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Fantasy Fiction Excerpt from The Illuminiers by Patricia Arnold


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An excerpt from Ch. 3 of The Illuminiers.

About the book...
This book is a good contemporary reading selection for anyone who likes mythical creatures; some invented, some from legends. There are essentially two stories in this book that combine into one. First, some background and the story of Amberly Wakeland, who moved into a haunted house and found herself caught in the web of a sinister illuminier. The second story is about Morgan Fey Burne who would rather be referred to as Morgan Achron. She follows her own path and with some mysterious objects, she finds Elderwynne's Academy. Eventually, Amberly's and Morgan's paths collide and their lives are drastically changed.

Ever wonder what lies beyond the veil of magic?

Magic is a series of commands upon the energy flowing through a force known as the Framework. While wizards and witches can recite the ancient commands to summon power, Illuminiers can amplify it. The one with the Synergium has limitless power. Markus Burne, an evil Illuminier, seeks the destruction of Elderwynne’s Academy to absorb the Synergium. The betrayal begins with an ancient entity and a deceitful girl with violet hair. Amberly and her mother are new to Locke Lake, and when they move into the notoriously haunted home of Connor Locke, they are easy targets. With promises of salvation, Markus steals the evil from Amberly’s home for a darker purpose.

He disappears with the forbidden magic, leaving destruction in his wake. He leaves his daughter, Morgan behind...

The daughter he traded for supremacy isn't an easy target. Morgan Fay Achron has the power of three and the gift of time. She’s a descendant of Morgan Le Fay with a timepiece, a coin, and a book of nonsensical poetry. Miserable with a stepmother that doesn't want her, she mourns for the father that vanished. Then Arthur Achron arrives. Convincing her to come to Locke Lake, she leaves the only home she’s ever known to seek answers. At H.B. Locke Private School, Morgan spies another student leaving the cafeteria; a girl with purple hair.

Morgan discovers another school far out on the isthmus. With ingenuity and a white lie, she surprises the Illuminiers. They find her dishonesty unwelcome, distrusting her nearly as much as the one person who tried to destroy them. Despite having a lineage that dates back to Merlin and King Arthur, Morgan has to fight to gain the trust of the Illuminiers to use the Framework. Morgan’s friends are there to help her find herself. When the time comes, will Morgan betray the Illuminiers as Markus would have it? Will she stand with her friends against a dark adversary? Swept up in the Synergium, can she resist the lure of the Framework?

This novel features the chronicles of two girls, Amberly and Morgan and how their paths connect.

Recommended for ages 11+, but a great read for all ages!

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Fantasy Fiction Excerpt from The Illuminiers by Patricia Arnold

  1. 1. An Excerpt from The Illuminiers Chapter 3, by Patricia ArnoldChapter Three – The Magical TimepieceAs the dawn crept into the windows, the old alarm went off. The ringing scared Morgan outof bed, causing her to panic. She hit the button to silence the noise and looked out the window.The blue sky and sunshine promised a beautiful fall day. Morgan switched on a light anddressed. She put on the outfit she placed on top of her dresser the night before. She chose alightweight navy blue sweater with a gray blouse underneath combined with a pair of plainlooking jeans. She wanted to look as ordinary as she could for her first day at school so that shecould blend into the background. As she struggled with her hair and brushed her teeth, Morganwondered how her first day at school would play out. She began to feel tense all of the sudden,uncertain of herself.Something’s happening today, I can feel it.Like any young girl, she worried about what others would think of her grandfather walkingher into school. He appeared disheveled lately. He didn’t dress as he had on the day that she methim. His thick unruly white hair was often tucked under a plaid fall cap, and his face wasunshaven. He had the look of a man with other things on his mind, and rightfully so. Althoughshe knew of his antiques business, he seemed content with keeping the store closed.In addition, Morgan wasn’t looking forward to the typical nosey questions from the otherstudents. If asked, she didn’t have a clue in regard to what to say about her parents. She picturedherself telling them that she was a modern day Cinderella in need of a fairy godmother. Thatwould be a rebellious response, but there was no other witty way to put her situation into words.She grabbed her bag and pulled out the tin box that she had taken from her room on PineStreet. It was just a regular square tin box that had once contained candies, but to Morgan, it wassomething special. She opened the box and unfolded a slip of paper inside. Morgan reviewed thenote, which served as the box’s contents list.(1) One fifty cent piece(1) One gold pocket watch(1) One book of poetryThe first item came from her father’s jacket, and the second item was handed to her by theman himself. It clearly didn’t work. The third item was one of the most confusing items on thelist. Morgan’s father always carried the small book with him before he disappeared. Just beforethe police arrived, she found it out on front porch tucked inside a flower pot. She assumed that ithad probably fallen out of his coat and landed there by accident. After all, he had no cause to
  2. 2. leave it there. As soon as she spotted it, Morgan picked up the small book and took it to her roomto look over without having to deal with Pamela’s prying eyes.When Morgan opened it, it had a picture of her at seven and an inscription on the first page:To Morgan, my favorite apprentice. It was written in her father’s choppy handwriting. The restof the pages confused her. Each page was filled with ridiculously horrible poetry. The title of thepoetry collection was Practicality Poems by Giles Elderwynne.The poems made little sense, and the odd way that they were written seemed unbecoming ofa man with such a fancy name. Some of the verses were long, and some were short. Many ofthem didn’t even rhyme. The first poem was unusual, the title of it an abbreviation.E.A.E.Tow entery knocking twiced,Sayed yourse named oncely, twicely, thricely.Sayed ite fasten, been precisely.Morgan didn’t tell anyone about the book of poems. She placed it in the tin box with thewatch and the coin. She kept it hidden in her backpack, only looking at the contents when shewas certain that she was alone. She regarded the three items as pieces to a puzzle she was meantto solve. The solution was out there, she just had to find it.Morgan quickly finished dressing. She collected the tin box and tucked it back into her bag.She walked out into the hallway and made her way to the kitchen. Her grandfather sat at the oldkitchen table sipping his coffee. He was wearing a black suit, and his hair was neatly combed. Heoffered Morgan a cup of coffee, and she accepted. Coffee was never an option at her house.Apparently, she was in for an unconventional family life with her grandfather. He smiled andraised his cup.“Are you ready for your new school?” He asked. Morgan was surprised by his broad smile.Apparently, he was excited about the occasion. She felt guilty for thinking he was anembarrassment in any way.“I guess.” Morgan said uncertainly.“You guess? You’re an Achron. There’s a whole year of knowledge waiting for you.”Morgan couldn’t resist smiling a little at his expression. Her grandfather said the words as if shewas in for an adventure. He made her first day seem so easy!“This is all new to me, and I still don’t know much about being an Achron.” She didn’twant to tell him that she was feeling unsure of herself, but he guessed nonetheless. He waggedhis finger and smiled.“You’re Margaux’s girl and you are an Achron more than a Burne and that meanssomething.” Morgan smiled. She liked the idea of being an Achron rather than a Burne.“How can I be more of an Achron than a Burne, Arthur? Wouldn’t I be fifty percent ofeach?” Morgan asked teasingly. Morgan enjoyed calling him Arthur instead of grandfathersometimes. Naturally, like everything else she did, he found it amusing.“Ah, percentages! Never mind them when it comes to Achron blood. The Achron genes arestrong and true!” He proclaimed proudly. Morgan looked away smiling. She loved the way heliked to joke with her. As Morgan got into her Arthur’s aging Cadillac, her tensions began toincrease. As they travelled down the road, they passed forests and an occasional farm house.There were graceful horses grazing in the fields, cows aplenty and an occasional alpaca. It wasfar different than the suburbs she was used to.
  3. 3. The leaves were turning a beautiful gold, red and russet. The sunshine relaxed Morgan, andher grandfather reminded her to work hard on her studies. He promised her a delicious pot roastdinner when she returned to celebrate the conclusion of her first day. Morgan smiled at Arthur,and as always, he smiled back. She was thankful for the family she had left, and the old houseshe would return to. As they approached the middle school, Arthur told her that he himself hadonce been a student there.Morgan honestly didn’t know what to make of the old red brick building. She had neverattended such an old relic of a school. The old fashioned architecture of the school made herwonder why a modern school hadn’t replaced it years ago. Only a building steeped in traditionand history could escape the trappings of the modern world. She began to worry about thestrictness of such an establishment so submerged in the private school tradition.Will I have to wear a school uniform?Morgan didn’t recall her grandfather mentioning anything about a uniform.The front of the school read, H.B. Locke Middle School. After Arthur parked the car in aparking space and turned off the engine, he got out and led the way to the door. Morgan rushedto catch up, surprised that she was having a hard time keeping pace with the older gentlemen. Inthe autumn sunlight, he seemed very hale and alert. His white hair had a bit of gray in it, and hehad the look of an intellectual always ready to impart some kind of wisdom.Morgan was learning that Arthur Achron was no one to underestimate. He was more thanstrong enough to walk his granddaughter to the principal’s office without breaking a sweat. Laterin life, she was given his secret to longevity, but as she walked into the H.B. Locke MiddleSchool for the first time, she thought her grandfather was sort of immortal.It was if he was gradually getting younger.They passed the principal’s office and walked further down the main hallway. Morganfollowed her grandfather as he turned right down a narrow corridor. At the end of the passagewas an unlabeled red door that appeared to be more of an entrance to a closet rather than anoffice. He knocked twice on the old red door. They entered after hearing the voice of a womaninvite them both inside.Morgan found herself in a rather large office that seemed to be frozen in a past. The wallcolors, décor and the furnishings reminded Morgan of an old snapshot found in a magazine fromthe fifties. A gray haired woman sat behind the desk, her hair swept up into a simple pony tailand twisted into a bun. She wore a white blouse and gray pearls around her neck. When she roseto greet them, Morgan noticed that she wore a perfectly pressed black and white pinstriped skirt.Her smile was kind.“Arthur Achron, how lovely to see you again!” Her attention turned to Morgan. “And this isyour granddaughter?” When he nodded, she looked at Morgan’s face. She smiled faintly.Morgan could smell the scent of verbena all around.She reached out her hand to Morgan, who shook it politely. Arthur nodded his head andsmiled.“Seeing you is always a pleasure, Mrs. Patterson.” He directed his attention to hisgranddaughter.“Morgan, this is Mrs. Ivy Patterson, she has been in charge of H.B. Locke for quite sometime, and lucky we are to have her.”“Still trying to make a good impression, Mr. Achron? Well, you’ve already accomplishedthat task by donating to the school library fund. Sit down, both of you, sit down!”
  4. 4. Morgan smiled at Mrs. Patterson. As Mrs. Patterson began to talk to Morgan’s grandfather,she noticed that she had many pictures on the walls of her family and pets in gilded frames. Thesound of their voices faded into the background of the room as Morgan glanced at the walls andthe items all around her. Ivy had a large shelf of leather bound books that interested her greatly.She didn’t recognize anything that she had ever read before. Just when she began to read all thetitles on the spines, Mrs. Patterson told Morgan that it was time for her to meet the otherstudents.“She’s observant isn’t she, Arthur?” Mrs. Patterson remarked.“Yes, she is just as observant as Marguax ever was.” Arthur said.“Morgan, we were all sorry to hear about your parents. Rest assured, we’ll take good care ofyou. Not to mention the fact that you couldn’t ask for a better grandfather.” Mrs. Patterson saidkindly.“Thank you for saying so, Mrs. Patterson.” Arthur said with a smile.Her grandfather hugged Morgan goodbye and walked out the door with a look ofcontentment on his face. He then got back into his Cadillac so that he could meet his client. Afterthe meeting, he would go home and begin cooking the pot roast he would share with Morganwhen she arrived home from school.Morgan followed Mrs. Patterson to her first class, which happened to be English. Sheenjoyed writing, but she disliked the study of grammar, finding it more of a natural instinct ratherthan a method. Her English teacher introduced herself as Mr. Hood, and then asked Morgan tointroduce herself to the class. She looked at the unfamiliar faces and introduced herselfhesitantly. To her surprise, the students smiled and bid her welcome. As she made her way to anempty desk in the back, she was quite pleased with the response.Morgan was surprised at how relaxed she felt at the rural school. Even though it was an oldbuilding compared to the posh school she once knew, H.B. Locke Middle School seemedfamiliar and she was soon feeling comfortable. When Mr. Hood squeezed his bulk between thedesks to offer Morgan her textbook, she smiled a satisfied smile. She felt her anxiety release itsgrip from her mind.Things are going better than I thought!Before she knew it, she was following Mr. Hood’s lecture with some interest. He usedexamples that were interesting and lively. Unlike her previous English teacher’s lectures, shedidn’t have to fight to stay awake when he talked about pronouns and adjectives. The in-classassignment that he gave was for each student to write about a favorite memory.“It can be about a vacation, a day when you had fun or anything else you can think of. Iwant you to try to fill your essay with lots of adjectives.” He said, pushing his glasses back onthe bridge of his nose.Morgan wrote for about a half hour about the time that her parents took her to the zoo. Thehappy memories of her mother pointing out the tiger seemed to write itself into an essay. Lost inher memories, Morgan barely noticed how fast time went by. Soon it was time for lunch.Morgan followed the herd to the cafeteria, which smelled strongly of a variety of foods oldand new. As she took her tray to a table and sat down, she noticed something peculiar. Theredidn’t seem to be any major cliques at H.B. Locke, just friendly conversation. She seemed to besurrounded by rural kids who didn’t seem concerned with hairstyles, clothes and status. Morganfelt strangely out of place. Her plainest clothes seemed to stand out amidst the down-to-earthgroup. Surprisingly, nobody pointed out the differences between her and them.
  5. 5. Morgan ate her mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. She was surprised that theytasted as good as they did. It didn’t seem to fit with the outdated school cafeteria image. She wasabout to bite into her blonde brownie when she spied a girl leaving the school.She watched a dark-haired girl sneak out of the cafeteria through a narrow glass door in thecorner to the left. Like Morgan, she stood out. She wore a plaid purple and black skirt with longblack leggings. A black hoodie covered a black shirt. Her black tresses were twisted into a pairof unusual twists, which seemed to be staying together by sheer will. Her bangs were cut at anangle and the edges were dyed purple. She could tell that the girl she was watching had naturallydark hair, but the purple was clearly permanent. Morgan had seen girls with purple dyed hairbefore, but the twists? They were something different entirely.As the girl slid out the door, she looked around as if sensing somebody watching her.Morgan looked down at her food hoping that the girl didn’t notice her watching. When shelooked up, she saw the glass door gently close. Despite the repainted and warped doors in therest of the building, the glass door was barely discernible, seamlessly blending in with the rest ofthe window panes.Morgan had an impulsive idea. She decided to slip out the crystalline glass door to followthe unusual girl. She knew it was in terrible form to leave the school grounds on the first day, butshe couldn’t help herself. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she was meant to satisfy hercuriosity about the girl’s actions. She summoned the courage to act.That’s right, go. No one will notice.Morgan grabbed her bag, picked up her tray, and dumped its contents quickly into the trash.After placing the tray with the other used ones, she looked around briefly and covertly made herway to the door. She held out her hands and felt the smooth glass door give slightly. She pushedthe door with both of her hands and found that it gave easily and quietly.She was outside and the door closed behind her, the seams disappearing as if the glass doorwas nothing but an illusion. The air was fresh with the smell of pine trees and the leaves of fall.She glanced back at the kids in the cafeteria within the glass. She was amazed how they seemedlike a school of fish swimming together, without a worry or concern. They were fixated onkeeping the status quo at H.B. Locke. Their entire goal was to be a student body that kept thingspleasant.She sensed that it couldn’t be the whole story.After seeing a glimpse of the girl’s plaid skirt beyond the branches of the cedar trees,Morgan pulled her bag higher on her shoulder and followed her into the trees as silently aspossible. She was relieved to find a path that led further into the trees, so it wouldn’t be as if shehad wandered into the woods without a plan to find her way back. She knew that people got lostwhen they didn’t have a path to follow, and they had a way of never being found again. Shepromised herself that she would only follow the girl for a little while, just long enough for her tosee what she was doing and then she would sneak back into the cafeteria. Sneaking out hadproved easy, so sneaking in wouldn’t be a problem.Morgan heard the footsteps of the girl with the purple highlights as she trudged down thetrail. She kept a safe distance from her to avoid alerting her that she had a follower. As Morganmade her way down the winding path, she was haunted by the silence of the woods. She foundthat the trail suddenly wound around the shores of Locke Lake, a large inland lake that hergrandfather pointed out when he was showing her around. As the waves gently moved towardsthe shore, Morgan gazed at the water as groups of the tiniest of fishes swam in the cool shallowdepths. Time paused as she lost herself in the beautiful play of light and water.
  6. 6. Her daydreaming had accomplished the impossible once more, and something was alertedthat the girl with the strange gift was near.Suddenly, she heard the lyrical sound of laughter coming from the trees.“Is someone there?” She called out. Morgan was surprised at how flat and toneless her voicesounded and how unwelcome she felt. No one answered her question, and she could only hopethat she hadn’t given herself away. She felt self-conscious, as if someone who didn’t like her waswatching her from the thicket.Is the dark-haired girl watching me?Almost in reply to her thoughts, she heard the familiar steps of the girl she followed. Sheforgot the beauty of the lake and quickened her pace. The path wove in and around the trees bythe lake and sometimes almost into the water. She navigated the corners of the trail around thelake where aquatic plants grew from sand, moss and water amidst tiny leaves that spun about inthe cool water.The trees loomed over her like guards as the sunlight filtered through the maple leaves andpine needles. As she walked, she couldn’t help but notice the contrast between the radiance ofthe sunlight glinting off the lake and the shadows deep in the forest. There was a line dividinglight and shade, and neither gave any ground.The pines became thicker as she moved away from the water and further into the forest. Shestopped for a moment when she heard the sounds of whispering high up in the trees to the left ofher. Her heart beating, Morgan stood still on the path, listening to the shifting noises around her.She began to doubt her actions and decided to turn back. She thought of the girl she wasfollowing.Why is she walking around in the woods?She began to run, following the path as it moved around another tree and back towards thewater’s edge. She saw the blur of the purple and black of the girls skirt about fifty yards ahead ofher. The girl suddenly paused on a narrow wooden bridge leading to another land mass that wasdisconnected from the shore. When she heard the sound of the girl’s footsteps cease, she duckedto the ground and peered through the tall grass. The girl with the purple hair looked around inevery direction, clearly alerted to something out of the ordinary. Morgan knew at once that thegirl was aware that she was being followed. She began to panic when the girl began to reversedirection.Morgan didn’t know how she would explain herself.She held her breath for a few tense when she heard the footsteps close in on her hidingplace. Just when she was a planning an excuse for her presence there, the footsteps movedquickly away. She heard the hollow sound of footfalls coming from the bridge, and she exhaledin relief. She dusted the sand from her clothes and was up on her feet in time to witness the girlracing towards the island.Morgan continued forward cautiously until the divide between her and the girl widened. Asshe approached the bridge, she was startled by a bird landing on one of the cattails in the marshyarea of the lake. To her amazement, the bridge itself was beginning to fade in the pale sunlight.Startled, she stepped forward to see if the bridge was an illusion. Before it could fade completelyfrom her view, she put her hand on the rail.Instantly, the bridge returned in realistic detail. She took a deep breath and walked across thewooden boards as quietly as possible. Once on the other side, she looked behind her to find thatthe bridge had completely disappeared. She bent over, picked up some sand and tossed it in thedirection of the bridge. The sand found nothing but the water.
  7. 7. “It’s too late to turn back now unless I swim to the other side.” Morgan said to herself. Shefound herself on a small island about fifty feet from the long isthmus that had led her there. Shecould see what appeared to be an old brick building beyond a line of trees. She bent over as shewalked, not wanting to be seen. She didn’t want to be discovered when it seemed she wasclosing in on the answers she was looking for.As she walked past the trees, she could see that the brick building was older than H.B.Locke. It was two stories high, and she could see indications of previous repairs. Some of therepairs seemed recent, yet there was nothing about the building that looked anything butfunctional.The structure reminded her of a very old manufacturing building that had been convertedinto storage, though she couldn’t imagine how anyone could transport anything there easily. Thedoor to the building seemed ill-suited to fit anything through. Most of the windows were coveredwith plywood. It appeared abandoned, and the stillness around reinforced the lonely feel of theisland. Morgan was certain that the girl with the purple hair had walked towards the building,and probably went inside.But how did she get in? She wondered.Morgan walked forward and touched the brick wall next to the door with her hand. Thebrick became impossibly pliable under her palm, and she pulled away in surprise. She could seewaves of heat coming from the building. She backed up.Suddenly, Morgan heard a loud ticking noise coming from her backpack. Startled, she felldown and landed on her behind, turning her ankle in the process.“Uh!” She exclaimed, rubbing her ankle in pain.Meanwhile, the ticking continued, and the sound increased in intensity. It was pulsing in herears and giving her a headache. The sound didn’t mix well with the pain coming from her ankle.She pulled off her backpack and threw it to the ground in frustration. Suddenly, Morgan’sattention was drawn by the sound of an electrical charge near the area she previously touched.She watched as something appeared on the brick surface. A polished brass plaque glimmered inthe sunlight. She read the engraved words aloud.“Elderwynne’s Academy.”It was too incredible to believe. Her grandfather said nothing of another school concealed onan island in Locke Lake. Morgan looked around fearfully, but all was silent. She jumped at theslightest movement among the ferns. She hoped the source of the noise may be the movementsof a squirrel or rabbit. She began to feel that she needed to seek a safe haven. Frightened,Morgan was unable to swallow. Her mouth was so dry she could barely stand it. She wished thatshe had never followed the girl. Her quest for knowledge was quickly turning into a foolishgame.Without warning, the ticking resumed, and it became clear to Morgan that the right actionwas needed. Until she could put the clues together, the signs would resume. Her backpack waspulsating. She grabbed it and stood up. She heard the sound of heavier metal clanking against thetin. Remembering the tin box with her father’s things, she pulled it out of the bag.At first it felt like a living thing was banging back and forth inside. The box nearly fell outof her hand. Eventually, the noise began to slow to a stop. She gingerly opened the lid of the tinbox and spilled the contents on the ground. The watch rolled out and commenced its ticking. Sheleaned down and touched it gently, feeling the smallest jolt in her fingertips. The sensationreminded her of how it felt when she placed her index finger between two magnets.
  8. 8. Morgan picked up the timepiece and looked at it, fascinated by its rapidly changingqualities. She opened the cover to find that the hands were spinning. She felt compelled to turn itover. She heard the tiniest scraping noise as a message was engraved on the back of the pocketwatch as if by an invisible hand.Introduce Yourself and Enter, Apprentice Illuminier.While these occurrences would be shocking to most to the point of running away screaming,Morgan knew it was all part of fate. She was startled, but at her very core she felt a familiarity.She was certain that similar events had happened to others who carried the timepiece.“I know this place.” She said, under her breath. Morgan looked at the building and madeanother willful decision. Even though she didn’t have permission, she was going in the building.She heard the slight voice of her mother.The answers you’re looking for are inside if you remember who you are.She stood as straight as she could. She smoothed down her hair and brushed the dirt fromher clothing. She tried to follow the directions on the timepiece. Nothing about the situation fitwithin the usual rules of the world, so she decided to try unusual solutions.“My name is Morgan Fay Burne.” She said to the silence around her.Nothing happened, but the sound of faint whispers coming from the direction of the forestmade Morgan look around anxiously. She saw a current of air moving through the ferns, but shesaw nothing.Someone is here.The soft murmurs reminded her of the sounds of pampas grass as it moved in the wind or thesound of a breeze flowing through the silvery birch leaves on a summer day. Although the voiceswere mildly alarming, she didn’t feel threatened immediately. The sounds were elemental innature.Morgan tried to calm her fears, finding it better not to draw needless attention.Suddenly, she heard the sound of branches cracking. Something else was moving throughthe foliage observing her actions. Thinking it was just an animal, she took comfort that it waslow to the ground. A creature small in size stalking her was infinitely better than somethinglarge.Still, Morgan knew she had to think fast.With her hands shaking, she put the watch in her pocket and picked up the silver coin andplaced it in the tin box. When her eyes rested on the small poetry book, she was reminded of thefirst poem. She picked it up and dusted off the dirt. Morgan opened the scuffed leather cover.She focused on the poem which once appeared to be nonsense. However, within the shadow ofthe building, certain letters in the verse stood out while the other characters receded, revealing amessage.To enter knock twice,Say your name once, twice, thrice.Say it fast, be precise.When she pulled the book out of shadows and into the sunlight, the words appeared asbefore. Morgan came to the conclusion that the building held mysterious powers over the itemsin the tin. To confirm her theory, she walked back towards the woods again. When she got backto the path into the woods, the poem and the watch appeared as ordinary as before. She decidedto investigate further.
  9. 9. Even though Morgan was shaking just a little, she tried to focus. She walked back to thebuilding and held the poetry book in the other hand, meditating on its message. Everythingseemed to move around her but she inhaled and didn’t let anything distract her. She focused onthe sounds around her, specifically on the sounds of the forest. She began to hear faint, persistentvoices telling her what to do. They didn’t sound like her mother.She meditated on the moments between time that were hers for the taking. Just when itseemed she would linger in this state, she opened her eyes.“Let’s see.” Morgan went to the door, and knocked twice and stood back. She repeated hername three times rapidly in a clear voice and waited. A minute went by and the silencecontinued. Morgan shrugged and began to pack the tin into her backpack. She knew she hadbetter walk fast to make it to her next class.Morgan heard a clear, feminine whisper from the forest. The voice echoed around her.Your real name, real name, Arthur’s name…She spun around, peering into the woods. Once again, there was nothing out of the ordinary.She thought about what her grandfather said to her that morning.More Achron than Burne.It seemed strange, but she decided to follow the voice’s advice. She repeated the steps asbefore, but this time she said, “Morgan Fay Achron, Morgan Fay Achron, Morgan FayAchron…”Suddenly, she heard a vibration coming from the door. Dust and pebbles spun around in theair as it began to open. The mysteries of a long corridor awaited her. Morgan turned to look atthe path she had traveled, and could travel again. She could easily walk back to the cafeteria torejoin the school of fish, far from the corridor and its dangers.She also knew that everything would change if she walked in.Instead of listening to the practical, safe Morgan, she listened to the voices that told her togo onward. As Morgan entered the lantern lit hallway, she heard the door close behind her. Withthe irreversible decision made, a chain reaction began in the forest. Whimsical laughter echoedthroughout the woods and the wind victoriously whipped the brown leaves from the branches ofthe trees. Voices united in one whisper glided through the leaves and grass. The sounds of joycirculated everywhere, increasing in pitch to that of a clarion.Tell the others that an Achron has returned to Elderwynne’s…The waters of Locke Lake rippled more than usual, and the waves slapped the shoreforcefully. However, not everyone had good intentions. One of the forest’s more deviousresidents laughed darkly.“Tell the master that the trap is set…”If you enjoyed this excerpt, consider ordering the rest of the story.Digital: