Reign of Fire is the concluding part of the Gothic Faerie Tale trilogy. Khione, Gerda, Kia and Celina's futures are looking brighter and troubles from their past are behind them, or so it seems. Ruby, who remains in hiding from her evil grandmother— along with Jonathan—enlists the help of faeries Fay and Ella. Rose's faerie godmothers intend to depose Queen Eleanor and restore the throne of Turia to its rightful heir. A task that proves to be more than difficult.

As King Wilbur and Queen Eleanor’s nuptials draw near, Wilbur discovers that he has met his match and his machinations are dealt with a severe blow.  Eleanor’s association with Silvia proves to be more dangerous than she first realised and results in a return of hostilities between the Fae and Turia.

Will this faerie tale have a happily ever after?


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Chapter One

Khione stood beside the dining table rearranging the stems of bluebells sitting in a pitcher. The makeshift terracotta vase had a chipped spout cracked glaze, but Khione refused to allow Alwin to discard it. She stared long hard at the flowers. Bluebells held bittersweet memories for her. She recalled the fateful day on which her mother, Queen Eleanor, released her from her imprisonment in the North Tower of Ruhan Castle. The day her mother arranged to have her murdered by her huntsman Griff. He had attempted to carry out the deed as she gathered bluebells on the outskirts of the Forbidden Forest. Nightmares of Griff no longer haunted her, but the mere thought of his leering face pushed against hers brought with it anxiety. Her hand began to tremble as she placed the last of the bluebells in the pitcher. Turning to Garion who sat at the table, his brown eyes watching her every move, she asked, “They look well do they not?”
“Indeed they do. You Celina took such an eternity gathering them this morning; I thought perhaps something sinister had befallen you.” Noticing the trembling of her hand, he took it in his own pressed his lips against it. He gazed into Khione’s grey eyes. “Tell me, what is troubling you?”
 “I am content, nothing is vexing me,” she lied.
However, she did not fool him. He drew back his chair, folded her into his arms, and kissed her forehead. “Khione, you mean everything to me. Please trust me with your confidence.”
“I do Garion,” she said in earnest. She stared again at the flowers then sighed. “It is the bluebells… as beautiful as they are, for me they have unpleasant associations. Celina wished to pick them I could not disappoint her.”
“You are fond of Celina. Fortune smiled upon her the day she encountered you.”
Khione beamed at the elf standing before her. “Fortune smiled upon me the day I encountered you your brothers. Yes, I am fond of her and I do feel sorry for anyone unfortunate enough to have had any intimate acquaintance with Tristan. He treated her with contempt and cruelty.”
Khione had come across Celina in Agraunia, while she was residing at Tormain Palace with her mother’s cousin Queen Katrina. There she discovered much to her dismay, that as a child her mother Katrina had arranged a betrothal contract. She was to be married to her cousin Tristan, who she despised. Khione Prince Edward — Tristan’s younger brother — learned of Prince Tristan’s secret assignations with Celina — whom he had convinced of his desire to marry her — when they followed him to Celina’s home. Tristan revealed his true feelings that day, when she revealed she was with child. He rejected her denied responsibility.
Khione planted a small kiss upon Garion’s lips. “I cannot thank you enough for giving Celina shelter making her feel at home. She has suffered much at the hands of her guardian my vile cousin. I heard her weeping for the loss of her child on more than one occasion.”
“It is a sad affair. She is welcome to stay here for as long as she wishes,” he said, and then he looked around the room. “Where is Celina?”
“She is feeding the chickens gathering eggs. The chickens are very fond of her she has named them all. The rooster is now known as Tristan. I cannot think why,” Khione said with a smirk upon her face.
Just then, a flash of lightning streaked through the sky, hitting the ground with a loud bang. A rumble of thunder the pounding of heavy rainfall upon the roof followed this. The thunderclap startled Khione. She threw her arms around Garion, her heart pounded with fright.
He chuckled. “It is nought but a thunderstorm.”
“I must disagree. When Gerda I were children, thunderstorms terrified us. We usually hid beneath the bed or in the wardrobe in my bedchamber. I remember when my father was alive, he once found us asleep under his bed.” Khione’s eyes began to fill with tears at the memory of her late father, King Eldwin. She hid her face against Garion’s shoulder to stifle a sob. He stroked the crown of her head made soothing sounds in an attempt to calm her. “It is hard to remember my father without feeling melancholy,” she muttered.
He spoke, “I understand how it is for you. It may have been many years since my father died, but I still mourn his passing. We elves believe that we will once again see our loved ones, when our body returns to the earth we pass from here to the spiritual world. I find some comfort in this.”
She turned her face to his. Meeting his gaze she whispered, “I love you. I would not survive losing you.”
He attempted to lighten Khione’s mood. “Would you love me if my looks resembled my brothers’?”
“I love your singularity. If you had only elven features it would matter not to me.” She gave one of his earlobes a gentle tweak. Garion and his younger brother, Virion had a human father. Virion had inherited his father’s fair hair his mother’s green eyes pointed elven ears. Garion’s features were more like his fathers’; brown hair eyes rounded human looking ears.
Khione ran a finger along the side of his face the contours of his chin. His rough stubble scratched against the pad of her finger. “Does Virion also need to shave?”
“Yes, we are not as fortunate as Alwin, Erlan and Cameron, their facial hair grows at a very slow rate.” Garion Virion’s older brothers were their half brothers, whose elven father had died at the hands of poachers.
 “That is indeed unfortunate, but what do I care about that with kisses such as yours.” She gave him a coy smile as their lips met.
The pounding of rain upon the roof against the windows increased. Another loud clap of thunder rattled the windows. The door flung open. Celina entered the cottage, clutching a basket of eggs. Water dripped from her long braided hair, face and clothing, it pooled onto the floor. She pushed her back against the door. It closed with a thud. She looked down at the muddied hem of the now sodden gown she wore her teeth chattered as she spoke. “I am so sorry I do hope I have not spoilt your gown.”
“It can be cleaned, do not worry needlessly,” said Khione. “I will make some chamomile tea to warm you.”
“Allow me to make the tea,” said Garion.
“T…t...hank…you,” stammered Celina. “You have all been so wonderful to me. I do not deserve such kindness.”
“Nonsense,” said Khione. “I enjoy your companionship. When you are warmed we will make haste to our room I will assist you in changing your garments.” She pulled Celina to the rocking chair beside the fireplace took a clean drying cloth from a pine chest in the corner of the room. She handed the cloth to Celina. “Here, dry your hair. Do you feel less chilled now?” Celina nodded in reply rubbed her has to warm them.
Garion placed the kettle on the stove to boil. Khione joined him by the fire lifted the iron poker from its sat alongside the fireplace. She pushed it into the burning wood coal to cheer up the fire in the hearth. Celina gazed with intensity at the poker began to shudder. Khione witnessed this, rushed towards her grasped her shoulders. “Celina what ails you?” She then let out a loud shriek. Garion spun round in alarm, but before he could utter a word, Khione Celina vanished before his eyes.

When the feelings of disorientation ended, Khione opened her eyes gazed at the frail looking girl sting beside her. “What happened?”
Celina remained silent for a moment. Her pinched pale face wore a look of genuine fear. “I thought of something I did not wish to, but I could not help it. I felt we should leave directly.” When Celina caught sight of the fire poker it had filled her with anguish terror, recollecting the last time she held one in her h. She had used it to strike down her guardian Dame Gothel. Thoughts of the bloody wound she inflicted on her continued to torture her. The vivid image of her dashing her head upon the stone floor of the round tower, which they had called their home since she was a child, brought back overwhelming feelings of guilt. The more Celina dwelt on that image, the more she imagined she was actually there. On the day she fled from the tower in a panic, she had imagined herself outside Tormain Palace. To her amazement, she found herself transported there in an instant. Celina could not comprehend how this had come about now the same peculiar occurrence had happened again.
“Only one of the Fae can accomplish what you have just done,” said Khione in astonishment. “Are you Fae?”
Celina shook her head. “I know nothing of whom or what I am.”
 Khione gazed at the unfamiliar surroundings. The chamber felt chilly an atmosphere of gloom despondency filled the air. Apart from a little weak sunlight coming into chamber from the open shutters, darkness hugged every corner. Her gaze settled upon a woman lying upon the stone-flagged floor. A faint blue haze swirled above her. A gasp of shock escaped Khione’s lips.
With caution, Celina approached Dame Gothel. Dried blood stained the floor beside her inanimate body. Kneeling upon the floor, she reached out her arm touched the woman’s cold fingers. Upon contact, a shock ran through Celina’s h. She withdrew it with haste. A look of puzzlement replaced the one of fear when she noticed the rise fall of the dame’s chest. “This is my guardian Dame Gothel,” she said. “I did not intend to cause her death, or at least I thought I had caused her death, with a blow to her head.”
 Khione inched closer to the grim sight before her. “Are you quite certain she is deceased? Surely there would be a smell of death by this time.”
Celina straightened herself began to back away. “I cannot be certain. What has passed here has confused me,” she replied. “Khione we must leave, something is not right here. Dame Gothel was…is an enchantress.
Suddenly, the words; Do not leave me Celina. You must help me or I shall die, resonated throughout the chamber. Although Celina recognised the voice of the enchantress, she whispered with a tremble, “Who speaks to me?”
Khione remained rooted to the spot. Her heart pounded in fear of the unknown.
The enchantress replied, “You know who speaks.”
“How can this be?” asked Celina. “I thought I had killed you.”
“I uttered a spell with my final breath in the hope of halting my demise. Alas, I now lie between the worlds of the living the dead. Only you can retrieve my soul bring it back to my body,” whispered Dame Gothel.
Celina once again knelt beside the dame.” How must I do this?”
“Place your hands upon me. You have a gift Celina, a gift I must make use of.”
“A gift? What kind of gift do I possess?”
“The magic of the Fae.”
Dame Gothel’s revelation confirmed Khione’s suspicions. Celina clenched her fists, her nails digging into the palms of her hers. “Why did you not divulge this before now?”
The inflection in Dame Gothel’s voice altered. “Make haste, this is not the time for an inquisition,” she retorted. “You bear the blame for my predicament.”
“She bears no blame,” interjected Khione.
Celina grimaced. “You, Dame Gothel destroyed the child I carried.”
“Both of you hold you tongues. What has passed has passed. Celina, you shall one day think yourself fortunate.”
“That I never shall,” muttered Celina.
“You try my patience child. Do you wish to condemn me to this insufferable fate? Place your hands over my heart this instant.”
 Khione knelt down beside Celina gripped her wrists. She whispered, “Take care, if she is to perform dark magic you may be in peril.”
Celina hesitated when she observed the trepidation on Khione’s face. For a moment she remained torn between guilt trepidation. However, guilt won over her indecision. “I am at fault. I have to remedy this.” She pushed Khione’s hands away from her. Quivering, she placed her hands over her former guardian’s heart. The haze floating above Dame Gothel contracted became a lighter shade of blue.
“Celina retain your stance until I tell you otherwise. You girl — meaning Khione — you must move away,” ordered the dame
Celina communicated that she understood with a single nod of her head. Khione gritted her teeth, got up from her position on the floor and took a few steps backwards. Dame Gothel began an incantation. The blue haze altered shade once more, this time from blue to green. Its swirling motion gathered speed. Celina’s had begun to glow like white hot metal. Her body quivered her raven hair loosened from its braid. It flowed out behind her as a strong wind blew through the chamber, increasing in strength speed.
Dame Gothel’s incantation became more fervent increased in volume. The archaic words rang in Khione’s ears. Celina heard nothing. Her eyes shut as she also muttered the spell. The white glow spread throughout her body. Upon reaching her dark locks, they turned ash grey, along with her delicate features. Her cheeks became sunken age lines began to form upon her unblemished brow. As her breath became short, she began to gasp for air. Before taking another laboured breath she felt a tugging sensation found herself detached from Dame Gothel. An enormous jolt propelled her across the chamber floor.
As she crashed against the wall her eyes flickered open. Khione sat upon the floor her gaze fixed on what lay before her. The enchantress convulsed, screaming profanities. “Half Fae bastard, you deserved to die. Your human soul should be mine. I curse you Kyra your companion…” Her malison stopped in its tracks when her body convulsed, bursting into flames then turned into a chalk like substance. The wind stilled. The chalky remains of Dame Gothel settled upon the stone floor. Celina looked on aghast at what she had witnessed perplexed at why she had called her by an unfamiliar name. She brushed the dust from her sleeve, glanced down at her hand, and lifted it to gaze upon it. The skin appeared wizened covered in age spots, her nails claw-like yellowed with age. She let out a scream, her vision blackened she passed out.

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