For those who have not yet read the first book in The Journey of Secrets series, I have a special treat for you today. With the second book fast approaching its release, I carry a secret of my own that I simply have to share…
Book one is getting a complete overhaul, and therefore as I work over the next few weeks I will share with you the story, and I hope at the end you will love these characters, and their journey just as much as I do.
Chapter 1 from the Journey of Secrets, Book 1
Night had fallen over the Mangor Mountains, bringing with it a strange silence that filled the castle and homes of the Kingdom of Aldour. Queen Luna stood on the castle balcony, the balcony carved into the mountain fortress over many years, listening and watching for any sign that would indicate that evil might remain where it was meant to be—far away from the Kingdom, and the place so many called home. The hallways and rooms within the castle lay flooded by the bright light of the moon, providing a sense of hope, a glimmer of serenity in the times that was once only a fear, but now slowly becoming a reality. The Kingdom had always been one of peace, ruled only to provide freedom and protection to its people, allowing them to share freely in all the bounty that the Kingdom of Aldour had to offer. Luna was a Queen of nature, one in control of many elves and forest creatures, and some even believed that she was blessed by nature itself, with the gift of eternal life. During her time as Queen she had witnessed many things, things good and bad, but even in the moments when chaos would be at its greatest, she knew she could trust in her King and loving husband, Aldour.
Deep in thought, her mind still focussed on the forest and mountains that lay beyond, an owl shrieked a warning, and Luna knew that change was coming to the Kingdom.
“Your Majesty, the King seeks your council.”
“Thank you, Jorim,” Luna replied. She took a deep breath in and exhaled all her uncertainties out into the evening sky. She smiled at Jorim as she walked past, making her way inside.
“You called for me?” Luna asked as she entered the throne room. The guards stationed around the large room bowed with respect as she entered.
“I did indeed my wife.” Aldour replied stretching out his arms smiling.” What do the stars have to say tonight my dear, any good fortune on the way? Luna could feel Aldour shaking as he pulled her inwards, hugging her.
“The stars are worried about you, my love, and so am I. Has there been another attack?”
“Yes, and things are only going to get worse; rumors amongst our people are circulating–rumors of an attack on the very kingdom itself. Scouts have reported armies as large as ten thousand men heading this way,” Aldour replied, staring at his wife almost glowing in the moonlight. The way the moon lit up her everlasting beauty. Sadness crossed his heart as he desperately wished that he could do more to protect her and their Kingdom but he knew what needed to be done, he just didn’t know how to convey the news to her.
“So the time has come. I see your mind my King, and the fear that controls it,” Luna said, looking at her husband, sensing the storm that was raging within him. “If we continue along this path, my King, your brother will not stop till he has gained the power he seeks to destroy us all.”
“That is true, but if I do not act now, my Queen, he will have everything he needs to rule not only this Kingdom but all of the Kingdoms at the far corners of our land and beyond. It is my sacred duty to return the stones to their rightful place so they can choose again.”
“My dear husband, as your Queen I am begging you to reconsider this plan and what it would cost us, what it would cost me. It will do more harm than good leaving us defenseless against our enemy,” she pleaded, raising her voice.
“I wish there was another option but the truth is that no other scenario will play out in our favor. I will not sacrifice my people for the slim chance of saving my Kingdom. We are more than just a castle and walls are we not?”
Luna nodded in agreement and placed her hand on her husband’s shoulder.”Our Kingdom has always been one of peace, none of our people have ever had to shed a drop of blood in war, and that peace came when the stones chose you as King. In the end, the final decision remains with you, my King, and whatever that decision may be I will respect it,” Luna said kissing her husband on the cheek as they started walking towards the doors.
“My Queen, always remember that it is what is in our hearts that matter and not the magic of the stones we received all those years ago. We are strong enough to overcome any adversity by our own will alone.”
“Very true, my King.”
“We need to return the stones to their rightful place in order for us to keep the peace in our Kingdom instead of this cloud of fear that fills the air. Once my brother, Asaroth realizes we do not possess the magic of the stones anymore, he will fall back.”
Luna looked over at her husband and smiled faintly.
“You have always had a good heart, my King, and now you are once again willing to sacrifice yourself for the greater good. Your father would have been proud.”
“You flatter me, my Queen, but the truth is I could have accomplished none of this without you, and you will soon realize just how big a part you will play.”
“If only none of it involved losing you, my King,” Queen Luna replied, trying to hold back the tears.
“I have looked at every possible outcome, I have done my research, and sadly the outcome is always the same. Many have come before Asaroth to seek the power of the stones but never have we as a people faced such a threat. You know what damage these stones can do in the wrong hands, you have witnessed it yourself.”
“Very well, my King, I trust in your decisions. I will call upon the Kings and Queens of Aldour to gather at the castle come morning.” Queen Luna replied, looking at the strong man she had come to love.
“What would I do without you? I am meeting with council shortly, I will see you in the morning, my love.”
The morning came quickly and as the sun rose once more over the peaceful Kingdom, elves watched in awe as the seven Kings and Queens of Aldour made their way inside the huge gates and into the castle’s courtyard where a giant statue of a unicorn stood majestically, rearing up with its hooves carving the air, standing as a symbol of remembrance and hope. The Elders of the Kingdom were awaiting their arrival and stood waiting on the high end of the stairs that led up to the castle. Wise elves of all ages clad in blue robes, some with long gray beards and others young in age, but all loyal servants of the King.
“I wonder what they are doing here?” a young elf asked as he took hold of one of the horses’ bridles, leading him into the stables.
“You always wonder, Merk, and it has never done you any good,” Asalis said smiling, “Remember the time you decided to tag along on a quest into the desert, nearly getting yourself captured? The King was furious,” his friend reminded him. “So please don’t get any ideas.”
“That is long gone and besides I’m almost certain we can have a look and hear what is being said; elves around here make good trades for information and I could do with one of those magic kits they sell at the potion tent.”
“Oh, and you’re just going to walk into the castle, not knowing where they went, and look for trouble again? How are you going to get past the guards?” Asalis asked, frowning.
Merk was barely sixteen and had gotten used to growing up with his father as his only guidance; his mother had passed away when he was still a baby, leaving Merk’s father to raise him on his own. His dark hair and blue eyes were all he had from his mother; his sense of adventure came from his father, a trait that his father at times both regretted and sympathized with. Merk and Asalis were like two bad apples in the city, always causing trouble, most ideas originating from Merk, leaving Asalis in a fix for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Asalis the son of Mergon, a lumberjack who worked mostly outside the city during the day, who would upon his return at night listen to Asalis go on about Merk, and what they got up to that day. He knew his son was alone because his thirst for knowledge and study of the ancients had made him a freak to some of the children but he was proud of his son’s studiousness. Merk accepted Asalis for who he was and that was enough for Mergon to accept him too, regardless of the tight situations the children sometimes found themselves in.
“Let’s just say I know my way around the castle; this will not be the first time I am doing this, you know. You really have to develop your sense of adventure, Asalis, otherwise, you’re going to end up a stick in the mud like old lady Grims,” Merk laughed as he closed the stable door.
“Okay we can do this, but if anything happens because of your so-called taste for adventure, I will never see the forest again, my dad will give me yet another speech and so will yours,” Asalis warned.
“My dad is basically the King’s right-hand man,” bragged Merk, “so if anything, I should have every right to be in the castle. Now come on, let’s go before we miss everything,” Merk said, running past the bustling market which came alive each morning with the smell of fresh bread and colors of fruit and vegetables fresh from the fields. The stall keepers watched carefully as the children ran past the carts as they were very familiar with the two mischief makers. They had also become used to the outlandish stories of the pair’s tricks as they traveled through the city.
******To be Continued******