TOUCHED BY FAELIGHT By Taylen Carver
Urban Fantasy Short Story
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A new enemy of the Fae threatens two mere humans…
In contemporary Istanbul, a long, drawn-out civil war between Imperial Fae on the Asian side of the Bosphorus and an alliance of Fae occupying the ancient city has ground down the human occupants for ten long years.
Nikol—human, orphan and a Greek in a city of Turks—is touched by disturbingly magical abilities of her own. The humans in the city treat her with suspicion. Yet she is valuable to the human resistance and beloved by the resistance’s greatest spy among the Fae. Arda Sokol is terrified the Fae will learn of Nikol’s abilities, and his effort to protect her strains their relationship–until they must work together to defeat a new threat to the Fae, and he learns she is not weak at all…
“Touched by Faelight” is a short story by urban fantasy author Taylen Carver, originally included in the Street Magic urban fantasy anthology from Camden Park Press, and now published as a standalone.
Urban Fantasy Short Story
BARNES & NOBLE
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EXCERPT FROM TOUCHED BY FAELIGHT
COPYRIGHT © TAYLEN CARVER 2022
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
We were crossing the Bosphorus in an open fishing boat in February. The wind scored our faces raw, so it hurt to speak. It was close to midnight, when the Imperial sentries dotted along the Asian shoreline changed shifts and would be cold and eager to go home, cast a ten-hour warming spell, and go to sleep.
Not only did we have to watch for Imperial troops on the shore and the odd patrol upon the water, but we also had to keep an eye out for rusty Russian and Ukranian tankers and container vessels, supercontainers and freight barges ploughing majestically up and down the straits. They were so big, they could run right over our dinghy and never notice a thing. The Turkish government had never had control over their passage through the straits, not even to demand they insure themselves. The Fae just didn’t care.
On a still, icy night like this, I figured it was a sure bet most of the pilots of those vessels were sitting back in their seats, sipping a glass of vodka and hot tea, letting a smart computer steer the thing.
It was a dark-lined miracle the Fae allowed us to ship oil and food anywhere. During the twelve months they had limited human traffic to neighbourhoods only, too many of their servants and staff died of starvation or cold, or complications arising from being wretchedly poor and forced to extremities like burning goat dung for light and cooking fuel. Too many of the Fae’s favourite eateries and markets and services nailed cardboard over their shopfronts, that year.
The Fae didn’t have a spell to reverse wretchedness. Instead, trade had opened up once more, along with the shipping which moved the trade goods. That was a bummer for us, tonight.
On the plus side, no ferries had chugged between the east shore and old Istanbul since General Grady Cabral, First Lord of the Light, had swept across western Europe, driving the Empire back to the Asian side of these straits, ten years ago.
I might have paused to appreciate that tiny speck of positivity, only I didn’t want to be here in the first place. Trying to be cheerful about it was beyond me.
I had argued against the salvage run. A lot. That was unusual for me. Only, my gut said to stay in the old city tonight. Stay down, stay safe.
The other eight members of the gang were anxious to make the run. The intel we’d got about Cabral’s Allies’ latest attempt to infiltrate Imperial territory was too reliable to ignore.
“It’s not like we’re never made the crossing before,” Okan told me. He was the gang boss, and didn’t like having his decisions questioned. “Wear an extra jumper and be there at eleven, Nikol Gianni.”
I got the message. He’d used the name the gang had given me. The gang used the chopped off version, they said, because my full name, Aikaterini Nikol Giannopoulos, was too much of a mouthful. I knew they used the cute version because it didn’t remind them I was Greek.
Okan had used both chopped up names to say without saying it that I wasn’t really a member of the gang at all. Not only was I Greek, I was a girl, and I did things that came way too damn close to magic to sit well with them, even though they profited by what I could do.
So I shut up and pulled the oversized down parka in close around my chin and ducked my head deeper into the collar to protect my cheeks a bit better, and waited for the crossing to be over. It had to be warmer on the other side, out of the wind.