For Ages
8 to 12

Sir Callie and the Witch's War is a part of the Sir Callie collection.

In the third book of this thrilling fantasy series a twelve-year-old nonbinary knight-in-training, a reluctant crown prince, a fierce young witch, and her troubled twin brother fight for the heart of their kingdom in a medieval world of dragons and magic.

Being a hero is nothing like the ballads promised it would be. Scattered across the realm, Callie, Willow, Elowen, and Edwyn have learned that when the fate of their world is at stake, choices are hard and the consequences are harder, even when striving for good.

Hunted by both Helston and Dumoor, Callie and Willow flee to the walled city of Fairkeep in a last-ditch effort to find allies. Meanwhile, at Alis’s side, Elowen grapples with a battle between her heart and her ambition as the Witch Queen’s new protégé. Edwyn, desperate to prove himself as brave as his friends, accepts a mission that takes him back to the source of his nightmares: home. Helston.

Faced with the reality of a devastating war, all four champions are forced to confront the very parts of themselves they fear most, and each must do it alone. But how can they find the truth within a kingdom founded on lies?

An Excerpt fromSir Callie and the Witch's War

Chapter 1


I strike the tree with a ferocious snarl, squarely hitting the place I’d hit before. Bark flies. Nothing makes me feel better. It doesn’t matter how hard I hit or how badly my bones ache; nothing is enough to distract from the pain in my head.

The thought of everything I’ve left behind.


Everyone we left in Helston, to the mercy of Peran and Adan and the Witch Queen.

Elowen and Edwyn.



I strike harder, sending bark flying. Splinters catch me and sting, but I don’t care. I wish they hurt more. I wish they would make me bleed and pay for my crimes. I deserve to pay. I deserve to be there, suffering alongside them, struggling together. Why did I get away when they didn’t? It’s not fair. It’s not right.

I have to go back. I have to make things right—­


I grit my teeth. I don’t want to talk to Willow. I don’t want to talk to anyone. Talking doesn’t fix things. I need to act!

I slash at the tree again, hoping it’s enough of a deterrent to make him leave me alone.

It isn’t. Willow is as stubborn as I am.

“Rowena sent me to look for you. Dinner’s ready. She says you should come and eat.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“You haven’t eaten in days.”

“I haven’t been hungry in days.”

“Starving yourself isn’t going to help anyone.”

I wheel on him with a snarl, raising Satin. “And what is?” I demand. “Sitting around arguing and waiting and doing nothing?”

Willow is as unimpressed as he is unflinching, no doubt sick to the back teeth of my days-­old tantrum. “You can’t fight if you don’t take care of your body. You won’t even make the journey—­”

I turn my back on him with a hiss, leveling my blade at the tree again. “It’ll take an hour to get back to Helston by wing.”

“Neal isn’t up for it, Callie.”

“But he will be! Soon! He just needs to wake up. And the moment he does, we’ll go, and we’ll rain fire down on all of them, and we’ll rescue Teo and Papa and find El and Edwyn, and everything will be better!”

Soon. I need it to be soon.

There isn’t a second when I’m not thinking of them, whether it’s Edwyn in Peran’s clutches, or Elowen betrayed by her idol, or Teo in chains, or Papa . . . Papa falling. . . . 

My hands spasm, and I grit my teeth against the tears that keep catching me in the throat.

I scrub them away, smearing dirt across my face, the moment before Willow’s arms loop around my neck. I vaguely consider wrestling him off me, but the contact is good and I’m grateful for it. For him. That at the very least, we are together.

“We’ll find them, Callie. We’ll get them back. I promise.”

I hold on to Willow as tight as he holds on to me.

He’s a terrible liar.

“C’mon. Let’s go back to the others. They’re worried enough.”

I can’t think of anything I want to do less.

At the time, it was the obvious choice, to return to ­Eyrewood—­my first safe place—­but it wasn’t long before I realized it was a graveyard of every dream I’d had and evidence of every mistake I’d made.

I could only exist, like my mind had separated from my body, as Pasco and Josh helped Neal make it the last little way into the tent he had once shared with Papa; as Faolan fixed up the worst of our damage; as Rowena found space for us. It wasn’t long before the questions started, and I couldn’t answer a single one of them. It wasn’t that I didn’t know, but saying it out loud made it true in a way I couldn’t stand.

My fault.

It is all my fault.

I shouldn’t have suggested we go back to Helston.

I shouldn’t have suggested we run away from the palace.

I shouldn’t have fought Lord Peran.

I shouldn’t have turned the twins and Willow against their people.

I shouldn’t have left Eyrewood.

I shouldn’t have left Clystwell in the first place.

If I had just sucked it up and accepted my place and stopped complaining and learned to get along with Mama, none of this would have happened.

I’m not a knight or a warrior. I’m certainly not a hero.

I’m a kid who messed up and I don’t know what to do.

In the shadows at the back of my head, Mama scoffs.

“Food makes everything better,” Willow says firmly. “Even Josh’s cooking.”

I let Willow drag me back along the familiar paths through the forest, toward the little collection of tents set up beneath the canopy of trees, mud sucking at our feet with every step.

It’s impossible not to see Dumoor in every spot of color and every hint of warmth. It feels the same, like it’s lulling you into a false sense of safety, promising you everything you’ve ever wanted and ever needed and never had, closer and closer until snap! You’re gone like you were never there.

Eyrewood isn’t safe.

Nowhere is safe.

Something sharp pricks my thumbnail, and I wince. Blood oozes from another ripped cuticle. I didn’t even realize I was picking my fingers. Willow keeps threatening to put something foul-­tasting on my nails. It wouldn’t make a difference. Every single one of my fingers is gnawed down past the point of painful.

All the little tents glow warm, the silhouettes of their occupants moving like puppets as they sit out the storm; washing lines are strung between them, with the smoking remnants of the firepit in the center. And there in the sand, between sea and land, is Callie: Champion of Helston. My eyes sting as fierce as my thumb. Everything I wanted was right here and I didn’t even know it. Now Eyrewood is a ghost town made of the shadows of my biggest mistakes, mocking me for my thoughtlessness.

We pass my old tent, dark and tiny and untouched. I can’t stand the thought of going inside. I would rather sleep in the rain. The big tent next to it—­Papa and Neal’s—­is even worse, and when Willow tugs me toward it, I resist.

“Callie, it’s okay.”

“It’s not.” My voice comes out squeaky. I dig my heels into the churned-­up mud. I can’t do it. Not yet. I haven’t seen him since we arrived. First, he was sleeping, for days and days, and the grown-­ups worked round the clock to bring him back, promising that he was exhausted more than injured, and we just needed to let him rest. But he’s awake now and healing a little more every day, and I still haven’t . . . I still can’t—­

“He’ll hate me, Willow.”

Willow turns and stares at me with such sincere confusion, I scowl. “Why would you say that?”

“Because it’s true.”

“How on earth did you reach that conclusion?”

I worry the scab on my lip instead of snapping, How can you not reach that conclusion? “It’s my fault Papa fell. My fault Neal’s stuck in a body he hates.” I don’t know exactly why Neal never told me he’s a dragon, but the roar he gave when he awoke sounded like he was burning from the inside out. He isn’t strong enough to transform yet. The days—­weeks?—­spent in the darkness meant he barely had enough of himself left to get us out of Helston. I didn’t know that. He seemed so strong, like nothing in the world could fell him.

But dragon or man, he is still a living being. And I made him push beyond his limits.

Everyone has worked tirelessly to help to heal him, to calm the fears that exploded in fire and almost set the camp ablaze.

Except for me. I didn’t help. I couldn’t face him.

And every moment I avoid him makes the thought of seeing Neal again more unbearable.

Unbearable? The voice is soft and sad, winding through my head like smoke. Neal’s voice. His dragon voice. Am I really so hard to look at, Callie?

“No! That’s not it! It’s—­” I stop. Willow’s staring at me with one raised eyebrow, and I hate him for being right. I push past him into the tent and head straight to Neal.