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Yggdrasil Chapter 7The Capital Gardens
Queen Ana often walked alone in her gardens, famed for the red roses and white orchids. She found it comforting to spend a short amount of time each day alone amongst the greenery knowing that they did not judge her and they did not expect anything of her. As much as she hated to admit it, even the most loyal of her lady maids did not truly like her for the ever present sense of death that hung over her. She had been plagued by illness since she could remember and the physicians had never been able to do anything to help her for long. If her father had not arranged her marriage with the late king before he died than she would, no doubt, have been forced to go into the service at one of the temples, for no man would willingly choose a weak woman for his wife.
Sometimes she wished that she was in a temple rather than at court. Egon despised her because she was plain when there were many beautiful young women surrounding her. And the court fed on his distaste for his q
Yggdrasil Chapter 6Capital
The king did not send for them the next day, nor the day after. It had gone noon on the fifth day by the time that the Captain finally emerged to escort the group into the city and to king Egon's palace. They had been prepared since the two lords had left, not wanting to be late for the king, but no amount of preparations could ready them for the state of the city hidden by the crumbling walls.
People lined the streets to take a look at the soldiers but their garments were not as splendid as those of the countryside peasants that the party had encountered. There were rags, dirty and torn. Everything was grey or black or brown, with the only colour belonging to the nine teenagers. Rachel struggled not to copy Chloe and Emily, who pulled their scarves close about their noses. She thought she would gag and the stench of disease and hunger and filth. Aaron went pale. It was nothing like they had expected. The immediate buildings that they could see were wooden and rotten, mould dec
Yggdrasil Chapter 5The Capital Walls
The first sight of the capital was one of disappointment for the group of teenagers. They had expected a city made of marble, one that was beautiful and empowering, but instead they found sandstone walls and a heavy wooden drawbridge closed to them. The guards were the worst for Jack and Chloe, who had both envisaged the battlements to be lined with handsome men dressed in silver plate mail, like the knights of old and the soldiers that had ridden with them from the wall. But the men standing guard above the wall were old and dressed in worn leather or rusted mail that looked as if it had not had a polish in a century. From their place at the foot of the wall, they could even see dirt on the faces looking down at them.
Chloe sat silently in her saddle, sulking from both the saddle sores that plagued her and her disappointment in the guards, whilst Sally and Thomas could only notice each other.
Rachel's gelding shifted underneath her.
Waldo and Stavros urged their moun
Yggdrasil Chapter 4Somewhere along the Orange Road
The journey along the Orange Road south to the capital was a jovial one. Chloe and Dan became inseparable, as did Aaron and Isobel, Sally and Thomas and Rachel and Jack. Emily spent much time with the soldiers that travelled with them, but did not mind for her lonely state. Yet, as the merry band of travellers came further south tension began to set in with the lords and the villagers that they passed became less welcoming. Their mood was helped when Chloe finished the garments that she had toiled over every night on the fifth evening.
They were beautiful clothes made of fine cotton and with fur coats and legwarmers should they get cold. She had taken it upon herself to give each of her companions a specific colour to wear, to which none complained. Emily had a beautiful turquoise that complimented her mossy eyes, whilst Sally was given yellow to contrast the darkness of her grey eyes. For Aaron and Isobel, Chloe chose a bright red and gave Thomas brown
Yggdrasil Chapter 2The north
Jack woke just before they got to the wall. He was roasting in the thick furs that he had been huddled in to keep him warm and he could feel that his face was red. As he began to wiggle his strong arms free the soldier supporting him in the saddle halted his horse. For a moment Jack thought that he was seeing a demon, for he could see only see the armour covering the man's face and it frightened him.
"My lord," the man called ahead, his voice not unfriendly. "My lord, the lad's awake."
Another soldier called the same, and then another until it was announced that all nine of the teenagers were awake. Waldo trotted his mare past all of them, to see with his own sceptical eyes.
"Come, we shall take them straight to Astrid, then. Galen, ride ahead to Biennia and apologise to Derwin and Cyril, and have a message sent to Astrid."
The groom urged his horse under the iron portcullis alone as the soldiers steered the mounts to east.
"Excuse me, could you please help me? I'm a tad hot,
Yggdrasil Chapter 3Dragonhall
The wind blew hard from the north over the castle walls to where the old Lord Stavros stood gazing at a herd of white dear. The stag's beady black eyes never left the deep blue pair that belonged to the old lord, but neither felt threatened or worried; it was a routine, a bond that the pair had gained over the years. His antlers were magnificent, allowed to grow into majestic branches like the Sacred Tree in the capital through the protection of the Lord of Dragonhall.
As the sun began to fade to the west into the purple sky, the herd moved off to the woods for the night behind the white stag and Stavros pushed himself onto his sore feet, once more traveling the route around the wall of his castle to the Map Tower and back to his study. His soldiers doffed their caps to him as he passed, smiling, but when he was gone their brows furrowed for they feared that he would not last the winter. He was ninety-six and, although so far incredibly fit and healthy, this winter promised
Yggdrasil Prolgue and Chapter 1Prologue
"Disneyland! Disneyland! Disneyland!"
From the sound that came from the front of the plane, it would be expected that it was a group of five small girls on their first trip to America. It was, in fact, the first trip that three of them had made to the states, the first time out of Europe for Emily. But they were not small children; they had, after all, just finished their A levels. It was their first trip away with no adults, just them, in the big wide world.
And they were going to Disneyland.
Chloe Watson and Sally Thomas sat together, singing and dancing to the songs on the latter's iPod, whilst Emily sketched and Isobel struggled with her genius Sudoku. Rachel, sat on her own next to a stranger that was snoring as loudly as he could, read the fifth book of A Song of Ice and Fire religiously. They were an unlikely group of friends; an artist, a chemist, a musician, a designer and the history geek.
The plane rocked to the left.
"Ladies and gentlemen," spoke the intercom, "we
The StormWhite lightning flashed across the blood red sky and the heavens, on cue to my misery, sent rain and hail to mingle with my weak tears. I could hear the wind cackling at me, pulling my auburn hair and snatching at the loose clothes hanging from my skeletal form. There was little that I could do to stop it. I had no past to be proud of, no chance of the glorious future that my parents had planned for me from birth. All I had was my misery, pain and the rag of cotton from my childhood.
It had been a blanket large enough to cover a small child twice over once, the fabric being of thick black cotton, embroidered with the pale blue stallion of my family in the centre. Loyal and Free, it had said, Loyal and Free, but now only one single faded word remained, ripping at my slowing heart, mocking me with a cruel grin.
The words were engrained in my brain, the first words that I could remember, the words that followed my every step. Those same hollow words still whispered themselves to me
Bo.When Lindsay was born, Bo was there. Standing beside her mother, he was the first thing she ever saw. But he was not her father; her father stood on the other side.
Bo was there until the very moment she died.
The sun shone bright through the windows of her pink-laden room. She loved pink. And black.
“Because Bo is black,” she’d told her parents.
Her imaginary friend, they soon concluded.
“Bo is all black,” she described one night as her father tucked her in, “His skin and his hair and everything. He doesn’t talk a lot.”
Her father frowned.
“He sounds scary.”
“He’s not,” she insisted.
Bo sat on the bed and said nothing.
Her father kissed her good night and turned out the light.
“Why can’t Dad see you?” she asked.
“Are you real?”
“Are you real?” he replied.
“How do you know?”
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