Halayda Author: Sarah Delena Genre: Dark Fantasy / Steampunk
A mortal alchemist. A faerie king. A bond that transcends death.
Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.
King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.
Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.
Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.
“What happened last night?” Diza stepped out of the doorway and moved to throw her arms around Sylvie. Then she froze, staring open-mouthed. “Stars, Sylvie!” She grabbed Sylvie by the arm and hauled her into the parlor, shutting and locking the door behind her. “Oh, come on. I just need to clean up a little. Or maybe a lot.” As Sylvie spoke, the muscles in her back flexed and the weight behind her shifted. A flash of movement caught her eye, and she glanced behind her. And let out a shriek. Iridescent wings fanned out from between her shoulder blades, two on each side of her body. She clawed at her back and felt where they emerged from her skin, as solid and natural as if they’d always been a part of her. “Looks like I missed a good party.” Diza reached out and touched the tip of one wing, sending a shudder through Sylvie. The fae woman’s face was a mixture of wonder and curiosity and some other, sharper emotion Sylvie couldn’t identify. “How did this happen?” Sylvie pushed past Diza and several gaping children, and rushed upstairs to her room to the cracked mirror that hung above her dresser. The wings slapped against the doorframe as she entered, then floated out to either side of her again. They were streamlined and gossamer like dragonfly wings, almost as long as her arms and veined with silver. She tensed, and they trembled, as if ready for flight. Sylvie’s heart pounded. She breathed deeply, and as her shoulders relaxed, the wings drooped until the tips nearly reached her knees. “I have wings. Why do I have wings?!”
Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is also the Benevolent Firebird (acquisitions editor) for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found making jewelry, singing Irish ballads, drinking tea, and working a variety of odd jobs. She can be bribed with dark chocolate.