on his thighs. Closing his eyes, he fought the wave of despair. It left him weak and frustrated of life. In his entire existence this was the first time Conn had walked such a path of emptiness. However, his thoughts did not waver on his decision to join his other two brothers. He had done what he believed to be right. When Fenian Warriors, Liam and Rory MacGregor pleaded their case to assist the Dragon Knights of ridding the world of the evil druid, Lachlan, Conn willingly sacrificed all.
He fisted his hands on his knees. "We did not alter time," he hissed out into the silence. "Only shielded and protected the knights. How could you have expected us to stay hidden and watch as the worlds — human and Fae collapsed into darkness? Have we not done the same before? Why is this time so different?"
Conn bowed his head. "If you deem our act unjust, then Take my life, Mother Danu. Return my life force to the cosmos." Fury erupted within him. Grabbing a handful of soil, he tossed it against the wall. "End this!"
"Do not sit at my feet and ask me to take your life, Conn MacRoich! I give life! Your blood was mingled with mine thousands of years ago. You speak as a human and not Fae. Your time of reflection has ended. The choices you make today will be your new journey. Choose wisely, my Warrior, for the road ahead is unstable. Yet, first, you must address the Fae council."
His body trembled as he slowly stood. The glass dome disappeared, and the tree limbs gracefully made their way down the sides of the walls, absorbing the crystals. The four walls splintered into an array of colorful lights, forcing Conn to shield his eyes from their radiance.
Breathing heavily, he lifted his head to the circle of sunlight streaming down. "I will and always shall be your Warrior, Mother Danu. No matter the path I choose. Thank you."
A soft breeze hinting of roses swept across his face, and Conn inhaled her scent.
"Great Goddess! Did they not give you any fresh clothing?" bellowed Ronan.
Glancing over his shoulder, Conn smiled weakly. Looking down at his soiled, tattered clothing, he replied, "I would assume by your shocked tone that I require new clothes?"
"Aye, most definitely. Ye have been ordered to appear before the Fae council. I thought it best to be the one to deliver the good news."
Conn arched a brow at the man's speech.
Ronan laughed. "And before ye say another word, I am still embroiled in a Scottish clan affair and find I must maintain the language."
Turning around, Conn embraced his friend. "I am happy to see it was you and not an unfamiliar face to escort me to the council."
The warrior leaned back, and his face turned somber. "I made the request on the day they brought ye here."
"Have you given your account of the battle?" asked Conn.
"Aye. The moment I returned."
"And here you stand, unpunished?"
Ronan rubbed a hand through his beard, a smile forming on his mouth. "I approached the council and gave them my terms."
Shocked, Conn shook his head. "Terms? What I would have given to be present to see the reaction of the council members — especially the administrator."
"I believe some of them paled," replied Ronan. "One of my conditions was to be your escort when they called ye forth."
"Sweet Goddess," he muttered.
His friend shrugged. "What could they do? I broke nae laws." He placed a hand on Conn's shoulder. "And so I would do so again."
Conn nodded. "Any other conditions I should be aware of? You do realize I may be put instantly to death."
"Nae," reassured the warrior. "Your life — including Liam and Rory's were spared many moons ago from a request made by an individual."
"By whom?" demanded Conn.
"Margaret MacKay MacFhearguis," Ronan uttered softly.
Stunned by the revelation, Conn went to lean against one of the oak trees. "Why?"
"She deemed too many had suffered and died. The Fae granted her request immediately. They would do anything for their beloved Dragon Knights, especially the keeper of the Book of Awakening — Margaret."
Conn had roamed the earth for thousands of years and in that time, not one human had pledged to see him safe. On the contrary, they came to him for aid, protection, wisdom, and at times, anger. His heart filled with a deep respect for Margaret, and he prayed the day would come when he could tell her how much the plea meant to him.
"'Tis hard to fathom?" asked Ronan.
Nodding, he moved away from the tree. "Never has this happened in my lifetime."
Ronan chuckled softly. "The humans do surprise us from time to time, aye?"
"Would ye like me to do the honors with your appearance?"
Conn glanced at him as they moved through the forest. "Absolutely not. You would see me in shimmering clothing."
"Ye wound me," teased his friend. "Yet, ye are to appear in your royal tunic."
"I have a fresh one in my chambers. Surely, the council can wait until I'm cleaned and in proper clothing."
"Not wise to keep the members waiting."
Conn smirked. "Like I care?"
Ronan rolled his eyes. "'Tis your trial."
Emerging from the trees, Conn's steps faltered as the light touched his shoulders. Casting his gaze to the valley below, he inhaled deeply. The Fae realm was buried far below the Hill of Tara, yet, this portion of the kingdom mirrored the one above. Rolling hills in various hues of green surrounded a valley rich with Fae life. Colors so vibrant and opulent, the bucolic scene stole the breath from his lungs. To the east and west marked the ancient waterfalls — one denoting the birth of a Fae, and the other, in the west, a passing of life. He sighed, keeping his sight on the waterfall in the west — Tir na Og, the Land of Forever. How many Fenian brothers had he lost to this place? Too many!
Slowly lifting his head to the north, Conn let his sight fall on the great palace of the King, Queen, Fae council, and the Brotherhood of the Fenian Warriors. Massive towers shimmered with all the colors of Earth's crystals, along with those from the Fae's homeland — Taralyn.
"How long has it been?" inquired Ronan quietly.
Snapping out of his thoughts, Conn ran his hand through his hair. "One hundred years, ten months, two days, five hours, and thirty seconds." He looked at his friend. "Those are Fae times."
Ronan's eyes went wide. "Ye roamed above for over a thousand years?"
Conn shrugged and glanced away. "There was much to do."
"Then I must warn ye to beware the whispers, my friend." He clapped a hand on Conn's shoulder.
"Whispers?" Shrugging out of his friend's grasp, he made his way down the hill.
Ronan was alongside him in two strides. "They say ye have stayed far too long with the humans. Ye think like one."
Conn halted. "That's absurd!"
"Aye, I ken, but ye have to consider that ye have not returned, if only for a year. These are your people, too."
Ignoring his Fae brother, Conn continued to make his way down the hill. How dare they whisper behind his back — a great Fenian Warrior. Did he not do everything that was required of him? Repeatedly, he had walked into battles, rescuing those in need. Steering a course of a human life when needed. He clenched his jaw as he strode more quickly.
Conn could hear Ronan shouting, but he gave no care. His Fae blood boiled. I will show them all!
In a brilliant flash, Conn appeared in his chambers within the crystal palace. Stumbling forward, he landed against his writing desk.
"Shit!" he bellowed. Twisting around, he lunged at Ronan. However, the warrior vanished and reappeared on the other side of the chamber.
Ronan's eyes flashed, and he held a hand up in warning. "I will not fight ye, my brother."
Breathing heavily, his hands shook. Great Goddess, what was wrong with him? Anger surfaced so quickly, it blinded him. When he had regained his composure, he asked, "Did it not occur to you that I wanted to walk back?"
The Fae angled his head. "Seriously? Do ye ken how long it would take?"
Conn's mouth twitched in humor. "Months?"
"Aye." Ronan chuckled. He waved a hand in the air. "The council has not stripped your chambers of magic. Therefore, ye can move around freely and do what ye must to appear presentable."
"How kind," he replied dryly, glancing around.
"Ye will find food and drink on your terrace. I will return for ye in one hour."
Conn was tempted to ask if the hour was human or Fae. "Thank you."
Ronan smiled and vanished.
Rubbing a hand over his chin, Conn slowly made his way into his private bathing area, which consisted of a huge garden. A waterfall cascaded down into a pool surrounded by lush foliage. Smells of lavender, honeysuckle, and roses drifted by him. Hummingbirds flitted about, their presence soothing. He had forgotten how peaceful the Fae realm could be, especially his own chambers.
Uncertainty had become his companion in the Room of Reflection, slithering inside him and draining him all those months. The stench of the human world cloaked him, and he shook his head in frustration. Perhaps Ronan was correct. He had stayed away far too long from his own people, albeit his own decision.
But why had he? A question without an answer.
Stripping free of his torn tunic and pants, he descended down to the pool. Diving in, the warmth of the water seeped through his tired bones and flesh, cleansing the grime from a battle fought many moons ago. Taking his time, he stroked lazily to the other side, enjoying the caress of the water on his skin.
When he reached the other side, he climbed on top of a polished boulder to warm himself in the sunlight. Crossing his legs under him, he glanced around and closed his eyes. Inhaling deeply, he held his breath and then let it out slowly. Releasing all thought, Conn allowed his body to drift — becoming one with the realm once again. The rich earthiness of the land filled him, and he took what she had to offer. As his body and mind adjusted to the Fae realm, he absorbed the power, but only taking what he required in his healing.
"No matter your path, you are a Fenian Warrior. You are Fae. You are of my blood — far more ancient than the land you sit upon. A new day dawns within you. Though you may not be human, they are to be respected, as well."
With one last shuddering breath, Conn slowly opened his eyes. The trees swayed back and forth, easing all tension from his spirit. "Thank you, Mother Danu."
Slipping back into the water, Conn made his way back to his home. Quickly drying his body with a wave of his hand, he reached for an apple on the table and took a bite. The tartness of the fruit exploded in his mouth, and he let out a moan. Food in the Fae realm was sweeter — another fact he had forgotten in the human world. He wiped away the juices and stepped inside his chambers.
Entering his inner chamber, a haven just for him, he strode over to his giant armoire. Conn traced his fingers over the Celtic spirals etched in maple wood. He had worked tirelessly for months trying to fathom why the humans were fascinated with carving. Soon, he'd found pleasure in creating pieces from any type of wood. However, he would only take from the dying trees and never a living one.
Opening one of the doors, he pulled forth his royal tunic and pants. Quickly dressing, he wandered around the rooms, touching a book or admiring a quartz crystal, until he found himself back on the terrace. Tying his hair back with a leather thong, he opted not to wear shoes. He wanted to absorb as much as he could from his homeland. Lifting the pitcher, he poured some water into a goblet. Sipping the cool liquid, he stood and gazed outward. He filled his mind with every detail, as if fearing he would never return to this place.
Sensing the return of Ronan, he opened the door to his chambers with a single thought.
"Are ye ready?" asked the Fenian Warrior.
Smiling, Conn picked up another apple and stuffed it into his pants. "Yes."
As he made his way out of the chambers, he glanced over his shoulder one last time. "I don't think I'll be returning," he stated quietly.
"Ye are spouting nonsense. The Fae council will most likely suspend your powers for a thousand years, and ye will remain in the realm to oversee training of new Fenian Warriors."
Conn blinked and looked at the Fae incredulously. "Considering what has transpired, they will not be asking me to train anyone, for fear I would taint them."
Ronan placed a firm hand on his shoulder. "I shall always be with ye, brother."
"I walk this road alone, my friend."
They proceeded to make their way along the corridors of the castle. Quietness settled within Conn as he passed along the many rooms and passageways leading to other areas of the great castle. Too quickly, they approached the hall of the Fae council.
Pausing before the closed doors, Conn turned to his friend. "Have you any news regarding Liam and Rory?"
A frown marred Ronan's features. "None."
Conn snorted. "I suppose my sins are far worse."
The warrior crossed his arms over his chest. "Ye assume —"
"No. I merely state what I already know. It is a path I have chosen. Right or wrong, I shall own the choices. But know this, my friend. Those who seek to condemn me, have yet to venture far from this realm."
Giving his friend a reassuring smile, Conn turned and strode inside the chambers of the Fae council to meet his fate.
Excerpted from "Quest of a Warrior"
Copyright © 2017 Mary Morgan.
Excerpted by permission of The Wild Rose Press, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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