A Constant Companion (Fractured World Short)

A Constant Companion

by Kit Campbell

“…as long as you’re living under my roof,” Jael was saying, but Briony tuned him out, choosing instead to glare at the table. Her hands sat on its uneven surface, curled so tightly in on themselves that she could feel her nails digging into her palms.

Behind her, she could hear the laughs of her brother’s small children as his wife told them a story. Their youngest, Brin, would be a year soon, and had taken to copying everything her older brother and sister did, much to the amusement of all involved.

Jael should be in there parenting them. He didn’t need to be parenting her. He wasn’t her father. Just because Mother—

Briony shook her head to clear it of the thought.

“Are you listening to me, Bree?”

“It’s not really your roof, is it?” Briony leaned back, crossing her arms over her chest and staring sullenly at the fireplace. It was a silly argument—she didn’t fault Jael and his family for moving back in, not after… and it was nice to not have to sleep in an empty house. But that didn’t mean he had to act like he owned the place. It was as much hers as his.

Jael groaned and pressed his fingers to his temples. He’d started growing a beard, probably trying to look older. “Bree, for the love of the Old Ones, we’ve been over this. Mother asked me to look after you until …

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Changeling: The Faerie Shadow

Changeling
Part 3: The Faerie Shadow
a free fantasy serial by Erin Zarro

Links to: Part 1 and  Part 2

Morning came, sunlight streaming through the windows of the palace. As I made my way to a formal breaking of the fast in the banquet room, I saw her in the shadows.

She was insubstantial, never in the light, and moved too quickly for me to track.

But she was there. I knew it.

I was barely awake yet, and Sorcha and some courtiers were discussing Faerie politics as I sat down in my place at her right side.

Ronan was already there.

“So, are there anyone new to Court?” I asked Ronan quietly as I lifted my spoon. It was filled with some sort of honey concoction and I realized the sleeve of my dress was practically trailing into my food. Oops.

“I’m not sure. Why do you ask?” Ronan chuckled and gently moved my long silken sleeve away.

The honey-thing went down smoothly. Almost too smoothly. Wasn’t there a legend that said if you ate Faerie food you’d never be satisfied with human food ever again?

Why was I thinking that? I was a Faerie princess; I wasn’t human.

“Aisling?” Ronan asked.

I blinked at him, startled. “Oh. Uh…well, I keep seeing someone in the shadows.”

Ronan’s eyes narrowed. “Probably just your imagination.”

“But I’m sure…”

“Aisling, did you sleep well, dear?” Sorcha broke in, giving me a bright smile. She …

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