Books written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people. A Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it?
For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema.
Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules doesn’t get himself killed first.
Jules said, “We need a plan. Let’s check what’s missing.” He rushed to the hearth and pried the loose brick to the side. He reached his arm deep and thought he felt the soft nap of the pouch but then he jerked his hand back out and sucked on his finger.” Ouch!”
Ralston said, “We can’t afford to lose your pouch—maybe the only way to buy things if we have to look for Mom or Dad.”
Jules glared at him.
Ralston said, “What’s wrong?”
Jules reached back into the hole, this time less enthusiastically. “Something sharp.” When he pulled it out he stared at the shard of glass in his hand. “Hold this, Rals.”
Ralston held the sharp edge gingerly. “Is it yours?”
“Would I put something sharp like that to cut myself up?” Jules then brought out his pouch, and sighed. He gave its contents a quick peek and slipped the soft pouch into his cloak pocket.
“It’s a good thing the burglars missed that,” Ralston said. “Should we toss this?” He passed the shard to Jules who turned it over.
“Some words here.” He read, “‘—ook within.’ What’s that mean?”
A blood-curdling scream pierced through the cold evening air and all five children jerked and stared at each other. The scream appeared to have come from the dark forest. Was someone in trouble? Or was it just some- one trying to scare them?
“Wh-–at was that?” Bitha grabbed Tippy’s hand and tugged at her, but the little girl, her face indignant, squirmed and pulled away.
“No–o!” A series of ear splitting protests came from Tippy and she shook her head vigorously. Her eyes, the rims red, locked with Jules. “I want the gem! It’s mine!”
Arms on her hips, Tst Tst said, in a sinister whisper, “If we don’t leave now, Gehzurolle will kill us!”
Tippy slumped her shoulders, let out a sob and opened her mouth as if wanting to protest but at the last minute she only stepped aside. “All wight!”
“We’ll give the stone another try. Ralston, you wedge it with that stick and I’ll pull.” Jules glanced at the sky and thought he saw a dark blob in the blue far away. Must get away quickly. The meadow is too bare for a good hiding spot.
Nausea swelled up from the pit of his stomach and a shiver crept up his back. The last time he had such a feeling was right before his grandpa left on that trip. “Rals, hurry! Pull!”
In the yonder forest, perched on a cypress, Whisperer watched the group with what could qualify as disappointment on his crooked face with his crooked lips. His efforts had failed. This sort of fowl tactics worked umpteen times before when his master ordered him on some mission.
Now he considered other prongs of attacks. The ifs and what-ifs, the whisperings, he could float in the wind. Whisperings that wafted down and instilled fear to all who heard him. This was one assignment he could not afford to blunder. Too much was at stake.
He debated over his options, his heavily lidded eyes darting from tree to tree. For a second he determined to strike the bumbling boy again, but he decided against this. He would wait for Beta and re-evaluate the problem with the latest update.
Whisperer pursed his crooked lips, his breath a gray tube of smoke that swirled toward its goal: the clouds. First softly, then more intensely, he blew. But his gaze never wavered from the struggling, lanky lad with his sister on his back.
Beta had better find that Book, or he would find a suitable punishment for the servant.
THE WARNING GRANDPA gave had frightened Jules then, as it did now.
“Jules, the days are coming,” Grandpa Leroy had said, that bleak day as they sat before the fireplace. “One day, Gehzurolle will intensify his efforts against us. Beware of that day.”
Picking up his Ancient Book, Grandpa read, “Suspecting the lives of the now insignificant Fairy Elves will be restored to the former glories they once enjoyed, the Scorpents and their leader, Gehzurolle, the Lord of Shadows, will be driven to distraction. After many failed attempts to annihilate the Race throughout the centuries, Gehzurolle will scheme to extinguish every inhabitant of the land because finally a Keeper has invited him into our Kingdom. He will spare no Elfie. Not even those who work for him.’”
“But which Keeper would do something like that?”
“One who’s desperate. When you see the signs, Jules, you must flee. You and everyone in our family. Immediately!”
“But why, Grandpa?”
“Because it means he’s close to succeeding. He will seek us Keeper families first because without the Keepers and our Books our Kingdom cannot survive. I entrust this knowledge to you for you will take over from your mother as Keeper of the Book, just as she’d taken over from me.” His grandfather’s gentle blue eyes locked with Jules’s own green ones.
“But how will I know when this will happen?”
“The Ancient Book says thieves will come to steal—so beware. But these are no ordinary burglars, Jules. They will destroy everything in their path. Whatever happens they mustn’t get our Book.”
Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschooling mother of five. Besides running a busy home, she regularly reads and writes stories for children. An avid Christian, she enjoys writing stories with themes involving family-life, friendship, faithfulness, and seeking wisdom, all in an imaginary fantastical world. She has written several young adult novels and plans on writing many more. Right worked for two advertising agencies and has won several major awards, including the prestigious Clio Award. She currently resides in California where she takes care of her children and her many pets.