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The Faceless Woman

Emma Hamm

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Copyright © 2018 by Emma Hamm

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Created with Vellum

Contents

Foreword

Glossary of Terminology

Prologue

1. The Witch And The Raven

2. The Woman Without A Face

3. A Journey Begins

4. The Blood Of A Dead God

5. Dreams Of Blood

6. The Palace Of Twilight

7. The Duchess Of Dusk

8. Bone Dance

9. Death Of The Duchess

10. Flight To The Isles

11. The Last Journey

12. The Raven King

Afterword

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Write the story. Leap into the pages and allow others to follow you.

For all those who dream of being writers, I hope someday I get to read your tale.

Foreword

As always, I like to lead off my books by saying I am not a historian. All the books in the Otherworld Series are set in a fictional Ireland with no set time period other than “medieval”. I apologize to any reader who wishes a historical retelling or finds fault in this lack of exact dates.

There are a lot of incredible historical novels out there. I ask you to remember, this is a fantasy. Some things will be stretched, others might be historically inaccurate, but it’s never my intent to insult anyone.

Happy reading!

Glossary of Terminology

Tuatha dé Danann - Considered to be the “High Fae”, they are the original and most powerful faerie creatures.

Seelie Fae - Otherwise known as the the “Light Fae”, these creatures live their lives according to rules of Honor, Goodness, and Adherence to the Law.

Unseelie Fae - Considered the “Dark Fae”, these creatures follow no law and do not appreciate beauty.

Badb - An embodiment of the Morrigan, considered the Crone and war crow. She is a very dangerous faerie, who enjoys making deals with humans.

Will-o'-the-wisps - Small balls of light that guide travelers into bogs, usually with the intention for the humans to become lost.

Brownies - Friendly, mouse-like creatures who clean and cook for those who are kind to them.

Pixie - A winged faerie whose face resembles that of a leaf.

Changeling - Old or weak faeries swapped with human children, usually identified as a sickly child. Very rarely, these are ugly children whose parents are ashamed of them.

Gnome - Generally considered ugly, these small, squat faeries take care of gardens and have an impressive green thumb.

Dullahan - A terrifying and often evil faerie who carry their heads in their laps.

Bean Sidhe - Also known as a banshee, their screams are echoing calls that herald the death of whomever hears them.

Hy-brasil - A legendary isle which can only be seen once every seven years.

Boggart - A brownie who grows angry or loses their way turns into a boggart. They are usually invisible, and have a habit of placing cold hands on people’s faces as they sleep.

Pooka - A faerie which imitates animals, mostly dogs and horses.

Kelpie - A horse like creature who lives at the edge of a bog. It will try to convince you to ride it, at which point it will run underneath the water and drown the person on its back.

Selkie - A faerie which can turn into a seal, as long as it still has its seal skin.

Prologue

Once upon a time in a faraway land, there lived a pair of swan sisters. They were beautiful creatures and were coveted throughout the kingdom for their magic feathers.

Stories claimed a single feather, freely given, could grant one wish with no limitations. Kings, knights, and lords from far-off lands gathered at the swans' pond. For the promise of a wish was too powerful a temptation for them to disregard.

One proud king set his crown at their feet and said with pleasure, “I am the most powerful king in this land. I request a single feather from your side.”

“What shall you do with it?” the eldest sister asked.

“I will wish for wealth, so that my kingdom can prosper.”

But the swans saw there was only pride in his heart, not compassion. They turned him away and told him to focus his attention on enriching his people rather than his pockets.

A knight knelt before them, setting his helm on the ground near their feet. “Lady swans, I have protected many kings, I have fought in many wars, and I have saved many maidens. I beseech from you a single feather.”

“What shall you do with it?” the youngest sister asked.

“I will wish for unmeasured strength so I might better protect my charges.”

But they saw he had no wish to protect, only to harm. They turned him away and requested he learn from his mistakes rather than beg for brute strength.

The strongest and richest men and women of the kingdom gathered at the water's edge, each begging for a feather, but each were turned away. After many years of disappointment, the sisters swam close together in the center of the pond. They feared what the future might bring, for they saw greed devouring the hearts of man.

Then a day came when a raven croaked above them, perched on a branch of the ancient oak that shaded their waters.

The youngest swan lifted her head and stared up at him. “Will you request a wish as well?”

“I have no need of wishes. I am happy in my nest.” He cocked his head to the side. “But if you will freely give me a feather, I would make use of it.”

“What shall you do?”

“I shall wish you human, so I might provide for you a life of wealth and happiness.”

It was a strange request, and the sisters stared at each other in surprise. No one had ever wished for them before. They conferred and finally agreed to gift the raven a single feather.

The youngest sister swam to shore, plucked

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