Friday, August 5, 2016

Reliquary’s Choice by Melissa Macfie

Reliquary’s Choice
The Celtic Prophecy
Book Two
Melissa Macfie

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Can’t Put It Down Books

Date of Publication: August 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9972024-4-1

Number of pages: 215
Word Count: 65,000

Cover Artist: Genevieve Lavo Cosdon,

Book Description:

Brenawyn knows loss. Her mother, her father,  her husband…that bastard. She can’t let Alex die, too.

With the Coven closing in, Alex flees with Brenawyn to Tir-Na-Nog, even though he knows he is setting her on a path of no return. Brenawyn must say goodbye to her family forever and traverse time. She is the only one who can fulfill an ancient prophecy.

But what is Alex hiding? Has he condemned Brenawyn to serve the gods forever? Or will the depth of his sacrifice bring salvation to them both?

In Book Two of The Celtic Prophecy, Alex prepares Brenawyn to travel to ancient Scotland to claim her rightful place.

Reliquary’s Choice Excerpt:

Leo avoided the house—too many memories—but she loved the land. It called to her. The grove was a distance away from the house and the road beyond it, further out into the woods where she could shut out the human noises: a loud engine of some old jalopy wheezing by or what passed for music at an ear-bleeding decibel. When Tom had cleared the land—manually at her insistence—many of the oak and cedar trees had been young, but they flourished with more room to grow, their branches threading together over time. She added others over the years: a willow by the stream, then birch, elm, silver fir, rowan—more than she could remember. It was a peaceful, sacred place.
She placed the canvas bag in the center of the grove, taking out the ceramic bowl, a jar, and her mortar and pestle. She was unhurried in her preparations. Taking a knife, she went to the birch tree, peeling some of the exfoliating bark away. This was the first ingredient, appropriate for new beginnings and a cleansing of the past, something she should have done from the start. So much time had been wasted. If only she could go back … but that was a fool’s dream. She knew why she had done it. She had made ignoring the obvious an art form. She had lived with the lie for so long that she had convinced herself that there was nothing otherworldly about Brenawyn.
She put the bark deep in her pocket and continued to the elm. She cut a low hanging branch, divested it of its leaves and placed it to join the birch bark. She looked at the tree. Funny how she took from it today as she had in the past: strength of will to save her unborn granddaughter so many years ago, and now that same strength of will to teach her granddaughter the fundamentals of Druidism today.
     She walked to the oak and placed her palms against the wide strength of its trunk. She gazed above to its strong branches reaching out to the heavens above. The leaves rustled in the breeze, a few falling at the unseen mark of the coming of winter. She gathered her skirt and cut a piece of the bark, a piece of its armor to give strength and courage to what needed to be done.
She heard Alex approach. She was pretty sure this was intentional: he could move as silently as a wolf stalking its prey if he wanted to. He was coming to speak with her. Her mind was a jumble. She wanted him near so he could put himself in harm’s way again to protect Brenawyn, repeatedly if necessary. But she wanted to drive him from her place, too. Willing the need for his protection away was not enough, though. She knew none of them could go back, so she had to come to terms with him and their situation, for which she had no one but herself to blame. Alex would take Brenawyn, and she would likely never see her granddaughter again.
Leo busily redoubled her efforts and she didn’t look up, wanted to look absorbed, when he stopped in front of her. He stood there for what seemed to be an interminable time, but then sighed and lowered himself to sit opposite her on the grass. He held his side as he did; that caught her attention, and her eyes rocketed to his face.
“I’d have thought you wouldn’t have pain?”
“I dinnae suppose ye ha’ had much experience with bringing someone back from the deid?”
“I … I don’t.”
“Just so then.” Alex pressed his palm into his side and took a deep breath. “Thaur is always pain after. Doonae be worrit for me, it will pass in time.”
“How much time?”
“Ah, that depends on the extent o’ the wounds. Normally, the pain would cripple a man new ta the resurrection process, but for yer intervention t’will cut down on recovery. I thank ye for that though t’was unnecessary, because my tolerance for pain is higher than that o’ mortal men. I assure ye that I will be able ta defend against any that come for her.”
“Like you did back in Salem?” Leo asked, disapproval clear in her voice.
“Aye. I ken that I let my guard doon. T’was a judgment call. I dinnae kin that Cormac would be so direct. That he would use the Oracle in such a direct way. They are desperate. They willnae catch me off guard again.”
Leo nodded, accepting his statement. “What’s next?”
Alex looked at her grimly, saying nothing.
“How long do you think we have? How do we prepare?”
“A couple o’ days a’ the most ta be safe. We ought ta be gone long before he tracks us haur. If the Oracle got what’ she needs that won’t even buy us that much time.”
“I could run with Brenawyn and hide. There are places in the world we could do this. Places of extreme power to hide in plain sight as we did in Salem. We could go to New Orleans or Paris or Rome.”
“Leoncha, even if t’were possible, how far do ye think ye would get? What was the toll on ye, Leo, for yer intercession with my resurrection?”
 “How did you know?”
Alex touched the hair at her temples and untucked the lock behind her ear, rubbing the graying strands together to show her. “I ha’ ne’er kent ye ta ha’ gray in yer hair.”
Leo took the hair from his opened hand and considered it.
“It happened almost immediately I would think,” he added.
“Yes, and I, um, I have lost …  I lost control.”
She looked away and lowered her voice to a whisper, a tear running down her cheek, “My bladder….”
“Ah,” he reached for her hand and gave it a squeeze, “thaur is a cruel price ta pay, always. I ken o’ what I speak.”
“Yes, I’d assume you are well-versed in this area.”
“Ye are no longer a young woman, and while ye are a strong healer, that’s all ye are. Ye cannae go up against the likes o’ Cormac or the Vate. Ye doonae ha’ that kind o’ power.”
“The other option is unthinkable. To let her go, let you take her. The uncertainty will surely kill me.”
Alex took a pen knife from his back pocket and opened his right hand to the sky, slicing across his palm. When enough blood welled in his cupped palm, he turned his wrist to let it drip on the ground. “I haurby gi’ my blood oath ta protect….”
“Are you insane? Don’t you realize what you are doing?”
“Aye, Leo. What else can I dae?”
“But, to take the blood oath alone? You’ll be committing your soul.”
“My soul?” Alex shook his head. “Leoncha, listen ta me: it doesnae matter much what happens ta me; if she were ta die, or be seduced ta the Coven, all hope is lost. T’would destroy the balance, bring the Formor back ta this realm, and I dinnae kin what after that.
“But to bind yourself to her, you’ll pine for her all the rest of your days.”
“Dae ye love yer granddaughter so little then? Perhaps I ha’ misunderstood. Can ye bare ta part with her knowing that ye cannae protect her?
“Of course not!”
“Then let me, Leoncha. I am willing. I ken what a sacrifice yer making. Allow me ta promise all that I am ta dae that in yer place.”
“No, Leo. I ha’ already made up my mind. Ye cannae stop me.”
“You will become Gancanagh if she doesn’t return your affection and take the oath herself. Your altruism will turn against you and transform you into a monster.”
“I am already a monster.”
“No, damn your eyes! Listen to me, Alexander Sinclair: you must not do this. You will fall into depravity. You’ll lure innocents to crave your attentions.”
Alex laughed at this, “In another context, ta tell a man that he’d have women begging, clamoring for his attentions, aye that would ha’ been the devil’s own temptation ta a much younger version o’ myself.” He grew sober, shaking his head slowly, “T’is all but done. Dae no’ worry, Leoncha, I will fight the urge ta dae so when I become Gancanagh.” Alex looked up to the heavens, “Hear me. Hear me! All that I am, and all that I will be I pledge to Brenawyn McAllister, daughter of Margaret Farraday, granddaughter of Leoncha Callaghan. Furthermore, I haurby gi’ my blood oath ta protect her as if she were my own. Her life is more sacred and more dear than my own, and if I am ta fail as her lover and protector, may I wander ceaselessly until the end o’ time without the eternal reward.”
Alex looked to Leo, “Say it.”
“No. I won’t.”
“It cannae be done until it is witnessed. Say it. Thaur is any other way.”
Leo sighed, “Alexander Sinclair’s vow was heard and acknowledged both in this world and beyond. With his word and mine, his fate is eternally sealed. So mote it be.”

About the Author:

For most of her life, Melissa Macfie has pursued artistic endeavors such as drawing, painting, and sculpting. She holds a M.Ed. in English Education from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, and has spent the last sixteen years as a public school English teacher. She also spent a short time serving as the co-host of Alpha Centauri & Beyond, an Internet talk radio show about science and science fiction. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Donald. Their children, Elizabeth and Donald, are grown and pursuing their own dreams.


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