Please enjoy the newly revised and edited Prologue and First Chapter from Legacy of the Medallion. I would love it if you would read and leave a comment below! I plan to publish this exciting novel soon on Amazon so be sure to watch for it! 🙂
LEGACY OF THE MEDALLION
SUSAN TILGHMAN HAWTHORNE
After years of imprisonment, Dreth couldn’t break the woven magic holding him. Kendrith’s confounded magic had confined him to this dreadful mist-shrouded island. Spells woven so tightly he could not escape. He could only view the world through the meager wisps of sorcery that he could slip through the maze of magic trapping him. These tiny scraps of magic, his shadows, found some small, weak creature and took control of its mind and body. Then he could watch, follow, and listen.
His black heart filled with anger. He couldn’t guide the course of the world with mere shadows. The only way to break this binding would be to find and destroy the source of his imprisonment: Kendrith’s Medallion. He’d been so close to possessing the world, but Kendrith had given up his very being to stop him. Once he found where the stone hid, he would find a way to have it brought to him. He’d spent all of these long years searching and would never stop until he crushed that miserable talisman.
Once he destroyed it, and Kendrith’s power along with it, he would be free. Nothing would help those who stood against him once that happened.
The black imp mewled in terror as the shadow fell on it. He clawed at his face and rolled in the dirt before sitting up and cocking his head. Hearing a voice he had never heard before, he filled with a new awareness. Moving silently from tree to bush to shrub, he neared the old woman’s porch. His eyes glittered in the glow from the first moon. Slinking under the silverbush beside the steps, he pricked his well tuned ears and settled in, an uninvited and unacknowledged guest.
Alwynne ran her gnarled fingers over Armina’s braids. “Mina, all will come about in its own time.”
The sweet fragrance of the thick hyacinth vine drifted over the porch and filled Mina’s senses. She sighed. “Grandmother, do you use your magic to read my thoughts?”
Alwynne laughed. “No need for that! Your thoughts are written all over your face.”
“I just want to see other lands, find out how other people live. I want to see the King’s Pavilion, smell the saltiness of the great sea, and touch the walls that saw the defeat of the great Sorcerer. Nothing ever happens here, everything is always the same.”
“You have a lot of time for excitement in your life, my dear.” Her grandmother admonished. “Be careful what you wish for.”
This was Mina’s favorite time, sitting on Alwynne’s porch in the gathering dusk waiting for the second moon to rise. Tonight the first moon rose quickly as if eager to push the sun out of the sky. Mina shared her impatience. She wanted to learn Grandmother’s magic, but she fumbled it again and again. It frustrated her.
As the second moon rose to join her sister, her usually radiant white face held an odd, reddish blemish. Mina stood, straining to see more clearly. “What is it, Grandmother?”
Alwynne walked to the edge of the porch. Her intense gaze into the darkening sky brought Mina to her side. Clutching the porch rail, Alwynne suddenly appeared older and shaken.
“A portent… An omen. It’s time.” Alwynne lifted one shaking hand to her throat. “Wait here.” She said, and hurried into the house, leaving Mina to stare at the strange stain mottling the moon’s sweet face.
When Alwynne returned, she grasped an oddly shaped object in her hands and gingerly lowered herself into her rocker. Mina drew close, filled with anticipation.
“You will speak of this to no one, Mina. There are those who would bring great harm to you to get their hands on this.”
Mina’s pulse quickened. Grandmother rarely spoke sternly. She nodded with a mixture of fear and excitement.
Dreth’s impatience intensified as he listened through his shadow. Could this be what he had waited for so long? He strained to hear, not wishing to miss a single word.
Twilight deepened into a darkening purple over the little porch. The creak of Alwynne’s rocking chair was the only sound. The insects and frogs had given up their cheerful cadence. The fragrance of the delicate flowers, the rustling leaves of the silver bushes, all receded into the shadows of the encroaching dusk. Mina shivered as the darkness drew closer.
The little imp flattened itself against the rocky ground; the shadow controlling it stifled its hiss.
Alwynne placed a small octagonal box in Mina’s hands and Mina felt warmth spread up her arms. She examined the intricate figures carved into it. Each stroke appeared so precise they seemed to dance around the box. Mina recognized some of the arcane symbols representing life, death and great magic.
“This belongs to your father, Armina.” Alwynne’s blue eyes glinted in the rays of the double moons. She tucked a curl of her fine white hair behind her ear. “It will be yours when the time is right.”
Transfixed by her grandmother’s purposeful gaze, Mina whispered, “What’s in it?”
Alwynne looked up in thought. ”A weapon… and a shield… yet much more. It holds the possibility of great destruction as well as the hope of peace and protection.”
Mina glanced at the small container, then back at Alwynne. “It’s Magic,” she whispered.
Alwynne nodded. “Open it.”
Dreth’s silent anticipation grew sharply as he strained to hear what transpired next.
Kneeling in front of Alwynne, Mina lifted the hinged lid. A warm light broke from beneath it and traveled up to illuminate her face as she raised it higher and higher. There, nestled on cottony black felt, was a medallion. Gold and silver rays spread out around a golden orb; a stylized Sun with a star-like woven chain gleaming with liquid fiery light. The glow began to pulsate along with the beat of her heart.
“The Medallion of Kendrith,” Alwynne said.
Mina’s widening eyes met her grandmother’s.
“Yes, dear, it’s your grandfather’s medallion.” Alwynne sat back in her chair with a sigh and wiped a tear from her eye. “He gave his life to make it. It’s filled with his essence, the depth of his soul.”
“A Strelitz Stone, they really do exist!” This shocked Mina, a sorcerer could give no greater sacrifice. This was magic of the highest order.
“Yes, YES.” Dreth could barely contain his excitement. He lifted his staff and struck the surface of the water. It swirled and clouds of mist lifted into the evening air. Then the water darkened and the bush by Alwynne’s step came into view. The imp was urged to lift his head and peer towards the porch. THERE! It was the Medallion! He longed to reach out and grab it from the box, but he could only watch and listen. He studied the girl’s face. “Oh, yes, we’ll meet soon enough,” he thought, “in person, and I can hardly wait!”
“Kendrith’s only instructions were for your father to wear it until all threat of war had ended. Then it was to be hidden until the moon said it was needed again.”
Alwynne placed her soft hand over Mina’s. Her face was strained and drawn. “This was made for you, my dear. Your grandfather, who died before you were born, created it especially for you”
“No, that can’t be.” Mina shook her head and closed the box, covering it with both hands. A thrill swept through her at the thought of having this powerful talisman. It could be the key to her dreams of travel and adventure, but would she be able to control it? “My magical talents are so small. Shouldn’t it pass on to my brother?”
“No, Mina, it’s intended for you. Tyrell is a fine boy, but he has little interest in magic. You are the one who seeks adventure. Now the adventure has found you.”
They looked at each other and, in that moment, Mina felt their hearts touch.
She opened the box again and caressed the medallion lightly with one finger. Warmth flooded through her and heightened her desire to own it. The medallion took on a bluish glow and then receded to a paler light as she took her finger away.
Alwynne’s smile was tinged with sadness. “The magic you possess must suffice, my dear, you just need to work on channeling it correctly. Some mages may possess more natural talent, but you have the combination of talent and pureness to control the power of the essences.”
Mina closed the box and frowned. She traced her fingers over the carved images on its top. “I want to learn, Grandmother, but it’s frustrating.”
“You’re in too much of a hurry. Magic comes only through patience. Remember that. With each failure, each mistake, you learn something.”
The dark shadows of evening had filled the little porch. Alwynne pulled her shawl closer.
“Now hurry, take it to your father, child. He will tell you more of its secrets and help you find a safe place to keep it until it’s needed. Go now; show it only to him and no one else.”
Mina tucked the box into her pocket, not daring to take her hand from it. She hugged Alwynne and hurried down the path toward home.
Neither she nor Alwynne saw the furtive creature scuttling through the darkness behind her, keeping to the edges outside of the path.
She felt a chill descending over the little village of Nementh as evening’s tendrils wrapped about it. Nestled between two mountain ranges, far from the great walled cities where wars were fought and destinies forged, it had always been a safe haven. Only a few villagers were about doing last minute chores before heading in to dinner. Mina passed them quickly, with a growing unease. Tantalizing aromas emanated from each house she passed which only punctuated the thought that their comforting idyllic lives could change in a heartbeat.
The tendrils of a cold breeze brushed Mina’s neck and she twirled around in confusion. A vibration stirred her fingers that gripped the box in her pocket and a warmth radiated from it. Her gaze darted from shadow to shadow and her heart filled with the thrill of fear. She ran.
Once home, she dashed straight to her room. The heels of her boots echoed on the hard wooden floor. Had the house changed? Or had she? An inexplicable shiver crept over her as she realized the world was never really quite what it seemed.
Left outside, the imp cried and paced in frustration. It couldn’t follow her into the light. The shadow possessing it knew this creature was now useless and released its hold. The imp gasped, then gagged, as the dark force disposed of it. Its body steamed and melted into a liquid pool quickly merging with the rocky ground as the shadow faded and disappeared. Dreth stood tall and held his staff up toward the moons in a salute of thanks as he began to plan ways to retrieve the medallion.
Mina tugged open the bottom drawer of her dresser and hid the box under a pile of clothing in the back. She’d have to wait until after dinner, when everyone had gone to bed, to show it to Papa. She looked at her dresser again and gnawed on her bottom lip. The mirror above the dresser caught her eye and she absently pushed her auburn hair behind her ear. She felt uneasy about her hiding place and removed the box from the drawer, looked around the room, then tucked it behind the dresser instead. Finally satisfied it was in a safe spot, she went to help her mother prepare the evening meal.