It was late enough that Dani found herself alone as she crept through the forbidden corridors of Direhaven. She was grateful for the tour provided by Queen Janellize and her court earlier that day, because it provided her with the clues she needed to discover where and what in the castle she wasn’t supposed to see.
During their “walkabout” through the halls and levels of the Queen’s Keep, the dragonrider had mentally mapped not only where they had been taken, but what had been avoided. At one point, she’d spied one of the four Mages who had overseen her exorcism-by-combat, freeing her (supposedly) of the demon Sakhr, slip through a doorway into an area they were not shown. Dani had passed through that door minutes ago, and was stalking its byways, seeking a lair of magicians.
Footsteps. They were almost as soft as her own, and they were coming from behind. Dani quickly slipped into an alcove on the left hoping the shadows would conceal her.
It was a Mage. Not the one she had seen earlier, but the other woman. If she could follow her, but no. This late, there was no noise and her footfalls were sure to be heard. The sorceress was just walking past her now, oblivious to her surroundings and seeming especially fatigued.
Dani stole out into the hall just behind the Mage and quickly placed one hand over her mouth and the other around her throat. “I don’t want to hurt you,” she whispered. But I need information. If you cry out, I shall have to silence you.” She gripped the woman’s throat tighter to emphasize the threat, but she had no intention of actually hurting her, well, almost none.
The teen moved her hand so the Mage could speak.
“We saved you. Why are you doing this to me?”
Her robes and skin felt cold and damp, as if she’d recently been outside, but what business would she have this late at night?
“I told you, I need information about the demon Sakhr, and about its relationship with you. Where can we talk? Do you have rooms nearby?”
“My sister and I have quarters down the hall. Swear you will do us no harm and I’ll take you there.”
Dani took a chance and released her. The woman moved forward two steps, rubbing her throat.
“I didn’t grab you that hard.”
The robed magician turned to face her. It was only now that Dani saw how old she looked, which was strange, because she remembered the Mages as being much younger during the exorcism ritual, but it wasn’t only her age that seemed different. It was as if she were a different person altogether. Had the ritual done something to change her?
She knew the elves or demons or whatever they happened to be were old, very old, but they all looked young, anywhere between her age and maybe thirty. The Mage was older than her Bubbe, at least as much as Dani could remember her beloved Grandma.
“I will take you to my sister. We are willing to talk about Sahkr. There is much you have not been told.”
Then she turned away again. “Follow me.”
Dani walked a few paces behind her on a short journey to her chambers and a much longer one toward her destiny.
After the tour, after the meeting with the Queen and Shay, after they related their strange, shared history, and after a tense meal spiced with only a few terse words between appetizer and dessert, the children were escorted back to their rooms.
It was getting late by then, and Zooey looked like she was ready to collapse in a corner with Sapplehenning. Mandy made sure she got undressed and washed up before putting her to bed. Paris tried to make a better show of it being older, but she was asleep not fifteen minutes later.
“Will you be able to sleep?” Mandy was in her night clothes and sitting on the edge of her bed. They had doused all but a single lantern, and the room was draped in uncomfortable shadows.
“After all that? I doubt it.” Dani was tired too, but her mind was racing. She still had doubts about Shay’s decision to leave them here and to leave Direhaven at all. Where would the golden dragon go, and what did she think would happen to her and the Davidsons?
Since the beginning of her stay here, Dani had been unable to locate her spear or her archery equipment. The only weapon she had left was her knife, and that remained in Taylor’s care for the time being. Still, if the demons were up to no good, they wouldn’t take her without a fight.
Then she remembered the fierce battle with the demon, the minion of Asmodeus, the battle over her soul. She had won, but only with the aid of the Vizer Wynjeon and the four elven Mages. If not for their spells, she would now be lost to this world and all others, save for the realm of evil.
The Mages. They might have the answers. Did her dream of Sakhr running her through with a sword and pushing her dying body over a cliff mean the exorcism was incomplete? Was the demon still with her or was it just a disturbing dream? She had to know. Also, if there were secrets about Janellize and Direhaven, the answer may lie with them.
There were two men and two women, but they were perpetually hooded, so she only recognized them by their distinctive robes. She’d seen one earlier during their tour and noted which door she had entered, one from which the children had been steered away. Tonight when Mandy also fell asleep, Dani would hunt.
“I am Raibyr and this is my sister Fenian.” Dani was seated on a cushion low to the floor facing the sisters. They were both now in lighter evening robes and Fenian was pouring her a cup of tea. There was a small fireplace on the far side of their small social room which, along with two braziers, one to the left and the other to the right, provided the only light.
The walls were drapped with heavy dark cloth as well as vines and other hanging vegetation. The stone beneath them, what Dani could see of it, was engraved with minerals and tree roots, like much of Direhaven, a merger of the natural and the crafted.
“Pleased to meet you both.” She accepted the tea which was made of dandelion root.
“We, of course, know your name, Danijel…”
Dani interrupted Raibyr. “Let’s start with that. How do you know my full name?”
“You were right, sister.” Fenian put down the teapot and nodded at her sister. “They are impetuous and impatient.”
“I’ve been plenty patient, but so far information has flowed only one way. You know as well as I that names have power, and I can’t remember the last time I voluntarily gave my true name.”
“It is your true name, my dear, but not your full one.” Raibyr sipped her tea and waited.
“What do you know of my full name?” In truth, even Dani didn’t remember her full name. She had been only three when she and her brother Landon, six years her senior, arrived in Gerliliam’s forest and had been welcomed by the ancient saurian. In that case, the old, grey dragon escorted them to the same place where Shay and Dani had met the Davidson children, but she didn’t recall much of their journey to Vovin. Most of her memories were of the magnificent tree city itself, the marvelous dragons, and the scores of children from everywhere and when.
“You are on a journey, but not the one you think, child,” Fenian uttered. “Escorting the Davidson family to Vovin will only be the beginning of it, not the end.”
“You’re speaking in riddles now.” She knew there was much more to her mission besides getting Mandy and the others to the dragon city, and she had kept that part a secret from her charges until Shay could tell the entire tale. Did that make her more like these Mages than she believed? Was there demon within her, a demon like these sisters?
“You want to know about Sakhr, don’t you?” Fenian had changed the subject, but Dani was desperate for this answer.
“Yes. Is it still with me? Did your exorcism fail?”
“We did not fail. Sakhr is within the stone and is the stone. Nothing will ever change that. However, there is a demon within you, but it is not who you think.”
“I hear her in my head, Raibyr. It is Sakhr. She taunts me. She even slays me in my dreams. How could I defeat her in the real world and fall to the demon in my dreams?”
“In your dreams, who is there to aid you?”
“None. I am alone.”
“Then you have answered your own question, child.” Fenian seemed pleased with herself. She took another sip of tea.
“What? I need to carry the lot of you around with me when I dream of demons?”
“You will have to find the answer to that question yourself, but it is within you as well, so fear not.” Fenian finished her cup and set it aside. Dani lifted her own to her lips, but she’d neglected it too long and the liquid was now tepid.
“You are not being very forthcoming.”
“Child, where do you imagine I was this time of night?”
“I have no idea. Outside, but I know not for what purpose.”
“Who else is out in the cold and darkness?”
“You mean the dragon Shay? You met with her? Why?” Dani regretted not having her knife.
“Not everything you have witnessed here is what it appears to be.”
“That, Fenian, is the understatement of a lifetime.”
“Yes, you mean what the dragon called us.”
“Demons. You are of the same kin as those who invaded the dragon’s world, who slew their leaders, their families, their hatchlings, and then banished those few survivors to this dismal realm. Why Shay would ever leave us here with your kind is beyond me.” Dani was incensed and threatened. They could turn on her, but she couldn’t stop herself from confronting them.
“We were banished as well, and much before the dragons.” Fenian was acting matronly, and although Dani felt the temptation to let down her emotional guard, she was afraid of trusting.
“You rejected the dragons and their offer of peace and alliance.”
“We had good reasons for distrusting them. Even now, it is very new to us.”
Dani certainly knew that feeling. “So if appearance is deceptive, what is the truth?”
“We have been called demons as often as we’ve been called elves, as well as other names. Some of our kind, many in fact, have walked a dark and corrupt path, but we have chosen another way. It has not been easy for us in the Dark Hills, hiding, protecting ourselves against the Mountain Kings, against invaders and marauders, and against the Dark Grey God himself.”
“How have you survived here against all that?”
“You saw how difficult it was to enter Direhaven.”
“All we did was crawl through a cave.”
“Do you imagine that tunnel would even have existed had we not wished it? You have been across this land before, but you never suspected the presence of Direhaven before just a few days ago, did you?”
It was true. Shay had never mentioned it, never mentioned the Hall of the Kings, either, although the Grey God was well-known and feared.
“All of you children possess rare and precious gifts, you always have, although what you take away from here as you leave on the morrow will be unprecedented in your experience.” Raibyr was being smug.
“We’re leaving tomorrow? Why didn’t you say so?”
“I believe the dragon did. You didn’t believe her?”
Dani didn’t know who to trust, if anyone at all. Even Shay have become an enigma to her. Now she was embarrassed for doubting her mentor and friend.
“It matters not. You will learn more tomorrow about your gifts, though a few of you also live with a curse.”
“You will never defeat her alone, Danijel.”
That wasn’t good news since who else except Shay could possibly help her once she left Direhaven. Help from Direhaven? She hadn’t let herself consider it before. She had always been suspicious, especially since that night in the library when they took her away, imprisoned her in a cell with only a demon for company, although it was their spells who kept the evil creature at bay.
Fenian stood and her sister followed. “It is time for you to go to bed, little one.”
Dani stood and found herself half a head taller than either of them. “Little?”
“A figure of speech,” Fenian chuckled. “We are, as you can no doubt see, much older than the others here.”
“Why is that?”
“Mothers and Fathers are always older than their children.” Raibyr smiled knowingly and a sharp realization punctured Dani’s imagination.
By the time the young dragonrider got back to her room, the other girls were asleep and ominous thunder was rumbling in the distance.
Dani was once again standing on a cliff overlooking a dense wood with the mist covered valley beyond it. She was facing her adversary, the hilt of her Kilij in both hands.
She was dressed once more in blue and green, the ceremonial armor of Janellize’s people and silvery chain mail. The demon was in colors were red and black, giving her chain mail a scarlet tinge in the morning, mimicking the sunrise.
“I’ve already escaped you. You are frozen in stone awaiting your final destination at the bottom of some water-filled abyss. I defeated you. Even though you murdered me in a dream, I am still alive and free.
“No, you’ll never be free, Danijel. We will always be with you.”
“What makes you think you will always defeat me, demon?” She stepped back and took an attack posture, then remembered the words of the sisters and frowned.
“You will never defeat me alone, Danijel.”
She winced at the sound of her name. Sahkr had power over her.
The minion of Asmodeus freed the Kilij from its scabbard so quickly, its movement seemed like a streak of liquid light, and Dani,though prepared, barely had time to block a killing stroke.
“But I am never alone, child,” the demon shrieked as she continued to strike.
Dani was on the defensive and being maneuvered to the cliff’s edge. No, it couldn’t happen again. She wouldn’t let it.
“But for a few small oases such as Direhaven, the Dark Hills are ours. You will never survive to complete your mission, or perhaps you will be the only survivor.”
Dani recovered her footing and pushed back against her foe. “If you mean to threaten the children, I will defend them.”
“Is it I who threatens them, Danijel.” She was taunting her with her name.
“I beat you before. I will again.” She was beginning to tire. How had she beaten the demon before? The Mages. It was their spells. They said she needed to trust someone. She’d never beat Sakhr alone.
“I doubt that, my dear twin. I doubt it very much.”
Suddenly, with a two-handed grip, the demon turned her sword toward Dani’s chest and thrust, shattering the chain mail and plunging the full length of the blade through her heart.
The demon cackled with delight as Dani staggered backward, staring at the steel and sword hilt between her breasts, blood streaming out and down her body to the ground.
She felt a sort of warmth spread throughout her torso. She thought it would hurt more.
“With your good and decent soul dead, those five little children will be totally defenseless, and when they perish, it will be all your fault.”
The demon stood at the cliff’s edge as the fifteen-year-old fell backward into the distance and darkness below.
“NO!” Dani sat up shrieking, her nightgown and sheets soaked with sweat.
“Dani, what is it?” Mandy leapt out of bed and stumbled. Light was just beginning to be apparent in the east and the thirteen-year-old wasn’t sure if she was awake as she made her way over to her friend’s bed.
“I…had a bad dream.”
Paris’s eyes were fluttering, and although all Zooey did was yawn and rollover, her rodent companion was alert and sitting on top of the blankets staring in Dani’s direction.
“It must have been terrible for you to scream like that.”
“What’s going on?” Paris was rubbing her eyes trying to remember if she had heard someone screaming in her dream.
“Nothing. I just had a nightmare. It happens.” She tried to make light of it. Paris seemed convinced, but Mandy’s expression spoke of skepticism.
“What was it about?”
“I don’t remember.” Dani had answered too quickly. She was a terrible liar.
“Well, I think we need to get a little more sleep. Shay will be back later this morning and maybe we’ll hear the rest of the story about how the dragons and the elves ended up here, and maybe even how we can get back home.”
Mandy walked back to bed, turned and headed to the bathroom (thankful that in such a fantasy world, they still had something like indoor plumbing).
How could she go back to sleep? Sakhr might be waiting for her.
Shay! Shay would be back this morning. Raibyr and Fenian said they’d be leaving Direhaven today and continuing their journey to Vovin. Sakhr said that if she killed her soul, the children would die, but the demon didn’t say she would be the one to kill them.
Bathing and then breakfast seemed to take an eternity, and Shay must be here by now. The children were surprised to find they were allowed to wear their traveling clothes, a sure sign they’d be leaving in a few hours.
Then they were walking, again under guard, being taken outside the castle, outside the villages and hamlets, out into the glade that faced the great waterfall, and Shay and Janellize were there to greet them.
“You rested well I trust, my children.”
Dani wanted to tell Shay exactly what sort of rest she had last night, between her adventures with the Mages, and the nightmares of the demon.
“We know you are anxious to be on your way, but we all wanted to gather to wish you a farewell before your departure.”
“We thought you were going to finish your story first, Mistress.” Jake sounded disappointed, and Dani wanted to snap at him. All she could think of was getting out of Direhaven.
“You will discover all you need to know with the passage of time. However, I do have some gifts.”
A servant approached the Queen with a long object wrapped in cloth and then stood next to her.
“Danijel, come forth.”
Dani walked forward more hesitantly than she intended. A gift for her? She stood before the Queen and bowed and then bowed to Shay.
With a nod, the servant unwrapped the cloth and handed its contents to Janellize. It was a sword, scabbard, and belt.
“This is Witherbrand. You have wielded it before.”
As the Queen held the scabbard, Dani withdrew the blade.
“The Kilij.” It was over a quarter of a meter long, slightly curved, the blade shimmering obsidian with strange crimson highlights.
“I suspect you and the blade will come to know each other quite well. Your bow and arrows will be packed with the rest of your equipment, but we felt this weapon suited you more.”
Dani returned the blade to the scabbard and then accepted the gift in her hands. “Thank you, Your Majesty. I do not doubt I will need the services of Witherbrand before my journey is done.” She bowed again and withdrew back to the children, quickly putting the belt around her waist when she reached them.
“Taylor, come forth.”
Mandy almost opened her mouth in shock. She thought the Queen would call the children in order to give them gifts. Then she blushed, embarrassed that she’d been so greedy.
The nine-year-old boy walked toward the Queen and the dragon, quickly at first, then he remembered that she should probably be more polite and slowed down. He bowed to Janellize and Shay like he saw Dani do.
The servant who had brought Witherbrand had left with the empty cloth and since returned with a similar object. He unwrapped it and handed it to the Mistress. It was another sword.
“We know of your memories and your battles and believe it is time to begin this part of your journey. The blade is called Celeste.”
The boy frowned for a second when he recognized it as a girl’s name. Why couldn’t his sword have a cool sounding name like “Nightslayer” or “Bonecrusher?”
Instead he bowed and accepted the gift. “Thank you, Queen Janellize.”
“I know you have no practical experience with the blade, but I’m sure Danijel can begin your training. The spear you entered Direhaven with will be returned to you as well.”
“Thank you again.” He bowed and then walked back to his siblings and Dani. He was used to her teaching him how to use a spear and a bow and arrow, and he knew she could use a sword against a demon, so he couldn’t wait.
“Paris, come forth.”
Taylor’s twin sister blinked and smiled. A gift from an Elf Queen. This was a dream come true. She almost skipped across the grass then worried that she’d get a sword, too. She didn’t want a sword. What would she do with it? She bowed same as the others not knowing what to expect.
The servant had just returned, but what he held was much smaller. He handed it to the Queen. It was a book.
“This is something very special, Paris. It is a book of tales, but from many of the different races and beings of the realms. Not only shall you learn of them, their customs and cultures, but each of their languages. The language of Vovin is one of them, so you and Dani must teach it to the others on the remainder of your journey.”
“Your Majesty, I’ll need to learn it myself, first.”
“You will do so in precious little time.”
Paris accepted the book in her hands and pressed it against her chest. “Thank you so much.” She almost hugged Janellize but then remembered to bow instead.
After the girl rejoined her party, the Queen spoke again. “It is time to gather your possessions and to prepare to leave our company.
Mandy clamped her hand over Zooey’s mouth before she could say another word.
“Yes, Zooey?” Janellize nodded and Mandy took her hand away.
“What about Mandy’s gift, and Jake’s, and mine?”
Mandy was torn between wanting to swat her sister’s behind and crawling under the nearest rock.
“You both have all that you need. In your case, your gift is already in your pocket.”
“How did you know Sapplehenning was in my pocket?”
“You’re bringing the mouse with you?”
“He asked if he could come. Why not, Mandy? He doesn’t eat very much.”
“Jacob, you possess all that you need and what you don’t have, you can imagine.”
She knew. Jake remembered his nightmare about the clown, the knife, and how he wished it out of nothing. Then the knife was still there when he was awake. The Queen knew.
“Thank you, Queen Janellize.” He didn’t know what else to say or what he was supposed to do now.
“Amanda, in case you feel slighted, your gift isn’t something expressed as a material object. It’s something you carry in your heart.”
“I’ve got to get my brothers and sisters home to Mom and Dad.”
“And that is something I cannot give you.”
Mandy remembered a scene from that old movie Grandpa watched with her once called “The Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy and her friends all got gifts from the Wizard, who was really just some guy from a carnival who had a balloon. But it was the White Witch who said Dorothy always had the power to go home. Too bad Mandy wasn’t wearing ruby-red slippers (for an instant, she glanced down just to make sure she wasn’t).
“Thank you, Your Highness.” Mandy bowed and then a second later so did Zooey and the rest of the children. The five year old could feel movement in her pocket and imagined her mouse was bowing, too.
“I’m going to miss you,” Edyn declared as he hugged an embarrassed Jake. “I’ll miss you all, too.” Altha, hugged Dani, and then Mandy, and then the two other girls.
They were at the entrance to a tunnel, but not the one they came through when they first got into Direhaven, and not the one they used to watch Dani’s duel with the demon.
“We can’t go into the cave with you so this is good-bye.” Edyn hugged Mandy who felt embarrassed but something else, too.
“Good-bye, Edyn, Altha. Say good-bye to everyone for us.”
“The Mistress knows, as does Wynjeon and the court of nobels. Now go. The dragon is waiting for you on the other side.”
“Let’s go.” Dani was at the lead. She knew it would take forever to get going if they kept saying good-bye, and she saw how Mandy had looked at Edyn in a really different way just a minute ago.
“Dani’s right. Everyone have their gear?” Mandy looked the children over one by one.
“We’re ready, already. Let’s get back on the trail. Taylor was excited to be leaving. It was starting to get a little boring in Direhaven, and he wanted to start practicing with his sword which he wore on his hip. The spear was strapped to his back next to his pack, and Dani even let him keep the knife.
He brought up the rear of the line as the rest of them walked into the tunnel and Direhaven began to become a memory.
In a private chamber off of the Throne Room, Janellize was entertaining a guest. They were both in shadow, with only a few candles for illumination and there were no windows.
“You’re sure there will be no trouble?”
“Following them? Of course not. I’ve sent a little something along with them for insurance. Besides, you know who I am..”
“I do, to my everlasting shame.”
“Don’t worry, Janellize. If all goes well, a great blot will be erased from your ledger.”
“If I’m wrong, if you fail, my ledger will be dripping with innocent blood.”
“Temper, Your Highness. Such outbursts are ill-fitting for royalty. Just make sure to respond should you receive my call. Now I must be off.”
“Do not be seen leaving.”
“I am the soul of discretion.”
“You mean deception.”
“They are often the same, Janellize. Farewell.” A pair of sapphire blue eyes glowed in the darkness, and then they were gone.
As Dani saw natural light coming from the far end of the tunnel, she also heard the sound of water and smelled a difference in the air. She hadn’t been near the seashore in a long time, though Vovin is bordered by one to the North.
“I didn’t know there were any oceans near here.” Mandy remembered her last trip to the beach with Mom and Dad. She was happy for a second, and then sad. How long had they been here? Mom and Dad must be worried out of their minds, or worse. What was her last memory of them. Something about trouble. What went wrong?
After the dim lighting inside the tunnel, it took a minute for everyone’s eyes to adjust to daylight. When they did, between them and the ocean was the dragon.
“Welcome, my children. I hope you had a pleasant stay in Direhaven.”
“Interesting would be more like it,” Mandy half-joked.
Dani walked up to the dragon and she lowered her snout. The girl hugged her. “I missed you so much.” She was afraid she was going to cry and she didn’t want to let the children see that. They depended on her to be strong.
“I missed you too, Dani. You can’t imagine how much.”
“Then why did you leave us?” Dani looked up into the serpent’s piercing eyes.
“It was necessary. Sometimes you learn the things you need to know only if I am not there with you. The battles you’ve fought were hard, and they were dangerous, but you gained much from them, even the ones you’ve lost.”
Could Shay know about the demon? Wait. Raibyr. She had met with Raibyr last night, and Raibyr knew about the demon in her dreams.
She whispered, “I’m afraid.”
“I know, and with good reason. However, we shouldn’t keep the children waiting and you still have a long way to go.”
“Can we ride you now?” Zooey was standing behind Dani, her hands on her hips, and when Dani looked back, she was just in time to see a terrified mouse dive down into her pocket.
“Not today, Zooey. The next part of your journey involves walking.”
“You have had a nice, long rest.”
“It’ll be okay, Zooey.” Taylor walked up to his littlest sister. “We’ll be together.”
“That’s right. At least we get to walk along a beach this time.”
“Can we play in the ocean?” Jake remembered making a sand castle with Dad and the others.
“Not today.” Dani looked at Shay and then the way to Vovin. She knew the tunnel they had entered to originally get to Direhaven wasn’t within a hundred miles of an ocean, so the city’s location was truly magic and perhaps not part of this world at all. Shay knew that as well.
“Well, okay,” Zooey shrugged. ” At least I have Sapplehenning with me. My very own elf mouse.”
“I think he’s just a regular mouse.” Jake was teasing his sister but it made Dani think.
If elves were demons, even benevolent ones, was taking Sapplehenning with them such a good idea? The Mage sisters said things weren’t what they appeared to be. Maybe that included mice.
“It’s time for me to leave again, my children.”
Everyone ran up to the dragon and hugged her. Dani was the last. She didn’t say anything because she didn’t need to. Somehow, this was necessary, even though the girl didn’t understand it. She just had to fight her feelings of suspicious and doubt and trust Shay as she always had. It was going to work out. It had so far.
But then why did she have the feeling that her beloved friend is more further from her heart than ever?
They all watched as Shay walked a little way down the beach and then paused. She looked at the children with a strange light gleaming in her eyes. Then she fluttered her wings, soared in the direction of Vovin along the shoreline for a moment, and the began circling overhead.
“Let’s follow her. Come on.” Dani waved her arm and started walking and the children followed, first Mandy, then Zooey, then Paris and Jake, and finally Taylor. They left footprints in the sand as the marched along. Someone thought of a song to sing, Row, row, row your boat. Paris hoped the book she carried would teach her elven songs, or maybe those sung by dragons.
The sea came and went, erasing the evidence of their passage. Then later, as the Sun began to wane and the children were well on their way, another set of footprints appeared, a single pair. A young woman with sapphire blue eyes, and deep brown hair approaching black stalked in the afternoon light. Her colors were red and black, and she wore a sinister Kilij at her side. It had tasted blood before and longed to drink some more.
Miles away, Sapplehenning stirred uneasily in Zooey’s pocket.
I wrote this for the Thursday photo prompt: Footprints #writephoto challenge hosted at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Every Thursday, Sue posts one of her photos and anyone who wants to participate can use it as the inspiration for crafting a poem, short story, or other creative work.
I’ve been using Sue’s weekly prompts to further write draft chapters of my novel about the adventures of Shay, Dani, and the Davidson children.
Today’s chapter may have offered more questions than answers. Just as it seems that Queen Janellize and the people of Direhaven have truly become friends to the children, they continue to harbor a sinister and perhaps deadly secret, but the Queen isn’t the only one. What does Dani have yet to face, and not just in her dreams, as she and the others are pursued by a creature they thought encased in stone? What sort of meeting did Shay have with the demon Mage and how will that affect their future?
The next chapter will hopefully start solving some of these mysteries as the danger to the children deepens.
In the meantime, here’s a partial list of what I’ve written about the Davidson children’s adventures with Dani and Shay so far:
- Mr. Covingham’s Secret
- Wilderness Pilgrims
- The God of the Dark Hills
- Hall of the Mountain Kings
- Sojourn in Direhaven
- Trial at Sakhr
- What Secrets We Keep
- The Uneasy Pact
I’ll flesh it out as time allows.
Let me know what you think of this story and the very uncertain future of the five Davidson kids. Thanks.
The next story is Duel at Orholt.
7 thoughts on “The Tracker”
Another gripping chapter, James!
Thanks, Sue. Glad you liked it.
2018 must be the year of the mages. Every book i read has at least two or three of them. Magic, as Heinlein once commented, is everywhere.
I must have been zapped by some free-floating Mage inspiration because I wasn’t aware it was such a popular topic, Marilyn. The story of the Davidson children has been knocking around inside of my brain for several years and I’m finally giving it some air.