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Bound into the Blood is now available at a variety of retailers in both paperback and ebook formats.
The fourth entry in The Hounds of Annwn series continues the story of George Talbot Traherne's adventures as a human huntsman in the fae otherworld of the Virginia Piedmont. For a complete list of books in the series, see here.
For more about Bound into the Blood, see here.
It was time to move again, he decided. Soon. He searched his face in the mirror. Ten years in one place was enough. The first jokes about how young he still looked had started, and his unchanging appearance would only raise more questions if he lingered much longer.
He grimaced. It’s getting harder each time to set up a new identity, he thought, to stay off the grid. Maybe I should move to another country altogether, one with bigger problems than surveilling its citizens. I could last a long time in some country in Africa, if I could figure out a way to get there without a passport. And there are interesting beasts there to turn my hand to.
Or maybe I should just stop and put an end to it, the last of my line of the special breed, the pure blood.
He’d done what he had to do, twenty-odd years ago, and he remembered it still each morning when he woke. Nothing much had seemed real to him after that, after he fled and left it all, worlds behind. His death wouldn’t seem real either, when it came, he suspected, just the long-delayed natural conclusion. Well, at least he’d be done with it, then. He was tired of the fight. It would be a welcome relief, a silence and a forgetting.
Creiddylad knelt at her father’s feet and waited for his response. She surreptitiously watched from her humbly lowered eyes, the subtle smile that was normally on her face hidden from his sight.
Lludd, King of Britain, stiffened in his great seat in his private audience chamber. “Can this possibly be true? The wizards were right that rock-wights made the ways we use, and my son Gwyn knows this and keeps it from me?”
“He’s found a method of controlling the elementals, father,” she said, rubbing salt into the wound. “I fear my friend Madog paid with his life when he challenged Gwyn’s authority.” The fact that Madog had been experimenting with them, had even kidnapped a young one, was carefully omitted.
Lludd ruminated on this treacherous and independent son. Prince of Annwn, indeed. Only by my will, he reminded himself. It was time he took that back and made something more useful out of him. Annwn would be better served by an ambitious deputy who owed everything to him, one who had proven his loyalty.
It would be a shame to hurt him too badly, but he could always breed other children. That’s what they were there for, after all—the glory of his line.
*I’m sorry I ran away, Mother. I want to come home now.*
Seething Magma raised her mantle in the dark underground cavity and interrupted her meal of crushed rock. At last, she thought, relief flooding her limbs. It had been almost a thousand years since she’d heard from her youngest child.
*Where have you been?* she scolded, then emended, *Never mind, just come home.*
*I can’t! He won’t let me go.* Granite Cloud’s wail roused her mother’s alarm. Nothing could hold an elemental.
I did it! He’s finally gone, dead, finished. A few snicks and snecks, and there he was on the ground, wasn’t he, throat twitching. And they just stood around, didn’t they, deluded like fools by the spell, that wonderful spell he gave me, he was right about it, all those hounds and nothing they could do.
The mighty prince. Ha. One less for you. I remember how he helped you hold him down before you cut him open…
Hush, hush, no, don’t think about that.