“You look beautiful.” Steve looked at Fiona with his heart in his eyes. She had never looked lovelier.
“So do you.” Fiona looked up at Steve. He was tall, slim and as elegantly dressed as ever. “Or handsome.”
“Handsome is better.” Steve took a breath.
“It’s been a crazy few years.”
Fiona nodded. “I can’t remember what it
was like before I met Kadogan. Now I’m used to werewolves and vampires and all
sorts that I had written off as fiction.”
“I know. And you’re married to someone who
has elfen blood running through their veins. I could become elfen at any time.”
Steve squeezed her hand.
“I’m happy now.” Fiona said. “There’s no
need to change.”
Steve held her close. “Adele is happily
married to Callum.”
Fiona smiled. “It was amazing. The police
were called four times, and none of it was for the werewolves. Half the family
got barred from every supermarket in York and some of them are going to paying
off the fines for diverting the National Grid for years.”
“Ian is happily married to Jeanette.”
Steve said, gently stroking Fiona’s face.
“And the baby is doing fine.” Fiona said.
“Though I feel sorry for the poor girl. Ian is going to be a very protective
“Lady Freydis married Martin.” Steve said.
“And Dave and Luke are still finding drunk elfen in all sorts of places.”
“She seems really happy.” Fiona said. “And
so does he. There is a sort of glow over them, when they aren’t causing trouble
at the White Hart.”
“There are hundreds of skeletal hands
disguised as cats roaming York and catching rodents.” Steve said. “This is
causing a few problems with pet gerbils and hamsters, but it’s mainly a good
“And Darren and Jasmine have adopted two
for the vicarage.” Fiona said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t settle
“An exorcist and a werewolf?” Steve said.
He shrugged. “It could be worse.”
“And I think that Mrs Tuesday may
be having some sort of affair with Eorl Brand.” Fiona said. “Of course, no-one
has got the nerve to ask.”
“Jack would,” Steve said, “But he’s too busy
getting into trouble. Did you know he got into the electronics at York Races
and nearly caused havoc. Dave caught him just in time.”
“I wonder what will happen with Dave and
Elaine.” Steve said. “I hope they will be happy.”
“That’s up to them.” Fiona said. “Just the
same as our happiness is up to us.”
“We’ve got the White Hart which is
thriving.” Steve said with some satisfaction. “And the new shop on the
outskirts of Leeds should be just as successful.”
“Second hand household wares from the
house clearances of non-normals.” Fiona shook her head. “And second hand
magical goods. I’m still not sure about that bit.”
“It will work.” Steve said. “Though I
think we’ll see a lot of counterfeit stuff coming through in the next few
Fiona smiled up at him. “And we’ll deal
with it. Just as we have dealt with everything else.”
Kadogan rushed in. “Everyone is waiting
Steve looked at his love. “Are you ready?”
Fiona smiled up at him. “Always.”
In deference to Steve’s heritage, they
walked into a corner of the faerie realm. A soft summer breeze blew over them
as they walked underneath great stands of trees and boughs of cherry blossom.
The benches were full of friends and loved ones, and a sigh went up as Fiona,
in a simple but elegant white dress, walked arm in arm with Steve, to where
Darren was waiting to bless their marriage and renew their vows. And for one,
gentle, singing heartbeat, all was well.
I originally started the stories of
the White Hart to see if using a blog format for a novel would work. That was
back in January 2017. Since then there have been 71 instalments and I have had
fun writing all of them. I’ve loved the characters and the setting, and I’ve enjoyed
the stories that flowed from them. Sometimes I have started writing a story
just to find out what was happening next.
All good things come to an end. I’ve
realised that while a blog is great for ongoing soaps and serials, it’s no good
for a novel, which is where I would like to concentrate. The last few months
have been tough for me, and finding the time to write more Tales from the White
Hart has been incredibly difficult. The complicated cast of characters demand and
deserve more time and attention from me than I can give them. The last few
weeks have been particularly difficult to find writing time, so I made the
decision I am making this brief chapter the last entry in Tales from the White
Hart, at least for now.
I have plans for novels which
feature many of the characters, and I will be continuing to write regular flash
fiction on my writing blog ‘Always Another Chapter’. I hope you will be able to
keep reading and enjoying.
Over the next few weeks I will be
sorting out this blog, playing around with some of the pages and the order of
things and making it easier to go back and dip into your favourite chapters. I
may even try and get it out as an ebook somewhere. Tales from the White Hart
have always been free to read online, and I while I don’t know if I can afford
to keep this site going permanently, it’s going to be here for a few months
more at least.
The most wonderful part about this fantastic journey has been the company of those who have joined along the way. The comments, support and kindness that you incredible people have shown has been amazing, and I don’t think that I have any way to thank you enough. Your encouragement made these stories possible. Thank you.
Jack grabbed Fiona’s arm and dragged her
around the corner of the marquee. “My fair Fiona, help me!”
Steve followed quickly. “They’re having
the first dance. What’s going on?”
Jack held up a necklace. It shimmered in
the late December sunlight, emeralds glimmering on the fine silver chain.
“Brand is planning to propose to Lady Freydis tonight using this. We have to
keep it away from him.”
“Brand seems to think that because it’s
Ian’s second marriage and Jeanette isn’t bothered that it doesn’t matter.” Jack
looked around. “But Ian would quite literally shred him and now is not the
“How did you get hold of it?” Steve asked.
“I picked his pocket.” Jack said, glancing
around the corner. “But I need to hide it. He’ll suspect me straight away.”
“I can’t imagine why.” Steve said.
Jack thrust the necklace at Steve. “Keep
it moving! It’s got all sorts of magic on it, and it’s probably got a caller on
it.” He frowned. “Like ‘find my phone’ but for jewellery.”
Steve glanced down at Fiona’s engagement
ring. “It’s a spell that has its uses.”
“But not right now.” Jack said. “Must
dash.” He shot out of the corner and almost collided with Brand. “Isn’t it a
As Brand grunted some sort of reply, Steve
and Fiona slipped away. Fiona looked at Steve. “He wouldn’t propose now, would
“He’s been pretty determined.” Steve said.
“And all hell would break out if he did. There’s not just one pack here, and
each one would want to show that they knew just how bad behaviour should be
Fiona felt a chill run through her. “Lady
Freydis would be furious as well.”
“But there’s all of Brand’s friends, and
some of those are feral. They don’t see normals from one century to the next.”
Steve slid discreetly back into the big marquee to applaud Ian and Jeanette as
they finished their dance.
“She looks so beautiful.” Fiona sighed.
“But I’m still grateful that we had our wedding our way. The last few
weeks have been bedlam.”
“We need to get this necklace hidden.”
Steve said. “And I haven’t got an isolation room set up at the house.”
“A what?” Fiona tugged at Steve’s hand.
“Come on, just a little dance.”
Steve stopped and looked down at his
beautiful wife. He dropped a quick kiss on her forehead. “We will definitely
have a dance, but later. An isolation room is somewhere hidden from magic.
They’re hard to set up and I’ve not had a chance yet. Watch out – here’s
“I’ll stall him.” Fiona said. “You find a good
Steve picked his way through the crowd.
Ian and Jeanette had done the legal part in the middle of the week, taking only
Callum and Jasmine as witnesses. They were making up for it today. Two hundred
had sat down to the meal and at least double that were already filing in for
the evening. Ian’s old pack had all turned out, along with Kieran’s pack and
quite a few representatives from nearby packs to show approval of how he had
dealt with Callum, Jasmine and Trent. Then there were the staff from the White Hart.
Ian was determined to do it right and show some prestige. There were the boggart
kits who had worked part time and their parents, cubs from half the country and
a selection of Adele’s family who had all been warned not to start anything.
And then there were Jeanette’s family.
There were a few werewolves tasked with making sure that they didn’t suspect
anything about the people at the party. Steve thought that was a forlorn hope
and that the best bet was to get them so drunk that they couldn’t remember
seeing a boggart, completely without a glamour, hairy arms flying as they did
For a moment Steve considered leaving the
necklace with them. But even though everyone had been warned, he couldn’t trust
Brand to stay away from them. And it was no good putting it behind the bar.
Steve spotted Brand heading towards him, forcing his way through the throng. He
had to lose the necklace. He spotted Darren who was holding hands with Jasmine
in a corner. That was it. He had to keep the necklace moving.
Darren was not impressed when Steve
interrupted him. “I’m not on any sort of duty.”
“Seriously, you have to keep this moving.”
Steve surreptitiously slid the necklace into Darren’s pocket. “Brand is going to
use a necklace to propose to Lady Freydis this evening.”
Jasmine stared. “Ian would literally kill
him,” she said. “He’s been the one stressing about the wedding being perfect.
He’ll murder anyone who upsets Jeanette tonight.”
“Jeanette isn’t stressed about the wedding.”
Darren felt carefully in his pocket.
“At the moment she’s doing a lot of
crying.” Jasmine said. “Even when she’s happy. It’s hard on Ian.”
“And Jeanette.” Steve said. “Look, see how
I’m asking advice about where to stash the necklace.” He pointed to the house,
apparently trying to shield his gesture from Brand. “Keep the necklace moving.”
As Steve moved with purpose towards the house,
Darren leant forward and lightly kissed Jasmine. “Would you like to dance?”
Jasmine sighed. “I’d love to dance, but I
know that you will just be using it as an excuse to palm off the necklace.”
“Absolutely correct.” Darren said. “I’m
going to try and palm it onto Mike, who is another one who will kill Brand if
he disturbs the wedding.” He paused for a moment, standing close to Jasmine. “You
look so beautiful.”
“Thank you.” Jasmine smiled up at him. “You
look pretty good yourself.” She followed Darren to the marquee where the huge
dance floor was already filling up. “A lot of people are fine with proposals at
weddings, but not Ian.”
“I know.” Darren held her close for a
moment before doing his best to move to the music. He was not a natural dancer,
but the mood was for enthusiasm over style and no-one was taking notes. “Besides,
having a proposal rejected with enthusiasm and vigour wouldn’t help at all. You
can’t expect Lady Freydis to be subtle.”
“Who do you think she’ll marry.” Jasmine
asked, as they worked their way across the dance floor.
“Whoever she pleases.” Darren said. He
swore suddenly. “Dammit, the necklace is enchanted. Brand’s looking for it. I
can’t give it Mike. I need to find someone with a few magic skills.”
Jasmine looked down at Darren’s pocket,
which was glowing faintly. It was hidden by the growing press on the dance
floor, but it was only a matter of time before Brand caught up and it could get
nasty. “But who can you give it to? I can’t see Jack, and Steve is a suspect.
If any of the elfen find out, there’ll be trouble, and Ian would genuinely kill
“Can you see Mrs Tuesday?” Darren asked.
“That’s a great idea.” Jasmine said. “Everyone’s
scared of Mrs Tuesday.”
“No, I can’t give it to her. There would
still be a scene.” Darren glanced around and saw Ian and Jeanette making the
rounds, both of them glowing with happiness. “But her friend knows what he’s
doing with magic.”
“Really?” Jeanette looked around. “Ian
just told me never to be alone with him.”
Darren looked back at her. “He’s alright.”
He saw Brand trying to push his way through the dance floor. “I’ll explain
later, but come on, let’s start looking at the bar.”
The bar was almost as full as the
dancefloor. The pack had set it up with plenty of tables and chairs scattered
around, along with some beanbags and comfortably padded rugs. Some of the older
werewolves had already gone to fur and were lounging in the corner with dog bowls
of beer in front of them. Mrs Tuesday was sitting with a glass in front of her
with some of the other boggarts while Jason was at the bar, yarning with some
of the older werewolves that were still in clothes. Darren rushed up to him,
Jasmine trailing behind him.
“Jason, can you help me out?”
“Sure.” Jason smiled politely at Jasmine. “The
blessing was beautiful.”
“Thanks.” Darren pulled out the necklace. “Brand
is planning to propose to Lady Freydis with this necklace this evening. We’ve
got to keep it away from him until after the party has finished.”
The werewolf next to Jason, a big man that
looked like he could juggle tractors, and who had already shed his jacket and
tie, stared. “Ian would rip him to pieces. It would be a bloodbath.”
Jasmine nodded. “We can’t let that happen.”
The werewolf had had a few drinks. “And
Mike would rip him to pieces. I mean, I know what happened, but Mike’s still
very fond of Ian.”
“I know.” Jasmine said.
“And then Kieran would rip Brand to pieces.”
The werewolf shook his head. “There would be blood everywhere.”
“It would be dreadful.” Jasmine said.
“I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t want to
rip him to pieces.” The werewolf took another draught from his pint. “I mean, young
Ian may have made mistakes, but he kept his fur flat and his tail up…”
Darren pulled Jason aside. “It’s being
tracked by magic. Can you do anything?”
“Hang on.” Jason frowned. “I think I know
something. Can you get me a clean glass? And do you have a mirror?”
“Do I look like I carry mirrors around
with me?” Darren said.
“Yes,” Jason grinned. “How about your
“I’ve got something.” Mrs Tuesday had come
up without Darren noticing and handed over a small handbag mirror. She looked to
where Jasmine was nodding politely as the werewolf worked his way through the
list of people who would rip Brand to pieces. “What’s going on?”
Darren explained as Jason carefully slipped
the necklace and mirror inside a clean pint glass and concentrated. Mrs Tuesday
shook her head.
“Lady Freydis would have an absolute fit!”
she said. “She’s very fond of Ian and Jeanette.” She thought for a moment. “And
she would enjoy having a chance to show off her skills at disciplining
“She’s very good at that.” Darren said. He
felt the metallic sensation of magic working and saw Jason slip the glass behind
the bar. “Will it work?”
“We’re about to find out.” Mrs Tuesday
said, settling her handbag more firmly on her shoulder.
Brand came in with purpose and then
paused, looking around as the brownie quickly slid the glass into a tray and slipped
away to the kitchen. Brand didn’t notice. He looked around, glowering, then
stormed back out to the bar, fuming.
The wedding was finally winding down. A
local taxi firm had been hired to take people back to York and quite a few were
staying at the house. The local packs were camping out in the marquees and at
least one seemed to be a heap of fur. It had been a beautiful wedding, and
Fiona was almost sad it was over. There hadn’t even been a fight.
Steve met her as she checked in the kitchen,
which the brownies had left immaculately clean. “I’ve got the necklace. We can
give it back to Brand now.”
“Where is he?” Fiona asked.
Steve looked around the large garden
almost entirely hidden by marquees and at the sprawling house and sheds. “That
is a good question. Let’s try the bar.”
Snow was starting to fall in tiny, delicate
flakes as they headed into the bar. Brand was there, leaning against the bar
next to a few werewolves snoozing next to their beer dishes. Jason was
listening with interest as Brand discussed the issues with the nixies in the tarns
at his home. Steve approached carefully and tapped Brand on the shoulder. “I
Brand took it and shook his head sadly. “It’s
no good. I have given up all hope. I found Lady Freydis having sex with Martin.”
“That doesn’t actually mean anything.”
Steve said cautiously.
Brand shook his head. “It was an unnatural
position. I shall go back to Nidderdale.”
Steve opened his mouth and then shut it
again. He looked at the sparkling snow settling gently over the lawn. “At least
she made sure that it was a white wedding.”