Four Feasts Till Darkness
Christian A. Brown
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Date of Publication: September 9, 2014
Number of pages: 540
Word Count: 212K
Cover Artist: Brian Garabrant
"I am a new woman. A new creature. I am myself, and yet so different."
Magic and destiny collide in Christian A. Brown's breathtaking debut novel, Feast of Fates.
Together known as the Sisters Three, Eean, the hand of fate, Elemech, the reader of fate, and Ealasyd, the spinner of fate, foresee a war between the Immortal Kings--and only one girl who can stop it.
Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her--visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.
With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/8E_RVXgpqB8
from Chapter 2
It was quite a jog from King’s Crown to Fates Row, the modest, middle-class district where Caenith lived on the outskirts of the Faire of Fates, and Morigan took an earthbound carriage for part of the trip. She wasn’t a spendthrift and saved almost all of what she worked for, as Mifanwae had taught, but the urge to see the smith again was a weight as heavy as stone, drawing her in his direction. Her unburdening to Thule and his approval emboldened her further, for he was a father and friend—the only one she had, lonely as that might seem—and his opinions were valued. Never did she forget the cautious side of his encouragement, however, of his unusual but apt warnings of a wolf. The more she dwelled on the idea, the more she found that a wolf was a fitting match for Caenith’s character: wild, noble, and dangerous.
Once settled with her fare, she was deposited amid squat white houses and tall white shops, with roofs that glittered in the early evening light and streets filled with weary working folk headed home for the day or into noisy taverns, of which more than a few were around. Caenith’s house, she remembered, was in quieter environs a few blocks ahead. She stayed off the road and along the path, asking strangers to pardon her as she strode at a hastened pace.
Slow down. Get a hold of your wits or lose your knickers, like Thule said. I’m paraphrasing, but still, she warned herself. She didn’t know much about men. She had kissed a few, groped some of the hardness that they kept behind their trousers, but wasn’t impressed by much of it. In recent years, she had given up on courtship entirely, for men weren’t interested in courtship with handmaidens living in less respectable neighborhoods, even though she was sure that they had other uses in mind for her. Perhaps that was what intrigued her about Caenith so much, his biding patience or surety. She knew that he desired her in a ravenous way, and yet she felt none of the frantic insistence that her other suitors had expressed toward her. None of that childlike need.
You say that, but let’s see how he behaves tonight. This whole thing is silly. You’re acting as if you know this man when you spent maybe an hourglass with him. Therein was the rub: that for a stranger, it seemed as if she knew him so intimately. Or felt as if she grasped the most fundamental aspects of him: honor, bestial pride, and the beauty and destruction of a wild rapid. All that remained was to mine out the details. Why do I trust you? Of all the men I have met, only Thule has earned that right through burying my mother’s body with me, through sheltering me when I was alone. What right have you to command my trust as you do, Caenith? What right?
She proceeded down the lane with a fury in her step, her riding cloak billowing, her dark skirt sweeping the ground like a black ghost. She was a startling vision to those who saw her, and they moved out of her way as if she was a mad but exquisite queen. A few roughnecks, red in the cheeks and leering from a tavern porch, did not heed her stormy expression and whistled at her from their chairs. Pigs! she hissed with such righteous indignation that the fools pouted into their ales, feeling as if the Everfair Queen herself had shamed them. Night was hungry for the day, and sterling lamplights, their starry magik trapped in hanging glass spheres, were winking on alongside the lane. She arrived at Caenith’s run-down property even angrier from the catcalls, stomped up the stairs, and went to knock on the door. It was wrenched open before her knuckles touched the wood. There was the smith.
Some civility had found its way into his comportment this evening, though he wore it awkwardly, like an animal stuffed into clothing, and haphazardly, as if he had just dressed himself and not with great success. His highwayman’s shirt was a mess: its laces loose, a sleeve up, the other down, and the hem half tucked into trousers. The boots she recalled from yesterday. He wore a plain ebony ribbon in his hair, which was pulled back from his face. While he had certainly made the effort to be more trimmed than yesterday, she could only call him shorn, not shaved—she didn’t think he could ever be stripped to less than stubble. Still, he was no less disarming or enticing with his cologne of steel, sweat, and the deeper aromas of woods and silky fur, and what portions of his sinewy strength burst against his clothing took the remainder of her focus. She found herself completely drained of her anger and fumbling for words.
“I…I am sorry. You seem as if you are dressed and on your way out.”
Caenith stared but did not speak. Distantly and with sorrow, he remembered the Daughters of the Moon, victims of the New Age, with their milky skin and coats of nettles, raven feathers and black leaves: garments with haunting similarities to the lacy bodice and sweeping train that Morigan wore. She was as magikal as these phantoms of the past, but paler and prettier still, and her bust and cheeks were flushed from rushing. He could taste the salty-sweet sweat of her on his palate and hear the pounding of her blood as a rousing tribal drum in his ears.
“I was waiting for you,” he said.
Morigan looked around suspiciously. “You…you were?”
“I—” Smelled you down the street and hurried to make myself presentable. “I felt that you would return today, that the winds would bear your sweetness my way, and I see that Geadhain has granted my wish.”
“I see. How very…strange,” replied Morigan.
Caenith welcomed her with a grin; his canines were unusually long, they glimmered in the lamplight. “Cups! I have been working on cups! Come inside, dear fawn.”
Cups? And there’s that “fawn” talk again. I think he’s some manner of a lunatic, thought Morigan, and against what little sense prevailed in the company of this man, she went into Caenith’s shop. Inside was brighter than she remembered, and small lamps had been lit in vases on the floor. She had to blink to understand them, these twining metal flowers, their petals opened and stigmas made of flame. She stopped to admire one, seeing the wick inside the fire, amazed that this was not magik, but more of the smith’s work, impossibly detailed and manufactured by enormous fingers.
“Resilience and beauty,” said Caenith, breathing over her neck. “The strength of steel and the beauty—and power—of fire. I was inspired to create them this morning. The metal’s song was clear with how it was to be made. Do you like them?”
“I agree,” muttered Caenith, and he placed a hand upon her back, leading her farther into his den. “Cups,” he promised, but said no more.
Christian A. Brown has written creatively since the age of six. After spending most of his career in the health and fitness industry, Brown quit his job to care for his mother when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2010.
Having dabbled with the novel that would eventually become Feast of Fates for over a decade, Brown was finally able to finish the project. His mother, who was able to read a beginning version of the novel before she passed away, has since imbued the story with deeper sentiments of loss, love, and meaning. He is proud to now share the finished product with the world.