Authors: D.C. Akers
“The Goblins, where are they?”
Kellen was tall and extremely menacing. His slick black hair lay flat across his forehead and swayed down the length of his long, thin neck. Like all the other vampires, he wore a long, black traveling cloak that draped loosely over one shoulder, covering most of his flat black armor and silver daggers.
The remaining Vampires sat quietly, their angelic faces motionless but stern. Vallen recognized Alexandria Roahand, the Vampire Priestess, who sat to the right of Kellen. She was known to be a proficient practitioner of black magic. Then there was Latrice Dramore, who stood towering behind them; he was a large, muscular Vampire known as a Warrior. Several of the Majesty looked around and nodded in obvious aggravation. No one cared for the Goblins and their greed, and no one despised them more than the Vampires, but Bellisoria had made it clear to the Majesty long ago that the Goblins could no longer be ignored. Their numbers were far too vast and were still growing. They had to be embraced now as an ally before the Goblins outnumbered them as their enemy.
The commotion came to an end when two small, heavy-set Goblins came bounding into the chamber. Their burgundy cloaks and brown leather armor were tattered and pale compared to the glamour of the rest of the Majesty. The Goblins were bestial in appearance and grotesquely disfigured. Their brows were fully covered with thick black hair, and their mouths were filled with jagged, yellowed, crooked teeth.
Several of the Majesty scoffed, pulling their cloaks closer to themselves in disgust at the sight of the newcomers. Even the Orcs, who were rather beastly themselves, looked appalled. It was quite apparent that the Goblins, with their beady yellow eyes and peasant-like qualities, were not welcome there, or anywhere else in Haven as far as everyone else was concerned.
“Sorry, sorry, our apologies, did we miss anything?” Tryson, the Goblin Ambassador asked anxiously as he hopped up into his seat. He looked around the table at his counterparts and was met with solemn stares. “Please, everyone, please, let’s get started,” Atamar began.
He looked over at Bellisoria, who gave him a faint smile. He stepped to one side and she walked gracefully to the front of the table, taking her place before the Realm of the Estates. Silence enveloped the room; all eyes were on their leader.
“Thank you all for coming. It’s good to see each of you again.” She graciously smiled as her gaze traveled across the leaders gathered in front of her. Then she took in a deep breath and continued.
“We have called this meeting to discuss a situation that has come to our attention, but before I turn things back over to the Minister of Justice, I would like to say a few words.” She paused. The silence in the room was deafening.
“Sometimes in life it is important to remember the past so you can appreciate the present and plan for the future,” she continued. “As leaders of the Estates we have an obligation to our people to never forget where we came from and the sacrifices that were made to get us here.”
Her tone was calm but firm. She looked over at Atamar. Sweat was beginning to pool on his large brow. She turned back to the leaders and continued.
“Over six hundred years ago during the Great Witch Hunt on Earth, I escaped my captors and fled into the nearby forest. There, I happened upon a hidden cavern, and in that cavern I found a portal. I used this portal to reach Haven, which was uninhabited at the time. The planet was perfectly able to sustain life and was similar to Earth, so I brought forth the sisters of my coven.”
The Witches of the North bowed their heads in gratitude as Bellisoria continued.
“But I did not stop there. I, in turn, offered sanctuary for every human, non-human, dead and undead; a place to call home, a safe haven for the supernatural.”
Orcs pounded the table, Elves raised their glasses, and Witches nodded in agreement, but the Vampires and Goblins sat motionless.
“For many years it was just that—a haven, but like all worlds it had its secrets. The signs were ever so slight, but even in its infancy there was evil at its core. Over time the malice began to spread like a disease, infecting everything in its path.
“Eventually, epic wars of the supernatural broke out. Battles of greed, power, and religion began to consume Haven, and I watched my planet transform into the very world from which I had escaped long ago. Desperate to fight back, to bring justice to my once peaceful world, I convinced four of the largest factions to meet in secret, and there we negotiated a truce.”
Cheers rang out and the great hall was energized; Bellisoria had their attention now. She needed this alliance to be stronger than ever.
“We agreed that it was in our best interest to work together before our world imploded. Together we stood a chance—divided we stood to lose everything,” she continued. “After days of negotiations, the Majesty was established, made up of the Four Estates of the Realm: Vampires, Witches, Orcs, and Elves. Recently the Goblins were added to the Estates with the signing of the new zone treaty.” She waved her hand in the direction of the Goblins who smirked in smug satisfaction.
“The Majesty took its place as the governing authority in Haven’s political society. Since its establishment, many battles have been fought to protect our sacred way of life. We, the Majesty, now honor the sacrifices made by our comrades and loved ones with this alliance. Let us never forget the fallen who gave their lives so that we may have everything we want, but never want for anything we may need.” Bellisoria’s eyes narrowed. “Let nothing tear us apart.”
The Majesty stood to their feet clapping and cheering; even the Vampires and Goblins were standing now. Bellisoria looked on with a strained smile, surveying the room. She knew that over the years life in Haven had changed; the once powerful alliances had become frayed and fragile. Hope had been replaced with despair, courage with fear, and honor with deception. Everyone had their own agenda now, and greed was the root cause. In these grave times Bellisoria trusted very few. With a handful of advisors and her most trusted Keeper Agents at her side, she bore the daunting task of seeing beyond the trickery and secret coalitions to bring peace back to the lands of Haven.
Still smiling, she motioned for Atamar, who took her place in front of the large table, applauding her as she moved aside. After a few minutes when the room had quieted down and everyone had taken their seats again, Atamar cleared his throat and began.
“First, I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming on such short notice, but I assure you, the matter we have to discuss is one of great importance and it affects us all. Let it be known that this information is of the highest secrecy, and under no circumstances can it be divulged to anyone beyond your senior cabinet members.”
The Realm representatives looked around at one another and shifted uncomfortably in their chairs.
“Let me repeat,” his tone was stern. “Under no circumstances can this information be divulged to anyone beyond your senior cabinet members.” Atamar took a moment to let his words linger in the air before speaking again.
“As you well know, thirteen years ago we all fought in the Great War against Cyrus Kan, the Emperor of the Dark Lands. To our credit, we freed many captives from prison camps and destroyed several Viper breeding facilities. But that victory came with our share of losses. We all suffered great casualties in that war, and we lost a great leader in Rylan Dalcome.”
Several of the members nodded in agreement. No one knew what had really happened to Rylan that day. He was separated from the other Keeper Agents in battle and was later found dead in a remote area of the prison camp. Some speculated that he died in battle fighting three Banshees single-handedly, some believed his death was a conspiracy the Majesty had covered up, but no one really knew what happened that day, not even Demetrius.
Atamar raised his hands to gather the group’s attention once more before continuing.
“With that said, it pains me to inform you that our battle did not end with the Great War as we had hoped.” Voices erupted in whispers around the room.
“Less than three days ago, the Majesty received word that three of our Keeper Agents patrolling the Blackfoot mountains were attacked by—” The words stuck in his throat.
The room fell silent, the Realm delegates waited in anticipation. Atamar took in a long deliberate breath and sighed.
am was running as fast as he could. Sarah was calling him. The beast was right behind him. He tried but he couldn’t run any faster. He could feel the creature’s hot breath on the back of his neck. If he stopped now he would be trampled, crushed by the monster behind him.
Trees sped by in a blur. The moon was his only compass but Sam was almost there; he could see the opening in the tree line at the top of hill. The moon was the brightest he had even seen, casting white, radiant bands of light in all directions. In the center of the clearing stood the silhouette of a girl. It was his sister, it was Sarah!
Sam jerked, and rolled out of bed and onto the floor. He landed with a loud thud and his eyes flung open. He was lying face down, staring into the dark wooden floor.
“Ugh,” he grunted. “That hurt.”
He looked around as his vision slowly came into focus. The sun was shining brightly into his room even though the blinds were closed. The first things that came into focus were his sneakers, which were still wet from the caves. They were covered in bird droppings and smelled horrible. He turned away from his sneakers and saw his ear buds that were under his bed. He had been looking for those. Sam craned his head up to see the side of his bed. His body was cold and covered in sweat again, like it always was after his dreams. His muscles ached; the pain ran across his shoulders and down his back. The scratches and scrapes along his torso, arms, and legs still stung from the night before.
Sam rolled over onto his back and pulled the comforter down from the bed on top of him. His breathing and heartbeat were still elevated.
It was just a dream,
he told himself.
It didn’t mean anything.
But he wasn’t sure about that anymore. A few days ago there had been no magic in the world. But now everything had changed. Magic was real—he and Travis had seen it with their own eyes.
Nothing will ever be the same again,
he told himself. Everything had the possibility of being something more than it seemed.
The world had changed overnight. The impossible had become possible, and now his world was a much bigger place. It made him feel small and insignificant, even more so than usual. And that scared Sam. He was living in a place where people could vanish into thin air and objects could literally levitate for no apparent reason.
That’s not right,
he told himself. That went against everything that was humanly possible. Or did it?
Maybe it was time to tell his mother. After all, it wouldn’t be just him now trying to convince her of the impossible. Travis would be his witness—he had seen it all. Travis had seen the spiders and the floating mirror at the caves. They could tell his mother about the stranger and how he disappeared. Sam stopped and thought for a moment. It all sounded crazy even as he listened to it himself. She would never believe them.
Sam’s head was beginning to hurt. He didn’t want to think about this anymore. Lifting himself straight, he felt a sharp pain across his ribcage. Gradually, he stood, placing his hand on his back as if he were a ninety-year-old man. At least he had slept through most of the night before having the dream, although it would have been nice to have slept in for a change.
Sam grabbed a shirt and a pair of shorts from the closet and put them on. He didn’t bother to turn on a light since the morning sun was so bright. Instead, he opened both windows in his room. First he opened the window that faced the street, and then the one that faced his new neighbor. To his surprise, the girl was standing at her window again. Her long black hair was pulled to one side and her jade-colored eyes stared directly back at him as if she had been waiting for him. She was dressed in a white t-shirt and shorts. Sam hesitated at first, but managed to give a slight wave. The girl stood motionless for a brief moment, then the right corner of her mouth curled upward ever so slightly into a half-smile.
Sam, who was beginning to feel more confident, willed a smile of his own when the blinds of her window abruptly snapped shut. Sam’s smile quickly faded. He stood frozen, except for his hand that was still waving.
Wow, that could have gone better.
He sighed, turned, and grabbed his cell phone from the dresser and his ear buds from the floor.
When Sam returned to the window he saw that Giddyup Lane was busy with neighbors. He looked out and saw people walking their dogs, Teddy riding his bike, and Mrs. Cambridge tending to her yard. Sam loved being out of school and knowing that he had nothing to do, expect for whatever he wanted. That made him smile.
Sam made his way down the stairs and into the kitchen where he noticed a small yellow note stuck to the counter.