Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword: Chapter 2 – A Mysterious Message

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

Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword: Chapter 1 – A Dangerous Journey

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