Today I am so pleased to welcome K.L. Noone to Joyfully Jay. K.L. has come to talk to us about her latest release, The Twelfth Enchantment. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Thanks for having me—I’m excited to share The Twelfth Enchantment with you!
Twelfth Enchantment is a prequel, of sorts, to my novel Magician—it’s set about 200 years earlier, and it stands alone, so no worries if you’ve not read that one! (If you have, though—you’ll notice a familiar secondary character or two…Lorre is certainly around, only about a hundred years old at this point!) It’s about fifteen thousand words, m/m (gay/bi main characters), and it’s set right at the very beginning, the founding in fact, of the first Magicians’ School…
…which Garrett, being the Second Sorcerer of the Middle Lands, is attempting to build. On a hillside. Out of rocks and earth and magic. With problematic goats, and a half-finished road, and two missing apprentices. And the extremely attractive and helpful youngest prince of the local kingdom, who keeps showing up to solve Garrett’s problems, whether that’s finding a runaway apprentice, hiring a goatherd, or delivering a book.
On the other side, Alex—despite being a prince, or perhaps because of it—tries very hard to be a nice person. He honestly likes helping people, and he’s fascinated by magic. Unfortunately, his father would also very much like him to befriend the magicians, for political influence…
There will also be tea. And cheese. And an enchanted road that’s an invitation to come and visit, up at the School…
…so come join us for the adventure! I had a marvelous time writing this one, and I hope you love it too.
And—one last note—The Twelfth Enchantment is also part of the JMS Books twelfth anniversary celebration: stories featuring “twelve” in some way, plus all ebooks on sale for 12% off, for the month of July! I’m thrilled to be part of the celebration—I hope you enjoy all the stories!
“How old are you? I was wondering. After meeting Lorre.”
Garrett considered, with some longing, the opening of a pit beneath a beautiful young prince’s boots. “Thirty-one.”
“Oh. You are?”
“I have grey hair because of you. And politics. And students. And the Grand Sorcerer.”
“I thought you were older.”
Garrett did not sigh out loud. Pits, earthquakes, sudden improbable avalanches. No. “Thank you.”
“I meant, I thought magicians were older. And looked younger. Lorre—”
“Lorre,” Garrett said, with some acerbity, “is over a hundred years old and the child of a river-spirit. One of the last wild powers. I’m neither.”
“I can’t shapeshift, either, and I’m an earth-talent, not a walking kaleidoscope.”
“You’re powerful enough to be the Second Sorcerer of the Middle Lands.”
“I think,” Garrett said tiredly, “I’m probably the most powerful human magician we know about. But it’s just a talent. It just happened. I once caused a rockslide while trying to get my family’s caravan through a mountain pass. Lorre showed up and rescued everything. And then spent six months trying to convince me to leave my family and learn from him. I’d wanted to follow in my parents’ footsteps.”
“The famous Pell merchant traders,” Alex agreed. “I’ve seen your storehouses. Enchanted caves. Wonders. Another kind of magic. You wanted that?”
“I was good at organization. Negotiation. Record-keeping. Overseeing the main store if we were staying in the city for a while, practicing that.” He paused. “Knowing whether gemstones were counterfeit. Asking rocks and roads where the wagons were, if they were late.”
“So you were using it all along.”
“Since I was eight.” He finished a second pear, drank more wine, let the sparkle of it fill up his head. “My sister Kyra will take over, eventually. Now that I’ve left. She’ll be just as good; we were both meant to inherit.”
“You couldn’t’ve stayed?”
“No.” Garrett set the wine down; it was perilous. Like beautiful amber-eyed king’s sons, making confessions happen with a look. “No. Not the way it feels, the way the world opens up, and it’s all too easy…you can touch a stone and ask it to move or to tell you what wind and water feel like across centuries, wearing lines into your skin…you can mean to move a single boulder and cause six more to shift. Onto a rival’s caravan. Or your own. And Lorre told everyone what I was. He meant well, or maybe he wanted to make sure he’d burned all my metaphorical bridges, or he wanted me to openly claim all the pieces of myself.”
“He told everyone,” Alex said, with the caution of a man holding out a hand to another across slippery ice, “something you’d kept secret.”
“Not from my family. They knew. But once everyone else did…it’s hard for people to trust magicians.” He should probably eat more. Or drink water. “We can do anything. Frightening. Unpredictable. Not at all good for business.”
Alex didn’t say anything for a moment. The sun fell in long golden streamers across the bench between them, over bread and fruit and basket-weave.
“Anyway,” Garrett said, and put the end of the bread and cheese away. “Sorry. You didn’t ask.”
“I did,” Alex said. “And I wish…I don’t know. I didn’t know that was how it was, for you.”
“I’m here now,” Garrett said. “And building the biggest organizational adventure of the Middle Lands. Out of marble. It’s sort of hideously blinding. No, sorry, I’m not insulting you, you’re beautiful.” He touched the bench, an apology: accepted.
Alex cleared his throat. “Speaking of. I’ve brought you something else. Here.” He produced oiled linen from the bottom layers of the basket, like a street conjuror; handed it over.
Garrett unfolded the wrapping. Felt his breath catch, involuntarily.
The fabric fell like water over his hands, weightless as sunbeams, fine and delicate as starlight. The scarf held every shade of sunrise imaginable: dusky rose, joyous fuchsia, blazing gold, blooming violet, rich copper, night-blue lightening to periwinkle. It wove fantasies into the morning, a lifted banner vivid against cool white stone and clear sun and Garrett’s astonished fingers. It unfolded, and kept unfolding, until it gathered like liquid dawn at his feet.
“I know Lorre wants the School to be a statement.” Alex’s voice emerged not exactly hesitant, but more so than Garrett had ever heard from him before. “Clean and bright and white and sparkling and unmistakable. But you like color. Your belt, yesterday. Your shirt. Your family’s work. I thought you might be missing it. I thought…when I saw this, I thought about you.”
Garrett hadn’t managed to find words. He kept wanting to touch each color, each glowing thread. Not magical, not at all, except that it was, oh, it was.
“I can take it,” Alex said hastily, “if it’s not something you want.” He’d scooped the linen wrapping into a ball, in one hand.
“No! I mean. Yes. No. I do want it! Thank you. Again. I don’t know if I can—if I should…” Words. Speaking. Important. A spell. “I know how much this must have cost. In the market. If you paid more than thirty—”
“I’m not admitting anything. It’s a gift.”
“I can’t, if it means I’ll owe you. If we’ll owe you.”
Alex tossed crumpled linen back into the basket. “You don’t. Owe me. I bought it for you. Do you need to get back to your students?”
“Yes—wait,” Garrett amended. “Do you want to stay? To listen?” He couldn’t offer much. But perhaps it’d be a fair trade: perhaps that return, letting the prince see what the School did or hoped to do, would matter. Perhaps letting Alex see something he loved, something of himself, would be enough of a balance.
If it meant something. If it meant anything at all. If Alex weren’t simply out buying scarves for a legion of lovers, in the marketplace, and flirting idly with magicians and merchants alike, and then coming up the hill with a bribe on behalf of his father.
But this swirl of dawn hues was something Alex had chosen. Remembering about Garrett and color.
Garrett Pell, Second Sorcerer of the Middle Lands, is just trying to build a school. Unfortunately, he’s also got missing mage-students, disobedient goats, and a Grand Sorcerer who likes to disappear. Not to mention the distracting presence of the attractive local prince, who keeps mysteriously turning up right when Garrett could use a hand.
Prince Alexandre de Berri knows perfectly well that he’s the youngest and least talented of his brothers. But his father, the king, wants to be on good terms with the magicians, and Alex is good at making friends — so he’s been ordered to do exactly that. But what began as a royal command turns into very real feelings, and all Alex wants is to solve Garrett’s problems.
Alex’s father isn’t happy. Garrett’s school still needs help. And Alex and Garrett will need to make a choice. But, together, they just might be magic.
K.L. Noone teaches college students about superheroes and Shakespeare by day, and writes LGBTQ+ romance – often paranormal or fantasy, and always with happy endings – when not grading papers or researching medieval outlaw life. She is also the author of Magician, The Featherbed Puzzle, and the Character Bleed trilogy, all published with JMS Books.