Crossposted from Harlequin's blog.
Hey everyone! After the release of The Iron Daughter a few weeks ago, one of the questions I’ve been asked most frequently revolves around Meghan and her ability to fight back. I now give you a short excerpt from the upcoming The Iron Queen, the third book in the Iron Fey series, which I hope will help to answer that question:
Ash strode to a nearby rock, swooped down, and tossed me a long, slightly curved stick. When I caught it, I saw that it was actually a leather sheath with a gilded brass hilt poking from the top. A sword. Ash was giving me a sword … why?
Oh, yeah. Because I wanted to learn to fight. Because I’d asked him to teach me.
Ash, watching me with that weary, knowing look on his face, shook his head. “You forgot, did you?”
“Nooooo,” I said quickly. “I just … didn’t think it would be this soon.”
“This is the perfect place.” Ash turned slightly to gaze around the clearing. “Quiet, hidden. We can catch our breath here. It’s a good place to learn while you’re waiting for your father to come out of it. When we’re done here, I have a feeling things will get much more chaotic.” He gestured to the sword in my hand. “Your first lesson begins now. Draw your sword.”
I did. Unsheathing it sent a raspy shiver across the glen, and I gazed at the weapon in fascination. The blade was thin and slightly curved, an elegant looking weapon, razor sharp and deadly. A warning tickled the back of my mind. There was something about the blade that was … different. Blinking, I ran my fingers along the cool, gleaming edge, and a chill shot through my stomach.
The blade was made of steel. Not faery steel. Not a fey sword covered in glamour. Real, ordinary iron. The kind that would burn faery flesh and sear away glamour. The kind that left wounds impossible to heal.
I gaped at it, then at Ash, who looked remarkably calm to be facing his greatest weakness. “This is steel,” I told him, sure that Leanansidhe had made a mistake.
He nodded. “An eighteenth-century Spanish saber. Leanansidhe nearly had a fit when I told her what I wanted, but she was able to track one down in exchange for a favor.” He paused then, wincing slightly. “A very large favor.”
Alarmed, I stared at him. “What did you promise her?”
“It doesn’t matter. Nothing that endangers us in any way.” He hurried on before I could argue. “I wanted a light, slashing weapon for you, one with a good amount of reach, to keep opponents farther away.” He gestured to the saber with his own weapon, a blindingly quick stab of blue. “You’ll be moving around a lot, using speed instead of brute force against your enemies. That blade won’t block heavier weapons, and you don’t have the strength to swing a longsword effectively, so we’re going to have to teach you how to dodge. This was the best choice.”
“But this is steel,” I repeated, listening to him in amazement. He could teach a class with his knowledge of weapons and fighting. “Why a real sword? I could seriously hurt someone.”
“Meghan.” Ash gave me a patient look. “That’s exactly why I chose it. You have an advantage with that weapon that none of us can touch. Even the most violent redcap will think twice about facing a real, mortal blade. It won’t scare the Iron fey, of course, but that’s where training will come in.”
“But … but what if I hit you?”
A snort. “You’re not going to hit me.”
“How do you know?” I bristled at his amused tone. “I could hit you. Even master swordsmen make mistakes. I could get a lucky shot, or you might not see me coming. I don’t want to hurt you.”
He favored me with another patient look. “And how much experience do you have with swords and weapons in general?”
“Um.” I glanced down at the saber in my hand. “Thirty seconds?”
He smiled, that calm, irritatingly confident smirk. “You’re not going to hit me.”
Meghan’s story, and the war with the Iron Fey, continues in The Iron Queen, coming February 2011, from Harlequin TEEN.