Mistress of Souls

A Prophecy of the Sisters Novella


By Michelle Zink

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ebook (Digital original)


ebook (Digital original) $1.00 $3.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 19, 2012. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The second of three haunting novella spin-offs to Prophecy of the Sisters to be published as original eBooks.

After the tragic events of Prophecy of the Sisters, Lia Milthorpe left Birchwood, leaving her twin behind. Alice spent months isolated in the estate, her story of solitude untold. Until now.

Alice Milthorpe barely eats. Now that her sister, Lia, has left Birchwood, her brother dead, her family gone, there is no one left to keep her from doing what she’s always wanted to do. She sits every hour and wills her spirit to travel to the Otherworlds, where the Souls welcome her, where the demon Samael gives her companionship. If she could only persuade Lia to open the Gate and let him into the mortal realm, she would be happy.

But she is not in the Otherworlds. She is here, on earth, in Birchwood, chained by a prophecy she would undo and a body she must care for. When she encounters James, her sister’s fiancé, his kindness and understanding are the first human touch to reach her in months. She may have found her anchor to the physical world, after all.


Mistress of Souls

Alice Milthorpe sat on the floor of the Dark Room, trying to ignore the hunger gnawing at her stomach. She barely registered the pain in her knees, wrought from hours spent kneeling while willing her spirit to travel the Plane, but eating was an inconvenience she could not always ignore. It was one of the many challenges she had discovered in traveling while awake.

There had been a time when she had needed sleep to travel, when she had needed the haze of slumber to move from the physical world into the spirit realm of the Otherworlds.

But that time had passed many years ago.

Now, she was more accustomed to traveling the Plane than being in her world. More accustomed to kneeling on the floor of her dead mother’s chamber than walking Birchwood’s grounds, ground she had once known like the back of her hand. Hunger was the only thing that forced her from her reverie.

It had not always been that way. With Aunt Virginia in the house, escape had not been possible. Not really. Though Alice sought isolation, Aunt Virginia was always there.

Alice would wander the house aimlessly, roaming the halls of Birchwood, humming a tune she did not recognize and could not remember learning, running her fingers across the papered walls and the bric-a-brac on the hall tables as the Souls who had been her companion for as long as she could remember whispered ceaselessly in her head.

And there Aunt Virginia would be, inquiring after Alice’s health, encouraging her to take a long stroll up the hill. This despite the fact that it was January, the New York winter full upon them, the air so biting and cold even the countless fireboxes, blazing all day and all night in the great house, could not keep the frigid air at bay.

But even when Alice donned her cape, braving the cold and wind to escape Virginia’s watchful gaze, she would return to find her aunt looking at her with naked worry.

Alice had attempted to keep up appearances. She attended school at Wycliffe two days a week, though Henry’s death two months before had furthered the other students’ belief that the Milthorpes were cursed, soundly knocking Alice off the pedestal on which she had rested since she’d first begun attending the school at the age of thirteen. Gone were the whispered secrets, the invitations to join her peers at home for the holidays or attend balls given by their families. Now, she was simply Alice Milthorpe, orphan, sister to a dead brother and a twin who had abandoned New York to escape her. Everyone steered clear of her as they had once steered clear of her sister.

Still, Alice had tried. She came down to supper. Attempted conversation with Aunt Virginia. Forced a smile when she was able.

And in between, she escaped to the Otherworlds, her spirit-self traveling the Plane while her body lay in the physical world. She flew through the indigo sky with the Souls at her side, leading her to the Beast, Samael, the demon who would travel through Lia to rule the physical world—with Alice by his side—if only Lia would allow it. If only she would stop fighting the role that was hers by birth and fate, the role assigned her by the prophecy that had ruled their ancestors for centuries.

Eventually, it became too difficult to live each day as Alice Milthorpe, Guardian to her sister’s Gate. The world was too harsh, too cold. It expected too much of her: refusal when she wanted acquiescence, obedience when she wanted revolt, pain when she wanted pleasure.

She had spent more and more time in the Dark Room, sitting in the center of the circle she had carved with her mother’s dagger before Lia had taken it, a spell of protection cast to keep her safe while traveling the Plane, to keep Aunt Virginia and Edmund at a distance, both of whom would try to stop her if they could. Both of whom would try to keep her in this world, foisting the role of Guardian upon her when she would have been Gate if not for the hurried surgery that had resulted in the birth of Lia before her.

She could not allow it. Could not allow their interference. The Dark Room was her refuge. It was not simply that it had been her mother’s chamber, nor that it was the room in which her father had died, a terrified scream frozen on his face, less than a year before.

Here, she could feel her mother’s presence. Not the Adelaide Milthorpe who stared down at her from the oil painting over the fireplace in the parlor. No. That Adelaide was too much like Lia, too vulnerable, too kind.

It was another Adelaide who lurked in the shadows of the Dark Room. The Adelaide who had joyfully traveled the Plane, who preferred the Otherworlds to this one. It was a predilection Alice understood well.

Samael had told stories of her mother’s wild abandon on the Plane, of her desperate desire to give in to her role as Gate and let go of the physical world for the Otherworlds. As Alice sat in her spell circle—muttering words to summon the Lost Souls—it was as if she were conjuring her mother. As if she could see the free-spirited, wild-eyed Adelaide who had once done the very same thing, who had so wanted release from the struggle between this world and the others that she had thrown herself from the cliff overlooking the lake.

Alice found solace in her presence. Here, at last, was someone who understood her struggle, and Alice had spent as much time as possible in the Dark Room, fending off Aunt Virginia’s questions, ignoring her insistent rapping on the door until she finally gave up, leaving Alice to the Souls and the Plane.

But it could not last forever.

One day after Alice had missed three weeks of school, Miss Gray came to call. Alice heard her speaking to Aunt Virginia in the parlor.

“Miss Milthorpe, I do understand the difficult time Alice has had. And with Amalia gone…”

“Please,” Aunt Virginia had said, and Alice had heard the impatience in her voice, could picture the look of barely disguised distaste on her aunt’s face, “say what you’ve come to say about Alice’s status at Wycliffe.”

“Certainly. As you know, Wycliffe is a prestigious school.”

Alice had almost laughed aloud from the stairs where she was eavesdropping. The only place Wycliffe was considered prestigious was in town, a town so small there were no other alternatives for affluent young ladies. In fact, her father had schooled his children at home, not trusting Wycliffe to do a proper job with Lia and Alice, both of whom were more likely to learn how to set a tea table than to read and analyze Aristotle, as their father made them do. Wycliffe had been a form of socializing, a way to ensure that the girls explored life and society, if only two days a week, beyond the stately walls of Birchwood.

“While we would like to maintain Alice’s position,” Miss Gray had continued, “we do have other candidates on the waiting list, and—”

“I understand,” Aunt Virginia interrupted amid a rustle of skirts that could only mean she had risen. “You may remove Alice from your roster immediately. We will see to her schooling here.”

“Oh! But… are you certain…?” Surprise was evident in Miss Gray’s voice, though Alice could not see her face.

“Quite,” her aunt said. “Now, while I appreciate that you took the time to call, I imagine you have quite a busy schedule.”

That had been the end of the matter. Aunt Virginia had informed Alice that she would resume the curriculum Father had arranged before his death, and Alice made an effort to do so, at least for a while.


On Sale
Jun 19, 2012
Page Count
80 pages

Michelle Zink

About the Author

Michelle Zink lives in New York and has always been fascinated with ancient myths and legends. Never satisfied with simply reading them, she usually ends up asking, “What if?” Sometimes asking only leads to more questions, but every now and then, when everything falls into place just right, a story is born. Prophecy of the Sisters is one of those stories.

Learn more about this author