The Daughter of Light trilogy is... Coming of Age and Coming into Power
As a half-faerie, Melia is an outcast in the enchanted world where she lives with her two sisters and full-blood faerie mother. Their father has been exiled to the mortal world for breaking his faerie troth. He's determined to return to the Realm of Faerie by harnessing the power of Umbra--an accumulation of psychic ash which dwells in the Void.
Melia becomes entangled in her father's obsession by way of their telepathic connection. Uncertain about her own nature--is she evil or has she been tainted by her father's contact with Umbra?--the half-faerie seeks aid from the Illustrator. The mysterious woman marks Melia's forehead with a strange emblem meant to draw the help of a green-eyed stranger from distant lands.
Before the young priest--an authority on Umbra--arrives, a tragic accident destroys what's left of the half-faerie's fractured family. Melia's mother is unforgiving. The punishment she metes out will leave her middle daughter torn between guilt and ecstasy, challenge the bonds between three sisters, and complicate Melia's relationship with the young priest.
In Half Faerie, the first exciting installment in the Daughter of Light trilogy, an intriguing world backdrops Heidi Garrett's fantastical tale of mythical creatures and heart-breaking family relationships.
A flap of wings approached to her right—a flock of field faeries most likely.
Someone giggled. Melia’s body stiffened as she searched the hill’s grassy incline for Tatou. If she were here, they’d leave her alone.
“What have we here?” Verbena, a loathsome flower faerie with the most gorgeous amber wings, entered Melia’s field of vision. Her two best friends, Clementine and Brigitta, traipsed behind her. Specks of gold in Verbena’s wings glinted in the afternoon sun. Melia had to shade her eyes with her hand to look at them. “Why, if it isn’t Melia, daughter of the great mortal druid, Elynus,” Verbena announced as if everyone present didn’t know who she was.
Clementine and Brigitta tittered. Their leader had said something clever. Melia pressed her lips into a sullen line.
The haughty flower faerie stepped forward, pulled her skirt with a flamboyant swish, and folded herself into a graceful pose in the grass beside Melia. “Exactly who I was hoping to find.”
Clementine’s and Brigitta’s mouths dropped open. Verbena patted the ground and her friends sat.
Still no sign of Tatou.
“You must be lost,” Melia said. The hill wasn’t where flower faeries usually gathered. They preferred the Danu Meadows, the banks of the Nyssalei River, and the shops in Bryndale.
Verbena winked at her friends. “We missed you in class today, didn’t we?” Brigitta’s and Clementine’s heads bobbed. “Melusine thought I could find you up here.”
Melia’s heart thumped in her chest. She thought her older sister’s best friend was Gisele, not this hag. Where was Tatou? “I want to ask you a question,” Verbena said.
The faerie’s smug demeanor rattled Melia. Had Melusine told her about last night? The alternative, that someone besides her mother and sisters had heard her laughing in the dark moon night, was too awful to contemplate.
“The rumors about your father...” Verbena stretched the word father to full effect.
“What a dull subject.” Melia snuck another sideways glance at the flower faerie. Was she trying to glamour her?
Full-blooded faeries could affect a mortal’s thoughts and emotions with a focused gaze, but faeries couldn’t glamour one another, and most couldn’t glamour Melia or her sisters. Pressina had always been the exception. Nevertheless, Melia made a point to look away. Her gazed settled on Brigitta’s wings. They weren’t as pretty as Verbena’s, but their unusual color made them striking. Melia shifted her gaze to Clementine’s sad, dandelion-colored wings—the plain appendages bolstered her.
“Is he going to incarnate Umbra?” Verbena asked.
“I don’t know anything about it.”
“I don’t believe you,” Verbena’s tone turned nasty. She must have figured out her glamour wasn’t working. “Everyone is talking about last night.”
Melia imagined one of the tall pine trees cracking at its roots and smashing the flower faerie in the head.
“How you were laughing outside the tree house,” the flower faerie’s words dripped with malice.
At least, she hadn’t accused her of howling.
“I heard it was a horrible, evil laugh.”
How did everyone know?
“Melusine said it made her skin crawl. She thinks you’re going to help your father destroy Illialei.”
Melia’s head was spinning. Had her sister told every single creature she’d met on the way to the river this morning?
Melusine was a statuesque redhead who didn’t stutter. Socially fierce, her lack of wings had never hindered her popularity among the flower faeries. Spiritually, she was one of them. Melia couldn’t fathom how she managed it, and secretly envied her for it, but hated whenever her sister gossiped about her. Which was far too often.
“I think you’re his spy.”
The accusation stretched Melia’s thin patience beyond its limit. “I don’t even talk to him!”
“Oh, did I touch a nerve?” Verbena’s sickly-sweet voice rotted in the air between them.
Melia’s heart raced so fast it threatened to escape her chest. “Leave me alone!”
“Or what, you’ll turn me into a toad?” the flower faerie snickered.
Fear and anger surged in Melia’s chest. She needed to get away from Verbena, but it was too late. By the time she jumped up, her reality was already shifting.
Acrid smoke burns the inside of my nose and lungs.
I turn in circles.
Tendrils of grey-white smoke rise as mist; charred tree stumps thrust jagged and menacing from the ground. Dark rivulets streak blackened rock.
Verbena’s, Clementine’s, and Brigitta’s lifeless bodies lie a few feet from where I stand. More bodies—twisted and unidentifiable, form a grotesque heap farther down the hill. Mud, soot, and blood stain my fingers and palms—accusing me of slaughter.
Vindication possesses me; wave after wave of satisfaction washes over me. My father’s disembodied voice applauds.
Heidi Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairy tale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters. She's also the author of the Daughter of Light series, a fantasy about a young half-faerie, half-mortal searching for her place in the Whole. Heidi's latest project is a collaboration with Billie Limpin. They're cooking up a yummy paranormal romance!
Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. She now lives in Eastern Washington state with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle. Being from the South, she often contemplates the magic of snow.