I am Rhiannon, Moira of the Clan,
keeper of the fates, champion of
the Fae. Sanctioner of those who
would deviate from the prescribed
The title of Moira has long been
ascribed to the Greeks, but that
is incorrect; it has been ours for
What no one understands, except
those who assume the mantle of Moira,
is the awesome responsibility we
are assigned at birth. Divining the
fate of my brethren, be they of wind
or earth, fire or sea was never so
tiring as these last few months.
Chants have floated on the wind,
calling to the very runes I use to
determine the balance of our lives.
Calling to the four stones lost in
the mists of time, and therefore
leave our lives and destinies incomplete,
even after two hundred years of searching.
The future of the Fae now hangs
in the balance between love and hate,
life and death. Choices made by the
unknowing could tip both the destiny
of the Fae and humankind either way.
Only the free-willed return of the
runes will ensure their true, unfettered
What troubles me most, though, is
the thought I may soon have to attempt
to wield the sword of Sanction, and
destroy my brothers and sisters in
As a spirit of air, it goes against
my very nature. As Moira, it is my
After all, without fate, what is
This is not my story, but in truth,
how the recovery of those precious
four runes and the final call to
power of the modern-day Fae began.
Charged fire hoses snaked across
the pockmarked parking lot of what
had once been a warehouse. Now its
smoldering husk was backlit by the
bloody glow of emergency lights against
the inky San Diego night.
Aidan Hughes squinted smoke-teared
eyes. Three engine companies ...
too little, too late.
He strode through the swirling mass
of turnout-clad firefighters, splashing
through mini-lakes and the delicate
spray arcing from the hydrants nearest
the building. The crowd of exhausted
smoke-eaters parted before him like
the Red Sea. Something about the
blue windbreaker he wore, MAST emblazoned
across the breast and back of the
jacket, always moved the troops.
Raising his face to the sky, he
drew the moistened, charcoal-scented
air in deep, tasting it on the back
of his tongue.
There it was--the same sulfurous
perfume he’d detected at the
last two fires. It was nothing his
fellow firefighters would ever distinguish,
nor even the most seasoned of arson
investigators. This was something
meant for his senses alone. Another
of his clan had been here, and the
thought shook him no less now than
it had the first time.
He dropped his head, eyes boring
into the darkness, willing his adversary
to make himself known, to end this
game before more human lives were
The fire chief bulled his way up
to him. “Whaddya think, Hughes?”
Aidan pulled his eyes from the wrecked
building and the uncompromising night
behind it. “Same as the last
two. We’ll find the same mystery
accelerant, middle of the building.”
“You’re fucking amazing,
Hughes. How do you know this shit?”
How indeed? He wondered what
the captain would say if he told
him he had almost a hundred years
of experience as Fae, and his clan’s
signature was fire. The Salamanders
were suited to only two things ...
starting fires, and fighting them.
Ignoring the chief’s question,
he asked a more important one. “Anybody
inside this time?”
“Not so we can tell. This
building’s actually used by
the university, not abandoned like
the last one. Guard was taking a
leak over by the trees when the whole
thing went up. Said it looked like
a fucking bomb went off.”
Aidan’s lips twisted in a
mocking grin. If only the chief knew. “You
guys about done?”
“Yeah, there’s a few
hot spots, but you should be fine,
especially wearing those shit-kickers.” The
chief nodded his head at Aidan’s
steel-toed boots. They didn’t
exactly mesh with the tuxedo slacks,
shirt and bowtie he wore beneath
the blazer. His dress shoes were
back in his car, along with the rest
of his gear. “Love the get-up.
Where were you this time?”
“Mayor’s Ball.” Aidan
cracked a smile. “You should
have seen Gomez’ face when
my beeper went off.”
The chief shared his amusement. “Bet
that put a wrinkle in his Jockeys.”
“To say the least. I’ll
go ahead and suit up while you finish
mop-up.” Aidan turned, walking
back through the parking lot to his
SUV. Stripping off the blazer, he
pulled his turnouts from the cargo
area of the truck, stepping into
the fire-retardant pants and jacket.
The chief’s night was probably
over, barring any other torches.
His had just begun.