Mages and Mysteries
Updated: Jan 28
Thank you for welcoming me to your blog! I’m so excited to be visiting. I’m thrilled to be sharing an excerpt from Mages and Mysteries, my first fantasy Pride and Prejudice variation. This is a project that has been in the works for a while. The idea of a fantasy variation has been lurking in the back of my mind for years. I read a lot of fantasy, but I’d never tried my hand at writing it before. Although it was harder than I expected, it was also more rewarding. The excerpt below is from Chapter 2. Elizabeth helped Darcy and Bingley defeat a goblin that was trying to enter the assembly hall. After she leaves, Darcy chastises Bingley for inappropriately encouraging a woman to use major magic.
In Regency England, women are expected to confine their magical acts to mending dresses or enhancing their beauty, but Elizabeth Bennet insists on crafting her own spells to fight goblins and protect the people of Meryton. She even caused a scandal by applying for admission to the magical Academy. When Hertfordshire is beset with a series of unexplained goblin attacks, Elizabeth is quite ready to protect her family and friends. If only she didn’t have to deal with the attitude of the arrogant mage, Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Mr. Darcy doesn’t need to be associated with a scandalous woman like Elizabeth Bennet—no matter how attractive she is. But as the goblin attacks accelerate and grow more dangerous, Darcy realizes that he could use her help in identifying the cause—and is forced to recognize her magical ability. Unfortunately, continued proximity to Elizabeth only heightens his attraction to her—which is particularly inconvenient in light of his engagement to Caroline Bingley.
Can Elizabeth and Darcy unravel the mystery of the goblin attacks before more people are hurt? And how can they manage their growing mutual attraction? It’s sure to be interesting…because when Darcy and Elizabeth come together, magic happens.
Darcy rounded on Bingley. “You should not encourage Miss Elizabeth.”
“Encourage her? I thanked her.” Bingley lifted his chin. “Without her intervention, it is unlikely that we would have prevented the goblin from reaching the hall. Or that we would both be standing here. We have fought hobgoblins before, but never one of that size.”
“She inserted herself into a fight that she barely understood—one that many trained mages would have hesitated to involve themselves in.”
Bingley sighed. “Darcy, we needed assistance. We had not prepared to meet a goblin of that size. I was barely conscious, and you had lost your sword. Her intervention was most timely.”
Darcy did not argue the point; indeed he could not. But his friend needed to understand the danger of encouraging such a woman. “She might be tempted to try such a thing again.”
“Such as casting an illusion?”
Darcy pinched the bridge of his nose. “Such as dabbling in higher magic. Like thrusting herself into a battle she is in no way prepared to fight. You know what happens to mages who stretch themselves beyond their limits. Someone could get hurt—most likely Miss Elizabeth.”
Bingley shrugged. “It is not as if she chased after the goblin with a sword.”
“She was fortunate. But what would happen if she confronts another goblin? Instead of summoning a paladin, she might endeavor to defeat it herself. It could put the entire neighborhood in danger.”
Bingley frowned. “Why are you so out of charity with her? I understand if you were stung when she threw your words in your face. Still—”
“She is an amateur attempting to play a professionals’ game,” he said. “It is dangerous to her and everyone near her.”
“Do you realize she invented that illusion spell,” Bingley said. “Not only is she a mage but also a spell crafter. I have never even heard of a female spell crafter.”
“Not recently. There are stories in history books, of course,” Darcy said. “Legends.” Mages who could create spells were rare; most mages simply used spells that others had created. “Of course, she was merely enlarging an existing spell, not creating an entirely new one.”
“I could not have done so. Could you?”
Darcy ignored the question. “I am an advocate of being open-minded. But Miss Elizabeth’s actions are dangerous. There is a reason that women are barred from the Academy.”
“I thought the Convocation forbids it because they have no chaperones or quarters for female students,” Bingley said.
“Yes, that as well.” Darcy sighed.
Before Bingley could respond, they were approached by a smiling Sir William Lucas. “Quite an uproar, eh gentlemen? What is the world coming to? A goblin attack at a ball!”
“You are fortunate we were here. It is a shame that there are no paladins stationed in Hertfordshire,” Bingley said.
“I suppose. But we would not have much for them to do. I do not believe Hertfordshire has ever encountered a hobgoblin before.”
“Paladins do far more to protect communities than fight goblins,” Darcy observed. It was a common misconception since goblin fighting was the most visible part of their duties.
“Yes, of course. Capital! Capital!” Sir William leaned closer to the two paladins and spoke in a low voice. “I hear that Miss Elizabeth was out here during the attack…Did she, er, lend you a hand?”
Darcy stiffened. “In a manner of speaking. Has she done such things before?” He instantly regretted the question; the answer, like the woman, meant nothing to him. Although, naturally, he was curious. How much did she know? How had she received her training? Perhaps he could ask her a few questions the next time they met. Purely to satisfy his curiosity.
Sir William stroked his chin with one hand. “Yes, indeed. She is an odd one. Her father has some…eccentric notions about training women as mages.”
“I wonder that a father would make such a choice.” Darcy shuddered at what his relatives would say if his sister took up anything beyond traditionally feminine magic.
Sir William’s fingers fiddled with one of the embroidery on his waistcoat. “That’s not to say that her magic does not come in handy upon occasion. Aside from her father, Meryton does not possess many powerful mages. When we had that business with the possessed rabbit…she exorcised it quite quickly. And she was very helpful when Hertfordshire experienced a curse on buttons—never stayed closed, it got quite embarrassing. So I suppose folks in Meryton are accustomed to her…eccentricities.”
Bingley was intrigued. “Her magic is accepted in the neighborhood?”
“Tolerated, I would say,” Sir William hedged. “Although plenty would prefer she kept a lower profile—that is until their turnip field is haunted.” He laughed a bit. “But she is a dear friend of my daughter’s and always welcome at Lucas Lodge. Although….” He lowered his voice. “I did discourage my son from pursuing her.”
Be sure to check out these other blog stops for more fun!
December 6 Babblings of a Bookworm
December 7 So Little time
December 8 Savvy Verse and Wit
December 9 My Jane Austen Book Club
December 10 Probably at the Library
December 13 My Vices and Weaknesses
December 16 From Pemberley to Milton
December 28 My Love for Jane Austen
January 10 Austenesque Reviews
Thank you to Victoria for stopping in to share with us her latest release! Happy reading. 💖