A Never Before Published Excerpt from Chapter 4 of Living with Your Past Selves by Bill Hiatt Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they often do—and that was certainly the case here. Morgan would be a tough opponent under any circumstances, but in a faerie realm, since she had some faerie blood, she would be next to unstoppable, except perhaps by a fullblooded faerie, and we were fresh out of those. “Well, Morgan,” I said, trying to project a confidence I did not feel. “Why are we here?” My manner was so totally different from normal that Stan and some of the others looked at me strangely, but I doubted Morgan would know what to make of current me. Taliesin 1, on the hand, she could understand and potentially communicate with, so I did my very best to sound as he would have sounded. “You tell me,” replied Morgan coolly, eying me appraisingly. “If I had known you were such a handsome boy now,” despite myself I blushed just a little at that, “I would certainly have invited you. But this time you seem to have come on your own.” “On the contrary, we were brought here against our will, and very abruptly at that. Who besides you would be powerful enough to do that these days? There aren’t a great many sorceresses of the first rank around anymore.” Morgan smiled a little at the compliment, but her face had never been more than a flesh mask. One could no more tell what she was feeling by looking at it then one could tell how a regular guy was feeling by looking at the mask he wore on Halloween. “I’m not one to disclaim such an act of power had I done it, but I swear it is as much a surprise to me as to you. That said, now that you are here…” “What can we do for you?” I asked without a trace of the foreboding I felt. “From them I want nothing…except perhaps to serve as hostages for your good behavior.” I suppressed a shudder. “From you, on the other hand, I want to know where Lancelot is.” I thought Morgan’s commanding presence might have kept my friends quiet, but looking around, I could see that most of them were either preoccupied by Dan’s condition (Eva and Mary) or completely befuddled, trying frantically to process a situation completely alien to their experience (Jackson, Carlos, and Aabharana). The last three, perhaps without realizing it, had backed away from Morgan, an instinctive response to the magnitude of the threat she posed. They whispered just a little among themselves and seemed more afraid of drawing her attention than anything else. Only Stan, comparatively unflustered, remained close. “My lady, surely Lancelot cannot still be alive?” “You are,” she pointed out, the edge in her voice growing more obvious. (The background is licensed from Digital Juice) “Yes, but I am a rather rare exception. Lancelot could have been reincarnated, but if so, he is of no use to you, for he will remember nothing of his earlier lives.” Morgan raised an eyebrow. “What was done to you could very well be done to him.” Could it be? Was my situation more than some cosmic fluke? Had someone deliberately awakened my earlier selves and changed my life forever? “But,” she continued, either not noticing the impact her words had on me or choosing to ignore it, “given how things turned out last time, it might be just as well if he did not remember anything.” Quite an understatement, considering that Lancelot had rejected Morgan, precipitating Morgan’s vengeful pursuit of his destruction that eventually engulfed Arthur and all of Camelot as well. “I could arrange a seemingly random meeting, and we could fall in love as we should have the first time.” Yeah, that’ll happen. And then you can get elected as the first female pope. “I have no art to find a soul once it has been reincarnated in another body—and neither, I suspect, do you, or you wouldn’t be asking me.” And even if I did, I was not about to hand over some poor guy who had been Lancelot ages ago, not to someone like Morgan, who could just as easily end up killing him as marrying him. For a moment she looked so sad that even I felt a twinge of sympathy for her. Then the sorrow flickered away, and her face might as well have been stone. “I am sure that you could figure something out…with the right motivation. Doubtless you will find that motivation during the time that you and your playmates are my guests.” The way she said “guests” could have made people shiver in the middle of the Sahara at high noon. We would never have a better opportunity to make a run for it than now, but that wasn’t saying much. Dan was still incapacitated, and everyone else was distracted to one degree or another. Even Stan now looked as if the situation had overwhelmed him. I had to save them, and myself for that matter, but how? At a signal from Morgan, several fully armored knights pushed their way into the clearing, their well-polished armor glinting in the sunlight, their wickedly sharp swords already out, ready for action. As if beating Morgan by herself would not have been difficult enough. “Sir Accolon, take our guests back to the castle.” Morgan gave me a smile as warm and cozy as Antarctica. Everyone except me was backing toward the center of the clearing as the knights closed in. Is there any hope for Tal and his friends? You will have to read the book to find out!