Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Around The River Bend by Christina Askin Richter

An excerpt from my novel in progress - Around The River Bend

The province of Fairhelm was most befitting of a King and Queen. Majestic Ash and Elm stood tall, distinguished and lush with crisp green leaves. Their limbs spread like hulking giants, spreading over rolling hills, vibrant floras and wild flowers. Marcus and Phillip eyed some animals eating some grass that looked much like deer but even they had a magical appeal to them, with long reaching antlers and decorative markings. And birds! The boys could see them nestled in amongst the trees; their colors as endless as the skies they mastered. As if they knew they were being watched, a huge flock of small birds took flight and caressed the sky in a soft cloud of pink and purple hues. A little ways off in the distance they could see a perfect circle of ancient oak, their giant twisted limbs woven together creating a grand canopy.

“Is that where we’re going?” Phillip asked using his mind. He was still in such awe of their surroundings.

“It is indeed, little one,” Elohwen returned, “home of the high King and Queen of Maradel.”

When they landed, the sprawling roots of the ancient oaks snapped and popped and receded to reveal and arched opening.

“Wow,” Phillip gaped in amazement.

When Elohwen moved forward through the opening, Phillip and Marcus followed close behind, staring wide eyed at the colossal giants as they passed. Inside, the sounds of birdsong and waterfalls filled their ears. Brilliantly coloured butterflies were flitting about the bountiful blossoms, as sunlight poked through the openings in the canopy. There wasn’t any need of sunlight though; there was a soft natural glow that made everything shimmer. Fairies were everywhere, both in fairy form and balls of light, dancing and singing and giggling.

Phillip became mesmerized by one of the fairy lights that was dancing about and singing. The voice definitely sounded female even though he couldn’t see her face. Still in light form she started coming towards him, spinning in circles and radiating joy. She finally slowed in front of him and as she spun to face him, she changed into her fairy form, her dark hair swishing around her waist. The small little fairy with tiny flowers in her hair; smiled at Phillip and kissed him on the nose. Giggling, she danced away, changing back into her light form all the while singing her happy little tune. Phillip smiled widely and looked at Marcus to see if he had been watching. By his smile and laugh, he knew that he had.

The three of them entered into a room that had a few rows of moss covered rocks that looked to be used for seating. There were two grand looking thrones, entwined with vines and gold, that must be where the King and Queen sat during counsel. In behind them they could see the underside of a winding staircase that curved up to the left and out of sight. The entrance to them was covered with a curtain of long hanging vines.

Elohwen led them into the room and stood them before the stair entrance. “Be ready to greet our King and Queen,” she murmured softly as the vines parted and revealed a male and female who were quite...tall?

Phillip’s eyes grew wide and he gasped, “Whoa...those are some big fairies!” he said in his mind to the others.

“Phillip!” Marcus admonished breathily.

“What?” he wondered innocently.

Elohwen smiled, “There are many different kinds of Fae in the veil.”

When Marcus noticed, Phillip looking at him out of the corner of his eye in confusion he added, “Fae is another word for fairy.”

“Quite right, Marcus” Elohwen nodded. “There are also many creatures in the veil that are not Fae, but you will learn about them soon enough. She then knelt on one knee and placed her right hand over her heart, bowing her head, which was strange because how can one really kneel while floating? Marcus and Phillip followed her lead and knelt on the floor, bowing their heads and placing their hands over their hearts, although Phillip did his in reverse.

The King and Queen were watching them from the steps and they glanced at each other and smiled at this. The King helped his Queen down the last of the steps and they walked over and stood before the boys who still had their heads bowed.

“Arise brothers, Marcus and Phillip, we have been waiting for you,” the Queen greeted them, sweeping her hands gracefully.

“Elohwen, it is good to see you again,” she smiled.

“And you as well, my Queen,” Elohwen replied.

She turned her attention back to the boys, “I am Queen Anaya and this is King Alabas,” she said, looking at her husband with a lasting love showing in her violet eyes and that love was mirrored in his. “We are so pleased to meet you!” she exclaimed, looking back at them and reaching out for them to take her hand.

Marcus and Phillip looked at her shyly but placed their hands in hers.

“Oh, please do not be shy!” she pleaded joyously. “We are to be good friends! We have much to discuss, but now...a feast in your honor!” She nodded to one of her Fae servants who left immediately to carry out her ladies wishes. “Come...” she said, looking back to the boys and gesturing with her head for them to follow.

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