Monday, September 1, 2014

THE WAY THEY SHALL GO: Jes Drew







A large, cloaked figure slipped into the bedchambers of Princess Alana, the only child of King Odenson, ruler of the people of Ostiero. The figure crept to the princess’ bed, reached out his hands, and shook her.

Alana’s eyes flew open and her hand groped for the knife she always kept beneath her pillow. When she saw the cloaked figure, however, she froze.

“Uncle,” Alana said. “What is it?”

“They’ve broken through our defenses,” the cloaked figure answered. “There’s no time to explain; we must flee.”

Alana obediently climbed out of bed and pulled on her boots. Then she pulled her breastplate over her nightgown.

“Follow me,” her uncle urged, hurrying to the door.

Alana grabbed her dagger and hurried after him. Together, they crept down the now deserted hallways of the great stone castle that their ancestors constructed after discovering the sliver of fertile land wedged between the Great Woods and the ocean.

“Where is Father?” Alana whispered.

“He is leading the guards in defense of the courtyard,” her uncle answered.

“Lord Vidiner and his men are already within our walls?”

Her uncle nodded solemnly. “I’d be with your father right now, except-”

“He sent you to escort me to safety?”

Her uncle nodded again. “Now come.”

He removed a candle from his cloak, lit it, and led her into a tower that had always been forbidden for her explore before. Inside was a winding staircase.

“Where does this lead?” Alana asked as she followed her uncle down the stairs.

“It’ll take us right to the wall,” he answered.

“Are we leaving the castle, then?”

“Yes.”

“So Vidiner assembled more men than we anticipated?”

“Yes.”

Alana sucked in her breath. “Then I must make my way to the Valkyries. They’ll assist us.”

“No,” her uncle answered forcefully as they reached the bottom of the stairway.

“They will,” Alana insisted. “They’ve always been loyal to my father before. And am I not myself the handmaiden of Lady Vashtra, captain of the Valkyries?”

Her uncle pushed open the great wood door separating them from the outside, and then paused. “You misunderstand me, brother’s daughter. I do not doubt the Valkyries’ loyalty. It is simply that I will not have you running off alone-”

“But-”

Her uncle silenced her with a Look. “You know as well as I that it is forbidden for a man to go to the village of the Valkyries.”

“Well, yes, but I know the way well, and-”

“You were always with a female escort then. Now, let us focus on escaping the castle. Then we shall discuss our next move.” Then he blew out the candle and returned it to the folds of his cloak.

Alana nodded and they both slipped out into the outer courtyard. In the distance, Alana heard the sounds of battle, and she prayed silently that her father would make it through the battle. For, if he survived the initial attack, Lord Vidiner would be bound by the Code of War to simply hold him prisoner- not kill him.

“There’s a secret exit this way,” her uncle said, pulling her towards the wall.

“Halt!” someone cried not far from them. His voice had the undeniable accent of Lord Vidiner’s village.

“Run,” Alana’s uncle whispered to her, and the pair hurried towards the wall.

Then, suddenly, Alana stumbled.

“Alana?” her uncle asked. Then his eyes fell on the arrow protruding from his niece’s waist.

Alana stared at the arrow numbly. She had practiced for years of battle, but this was her first real wound. With a sort of morbid focus, she pulled the arrow out of her side and threw it to the ground before pressing her hand tightly to the wound.

Meanwhile, her uncle unsheathed the sword hidden under his cloak and turned towards the distant figure.

“Be gone,” he ordered, his tone so menacing that the enemy archer turned to flee. Then Alana’s uncle groped for the hidden door with fervor until his hand found it. He removed a key from his pocket, unlocked the door, and pushed it open. With that deed done, her uncle spun around and took Alana’s hand. “Come, Alana.”

They both stumbled out into the open land.

“Where do we go now?” Alana asked, thankful for the numbing adrenaline.

“This way,” her uncle answered, pulling her to the side.

Suddenly, though their surroundings remained the same, they also changed; blurred, even.

“Where are we?” Alana asked as she was pulled forward by her uncle. “Am I delirious?”

“You are not delirious, brother’s daughter. We are walking the Safe Path. My father walked on it, and his father before him, and his father before him. Indeed, this is the very Path that led our ancestors to Ostiero.”

“Truly?’’

Her uncle nodded. “It has guided and protected our kinsmen since they discovered it. We have passed knowledge of this Path down generation to generation. It is time that you learn of it now, brother’s daughter.”

“Where does it lead?”

“Refuge. It has always appeared for our kinsmen when they needed it, and it has always led them to safety when they chose it.”

“But it’s leading us to the Great Woods!” Alana cried. Had she not, all her life been told legends of the magic and peril of the Woods?

“Then into the Great Woods we shall go,” her uncle answered.

“You trust this Path greatly.”

Her uncle nodded. “I do.”

“Then so do I.”

Together, Uncle and Niece followed the Path into Goldstone Woods.



Dame Imraldera sat at her desk, carefully copying a poem from a crumbling scroll into a blank book. Bard Eanrin sat on a couch, confidently copying a poem from his mind into another book. They made an odd pair- one a short, dark-skinned dark-haired mortal maid, and the other a cat-like, golden-eyed fiery-haired Faerie poet. Even so, they had shared many an adventure and were both knights of Farthestshore and guardians of the Haven.

“This is a very peculiar poem,” Imraldera said.

“One of mine?” Eanrin asked, his voice golden.

“No, yours is more than just very peculiar,” Imraldera answered.

“I’ll have you know-”

“I know- you’re the most celebrated bard of all time.” Imraldera rolled her eyes. “But this poet isn’t; indeed, he only wrote one poem- and it’s unfinished.”

“That would help explain his obscurity. Well, read it to me if you wish.” Eanrin casually leaned back on his couch and pulled his red cap over his eyes.

Imraldera cleared her throat and read:

My child, one day you shall leave my home.
One day you shall walk alone.
Though I’m not with you, my teaching will be.
Won’t you remember me?

“And if you’ll follow the Path I’ve set,
If my ways you won’t forget,
You’ll find that with you, my own guide walks along.
Won’t you list’n to His song:”

“What’s so odd about it?” Eanrin asked. “It sounded like a proper ending to me.”

“But the punctuation is all wrong.” Imraldera furrowed her dark brows. “How did he intend to end
it-?”

Suddenly, a tall, plain-faced man stepped into the library.

Both Imraldera and Eanrin jumped up.

“My lord,” Eanrin greeted.

“Two mortals walk my Path,” the Prince of Farthestshore said. “I am leading them here. Tend to their wounds and give them shelter as long as they wish.”

“Yes, my lord,” Eanrin and Imraldera said in unison.

Then, just as suddenly as he had appeared, the Prince of Farthestshore vanished.

The two knights walked over to the library’s window. The window showed many different views of the Woods Between, but now it showed two mortals- one, a bearded man, and the other, a pale, blonde girl closer to womanhood than childhood.

“Please,” the man called up. “She’s hurt.”

As if to prove his point, the girl promptly passed out.



When Alana regained consciousness, she found herself in a peculiar room that seemed both majestic and simple. Two people were conversing at the end of her bed- her uncle and a pretty girl with darker coloring than Alana had ever seen on a person. The girl fit into the paradoxical room in the fact that she didn’t look much older than Alana herself, but the girl’s eyes were eyes that had seen much.

“Uncle?” Alana said. “Where am I?”

Her uncle hurried to her side. “Alana, how do you feel?”

Alana sat up. “Like I slept too much.”

“You were badly injured,” her uncle pointed out.

“Oh, yes, I was.” Alana looked down at her side. Her nightgown was ripped where the arrow had torn it, but instead of the expected gash, there was only a faded white scar. “But I’m not anymore. What happened?”

“The Safe Path led us to this Haven,” her uncle answered. “And to the gentle Dame Imraldera.” He gestured to the dark-skinned girl.

“And Sir Eanrin,” the girl, Dame Imraldera, added.

“Yes, him too,” Alana’s uncle agreed; though, by his tone, Alana deduced that her uncle admired Sir Eanrin far less than he did Dame Imraldera. “Anyway,” he uncle added, “the gentle dame tended to your injury.”

“Thank-you, good dame,” Alana said.

“Think nothing of it,” Imraldera answered, smiling. Her teeth were white, but slightly crooked- yet the imperfection was somehow endearing.

“How long have I been out?” Alana asked.

“I’m not sure,” her uncle answered. “Time flows differently here.”

Imraldera nodded.

“Then I must haste to reach the valkyries,” Alana said. “My father may be Lord Vidiner’s prisoner at this very moment.”

“You’re not going anywhere, brother’s daughter,” her uncle answered. “You were just shot. I’m not letting you go anywhere near danger again anytime soon.”

“But Father needs me- the whole kingdom needs me to do this. And am I not healed now?” Alana turned to Imraldera for support.

“Yes, you are,” she agreed, “but you must listen to your uncle.”

Alana’s uncle nodded. “Your father entrusted you to me.”

“But now Father needs our help-”

“I know, but you’re my responsibility, not he.”

“He is your king, though.”

“And he gave me an order. More than that, though, he’s my brother, and I will help him if I can- but not if it endangers you, his precious daughter.”

“I am sixteen,” Alana pointed out. “And I’ve survived two battles-”

“The last one only because Dame Imraldera nursed you and the first was when you were an infant, and the enemy didn’t even break through our outer defenses.”

“But-”

“No.”

Alana sighed.

Dame Imraldera looked between Alana and her uncle and then cleared her throat. “Here are some clothes to change into, Alana.” She laid a pile of brightly colored garments- not unlike Imraldera’s own tunic and baggy trousers- on the bed. Then she turned to Alana’s uncle. “Come; let us give her some privacy.”

He nodded and then both he and Dame Imraldera left the room.

Alana climbed out of bed and quickly changed into the strange clothes and pulled on her boots, which were waiting for her at the end of the bed. She also found her breastplate and knife. Then she crept to the window.

The window’s scene shifted suddenly, giving Alana vertigo, but she stubbornly opened the window. It opened without giving her any trouble, for the Haven kept none against their will.

“Sorry, Uncle,” Alana whispered. Then she jumped out.

The ground was closer than Alana had anticipated, and it caught her quite by surprise. When she recovered herself, she found herself in a forest-like area. The grass was greener than any grass she had ever seen, and the trees were different than the ones she was used to, but it still appeared to be a simple forest. However, the way her skin crawled told her that many invisible dangers surrounded her.

“Find a Path,” Alana whispered to herself to still her nerves. “Find a Path and take it to the Valkyries.”

Suddenly, she became aware of Paths winding all around her. However, she could not tell if the Safe Path was among them.

“Follow me,” one of the Paths whispered. “I’ll take you where you wish to go.”

The Path did not sound like the Safe Path, but the voice was calming; soothing.

“Take me where I want to go,” Alana ordered. Then she stepped onto the Beguiling Path.



Dame Imraldera studied her most recently recorded poem as Alana’s uncle paced around the library. Eanrin sat pleased as a cat and watched the man pace back and forth.

“Something on your mind, fellow?” Eanrin asked. “Cat got your tongue, perhaps?”

Imraldera looked up from her book. “What is bothering you, Freeman?”

Alana’s uncle paused. “What did you call me?”

“Your name is Freeman, is it not?” Imraldera asked.

“Yes, but how did you know? I never told you.”

“She has this thing for names,” Eanrin offered.

Freeman ignored him and continued to study Imraldera.

“Your real name is very close to the name your parents gave you,” Imraldera explained. “Once I saw your real name, it was easy to see your birth name. Now, what’s bothering you?”

Freeman shook his head like he could somehow shake away the strangeness around him. “It’s Alana. I fear she’s right- we have to help my brother. But she’d have to go to the Valkyries alone, and she’s not ready for that…”

“She’s not ready, or you’re not ready?” Eanrin asked.

Freeman turned to Eanrin. “Do you think yourself an expert on these matters, sir?”

Eanrin smiled smugly. “I do, actually. I’ve been around for a while.”

“Maybe you should try listening to Alana,” Imraldera offered. “Without getting defensive. You might be able to reach an understanding.”

Freeman nodded. “Yes, I think I shall.”

“Go to her then,” Imraldera urged.

“I shall.” Freeman left the room and walk to the room he knew Alana to be in. He knocked. “Alana?”

He received no answer, so again he knocked. “Alana?”

Again, he received no answer.

“Alana, I’m coming in now,” he called, opening the door.

He did not find Alana in the room, however. Instead, he found a nearly transparent, pink-tinted woman.

Freeman did what any captain of the guard of Ostiero would do given the circumstances; he yelped.

Both Eanrin and Imraldera- still holding her pencil- rushed in. Eanrin took one glance at the wispy woman and started shooing her back out the open window.

“Shoo!” Eanrin cried. “Be gone from here! You’ll not lure any men here to their deaths, for I am cleverer than that. Shoo!”

The siren stuck her tongue out at Eanrin before flying back out the window.

Eanrin victoriously shut the window. “Well, that’s that.”

“And I’m cleverer than that too,” Freeman agreed rather shakily.

Eanrin studied Freeman’s beard rather lazily. “Oh, I suppose you are a man.”

Freeman blinked at Eanrin. In all his years, no one had ever doubted his manhood before.

“Don’t mind Eanrin,” Imraldera said. “He just doesn’t like admitting to having other men in his territory.”

Freeman shook his head again; the strangeness of this place was overwhelming. Then he asked, “Where’s Alana?”

Imraldera dropped her pencil and its collision with the ground echoed throughout the room.

Finally, Freeman found his voice again. “I must go find her.”

“Yes you should,” Eanrin agreed.

Imraldera gave him a Look.

“And I shall accompany you,” Eanrin added with a sigh.

“You must hurry,” Imraldera urged. “She could have stumbled upon any demesne by now-”

“You’re not coming?” Eanrin asked.

Imraldera shook her head. “I shall not leave the Haven unguarded again. Remember last time?”

“Too well,” Eanrin agreed. Then he turned to Freeman. “Let’s go rescue the girl then- wait, is Alana by any chance a princess?”

“She is the only child and heir of my brother, King Odenson of Ostiero,” Freeman answered proudly.

Eanrin sighed. “It’s always a princess it seems.”

Freeman raised an eyebrow. “You’ve rescued princesses before?”

“Yes. In fact, it seems I’ve made a habit of it.”

Imraldera waited until both men left the room before muttering to her, “I am not a princess.” But she knew better than to argue this fact to Eanrin. Cats were always right in their own eyes.

Then Dame Imraldera returned to her library and looked down at the strange poem. Suddenly, the solution to its mystery came to her.

“Of course,” she breathed. “The poet didn’t write the last stanza because it was not his to write. But the author of the last stanza won’t mind if I add his words to the other poet’s poem.”

And so, Dame Imraldera carefully copied:

Beyond the final waters falling,
The Song of Spheres recalling.
When you’ve left; when I’ve freed you to walk your way,
Won’t you return to me?



“So, what’s your plan?” Freeman asked Eanrin as they hurried out of the Haven.

Eanrin sniffed. “Typical mortal. Expect me to do all the work.”

“But I thought you’d want to be in charge,” Freeman said.

“Of course! Do you think you could navigate the Woods?” Eanrin shook his head. “Mortals.” Then he transformed into a cat.

Freeman blinked and stared at the cat standing where Eanrin had just stood. The transformation had seems too mindless, so simple- and indeed, Eanrin was cat-like even as a human, but still…

“You’re a cat!” Freeman cried.

“Yes,” the cat answered in Eanrin’s golden voice. “Don’t you want me to sniff out your niece? Now, don’t freak out; we haven’t time for such nonsense.”

Freeman nodded slowly.

“Good,” Eanrin said. Then he sniffed the air. Both his ears and tail immediately lowered. “Of all the Paths…”

“What?” Freeman asked. “Where is she?”

“Hylenna’s lair,” Eanrin answered. “I suppose it could be worse. The River could have gotten her, and then we would have had to find a prince to kiss her-”

“There will be no kissing of my niece!” Freeman cried.

“Of course not,” Eanrin agreed. “The River hasn’t gotten her- Hylenna has.”

“Who is Hylenna, exactly?”

“She’s one of the newer Faerie queens. On her second life, I believe. She’s got a silver tongue- some even claim that she has the power of hypnotism. I don’t know if they’re right or not; I’ve never visited her myself. Guess we shall find out now, hmm?”

“Yeah, I guess we shall.”

Eanrin nodded and then trotted into the Beguiling Path. Freeman followed close behind.



Alana looked around the palace the Path had led her into. Everything was made of glass, which was beautiful from a distance, but invisible when one neared any one thing.

“Welcome to my demesne,” a beautiful voice greeted.

Alana turned to see a strangely beautiful- and beautifully strange- woman floating several inches above the ground. The woman’s dress was layers of black and white petticoats dancing around her, and her hair, which too was black and white, floated around her face. Her eyes, however, were the strangest of all to behold, for they were large, and apparently devoid of eyelids, eyelashes, and eyebrows.

“Who are you?” Alana breathed.

“I am Hylenna, queen of this demesne,” the woman answered, her voice like music.

“I’m sorry for intruding,” Alana said. “I thought the Path would lead me where I wanted to go-”

“But it has,” the woman answered. “You are a dreamer and an adventurer, are you not?”

“Yes, I am, actually.”

“And you are out on your own for the first time, am I correct?”

“You are.”

“Then this is where you want to go. Do you have your guardian’s permission to be out like this?”

“Uh, not exactly…”

“Good!” the woman cried. “Life is much more romantic that way. It is fortunate that you had all those points in your favor, or else you might not have found my Path- and then the River would most likely have gotten you-”

“The River?” Alana immediately regretted interrupting the queen’s smooth words.

Queen Hylenna nodded. “You needn’t fear; it cannot get you here. And don’t worry; you’re welcome to stay here as long as you wish.”

Alana smiled as the queen’s words- her voice, really- fell on her like a blanket. “I’d like that.”

The woman smiled back. “I knew you would. Tell me, is there anything I can do for you, young one?”

“Could you maybe talk some more?”

Hylenna’s smile broadened. “Of course.”



“Careful now,” Eanrin cautioned as he and Freeman crept through the glass castle.

“So, uh, what’s a faerie queen like?” Freeman asked.

Eanrin became a man again, and Freeman shook his head.

“Faerie queens come in many varieties,” Eanrin said. “No two are alike.” He paused and checked his reflection in the glass.

Freeman continued walking to the end of the hallway. Then he froze. “Uh, Eanrin?”

“Yes?” Eanrin answered, adjusting his red cloak.

“Would you say Hylenna is strange and beautiful at the same time?” Freeman asked.

“Most likely.”

“Would she be rather floaty? Maybe have unusual hair?”

“Possibly.”

“Would she have massive, lidless eyes?”

“I don’t know!” Eanrin cried. “Why are you asking me these ridiculous questions anyway?” Eanrin joined Freeman at the end of the hallway, which ended in a balcony. He followed Freeman’s line of vision down to a large glass room below them.

One woman, who matched Freeman’s description, wove some tale which echoed throughout the room. Sitting before the woman in utter rapture was Alana.

“I’ve never seen someone hold Alana’s attention like that,” Freeman whispered. “She’s always been rather twitchy. But that voice…”

Eanrin said nothing. Instead, with his eyes still focused on the scene below them, Eanrin removed his bright, red cap from his head and a comb from his pocket. Then he began to methodically comb his hair.

Without tearing his eyes from the scene below, Freeman asked, “Is that a nervous habit?”

“No,” Eanrin answered, too enthralled by the voice to even be indignant.

“Are you nervous?”

“No.”

“Good,” Freeman said, snatching the comb from Eanrin. “Because I am.”

Eanrin didn’t even try to reclaim his comb.

“We’re here for a reason, aren’t we?” Freeman asked after a few moments.

“Most likely.”

“That woman is somehow trapping both my niece and us with her words, isn’t she?”

“Possibly.”

“We’ve had this conversation before, haven’t we?”

“I don’t know!”

“In that case-” Still no tearing his eyes from the scene below, Freeman reached into his cloak pocket and pulled out a candle. He then broke off two pieces of wax and plugged one into each of his ears before breaking off two other pieces and handing them to Eanrin.

Eanrin robotically took them and plugged his own ears. Then he snatched back his comb. “Thieving mortals.”

“What did you say?” Freeman asked, obliviously.

Eanrin stared at Freeman blankly. “Did you say something? Oh, never mind. Shall we fetch Alana, then?”

“What did you say?” Freeman asked again.

Eanrin groaned and pointed down at Alana.

Freeman nodded. Then they both doubled back down the hallway to find a way down.

A moment later, Eanrin and Freeman burst into the auditorium.

Alana didn’t even look their way. Hylenna, however, faced them. “Welcome to my demesne-”

Freeman scooped up Alana and took off running towards the exit.

“Halt!” Hylenna screamed, her hair swirling violently around her face. “She is a willing guest of my home! Hardly in need of rescuing. Put her back!”

Eanrin blinked at the queen. “Are you speaking to me?”

“Yes, now put back my prisoner and listen to me. I said listen to me!”

Eanrin blinked at her again, shrugged, and turned to follow Freeman.

“You leave me no choice,” Hyllena said, her pupils beginning to spin in her eyes in a hypnotizing fashion. “You will listen to me.”

When neither man noticed, Hylenna screamed, “Stop ignoring me! Turn around and look me in the eyes! Allow me to hypnotize you.”

But of course, neither Eanrin nor Freeman heard her. They both hurried from the auditorium and into the Safe Path.



Dame Imraldera looked up from her work when Eanrin, Freeman, and Alana walked into the Haven.

“I see you were successful,” she said.

Eanrin, forgetting about the wax in his ears, walked right past her.

Imraldera stubbornly followed. “How did it go?”

Eanrin didn’t answer; he didn’t even turn to face her.

“Eanrin? Are you ignoring me? Can you even hear me?”

Eanrin kept walking.

“Eanrin, I love you more than Lady Gleamdren ever will.”

When Eanrin doesn’t make a reaction of any kind, Imraldera sighed and stepped in front of him with crossed arms.

Eanrin blinked down at her for a moment and then removed the wax from his ears. “I’m sorry, old girl, did you say something?”

“Nothing you’d care to hear,” she answered.

Meanwhile, in the library, Freeman removed his wax immediately.

“Are you alright, Alana?” he asked.

“I am fine,” she answered despondently. “You were right about my not being able to walk alone. I am sorry I disobeyed you.”

“Well, everything is fine now,” her uncle assured.

Alana sighed. ”But it’s not.” Then she left the room.

Freeman made to follow, but Imraldera returned to the room.

“Freeman,” she said, “I wanted to show you something.”

“Oh?”

Imraldera nodded and handed him the book with her most recently recorded poem in it. “I think you should read this- can you read?”

“I can,” he assured, taking the book. He read:

My child, one day you shall leave my home.
One day you shall walk alone.
Though I’ll not be with you, my teaching will be.
Won’t you remember me?

And if you follow the Path I’ve set,
If my ways you won’t forget,
You’ll find that with you, my guide walks along.
Won’t you list’n to His song:

 Beyond the final waters falling,
The Song of Spheres recalling.
When you’ve left; when I’ve freed you to walk your way,
Won’t you return to me?

Freeman sighed and handed Imraldera back the book. “Thank-you.”

“Your welcome,” she answered.

Freeman nodded and walked into the room his niece had disappeared into.

Alana was pacing around in circles. Eanrin was leaning lazily against the wall, looking ready for a cat-nap.

“Your uncle loves you and just wants what’s best for you,” Eanrin told her.

“I know,” Alana admitted. “I just feel so restrained; so useless. Father needs me and I’m doing nothing for him-”

“You are now,” Freeman said suddenly.

Alana froze. “What do you mean?”

“Your father, my brother, needs us. As does our country. We shall take the Safe Path back to Ostiero- and then you shall continue to the village of the Valkyries.”

“Really?!” Alana cried.

Her uncle nodded solemnly. “We leave at once.” He turned to Dame Imraldera, who stood in the doorway. “Thank-you for your assistance and hospitality.” Then he turned to Eanrin. “Both of you.”

Imraldera smiled. “It was our honor.”

Eanrin nodded lazily.

Freeman turned to Alana. “Are you ready?”

“I believe so,” she answered. Then she hooked arms with her uncle and they both stepped onto the Safe Path.

Once they disappeared, Imraldera turned to Eanrin. “Do you think they’ll be able to reclaim their home?”

“I made a rule long ago to never underestimate mortals,” he answered. “But even without that rule, I don’t doubt it. And if that father/brother of theirs has half the willpower of either of them, he’ll be there waiting for them.”

Imraldera smiled and looked towards where Freeman and Alana had last stood. “They’d make good knights.”

“Yes,” Eanrin agreed. “Yes, they would.”



Once Freeman and Alana stepped out of the Great Woods into Ostiero, they paused.

Freeman turned to his niece. “This is where we part ways. You know what you must do.”

Alana nodded. “I must follow the Safe Path to the village of the Valkyries.”

“Yes,” her uncle agreed. “The Path will protect you.”

“I know. Do not worry, father’s brother; I shall not depart from it.”

Freeman smiled. Indeed, he had never felt greater joy than when she said those words.

“We shall meet again,” Alana assured before disappearing back into the Safe Path.

“I know we shall,” her uncle answered before turning towards his brother’s kingdom; confident that his niece would meet him there soon.







VOTING: If you would like to vote on this or any of the other fan fiction submissions, email your top three titles to me at aestengl@gmail.com. Voting is for fans of the Goldstone Wood series only.

6 comments:

Allison Ruvidich said...

Hahaha! I know laughing may not suit some of the tragedy in this story, but that was SO FUNNY! Great job, Jes!

Sara said...

Very creative! I love the description of Hylenna and her desmense.

My favorite lines were:

Freeman turned to Eanrin. “Do you think yourself an expert on these matters, sir?”
Eanrin smiled smugly. “I do, actually. I’ve been around for a while.”

and...
"Eanrin, I love you more than Lady Gleamdren ever will."

Great job!

Jes Drew said...

This is Jes Drew. I'm glad you both liked my story. I wrote it after I read Dragonwitch, and I meant it to be an immediate sequel. Now that I've read Shadow Hand, I see that it can still be. My story takes place between Imraldera's five year furlough to Southlands and Eanrin's three year vacation to Rudibous. This just goes to show you how someone's affections for someone can change slightly after copying that person's love poetry for someone else for three years. Though we all know that her affections haven't changed that much ;)

Hannah said...

Oo, Valkyries! Fun adventurous story with some delightful humor!

Jill Stengl said...

This is a fun story with some great original characters! :-) I especially liked the message about trusting her to walk the Path and follow the Guide. Something we parents all must learn!

Melanie J. Morgan said...

Oh wow, this was great! I loved your characters and the relationship between Alana and her uncle. I adored Hylenna. Your characterization of her, even just in the small portion she was in, was immensely intriguing! The interactions between the characters was fantastic and dynamic, and it felt very natural. Awesome job!

Blessings!
Melanie