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Tilly Wallace

Castle Manoeuvre

Castle Manoeuvre

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Sera is imprisoned, magic-less, and alone…or is she?

Sera’s curiosity is finally satisfied about the Repository of Forgotten Things. Just not in the manner she desired. While she staves off boredom confined in her cell, Lord Rowan finally reveals his hideous plan, and Sera is not having any of it.

The shadow of the old mage’s conspiracy is cast over all of England and even King George. Sera holds the key to unraveling the web of treachery, but first she must escape her magical confinement and rekindle trapped powers. From the depths of the Repository, she weaves a tapestry of friendship and loyalty with unlikely allies.

With every passing day, the stakes grow higher, but time is running out for both England and Sera. The fate of the kingdom rests in her hands. The time for her to rise and claim her destiny is now. Only by escaping the Repository and unlocking the full potential of her magic can Sera hope to rewrite the fate of a nation and secure her own freedom.

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Read sample

Seraphina Winyard awoke with a start—as though someone had thrown a bucket of cold water over her. Gasping, she sat upright, flung her hands out with palms forward, and commanded her magic to strike out at her tormentor with a bucket of lukewarm pudding.
Except her gift did not respond.
Memories struggled through the thick honey in her mind. Her thoughts muddled and confused. Lord Rowan brewed the poison that killed her guardian, Lord Branvale. Lady Abigail Crawley had delivered it to Branvale’s valet.
Abigail, her friend, had…betrayed her.
Only now did Sera consider her surroundings. She sat on a narrow bed in a prison cell. The mattress was thin and hard under her. Three walls were thick grey stone blocks. One wall was made of iron bars. One of the stone walls had a gap about a foot wide, as though the builder had run out of stone. The space filled with the same iron bars that created the front of her cell, and it allowed her a view into the next cell. Her space had a small table with a single chair pushed up against the wall opposite the bed. A side table stood against the stone opposite the door and beside the bed. On top of it, a pitcher and ewer. Next to those, a stack of books. A rectangular rug of a muddy brown and green covered most of the cold floor.
“The Repository of Forgotten Things,” she whispered the name of the prison as she rose.
With one hand on the chill stone, Sera closed her eyes and searched her body for any trace of her magic. Her limbs were leaden and ordinary, but she refused to give up. When her traitorous friend had leaned close, she let slip one important piece of information. The spell brewed by the old mage hadn’t removed Sera’s magic like a physician with a scalpel, cutting out rot.
Abigail had whispered that Sera’s magic was in hibernation. It still dwelt inside her. Somewhere. But it slept. All she had to do was wake it up and she could escape.
Sera let her mind wander through every pathway of her being, searching for anything that seemed out of place. After what seemed like an eternity of scouring her entire body, and trying not to panic, at last Sera found the tiny spark. Slumbering deep at her very core, it emitted only the faintest glow to reassure her it was still alive and unharmed. No matter how hard she tried to summon it, her magic remained curled upon itself and unable to answer her command.
Opening her eyes, sweat beaded on her forehead, and her legs wobbled from exertion. Sera staggered to the table and let her body drop into the chair. Her head in her hands as she staved off a wave of despair. Minute by minute, the shaking in her limbs ceased and her breath came easier to her lungs.
How long was I unconscious? It could have been an hour or a year.
“Elliot!” she called out her footman’s name. Her last memory was of him fighting off three large men in the hallway of her Soho home. Was he unharmed? And what of Vicky, her maid, and Rosie the cook? Worry clawed through her along with a steely resolution.
Abigail and Lord Rowan would pay for what they had done. Once she escaped the grey prison.
Rising again, Sera paced to the bars and wrapped her hands around them. She tugged, not expecting them to give, but you never knew. Pressing her face to the metal, she peered in both directions. A short and wide corridor ran in front of a row of cells. One end stopped at a stone wall. The other end had a closed metal door.
A series of wheezing noises from the adjoining cell drew her attention. Turning, Sera crept close to the foot of her bed and stared into the next space, between the length of bars they shared. Her companion occupied a room with no furnishings. The prisoner even deprived of a bed. Instead, a stone platform jutted out from one wall, a worn blanket balled up at one end. A figure curled upon itself on the hard stone, their back to Sera.
An extremely hairy back. That might explain why he didn’t use the blanket at his feet. Nature had provided his own blanket.
There was something about the size, shape, and volume of snoring that made Sera think the other resident was male. Although they would need to be awake and chatty for her to confirm that assumption.
“Hello, I’m Sera, your new neighbour,” she called out. While it was rude to wake the sleeper, they might know vital information about their prison and she didn’t want to sit around all day waiting for them to finish their nap.
Curiosity nibbled at her about the other person. From what little she knew, the Repository held dangerous supernatural inmates. The person asleep on the bench was either a mage, an aftermage, or an Unnatural. Since there were no missing mages apart from her, they must be from one of the latter two categories.
Just as she began to wonder if they were so soundly asleep that they hadn’t heard her, the shape made a grunt and twisted their body off the bench.
Sera took a half-step backwards at the visage that stared at her. His face was elongated into a snout. Jagged, protracted teeth in the prominent jaw pulled back in a snarl. Long fur, in a mix of deep grey and black, covered patches of his arms and chest. When he raised his hands, they ended in thick, solid furred fingers with a yellow claw. His ears curved upwards, terminating in a small tuft, and jutted through a tangle of dark hair that fell to his shoulders.

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