Click on image to enlarge.
by Scott Harper
Category: Fantasy/Young Adult
Description: When the Princess of the Elven kingdom is taken by a Well Spirit, the Elven King enlists the aid of Avari, the heroic Water Nix who was instrumental in the fall of Veemox the Ur'hunglav only months before. When Avari's attempt to free the Princess results in Fyrnn being taken by the same Spirit, along with the Princess's best friend, Avari is off on an ocean voyage to a distant, near-mythical island with a reputation from which it earned its name--the Island of Death. Once there, he must confront the terrible creatures which haunt the island in order to bargain with the most powerful Well Spirit of them all to gain the freedom of the captive Elf women. But time is running out for the enslaved Elves. Will Avari make it in time?
eBook Publisher: DCL Publications LLC, 2010 2006
eBookwise Release Date: December 2010
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [197 KB]
Reading time: 119-167 min.
* * * *
"Are you sure you want to do this, Euphony?" the girl asked, reaching out, grabbing her friend's hand. Her voice, rhythmic and harmonious, typical of the Elven race, was heavily laced with anxiety. Her normally smooth features pinched into an expression of mingled uncertainty and fear.
Euphony paused, holding the gold coin squeezed between her forefinger and thumb in midair above the wishing well. She nodded, a lock of her long, dark hair tumbling forward to hang over her eyes. Using her free hand, she pushed it back into place.
"I have to do this, Melody." She gently pulled her wrist from the other girl's grasp and turned to face her. "I'm the Princess. I have to do something."
Melody glanced around at the field surrounding them. Brilliantly-colored wildflowers, purple and pink, grew thickly over the gently rolling hills. The grass was tall and lush, vibrant green, waving in the soft breeze. Their horses stood a few feet away, munching contentedly on the rich bounty. Sunlight from the cloudless blue sky glinted on the bright silver tack the mounts wore.
"But your father--"
Euphony shook her head. "He's King of the Elves. I know. But we're losing this war with the Ogres. My father has done is doing all he can. But it's not enough. Something has to be done. As Princess, it's my responsibility." Her tone became pleading, borderline desperation creeping in.
"I don't see how," Melody replied, plucking at the hem of her mint-green tunic, before smoothing the fabric back into place over the slender curves of her hips.
"I'm almost eighteen," Euphony explained, her upswept eyebrows pulling together in a frown. "Old enough to rule my father's kingdom, should the need arise. For me to be a good Queen, the people have to trust me to do the right thing at the right time. They have to believe in me as they believe in my father. For that to happen, I need to prove myself to them."
Melody pulled a comb from her hair, allowing her blonde tresses to tumble free over her shoulders and into her eyes. She tipped the adornment back and forth, watching the sunlight gleam on its polished, silver surface. Pulling her hair back up, she replaced the comb. As she worked, she said, "Isn't there another way? A safer way? Well Spirits are notoriously dangerous. If your father knew we were out here--"
Euphony's hazel eyes went wide. "You're not going to tell him!"
Melody shook her head. "No. I already promised you that I wouldn't. But if he did know..."
"He'd be angry. I know," Euphony agreed, relaxing a bit. "But I've got to do something to help us win this war. Before it's too late."
Melody watched unhappily as Euphony wiped her hands on the rich, royal purple material of her tunic and down onto the legs of her gray riding breeches. She then held the coin out past the mortared stone edge of the roofless well. Melody saw that Euphony's hand was shaking. The Princess took a breath, let it out, and released the coin.
It fell from sight, dropping into the dark depths of the wishing well. Melody waited for several moments, expecting to hear the dull plunk of the coin striking the water below. But there was only silence. She glanced at Euphony, who had her eyes closed. The Princess's lips were moving, even though she was not speaking aloud.
Then Euphony turned to her, a smile lighting up her flawless face. "There!"