Vovin

bridge

© Sue Vincent

The bridge between the exile of the Dark Hills and the tree city of the dragons Vovin was massive and ancient. Even the dragons and the elves had no name for it, nor did they know how it was built. It was wide enough to admit six golden dragons the size of Shay and Kaleen standing side-by-side, which was fortunate, since he was escorting his still weak and limping wife back toward home.

Danijel and Aidan were walking between them, the former feeling nearly as wounded and exhausted as her mentor.

Behind the dragons were the five Davidson children, and behind them was the Royal Vizier of Direhaven, Wynjeon, alongside the Mage Raibyr. In turn they were leading a troop of twenty elven warriors, the remains of Sergeant Petran’s meager forces replenished by hand-picked soldiers from the army’s main body.

“I can’t believe we made it.” Mandy was talking more to herself than anyone else. For months, they had fought the most deadly of foes, suffered immeasurably, and yet the five children were here, alive, and for the most part well.

Mandy wouldn’t tell anyone, not yet. The gift of healing was nothing short of miraculous, and she still didn’t know how she acquired it, but the healing came at a price. She was trying to hide her limp, the same one Shay suffered from, doing her best to conceal her fatigue, and the nausea that plagued her.

The healing must only be so effective before it starts to pull strength from her. The dragon healers of Vovin would have to take over from here. The thirteen-year-old girl didn’t know how much more she could do to take care of Shay before it would kill her.

“Let me help.” Taylor put his arm around her and supported her weight. True, he was still her nine-year-old little brother, but he was stronger now, and not just his body. He had been brash and reckless before, adventure serving to fulfill his own need for excitement. Now that had become channeled into the role of protector. Didn’t Dani say that someday he’d become as good a warrior as she?

As the two golden dragons cleared the far side of the bridge, everyone else saw what was ahead. Along the main road into Vovin, were an honor guard on either side, a vast array of dragons of every shape, size, and type. Every dragon that had ever been depicted in Earth’s mythology was present, from those who plagued Saint George, to dragons from Asian mythology, to creatures that might be called sea serpents, to those whom none of the children had ever read or heard about.

Zooey marveled at them, while Sapplehenning, who was just becoming used to Shay and Kaleen, ducked inside the five year old’s tunic and trembled.

The little girl was passing a dragon on her left several heads taller than the elven soldiers. He was adorned with deep orange and sepia scales and ridges along his back, but while he had four land-walking limbs, his tail was shaped like that of a fish.

However, sitting on his shoulder was what attracted her attention. The dragon couldn’t have been much larger than a really big butterfly, its wings nearly ten inches from tip to tip and as transparent as a dragonfly’s.

“Oh my, who are you?”

The little dragon eagerly began beating his wings, but a grunt from the much larger dragon acted as a rebuke. Zooey remembered this was supposed to be really serious.

As Wynjeon and Raibyr led the elven contingent off the end of the bridge and witnessed the huge number of dragons ahead, they stared in awe and trepidation.

“Steady yourself and your guard, Vizier. Remember, they are our allies, now.”

“Uncertain allies.”

“Certain enough for you to rescue the golden dragon and fight alongside of them against the demons.”

“As you will Sorceress Mother.”

“Such a formal title, especially since I am the Queen’s mother and not yours.”

“Your sister is my mother, so there is little difference. Besides, I don’t recall a title that is rendered Sorceress Auntie.”

Behind them, Petran gazed upon the dragon guard with more pragmatic eyes. The dragons had aided them in their quest to escort the children to Vovin, and they would not have done so if they wished them harm. All of his veterans displayed the same attitude, but those who had been assigned to replace the wounded and the dead shared their Vizier’s anxiety. In spite of the bright day, the friendly sounds of the water babbling beneath the bridge, the lush greenery surrounding them, a hundred imposing dragons was something one disregarded at their own peril.

At the end of the guard of dragons, several broke ranks and guided Shay and Kaleen, along with their riders, into the forest where they disappeared in the shadows.

The five children and the elves noticed the rest of the dragons beginning to disperse behind them, and were faced with an astonishing city. The forest was vast. On the other side was the sea, but here you’d never know it existed. Broad, verdant trees spread their branches to incredible widths and soared hundreds of feet in the air, but that was only the beginning.

The kids didn’t know if the elves knew what a tree house was, but they did. They’d just never seen a whole city of tree houses before, and they were all amazing.

Some that looked like domiciles were carved into the circumference of massive tree trunks, while many more were platforms fifty, a hundred, two hundred feet in the air, supported by branches, and upon them, where what looked like houses, shops, schools, all connected by a series of bridges, some going straight across from one tree to the next, while others were inclined, supplying access to and from different levels.

Windmills provided the motive power to lift conveyor belts holding large buckets of water and food, but the trees all held an abundant supply of fruit, while low bushes provided vegetables, berries, and nuts. Far to the left, away from where the sea would be, were farms.

The forest of Vovin was alive with all manner of animals, birds, snakes, opossums, and plenty of mice.

Sapplehenning whispered something in Zooey’s ear, and after she nodded, he leapt to the ground to greet his fellows who were scurrying around a nearby tree trunk, apparently, unlike Sapplehenning, unfazed by the presence of dragons.

What was the most fantastic thing of all, were the children. There were thousands and thousand of children. Some were tilling the fields while singing songs, other making their way between trees, left and right up and down. A fair amount ignored the bridges in favor of swinging from one platform to another on vines.

Mandy heard Wynjeon’s voice. “Never would I have imagined to witness Vovin with my own eyes, nor would I have believed the marvels it contains.”

“So what happens now? Shay, Dani, and the others are gone.” Paris stood by her sister on the opposite side from Taylor.

“I suspect that answer is approaching now,” announced the magician.”

Several children, from a little older than Dani to younger than Zooey, were approaching, led by what looked like an African-American boy. They were all dressed in light skins or linen, reminding them all that their clothing, meant for the frigid hill country or the icy seashore to the east, was becoming overbearing.

The boy stopped. Behind him was a teenage girl about Mandy’s age who looked like a Filipina. A boy Jake’s age could have been her brother, and bringing up the rear was another related little girl of maybe three or four.

“Hi, I am Kofi. We’ve been waiting a long time for you.”

Paris understood him well, as did the elves, but Mandy and the rest struggled. Now that they had arrived in Vovin, they had to speak the dragon language of Maduu. They’d all been practicing on the journey here, but they were still not fluent.

“Mandy, maybe you should let me handle this.” Paris put her hand on her sister’s forearm.

“Sure.” The teenager was so tired, and they seemed safe enough, so she was glad to let the nine-year-old girl talk to the tall boy.

“My name is Paris. His is my older sister Mandy, my brother Taylor, and behind me, are my other brother and sister, Jake and Zooey.”

“Zooey?” The littlest Filipina laughed. “That’s a funny name.”

“Marikit, what have I told you?” The boy who was next oldest scolded her. “We were strangers here and no one made fun of us.”

“I’m sorry, Danilo.”

“Apologize to them, not me.”

She turned to the Davidsons. “I’m sorry. My name is Mari. Danilo’s my brother.”

The tallest girl whispered to Kofi.

“Of course. I’ve been told that there are leaders of the people of Direhaven here. You are welcome in our home.”

Wynjeon stepped around the Davidsons to address Kofi. “I am the Royal Vizier Wynjeon of the court of the city of Direhaven. On behalf of our company and our citizens, I accept your gracious invitation.” The elf bowed, but Mandy could tell he was wondering when he would be dealing with adults.

“An honor to meet you, Sir. This is my friend Tala.” He indicated the oldest girl. You have already met Danilo and Mari. We have been told to take you to a place to rest and refresh yourselves. Food and drink will be provided, and I’m sure you must all be exhausted from your long journey.

“Come this way please,” Tala added.

As everyone moved forward following the oldest two children, Danilo slipped in beside Jake. “What’s your name?”

“Jake.”

“I’m Danilo. When you all get settled in, I’ll introduce you to a bunch of other kids our age. You speak our language okay?”

“Not so okay.”

“I’ll help. My sister and I didn’t get here so long ago, so I know how it feels to be new.”

“Where are you from?”

“The Philippines, Manila, a place called Tondo.”

“Is it nice there?”

“No, not nice at all. Our Mom had died and we didn’t know where our Dad was. Mari and I were street kids in a slum, begging for food and water, we almost didn’t make it.”

“How did you get here?”

“I don’t know. Not like you did. Dani told us you came in the old dragon’s forest. Almost no one gets here that way.”

“Then how did you…”

“I don’t know. One minute, we were in a stinking alley. I think Mari was about to die. Then we were here. Kofi and Tala greeted us. She spoke to us in Tagalog, our language, because we didn’t know any Maduu yet, but Kofi is from Ethiopia and both of them have been here a long time.”

“Where are the grown ups?”

Danilo suppressed a laugh. “I’m sorry. It’s just the only grown ups here are the dragons.”

“No people grown ups?”

“There’ll be time to explain all that. You hungry? The willimilk fruit’s really good.

Sapplehenning climbed up Zooey’s pants leg and nestled in her pocket right as some big insect started buzzing around her head.

“Ejedeha, you stop that. I’m sorry, Zooey. She’s just curious.”

The kindergartener looked over at Mari, and then saw something land on her shoulder. “I saw that dragon before, sitting on a bigger dragon, like a sea dragon.”

“No, that wasn’t Ejedeha. She was with me when you came to our home. Ejedeha is my dragon. You want to meet her?”

“Sure.”

The diminutive dragon left Mari’s shoulder and landed on Zooey’s hand. “You are so cute.”

The dragon affectionately rubbed her head against the little girl’s palm. “She speaks Maduu, so I don’t understand her yet.”

“Wait. You’re the girl who talks to animals. You sent the crow.” Mari jumped up and down in delight. “Can you teach me to talk to the birds and animals?”

“I don’t know if it’s something I can teach. I think it’s magic.”

“Oh, magic.” She grinned cheerfully.

“Do you want to meet Sapplehenning? He’s my mouse.”

“Yes, I would.”

“Hold out your hand.”

The four year old dutifully complied, and Zooey placed the mouse in her cupped palms.

“Hi Sapplehenning.” Mari rubbed his furry head with her fingertip. “He’s so soft.”

After a brief pause, Zooey added, “He says he likes you.”

“I think Ejedeha likes you, too.”

As if the words were a prompt, the tiny dragon lifted off of Zooey’s palm and landed next to the mouse. They regarded each other with curiosity for a bit, but Sapplehenning didn’t show any of the fear of Ejedeha that he did for the much larger dragons.

Kofi took the elves to a different location than where the Davidsons were delivered, since they’d need a lot more space to attend to twenty soldiers plus the vizier and the mage. Taylor read Wynjeon’s expression, and he was still suspicious of some sort of treachery, especially since the children were being separated from them. But the boy’s instincts, or rather those of the ancient warrior Azzorh, told him that they were safe, and the children meant no harm. However, since Shay and Kaleen had left them, they hadn’t seen any of the dragons, except for a number of smaller ones, such as Ejedeha, and others between her size and that of a large sparrow.

#

For the time being, their home was a vast number of rooms accessed through as three-story tall cavern either carved or grown all the way around a large tree, the type of which, none of the children knew.

They had all rested, and Mandy slept for some hours. They’d eaten the exotic cuisine offered by Vovin, were provided lighter and more comfortable clothing appropriate for the area’s warmer climate, and were relaxing and playing with the others.

Everyone was in a large common area at the west side of the tree. Mandy was reclining on cushions, and for a moment was alone, watching her siblings. Their rooms in the interior were somewhat like those they had at Direhaven, but while the elven city was a mixture of the organic and the hand-made, it seemed almost everywhere here, including rooms and furniture, was adapted from the vegetable life surrounding them.

Jake was with Danilo and a dozen little boys and girls their age, children who seemed as if they came from all over the world, but in some ways they were more different from each other than even that. These kids were playing a game set on a large, circular board, with inlaid geometric shapes. Each player had a piece, a wooden disk of contrasting colors, and they played with six kinds of dice. Her brother picked up on the rules quickly, but to Mandy, they were still a mystery.

Her brother rolled a ten-sized die and as it came to rest, he cried out in mock dismay and moved his piece, not back, but to one side several positions. Four other children made similar moves, and then a little girl named Kemala picked up a six-sided die and rolled.

Further in the common room to Mandy’s left, she saw Paris with her book open in her lap, and surrounded by at least ten other children, also seeming as if they represented every kingdom and country of the Earth, and yet all united by a single language and a bond she had yet to understand. Her sister was reading them the tales of their adventures, which had somehow had become written within its pages just after they got to Vovin.

The area was alive with conversations of the children present, but in a moment of clarity, Mandy could just make out a girl named Emanuelly say to Paris, “I think a new library arrived a few days ago. If you want later, I’ll take you there.”

Closer to the edge near one of the low stairs leading up to where they were staying, Taylor was with Kobi and another boy with pale skin and red hair named Lachlan. The latter two were teaching her brother how to make arrows. Right now, they were attaching the fletching to one, and seemed in deep conversation about the technique, though Mandy was too far away to hear them.

Zooey and Mari were in an open area outside of the tree with a horde of little boys and girls, and a group of tiny finches were dancing around them in choreographic display. At their feet, seemingly risking destruction, Sapplehenning and a colony of mice were racing around in a similar fashion.

The young teen’s heart was filled with gratitude and pride, but mixed with longing. They’d come so far and accomplished so much, and against all odds, had finally come to the safety of Vovin, which seemed more the city of children than that of dragons. Where were the adults but more importantly, now that they were here and with Shay being tended to by her healers, when would she find a way to send them home to Mom and Dad?

Then she saw two familiar figures who were adults, Genk and Eldra, and they were just striding up the steps near Taylor, Kobi, and Lachlin. What were they doing here? Was something wrong?

Mandy got up slowly and was pleased that she was now steady on her feet. Dodging children running to and fro, she walked toward Taylor’s group just as the two elven soldiers arrived.

“Say, that’s a fine bit of fletching there, lads. Mind if we take a hand? I’m Genk, and this is my partner Eldra.”

“Sure, Genk.” Taylor stood up. The two of you take a seat. This is Kobi and Lachlin. They’re really something. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

But instead of the boys joining with the elves and partaking in the fine art of arrow making, the two residents of Vovin stared at the newcomers. Mandy was standing near Taylor by now, and looking around, noticed that all of the children had stopped what they were doing and were coming over.

Jack exclaimed, “Where are you going? I just had a killer roll.” It was no use. The game was suspended at the arrival of the elves. Even the children entranced by Zooey’s dancing birds came over, every single one of them enraptured.

Mandy knelt by Taylor who was sitting with the others. “Is it because they’re elves?”

“Look around you, Mandy. Except for the elves, there aren’t any adults. I don’t think these kids have seen a grown up in a really long time.”

The two warriors stood, and Eldra spoke nervously, “Uh, hi kids. Just us. Defenders from Direhaven. Allies, right?”

“They don’t seem hostile. More like fascinated,” replied Genk.

One of the little girls who was about five hesitantly touched Genk’s hand. “Are you a Daddy?” A few of the children reacted to the question with expressions of remembrance and sadness, but there were a lot of them who looked fearful.

“It’s alright, everyone. Break it up. Give them some air.”

Mandy turned toward the voice. “Dani!” The girl walked into the clearing accompanied by the mage Raibyr which somehow surprised her. She wanted to run to her, but about fifty children beat her to it, surrounding her, the closest ones embracing the dragonrider like a sister or a mother.

“I love you all too and I’ve missed you so much.” She picked up Mari, hugged her, and kissed her. Putting her down, she did the same for several other little ones, finally coming to Zooey.

“I’ve missed you, Dani. Is Shay alright.”

“She’s fine and you’ll see her later, but I’ve got to talk to your sister, first.”

Putting Zooey down, Dani lovingly shooed the other children who drifted back to their activities, while Raibyr approached the other two elves.

“I’m surprised to find you here.Has your much needed rest and restoration become a bit boring?”

“Just wanted to see on the kids,” Genk uttered nervously.

“Believe it or not, we miss the little tykes.” Eldra gave the impression she was backing her partner up and not expressing her feelings.

“Wynjeon put you up to this, didn’t he? He still doesn’t trust the dragons, nor apparently the other children.”

The warriors seemed nervous about what the wizard would say or do next.

“I’ll take this up with the vizier later. If you’re sincere about your activities with these three, then carry on.”

Finally Mandy and Dani embraced.

“I never told you how grateful I am for everything you did for us. If it weren’t for you…”

“I know, but it was never just me, Mandy. We did it together, and Shay is alive and well. She’s asking to see you.”

“Me?” She touched her neck lightly with her fingertips and then looked around.

“Yes, just you. We owe you an explanation, at least as much of a one as we can provide right now.”

Mandy bent over Taylor. “Wait here with the others. I’ll be back.”

“Sure, sis. We’re just about the show Genk and Eldra how it’s done.”

“Is that right, young Taylor?” Eldra faked insult. “I’ll have you know that I’m one of the finest archers in all the Exile.”

“I have business elsewhere, Danijel. You and the child go alone.”

“Yes, Raibyr.”

Leaving behind the bantering children and elves, Mandy said, “What was that all about.”

“You’ll find out. Come with me.”

While the conjurer was dressed in her traditional robes, which seemed to have been cleaned since they first arrived, Dani was dressed in a light, two piece linen outfit not dissimilar to Mandy’s. She looked as fresh as the morning sky, and was more relaxed than the younger teen had ever known her to be.

“The larger dragons don’t reside with the children because of the size difference, but it’s never far from one part of Vovin to another. Shay is resting in the interior, but we’ll take a different path than she did to arrive.”

The occurrence of children dropped off considerably, though Mandy couldn’t tell if it was because children were not welcome, or the kids simply respected the dragons’ privacy.

Surrounded by trees a lot like weeping willows, the two girls had to push branches and leaves aside, and everything had a dark and quiet aspect.

Then there was a clearing, and in the clearing was Shay, illuminated by light coming from an opening in the canopy far above.

“Shay!” The dragon seemed to be resting in a low, wide nest. She smiled as Mandy ran to her and embraced her.

“I am so happy to see you my child. I trust you and your siblings have been well now that we’ve come home.”

“We’re all fine. It’s a really fun place and we’re making friends with the other children.”

“I am so pleased. Now sit with Danijel and me, and I will tell you the nature of things.”

“Do you mean how we’re going to get home?”

The dragon’s expression was of sadness. “Of that, and much more.”

Mandy and Dani settled in together and the scene reminded her of when her first grade teacher used to read to the class during story time so long ago.

“As you know, we dragons were betrayed by some of our own kind, and they allowed the great horde of demons to attack our realm under the command of the evil Asmodeus. This was ages past, and most of us were killed. Those few remaining were sent here to this exile at the border of the Dark Hills, the domain of the Great Gray God.

“Since that time, with the help of the children, we have been amassing our forces for war. You see child, there is a place where all the realities meet, a single aperture that is the doorway to existence, a gateway to eternity. The way home for you and your brothers and sisters is there.”

“You mean you are going to use all these children to help you fight to take back the dragon realm.”

“Indeed.”

“But they’re children, we’re children. Where are the adults? A few minutes ago, I watched a little girl react to Genk as if she hadn’t seen a grown up in ages.”

“She very likely hasn’t. Most of them have not, except for the new arrivals. They come to us all the time and we welcome them, teach them our language, accustom them to our culture, and finally enlist them in the dire effort in which we are desperately engaged.”

“But the grown ups?”

“There are none from their world, your world as it turns out. They are the lost of your planet, from each people, language, and civilization across the vast expanse of your human history.”

“What do you mean?”

“There have always been children who have been abandoned, because of cruelty, left to die on the streets like Danilo and Mari. Then there are many more who are the refugees of war, plague, natural catastrophe. These are children who no adult wants and who otherwise would have died in your world had they not been drawn to Vovin.”

“I thought you said the only gateway back was in the dragon realm.”

“Back yes, but there is one that brings the children into Vovin. It cannot however, take them back, anymore than the one in Gerliliam’s forest could take you back. You see, the demons are wreaking havoc in our world. Their ambition is to invade the realms, their lust for power demanding it, but they have made a mistake.

“For untold millennia, we dragons have kept the universe in balance. Our gateway has acted as what you might call a safety valve between the multiverses, and it has been our sworn duty to keep all existence in order.

Since the dragon exile, all of the realities have begun to tilt into disarray. Even your own home world has evil and madness and death as daily events. It was never supposed to be this way, and would not have been if not for the war of the demons.”

“Then the only way you can save everything, literally every life in all the worlds, is to take back your realm, and the only way to do that is with soldiers, dragons and children.”

“I can see you question the wisdom of risking the lives of children in war. Danijel and I have had this discussion many times, and it had led to her developing a fundamental distrust of me, and of you. The demons took advantage of that through Sakhr, and only the sacrifice of Raibyr saved her and saved all of us.”

“Why are we here? Everyone keeps acting as if we’re special somehow.”

Dani touched Mandy’s shoulder. “The children who come directly to Vovin have no gifts the way you and the others have. Only children who arrive through Gerliliam’s forest can acquire special talents.”

“Dani and Aidan came through the forest and arrived here when they were very young. Danijel was younger than even Marikit when we first met.”

“I haven’t seen any powers in you, Dani.”

“Which makes you unique. I don’t know what the difference between my brother and me is to you and yours, but you are special, special enough for Asmodeus to try to stop you from getting here no matter what.”

“But we are here.” Does that mean you’re going to turn us into soldiers?”

“My poor child, you already are. However, before all that, we have a great task to perform. The demon forces here can prevent us from accomplishing our goal. In fact that is why they were placed here in the first place.”

“Direhaven?”

“They suffer our fate, and hopefully with the long enmity between our races ending, they will agree to become allies.”

“But we have to defeat the demons here first, before you can go home, and before you can send us home.”

“The task has become more difficult with the capture of the Gray God. He cannot be destroyed but one way. If the demons can eliminate his worshipers, he will wane and finally be spread upon the winds.

“What do we have to do?”

“Plans are being drawn forth, but it will take time. The cities of men to the west are now the targets of the demon hordes, and though they are powerful, with the God in chains, they are now vulnerable.”

“Men, you mean people, humans like me.”

“Yes.”

“How did they get here?”

“For another time, Mandy. Today, I wanted to let you know what your arrival in Vovin means, and what will be expected in the days to come. For now, let your brothers and sisters play in innocence. The days ahead will bring their own challenges.”

#

Days later, there was a gathering of all of the dragons and all of the children in the great clearing in the center of Vovin. Shay and Kaleen were in the direct center. To their right were Wynjeon and Raibyr standing at the head of Petran and his forces, their armor, weapons, and finery treated and polished to perfection. To their left, were the five Davidson children, dressed in fresh linens and refreshed to a degree they haven’t known since before arriving in the exile.

Just in front of the two dragons, Aidan and Danijel stood, armor and weapons gleaming.

Behind them all were a wide series of natural benches forming a large amphitheater upon which the mighty score of dragons sat, though many, many smaller ones resided in the trees above along with the children, all of them, thousands of them, scampering from branch to branch as if they were born to it. Then they all became still and silent.

Shay stood, and the face of her husband beamed with pride and love.

“I present to you our comrades and allies. Here we have the Royal Vizier Wynjeon and the Mage Raibyr along with a portion of their soldiers representing the kingdom of Direhaven. They come in peace and as a symbol of healing between our two great races. They are the friends of Vovin, and are always welcome within our borders. I will hear of it if they are treated with anything other than respect and honor.”

Then she motioned to her right.

“I present to you our dear friends of whom we have waited so very long. We have the Davidson children, Amanda, Taylor, Paris, Jacob, and Zooey. As my dear children Aidan and Danijel did, they came to us by an unusual path, one not taken by the rest of you. I love them as must as I love all of you, my dear children. Each of you is precious to me and I am a mother to you all.

“However, we are facing great difficulties. The Gray God is now in the hands of Asmodeus and the demons.”

There was a collective gasp among the thousands in the trees.

“The world of men to the west is in terrible danger, and should they fall, then Direhaven and our beloved Vovin would be next. Tonight, we celebrate the bonds of friendship and deep accord. Be happy. Dance and sing. Play, eat, drink. Savor and cherish life, for in the not too distant future we will be called upon to defend it.”

Rapidly extending her perfect, pure golden wings to their full span, she cried, “But for now, Rejoice!”

Dragons roared and children picked up musical instruments and played. Many alighted to the ground to dance, and the singers clung to tree branches like birds. It was a moment of grandeur and promise. But as bright as it was in the city of Vovin, the city of dragons and children, a dark night was coming.

I authored this story for Thursday #writephoto prompt “crossing” hosted at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.

This is the 24th and final chapter in my fantasy story about the Davidson children trapped in a strange exile world full of dragons, demons, elves, and other fantastic beings, and in spite of what you’ve just read, we’re not at the end, well, not quite. There still is an epilogue to consider which I believe will add a different dimension to everything you’ve just read if you’ve been keeping up with the series. Once that’s done, so will my first novel’s first draft. Then the real work begins.

The table of contents for my epic tale so far is:

  1. The Forest
  2. Gerliliam
  3. A Tale Shared Among Friends
  4. Mr. Covingham’s Secret
  5. Departure
  6. Wilderness Pilgrims
  7. The God of the Dark Hills
  8. Hall of the Mountain Kings
  9. Sojourn in Direhaven
  10. Trial at Sakhr
  11. What Secrets We Keep
  12. The Uneasy Pact
  13. The Tracker
  14. Duel at Orholt
  15. Valley of Blood
  16. The Fallen
  17. Massacre
  18. Decision
  19. Conflagration
  20. Descent
  21. Dire Beginning
  22. The Beelzebub
  23. Last Stand

You may not realize that I’ve written a number of tangential stories that take place in the Exile/Vovin world. One of them is She Treats Us Like Her Children. If you read it, I think you’ll discover some familiar characters, and reading the afterword, you’ll gain a greater sense of just who the children of Vovin are.

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