TITLE: Shadows of Elfland
GENRE: YA historical fantasy
Henry crept along the forest trail, searching for the tracks he'd seen near the village. The lingering presence of magic prickled over his skin. He paused, rubbing the scars circling his wrist. Drixton was supposed to be his haven, a place he could pretend to be normal. He wasn't going to let the Fay destroy his life. Not this time.
He brushed aside crisp, fresh-fallen leaves, revealing deep paw prints as large as his hand. The villagers had little chance against such a beast. Henry smiled wryly. Depending on the creature, he might not do much better, but at least he had some idea of what he was facing. He touched the iron knife sheathed under his waistcoat. The weapon's weight anchored his courage, and he jogged in the direction of the tracks until they vanished onto rocky ground.
Scrambling up a stony outcrop, he surveyed the woods below. Life rustled and fluttered through the treetops, and the distant spire of the village church pricked the sky.
Henry bowed his head, opening himself to the forest. Its heavy, patient energy seeped into him: a slow pulse, the heartbeat of ancient trees. No nearby magic disturbed the steady rhythm, not even the flickers of lesser Fay inhabiting the deep caves and glades. The watchful stillness raised the hairs on the back of his neck.
He shivered and fumbled for his pocket watch. Almost noon. Time for his rendezvous with Domin. Perhaps his friend was having better luck.