THE RIVERS RAN RED By Taylen Carver

Magorian & Jones 4.0

Urban Fantasy Novel

This book was funded on Kickstarter (thank you to all our sponsors!)
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Magorian and Jones have one chance left to save the world, if only they can find a way to work together.

Michael Jones, MD, left Toledo months ago to avoid Jamie, the woman he loves but cannot have, for she is with his best friend, the world’s first modern wizard, Benjamin Magorian.  Michael hides in Wales, burying himself in the work generated by a health system in crisis, as Britain deals with the fallout from multiple volcanic eruptions in Scotland…until Magorian finds him there.

They’re down to the wire in their efforts to save the fractured world of humans and Old Ones from Aurelius’ scheme to summon the old gods and avoid the destruction the gods would hail down upon every mortal, no matter what their race.  They must find a way to permanently halt Aurelius, and Magorian thinks he might know how.

The only problem?  Magorian brought Jamie with him…

The Rivers Ran Red is part of the urban fantasy series, Magorian & Jones, by Taylen Carver.

The Magorian & Jones series:
1.0: The Memory of Water
2.0: The Triumph of Felix
3.0: The Shield of Agrona
3.5: The Wizard Must Be Stopped
4.0: The Rivers Ran Red
5.0: The Divine and Deadly
…and more to come.

Urban Fantasy Novel
{Also see: Urban Fantasy, Novels}

USD $4.99

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Excerpt

EXCERPT FROM THE RIVERS RAN RED
COPYRIGHT © TAYLEN CARVER 2022
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I was behind the nurse’s station, where the entire pharmacy department was contained in one antique white-painted glass-and-iron cabinet that might have been retrieved from the old psychiatric wards in the Victorian building on whose grounds we squatted. The cabinet exuded the same vintage pheromones the old hospital building did.

The two nurses working to process a small mountain of clipboards and reports ignored me, which was quite usual. I wasn’t loved at Saint David’s. I was perfectly aware of the reputation I had acquired as the Old Races-obsessed doctor with strange ideas about how to heal even the human patients in our care. When I had first arrived here, I had opened my mouth once too often about how convenient and beneficial to the patients it would be if we had just one fae on staff to breath in bad humours and diagnose the patients without the need for expensive testing equipment. I may have also spent too long trying to convince fellow medics to try herbs instead of chemicals.

I was on staff to deal with Old Races when they asked for healthcare, which they never did. Instead, I helped the occasional human transition to their Old Race, which was a frustrating business, for I didn’t have fae on hand to lower their temperatures by breathing on them., or sirens who could sing patients to sleep through the worst of the agonizing process.

I was back to mostly useless therapeutics I had been using when I first arrived in Spain, and my success rate was just as abysmal. I’m sure that was why Old Ones didn’t come to the clinic. Even though the clinic liked to boast about having a doctor who could treat them, my reputation among the Old Ones, whose communications network was far superior to the Internet, was such that they found their own care.

So I spent my days acting as a locum, helping out where I could, and being resented for it.

It wasn’t La Mancha Forest by Toledo…thank the heavens. I could survive being disliked, or thought of as unhinged, if it meant I didn’t have to go back to Spain.

So when the two nurses worked and spoke to each other as if I wasn’t there, I didn’t get upset. But I did find myself listening as they finished processing the last of the clipboards.

“And this one is for…oh, another suicide.” Dilwin’s voice dropped a little. “Isn’t that the fifth, this week?” The nurses’ station overlooked the one general ward, and the nearest bed wasn’t all that far away.

“Is it? I wouldn’t know,” Siana replied, her tone remote. “I don’t keep track of such things.”

I felt a dull ache in my chest. The suicide rate had increased in the last three years, once humans who had recovered from Tutu had realized they faced becoming one of the poor, unfortunate Old Races. Some people found death a more appealing option.

It was too late to tell them they were fundamentally, categorically wrong in that assessment.

But I was also the Old Races-obsessed doctor, so I turned my attention to the bottles and boxes on the glass shelf, sorting through them. I’d quite forgotten what it was I was looking for, and had to pause to recollect why I was here—which was to return the remains of a bottle of Theophylline to the cabinet.

“So,” Siana said, her fingers quickly tapping on the keyboard of the laptop in front of her. “Death by Seppuku. Age?”

I spun to face them. “What did you just call it?” I demanded, my throat and face flushing with the sudden spike in my blood pressure…and my temper.

Both nurses jumped. They were so used to ignoring me they’d forgotten I was right there behind them.

I moved closer. “You said death by Seppuku,” I said heavily, fighting to keep my voice down just as they were.

Siana looked confused and self-conscious. “Did I?”

“Means the same thing. She put suicide in the database, doctor. I watched her.” Dilwin’s tone was defensive and wary.

I turned to Dilwin, who was standing, while Siana sat on the folding chair in front of the laptop. “It isn’t anything close to the same thing. If it was, then I could call you a Taffy or a woolyback.”

Siana sucked in a quick, shocked breath, while Dilwin’s face turned brick red.

Seppuku,” I railed at both of them, “means to suicide to restore honour.”

They stared at me. I was the doctor, and no matter how weird or obsessed I was, they wouldn’t argue back. I knew that, and it didn’t make me any happier. “Look it up,” I ground out. “And while you’re looking it up, let the meaning sink into your brains, because no Old One who suicides and no human who suicides before they transition has lost any honour. Not even a teaspoon’s worth.” I drew in a deep, deep breath, just barely reining in my anger. “Call it Prevailing, if you must use a term. At least that doesn’t imply anything than they’ve taken control of their own fate. Or you might simply stay professional and use the medical terminology we’ve been using since the Victorian era.”

I made myself halt. It took hard effort.

“Yes, doctor,” they both muttered, when my silence told them I had finished.

I nodded. It was a stiff gesture. I glanced at my watch. “It’s well past seven. I’m going home for the evening. Mark me out, please.”

“Yes, doctor,” Siana replied, in the same stiff tone.

I strode back to the lockers at the back of the tent, retrieved my coat, shrugged off the white one and hung it on the same hook, slammed my locker closed and left. I had some anger to pound into the footpaths.

The house I was renting I had chosen for a few special reasons, one of them being its close location to the Saint David’s grounds and the clinic, if I didn’t mind cutting across country. Today had been a clear, sunny day, despite the low temperature, so I had walked, this morning. I was glad of that decision, now.

The Saint David’s grounds, which were often called a park, contained a number of pubic buildings, including a Public Health facility on the southwest side, which had been utterly overwhelmed by the public health crisis. Our temporary clinic had been set up on the opposite side of the grounds, in a clear space between buildings, close by Ffordd Pendre. Missing boards in the tall fence that closed off the ground from the busy road allowed me the short cut, and I took my luck crossing the Ffordd—a fact that grimly reminded me of traversing the highway that cut through the La Mancha Forest.

I raced across the Ffordd, into shrubs and bushes, using a faint trail I had made simply by coming this way most days. Then into the green open space beyond, and the backs of the houses on Maes Y Wennol. My house was one of them, and had a conveniently placed gate in the back fence—which had been another feature I liked.

I went through into the small yard, already shaking off the bad day, and looking forward to a quiet evening. I stopped halfway along the narrow garden path, for there was a silhouette sitting in one of the old plastic chairs, hands moving in the dark night, with white shapes flicking between them. The soft but sharp riffle of cards fanning and falling, slicing together and jumping in waterfalls, brought back memories of Toledo that hadn’t faded in the slightest.

Magorian, who I’d left in Toledo, was now here in Wales. And I had thought two ignorant nurses were what had ruined my day.


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