Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword: Chapter 3 – Bedtime Stories

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

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