Dreams of Change

By: Brandy L Rivers

Branches of Emrys #2





Dedication





Brandon, you’ll always be my boy.

So tough and always fighting.

Love you, buddy.





Prologue





Two thousand years ago, when magic was still accepted...



Merova sat at the edge of a cliff overlooking the forest below. Several small villages lay in the valley. She’d been born in Faery, but they left when she was still a young girl.

Her clan of Wildling Faeries had been pushed out of their homes by the Earth Kingdom. A smaller clan of the Sylvan Fae came with them, seeking peace.

Every realm in Faery warred with another. Fires had ravaged their homes. They left to rebuild and start new lives away from those who wanted to control the smaller clans.

And still, there were days Merova wanted to run away and leave her people entirely. Her gift was rare and powerful. It helped her people create an entire village in a day and helped the Sylvan do the same.

Ever since she was little, she only had to imagine an inanimate object and it appeared before her. She could imbue each item with magic. Useful as the talent was, too many people wanted to control her. Her family protected her as well as they could, however, she hated feeling like she was imprisoned.

She longed to find love, but she trusted no one. Everyone wanted something from her. Even her family, whom she loved dearly.

Shadows moved off to her right. A man appeared with dark skin and dark eyes. He seemed made of shadow as he strode toward her and took a seat with a smile he probably meant to be warm.

“You are a stunning sight. Your power hums.”

She rolled her eyes and turned her attention to the forest below.

“No greeting?” he asked, a hint of malice in his tone.

“I’m tired of people. I came out here to be away from everyone.” She sighed and glanced over. His skin was inky, too dark, like tar from the pits.

“You can have anything you want, and you’re up here, all alone. I think you want to be found.”

She snorted. “No. I wish to be left alone.”

He touched her leg. She jerked back and scrambled to her feet, out of reach. “Don’t touch me.”

“Aren’t you lonely?”

Yes, desperately so, but not enough to trust him. Her skin crawled every time he stepped closer.

“I tire of everyone. Leave me alone.”

“Eat with me.”

“No.”

He lifted a hand and a dazzling shield rose around her, trapping her in with the creature who looked all wrong.

“Let me have some time with you. I wish to make you a deal.”

“No. I want nothing from you.”

He sighed. “I could give you the world for a few small tokens.”

“I don’t think so.” Merova imagined a blade in her hand. One that would change anything to her liking. “I only create out of need.”

“Oh, but I need power, and you have the means to grant it.” He moved closer and she slashed out. A thin slice opened in his chest.

She wished him away from her and he disappeared.

The shield still stood, so she drove the blade into the shimmering surface. Willing his spell away, the sparkling wall broke into dust that the breeze carried away.

Gulping, she placed the dagger by her thigh and the weapon sheathed itself in air, ready to draw at any time. And if she pulled her skirt up, the image of the weapon would be on her thigh.

A man burst through the trees and stopped, his mouth falling open as he took her in. “Are you all right? I heard the distress in your voice and came running.” He spoke the same language they had all adopted when moving. A common dialect of Fae.

He was different than anyone she’d met before. Perhaps he was a mix of different races. The clans intermingled, though most didn’t marry outside of their own people. His magic was wild and mixed.

“Thank you, but I dealt with him.”

“Who?” the man asked.

Shaking her head, she lifted a shoulder. “Don’t know. I’m Merova.”

“Pardon me, Merova, I’m Halstien. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Thank you for checking on me.” Wariness crept in, but hope sparked as well.

Smiling, he held eye contact. “Hungry?”

A laugh bubbled up. “I am.”

“Come, I’ll make you a fresh meal.”