Last week, a silver-eyed thief stole our book! We followed her to the magical PC where she vanished in a swirl of her gray cloak. We watched in horror as she raced across the aisles of the digital bazaar known as Amazon.
“We have to get our book back!” I said. (I am Ran son of Sarn and the driving force behind the first-ever character-run newsletter in case you forgot.)
“We need powerful aid,” my uncle said glancing at my mage-Papa. “No offense meant but that’s a citadel, and none of us know how to breach it.”
A few taps on the flickering screen now bearing cracks from the book thief’s hasty exit zoomed out the view to include a fortification surrounded by a moat of 1s and 0s. They cast long shadows reminding me of the shadow monster I faced down in our missing book.
“Hey wait a minute, is that a red-bearded bard?”
Papa pointed to a cluster of pixels, and his finger pushed through the screen. I grabbed hold of his arm, and the force pulling on my Papa dragged me in too. Unfortunately, Uncle Miren had the same idea. We landed in a sprawl with Papa cushioning my fall. I wrapped my arms around his neck preferring to be carried in this alien world of zooming polygons and shifting line segments. So when Papa stood up, I caught the bard’s attention.
“Will you help us storm the citadel?”
“If that’s your aim, I might be game. Grandal’s the name,” said the red-bearded bard hefting a bag of loot. “Gotta leave The Mark of Destiny where folks can see it. Otherwise ancient magic won’t awaken, a prophetess won’t be born, and Belstrom won’t hang in the balance. It’d be a right mess. So it’s best I leave The Mark, eh?” A book peaked out of his sack. On its cover, a world colored by trouble shone.
“Yeah, that sounds dangerous. You better do that.” Uncle Miren rubbed his hands together in anticipation. “So how do we get in?”
Grandal smiled. “You might want to look away. Can’t have my allies dropping before they’ve helped, eh?”
Mystified, I waited to see what he’d do, but Papa was having none of this. Our safety was his primary concern. His glowing green eyes narrowed on the bard, whom he towered over.
“How do we know we can trust you?”
“You don’t, but you will in a moment. Turn around and let me work my magic.”
Before Papa could argue some more, a group of mishappen things rose from the moat. They were warped 1s and 0s losing their shining bits as they climbed onto the bank. Papa’s magic wrapped luminous layers of protection around us as Grandal opened his bag of loot. The defenders yawned, but they came on a thousand strong. Then the front ranks were dropping, snoring in their tracks.
“What did you do?” I asked.
“My loot sends all those who look upon it to sleep.” Grandal smiled and closed his bag. With a flourish, he gestured to the open doors. “Shall we go leave The Mark of Destiny on this place?”
I punched the sky. “And take back our book!”
We’ll see you next time, for our showdown in Amazon’s citadel.
Special thanks to Azrael James for joining our book launch shenanigans. If you love the worlds of K.F. Breene, Jim Butcher, and Patrick Rothfuss, look no further for your next fantasy read then Azrael James’ groundbreaking new novel, The Mark of Destiny.
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