Bloodlines, p.20
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       Bloodlines, p.20

           Trisha Lynn
 
Chapter Nineteen

  “The Fae realm is not a place for the faint of heart. It's far wilder then the human world. Think remote Alaska, times ten. The creatures in the forest are different, the rules are different. Everything is just...different. Primal. You may see things you never thought existed, but in your wildest dreams, or nightmares. You may even recognize some creatures from fables, myths or wives tales.” He shrugged, and ran his teeth over his bottom lip.

  She was hypnotized by the movement, but had no idea why. She mentally shook herself, letting his words sink in.

  “So, it's dangerous?”

  “Extremely. Lucky for you, you have an exceptional guide.”

  She rolled her eyes and looked out the window. Seeing nothing but a mixture of greens and browns as they slowly passed tree after tree. How far out was this place, anyway?

  She had no idea what to expect, but a tiny bit of anxiety crept through her belly.

  School that day had been a bundle of nerves. It was easier with Marissa knowing some of what was going on, but this - this realm - was something that even Marissa could never learn. She understood Loki's need to protect the realm; her mind reeled at the possibility of humans ever realizing another realm existed. The Fae would become test subjects and their lands demoralized and industrialized just like humans had done with their own world.

  She'd been excited but dreading the ending bell tinkling across the school building at two-fifty pm. Her anxiety had pinched every nerve in her body. Her parents hadn't batted a lash that she was taking off Friday from work and spending the weekend with Marissa. No raging at her for not being responsible about her work ethic, nothing. Marissa's and her parents were going to the lake house, so there was no way her parents would run into them. It seemed like a pretty solid alibi.

  “And remember I told you about the glamour that blankets you when you are in the human realm?”

  She nodded. His smile was strained. She could tell he was trying to be reassuring, but failing miserably.

  “Well, that kind of comes off, in a rush, once you enter the Fae realm. Especially the first time. It's going to be so intense, almost painful. All your senses will heighten in an unreserved way, bombarding you. Try to focus on one sensory at a time. I suggest hearing first; let your ears settle, than smell, than sight. Sight can be the most over-bearing so that should come last. So keep your eyes closed until you feel comfortable enough to open them. The more you enter the realm the easier it gets; also the more you learn how to control glamour, the easier it gets. We will get to that.”

  Her mind spun with all she had learned, and even though she was still a little skeptical, she tried to take stock of every tip he told her.

  He took several back mountain roads, then a neglected logging road, and then finally pulled onto a grassy stretch of what may have been a road at one point but was completely unused now. No wonder he had the giant pickup truck. He drove down the un-maintained road for about ten minutes before stopping dead in the middle of it. She looked around, confused. She saw nothing but dense forest all around them. As he put the truck into park she had a small rush of panic. She really didn't know Loki all that well. Why had she been so willing to get into a car alone with him, for him to drive her into goodness knows where? What if this was all some crazy ploy to rape and/or murder her? Her heart sped up and a feeling of dread turned her body to stone. What had she done? She tried to think past it. It's not like it was the only time she'd been alone in a vehicle with him.

  Loki must have picked up on her panic because he instantly tried to soothe and reassure.

  "Don't panic, Adeila. What I've said is truth. This is the way to a Fae portal. The closest one to your town, believe it or not. I assure you, I mean you absolutely no harm."

  Is that what all killers said before killing someone? I mean you no harm?

  She turned and looked at him. He sat rigid, expectant. Their eyes locked. And like every other time before, her blood buzzed at his golden eyes with green flecks. They were so beautiful, almost hauntingly so. They were so multicolored she had a hard time discerning each color. Gold, green, with hints of gray. They really were quite stunning. But it wasn’t just the color in them, but the clear sincerity reflecting back at her. She gulped and bit her lip. Her heart was pounding so hard she could hear it in her ears. It slowed a bit at his gaze but she was still nervous.

  "I promise you Adeila, with my soul, I mean you absolutely no harm. You must know that. If you knew the Fae world at all, you would understand that is the highest of promises. One's soul means everything to the Fae. We may be close to immortal but our souls can be tainted with as much blackness as humans, but in our case the Fae King and Queen can have us killed for a tainted soul and it can shorten our life span.”

  In her heart she did know he wasn't lying, but America was at such a heightened state of paranoia right now. Especially for young women. The news portrayed women to be weaklings and easy targets. It caused girls to be extra cautious and for good reason. The news played up so many rapes involving young girls; it was hard not to worry. Even with people that you know. Family members even. It had her bracing herself against the possibility of the worst.

  Sensing he wasn't getting far, he gazed at her again. "Honestly, we can turn around if you'd like, and do this a different day. I don't want you going into this uncomfortable with me. Maybe you’re just not ready. "

  She blew out a breath. There was sense of foreboding of the situation she had put herself into. She wanted to believe him; every fiber of her being did believe him. It was hard to ignore the niggling feeling in the back of her mind, years of being told horror stories and seeing and hearing a panicked media.

  She decided to blank out all of the warning bells that society had pressed upon her and listen to her heart. She was sure even that had gotten many women into serious trouble but she truly didn’t believe that in this case, and she had always been a pretty darn good judge of character. Not that it had ever been put to a test of this magnitude or severity before.

  She swallowed spit that had accumulated in her mouth -that seemed to happen a lot lately since tales of Faerie rulers and realms had been put into her life- and met his eyes. Patience is what she saw in them. His body language relaxed. She hadn't entirely viewed him as the most patient or relaxed guy, so it did show some aptitude that he remained that way obviously to help ease her discomfort.

  "No, I'm okay. Let’s go." Her resolve was set but the severity of it weighed her down.

  He didn’t move for a moment, still staring into her eyes. It was as though he was gathering an understanding of her resolve and her strength.

  Finally he shut off the truck and got out. Before she could even reach for the door handle he had maneuvered around the truck to open it for her. If she wasn’t so stressed, she may have taken a moment to enjoy that, as she had never had a guy do something like that for her and he'd done it each time he drove her. 

  She stepped out and zipped her hooded sweatshirt all the way to the top to alleviate the chill getting inside to her neck since she'd forgotten a scarf. The warm front that had come through the last few weeks was gone now and it felt more like November should feel in this wooded mountainous area.

  She looked around, but still saw nothing of particular interest. Not even a path into the wood. It was dense forest in all directions. Adeila looked over at Loki, he was assessing her. She realized that he still wore a t-shirt and wondered how he was fairing in the less than fifty degree weather. He rubbed the back of his neck and looked at the ground.

  “So, I didn't want to freak you out any further, but it's actually about a mile into the woods.” He gestured to their right with a long slender hand.

  She blew out another deep breath and nodded. Hell, if he wanted to harm her he could have overpowered her at any time now.

  “Okay.” She said simply, wanting to get this over with, at this point.

  He smiled reassuringly and headed off to the right of the road, not choosing a distin
ctive path that she could see. She plodded along, blindly, behind him.

  It was truly beautiful out here, in this untouched stretch of forest. Bird’s chirped nonstop and the evergreen smell filled her nose. She loved nature. Loved to hike and walk trails, she'd just never really had anyone to share those things with and her sense of paranoia like today filled her whenever she tried to venture around alone. Her entirely family was practically against anything outdoors related. They'd never camped or hiked together. They were all more of the tech types. Whereas she would sit out on their deck for hours just soaking in the sun and nature sounds. She was actually quite enjoying the pleasant sounds of the wood and Loki's stoic presence. She was reminded of the nature trails they'd walked, where he'd told her she was Fae the first time.

  Finally they broke through the dense wood and into a small clearing. She could see several hulking figures ahead of them and squinted to make them out. Large rocks jutted out. A small boulder field, but once she got up close she noticed many of the giant stones were etched and cut into tall rectangles. Like Stonehenge, right here in the mountain ranges of California. It was beautiful but incredibly haunting.

  They were scattered about, many were completely knocked over and weather worn. The cut ones had a beautiful green hew to them, it could have just been from being around vegetation for so many years or mold or moss but they seemed to give off an almost unnatural glow. In the center were two stones standing up right, with one horizontal across the top of them making a clear doorway of some kind.

  As soon as her eyes focused on it, she felt the warmth in her blood. When they started walking towards it, she felt the buzz of electricity up her arms. It was the same feeling as she got when she looked into Loki's eyes, or when she did “magic”.

  It called to her. All of it; Loki, the stone doorway, the magic. It called to her blood, like a long forgotten friend. It was a rush. Primal. Insistent. She couldn't explain it, but even if she didn't want to completely believe it herself, she was beginning to like the feeling. The rush. The raw power of it all.

  She watched Loki as he walked right up to the stone and ran his hands along the rough looking edges; he caressed it with a mixture of pride and homesickness. It was surprising to see, since Loki seemed like such a stoic, almost emotionless person. She realized that was a pretty cold thing to think, as he had been so patient with her lately, but still, he seemed distant. Always distant. Maybe he'd be different within his home realm? She mentally shook herself, if there was even another realm, and if so why did she care what Loki acted like as long as he got her some answers?

  Adeila stepped up to the stones and Loki moved a bit to the side to allow her to inspect them. She did. She ran her hands along them much like he did, but with fascination not recognition. They were far smoother feeling then they looked, and the green hue seemed to glow even more up close. The buzz of energy along her skin intensified. It was almost unbearable, just as she was going to tell Loki so; she looked inside the portal to see etchings of large leaves. They ran all along the inside center of each stone and up along the center of the top one as well. Each leaf was different, she recognized white oak, alder, sugar maple, birch, elm and possibly sycamore, the rest she wasn't entirely sure. Girl Scout’s taught her some, but her parent's had never really been adventurous or nature lovers so she had to learn most things on her own. She ran her hand along the edges of each one, feeling the veins and angles. They were extremely well carved, almost as if they were actually fossils from the real leaf. It was a true awe inspiring marvel, and she reveled in the effort it must have taken to do such a thing.

  Loki stood back, allowing her full freedom to explore. After her fingers touched the final leaf, a shimmer enveloped the entire doorway, and she took a panicked step back, thankfully the scream that had come to her throat never made it past her lips. How embarrassing that would have been.

  Loki chuckled, moving closer. “The Fae door likes your touch. It's calling to you. Each piece of the Fae world is alive with energy; this doorway is probably the most alive since it is a Guardian doorway. Only those who have the best of intentions are allowed to come and go through this particular doorway. Your father personally gave this doorway that specific job, since you live closest to this portal. It won't completely keep you safe, but it helps. This is a stone guardian. It has been here for thousands of years, one of the first doorways to the Fae realm.”

  She just stared at him in wonderment; this was getting weirder and weirder. A part of her wanted to laugh and run back to the truck, flee this nonsense, another part of her - a larger part - wanted to learn more. Wanted to know everything. It was that part that helped move her head into a nod at the Fae before her and then back to the doorway.

  “Why would it like my touch?”

  “Probably because you are the Princess of the Oakend Faerie throne. Your bloodlines span to that of the very first Fae to ever exist.  But it could also just be you. Something about you it likes.” He shrugged.

  She took a deep breath in through her nose, and out her mouth. Trying to take an open minded approach to this entire thing.

  “So it's going to be an intense feeling when I go through?”

  “It's been a few years since my first experience with the change of realms, but I remember it being intense but also mind blowing and amazing at the same time. The Fae realm calls to your blood. It will feel like coming home from a very long vacation.”

  She wrinkled her nose. Her family didn't really take vacations, plus how could she have a sense of coming home when she'd never even been to this realm before? She was actually leaving her home to go somewhere foreign. She would think the coming back would feel that way. Then she thought about coming back. When was she coming back? Just as she began to ask him, he continued.

  “I know you don't believe me but just because you've never been to the Fae realm doesn't mean it doesn't recognize one of its own blood. It will welcome you. It's really a lovely feeling. Like... Having a dog. How they're always happy to see you no matter how long you've been gone. Even five minutes, they still greet you; tongue out, tail wagging, eyes full of complete adoration.”

  She snorted at his analogy but it was kind of cute and certainly made her anxiety lessen a little. She stepped up and touched the stone again. The feeling she got was like cold rain on a hot day. Incredibly refreshing.

 
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