The human world is a prison for faerie outcasts—and a breeding ground for dark magic. Please enjoy this excerpt from The Nameless by Allison Rose.
Forevermore an outcast.
The words echoed in Kelty’s mind as laughter drew her gaze to a human family among the visitors of the park below. Resentment and longing burned in her chest at their smiling faces, yet she could not look away. Landing with light feet on a branch high above the field, she folded her wings to her back as a long sigh escaped her lips.
The sun shone upon on the woods of the human world, casting a brightness upon the leaves. But despite the brilliant green, the fresh air, it paled in comparison to the world of Faerie.
Kelty took a breath as the homesickness hit her. Sinking into a crouch, she reached inward to the magic at her core and sent some of it through her bare feet into the rough bark. Connecting to the ara, the life energy within the tree, she used the steady, soothing presence to ground herself.
The ara of this world was weak, but it was starting to respond to her. Nurturing and caring for the energy of the land was all she knew how to do in this place of banishment. What little life existed in the plants, trees, and soil now glowed brighter, healthier to her vision. She was doomed to be its only champion.
Kelty’s eyes followed the two human children, a boy and a girl, as they squealed and chased each other around in the lush grass. Their movements were a little awkward given their small stature, but their fun continued regardless. Two adults watched the children attentively from a picnic blanket, looking on with indulgent smiles.
To see such joy at the simple connection with the world around them, proof that not all humans were entirely apathetic and destructive, should have inspired relief in Kelty. This day, the sight only served as a reminder of the life she lost, the future now out of reach.
The comfort she drew from the ara of the tree drained from her, the memories she worked to keep down surfacing despite her efforts to forget.
Forevermore an outcast.
The family blurred as tears clouded her vision. The judgment decreed by none other than her father, Baron of the Night, haunted her to this day, as did the pain of knowing she did nothing to deserve her banishment. Bitterness filled her as she recalled her mother’s anguished face, the pain in her eyes. Her father’s expression was nearly blank, as if distancing himself from the words he spoke. They knew of her innocence, yet they could do nothing to stop her from being cast out of her home. Her actions were unforgivable.
Kelty blinked away the last image she had of Faerie, forcefully wiping a hand across her eyes. She exhaled in an attempt to ease the painful knot in her chest.
No. I will not dwell on it. There was nothing to be done now except wait and maintain her distance from humankind, the warning from the stories her parents told her always at the forefront of her mind.
Contact with humans drains faerie magic.
Strengthening the ara of the wood and keeping watch on the humans from far above kept Kelty’s magic strong and hope alive within her heart. Her mother would clear her name in Faerie and come for her. And when she did, Kelty would be waiting.
It would happen. It had to.
A shrill laugh brought her out of her thoughts. Kelty focused back in on the family just as the young boy caught up to the girl, giving her a tap on the arm. The girl squealed in what seemed to be delight at the game, though she lost her balance and toppled over onto her backside.
No… Kelty flinched, a hiss coming to her lips as the action triggered a different memory. Phantom fingers clutched at her arm as a face of blue swam before her eyes, devious smirk a sign that he knew he had her trapped. This hadn’t been an innocent game. Their contact broke the rule, the one that must never be broken.
Partnership between those of the Night and those of the Day was banned after one such couple sought to combine their opposing magic, causing a backlash of power that killed all the members of both courts and nearly destroyed all of Faerie. The Silver Dusk.
The blue one carefully crafted the trap that resulted in Kelty’s banishment. He was of the Day and she of the Night. Though it was the first time she ever laid eyes on this faerie, the touch of his magic within her left no question of their involvement, a perfectly crafted illusion that they intended to enter into a partnership that echoed that of the Great Destroyers, the ones responsible for the Silver Dusk.
Kelty had no time to react to the violation, the rulers of Faerie happening upon them just after he grabbed her arm, speaking the words that would awaken his magic within her. There was nothing she could say that would prove her innocence as she was examined and declared traitor by The Glorious, leader of the Day and the most powerful of the spirit-users, the faeries who could sense the magical bonds between potential partners.
His magic was cleansed from her, their potential bond dissolved, but nothing could erase the damage to her name. The unforgivable cannot go without strict punishment, especially for the heir of the Night.
Forevermore an outcast.
Kelty’s heart pounded and she pressed her lips into a hard line as the memory taunted her. She did not know what became of the blue one. The Day took him away to pass their own judgment on him. But if she ever saw him again, he would suffer for taking everything from her.
The leaves around her rustled in an unsettled whisper, as if a breeze were present despite the stillness of the air.
Kelty took a breath and unclenched her fists, withdrawing her magic back into her core so that the trees would no longer feel her anger. She stood then, wings twitching with an overwhelming need to fly, to get away from the painful reminder of what she was: a fallen star.
She spread her wings as she turned from the human family, but just before her feet left the branch, Kelty paused as an uncomfortable sensation caused her to shiver, like that of eyes watching her.
The girl sitting on a bench at the edge of the field looked down hurriedly as Kelty’s eyes zeroed in on her, bending her auburn-colored head over a book that was open in her lap. She wore simple garments in typical human fashion of pants in shades of blue and a white top. By her smallness and delicate features, Kelty guessed she was young. Unremarkable.
A quick glance of the area revealed that no other human eyes were looking up at her. Some of the tension left Kelty’s body as she exhaled. The magic that concealed her from human sight was present in a soft caress against her skin.
Turning away from them all, Kelty vaulted into the air as if she could escape her fate.
Nola’s eyes followed the faerie’s actions closely, her pencil now still in her hand.
Trying to draw her always turned out to be a vain effort, but something drove Nola to try, time after time, to capture the true beauty of the purple, silver-haired being whose wings shimmered in the sunlight.
The wings in particular were difficult to capture from so far away. They were shaped like those of a butterfly with two slightly overlapping sections on each side, membranous material outlined by what looked like veins of a slightly darker silver-gray. When the faerie wasn’t on the move, she typically had them collapsed flat on her back. And when she flew, the wings became a silver blur. The color of the wings was hard to get as well. Nola didn’t have a colored pencil called moonlight.
It was as if the page could not contain her. A human-made flimsy piece of notebook paper could never hope to contain the faerie’s otherworldliness.
Her clothes were at least easy to get right. She wore a simple, light brown fabric wrapped around her body; the tight cloth covered her from her shoulders to her knees, yet allowed her to move her legs without being revealing. Her long silver hair spilled over her shoulders and her feet were bare. A true being of nature. Nola came to think of her as the forest spirit, the guardian of the wood.
And, hopefully, the one who could help her out of a mess of dark magic and threats.
As far as Nola could tell, she was the only human with the ability to see the faerie. No one else in the park showed any signs of seeing anything out of the ordinary during the few weeks Nola spent observing, testing out her new sight.
It was the worst night of Nola’s sixteen years of life, the night a strange gray substance was forced down her throat by a group of eighteen-year-olds from school. The end result was a power of sight that Nola had to admit was pretty cool despite the horrible way it came about.
She now saw glowing lines of energy in the natural world, flowing through the ground and up through the trees and plants. The faerie herself was a being of light to Nola’s vision. She spread the light outward as she healed the plants and trees around her, their leaves, flowers, and branches growing stronger and brighter. It brought a sense of peace to the park and to Nola. The discovery of the faerie was the best part of her abilities.
Yet, I still don’t have the courage to speak to her.
In truth, the beauty of the faerie intimidated Nola, as did her apparent disdain for humans. She avoided the visitors of the park, flitting in and out of the branches above their heads in movements so graceful the leaves barely moved. The few times the faerie gave even the slightest attention to the humans below was to sneer at them. Or at least that’s what Nola thought she witnessed from afar.
Nola made trips to the park after school and on weekends, watching and waiting for some sign that the time was right, that there might actually be a chance the faerie would understand her. And this was beginning to feel like the right time.
The pencil bit into her hand as her grip tightened. Nola’s position on the bench afforded her a view of the faerie that was close enough to see her facial expressions while remaining enough to the side to make her look inconspicuous.
Today, the faerie was staring down at a family of four. Two children played tag as their parents watched over them. There was a look of rapture on the faerie’s face as she stared down at them. The next moment, her eyes filled with tears and she wiped at her eyes with one arm. Yet she continued to look down upon the family, features hardening, silver brows creasing into something like anger or jealousy.
Nola actually checked again to make sure the family wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. Nope. Just a normal game of tag. This is the most emotional reaction yet. Excitement coursed through Nola. A human reaction.
Those beautiful wings flicked restlessly a couple times, catching the sunlight as the faerie stood. Nola hurriedly looked down as sharp silver eyes turned toward the bench she sat on. The faerie wavered for a second, the leaves around her rustling. Heart pounding, Nola kept her head down until the flash of purple from the corner of her eye indicated the faerie had flown away.
It has to be now.
Nola dumped her notebook in her pack and rose from the bench. Squinting up into the sunlight, she focused in on the energy of the trees, which flowed in lines up from the ground and through the branches. The faerie ran her hands along the bark of the trees and leaves as she passed, leaving a touch of energy visible to Nola, as if the tree held in just a bit of her energy for a moment before fading away. Sometimes the leaves almost seemed to bend out of her way, allowing the faerie, who was slightly smaller than the average human, to move through the trees with incredible grace.
Nola followed the trail of faint purple bursts. She attempted to look normal as she avoided others walking on the path.
I will just start by saying hello. I will do it this time.
Her knuckles tightened on her pack as she hurried along. The gravel crunched under her sneakers, tripping her up a few times as she concentrated on the trees above. She refused to think about the possibility the faerie had never interacted with humans before.
She obviously cares for the wood. If she understands English, she will at least hear what I have to say.
Adjusting her pack, Nola picked up her pace a little.
I wonder if the faerie knows she leaves a trail when she moves, Nola thought, trying to distract herself from the twisting in her stomach. Or that anyone else is able to see it. Maybe she doesn’t care. Maybe it is as natural as breathing to her.
The shade replaced the afternoon sunlight, and the air grew cooler as the trail led Nola to the back section of the park that was designated for the preservation of nature. Like that wooden gate is a barrier to anyone who really wants to get in. The faerie frequented this area to the point Nola wondered if she lived back there.
The presence of a tour group walking toward Nola forced her to pause at the barrier. She paced, pretending to wonder at the nature all around and the sky above as they passed. Come on. Agitated, she kept the glow in one corner of her eye. When they finally disappeared around the bend, she vaulted over the barrier and ducked into the bushes, coming out on the other side just in time to catch the faerie’s trail again.
I’m quite comfortable with breaking the rules these days.Not that the workers of the park ever really come back here. Nola rolled her eyes as she continued forward.
Lost in thought as she was, the sight of a familiar dark figure nearly gave her a heart attack as she rounded a bend in the trail. What on earth? Nola quickly ducked back behind a tree, holding her breath. Peering back around, she just caught the tail end of a black cloak before it disappeared into the wood.
Nola let out her breath, but her heart continued to pound. Only a few idiots would walk around in a black cloak in broad daylight on a warm day. Not now, she thought squeezing her eyes shut. What could Derek possibly be doing? There is no meeting today.
She glanced reluctantly back to the fading magical trail and heaved a frustrated sigh. He is too dangerous. If I walk away and he destroys the woods right now, it will be my fault.
I guess meeting the faerie will have to wait. Again. But I will try to contact her right after I figure out what this psycho is doing.
Dread was a knot in her stomach as she carefully crept from tree to bush behind the tall, cloaked figure, desperately trying to keep far enough back and remain quiet. Playing in this wood as a child, Nola had practice placing her feet so as to avoid twigs and leaves, but she was painfully aware of the swish of her jeans as she walked. She was forced to duck behind larger tree trunks several times when Derek stopped suddenly to survey the wood. Some leaves and brambles started to take up residence in Nola’s hair and catch on her clothes. She tried to brush them off while still being alert.
What is he doing? Nola’s throat tightened as she came upon the obvious answer. He has to be testing something. And if he’s doing it alone, it must be bad.
Derek was the leader of the group that forced Nola to swallow the substance that caused her enhanced vision. He used his position as an intern working for Nola’s father, a biochemical scientist, to steal the substance from the basement lab. Derek also used it to make other, far more dangerous substances, the worst of which instantly destroyed anything living, disintegrating it into nothing.
Nola remembered the day Derek’s group showed the black substance to her. They chose a lily from the pond near where they usually met. Ice-cold fear had run through her veins as the flower disappeared in an instant, leaving an empty space in the world.
And I am a part of it now. Shame colored her cheeks. She hadn’t been a part of the dark magic’s creation, but she now went to the meetings of the group she called the cloaks, forced by threats of violence upon her friends if she refused. Derek suspected the substance, the gray power as he called it, affected Nola despite her denial. She was his greatest experiment.
And hopefully his downfall, Nola thought, reminding herself that her position within the group may just give her the knowledge she needed to take them down before they destroyed every living thing around them or sold the dark magic to someone else who would.
Nola ducked behind some bushes as Derek halted abruptly in a clearing that was, oddly, in a patch of sun. Peering carefully around the thick branches, Nola’s heart rose into her throat as Derek pulled out a knife from the folds of his cloak. He stepped forward and slashed a horizontal line into the bark of a large tree. Then he moved on. She flinched each time he made contact, fighting a gut feeling that told her to retreat. He made quick work of it, his cloak swinging open as he gouged each tree in a wide circle.
A glint of sunlight on glass that came from within the folds of Derek’s cloak caught Nola’s eye.
No, no, no. He has some of the vials.
Backing into the center of the clearing once more, Derek brought out a matchbox as well as a vial containing a familiar, swirling black substance. The breath left Nola’s lungs as if it was sucked out of her.
He’s going to destroy the woods.
The Nameless is the first of the Tales of an Outcast Faerie series. Perfect for fans of epic friendships, elemental magic, courtly schemes, romantic subplots, and plot twists.
The human world is a prison for faerie outcasts—and a breeding ground for dark magic.
Kelty, once heir to the Night Court, mournfully occupies a nature preserve in the human world, hoping to return to Faerie one day and keeping her distance—for contact with humans is said to drain faerie magic. But when a human girl sees through her concealment magic and a watcher faerie reveals himself, her world changes.
Nola acquired the gift of sight after being forced to drink a strange substance by one of the cloaks, a radical group of bullies from her school with a disturbing agenda, leaving her caught between the faeries and humans—a dangerous place to be.
And when the faerie who caused Kelty’s banishment appears in her woods and reveals he is involved with the cloaks and their dark magic, the situation becomes even more complicated.
Kelty and Nola reluctantly team up to eradicate the dark forces, but will they be enough to stop the strange magic and the elusive enemy that made it?
Read the first of three fast-paced, captivating YA tales now to experience the wonder and intrigue of an unlikely friendship, elemental magic, and enthralling plots that pit humans against faeries and faeries against each other.
This article was written by Allison Rose.
Allison Rose writes YA fantasy featuring magic and otherworldly beings. Her current series feature a truly unique world of Faerie. Click the covers below to check them out.