Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword
by Stacie Eirich
Chapter 2. A Mysterious Message
I slipped the magic key and the envelope into the pocket of my cloak, feeling a fresh sense of confidence wash over me. Sampson knew where we were, and surely he wanted to help us. The others were still moving ahead in the snow, and the distance between us was growing.
“Wait – I’m coming!” I called, picking my boots up out of a large mound of snow. Why hadn’t they stopped? It was as if they hadn’t seen Phaedra at all.
Her message, then, was a secret one! My heart raced, and I smiled despite the cold. It was exciting to have a secret, especially one from King Sampson.
When the sun had sunk as low as the horizon in the sky, and a beautiful purple light glowed against the snow, we stopped for the night, making camp in the forest at the bottom of a large hill. The castle glowed in the distance, the purple twilight dancing off its icy walls like tiny fairies. The forest trees stood tall, thin and wraith-like in the moonlight. I imagined what they’d look like in the spring, with bushy green leaves cascading down their long trunks and flowers budding pink and yellow in the sunshine beside the castle. Was it ever spring here? The Kingdom seemed locked in an eternal winter; it made me think of the fairytale of the Snow Queen. A beautiful, haunting story that had always been one of my favorites, suddenly it felt all too close to what I was looking at now. I sighed long and loud as I lay inside my cloak. I had always wanted to be in a fairytale. But now that I was, how would mine end? I stared up at the star-filled night sky and wondered.
Above me the sky was a deep purple canvas, the stars dotting its tapestry with silver. They shined so brightly that I lay there unmoving for a while, awestruck. I had almost forgotten Sampson’s message when Jack spoke beside me.
“Are you hungry, Suz? he said as he handed me a package wrapped in brown paper. I unwrapped it to find a small loaf of bread. “I sure am.” He unwrapped a second loaf of bread and took a large bite.
“But where did the food come from?” I asked. I didn’t remember anyone packing anything before we had left the tiger’s castle.
“We’ve kept a small supply here, in the forest.” Elena answered. “And when we’ve run out, our forest friends helped by stocking more while we’ve been away.” She pulled back a small red and green checked scarf from the hollow base of a tree to reveal a stash of soup and bean cans, bread and fresh fruit in ice.
“It’s like having a mini-fridge!” Jack picked a shiny red apple out of the ice and tossed it to Liam.
“The trees here are good for storage, but not so good for building fires.” Liam swiftly caught the apple.
“They also shield us from strong winds at night.” Elena smiled up at him. “And that is almost as good as having a warm fire.”
“Have you stayed here long before?” I asked. I wanted the whole story, and reminded Liam that he had promised to tell us. I also desparately wanted to read Sampon’s message, but something told me that I should be alone when I did. I patted my pocket, feeling the weight inside of Sampson’s envelope, reassured that it was safely tucked beside the magic key.
Liam was silent for a moment, looking to Elena before he spoke. She nodded her head, giving him an encouraging smile. She patted the thick rug that had been laid upon the forest floor, inviting us to sit. It was rough, sturdy and looked very old, with colors that, once bright, had faded in sunlight. I sat quietly attentive, and pulled Jack’s sleeve so that he would do the same.
We formed a circle of four on the rug. And the stories began.
Copyright Stacie Eirich December 4, 2017
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