The Gates of Sleep (Elemental Masters, Book 2)
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For as long as she could remember, Marina Roeswood had lived in an old, rambling farmhouse in rural Cornwall in the care of close friends of her wealthy, aristocratic parents. In the seventeen years that she had been fostered by Sebastian and Margherita Tarrant, and Margherita's brother, Thomas Buford, she had lived an almost idyllic existence. As the ward of three bohemian artists in turn-of-the-century England, she had grown to be a free thinker in an environment of fertile creativity and cultural sophistication. under their loving private tutelage, Marian had learned to read and translate five languages, and was as literate as any well-bred woman of her era.
But the real core of her education was far outside societal norms. For she and her foster parents were Elemental Masters of magic., and learning to control her growing powers was Marina's primary focus. Each of them commanded the magic of a specific element. Margherita and her brother Thomas were Earth Masters, Sebastian was a Fire Master, and Marina herself was a fledgling Water Master of enormous potential, with a lesser affinity for the element of Air. Marina loved nothing more than to sit by a stream or small waterfall, watching or communing with the lesser Water Elementals, Undines, and Naiads. When she played her lute, harp, or flute, she was sometimes event graced by the presence of Air Elementals, the Sylphs and Zephyrs whom Sebastian had said were her allies, though why she might need allies, Marina had no clue.
Actually, there were quite a few mysteries about her life that Marina wasn't able to solve. Why, for example, had she never seen her parents, or been to Oakhurst, her family's ancestral manor in Devon? Her mother and father assured her fervently, in every letter, that they loved her and longed for her presence, yet if her parents loved her so much, why had they sent her away so young, and why had they never once visited her? And why hadn't her real parents, who were also Earth Masters, trained her themselves? Why did neither her foster parents nor her real parents ever attend the Great Circle of Elemental Masters in London? That there was a secret about all this she had known from the time she had begun to question the world around her. Yet try as she might, she could get no clues out of her guardians and instinct told her that a confrontation would cause great pain to her birth mother.
But Marina would have answers to her questions all too soon.
For with the sudden death of her birth parents while on holiday in Italy, Marina's life was transformed beyond all recognition. Taken from the only home and "parents" she had ever known and brought to the cold and lofty halls of Oakhurst Manor, she met her new guardian -- her closest surviving blood relative -- her father's eldest sister Arachne. Cold, aristocratic, and superior, Aunt Arachne was an industrialist. Her pottery factories brought her a great deal of wealth and power, but Marina sensed that Arachne's real power came from something far different than commerce. For Arachne exuded a dark magical aura unlike anything Marina had encountered, a stifling evil that seemed to threaten Marina's very spirit. Slowly Marina realized that her aunt was the very embodiment of th endanger her parents had been hiding her from in the backwoods of Cornwall. But could Marina unravel the secrets of her life in time to save her from the evil which had been seeking her for nearly eighteen years?
“Shields first, I think,” she said, and with a nod from the Doctor, she invoked them, spreading them out as she had been taught from a center-point above Ellen’s bed. “Hmm,” the doctor said, noncommittally, but Marina thought he looked impressed. “Why shields?” he asked, so exactly like Sebastian trying to trip her up that she felt her breath catch in memory. “Because, Doctor, not every Elemental is friendly,” she replied. Nor are all other magicians, she thought, but did not say. “Now, if
didn’t have shields like a magician, and could not be told from ordinary, non-magical folk. And as it happened, neither Madam nor her son looked like magicians, had shields like magicians, or seemed in any way to be anything other than ordinary, non-magical folk. He had many questions that were bothering him at this point, of which one was why, exactly, had Marina not been living here with her parents? No one in the village knew—although there were stories that something terrible had happened
he was born, so it had come as no great surprise that he came into his inheritance before he left Oxford. The loss of Alanna’s mother and father in a typhoid epidemic after their marriage had been more of a shock. If Alanna had not had Hugh then—she did not think she could have borne the loss. At least he and Alanna had the satisfaction of knowing that their parents blessed their union with all their hearts. Sebastian had taken longer to recognize Margherita as his soul mate. Fate had other
“Though I must say it’s ruined every one of the arguments we’ve had since she’s been here.” “Oh? In what way has my presence interfered, pray?” Elizabeth responded, with a toss of her head. “Other than that the sheer weight of my intellect overpowers you light-minded painterly types?” “Well, when it comes to a division between the sexes, it used to come out a draw, and Margherita and Marina had to compromise,” Sebastian pointed out, sounding for all the world as if it was the two females of the
badly needed. This could be in the manner of a test on Arachne’s part to see if she would behave herself when left on her own. So instead of turning Brownie back out the gates and away, she guided the horse toward the stable and allowed the groom to help her down. As she expected, Mary Anne was waiting for her right inside the door. “You need to change for tea, miss,” the maid said, with her usual authoritarian manner, quite as if nothing whatsoever had changed. But something had—Mary Anne no