Eileen has always known she couldn’t control her shifts. She also knows that it is not normal to shift into hundreds of different animals.
When she is declared close to her heat, she is ordered to the Crossroads and her payment for the transport causes a stir. Her claw is that of a chimera and the enchantment that she thought was binding her, in fact, wasn’t doing anything at all.
Harris has been at the Crossroads for a few days, and when he sees a woman dressed to the nines in a classic manner, he is enthralled. When she is spunky and direct, he is charmed, and when she touches his hand, he is smitten.
Eileen hadn’t realised that her transport to the Crossroads would involve security protocols, but the last person mixed with fey magic had blown up the entry point.
Krisia had her apprentice with her and was walking the nervous man through the details of layering human magic around a shifter covered in fey magic over wild magic. It was not a simple procedure, so while they figured it out, Eileen baked cookies.
There were glyphs, charms and fragments of her body required for the event, so she partially shifted and clipped her claws.
Krisia took the samples gingerly and looked at them from every angle. “Do they always look like this?”
Eileen examined them. “Yup. When I clip living claws, they look like that.”
The transporter smiled. “Can I call someone else in? My husband has to see this.”
Eileen shrugged. “Sure. The second batch of cookies is ready to go in, so no worries. If you aren’t pressed for time, I am not in a hurry.”
Delighted, Krisia fished out her phone and made a call. The words, “No, you really need to see this,” were used frequently.
Eileen ate the first hot cookie off the pan then exhaled and tossed it from palm to palm. “Why do I always do that?”
Amethyst poured her a glass of milk. “Because you are a creature of habit.”
Eileen gestured toward Krisia and her apprentice poring over her claw clippings. “I am guessing that I am about to find out what kind of creature I actually am.”
“You think that you weren’t just a random?” Amy smiled and took a cookie.
This was a conversation they had had hundreds of time over the years. “I am getting that inkling. It is nice to have it confirmed, though.”
There was a flash in the backyard and a man appeared with a serious look on his face and an eye for Krisia as she approached him with the samples.
Eileen watched and sipped her milk while the two held her clippings up to the light.
They both came inside with dazed expressions on their faces.
The man removed a flask from inside his vest and smiled, “Miss Eileen Heller? I greet you on behalf of the Mage’s Guild. I confess I am a little giddy at the prospect of meeting you. Your kind do not come along every century.”
Eileen munched a cookie and raised a brow. “What am I?”
“Aside from the fey magic, your own identity can be confirmed by dropping your claw clipping into this fluid. I confess I am rather nervous. The reaction is said to be very violent.”
Amy took her hand, and they watched as he dropped the claw into the vial.
For a moment, nothing happened and then a violent rainbow of sparks shot out of the top with more colour blazing through the glass.
The mage blinked and shielded his eyes with his free hand.
The lightshow continued for a minute, and Eileen smiled, “Ohh-ahhh.”
Amy squeezed her hand. “Stop being sarcastic.”
Transporter Guild Master Krisia was grinning. “I don’t believe it. An actual chimera.”
Eileen smiled back and held out a plate. “Cookie?”
Krisia took one. “Oh, these are good.”
“He can have one, too.”
Krisia took it and bit it as well. “I am eating for two, so I get his.”
Once the cookies were gone, Krisia waved her over. “Now that I know that the transformation has nothing to do with the fey magic, this will be much easier. We just need to neutralize the magic on your body and we can send you on your way.”
Amy hugged her and handed her her carry-on. “Have fun and meet someone handsome with a good sense of humour. I want any grandkids that have to be able to laugh at my jokes.”
Eileen returned the hug. “Then, I want someone with a bad sense of humour. Your jokes are horrible.”
Amy laughed through the tears in her glorious bright purple eyes. “Yeah, they are.”
Four charms, an incantation and three minutes later, Eileen Heller was walking through the archway that Krisia’s apprentice had produced. Ready or not, she was heading to the Crossroads.