He is born into the human world with a gift; a gift that brings him to the attention of powers both dark and light from the World of the Fey. Sive, the goddess of battle, hopes that he may be able to change the fate of her people.
The Fey are dying, killed by something beyond the boundaries of worlds, and Sive will do anything to save them. So she enlists the help of her trickster cousin Puck to guard the child, and watch him grow into his gift. But a dark power imprisoned by human and Fey, plots to destroy both worlds, and unmake all that they have created.
Can one boy stop the destruction, even if he is William Shakespeare?
Finalist in the 2006 Sir Julius Vogel Awards
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Chasing the Bard
It was of course a guilty pleasure. When Puck parted the Veil Between Worlds, and stepped into the forbidden delights of the human realm, it was with a delicious shudder of anticipation. If he were found out of course there would be more than the Christian hell to pay for it. He could think of a hundred unpleasant things that Auberon could punish him with, probably even more than the king himself, and yet he couldn’t quite bring himself to step back.
The wood was so pleasant, and the trees were actually sighing to him as he took his first step into the crisp layer of leaves. Surely the rest were wrong about this human world. Beauty still lingered here— even if his people’s music had faded.
He bent, scooping up a handful of the trees castoffs, and with a little flicker of his Art he formed them into a very passable brown coat which he slipped over his head with an almost giggle. What he wouldn’t have given for a mirror.
The trees whispered again, the slight wind giving them an eager breathy voice, and head cocked, Puck listened.
“Why thank you,” he leapt on light feet to where a sliver of water had gathered between the roots of a grandfather oak. Reflected in nature’s mirror the Trickster admired his handiwork. He flicked his silver white hair out from under his new vest, and grinned. The dark leaves looked good— even on this his smallest, and most childlike form. It still needed something.
Head on one side Puck considered. Another flicker of art bought a sleeping hyacinth out from its hiding hole. He thanked it just as kindly as the tree before plucking it, and putting it behind one ear. He’d just settled down for a decent spell of admiring himself when a smell came to him on the breeze. Something human was plodding towards his little nook.
Quick as a startled squirrel he’d bounded up the tree, and nestled into its friendly crook long before the old woman came puffing around the corner. She paused with a great huffing sigh, and wiped a thread of sweat from her creased face.
Puck had never seen a human so weighed down with objects, a scraggly bag on her back, a sheaf of herbs under one arm, and even more interestingly an oddly shaped stool under the other. His eyebrow went up a notch, and despite not wanting to be seen, he leaned perplexed over the branch for a closer look. The woman passed right beneath him, all the while muttering to herself in a low angry voice.
The Trickster had never been one to resist his impulses, and was not changing that today. Nor was he known for his skill with Art, but even his stern cousin Sive the Shining would have been impressed with the sharp sliver of Art he sent into the human’s consciousness; she didn’t feel a thing.
The old woman’s mind was heaving with anger, all tied up with someone called Joan who had obviously failed in someway, and not aided by the fact that her burden was heavy. This Bess’s bones hurt, her feet were almost worn raw in her clogs, and the path was slippery at this early hour. Still the concern at her slowness was not solely for herself, she had a duty that he had not quite winkled from her brain, but it was what drove her to walk so fast in the chill misty morning. She had a good heart, and he’d always had a soft spot for her sort of humanity, so if he called his Art to strengthen her muscles he wasn’t to be blamed. Sive’s stern look was a whole world away. It was only a moment’s work.
It was gladdening to see her face relax, and her back straighten as the power filled her. It wasn’t his imagination; her eyes did drift to the tree he was hiding in.
“Thank you Lord Callirius,” her voice was very low but his otherworldly ears were equally sharp.
Bess had straightened and moved on by the time Puck recovered. He should have been incensed that she’d mistaken the reprieve as a gift from his cousin, but he was more shocked that she’d named a Fey at all. How extraordinary, thought Puck as he climbed atop the branch, to watch the woman walk away faster, and with a great deal less puffing. Could it be that some of the old ways still remained in the humans even after his kind had forsaken this realm? It would have been remiss of him not to find out.