When Lisa Richards’ parents died, she never thought her life would change as drastically as it did. Now she has to take over her father’s seat on a secret supernatural council, lead troops into battle against the ferocious Goblin Lord, and try not to get herself killed in the process.
To make matters worse, Lisa thinks she may be falling in love with the socialite werewolf who was supposed protect her.
Whoever said growing up was easy, clearly didn’t have to save the world every other week.
Monique Snyman lives in Pretoria, South Africa with an adorable Chihuahua that keeps her company and a bloodthirsty lawyer who keeps her sane. She is a full-time author, part-time editor and in-between reviewer of all things entertaining. Her short fiction has been published in a number of small press anthologies, and she’s working hard on a couple of novels in her spare time. Find out more about her by visiting www.charmingincantations.com/blog
An Extract of “Charming Incantations: Enticed”
In the distance, the faint sound of marching became more apparent, and I held my breath.
The goblins were on time…
My heart pounded hard in unison to the marching that grew closer and louder. My personal thoughts dissolved and my fears intensified as the frontline of the goblin army was revealed in the valley’s opening. Well-armoured, big, goblins holding huge red shields were at the front as Artorius had predicted.
Romulus called the big goblins Brutes, because they are apparently built like Olympic body builders. Judging by how their muscles bulged and flexed with every movement, wielding battle axes almost as big as me, I kind of understood what he meant.
From where I stood I could see them moving in formation, drooling onto the ground as they sneered and growled in ways that made werewolves look pretty in their transformed state. I noticed that the smaller goblins, situated behind the green ugly wall of Brutes, yelled orders to them as they moved, pushing them in the right direction as they marched deeper into the valley.
The sight was intimidating at best, but the imposing goblins could be defeated… I hoped.
The thought of having to watch the Banshees having to go up against the sizable beasts made me shudder, but there wasn’t time to become sentimental. Now was the time to get ready to protect mankind from those monsters.
The full goblin army was in view, when suddenly deafening high-pitched screams sounded from the trees and the Banshees filed out from their hiding places.
I looked across the valley to find Jared awaiting my signal, and knowing it was now or never, I held my one fist up in the air. Jared mimicked me, and I watched the shape shifters get into position from either side. When everything looked good, I punched into the air and shouted ‘fire’ as loud as I possibly could, before the arrows rained down on the goblin army. Arrows penetrated the thick green skins of the brutes at random, but they didn’t slow down even for a moment.
At that stage the banshees fell in with their swords, frenetically busy trying to break through the shields of the Brutes, and surprisingly, the Banshees looked like ruthless killing machines. The ghostly figures screamed in higher decibels, disorientating the Brutes, but their expressions remained unimpressed by the army.
“Fire at will!” I yelled, hoping that Jared also had superhuman hearing. To my surprise, he understood, and they did the same on the other side.
I picked up my bow from the ground, grabbed an arrow from the quiver on my back, aimed and shot into the army. I did this numerous times and watched the goblin army’s numbers decrease slightly, but the Brutes held their lines by bunching up at the ends, making a V-shape, which incidentally made holes in their defence.
Artorius’ prediction was right again…
So far, The Alliance had succeeded in their campaign.
Brutes started to fall one after the other by an invisible force that rushed towards them, pushing them backwards repeatedly. I couldn’t see what or who was doing it, but I suspected that the vampires were behind the brutal wave.
The banshees continued to disorient the goblins, the flanks continued to bunch up and create holes in the defence for the vampires, and the archers continued shooting at the army.
The first werewolf howl sounded in the distance.
“Keep shooting!” I yelled at my troops, not ready to sound a retreat yet.
The witches flew across the valley and dropped small leather pouches onto the goblin army, which acted almost like smoke bombs upon hitting the ground. The colourful smoke made it difficult for the goblins to see, but didn’t impair our vision for some reason.
“I love magic.” I said to myself as I grabbed another arrow from my quiver, aligned it, aimed and fired.
An unfamiliar trumpet blew loudly, and I looked around the clearing to see what was going on. The goblins at the back of the army started to retreat just as the first werewolf ran out from behind the treeline and charged an unsuspecting Brute.
Artorius hadn’t sounded our retreat yet, but the carnage that would ensue if the rest of our soldiers didn’t fall back made me anxious. I wasn’t ready to wash the blood of my troops from my hands yet.
“Retreat!” I yelled as I dropped my bow and waved frantically towards Jared. My group grabbed their weapons, hurried up the mountain and searched for safety from the werewolves and goblins. Jared followed my lead, and I watched the other shifters head into the western mountain. “Retreat!” I repeated my shouting down to the remaining vampires and banshees who had not realised that the werewolves were transforming.
My cries had inspired them to fall back with great speed, which was good, considering that the whole werewolf pack was on the tail of the first.
The trumpet bellowed through the valley again.
I looked around, half expecting to see Artorius standing atop the highest peak, blowing the trumpet as a retreat, but he wasn’t there. I surveyed the area, made sure none of my troops had fallen behind on the retreat, and then realised that I was the only one still so low on the mountain.
Horrific screeches followed the trumpet’s third hollow bellow, and my attention diverted towards the screeches.
I knew I should have fled for my life, but when a hideous creature flew over the mountain – its wingspan stretching thirty feet – I froze. At first I thought it was a dragon, but dragons didn’t have seven heads and smelled like death. If anything, I imagined dragons would smell like sulphur, but these things smelled like rotting corpses rather, which made me gasp for breath.
“This wasn’t part of the plan.” I said to myself when the first dragon-like creature was followed by almost thirty other ones, and each of them had more than one head.
They hovered across the valley, waiting for the werewolves, ready to kill them off easily while the werewolves were preoccupied with the remaining goblins.
Shocked, I came to the conclusion that we weren’t the ones ambushing them, they were ambushing us!
The witches, who hadn’t retreated by now, hovered mid-air and looked just as surprised by the creatures that had arrived. We just stared at the creatures flapping around and waiting to barge into the battle.
“LISA, RUN!” Shivelle shouted at me as she flew by to gather the remaining witches from the area and lead them to safety.
Her voice snapped me out of my state. I turned around, ready to start running deeper into the woods on the mountain so that I could get away from the battlefield and join my troops. I expected to see a huge mountain behind me, but instead I looked right at one of those dragon-like creatures standing there.
I was startled to say the least, and in the process fell backwards onto my behind as the thing stared at me with its large red eyes. It stalked closer, and I crawled backwards in my sitting position, feeling the cold sand underneath my hands and beneath my nails as I tried to get away.
The creature lifted one of its claws and gently, but firmly, pinned me down onto the ground. Helpless, I stared at its three heads as they growled and snapped at each other, fighting over the prey they just captured. Saliva dripped onto me as they tried to settle the conflict, but I only saw a chance of survival because of the bickering. I searched my belt for my hunting knife and with my other hand grabbed a fistful of sand.
“Come on beast, do your worst, but I’ll be damned if I go down without a fight!” I yelled at it and threw the sand into the middle head’s eyes, making it snarl at me angrily.
I unsheathed my knife, lifted it high and brought it down onto the claw that pinned me down as hard as I could, but nothing happened. Its impenetrable scales protected it from my weak knife to such an extent that the creature didn’t even notice that it was under attack.
‘Oh hell! Was this how I was going to die, being eaten – by a – a…’ My thoughts were interrupted when something slammed into the creature’s side with such force that it was thrown off of me instantly. However, the creature didn’t leave me unscathed, its other claw dug into my leg in an attempt to keep its balance it screeched in shock. I screamed out in agony, but the pain dulled quickly as the creature loosened its grip and tried to fight whatever attacked it.
This time, I didn’t hesitate in trying to get away. I stood up, ignored the pain in my leg, and was shocked to see a werewolf with thick black fur and emerald green eyes fighting the creature away from me.
“Rome?” I asked unsure. The werewolf looked over its shoulder, bared its teeth and growled ferociously at me, just before the creature knocked it away.
I didn’t stick around to see what happened next, because the creature’s one head had its gaze on me again. My feet moved across the uneven terrain quickly as I attempted to get away from the violent growls and snarls that were coming from the brawl I had left behind.
I jumped over tree roots that protruded and clambered over large rocks.
The journey was slower than I intended, and I scraped myself up pretty badly along the way, but it wasn’t until I lost my footing once that the extent of my injuries really became clear. Nevertheless, I continued to push forward.
My foot caught on a tree root for a second time, and I began my swift descend into the rough ground. Only to be caught, picked up at an incredible speed, and held against a cold body.
“What the –” I said loudly as I was trying to figure out what was going on, before Milosh started rushing through the trees almost as quickly as Romulus did the last time I was caught unaware in the woods. “Oh, thank heavens. I thought I was a gonner.”
“You almost were. Good thing Romulus saved you from that Balaur, otherwise you might have been another monsters snack.” He grinned. “We can’t have that now, can we?”
“Yeah, if anyone’s snacking on me, I’ll make sure you get first dibs.”
“That’s my girl.” He chuckled.
“Balaurs? Is that’s what those things are called.” I asked and Milosh nodded. “We were ambushed! What the hell happened? I thought Artorius had this whole thing figured out?” I said angrily, but he didn’t answer.
A couple of seconds later we were standing alongside my half of the shape shifters troops who took shelter in a cave almost at the peak of the mountain. Milosh gently put me down on my feet and looked at my leg, before he licked his lips. “Thank you.” I whispered.
“You need to tend to your leg.” He disappeared almost into thin air without saying anything else. Only a slight breeze on my face was an indication of him running back towards his own troops.
The shape shifters silently stood and gaped at the massacre unfolding at the foot of the mountain as I moved to join them.
Witches fell from the sky as the balaurs caught them, and although they fought for their lives, some were dead before they even hit the ground.
Werewolves were being attacked by two or more of the balaurs at a time, making their battles even more difficult, but the pack didn’t take it lying down either. I was overcome by sadness as I wondered whether Romulus and Rema would come out of this alive.