Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword
by Stacie Eirich
Chapter 1. A Dangerous Journey
A land of bone-chilling cold,
brisk, crisp wind and shimmering snow,
of polar bears hunting,
their sharp claws and fierce teeth,
piercing solid ice in the frigid air,
shimmering, glimmering stars
and a cold, full moon,
of white ice, brilliant blue.
On the tallest mountain of snow
stands a glittering ice castle,
locked in the heart of the bears lair,
the center of an ice cave,
lies The Book of Destiny,
a Golden Sword, a Wishing Stone,
warm rainbow colors shining,
beaming through the ice,
searching for their owners,
radiating warmth of light
in an everlasting winter.
With Jack’s hand still clenched in my own, we began moving towards the castle in the distance. I was glad for the boots and cloak that Elena had given me. Wrapping the thick red cloak around me tightly, I stepped forward into the snow. With Jack beside me, we followed closely behind Elena and Liam. We could hear the crunch of hardened snow and ice beneath our boots with every step. I struggled to keep up.
“How far do you think it is?” I asked. The chill in the air bit my at my skin. I pulled my hood down over my eyes.
“We won’t make it to the castle tonight.” Liam said. “Lets try to go a few more paces before making camp. If we set out at dawn, we may make it to the castle before dark tomorrow.” He stopped, gazing out in the distance for a moment. “There, beyond the North mountain, on its south side, lays a forest. Do you see the trees?” He pointed. “They may offer us shelter. We won’t want to try entering the castle at night; it would be too dangerous.”
“But what if whatever is in that forest is even more dangerous than what’s in the castle?” Jack piped up, his face a mixture of fear and excitement. He dropped his hand from mine and walked past Liam, shielding his eyes in order to look ahead.
“It’s a risk we’ll have to take.” Liam seemed very sure of himself. Suddenly, I understood.
“You’ve been here before.” I said. I looked at Elena for confirmation. She met my eyes slowly, and nodded.
“Yes.” Her bell-like voice rang out over the snow. “We came to Bear Kingdom first, before Tiger Kingdom. We didn’t know about the magic then, about the Book of Destiny or the Wishing Stone. We were only looking for a way home, a way back to our parents. It was Sampson who came to save us from the bears.”
Liam’s face looked tense, as though he wasn’t ready to talk about this, or hadn’t planned to.
“We can’t use daylight to stand and talk, we must keep moving.” He didn’t offer any more, and gave Elena a look that seemed to hold her quiet. “We can tell them our story tonight, after we make camp.”
Silently we walked forward, stopping only to help each other through rough patches of ice and snow. Thoughts and questions whirled inside my head. What had Liam and Elena seen in Bear Kingdom? If they didn’t have a magic key, how did they get here? There must be another way to enter – and another entrance! And if there is another entrance, what or who else has been through it?
My thoughts were interrupted by a sudden cry from above, a shrill bird cry that I recognized. It was hard to make out what was in the sky for the bright light reflecting off the snow. But I recognized the red-gold wings gliding above, soaring down towards us. It was Phaedra, the beautiful Phoenix we had met in Tiger Kingdom.
Against the dazzling white snow Phaedra was breathtaking. I reached out my hand to her wing as she glided to a landing beside me. I hadn’t realized how large she was before! She wrapped her golden-red wings around me, and I felt warmth tingling through my legs and arms, all the way to the tips of my fingers. In her beak she held something that sparkled and gleamed in the sunlight – I gasped. It was the magic key! She dropped it gently to the ground beside me, and I quickly picked it up.
“Hello Suzie,” she breathed in a glorious, smooth voice like silk. “I have come with a message from King Sampson.” She poked her beak down into her feathers, popping it back up to present a small envelope to me. It was marked with in delicate script with a single letter – S.
Phaedra didn’t say anything more, only stood staring into my blue eyes with her golden ones. It seemed to me that for a moment time was suspended, and I hesitated to take the envelope because I knew she wouldn’t – or couldn’t – stay. Could a Phoenix survive in the Arctic? I wondered. She looked like a powerful, magical bird. I opened my mouth to ask her to stay, but at that moment she shook her feathers.
“I must return to my Kingdom.” she said. I stretched my hand out of my cloak to accept the envelope. No sooner had I done so than she opened her wings, releasing me from her embrace and flying up into the sky. I saw a great shimmering blaze of golden-red light, and then she was gone.
Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword, the second exciting adventure in The Dream Chronicles series, will be available on Amazon December 15, 2017.
Thank you for visiting Space to Dream. Have a magical day! -Stacie