I am so excited. I finally recieved the preliminary final edits for the Palace of Twelve Pillars. I foresee that in another month my YA Christian fantasy will be visiting agents and publishers. So I decided I would share a couple of chapters here to stir up some interest. I have put the first chapter here and in a week or so I will put chapter two up. Enjoy and please let me know what you think.
All for the Gloryy of God
Queen Lilia stood by the doorway in her aeri gentle breeze blew the scent of hyacinths through the open doors. The room wasn’t opulent by any standards. Tapestries depicting Asha covered the stone walls. It was sparsely furnished with a wooden desk, chairs, a table and bookshelves. Portraits of her sons were interspersed between potted miniature roses. She took off her ceremonial day robe, tossed it on an armchair, leaving her in a simple white dressing gown. She removed her petite crown, and placed it on the desk. Finally, she pulled the white ribbon out of her braid freeing her hair to fall loose around her shoulders.
Her lady in waiting delivered a letter. “My Queen.”
After Madeline had gone, Lilia closed the door and picked up the letter. It was from King Waldrom. Slowly she read it.
I will forever love you, but I find it hard to believe you would
leave me to spend your days in the drudgery of
my enemy’s kingdom with his false god. My Lord would
have given you more.
Soon you will know the pain I have felt these many
years since you went away. There will be no peace for you
or Theodric as long as you remain there.
Your only hope is to forsake him
and come to me.
It dropped from her hand as a slow chill crept up her spine. She grabbed her shawl and went to the fireplace, but the chill would not go away. The evil message clawed at her heart until she could stand it no longer. She snatched the page from the floor and flung it into the hungry flames.
“I will protect my family from you and your evil, Waldrom,” Lilia vowed, as she watched it burn, hissing and twisting like a snake on a hot stove. She knew where to turn for help when the last of the charred paper floated up the chimney. Lilia ran down the hall to find Rupert the words of Waldrom’s letter echoing in her head.
Joachim stood and watched his twin brother Brandan practice the re-growth spell that Master Adept Croifan was teaching them. Why is he so difficult?
CRACK. The sapling exploded and fragments of the plant and pot shot everywhere, showering the room’s three occupants with ceramic shards and soil.
Joachim and Croifan ducked to avoid flying debris. Croifan, straightened up, dusted off his clothes and said, “Not a success, I think. Brandan, get another plant and let’s try the growth spell again, this time with all the steps.”
Brandan shook his head at the short, stubby kningrad. “Master Croifan, this exercise isn’t necessary. We’ll never perform re-growth spells. That’s all done by low level adepts and we’re much more important than they are.”
“Prince Brandan, you’re no more important than the lowest serf in your father’s kingdom. Besides you never know when you might be alone and have to perform one of these spells to survive.” Croifan pounded his staff on the floor. “Do it again.” He pointed his staff, directing Brandan’s attention to one of the lily pads in a fish bowl on the floor.
Brandan looked at Joachim and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “You asked for it,” and with his deep voice began the chant. “Powers of Ramajadin quicken the streams of creation within your deepest regions and enable this tree an increase in the life blood that feeds all living things and frogs.” Then Brandan with a turn of his hand, whispered, “Fire.”
The practice trees erupted into flames and separated the twins from Croifan, who had transformed into a small green frog.
Joachim glanced around the room and yelled, “Brandan what have you done?”
“Nothing. Now let’s get out of here, while we have a chance.” Brandan walked to the door. “I have had enough of him and his lessons.” He stormed out of the training room.
Joachim yelled, “Douse!” and ran into the garden after Brandan.
Spring was blossoming in Crato, a country in the western hemisphere of the planet Ramajidin. The royal gardens shimmered with the purples, golds, reds and blues of the flowers scattered across the landscape giving the gardens a feel of rebirth, a rebirth in the faith of a people and the love of their royal family.
Joachim stepped into the courtyard in time to see Brandan collide with their parents, King Theodric and Queen Lilia, who had just left the royal family’s private quarters.
As Joachim reached the royal couple, the King grabbed his arm and said, “Whoa, boys, slow down.”
Lilia brushed Brandan’s tunic wiping away some invisible dirt and Theodric released him.
“I’m sorry Father.” Joachim responded as he brushed his blonde hair out of his eyes. “I didn’t watch where I was going.”
Lilia smiled. “Where were you two off to in such a hurry?”
Brandan grabbed Lilia’s hands and said, “We finished our lessons and were headed to the kitchen to get carrots from cook for the horses. We were planning on riding. Would you like to come with us?”
The king shook his head. “No, I can’t. I have to see Rupert about the meeting with King Waldrom.”
“Mother, you should come.” Brandan looked at Lilia. “You haven’t been riding in so long.”
“I wish I could, but not today. I have to talk with Rupert before your father and then I have some letter writing to do. Maybe tomorrow.”
She hugged the twins and her and Theodric strolled toward the council chambers. “I’ll see you boys at dinner.”
Joachim headed toward their private quarters and kitchens. As he reached the wooden gate in the center of the tall, stone wall surrounding the courtyard, Brandan caught up to him and patted him on the back.
“Thanks for not saying anything to Father. I would have been seeing the Wisdoms for sure if he found out my little spell.”
Joachim turned and brushed Brandan’s hand away. “Maybe I should have told Father. Haven’t you learned not to use your magic for evil, especially during our lessons?”
Brandan pushed Joachim, hard knocking him to the ground. “Well aren’t you Sir high and mighty, like you haven’t thought about doing the same a time or two?”
Joachim scrambled to his feet. “Yes, but I would never actually do it. That’s the difference.”
“Well maybe you should once in a while, then you might be more human. Besides, who does it hurt?”
“It hurts you and tears the relationship with Asha. If you have no self-control with Croifan, how can you ever expect to be an Anointed One and a king?”
Brandan dove at Joachim. He caught his red tunic on a nearby glingkol tree.
Joachim jumped aside, and Brandan landed hard on his chest in a patch of blooming rosas. He stood and caught his breath. “Setting that little fire won’t prevent me from being king and who wants to be an Anointed One anyway.”
Joachim backed away and ran into the stone wall covered with ivy. Brandan landed his fist on his jaw.
“I am paying for my mistake.” Brandan fell to his knees on the hillock next to the garden, exhausted and out of breath.
Joachim wiped blood from his lip, staining the sleeve of his silver tunic and watched his brother panting on the ground. He remembered the warning Croifan drilled into their heads from day one of their training. “Magic of any kind leeches the energy of the adept. You must learn to conserver your resources.”
Joachim offered Brandan his hand “You deserve to pay. You have no control over your magic, which makes it dangerous.”
Brandan grabbed Joachim’s hand and pulled him to the ground, rolled over on top of him and sat on his chest. “Don’t lecture me about magic. I hear enough of it from Father, Croifan and all of our other teachers. I can control my magic. I chose not to.”
Joachim saw King Theodric across the garden talking with a guard from the drill chamber, then coming toward them.
He struggled to get out from under his brother. Theodric grabbed Brandan by the forearm and lifted him off his brother. As Brandan tried to break free of his father’s grip, he glared at Joachim. Joachim got to his feet, straightened his tunic and brushed the dirt off his tall, lanky frame.
Joachim eyed Brandan and remembered Father’s anger last time Brandan misused his magic. As if the power drain and exhaustion Brandan always felt afterward wasn’t enough, Father threatened direr punishment that could push Brandan to the point where he would do something desperate. Spending a week with the Wisdoms might not bother me, but it would be like a death sentence for Brandan.
“Is this how princes of the House of Irinaeus should behave? Like common street ruffians?” Theodric brushed a blonde hair from his face. “What do you two know about the fire in the training room?”
Neither boy spoke as their father looked first from one to the other.
“Well if no one will confess to performing magic, then I haven’t any choice but to punish both of you. Starting tomorrow, you will spend your days with Wisdom Frederic and the acolytes. You are to do anything they tell you to as well as sit in on the lessons. Maybe that will teach you not to use your magic unwisely.”
Brandan brushed a stray leaf from his brown hair. “Father, Joachim was struggling with the re-growth spell and accidently set fire to the tree. He was so embarrassed he ran out of the room and left me to put out the fire. I ran after him and tried to calm him down. But he would have no part of it.”
Joachim spluttered, “But Father…”
Theodric held up his hand to silence his sons. “I find that hard to believe. But needless of that, I’m sure the week with Master Frederick will help both of you.”
It was Brandan’s turn to splutter. “Why me? I didn’t do anything.”
“There will be no arguments. It’s your responsibility as princes to learn to care for the earth and your people with magic as Asha has written in the ‘Annals of Time’. Obviously you two need some reminding.” Theodric’s stern face softened.
Brandan said, “I don’t understand why we’re taking magic and preservation lessons from a grumpy old kningrad. There are so many royal adepts who would be better teachers. How can his magic be as good as King Eyvindur’s or Master Rupert’s?”
“I have explained this before. The other adepts are busy. Croifan may be a short, stubby kningrad, unlike others of his race, but his magic is just as powerful.
Size makes no difference when it comes to magic. You have learned more from Croifan
than you realize.”
Brandan brushed his dark hair in his frustration, and said, “He’s old and doesn’t know anything about what it is like to be an adept today.”
Theodric took a deep breath to calm himself. “Someday, you won’t be so impatient, and then you’ll understand the plan Asha has for us. I believe a week with Master Frederic will help you come to appreciate that.”
Joachim stepped forward. “Our final examinations are in a week. When will we study?”
Theodric turned to go into the high council chamber. “You’ll have to figure that out yourselves.”
When Lilia reached Rupert’s quarters, she found a messenger leaving the room with Rupert not far behind.
“Rupert, I need to talk to you.”
“Sorry Highness, but we just received a message and I must find the king to tell him of it.” He walked quickly down the hall. Lilia lifted her skirt and ran after him.
Queen Lilia stopped to catch her breath when they reached Theodric and the princes in the garden.
Rupert bowed and said “Sire, we just received a message from Eyvindur. There has been a raid at Freiberg.”
“Raid, by whom?” Theodric said.
“The messenger was unclear who ordered the raid. Villagers saw Amleht, lurking in the forest during the raid.”
Brandan stepped beside Theodric. “Why would the mantion king be leading the raid?”
Rupert straightened his long gray beard. “There was some other force leading that raiding party. The villagers reported feeling evil that didn’t come from the mantions. Something else was in control.”
“Rupert, take eight men from the King’s guard and see what you can learn.”
“Sire, the Peace Summit is in a few days. We both need to be here. One of the generals can take care of this. The raid is over.”
Brandan interrupted. “Father, I can go with them.”
Lilia put her hands on his shoulders and gently turned him so she could look in his eyes. “Son, you haven’t been through your final testing yet. How can you think about going?”
Brandan sighed, “The tests are a formality. You know I can do this. When do I leave?”
“You aren’t going. Fifteen is too young to undertake such a task. General Geurin, the leader of the Guard, and his squad will go. Be assured, when you are ready, I will let you have your chance. Until that time you must be patient.”
“Father, how can you say I’m not prepared for this? I’m older than you were when you went on your first mission and I have had more training than you had. If you can’t see that, then you don’t know me at all.”
Brandan turned and walked away. Joachim followed and overheard him mumbling under his breath. “I’m ready for this. I’ll show them all.”
“Don’t be so angry. We’ll be doing this kind of thing soon and probably wishing we could be at home instead.”
“What do you know about it? I bet if you asked, Father would’ve let you go.”
“No, he wouldn’t. I’m smart enough not to ask.”
“Well, aren’t you the special one?” Brandan pushed Joachim away and stormed into the palace.