* Laurie Winner for Best Paranormal
* Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence finalist
*National Readers’ Choice finalist
* More Than Magic finalist for Best Paranormal Book
* A PEARL nominee – (Paranormal Excellence Award for Romantic Literature)
*Golden Quill finalist
The third Tale of the Order
Genre: Fantasy / Romance
Copyright © CANDACE SAMS
“I hold my temper no longer, Angus MacGregor. I am here to pass judgement. You misuse your powers in the world and would threaten the very Order from which you came. Your hatred has left nothing of your heart but a blackened abyss. I can find no redeeming quality in you. And the worst of it is, your parents had so much love in them that they wanted to share their magic with the world. Even though they knew such a thing was not allowed, they were willing to risk their very lives in their cause. As noble as their purpose may have been, I cannot approve what they did. But I can admire their courage. You have shamed them and their efforts. They would have hated the man you have become and you are dangerous. So I must pass judgement upon you.”
She raised her arms and began to speak in Gaelic. “Clach, clach,” she chanted. She summoned the ancient magic for transforming the man into stone.
Words as old as time wove a spell around the place where they stood. The fog, which had earlier disappeared, now reappeared and circled the campsite. Though it grew colder, the wind did not blow. No creature made a sound.
For the first time since he was a child, Angus knew fear. He felt an iciness creep over him. It began at his feet then moved up his legs. He was unable to move or speak. Each second that elapsed seemed like an eternity as he grew more and more frigid. He thought he would freeze. Perhaps that was what the Sorceress intended to do. Kill him with the frosty air which penetrated the deepest part of his lungs.
Soon his sight dimmed and failed. He wanted to cry out in rage and horror. But that was a luxury denied to him. He could still hear the Sorceress’ voice wielding her enchanted powers, but he could do nothing to stop her. His magic was not as strong as hers, and the spell had come upon him too sudden.
“As it was with your parents, I do not have it in my heart to destroy you,” she told him. “I acknowledge that part of what you have become is due to my negligence.” She paused as she regarded her handiwork. “You will exist as you are, able to hear all that occurs around you. But never able to see or respond. If, on the three-hundredth anniversary of this enchantment, one soul will come forward, and utter the exact same words used to bewitch you, then the spell will be broken. Perhaps, in that time, you could learn how evil hatred is. Since you have not endeared yourself to a single being, I fully expect you will spend eternity as you are. A statue of stone. Hideous in appearance, and devoid of any friendship or human contact at all.”