Sunday, October 25, 2015

Six of the Best! #6BestHop

I'm trying something new this Sunday and I'm participating with both pen names! Welcome to Madeline Archer's blog. Madeline is Rose Anderson's alter ego. While Rose writes the intimate side of award-winning romance, Madeline writes the other flavors of fiction. It might be a sweeter love story, an otherworldly walk in the twilight zone, or something dark...

Today for Six of the Best, it's a bit from the sweeter side of my imagination.

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Half-fae Lenox Pendry is surrounded by secrets and none
are his to keep. Plucked from his mother’s arms as an infant and raised a changeling, Lenox grows to adulthood unaware of what and who he is and oblivious to the danger unfolding as his birthday draws near. After he’s unwittingly sent to the Scottish Lowlands out of harm’s way, he chances to meet a beautiful healer named Janet Roxburgh. The townspeople believe her to be a witch. It would appear Janet has a few secrets of her own.

Setting the Stage~
Unwittingly sent to
the Lowlands of Scotland, Lenox oversees his uncle's estate. The first order of business is to meet the household staff one at a time. In this scene, he's just spent an hour becoming acquainted with Mrs. Frew the housekeeper of Carterhaugh. Mrs. Frew is surprised by the new laird, but not for any reason she could admit to.

My Six~

Glynnis Frew watched the door close after the young laird. Alone now, she called to mind events of twenty years before. A weary and worn traveler had come knocking, looking for work in exchange for a place to sleep. He appeared to be not more than forty years old and was a tall and fine-looking man with a scholarly bearing for all his tattered clothes. Kindly, Laird Charles took him in and the pair became fast friends. He soon saw the man situated in the village as the school headmaster. A handsome man, then as now, ladies from far and wide hoped to catch the headmaster’s eye, but only one did just that.

Young and willful Annabel Roxburgh, only sister to the earl on the neighboring estate, met the headmaster and fell in love and soon after found herself with child. She’d hid her pregnancy from everyone. The night she went into labor, her drunken brother became outraged. In his shame, he heartlessly cast her out into the snow. She’d walked miles to get this far. It was a miracle she survived the trek to Carterhaugh at all. Her babe was born here, and Annabel named her daughter Janet Eppa Roxburgh, with both the father’s name and hers, though the poor mother perished shortly after. Laird Charlie sent for the man, and how grief-stricken the headmaster had been as he keened over Annabel. Even the blind could see the love he felt for both mother and child. Earl Roxburgh refused the babe as his kin, despite all those who’d stood witness to his sister birthing the child. Soon, after the consolidations absorbed all of Selkirkshire, the earl burned the manse and killed himself. Janet was not legal heir to what was left — all she had was her mother’s name to say otherwise.

Sipping her tea, Glynnis recalled the day of the funeral, when Headmaster Eppa held his hands to her in thanks. That’s when she felt the rushing tingle run up her arm. She hadn’t felt such since she was a girl in the highlands, but she knew it for what it was. His white-blond hair was growing silver, true, but his face held not one wrinkle more than it did the night he came knocking those many years ago. Only then did she take note of the pointed ears he obviously tried to hide. The ears on wee Janet had slightly pointed tips as well. That, and the fact he hadn’t aged a day in twenty years, confirmed it to her mind. Headmaster Eppa was not of this world.

As a girl, she remembered her auntie bore a son much too soon and far too sickly to survive. She’d gone with her uncle when he placed the wee laddie upon a faery hill in the hopes the fae would take him away and make him well with their magic. He’d explained how the babe would never return, and said leaving him was the only hope for the child. Sure enough, come morning the sickly babe was gone and a hale and hearty changeling was in his place — a mixed-raced boy with slightly pointed ears. Auntie happily raised him as her own, for it meant the fae had her son and were doing the same. Owen she’d named them both.

Glynnis smiled. Many was the time she’d held wee Owen and each time he set her tingling from head to toe. It was a sensation one never forgot. The very tingle came from the headmaster’s touch the day of Annabel’s funeral, and the same came from Janet. Surprise of surprises, the tingling sensation also came from the hand of the new Laird of Carterhaugh. Glynnis had seen the young man’s ears today and they held the slightest point at the tips, just like Owen’s, just like Janet’s. Perhaps Laird Lenox was a changeling, a mixed race man of fae and human blood. She wondered if he knew what he was. Her guess was no. So many of their kind never knew, and those who did never talked.

Glynnis went to her desk and taking paper and pen from the drawer, wrote:
My Dear Master Eppa,

The new laird has come at last to Carterhaugh. As you are a man of letters, I believe he would be delighted to meet you. You will find him much like Laird Charles in temperament. You might also find him more than a match for your Janet.

My Fond Wishes,

Glynnis Frew

She sealed the envelope and rang for a footman. The new laird was a fine man — neither superstitious nor close-minded. At last, a man worthy of Janet Roxburgh, and one able to restore her birthright.

 5 Stars for The Changeling!
"... a very well written, engaging, story with all sorts of deeper historical tidbits and storylines involving the characters, their family lines, and the townsfolk culture. Scenes are written vividly with date and culture appropriate dialogue that overall made this a delightful read right down the satisfying ending that ties all the pieces together."

~ A Reader 

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