NEW RELEASE: “Stone Stolen” by Mia Ellas
Ann Kasatkina Covers
Date: Feb. 14th, 2023
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
and paranormal romance author Mia Ellas was always accused of living in her own
world so she decided to put it to paper. She loves things that go bump in the
night so she decided to share her love with her readers.
Mia resides in
Florida with her family and balances her writing with an active lifestyle. When
not writing, she enjoys the beach, mountain biking, and hiking.
“I thought an adder stone had a hole in it?” Jeannie’s younger
brother asked, peering more closely at the strange object. He was a thin young
man, likely no older than nineteen, with poorly dyed black hair hanging too
long in his gray eyes.
“You’re thinking of a hag stone,” I explained, having done more
research during my long run from the alchemists. “Which are sometimes also
called adder stones. This is the Adder Stone, as spoken of by the Roman
philosopher Pliny. He ascribed it to the druids and claimed it had all manner
of powers. In truth, it’s a reservoir of magical potential. The ancient kings
of our kind, not just gargoyles but all supernatural beings, kept it and poured
their power into it like a stockpile. After thousands of years, it contains so
much energy you could do almost anything with it. Which is why the alchemists
must not have it. I’m certain some of them believe they would only preserve it
as an artifact of our shared history, but the desperation with which they are
searching for it makes it apparent that at least one of them knows of its
potential and has every intention of using it.”
Jeannie nodded, her expression grim. “You’re right. I wouldn’t trust
the alchemists with the magical energy I could store up in a day, let alone
thousands of years. But why did the thief bring it to you?”
“I am a gargoyle,” I said with a shrug. “We are made to
“More importantly,” Ruhi interjected. “You’re made to
preserve the things you protect, not to take them for yourselves. I doubt it’s
even once occurred to you that you could access that magic if you wanted. Might
have made getting away from the alchemists a lot easier. But that’s not
something most gargoyles would even conceive of.”
I stared at the angel, thrown by the realization that he was right. It
really hadn’t occurred to me that I could have used the stone’s magic. Sometimes
I doubted that gargoyle instincts could be as powerful as they were, but
clearly I’d underestimated them.
“Also, I regret to inform you that stone is not remotely what you
think it is,” Ruhi continued, taking the stone out of my hands and holding
it up to admire the gleam of its rainbow sheen. “I assume it wasn’t this
big when you got it?”
He was right. It had grown from roughly the size and shape of a robin’s
egg to something closer to a goose egg, so gradually at first, I almost hadn’t
noticed. But since I’d arrived in Saint Augustine it had doubled in size
“How did you know?”
“Because I’ve seen it before,” Ruhi replied, still looking at
the stone. “Once. I never thought I’d see one again. Especially not
outside of Faerie.”
“Faerie?” Jeannie repeated, frowning in clear suspicion.
“What exactly is it if it’s not this Adder Stone?”
“Oh, it is the Adder Stone,” Ruhi explained. “It’s just
that the Adder Stone has never been what people thought it was. They believed
it was a simple magic item, a receptacle for energy. But it’s never been that.
It’s an egg.”
He paused a moment to let the impact of that settle over everyone. Brynn
gasped. Jeannie looked more displeased than ever.
“What kind of egg?” she demanded.
“The egg of a very rare and powerful fae creature known as a
marefox,” Ruhi explained. “Marefox breed very rarely, but their eggs
can sit dormant for thousands of years, accumulating magical energy while they
wait for the right conditions to hatch.”
“Mare fox,” Brynn repeated, moving closer to touch the egg
curiously. It shimmered under her fingers and her eyes widened in wonder.
“Does that mean it’s like a horse?”
“That’s mare as in Latin for the ocean,” Ruhi said. “It’s
also called a Seafox or a Seawolf. They resemble a fox or a small canine, like
a coyote, at least in the face, with a long, snakelike body and innumerable
stilt-like legs which they use to leap and run over the surface of the oceans
of Faerie. They don’t typically swim, just skim the waves. They can grow to
vast sizes. There are elder marefox out in the uncharted waters of Faerie that
can be mistaken for islands at a distance.”
“Why is it getting bigger?” I asked, fairly certain I already
knew the answer, but not why it was so.
“Because it’s getting ready to hatch,” Ruhi said, confirming my
fears. “I would hazard a guess that’s because it feels safe, being
protected by a gargoyle clan.”
“We aren’t—” I started to say.
“We aren’t a clan,” Jeannie said sharply before I could, with a
forcefulness that almost wounded me. Was the idea of being part of a clan with
me that repellent to her?
“As far as the egg is concerned, you’re close enough,” Ruhi
said with a shrug.
“So what does that mean for us?” Jeannie asked. “Do we
just need to keep it away from the alchemists ’til it hatches, then?”
“You wouldn’t want them getting their hands on a live marefox
either,” Ruhi said frankly. “At least not an infant. An adult could
more than defend itself. I doubt any human, no matter how magically gifted,
could contain an adult marefox if it didn’t want to be contained. Marefox have
the ability to open portals between the worlds. The magic that built the
Crossroads is very similar. Imagine what the alchemists could do with that if a
newly hatched and helpless marefox fell into their hands. That is if they
didn’t dissect it for spell components.”
“That must not happen,” I said immediately, protective instinct
roaring to life at the very idea of such a thing happening to a life I had been
charged to protect. I could see a flash of the same instinct in the eyes of
Brynn, and even Xander leaned closer, frowning in distress at the thought. Only
Jeannie held back, her mouth set in a grim line.
“This creature, is it dangerous?” she asked.
“Potentially very,” Ruhi confirmed. “Adult marefox are
extremely ferocious. And their ability to open portals presents all kind of
hazards. It’s not something you’d want running around on earth unattended for
“What if it didn’t have gargoyles guarding it anymore?” Jeannie
continued. “Would it go dormant again?”
“I’m not sure,” Ruhi said honestly. “It might. Or it might
be too late for that at this point. I’m not sure there’s any way to tell.”
“How have the alchemists been tracking it so far?” Xander asked
thoughtfully. “They’ve got to be tracking its magical signature, right?
The energy it gives off is pretty unique.”
“I couldn’t say,” I admitted, but Ruhi nodded.
“It’s a solid guess,” he said. “In which case there might
be a way to trick them.”
“Exactly what I was thinking!” Xander said, leaning forward
over the arm of the couch eagerly. “We create a fake egg with a duplicate
energy signature and use it to throw them off course.”
“If we combine that with cloaking the true egg’s signature,”
Ruhi suggested. “We might be able to put them off for good.”
“We could use the same spell I used for cloaking the
apartment,” Xander said, enthusiasm growing. “A smaller, concentrated
version. Then we like… chuck the fake egg into the ocean or something! They
clearly can’t pinpoint where it is exactly if they’ve had to search the whole
city for it. Dump it in the ocean and they’d never find it, so they’d never
figure out it wasn’t real!”
“Sounds like a hell of a plan to me,” Ruhi agreed.
“Or,” Jeannie interjected. “We could dump the actual egg
in the ocean and be done with this.”
“What?!” Brynn looked horrified by even the idea. Xander looked
almost as dismayed. I couldn’t imagine my own expression. “What about when
“It probably wouldn’t hatch under those conditions anyway,”
Jeannie replies. “And it would get all of us out of danger a lot faster.
The faster this situation is resolved, the faster Sven here can get the hell
out of Saint Augustine before he sets off another gargoyle/vampire war.”
Suddenly, her recalcitrance made more sense and I felt a rush of guilt. I
hadn’t just put her and her family in danger from the Alchemists, I’d also
endangered whatever peace they had worked out with Soren’s coven. It was no
wonder she wanted me gone.
“There’s no way in hell I’m letting you throw that poor thing into
the ocean after it trusted us enough to start hatching!” Brynn declared,
turning to face her sister with fire in her eyes.
“And what about after it hatches?” Jeannie replied. “What
happens then? You think you can just keep it like a pet? Ruhi said they could
grow to the size of an island. I don’t really see that working out in 1200
square foot apartment, do you?”
Ruhi cleared his throat. “Actually, it may not hatch for years yet.
And as soon as it’s strong enough to create a portal, it will probably return
to Faerie instinctively. They feed on magic and, magically speaking, Earth is a
desert compared to where it came from.”
“See?” Brynn said triumphantly. “So there’s no
“There are still numerous, significant problems,” Jeannie
replied with a scowl.
“I… really want to protect it, too,” Xander put in a bit
uncertainly. “I know there’s risk involved but… It feels like the right
thing to do.”
Brynn took the egg from Ruhi, who looked a bit startled by how abruptly
she snatched it, and held it out to Jeannie.
“I know you can feel it, too,” she said, big eyes earnest and
brimming with hope. “It wants us to protect it. It chose us. Hold it, and
tell me you can’t feel that.”
She pressed the egg into Jeannie’s hands and I saw Jeannie’s stubborn
expression melt almost immediately. She cradled the small gray shape in her palms,
looking down at it with an expression of such conflicted emotion that I
immediately wanted to take it from her, to assure her I would leave at once and
never bother her again, anything to erase that distress from her face.
“…Fine,” she said at length, taking a deep breath. “We’ll
do Xander’s plan to hide it from the alchemists.”
Brynn and Xander both cheered.
“But after that, it’s gone,” Jeannie finished, cutting them
off. “Sven will take it and go into hiding. There’s no reason to keep it
around here where the alchemists might still be keeping an eye out. It doesn’t
need all of us to finish hatching.”
Brynn tried to argue, but I held up a hand to stop her.
“That’s more than fair,” I said. “I don’t wish to endanger
any of you any longer than absolutely necessary.”
“Thank you,” Jeannie said reluctantly. I nodded, wishing a part
of me didn’t feel like it was dying to see her so relieved at the thought of me