Vassal of the Queen of the Fae
Noble of the Wild Hunt
Child of the Horned King.
Jason Kilkenny has learned his full heritage and the nature of the bloodline that runs in his veins. One quarter mortal, he is also the child of a Power, the Horned King of the Wild Hunt of the Fae.
But his father is dead, murdered in a fae civil war that ended before Jason was born. It ended because of a powerful spell the Horned King cast, trading his life to deny the Masked Lords the weapon they needed to kill the Fae Powers.
Now, Jason gathers allies and resources in his new home of Calgary. The Fae Masked Lords are hunting him, but he has what they want and they have to come to him. The Fae Powers have prepared a trap for their long-hidden enemies, with Jason as both bait and ambush.
It’s a clever plan—but no plan survives contact with the enemy!
Someone had clearly thought it was a brilliant idea to put a restaurant on top of a giant spike in the middle of downtown Calgary. Okay, the tower was already there and people were going up it, so feeding them at the top made sense.
I did not understand just what logic went into making the thing rotate and turning it into a fancy restaurant.
But there we were. My American immigrant three-quarter-fae self needed a nice place to take my wildcat shifter girlfriend for our first anniversary, and this was where the leader of the local Fae Court had suggested.
It wasn’t like I couldn’t afford it.
My name is Jason Kilkenny—along with a long list of other names I don’t generally admit to—and I am a Noble of the Wild Hunt and a Vassal of the Queen of the Fae.
Both of these come with salaries so large that I have no idea what to do with the money they give me beyond “stick it in a bank and try not to think about it.”
These days, I wasn’t even openly armed. One of the tricks I’d learned from the Wild Hunt was that not only could I step Between to travel from place to place, I could open a pocket of Between to store my gear.
“Wait, are you scared of heights?” Mary Tenerim asked me with a chuckle as I carefully stepped out of the elevator, trying to ignore the glass that made up much of the floor.
“There is a gap between being scared of heights and a quite reasonable fear of being, what is it, five hundred feet in the air with only glass between myself and the drop, isn’t there?” I replied.
“It’s stood up to a few million people, love,” my petite redheaded girlfriend told me. “I’m sure it will survive our feet.”
“That’s probably true,” I conceded, still gesturing for her to lead the way. Both of us had dressed up for the night in plain black suits cut for athletics. I towered over Mary, at just under six feet tall, with long brown hair neatly cut around my shoulders to help cover the fact that I had visibly pointed ears.
“Sir, ma’am,” the hostess greeted us. “Do you have a reservation?”
“Under Kilkenny,” I told her. “For two.”
Mary had grabbed my hand as we approached the lectern and leaned against me. It had been…months since we’d had time for anything resembling a date. She helped run the shifter community in town, and I, well…
My job for the last six months had been to turn Calgary into a trap for the enemies of the High Court of the Fae. With myself as the bait.
The rest of that name I mentioned earlier? Jason Alexander Odysseus Kilkenny Calebrantson.
Mom was a mythology major and my father was dead before I was born.
He had also been Calebrant, the Horned King, the master of the Wild Hunt. His only son was target number one for the people who’d killed him.
Dinner lived up to the ambience and the price tag, even if the slowly rotating floor threw me more than a little bit. Calgary’s downtown was a brilliantly lit-up skyline in winter evenings, and the view was definitely worth the price of admission.
“How’s Grandfather?” I asked Mary as the servers brought us desserts and wine. Both of us were more than human and had the metabolisms to go with it. Dessert was a requirement.
“According to him, his joints hate the cold more and more every century,” she replied.
Grandfather was Enli Tsuut’ina, the Speaker of the Shifter Clans in Calgary, an old, old cougar shifter who’d been born in the region…before Europeans had ever shown up and called it Canada.
“Has to be at least some downside to being him,” I said. “Everyone in line at last?”
The previous Speaker for the Clans had been Mary’s own Alpha, Tarvers Tenerim. He’d died in the political nightmare that had wrapped the city shortly after my arrival just over a year before. A year wasn’t long as supernaturals counted things, but it was probably enough for the Clans to adjust to a new Speaker.
“Finally,” she agreed. “He’s taking a bit more of a direct approach than Tarvers did. He didn’t have much choice, not after Fontaine tried to kill us all.”
“And it’s not like our side of the political spectrum has been nice and calm,” I admitted. The Fae Court and the Shifter Clans were the two largest supernatural groups in Calgary, two of the three pillars around which the supernatural community here orbited.
The fae had basically fought a civil war, related to my own authority as Vassal of the Queen and the discovery of my parentage. That had left two of the pillars of the community in flux, though the seemingly permanent assignment of a troop of the Wild Hunt to me was helping.
The third pillar was the Wizard Kenneth MacDonald, the demigodlike Power generally regarded as the city’s overall supernatural ruler. He had his own problems, which meant that the community we both served had been in a disrupted and dangerous state.
Stability was an ideal, never truly achievable, but we were getting closer.
“Always a joy to see what happens next,” I said brightly, toasting her with the glass of sweet dessert wine. “Together.”
“You aren’t getting rid of me soon, that’s for sure,” Mary told me. “At this point, I know how to get ahold of your boss.”
“Which one?” I chuckled. As a Noble of the Wild Hunt, I answered to Ankaris, the new Horned King. As a Vassal of the Queen of the Fae, I owed Fealty to Mabona, the Queen of Light and Darkness.
“I have phone numbers for both of them,” she said sweetly. Further joking was interrupted by the arrival of our waiter, and something about him caught both of our attention.
I felt more than saw his tension. Fae and shifters were predators, even more so than humans, and I could sense the prey instinct running behind his eyes. The young man’s shoulders were tensed up and his hands were trembling.
I was about to ask if he was okay when he dropped a black leather folio, presumably our bill, on the table and vanished as quickly as he’d arrived. I exchanged a long look with Mary and opened the folio.
Somehow, I wasn’t surprised that it wasn’t our bill. It was a note, written on the restaurant’s stationery.
If you wish to avoid unnecessary mortal deaths, come to the observation deck. Now.
“Short and to the point, I suppose,” I said softly. I glanced over at the kitchen, where our waiter had disappeared. The restaurant was only about two-thirds full, but that was still over a hundred people. We’d come alone, though both of us had panic button apps on our phones that would bring support in a few minutes.
“The type of person who leaves a note like that doesn’t have much patience,” Mary noted. “Shall we?”
I pulled several hundred-dollar bills from my wallet and tossed them on the table—probably at least twice the cost of the meal, but I suspected the extra tip was going to be needed.
“Let’s go see what our mysterious note-writer wants,” I agreed. Half-consciously, I was checking my dimensional pocket.
Whipstock, a gift from the Wizard MacDonald that acted as a focus for my power. Check.
Silver-hilted sword with a cold iron blade, the standard weapon of a Rider of the Wild Hunt. Check.
Multiple firearms, ranging from a small nine-millimeter Jericho pistol to the Steyr AUG assault rifle favored by the Wild Hunt—and, not coincidentally, I was sure, by the Irish Army. Check.
Stepping out of the restaurant, Mary turned an eye on me and held out her hand. Chuckling, I pulled one of those firearms out of the pocket—the ugly little machine pistol she favored, already in its shoulder holster. She tucked it under her jacket then looked over at the stairs.