Fourth Anniversary: Sanctuary of Nine Dragons

 

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three. Over the course of the last year all three of the books in the trilogy have had their fourth anniversaries, I just failed to mention them. So I am going to change that today.

April 26, 2013 Palace of the Twelve Pillars was released with a print version being released November, 2016.

 

 

 

Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One

Release Date: April 26, 2013

 

 

 

MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/palace-of-the-twelve-pillars-detail

Print: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/palace-of-the-twelve-pillars-540-detail

Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSmA0Q52h_8

 

Excerpt

The High Wisdom raised the crown from its golden case. A loud scream tore the silence in the tent. Joachim turned to look at the entrance. A soldier fell through the opening, blood spurting from a slit stretched across his throat.

As he bounded off the dais, Waldrom screamed, “What’s going on here?”

A wild rush of wind ripped the tent flaps open, and a horse and rider burst through. Joachim gaped at the body of the dead soldier. His heart raced and leapt to his throat. His gaze traveled up the horse’s legs. A man’s black boots. A scream caught in his throat, and tears filled his eyes. He stared into blue eyes.

The horse pawed the ground and snorted. The rider dismounted and stood next to the dead guard.

Wriggling free of Waldrom, Lilia ran to the rider. She threw her arms around him. “Brandan, you’re here. You’ve come to free us.”

The prince pushed her aside. “Brother, I see you are trying to usurp me again. It appears I got here just in time.”

“No, you’re wrong. I have no desire to take anything rightfully belonging to you.” Joachim stepped toward his brother and reached out a hand to him. “I want to help you and see what we can accomplish together.”

Swatting his hand away, Brandan laughed. “Help me? You’re the one who needs help. Anything you have to offer is worthless to me. Now out of my way. The king and I have business.”

“No, listen to me. You can’t do this.” Joachim spun him around.

He clouted Joachim, knocking him down. “King Waldrom, we need to talk. He’s deceiving you.” He spat at Joachim then turned and bowed to Waldrom. “I’m at your service, My King.”

Regaining his feet, Joachim pushed Brandan into the guard standing behind him. The guard wrapped his muscular arms around Brandan. “What should I do with him, Sire?”

Brandan flipped the soldier to the ground and put his black booted foot on the man’s chest. “The one you should be detaining is standing there, you fool.” He pointed at Joachim.

“What are you doing?” Lilia grabbed Brandan by the arm. “Stop this, or Waldrom will imprison us all. Why are you jeopardizing our lives?”

He looked at his mother. “Don’t worry, Mother. The only one in any danger here is the traitor you see standing before of you. First, he betrays me, next he kills Father, and now he would betray you and Waldrom. Guards, seize him!”

The king stepped forward and raised his hands to stop the guards. “What do you mean a traitor, and how do you know this?”

“Because I know my brother, and that’s the way he thinks. He’ll lie, cheat, and kill to achieve his own ends, and his goal is to have both countries under his to rule at any cost.”

“Why should I trust you over him?”

“Because I’m just like you,” Brandan responded.

Walking around the twins, Waldrom rubbed his goatee thoughtfully. “My boy, you present an interesting dilemma. How do I choose one over the other? How do I know which one to believe? Guards seize both of them.” Two guards stepped forward, and each grabbed a twin.

“You’re wrong.” Joachim struggled to break free. “This is wrong. I’m not a liar. I only want what’s best, and that’s for us to be together.”

“You’re the one who’s wrong.”

Brandan pulled his arm free. “I’ve no use for you.” He turned to Waldrom.

“Get him out of here, so we can finish.”

Joachim broke loose, stepped across the gap and grasped his brother by the tunic. Brandan jerked around and punched him. He rubbed his jaw and shoved Brandan, who fell to the ground “What happened to you? You’re not the brother I know.”

Standing up, the black prince pulled his sword. “Nothing is wrong with me. I just realized who I am and who truly cares about me…and it’s not you.” He rested the point of the sword on the cut Waldrom had given Joachim. As Brandan pushed the tip in the scratch, he re-opened the partially scabbed wound. Joa laid his hand on the side of the sword and pushed it away. Guards grabbed Joachim’s arms.

“Enough! I can see you two will not make this easy. I put before you a challenge, which will determine my choice. You will travel to the Cave of Njori and extinguish the flame of Asha. Melvane will accompany you and testify to its completion.”

Brandan replaced his sword and walked over to his horse. “I don’t see the need for this. It’s obvious I am the one, but I’ll go along if that is what you want.” He remounted his horse and reined it around to exit.

Still in the grasp of the soldier, Joachim yelled, “No, Brandan, stop! You can’t do this. We can’t. It’s the light of Asha, never to be extinguished. If you do this, you’ll destroy all hope and any chance we have of defeating this evil.”

Brandan laughed and kicked his horse. “All the more reason to get this done quickly. Guards, find a mount for my brother.”

“No, I won’t go. I can’t do it.”

The king raised his hand. “The choice is made. Guards, take Joachim to the prison tent. Brandan, we will deal with this inconsequential flame later. Right now, we have more important business to attend to.”

He signaled two of the guards to remove Joachim and then, as if it were his own idea, said, “I knew all along he was a traitor. I was only crowning him to draw out the true Prince of Sidramah. Brandan, thank you for arriving so soon and before these Wisdoms regretted what they did here today.”

As the guards dragged him from the tent, Joachim struggled and screamed, “No, he’s lying! Brandan, why are you doing this?” His cries echoed through the camp as Waldrom returned his attentions to those remaining in the tent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two

Release Date: September 20, 2013

 

 

 

 

MuseItUp Bookstore: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/palace-of-three-crosses-detail

Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIkNu78-BME&t=2s

Excerpt 

Outside the chapel, Waldrom, Brandan, and Joachim stood in a triangle. Waldrom laughed. “So nice to have you two in one place, makes my goal so much easier to achieve. Now I have both of you. Oh, did you know your mother rejoined me.”

Derdrom walked forward leading Lilia in chains.

“We could have been one happy family, but now, I have to kill the two of you along with Lilia. You brats have put me in disfavor with Sidramah, and the only way to regain his favor is to get rid of all three of you. I had hoped to spare at least one, but alas, that is now impossible. The only question is…who’s first? The time has come for a decision.”

Brandan stood beside Joachim, his face working with barely controlled rage. Brandan lunged toward Waldrom.

Waldrom sensed the presence of magic and glanced behind him. Rupert and Lukan stood behind him. He grabbed Lilia and pulled her close, placing his short sword at her throat. “I suggest you stop, or I will cut her throat,” he warned Brandan. To emphasize his point, he pressed the sword against her skin puncturing her flesh.

Brandan, with sword drawn, took another step.

“I wouldn’t do that, unless you want your mother’s corpse on your hands.”

Brandan advanced, as Waldrom muttered a spell to compel the king to keep moving and cut a little deeper drawing blood. He felt Lilia quivering in his arms.

A woman stepped out of the chapel, carrying a sword covered in blood. “Brandan, what are you doing? There’s a battle being fought. Why are you out here and not inside helping me?”

Waldrom glanced at the new arrival. He did not recognize her and turned his attention back to Brandan, who was still advancing. “Well, I see you’ve gone and made yourself right at home. You even found a strumpet to help warm the place up. I should have known you wouldn’t waste any time. Sorry to break up this little party, but it’s still my kingdom. I would greatly appreciate if you would all leave. But, since you won’t go, I’ll have to remove you myself. Where were we? I was deciding which of you to kill. I see, though, a few have been added to the numbers. All the more fun for me. Although it may be a little more painful for you, but that doesn’t matter. Should Lilia remain my first choice?”


Magda grabbed Brandan’s arm. She recognized Waldrom and had as much against him as Brandan and her father. “Wait, Brandan, I will deal with this.”

She moved toward Waldrom, but a voice in her head cautioned her. “Don’t reveal yourself. This is not our battle. Walk away. Let Waldrom do what he will.” She glanced around. Whose voice did she hear? It sounded like Melvane, but he was nowhere in sight. Upon further consideration, she realized this wasn’t her battle. She had every reason to want Waldrom out of the way, and if she let him get rid of these humans and the Kningrad, then she could deal with him at my leisure.

The voice spoke again. “That is right, let Waldrom do what he may, and then we will take care of him.”

Magda dropped her sword arm. “Brandan I don’t know what’s going on here, but I don’t want any part of it.” She turned and walked back into the chapel. “Hurry up and finish out here. I’ve taken care of those in the chapel so we can begin the joining once you’ve ended things. we’ve a joining to conclude. I’ll be waiting.” She slammed the door behind her. Waldrom’s voice followed her into the echoing chamber of the chapel.

Waldrom laughed. “Brandan, I would say you haven’t made a very good choice. You should be grateful I am going to end your life so you don’t have to put up with her much longer. Now where was I?”


Joachim wanted to run to Lilia, but his head whirled. Stars floated in front of his eyes, their motion making him sick with dizziness. He stepped up to stand beside Brandan. “Waldrom, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. First, you are seriously outnumbered. Second, what makes you think you can use Mother to blackmail us? Such childishness, using a woman to negotiate, instead of dealing on a man-to-man level. Let her go, and we will discuss your surrender. I don’t want to kill you.”

Brandan pushed Joachim aside. “You may not, brother, but I do. He will stop at nothing to destroy me, and I can’t let that happen.”

A group of Brandan’s personal guard came charging down the hall. Waldrom pushed the sword point a little further into Lilia’s throat. “I see you boys still don’t agree on anything. I suggest you stop the group of soldiers from attacking me. Rupert, I know you’re back there, trying to form a spell to stop me. That wouldn’t be a good idea either.”

The tableau unfolded before Joachim’s eyes. Waldrom, in the center of the circle holding Lilia with a short sword slicing her throat and Brandan, his long sword drawn, advancing on Waldrom. Rupert and Lukan stood motionless behind Waldrom. Lukan had his sword drawn. Conflicting voices rang in Joa’s head. “Kill them all. You don’t need them.” Other voices calling, “Joachim save them. They need you.”

Lukan yelled, “Sire, watch out behind you.”

Joachim started and turned as a Mantion rushed at him. He pulled his short sword from his scabbard and stood before the coming onslaught. As the attacker reached him, he swung his weapon cutting and angering the Mantion. The foe sliced at Joachim’s knees with his knife, leaving a gash in his thigh. When Joachim doubled over in pain, the Mantion leapt on his back and pummeled the king. Suddenly, the weight of the attacker lifted from his back. Joachim fearfully turned his head, expecting to see the Mantion standing over him ready to deliver the kill stroke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three

Release Date: February 7, 2014

 

 

 

 

MuseItUp Bookstore: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/sanctuary-of-the-nine-dragons-detail

Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIkNu78-BME&t=2s

Excerpt

Joachim cringed as he thought about what he had to do. The council had decided. He didn’t agree completely, but in the end, Joachim knew it was the only way; something had to be done. Maybe Brandan would give him a reason not to send him away.

King Brandan stomped into the room. “Why, Brother, have you no throne prepared for your poor, missing brother? I’m hurt. I expected more from you and my sister-in-law. Maeve, dear, couldn’t you have helped him prepare better?” He stepped toward her, quickly grabbed her hand, and kissed it.

Joachim lunged at him, pushing him from the dais. Brandan staggered then regained his balance and gazed at his brother. “Why such violence, especially when I am so recently injured?”

Stepping off the dais, Joachim stood eye-to-eye with his brother. “Enough! You’re no more hurt than I am. And you have no business touching my wife, or sitting on Crato’s throne.”

Brandan laughed, pushed him aside, and stepped up to claim his throne. Joachim grabbed his twin’s shoulder, spun him around, and punched him in the mouth.

Rubbing where Joa’s fist had landed, Brandan smirked. “Well, my brother has finally developed some stones.” He raised his other hand to hit Joachim.

Matthias stepped forward, sword in hand and grabbed his arm before he could hit Crato’s king. He pulled the king’s brother away, so Joachim could reclaim his throne.

Jerking himself free, Brandan straightened his tunic. “This has been fun; but as you seem to be in no mood to visit, I shall take my leave. Come to me when you’re in a better frame of mind.”

“Stop! You are going nowhere until I say you can.”

Brandan stopped and looked at his brother. “What did you say to me? Is that how you talk to a fellow king and brother?”

“Yes, it is. As of this morning, you are no longer a king, and I’m not sure I should even call you brother.”

“Why dearest brother, whatever do you mean?” Brandan asked.

“Ever since we were boys, you have done everything you could to make trouble. I was always willing to forgive you and hoped you would change your evil ways. But no more! You have pushed me—pushed this country—too far this time,” Joa thundered at him.

“What are you rambling on about?” Brandan sneered and bit a fingernail.

“Brandan, I should sentence you to execution, but there are two things keeping me from that. First: you are my brother, and I hold onto a hope, however faint, you can be reformed…”

Brandan chortled. “Not a good bet, brother.”

“Second, I strongly suspect you of making two attempts on my life. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough evidence to prove it was you. I punished one innocent man because of the little evidence we do have. I do not wish to make that mistake a second time.”

Brandan laughed again. “So, if we’re finished here, I’ll be leaving.”

“As I said before, you won’t be going anywhere until I say so. I may not have what I need to sentence you to death, but after your actions toward the queen this morning, I have some recourse.”

“What are you talking about? I did nothing she didn’t ask for.”

Maeve rose from her throne. Joa put his hand on her arm to stop her.

“Brandan, I suggest you remain quiet until I finish.”

“Brother, you do not have the authority to do this. We are equals.”

“Do you not see the Adept Council before you? We met and discussed this matter at length… They have given me the authority.”

“This tiresome group of old men?”

Brandan laughed. “They have even less power over me than you do.”

Ignoring Brandan’s comments, the king continued. “First, I strip you of your title. You are no longer King Brandan but will henceforth be known simply as Prince Brandan.” He paused and swallowed. He didn’t know if he could continue. The lump in his throat felt as big as a koali fruit. He swallowed again. Maeve grasped his hand. Warmth and reassurance enveloped him. He knew what he had to do.

“When we have finished here, Rupert, Salochin, and Master Frederick will take you to Rupert’s tower. There, they will strip you of your magical powers. When they are finished, Matthias and Wilhelm will escort you to the Port of Wyrzburg, where you will be put on a ship bound for Hyogo, the prison island. There you will remain for the rest of your life. You are never to return to Crato or Mahorg. You will live in the mountain abbey with the monks and work side-by-side with them.”

“You’re a misguided fool.” Brandan sneered. “If you believe that by exiling me, you are saving yourself from evil—think again. You may have peace and rest comfortably for a short while, but don’t assume I won’t find a way to come back and destroy you.” He stepped up to the thrones and leaned forward, placing a hand on each. The guards on either side of the king stepped forward to stop him. Joachim raised his hand signaling them to stop.

Brandan glared at the guard and muttered, “Freisen!” The man froze where he stood.

Brandan turned back to his brother and sister-in-law. “No, Joa. This is not over and what I did to your guard is nothing compared to the evils you will suffer by my hand.”

While he was speaking, Rupert chanted a binding spell. Matthias came forward and placed his sword tip to Brandan’s back.

The king put his good hand on his brother’s shoulders and pushed him upright as he stood. “You have done enough! Matthias, escort him to Master Rupert’s tower.”

As the prince was escorted from the room, Joa slumped back into his throne. It was done, he thought as remorse washed over him. A tear crawled down his cheek as Maeve squeezed his hand.

All three books are available as a boxed set.

 

 

The Twelve Pillars Bundle

Release Date: April 3, 2015

 

 

 

 

MuseItUp Bookstore: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/bundles/the-twelve-pillars-bundle-detail

Blurb:

Twin princes Joachim and Brandan come of age and are thrust into adulthood as they enter a world torn apart by war, kidnapping and betrayal.

As the twins are crowned Kings of Mahorg and Crato, and wed to powerful women, each will deal with the loss of their parents in his own unique way. The choices each makes will set their world on a cataclysmic course that only loss and sacrifice can deter.

Is their love and faith strong enough to see Joachim and Brandan through the veil of evil blanketing the land, or will it fail and be left to their children to save?

 

So come join the celebration and see what kinds of trouble Joachim and Brandan are getting into.

Joachim’s Tests

palaceoftwelvepillars200x300 (2)A few weeks ago I posted an article about Brandan’s tests. This week I wanted to talk about Joachim’s tests. Joachim’s tests are a little different from Brandan’s. Sidramah’s goal is to either turn Joachim to evil or destroy him.

 

 

 

 

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 The walls, carved of black onyx, created a dark, forbidding aura. Cold wet slime covered the floors; Joachim’s blood seemed to freeze as he walked on it. An eerie yellow light emanated from the corner, and though he tried to fight it, something inexorabably drew him closer. Trembling, he approached and stepped into the sulfurous light. His knees buckled, and he fell to the rock floor of the cave but continued to crawl forward. A dark, daunting presence appeared in a cloud of smoke and fog and floated in front of Joachim. The being’s black robe brushed the floor; straight raven-colored hair rested on its shoulders. The figure’s red glowing gaze seemed to penetrate Joachim.
The man held a silver goblet. Writhing snakes encircled the vessel, slithering up the man’s arms and wrapping around his neck. The prince stood and took a step back but could go no further. Something held him in place and then shoved him toward the figure. When Joa stood within arm’s reach, the being pushed the goblet into his hands. “Drink.” The prince tried to drop the cup, but the snakes wrapped themselves around his hands and began the journey up his arms. The mug was hot and felt as if it was fusing to his hands, yet the cup remained intact. His arms took on a will of their own and raised the vessel to his lips. When the cup touched his mouth, the vile potation slid over his lips and down his throat. The snakes released him, and he dropped the goblet. Waves of pain assaulted his abdomen while his mouth burned. He fell. * * * * “What was that?” Fuzzy memories of a peyote tea lesson and its effects filled his mind as blackness and dark visions took shape. The figure picked him up. “You don’t belong here. You aren’t worthy to be Sidramah’s servant. The volcanic fires of Mount Dablaya will temper your rebellion and be final proof of your unworthiness.” * * * *

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The first is an attempt to convert him by convincing him that his family doesn’t care about him:

The man turned as the wall of the cave erupted into a sheet of flame. Joachim was catapulted into the fiery vision. Flames licked his body. Pain exploded in his brain, and fireworks erupted around him. He tried to find an escape from the intense heat. His stomach roiled as he inhaled smoke, and he threw up before he could move on. Bile lingered in his mouth, igniting the impulse to vomit again. Dreams of cool water streaming over his body and satisfying his thirst teased at the edges of his mind like chickens just out of reach of a chained dog. After catching
his breath, inhaling smoke and sparks, he resumed crawling and searching for an escape route. He cried out, “Father help me. Asha come to my aid!” The response was Waldrom’s laughter echoing off the walls. “They aren’t here. They don’t care. They won’t help you.” After what seemed like hours of crawling through the flames, he exited into a field. A thunderstorm roared around him. The rain pelted his burned, aching body. There was momentary respite before the cooling raindrops turned to ash. Rivers of lava flowed down the mountain on their journey to the canyon standing before him. On the opposite rim was a sun-dappled meadow with the Go Ruden River flowing lazily into the forest beyond. On the banks, his father and mother watched Brandan and Myrria dance. Disregarding the canyon, Joachim ran toward them. At the edge of a precipice, he halted. “Father, Myrria, it’s me. Help!” His father turned. Waldrom stood behind the king. “Your father no longer loves you. He abandoned his search and is making your brother king in your stead. Come to me. I’ll take care of you. You’ll become my heir, and together, we’ll avenge you by destroying your father and brother.” “No, you’re not my father. King Theodric’s my father. I won’t bow to you.” “You will, or you’ll die like your father and brother.” The dragon flapped her wings as if to fly to him but froze as Waldrom stared at her. Then the wizard focused his gaze on prince and king. They fell twisting and writhing as mist descended on them. Screams erupted but were soon silenced as the mist lifted. Their faces were grey-blue with eyes rolled back. Lava covered their bodies as colored glass rained on the smoldering field. “No!” Joachim stepped forward and fell into the canyon. * * * *
Joachim opened his eyes, and the man stood before him. “They don’t want you. They will not rescue you. Turn to Sidramah, turn to Waldrom. They will meet your needs.” “No, they can’t. Asha and Father will come for me.”

 

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When Joachim doesn’t succumb then the Evil One steps up his game:

The man disappeared. Joachim sat on the floor, his head dropped into his hands, and tears fell down his face. “Will they come for me? Should I trust Waldrom? Asha please tell me what to do.” He looked at the wall, and the stone seemed to dissolve as black mist rose, revealing the great room at the Palace of Three Crosses. Waldrom sat on the throne with Lilia standing by his side. “Ahh, Joachim, I see you have arrived and just in time. You’re about to witness a great moment in the history of Mahorg and Crato. Lilia has agreed to be my bride.” Diving at the throne, Joachim yelled, “No, this isn’t happening. Mother would never agree to be yours. She is with Father.” “That is where you’re mistaken my boy.” Waldrom pushed him with his foot. “Your mother is mine!” “No, she’ll never be yours.” The vision faded as he turned to run from Waldrom and saw Lilia entering. He glanced back, and the previous scene was gone. Overjoyed, he ran to her. She was dressed in a black gown with a black hood covering her brown hair. The queen stopped his embrace with a stern look. “You must give in. Your father is no good for you. You’ll never be king. He will bestow that honor on Brandan. Waldrom is the only one who can make you king. Return to him, and you will get nothing.” “Mother, how can you say that?” “I don’t love your father. He blinded me, led me to believe he loved me. But he didn’t, and it broke my heart. Waldrom has always loved me. I now realize I should have been with him. Theodric is evil and treacherous. Accept Waldrom while you still have a chance.” “No, you’re lying. He has cast some kind of spell on you. Father loves you. He loves all of us. We’ll be together soon. We can forget all about Waldrom and his evil ways.” “I’m surprised you still believe that drivel, boy.” Waldrom laughed. “Your father doesn’t care. Brandan doesn’t care. There is nothing left for you but to come to me. I am the only one who cares.” “Do as he suggests,” Lilia put her hand on Joachim’s shoulder. “It is the only way.” This wasn’t right. Father would never abandon him. Brandan did care, and Mother would never go to King Waldrom. That wasn’t the way things were supposed to be. “It is the only way.” Lilia hugged him. He opened his eyes. “I can’t do this. But what if I don’t? Who will I have left to turn to?” The man in black reappeared. “You know what you must do. Sidramah is the only way. Give into him. Let him give you what you need.” Turning away from the man, Joachim fell asleep. Troubling dreams haunted him throughout the night. They were filled with harpies and banshees that caressed him while trying to lure him into their lairs. Giant wolves and Nemean lions stalked him and occasionally leapt at him, attempting to kill him. Joachim pushed the harpies away as he tried to run from the lions. Arms of skeletons kept reaching out, and Joachim batted them away. The creatures continued to come at him as he ran down a stale, dark passageway smelling of rot and decay. He moved toward a light at the end of the tunnel, but the closer he got, the farther away the light seemed. He tripped over a pile of bones, twisting his ankle.
His father appeared before him. Joachim reached out. “Father, I’m here. Help me… Take me home.” “No, Joachim, I’m not here to take you away. You must stay with Waldrom and learn from him. He’s your only salvation. I no longer need you. Brandan will take your place and be a fine king when the time comes. There is no need for you to come back.” His father’s image disolved into Waldrom who looked into Joa’s eyes. “I told you he no longer wanted you. Now, will you come to me and be my son and heir.” He saw the kingdom of Crato with himself as king and Waldrom, a great wizard. The last thing he saw was Waldrom and Lilia joined…and Waldrom became his father.

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In one more attempt to sway Joachim, Sidramah plants seeds of death and doubt in Joachim’s mind:

He awoke on the hard ground. Sweat peppered his brow and chest as questions tormented him. He spoke, hoping to hear the answers and yet knowing he wouldn’t. “Who should I believe? Waldrom gave me no reasons to trust him, but Father hasn’t shown up to rescue me yet. Maybe he gave up on me in favor of Brandan. And what of the dark magic?” Joachim could do so much more if he embraced it, but it went against everything he learned and believed. A Nemean lion roared from the depths of the cave making Joachim jump. He ran toward the entrance, but a gray dragon blocked his path. Beyond the dragon he could see Mother, Father, and Brandan playing in the surf of the Takan Ocean. He closed his eyes, and when he opened them, Waldrom and Mother stood before him, beckoning to join them. A celebration surrounded them. Both were dressed in radiant white clothes. Rosas covered the ground beneath them. Mantion and humans danced and sang around them. Brandan stood beside a glass enclosed coffin. Father lay in the box, dressed in black. Brandan ran his hand over the casket and looked Joachim in the eye. “You’ve already killed. Come join us and share the power of Sidramah. It is the only way.” The battlefield lay before him. Father, frozen on the ground. Joachim stood over him blood covered sword in hand. The dragon roared, spewing fire, engulfing Joachim. The prince ran to the dragon screaming. He had to get out of this place of evil. He couldn’t succumb to the evil. There must be a way out of this and away from Waldrom. He would let them think he had given up till he could find another way. The prince collapsed in a heap at the feet of the dragon, his charred body crying out for relief from the pain. His mother appeared. She caressed his wounds and chanted a healing spell. The burns faded. “Joa, come with me. All will be well. Just give into the power of Sidramah.” “No, I can’t. I will never….” She stopped stroking his burns. The wounds remanifested. He screamed again. The queen touched him again, healing him. “To be healed you must. Please?” Once more, Brandan and Waldrom stood before him. “I will do whatever you ask, Mother.” Joachim bowed his head in defeat. The dragon and visions faded. Joachim limped from the cave, his burns healed and all signs of his travails gone as if dreams. He stumbled on an exposed glingkol root and toppled to the moss-covered ground of the meadow. He couldn’t give into the evil. He couldn’t do as Mother, as Brandan asked. He must not succumb to the evil.

Will Joachim give into the evil or will the evil destroy him? The answers lie in Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One. There you can see the struggles of both Brandan and Joachim. How will the twin princes respond to their very different tests and what is the destiny of the world they live in?

 

To see more of Joachim and the role he plays in the fate of Ramajadin check out Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One:

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/palace-of-the-twelve-pillars-detail

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