A Midsummer Knight’s Scream – Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries Book 3 By Nova Nelson

A Midsummer Knight’s Scream
Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries Book 3
By
Nova Nelson

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

First she fell from Heaven.
Now she’s accused of murder.
What the halo?

Fallen angel Olivia Swift still hasn’t come to terms with the wrongful accusation that got her kicked out of Heaven and stuck in this never ending Renaissance Faire. As she spends her days jousting as the Autumn Knight, the centuries bleed together. But when a routine tilt turns into murder with a packed arena bearing witness, this angel’s endless time in the Kingdom of Elbion could be cut short.

With the help of a criminally minded dove and a chivalrous fellow knight, Olivia has until that night’s Midsummer Feast to exonerate herself by finding the one who framed her. However, that’s easier said than done in a realm with so many spells, secrets, and grudges…

Will this knight complete her quest before the king and queen lop off her heavenly head?

Olivia Swift is a fallen angel, well not really fallen more kicked out for something she didn’t do until they could investigate further. When she fell, her wings separated and are now her companion Pax the mischievous dove.

Olivia jousts as the Knight of Autumn and her match is with Elias Deschain, the Summer Knight. On this particular day he’s very late, and as they wait Ursula Hardcastle, the Winter Knight, and Fabian Goodman the Spring Knight enjoy discussing the current gossip. One rumor being, Brandon Bonmarito, the Falconer, was going to admit his feelings toward a particular knight, although another rumor has it that Queen Magnolia of the fairies has her eye on him. In yet another romance, the pirate captain Bruce Roberts, has been seen in the company of one of Swept Away’s witches. They also mention the sheriff and his not so savory methods.

When Elias shows up, he doesn’t answer Fabian’s question about overindulging, rather just sways in his saddle. This has Olivia wondering if he is capable of the joust, but she doesn’t get the chance to follow up as they are called to the ring.

His helmet has been in place the whole time they circled the ring and even his horse was irritated with him not following the normal routine. After Ursula and Fabian delight the crowd, they’re up, Elias still acting weird but takes his position and his lance, but he starts late and doesn’t begin the tilt. Something was definitely off. Olivia decides to pull back as soon as her lance makes contact but that’s not what happens.

The worst thing is it’s not Elias under that armor. It was an angel named Lazaraphael and he was dead. Killed by the adamantite that formed the head of Olivia’s lance. A note in his armor was in Michaela’s handwriting and instructing him to find Olivia.

This of course has to be reported to the King and Queen.

This is a favorite scene.

Iwas unable to tear my eyes from the handwriting on the paper. “I don’t know… I have nothing to do with that. Why would anyone…? I don’t understand.” Fabian folded up the slip again and tucked it safely away. “I don’t understand it either, but a man is dead, that cannot be denied. And neither can the fact that he died by your lance. You know I hold you in the highest regard, Sir Olivia, but I’m afraid it’s my duty to bring you straight to the court on charges of murder.”

“Fabian, I didn’t know—”

His voice took on a gentler tone as he said, “I believe you in my heart, dear Autumn Knight. But there is no evidence in your favor at this point. It pains me, but I’m duty-bound to let King Symon and Queen Collette decide your guilt and subsequent punishment. Will you come with me willfully, with honor fitting your position as knight, or must I use force?”

“Just go with him,” Ursula said. “I’ll sort out what happens next here. We haven’t canceled a tournament since the plague, and I don’t intend to cancel today’s. I’ll work with Yorick to find some stand-ins. You two go sort out this mess.”

Still slightly in shock, I nodded.

Our jousting plated armor was not only heavy, but restrictive, and Fabian and I both unburdened ourselves of it in the stables, silently stripping down to our gambesons—his the hunter green of spring and mine a deep orange the color of fall foliage. The quilted clothing would feel stifling in the summer heat before long, but by comparison with the armor, I felt cool. It was the only relief I had as my mind continued to spin.

The court of Queen Collette and King Symon wasn’t far. The royals often made appearances to cheer on their knights, but not with any regularity and almost never when completely sober.

Fabian led the way, past the loudest pickle vendor you can imagine, past the mud wrestling tent, and past a group of gnomes who conspired with their heads together near the chapel. They were up to no good for sure, and I spared a thought for the wedding in progress that was undoubtedly about to be interrupted in the most chaotic sort of way.

Fabian didn’t seem to notice any of it, focused as he was on taking me in to see the king and queen.

“Fabian, you have to believe me, I had no idea about the lance. If I was going to kill someone, don’t you think I would, I don’t know, do it somewhere less public?”

“That is a conundrum,” he said, not slowing at all. “And I suspect it’s something you’ll want to mention to Her Majesty and His Highness. I am but a knight. Whether I believe you or not is irrelevant to my duty.”

I tried hard not to roll my eyes at that, but I failed even harder. Sometimes chivalry was a real pain in the halo.

“I demand an audience with the King and Queen, may they die before their time,” Fabian announced to one of the castle guards.

The “may they die before their time,” was, believe it or not, a show of respect around the Kingdom of Elbion. The king and queen (whose curse had gotten us all into this messy trap in the first place) were all but done with life and dealing with it in different ways. King Symon couldn’t get enough of anything. He was enthusiastic, in what I considered a manic sort of way, about everything he came across. Since he couldn’t die, he was easily the most reckless force at the Faire, and he appeared to love every second of it.

Not so for Queen Collette who was, well, not suicidal, but bored in the extreme and pining for the end that would not come. Her pining usually included a drink in her hand. As I’d heard it, Yorick the jester was the one who’d come up with the epitaph of “may they die before their time” when he was on a roll roasting them at a solstice feast, and it had delighted both Queen Collette and King Symon so greatly, they’d delivered a proclamation that all who were true loyal servants should wish such upon them evermore. Death before their time. So long as you weren’t worried about what came after death, I could see the appeal for some.

The guard at the castle gate let us through, and Fabian and I marched onward through the great hall to the throne room.

We found the Queen staring dreamily out a window, a chalice of deep red liquid—probably port if her preferences still held—hanging loosely from one hand. The king was absent, probably out gnome bowling or trying to convince the demon Raquel down at the tavern to sneak off with him. He might even be plotting along with Pax and the ravens.

My mind lingered on Pax. I would have to tell him what trouble I’d landed myself in without meaning to, and I could only imagine what he’d say. His first question was likely to be, “Well? Did the guy deserve it?” No judgement at least.

But it was a tricky question. Had Lazaraphael deserved to die? Probably not, but I tend to think no one deserves it. Better to let nature decide those matters than to have anyone take it upon themselves to make the plans. At the same time, if anyone “deserved” it, Lazaraphael might be a good candidate. He wasn’t exactly, well, an angel. Well, maybe literally, just not figuratively. He had a reputation for cruelty back in Heaven, and I’d always done my best to stay away from him when I could.

And now, he’d come searching for me. That couldn’t be good. “Your Majesty,” Fabian announced as he strode forward, pushing me a step ahead of him. “Your great and loyal knight Sir Olivia Swift has just been witnessed by a large crowd, including myself, your humble servant, murdering an angel with her lance.”

The queen tore her gaze from the window at the word “murder,” and she inspected both of us through unfocused eyes. “Someone murdered someone?”

“Yes,” Fabian said, straightening his posture even further, which I didn’t think possible. “This woman. Sir Olivia Swift, angel from Heaven and Knight of Autumn. She has slain a man with a rod of unholy adamantite through the chest.”

The queen’s eyebrows rose, and she studied me silently for a long moment before speaking. “Sir Olivia Swift, this adamantite sounds like a powerful substance if it could be used to kill an angel. Tell me, could it possibly murder me as well?”

I knew which answer she was hoping for, and in a way, I wished I could give it to her, but it would have been a lie easily exposed. “I’m afraid I don’t know enough about your particular particular spell to guess. Usually, jamming a rod of anything through someone’s chest can be lethal, with the exception of beings like me who are immortal. The exception to that is adamantite. It only has one purpose that I know of, and that’s to kill angels and gods.”

Queen Collette considered that, looking unmistakably disappointed.

She addressed Fabian next. “Then I’m not sure why you brought her here, Sir Knight. Did you not read the latest decree?”

“I did, Your Majesty, it’s just that justice—”

“It specifically said not to bother me unless you’ve found a way to kill me. This adamantite sounds promising, but unless it works, I don’t care.”

Fabian maintained his stately manner, but I could hear a shade of uncertainty coloring his voice. “I understand, Your Majesty, it’s just that this knight, who is bound to serve you, has killed an angel.”

“Was the angel one of ours?”

“No, Your Majesty.”

“Then this sounds more like something for the sheriff.”

Fabian cringed. “Yes, Your Majesty.”

I wasn’t ready to involve that man in this mess, though. Sheriff Watson Boswell was as corrupt as he was lazy. Perhaps his laziness had planted the original seed of that corruption, but it had sure blossomed into a whole garden of thorns in the years since. I would do just about anything to not have to see him and smell those two troll henchmen who followed him around.

No, keeping him out of this was best. If there was some sort of conspiracy afoot to frame me for murder, he would be so easily paid off to claim I acted with malice and intention that I would be visiting the executioner before I knew it. Normally, such a threat wouldn’t have bothered me, because as I said, I’m an angel and it’s nearly impossible to kill me. But the one substance that could achieve my demise was now at play within the walls of the Faire; and so, for the first time in centuries, I found myself in a life-or-death situation. I wasn’t a fan of it.

“I propose something different,” I said to the queen. “I won’t deny that it was my lance that killed the angel, but I swear to Your Majesty that I didn’t know what was inside my lance. I didn’t even know what was inside the other set of armor. I thought it was Elias Deschain, the Summer Knight. I thought he was acting funny because he’d had too much to drink the night before.” I paused, trying to gauge her interest. Not much, but perhaps enough to keep going. The true enemy of the queen was boredom, not the potential of a dangerous murderer loose among her subjects. So long as I could keep her somewhat interested and promise some intrigue, I might have a chance to set this right. “Someone else wanted me to commit that murder. I don’t know why. Tonight is the Midsummer Feast, a time of great celebration and a turning point. If you’ll give me until tonight’s feast to investigate this oddity, I’ll have your answer and present it there.”

Her left brow hitched up just the slightest bit. “In front of everyone?”

“If you wish.”
Nelson, Nova. A Midsummer Knight’s Scream: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries Book 3) Kindle Locations (286-355). The Faire Ladies LLC. Kindle Edition.

Olivia manages to get the Queen to allow her until the Midsummer’s Feast that night to find the one who set her up to kill.

The investigation takes many twists and turns. Who was actually behind it all, surprised me. I got a real kick out of Pax and his antics, and I loved the friendship and support Olivia gets from her friends. That support helps her in more than one decision.

I look forward to reading more of this fun series.

5 Contented Purrs for Nova!

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Nova Nelson

Nova Nelson grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie novels. She loves the mind candy of cozy mysteries and has been weaving paranormal tales since she first learned handwriting. Those two loves meet in her Eastwind Witches series, and it’s about time, if she does say so herself.

When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys long walks with her strong-willed dogs and eating breakfast for dinner.

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