The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey)

By: Julie Kagawa

In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice.

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as “normal” as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for—his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he’s forbidden to see her again.

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, “normal” simply isn’t to be. For Ethan’s nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan’s and Keirran’s fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan’s next choice may decide the fate of them all.




Part I





CHAPTER ONE

BACK TO “NORMAL”

My name is Ethan Chase.

Just shy of a week ago, I was dragged into Faeryland.

Again.

The first time it happened, I was four. Yeah, four years old, kidnapped by faeries and taken into the Nevernever, home of the fey. Long story short, my older sister rescued me and brought me home, but became a faery queen herself and now rules a part of the Nevernever called the Iron Realm.

Thirteen years later, despite all the precautions I took against the Fair Folk, it happened again. I found myself smack-dab in the middle of the Nevernever, and this time, I wasn’t alone. A classmate of mine, a girl named Mackenzie St. James, managed to get pulled in, as well. A lot of weird, screwed-up stuff happened in the next few days, like following a talking cat through the Nevernever, meeting my sister in the Iron Realm, sneaking out of the Iron Realm to meet up with the Queen of the Exiles and, oh yeah, discovering that my sister has a son. That’s right, I have a nephew. A nephew who is part fey, completely unknown to my parents, and who, by way of screwy faery time, is the same age as me.

There is one other important thing we discovered—the emergence of a new, deadly species of fey called the Forgotten, faeries that almost don’t exist anymore because they’ve been unremembered for so long. Faeries that have to steal the glamour from regular fey to survive, killing them in the process. But for me, the nephew thing sort of stands out. If I thought my family was weird before, it’s not even a blip on the weirdness scale now. I thought I’d seen it all. But when I got pulled into the Nevernever, the thing I never saw coming was Keirran.

When Keirran went back into the Nevernever, I knew I hadn’t seen the last of him. Still, I had no idea how entangled my life would soon become with his, and how he would be the catalyst...for the end of everything.

* * *

Sometimes I wished everyone paid less attention to me. Sometimes I even wished I had faery blood, so that when the really weird things started happening around me, people would forget they’d seen it as soon as I left. That worked for Robin Goodfellow, the most infamous faery in existence. And to a lesser extent, it even worked for my sister. But in the real world, if you’re fully human and you vanish into thin air for nearly a week, people tend to notice. If you vanish at the same time as a very rich, popular classmate, they notice even more.

Which was why, I supposed, I was back in the principal’s office the Monday after I returned from the Nevernever. Only this time, there were two policemen in the room as well, looming over my chair and looking stern. Kids passing by peered through the door’s window and gaped at me before hurrying off with their friends, whispering. Great. I already had a reputation for being a delinquent and a troublemaker; this probably wasn’t going to help.

“Do you know why we’ve brought you here, Mr. Chase?” the principal said, pursing his thin mouth. I shrugged. I’d been in this office on my first day of school and knew the principal thought I was a lost cause. No point in trying to change his mind. Besides, the two officers were far more worrisome.

“We’d like to ask you a few questions about Todd Wyndham,” one of the policemen stated, making my stomach twist. “As you may know, he disappeared last Friday, and his mother filed a missing-persons report when he didn’t return from school. According to her, the last person to speak to him before he vanished...was you.”