The Fiddler of Dawn and Dusk
by Katheryn J. Avila
(Greylea Spells, #2)
Publication date: May 19th 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Camilla Vargas, gifted violinist unwilling to ever play again.
When I said I wanted to start over somewhere new, being pulled into a world of monsters and magic is not what I had in mind. Caught in the grips of a faulty spell, my only hope of getting home is picking up a violin and completing a goddess’ quest. Add to that a handsome but less-than-willing, divinely appointed bodyguard, and this whole fiasco runs the risk of ruining my new life plan.
But maybe that’s not so bad.
Valmong, prodigy cleric ignoring the voice of his patron god.
When Tenebrin’s voice rings in my mind, I’m usually better at tuning him out. But he’s persistent, and as a cry rings out through the trees, I can’t ignore the order to help. Camilla is odd — for a bard — refusing the violin that’s clearly hers and unfamiliar with the magic she can wield. Her quest for Claritas’ Insight will probably get me killed, but the longer I’m with her, the less I care.
I just want to keep her safe — even if it means I’ll never see her again.
Could she be any slower?
We’ve been walking for close to two hours and she’s lagged behind the whole time. Though I’m not eager to reach Swynton, I’m not moving as fast as I’d like, and at this rate we might not get there before nightfall. Every time Camilla tries to catch up — either with a jog or a ridiculous walk where she constantly pumps her arms — it’s not long before her breath is short, almost ragged.
I have a half a mind to offer to carry her.
“Sorry…can we take a break? Please?” She leans against a tree, closing her eyes.
“Sure.” I take a step closer to her, “Is it your head? You seemed fine earlier.”
“Yeah. Every time I try to pick up speed, it feels like the world is tilting.” She takes a deep breath. “I think I’ll be okay after a short break.” Camilla sits on a fallen tree. “Sorry again, for slowing you down.”
I shrug, trying to dismiss her concern. “It’s fine. To be honest I’m in no rush to reach Swynton.”
I don’t expect a follow up question, and once more I’m taken aback by how much she doesn’t know. She’s probably the only person in the entire region who doesn’t know who I am.
Or why I’m not exactly welcome in Swynton.
“They’re not very fond of me there.” I leave it at that.
“Should I be nervous, then? If you’re not welcome there, what’s to say I will be?” She fidgets in place, her hands twisting the hem of her top, teeth worrying her bottom lip.
“You’ll be fine.”
She finally drops the topic and sits in silence for another few minutes.
By the time we reach the main road, the sun is high in the sky. The forest lines either side of the road, and I’m surprised there aren’t more people on it. Swynton’s festival starts tonight, and there should be thousands making the pilgrimage here, for the shrines to Tenebrin and Claritas.
Fresh horse tracks and the tell-tale signs of wagon wheels tell me we might have just missed the crowd.
“Do you always travel by foot?” Camilla’s voice cuts through my thoughts.
“Yes. Horses are more trouble than they’re worth.” I turn to look at her without stopping. “Why? Getting tired again?”
“No. And even if you had one, I’ve never ridden before.”
The longer we’re on the road, the lighter the air around us gets, especially as the forest thins the closer we get to Swynton. Beside me, Camilla seems more at ease.
“So…does this happen often? Finding people in the woods like you found me?” She really has a hard time with silence.
“You run into others now and then. This is the first time I’ve had to save anyone, though.”
“You don’t just go around rescuing people?”
“No. Not the rescuing type.” Maybe in another life.
“What type are you, then?”
Will the questions ever cease? I stop, unable to hide my annoyance as I look at her.
Be nice. Tenebrin’s voice only doubles my irritation.
“The ‘does things for money’ type.” I stare her down as I speak, hoping she takes the hint to stop. Maybe trigger some of that same fear I provoked the previous night.
“Was that supposed to intimidate me?” She tilts her head, warm brown eyes trying to find the answer to her question on my face as they squint against the sun. Her face is so open, soft. Curious. Does she know she quirks her lips like that when she asks a question?
She is quite pretty, isn’t she? Tenebrin shocks me from the path my thoughts were taking.
“It was supposed to make you stop talking.” I adjust the strap on my shoulder, breaking her gaze and fixing my attention back on the road. A few minutes later, the gate to Swynton comes into view.
Katheryn is a software engineer in the Philadelphia area, writing fantasy and paranormal stories when she’s not fighting technology. In 2013, she graduated from King’s College in Pennsylvania with degrees in Computer Science and Professional Writing — so she’s always writing, be it software or fiction. She lives with her husband, Eric, and their furbaby, Ada.
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