by Sandra Unerman
The Unseen Spirits must be entertained, so that the city may prosper......
In the summer of 1914, Jane Fairchild, a young English musician, is kidnapped by magic and sent to Spellhaven, an island city ruled by magicians. Here, peace and prosperity are maintained with the assistance of Unseen Spirits bound to the service of the Lords Magician. The Spirits must be kept in good humour by the performance of all kinds of shows, dance, drama and music. Jane is one of many people kidnapped from the outside world and forced to contribute to these entertainments for a set period of service.
Only Jane is having none of it. She will not perform for her kidnapper, Lucian Palafox, but agrees to undertake an apprenticeship with another magician impresario, provided she is taught magic in return. Jane's forays into magic lead her deeper within the mysteries of Spellhaven, her rivalry with Lucian escalates and the quarrels between them grow strong enough to shake the city to its foundations.
Fantasy, Magic Realism, 274 words.
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A stranger stepped in front of her, a young man, dark and thin. ‘That last piece was the real stuff. Couldn’t you strangle your First Violin with his own strings and play some more of it?’ he said.
‘Good evening, Mr.…?’ Jane said.
The stranger inclined his head. ‘Lucian Hunter, at your service.’ There was a glint in his eye, as though at a joke he did not expect other people to understand.
‘Mr. Scott is a very fine musician and a friend of mine.’
‘But deadening. You ought to quarrel with him and strike out on your own.’
Jane drew breath to argue and then decided not to explain herself to this person, whoever he was.
‘I don’t think so,’ she said. ‘Excuse me, I should go and find Lady Waverley.’
‘Wait!’ Hunter’s voice was not loud but compelling. He spoke clear English but with the shadow of an accent Jane could not place. ‘I have something else to ask you. Will you meet me next week and play for me?’
‘I’m afraid not.’
‘I could pay you for some lessons. Surely you take pupils?’
Not arrogant young men, Jane thought. ‘It really isn’t possible,’ she said, and turned away.
She felt a hand on her arm and swung back to glare at Hunter. He dropped his clasp at once but he said, ‘You’ll regret it if you don’t. It’s the music I want, you know.’
‘Not from me. Or from anyone else I know if you lay a finger on me again.’
His smile was swift and infuriating.
‘I don’t need to, now,’ he said and turned away.
About the Author:
Sandra Unerman lives in London in the UK. When she retired from a career as a Government lawyer, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, specialising in SF and fantasy, and graduated in 2013. Since then, she has had a number of short stories published. She writes reviews and articles for the British Science Fiction Association and the British Fantasy Society. She is a member of London Clockhouse writers and other writing groups. Her interests include history, folklore and medieval literature.