Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crystal Finds Sinister Dealings in Fairy Wood (Jericho Effect scene)

Below is a scene from the middle of my YA fantasy novel, The Jericho Effect. Before you read it let me give you a little background so you understand what's happening a bit better. Crystal is an enchantress in her twenties who became involved in the activities of a werewolf pack when she fell in love with the warlock, (male witch) Wikeon who was raised by the werewolves. The pack is led by a werewolf named Wolfgang and his brother Fang. At this point in the story Crystal is in hiding with a werewolf girl named Hunet, who was thrown out of the pack when she refused to kill a human. Crystal has sworn to protect Hunet from Wolfgang's anger. Before the scene opens Crystal heard the pack howling near their hiding place and used a seeing stone to discover that the werewolves were meeting someone in an abandoned barn on the edge of the woods. Leaving Hunet behind, Crystal made her way into the forest to investigate...

The moon hung just above the highest hills when Crystal reached the werewolves’ meeting spot. The old wooden barn was just visible through the first rows of trees forming the very edge of Fairy Wood. The barn’s roof sagged dangerously low. The pack filed through the gaping hole left by the broken door. Crystal was about to follow them when a sudden gust of wind hit her back and set the leaves rustling. She turned in time to see Wikeon glide over her head and navigate his way between the trees to land a few feet in front of where she stood.

Crystal moved behind a tree trunk before he saw her but couldn’t help glancing around it to get a better look at him. Wikeon looked tired; there were deep shadowy circles under his eyes from lack of sleep. Some trouble Crystal could only guess at made his shoulders sag. Crystal pressed herself closer to the peeling bark as Wikeon turned in her direction. He bent and hid his broomstick beneath the low hanging branches of a bush then turned to face the barn. He tensed visibly as he stared at it. Careful not to make a sound, Crystal moved around the side of the tree until she could once again make out Wikeon’s face in the moonlight. Strands of limp hair clung to his sweaty forehead but they were not enough to hide the fear in his eyes. Whatever was happening in the barn, Wikeon was afraid to face it. Part of Crystal wanted to run to him, fling her arms around him and comfort him. She suppressed this feeling for she would never learn anything that way.

Wikeon sighed and squared his shoulders, steeling himself for what was to come. Then he walked into the menacing structure. With a quick glance at the woods around her to be no one was watching, Crystal dashed forward into the shadows of the ruined door. She knelt to the left of the opening and leaned forward until her ear nearly brushed the doorframe. From there she could see and hear the entire scene playing out inside the abandoned building.

The werewolf pack stood on the hard dirt floor illuminated by a single lantern hanging from a sagging rafter. Wikeon moved to stand between Wolfgang and Fang at the front of the group. The werewolf leaders were both in their human forms. At the front of the barn the man Crystal had seen in her stone sat on a stool facing the pack. His face was hidden beneath the wide hood of his black cloak. A pipe poked out from under the hood, smoke masking the already mysterious figure. The man crossed one leg over the other so that the right toe of his worn, knee high leather boots pointed at Wolfgang. Crystal noted two other men standing on either side of the stool. Both guards were armed, one with a short sword the other with a bow and quiver of arrows slung across his back.

“Well?” asked the man on the stool.

A puff of smoke billowed from his lips as he spoke.

“We’ve done as you asked,” Wikeon replied in a hollow voice.

More smoke curled out from under the hood.

“Do you have proof?”

Wolfgang gestured at Fang who dropped the remains of a silk tunic at the man’s feet. Even from her place in the doorway Crystal could tell it was covered in blood.

“And this,” added Wolfgang tossing something small to the smoker.

Holding the pipe with his teeth the man reached out and caught the object with both hands. It glistened as he raised it to the light. Crystal leaned forward a little more until she realized it was a ring.

“I will show these to my employer,” said the man. “I’m sure he will be pleased.”


  1. Oy. I love it when good people think other good people are bad but they're not and how was Wikeon flying?
    Will wait. I'm more excited about Jericho Effect than I am about Quests, maybe because it's the new and shiny and mysterious story that I haven't read much about.

  2. Or maybe it's just because the Jericho Effect is more to your taste, Wren. Don't worry, I'll not be offended if you like J. E. better than Quests! ;)