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Who Are We

Tainted Fae : Fates Academy
Prequel Novella


My magic is wrong. It comes from the wrong place. My father knew- he had me home schooled, taught me to disguise it. Now I'm starting at the academy, how long will it be before someone works it out? How long before I'm screwed?

Shivering in the cool evening breeze I huddle beside the other freshers. We've had our pleasant introduction from the dean, our campus tour, and now the professors have abandoned us. Left us with these feral seniors prowling around, herding us like damn sheep. The air is crackling with anxiety, enough that any fae could feed on it for a week. Not that anyone would. My shoulder brushes a slim elegant girl next to me and our eyes meet briefly. She's panicked, a lamb for slaughter. We all are.

Hell Night. I just have to survive it. Every senior here went through this once. It'll be okay. It has to be. A wind whips up and dark clouds lurch across the moon, casting slithering shadows over the faces around me. High or low fae, it doesn't matter - everyone's features are tight, apprehensive.

“I sense fear,” a voice booms, and I jerk my head around. A tall broad shouldered man jumps onto a craggy rock, his whole being lit with a malicious energy. “That's not very fae. Neither is clutching at each other like toddlers.”

Around me backs straighten, shoulders pull back and students edge away from each other. No no no. There's safety in numbers. What are they doing? I glance around, wishing I knew these fae. Two. I know a grand total of two students. My band members... and fuck knows where they are. If I could find them in the sea of faces I'd be glued to their sides. This asshole and his 'un-faeness' be damned.

“Tonight will be the worst night of your life.”

“Huh. Friendly,” I mutter under my breath and the boy next to me lets out a snort. I eye him surreptitiously. He's tall, with striking emerald eyes which crinkle at the edges. My attention is ripped away from his muscly frame as the prefect speaks again.

“Choose a house. Do your pathetic best to prove you're worthy. Fail, and suffer the consequences.”

Muttering breaks out.

“I heard they ex-communicate you. Make you sleep in the cellars. Ignore your existence.”

“Doesn't sound so bad. This asshole ignoring me...” I huff out.

Emerald-eyes barks a laugh, earning us both glares from the surrounding students. The sky glowers and a bolt of lightening cracks the clouds in two, emphasizing the manic gleam in the prefect's eye.

“I am Tyson Brand, head of Fire House. Choose my house only if you have a core of steel and molten lava in your veins. Fail my tests tonight and I'll treat you like the dogs you are.”

A blond haired fae steps forward. His gaze drips over the female students and he licks his lips.

“Arlo Knox.” My skin crawls as his glance flicks over me, pausing for a beat too long on my breasts. “Students entering Earth House have two choices – prove your worth by hazing, or between my sheets.” He grins, wriggling his eyebrows and slapping his thigh. Shit. Well I'm sure as hell not joining his house.

“Adria Brooke, Water House.” The only female prefect and she's water. Great. I have no special talent in water. Her speech washes over me, and I tune back in only when a violet haired man steps forward.

“Drefan Aerdant. Join Air House only if you have the strength of giants, the willpower of the Fates, and a stomach for violence. I will test each and every one of you to your breaking point. And if you're unlucky... beyond that.”

Shit. Well it was always going to be earth or air, and the sleaze is out. Drefan Break-You-Down Aerdant it is. Around me students with ashen faces shuffle towards their chosen houses in deathly silence.

I risk a glance in Drefan's direction. His brows are furrowed as he measures each student as if they've personally offended him. His gaze snaps up, catching mine. Bright green eyes stare into my soul, and he sneers.

“Cole should choose another house. He's your brother. He'll get special treatment!” I don't know where the blond got her courage from but the rage in Drefan's face is enough to make her take a trembling step back. Dammit why did I choose the hard-ass?

“My house. My rules,” he growls. “Cole, step away from the pledges. I know your strengths, brother. She just earned you reprieve. It wouldn't do to see an Aerdant humiliated with the plebs. Stay, watch...”

The fae who'd laughed with me peels off. Shit. I see it now, the strong set of the jaw the piercing green eyes. They could only be brothers. Cole looks softer somehow, less militant, but there's no doubting the family resemblance. He salutes Drefan and fires a cocky smirk in my direction. Lucky asshole. My gaze is torn from him by a screech. The blond who spoke out is ten feet in the air, spinning viciously head over feet. Holy shit. That's harsh. Drefan inspects his nails for a moment before turning back to us.

“Any more questions?”

Heads shake and feet shuffle. The air tastes acidic with dread. Not that I should be tasting their damn emotions. I damp down my magic, shoving it deep inside. Not today. My magic has to behave today. Please.

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