Authors: K.D. Faerydae
K. D. FAERYDAE
Copyright Â© 2015 K.D Faerydae
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ISBN 978 1784629 762
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.
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is an imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd
Converted to eBook by
Book 1 â
Book 2 â
An Army Of Good
Book 3 â
The Prophet had told of a human child, a child that would help Liberty to win the age-old battle against the evil Nomeds.
And now this child had arrived, accompanied by her friend, a boy of the same age.
Both children were only eight years old, fragile in both body and mind.
How could these small and frail children be strong enough to fight against the Nomeds and save Liberty?
Surely they would need an armyâ¦ an army of good!
Grace grasped a tight hold of Zavier's silver mane as he, the Berthold of Maytime Meadow, whisked her through Bluebell Wood. The fresh morning air washed over her face, clearing away the hazy tiredness of a long and adventurous night. She felt safe and secure atop the Shire horse's broad back, his strength embodied in each powerful movement of his huge shoulder muscles. She was a long way from home, in fact, she was the furthest away that she'd ever been, and for the first time in her life she was separated from her much loved family.
How are they? Have they realised that I've been replaced by a clone? Have they any idea at all of what happened at the party last night? Surely they must be puzzled as to why the fence panel at the bottom of the garden is utterly obliterated! Do they miss me? Or are they, as Ice said they would be, completely unaware that I'm missing at all. What ifâ¦ I never see them again?
Grace, bizarre as it were, was not saddened by these thoughts. She realised that if her family really believed that the clone was her, then they wouldn't be sad, either, and for some strange reason she felt at ease with the whole situation. It was as if she belonged in Liberty. This was her destiny. This was exactly where she was meant to be.
* * *
The badgers, Meles and Braxton, had left the group at the gate and were now headed back to their sett, leaving a trail of flattened bluebells behind them; while Zavier, Grace, Christian and the others headed in a southeasterly direction toward Serenity Sunrise Beach. Grace's friend Christian was seated behind her, gripping her firmly around the waist as they rode through the woodland on Zavier. Christian squeezed Grace as if she were a child's comforting toy, one from which he would not be parted. Grace liked his grip; the feel of his arms wrapped firmly around her waist was soothing. She'd had to leave her family behind, but at least she still had him, her best friend, and she wasn't going to go on any adventure without him now, was she!
Grace looked around at her magical surroundings in awe. Ferns waved royally in the breeze as she whooshed past them. Bluebells chimed softly, and the sun poked thick fingers of golden warmth through the rich green leaves of the woodland's canopy.
Zavier gathered pace. Grace grasped a firmer hold of his mane to steady herself, and Christian's hold on her also tightened quite considerably.
“Slow down, slow down! I think I'm going to fall!” Christian screamed loudly.
Christian had never ridden a horse before, unlike Grace. She'd had a few riding lessons given to her by her Auntie Louise and Uncle David for her birthday last year.
You're at one with the pony, a natural,
her instructor had praised. Nope, Christian hadn't even sat on a horse before, for that matter.
Dangerous farting machines made of muscle
, that's what he'd called them when Grace had told him that she'd started having lessons.
Zavier slowed to a gentle trot, but it was too late. Unable to hang on any longer, Christian's grip on Grace loosened. She felt lighter as his arms slipped away from her side. Then with one almighty bounce Christian was catapulted upwards and sent into the trees.
“Agghhh!” he screamed as he took flight.
Luckily for Grace, he'd let go of her waist as he rose into the air, or she was sure to have come off too.
“Help, help,” he squealed.
Zavier slowed to a stop and turned towards the shrieking boy. Grace couldn't help but giggle when she saw Christian. He was hanging from a small tree branch that he'd somehow managed to grab hold of as he'd sprung into the air. He was beginning to lose his grip. The bark of the branch loosened beneath his hands, flaking and dirtying his palms, while his legs pedalled the air furiously, as if this would somehow stop him from falling.
“Hang on, Christian!” Grace pleaded, having managed to get her giggles under control.
Ice, the snowy owl, flew to a tree close to Christian. “Hold on for just a little longer, we'll get you down safely,” she said.
“Stuff that, just let go, I'll catch you,” Aaron grumbled impatiently.
Christian looked down at the moody black stallion that was positioned below his wriggling legs.
“Are you mad? I'm not letting go,” he said, trying not to let fear quiver his voice.
Christian wouldn't usually be so emotional, but limited sleep, along with the drama of the Nomed attack the night before, had begun to take their toll on him.
“Some might say that I am mad, yes,” Aaron replied glancing up at Christian, “but I'll catch you anyway. All you have to do is make sure you land on my back and grab a hold around my neck. Do you think you can do that?”
“Nooo!” Christian protested.
The branch began to creakâ¦ and groanâ¦ and thenâ¦ snap.
“Ugh, ugh, aghh!” Christian cried as he fell.
Grace covered her eyes with her hands, not wanting to see her best friend hitting the ground.
Christian's fall was broken momentarily as his stomach hit Aaron's back; he attempted to throw his arms around the stallion's thick neck, failed, and struck the ground, landing on his back with a muffled thud. He lay there open-mouthed, gasping like a fish out of water. The fall had knocked the wind right out of him, but luckily his landing had been softened by a cushion of woodland mushrooms and a spongy bed of mulch. Therefore the winding was to be the extent of his injuries.
“Jeez, not another buffoon with all the elegance of a rhino. That's all we need, hey, boogly eyes?” Aaron moaned, looking up at Francis the tawny owl and shaking his dark mane in disapproval.
“Yeah, buffoon!” the mushrooms yelled in unison, tipping their soft caps back and giving Christian a stern and unfriendly look as they wriggled free from under him before scuttling away and disappearing into the ferns.
“Cool, talking mushrooms!” Grace beamed.
“Yes, but they're not exactly
mushrooms, if you know what I mean. You can't eat them. They're part of the Woodland Kith, mysterious little creatures that blend effortlessly with the woodland's flora. There are also Twig Kith and Leaf Kith, and who knows what other Kith. You're very lucky to have seen them, they are hidden all around us, and normally only show themselves when they are endangered or disturbed,” said Chester, the little robin. Then he flew down beside Christian and puffed out his rich red chest. “Are you all right, Christian?” he asked.
“Yeah, yeah, I'm fine, no biggie,” Christian replied coolly, having re-captured his breath. He stood up and brushed the dirt and mulch from his superman costume, swaggered over to pick the coat he'd borrowed from Grace's brother Harry off the ground, tucked it under his arm and casually strolled over to Zavier.
“If it's okay with you, Zavier, I think I'll walk for a while,” he said.
Zavier pricked his ears forward. He could faintly hear the lapping of waves against the shore, and the squawking of seabirds as they soared high above the ocean in a crisp blue sky. The sea breeze gently rustled through the woodland trees as it made its way inland, and carried with it the distinct salty, fishy scents and tumbling sounds of the ocean.
“That's fine, young man. We can slow our pace a little now, anyway. Not much longer and we'll be at Serenity Sunrise Beach. You and Grace will be safe to rest there.”
Zavier's coarse mane began to shift and part as Benjamin the bunny pushed his head out through his Berthold's dense silvery hair. He twitched his little nose in curiosity, looked down at a very sombre-looking Christian, turned to Grace and asked, “Do you think he's all right?”
“Are you sure you're okay, Christian?” Grace checked.
“Errâ¦ yeahâ¦ yeahâ¦ I'm fine,” Christian replied hesitantly.
Grace felt Christian's answer was sincere, but in truth it wasn't. He wasn't fine at all. He was deep in thought, wondering;
what happened to my super powers? The powers that saved me from the Nomeds last night. Where are they now? Why did I fall? Why couldn't I save myself? Why couldn't I fly? Will my powers ever return? What if the evil monsters, nasty Nomeds, or whatever they are called, come back? And what if my super powers don't! What then?
A sudden and involuntary shudder of fear raced all the way down his spine, sending a tingle to the very tips of his toes. He hung his head, clenched the corners of his superman cape in his hands, and cautiously began the rocky decline down to the sandy beach.
Christian and Grace weren't the only ones whose thoughts were stirring. As Zavier's hooves clacked against the rocky ground, he too contemplated what if;
What if the Great Prophet had been wrong? What if allowing Humans into Liberty isn't the answer? And what if I can't protect these small, fragile children from the ever growing menace of the Nomeds? What then?