Cross the Magic Portal into Ais Linn…where unicorns roam and werewolves prowl…where a faery wizard and his mortal wife struggle to protect the Earth from the Lord of Dark fire…
That’s the story of Wizard’s Wife in a nutshell.
Inspired by the Harmonic Convergence of 1987, and aided by the Encyclopedia of Fairies, I found the story of white wizard Tavis McMuir’s fight against black wizard Exeter Dubhtina required more than a little research into not only faeries, hobgoblins, brownies, bogies, and other supernatural beings, but into the Celtic literature and language itself.
Beginning with the name of the magic dimension from which Tavis comes—his name is Celtic for David and that’s what he’s called for a good part of the story—I googled and binged and poured through Wikipedia.com and other vast references, to set the stage for my story.
Ais Linn is a faery realm, a dimension where magic abides and guides the inhabitants’lives. Its people are the ailiff fae, the people gifted with Power, called by the Irish the Little People. There are many type of fae, from the Trooping faeries, which are human-sized and indistinguishable from mortals when under the guise of glamour, to the sprites, butterfly-winged creatures able to sit on the palm of a hand. There are good fae and bad fae and the worst of the lot are the solitary faeries, who live alone and like it that way. Like everywhere else, there are those who rule and those who are ruled. In Ais Linn, the Lords of Fire –the Tiarnas d’Tina rule, the Tiarna d’Geal Tina (Lord of White Fire) in the North, the Tiarna d’Doit Tina (Lord of Black Fire) in the South. As their names indicate, one practices white magic, the other black, and as would be expect, soon there is a power struggle between the ruling families, when the son of the previous Lord of Black Fire inherits his father’s domain.
Exeter Dubtina wants power and doesn’t care what he does to get it. He and Tavis have always been rivals. Even as lads when sparring with each other during the feiles-- to which all fae are invited, the festivals being a neutral ground—they always fought to a draw, so Exeter is smart enough to realize he may need more than his own power to overcome the Champion of White Fire. His first attempt is accomplished while his father is still alive, sending his sister Siobhan to seduce the—at that point—virginal Geal Tina heir—and get herself with child so her brother can raise a White Fire wizardling in the Doit Tina faith. Though Tavis falls in love with her, Siobhan fails in her mission due to the intervention of Tavis’ father, Prince Padraig. Undaunted, Exeter sets about for other nefarious ways to accomplish this end.
Physically, Exeter himself is an alpha fae, beautiful to behold and frightening in that beauty.
Like all the other male faeries, he was exceptionally handsome. At the moment, his wings and antenna weren’t visible. Megan wondered if he would have the same dragonfly-like wings as David, Brigid, and Ossian possessed, or if—being a purveyor of dark magic—he would possess wings like those of a bat or some other nightdweller. Oh, yes, my Lord Exeter’s handsome, she thought. In a Fallen Angel-sort of way. Wings aside, Exeter could easily have been mistaken for the stereotypical portrait of a vampire…tall, pale, his black hair brushing his waist in a thick, straight fall. His eyes were so dark they appeared black. There was only one difference Megan could see. His pupils were dark crimson, and oblique. Like a cat’s.
His magic aside, Exeter is Tavis’ exact opposite in appearance, one as dark as the other is light. Davis, as described by Megan:
Copper brows winged above his eyes, not arching as they had before, but arrow-straight. And the eyes themselves...green but...there’s no white in them. They were like an animal’s, the entire eye a deep green iris. That, however, wasn’t the most disturbing thing. Protruding from his forehead were antenna. Not butterfly-like but smoky, feathery tendrils floating in the air above his head. They wavered back and forth, like seaweed drifting in a stream, then stiffened and pointed in her direction.
He turned his head slightly, an ear twitching, Nearly lobeless, peaked on top. The left one sported a small golden ring with an emerald set in it.
Dragonfly-like, his wings didn’t come from under his shoulder blades as she’d always suppose wings should, but grew on each side of his upper spine. Not the tiny things shown in drawings of fairies either, but equaling David’s height. Delicately translucent in bronzes and golds, the colors of a Monarch's wings magnified.
In Casteal Dubtina, Exeter surrounds himself with those predisposed to evil …indeed, his band of trusted knights, his Wolf Pack, are just that…faery werewolves, roving the Damhain Garrai, the Dark Garden, in search of sprites to terrorize. Surprisingly, there are no females visible in his casteal, other than his sister. The Tiarna Doit’s sexuality isn’t mentioned one way or another, though he does (SPOILER ALERT HERE: skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know) seem more than taken with Megan and gets into her bed by magical and less than fair means while corrupting Tavis’ fidelity, also. Tavis, on the other hand, while admitting to being less than a choir boy before he met Megan, is almost desperate to assure his new wife she has his complete faith and trust.
“Yes, I suppose you wizards are the Rock Stars of the faery world? Do you have groupies? Wizard-groupies panting at the bedchamber door?”
She was startled to see him flush slightly, the color rising up his throat and disappearing into his hairline. “We do have a reputation for attractin’ th’ lasses, though I’ve na been as free as some in that department. An’ na at all since th’ night I set eyes on you, Megan, I swear.”
Tavis loves Megan enough to disobey his father’s orders and marry her. He confesses his previous “sin” with Siobhan Dubhtina, but there are some things he keeps quiet about, things he doesn’t want to hurt his wife by having her know. And there’s always a chance those very things will one day rear their ugly heads and attack him.
Ais Linn’s other inhabitants are no less magical or wonderful…Sir Liam, Exeter’s chief knight, a werewolf torn between his love for Brigid, a White Fire follower and his allegiance to the Dark Lord; Denis, a leprechaun, and Siorchain the unicorn, a creature who sure he can’t be touched by anyone deemed a sinner. Siorchain’s aware of the secret David harbors as well as the shattering of his purity by a single involuntary act, and chooses to keep that secret.
So there they are, two powerful men, each with millennia of magic behind them, each trained to be the most frightening force in his own realm, pitted against each other…one fighting for his wife and unborn child, his domain, and a small planet called Earth, the other fighting for ownership of everything.
“Scrioss agus tina! Titim gan éirí ort!”
The curses fall as they square off against each other, girded in armor, wielding their magic. Two men, equal in age, physical strength, and magical knowledge…and only one will walk away from the fight…only one will claim all of Ais Linn, the Earth, and Megan McMuir and her baby.
Which will it be?
Wizard’s Wife is available from Class Act Books www.classactbooks.com