Lynn choked on a laugh. “The Renaissance Fair is in town,” Lynn explained. “We’re setting up a tent there. It’s nice, on occasion, to visit reminders of the past.”

“Ohh, that. Hmm, I might have to give Christian a call, so that we can come laugh at you. How long will you be there, O’ Mistress of Black Eyeliner?”

“All day. We’ll be set up somewhere in the fortune-teller court. Big black tent. So what’s with the lavender hair?”

“Awesome,” I said with a grin, completely ignoring her question about my hair. “I wouldn’t miss it.”

“Did you lose a bet?” she tried.

I sighed. “A bet with god maybe. I don’t wanna talk about it.”

“Is there something I can bribe you with to make you talk?”

I thought about it. I was always at least a little susceptible to bribery. Especially if it was jewels. Or any kind of treasure, really. Of course I loved to hoard treasure. Name me a dragon who didn’t. My kind were somewhat famous for it. There was always some truth to every legend, and that particular legend was all truth. “I’ll let you know if I think of anything.” I started to walk away, then remembered. Shit on shingles, I’d almost forgotten. I raised my wrist, showing her the geas there. She raised a brow at me in question. “I ran into Collin yesterday, and ended up with this thing on my wrist.”

She rose. All of her flunkies rose with her. I rolled my eyes as she waved them back down. “We need privacy, in the kitchen.” She swept from the room, and I followed her.

I told her the short version, then she got me to spill the long version, which wasn’t much different. She, in turn, told me about her more than interesting last few days. Our most dangerous ally, Caleb, had come to town, with tales of some major shit about to go down. And she had met a guy, a mysterious guy, who had placed some kind of enchantment on her. A love enchantment, she thought. I didn’t like that, especially considering the timing. I told her so. She was equally disgruntled by the entire affair.

“Well, shit. If Caleb’s in town, it’s bad. He only shows up for the really nasty stuff.” I let loose a fluent stream of cursing.

“We need to move?” she asked, after I’d finished.

I shrugged. “I‘m not sure. The geas pretty much means I’m screwed, but I have a plan. Kinda.”


“Yes, I have a plan, kinda-ish.”


“Ish. Worst-case scenario, I’ll have to go see Dom. But I should have it under control. Ish.”

“Your confidence is inspiring-ish.”

“I do need a favor though.”

“Sure, what?”

“You know how crappy I am at shielding. Can you do something for me, to cover the bruises? Just for a day or two.”

She nodded, pulling a small relic from around her neck, and placing her hand on my forehead. She chanted for a bit, paused to ask, “You don’t want to heal at all?”

I grimaced. “Maybe a touch. I need it to look bad, though, under the glamour,” I explained, and she continued.

She paused, studying her work. I knew from experience that it would be perfect. Shielding and glamour were her specialties. And my weakness. Our magics had some similarities, but more differences. Hers was subtle and powerful. And very dangerous to find yourself on the wrong end of. She was a master of illusion and subterfuge. You’d never see her coming. Me, on the other hand, not so subtle. I was more likely to blow the door up on my way in. Oh, and I’d probably blow the roof off on my way out. “So is that why your hair’s been wigging out? The strain of shielding?”

“That’s as good a guess as any,” I lied. Those problems had been going on since long before I’d been shielding. But I didn’t want to worry her. Now was not the time.

She studied me, looking worried. “You sure you got this under control?”

I shrugged. “Ish?”

We grinned at each other. “You take care,” she said quietly, as I walked her back to her undead ball. I waved at the room full of sullen faces. “Have fun at the fair, Conformists. Take care, Mistress Emo.” I took off before they could respond. I could have sworn that I heard one of them putting a curse on me as I walked away.


Renaissance Fair

 As it turned out, Christian was available, so we went to the Renaissance Fair together. He picked me up at the house, tossing me a pink t-shirt when I opened the door. I curled my lip at him. “Huh?”

He grinned, shrugging. “I had it made after last year’s fair. I thought it would be cute. Nice hair, by the way, Barney.”

“Thanks, candy ass. So, what are you gonna give me to wear this?”

“Look at it before you reject it out of hand.”

I unfolded it. I couldn’t keep an embarrassingly girlish giggle from escaping my lips. It had black lettering above an obnoxious cartoon. It looked like a blond, shirtless, anime version of Christian. The lettering read, “Dragonslayers have giant swords.”

“No way.” I threw it at him. He flipped it, showing me the back. It read “Dragonslayers do it dragon style.”

I raised a brow at him. “You must have some present for me, if you think you can bribe me into wearing that.”

He bent down, flipping up his pant leg. He unlatched an extremely badass looking ankle sheath. “It’s been blessed by a holy druid. It grows hot against your skin when evil draws near. And the knife hilt is studded with rubies. I know how you and Lynn like your jewels.”

I took it from him, studying it closely. It was beautifully made, and I did love gems. “I’ve been called evil myself, but it’s not hot against my skin now.”

“Rather, someone that means to do evil to you.” He flipped open his button up shirt. Underneath, he wore his own pink T-shirt. Hot pink. He was secure, I supposed. It had the same cartoon as mine, but his had a hot blond anime chick kneeling at his feet. Me? I threw up a little in my throat. It read, ‘Level 140 Dragonslayer = Hot Chick Magnet.’ I looked from his shirt to the knife. I really, really liked the knife. I had a weakness for ankle sheaths and he knew it. I already had a small gun strapped to the inside of my left ankle. My jeans hid it completely, as they would this knife. “I bet you got that knife at the same time you got those T-shirts made. You’ve been planning this for a year?”

He nodded, grinning. He knew I couldn’t resist the treasure. Which was more than a little alarming, if I thought about it.

Tags: R.K. Lilley Heretic Daughters Vampires