Sunday, January 19, 2014

In Case You Wondered: How Adelina's Amulet Got to Earth

I’m starting a new blog series called "In Case You Wondered" that will provide background information and stories from the kingdom of Ærenden and its history. These posts are meant to be complementary to the books and sometimes will even provide readers with“bonus material”, content either deleted or considered but ultimately rejected in the novels. Below is one such scene, initially written as a prologue for THE CHILD RETURNS. Enjoy!

     Fog rolled over the field, casting shadows with an indiscriminate paintbrush and creating figures where no men stood. Vivian tightened her cloak around her shoulders and waited. Her timing impeccable as only her ability could allow, she did not have to wait long. A man approached, his face disappearing and reappearing as it passed between the shadows. He stopped in front of her, and Vivian pulled back her hood. Her red hair charged forward, dancing on a sudden breeze.

“You shouldn’t be here,” the man said. Steel hardened his gray eyes, but it did not concern her. She smiled in response.
“It’s safe,” she told him. “I’ve seen this moment.”

The man grunted. “I don’t doubt your power, but there are rules.”
“Rules such as not crossing over to Earth, not living there?” She grinned. “Since breaking those rules was your idea, forgive me for not taking you too seriously, Miles.”

Miles chuckled, a sound low, warm. “You never took me seriously anyway. How’s Meaghan?”

“Beautiful, strong. Unaware still. That will change soon.”

“Is she ready?”

“Not yet, but she will be.” Vivian held out her hand. Miles took it and she closed her eyes. “You won’t let us down,” she said. “Your wisdom will be a beacon for them. You shouldn’t worry.”

“It isn’t me I’m worried about,” Miles muttered and dropped her hand. “Since when can you make predictions on command?”

“I can’t,” she responded, opening her eyes. “But you’re giving off an energy I can’t ignore. You sleep little these days.”

“Too much of the future remains unknown.”

“Even to me,” she told him.

“I had hoped differently. What of Nick? Is he up to the task?”

Pride swelled Vivian’s heart when she thought of the young man. “More than ready, though he’ll also learn that in time. Did you bring it?”

“Yes.” Miles hand disappeared beneath his cloak, and then reappeared. A gust of wind pushed across the field, swirling the fog, and teasing a silver chain from his grip before he passed the item to Vivian. “May said the stone is missing.”

“I’m aware,” Vivian responded. She glanced down at the item lying on her palm, an amulet with a beautiful glass centerpiece the color of amethyst. It carried visions from the ancients and it paled in comparison to what it once had been. An image formed in her mind of Adelina wearing it, her posture regal, a joyous smile on her face, and it brought a tear to Vivian’s eye. She dashed it away. “Thank you,” she said to Miles. “Meaghan will need this before long.”

He inclined his head. “Does that mean she’ll return home soon?”

“Yes,” Vivian confirmed. “Look for her to come from the direction of the forest.”

A smile touched Miles’ lips. “Then you and James will be home, too. May will be pleased. Fifteen years is too long.”

“It is,” Vivian agreed. She glanced past Miles, toward the village and the point beyond it where the portal would take her back. “I should go before anyone realizes I’m missing. I have a long journey once I’m back on Earth, and Meaghan and Nick will be up late. She’s been having nightmares, flashes she hasn’t been able to put together. Tonight, the whole story will come to her. I’ve seen her running toward him.”

“Toward Nick?” Miles asked. “Have they grown close?”

Vivian nodded. “She confides in him.”

“Good. That will make his job easier.” Reaching out, Miles squeezed Vivian’s shoulder. “You’ve sacrificed so much. You’ll be rewarded for your selflessness.”

Vivian covered his hand with one of hers. “I already have been,” she said. “Raising Meaghan has been all the reward I need.”

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