Trial by Fire
by Margarita Gakis
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Series: Covencraft, Book 1
Published: June 25th 2013
Publisher: Fable Press
Cover Artist: Steven Novak
Jade leads a structured life:
No serious relationships.
And now, she can spontaneously set things on fire with her mind.
Well... perhaps “normal” was never in the cards for her. As she questions her own sanity and spirals out of control, a man appears on her doorstep and tells her that, like him, she’s a witch.
Pulled in all directions, her unbridled magic draws dangerous attention and Jade wonders if she’s made the worst mistake of her life by joining a coven, or if she’ll even live long enough to regret it.
Jade shrugged and looked around the medical area.
“I sent Callie home. Your testing is next and it’s best to have no other witches about when it occurs.” Paris answered her unspoken question.
“What about you guys?” Jade asked, gesturing to the doctor and the coven leader.
“Oh, I’m not a witch,” Dr. Gellar said. “I just work for the Coven.”
Jade looked at Paris as he spoke. “Part of the test involves your power being tested against another witch. I’ll be testing your power with mine.” He smiled benignly at her.
“Is it going to be like the other night, when you were trying to kill my fire?” she asked, wary. Thinking about the sick, heavy feeling that had permeated her chest and stomach made Jade wrinkle her nose in distaste. Paris made a waffling motion with his head and looked uncertain.
“Possibly,” he admitted.
At least he’s honest, she thought.
Dr. Gellar motioned Jade over to one of the chairs in the public area. “If you would like to have a seat over there, we can begin your power testing. I’m going to attach some electrodes to your head, neck and a few of your fingertips and then we can begin.”
The room was silent as the doctor connected Jade to the monitoring equipment. Jade released her hair from her ponytail and shook it out, knowing it was probably in a huge halo around her head. She wasn’t one of those women who could take their hair down and have it look like she stepped from the pages of a magazine. Out of the ponytail, her hair curved along a huge wave from where the elastic sat. It puffed from her head like a lion’s mane. Gellar clipped more sensors to Jade’s fingertips, and put a few on the side of her neck. Jade tugged at a few of the electrodes and poked at the machine they were attached to until Dr. Gellar rolled it out of her reach.
“Try to remain still, Jade,” the doctor admonished.
Jade snatched her hand away and leaned back in her seat, tapping her foot on the marble floor.
“Completely still,” Dr. Gellar said without even looking over at her.
Feeling churlish, Jade stuck her tongue out at her and then felt like an idiot for doing it, but it was too late. She slunk lower in her seat.
“Okay,” Dr. Gellar said as she made one final adjustment to the machine, “now we can begin. Paris tells me that you’ve already been able to generate fire?”
“I want you to try again now.”
Jade held her hand out at elbow level and immediately a blue flame appeared in the center of it. Eyes wide, the doctor tilted her head sharply at Jade’s palm and then glanced at Paris.
“I know,” he said. “She has a knack for that one.”
Dr. Gellar raised her eyebrows but didn’t say anything as she made a few notes on a clipboard. Jade craned her head over to the side to see if she could read it but it was too far away.
The doctor returned her attention to Jade. “Can you extinguish it?”
As soon as she was done asking the question, the flame winked out with an audible puff. Dr. Gellar made additional notes.
“And bring it back.”
The flame sprung up in front of Jade again, only this time, she didn’t even raise her hand. The flame just floated softly in front of her at chest height.
“Jade, would you be able to change its shape?” asked Paris.
She shrugged. “I guess.”
Thinking about the tiny flame caused it to dance a bit and she could feel the shape of it in her brain. She pulled at it, twisting it, getting a feel for it and then stretched it out and shaped it. She thought about a triangle and then discarded that idea immediately for a pyramid. The flame flickered into a flat triangle and then quickly folded in on itself and settled as a pyramid, keeping up with her thoughts. She rubbed her fingertips together and, feeling a rough edge along one of her cuticles, turned her focus away from the flame in front of her and looked down at her nail. When she glanced back up at the pyramid, it was rotating lazily in front of her, like a gyroscope, in three dimensions. She looked over at Dr. Gellar who was staring from Jade to the flame to the machines with interest.
“Anything else?” Jade asked.
Dr. Gellar came to stand in front of her. “You can extinguish your fire again, Jade.” As it dissipated, she held out both hands toward Jade, a small object in each. Her right hand held a tiger eye stone, the left held a small gold coin.
“One of these objects has been charmed.” Dr. Gellar stated plainly. “Can you tell which one?”
Jade looked at the items in the doctor’s hands and although she didn’t know why, she immediately pointed at the coin. Surprising herself, she raised her eyes to the doctor, who nodded and put the stone in her pocket.
She handed the coin to Jade. “What can you tell me about this?”
Jade took the coin and turned it over in her fingers. The top of her knuckles tingled slightly. She rested the coin on the top of her fingers, in the soft skin between her pinky and ring finger. The coin rolled easily from knuckle to knuckle, flipping itself over. She moved her fingers slightly, letting the coin flip itself over, running back and forth across the top of her hand.
“It was charmed so it won’t fall off,” she stared down at the flickering gold. Then, turning to Paris, she asked, “How do I know that?”
“Magic lingers, gives off an energy,” he said as though it was a response she would fully understand.
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About the Author
Margarita loves the art, creativity and romanticism of storytelling. Sometimes, however, the act of putting pen to paper proves challenging, elusive. She develops genuine, relatable characters which grow in the hearts of her readers. From that foundation, the stories flourish into a warm friend.
She enjoys pursuits which blur the lines between the analytical and creative sides of her brain. This includes her day job in electronic data management, where she uses her creativity to solve logical problems, and also her lessons learning to play the cello, where she finds beauty in the structure of music and the instrument. She believes there is a place for both logic and imagination to work together. When they do, the results are magical.
Margarita has a special spot in her heart for dogs and lives with three of them. It can be a little overwhelming but the quality snuggle time makes up for it.
Margarita lives in Calgary, Alberta with her family.