Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword
by Stacie Eirich
Chapter 3. Bedtime Stories
“We came to Bear Kingdom on a starless night.” Liam began. “The wind was fierce and it was too dark to see anything in front of us. We didn’t know where we were or how we’d gotten here. We only knew that we weren’t with our parents anymore; we weren’t at the circus.” His face scrunched up with the memory, tense and agitated.
“Moments before we had been helping with a performance,” Elena continued. “Our mother had been preparing for her trapeze act, and our father was in the center of the ring giving the opening announcements.” Her eyes looked up into the distance, and I knew she was seeing her memory as she spoke. Her eyes misted over. “One moment we were there, and the next – as if in a blink – we were in cold darkness.”
“It was Sampson who came and took us to Tiger Kingdom, offering us a home there.” Elena blinked her eyes and sat up straighter. “We knew we wouldn’t stop looking for a way to get back to our real home, with our parents, but his offer was a kind and generous one. And we wouldn’t have survived here with the Bears.”
“Why? What did the Bears do to you?” Jack piped up like a kid anxious to hear the action in the story.
“They captured me that night, and took me to their castle.” Liam’s eyes darkened when he spoke again. “They held me prisoner!” He stood up, pacing between the trees. “They wanted the Book of Destiny but I didn’t have it, didn’t even know what it was then. I was lucky to find my way out of the castle and make an escape, but now they will be expecting us – now they will know we have come to take back the Book. We have to be smarter, quicker. Luck won’t help us this time. We need magic.”
“We have magic.” I said, pulling the key out of my cloak pocket. “If it helped us get here, surely it can help us at the bear’s castle?” I held the key in my open palm, wishing it would begin to warm and glow. But it remained cold, an ordinary metallic key.
“Your key was a great help to us, and I don’t doubt that it shall help us again.” Elena reassured me. “But it will take more magic than one key has to bring us safely through Bear Kingdom.”
The light outside was fading, and the forest suddenly felt colder and more desolate. The idea of being so exposed in a land where there was only ice to shield us was frightening. Were the Bears the only danger in this Kingdom?
“Under the cover of darkness there are many dangers in Bear Kingdom.” Elena spoke my fears aloud. “Some of those dangers are the cold itself, the fierce night wind and the unforgiving darkness. But this is also the Kingdom where the night spirits live, and wolverines prowl in the shadows. By the light of an icy moon they howl songs that will make you shiver, and the wind sharpens its blows against you. You must never venture out at night alone, Suzie.” She pinned her eyes to mine, as if pleading with me to listen.
In Tiger Kingdom, Elena had seemed fearless to me. Now I saw that she was frightened of Bear Kingdom in a way that she hadn’t been there. She trusted Tiger King Sampson, who was so kind a host, and so did I.
“Is there a Bear King?” I asked. I imagined he wasn’t so kind.
“King Knut is viscous and power-hungry.” Liam frowned. “He rules the Bears with fear. He can overpower any in his Kingdom.” Liam looked thoughtful. “But he isn’t as smart as we are, and he doesn’t have good magic to help him. I think he may actually be a little scared of us.”
“Yes, Liam is right.” Elena looked hopeful, her eyes sparkling. “He knows we can do this, that we have the tigers and good on our side. This time, we have you as well. Liam can help us enter the Bear’s castle, and you can help us get the Book back! If we can do that, we can get home.” She smiled triumphantly.
“But how?” Jack seemed nonplussed. “We can barely walk through this snow, let alone break into a castle filled with ferocious bears! That’s impossible, just like getting home is.” He crossed his arms in frustration, shifting away from the circle.
I reached out to touch his arm. “Listen to them, Jack.” I spoke to Liam. “Go on – we won’t stop you with any more questions. Please tell us more.” I pulled my cloak tightly around me with one arm while using the other to pull Jack closer.
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