We have a new chapter of Rum Cove everyday until the conclusion 7th June

Jax makes a decision

Hastings – 1844

The sun had come out and was warm against my skin as I lay in the garden. The children were running around with Bran, Josef, and the puppy, their footfalls left ripples in the magic around me like drops on the surface of a pond. Mrs Stapleton and Veronica were sitting in the shade of one of the fruit trees, Veronica had her head on Mrs Stapleton’s crossed legs as she stroked her hair. I supposed it was time I started thinking of Mrs Stapleton as Lia given she was my step-daughter’s lover, but it seemed too odd. We’d come a long way from the days when she went around calling me a harlot.

It all felt different. Magic ebbed and flowed around me and through me, it didn’t burn, or hurt, or strain. It was oddly relaxing, as if I’d finally figured out how to put all the pieces of a puzzle together.

Jax lay down beside me and set her staff between us, I had a feeling it was looking at me wishing I’d get out its spot.

‘Feeling better?’ I asked, watching wisps of cloud float by above it.

‘I think I’m ready to go home.’ She sighed.

‘I know exactly what you mean.’

She turned her head to look at me. ‘I’ll send mother to help Merry, she knows what she’s doing.’

‘I thought you said she wouldn’t teach a changeling.’

‘She will, if I tell her to,’ she said and frowned at the sky. ‘I’m second in line to lead the family. It’s time I owned it. Things need to change.’

I suppressed a smile. Josef had been right, a new god indeed. ‘How did you know to be in the wood?’

‘Merry drew it after you dropped me off.’ She exhaled. ‘I don’t think she’ll need much teaching, she might be an innate.’

I looked at her.

‘Some people don’t have to learn magic, they do it like most people breathe. I think that might be why you didn’t see it before; she’s been in control of it all along.’

‘I saw it. Before I died, she told me she’d had a nightmare a bad man had hurt me. I wondered at the time and I watched but I didn’t see it again. Unless it was part of the reason she was afraid so much, I thought it was the trauma.’

‘It might’ve been. It might not.’ She shrugged. ‘Our abilities tend to relate to our personalities, someone who fears the worst might develop the ability to predict the future. Someone of a vengeful nature might…’ She cleared her throat.

‘Hold on to the past?’

‘No offence.’

‘None taken.’ I looked at my scarred hands. ‘Someone needs to remember sins and hold them accountable.’

‘You sound like my uncle. I didn’t expect him to run after you, by the way.’

‘He’s got a notion there but I’m not sure what.’ I sat up. ‘But if he wants to play, I’ll play.’

‘Uncle’s level of play isn’t my style. Rumour has it Auntie Frigga once told him his greatest rider had yet to rise and he’s been looking for them ever since.’ She chuckled. ‘No-one’s sure if that was an actual prediction or a vague statement designed to annoy him.’

I shook my head. ‘The answer’s Heimdall, she took down three vampires and only retreated because of unexpected feedback.’

‘Am I meant to tell him that?’

I turned to her. ‘It’s more fun if you don’t.’

She grinned.

Edward ran over to us and threw his arms around my neck. ‘Ruff bestest present ever, ever, Muma.’ He blew a raspberry on my cheek.

I squeezed him back. ‘I’m glad you like Ruff.’

‘Come play, Muma,’ he said. ‘An’ Miss Jax.’

‘I need a rest,’ Miss Jax said. ‘I’ll take a nap while you play with your mum.’

He tugged at my arm. ‘Come on, Muma.’

I got up and swept him up and he shrieked happily. ‘Come on, babby-boo.’

‘Got find treasure Dada hided.’

‘Have you tried tickling it out of him?’ I whispered.

Edward covered his face and giggled. That was it then, Josef was going to get covered in children and tickled until he surrendered the hiding place. No-one could say I wasn’t wicked.

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Published by Jesse

I'm a writer and academic specialising in fantasy fiction and creative writing theory. I'm allergic to pretentiously talking about fiction and aim to be unashamedly ‘commercial’. Surely all fiction is commercial anyway, or what’s the point in publishing it?

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