Trova il tuo prossimo libro preferito

Abbonati oggi e leggi gratis per 30 giorni
A Sprinkling of Thought Dust

A Sprinkling of Thought Dust

Leggi anteprima

A Sprinkling of Thought Dust

Lunghezza:
254 pagine
3 ore
Pubblicato:
Dec 26, 2010
ISBN:
9781458056863
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Electrum was looking forward to a quiet retirement. Then the prince fell in love with a common merchant girl from another realm. The captain of the guard wanted to stop all commerce, and the Silver Gate to the Tween World was showing signs of wear. Electrum found himself in the middle of the conflicts, and might face being exiled. This wasn’t the way he had pictured his last year of employment.

Pubblicato:
Dec 26, 2010
ISBN:
9781458056863
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Welcome to our middle-grade fantasy stories. Our writing started with the picture of a gnome house. The tale grew into The World Beyond the Door. Other books followed. Here you will find those adventures. Travel across time, visit magical worlds, and step into cyber realms. Join the adventure. Let the story unfold.

Correlato a A Sprinkling of Thought Dust

Libri correlati

Anteprima del libro

A Sprinkling of Thought Dust - Steven Larson

A Sprinkling of Thought Dust

Steven and Margaret Larson

Published by Margaret Larson at Smashwords

Copyright 2010 by Steven and Margaret Larson

Cover Art copyright 2010 by Betty Rieffer

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be resold. Thank you for respecting the work of the authors.

For the three generations of Clavens in our family. For the one who blessed us and ran ahead. For the one who did the work we could not do. For the one who encouraged.

And especially for the author of us all who, when His work in us is finished and all life’s fantasies are set aside, will call us to Himself.

CONTENTS

1 – A Meeting in the Mist

2 – Treetop Conference

3 – Before the Streetlights

4 – Kittens in the Culvert

5 – Not a Creature was Stirring

6 – Discovered

7 – Branching out Bungalows

8 – Shelters and Star Globes

9 – What’s in the Box

10 – Facing the Fear

11 – Early Passage

12 – Mirta’s Woven Dreams

13 – Mrs. Hayworth

14 – Cutting Classes

15 – Rendezvous

16 – Mirta’s Counsel

17 – Max Attack

18 – Under the Roots

19 – Driftwood

20 – Monarch Moment

21 – Missing Threads

22 – Flight to the Woods

23 – Tiny Trouble

24 – Silverthorn’s Scheme

25 – Parental Persuasion

26 – Working for Nothing

27 – Amber Morning

28 – A Change of Plans

29 – Golden Thoughts

30 – The Salamander

31 – Waiting for Trevor

32 – An Unenchanting Solution

33 – From a Merchant’s Point of View

34 – Simon’s Warning

35 – Ragnar’s Choice

36 – Defensive Thoughts

37 – Late Shipment

38 – Back Through the Tunnel

39 – Under the Gate

40 – Thoughts in a Jar

41 – Scattered Memories

42 – Tight Schedule

43 – Flight to the Gate

44 – Illusions in the Garden

45 – Through the Underworld

46 – Night of the Eclipse

47 – The Dragonfly

A MEETING IN THE MIST

Late November in the Silver Realm

Electrum hurried as fast as his short legs and the bulky robe allowed. Swirling mist blurred the faces of passing sprites. As he neared the harbor the air thickened into a wet, gray murk.

He closed his hand into a fist, and the King’s heavy signet ring pressed into his finger. Simon had insisted he take the ring as a symbol of authority. His robe was meant to provide a look of dignity, but it sagged and dripped with moisture. Angry sounds floated toward him, and he recognized his friend Ragnar’s voice.

I don’t care anything about your ancient traditions or the precious reed mats that have graced the palace floors for time out of mind.

Even a ship captain like yourself should be able to understand the need for the royal seal. The second voice added to the chill in the air.

Electrum’s steps slowed as he forced himself to walk out on the pier.

Paper rustled. I have the order, Ragnar said.

Electrum flapped his wings to shake out the moisture. The movement disturbed the airflow, parting the mist.

Ragnar, a pookah even more stout than Electrum, stood with stubby legs apart and fists on his hips. A massive sprite with silver wings and glistening chest plate towered over him. Sterling, Captain of the Guard.

Fog hid their lower bodes. They looked like reeds growing in a murky pond with their dark green skin and brown silky hair. A young sprite held a white glowstone. His trembling hand made the light dance in ripples across their faces. Through the moving mist Electrum caught glimpses of the ship’s figurehead, an enameled salamander.

The King ordered this carpet from the Gold Realm, Ragnar said. It’s been paid for. I’ve been commissioned to deliver it. And neither you nor the Royal Guard have any grounds for interfering with the King’s wishes.

These simple forms are acceptable for your trivial merchandise, Sterling said, but goods ordered by the King require his stationery and seal. We can’t have every barge fly seeking a free ride to the palace claiming they have an order for the King. You know the type.

Barge fly…barge fly… Ragnar spluttered.

Sterling crumpled the paper and let it fall into the fog.

If I let you pass... Sterling shrugged.

Electrum cleared his throat. Perhaps I can help.

Sterling whirled to face him. The light outlined his clenched jaw, and a vein pulsed in his temple. Electrum was glad the eyes were in shadow.

Another pookah. Ah yes, the tutor. And how do you propose to interfere? Do you bring orders from the gatekeepers, or do you simply plan to control me with your thought dust? His hand rested on his belt, caressing the worn hilt of a dagger.

Not at all, sir, Electrum said forcing his eyes away from the dagger. I’ve simply brought the king’s seal. He held up the ring.

Sterling dismissed it with a wave. Rather useless without the document to go with it.

Oh, yes, Electrum said, and fumbled in his robe. He pulled out a damp paper and carefully unfolded it. The ink was smudged from his wet fingers, but it was clearly the King’s document releasing the cargo. He pressed the ring into the wax. With a smile he held out the paper. Sterling snatched it out of his hand.

Ragnar folded his arms across his wide belly. It seems I am fortunate indeed, he said. Not many can claim a ship cargo released by the Captain of the Guard. How nice of you to sign off.

Sterling stuffed the paper into his pocket and glared at Electrum. "You have poisoned the mind of the prince and clouded the King’s thoughts, but you will not stop me from preventing this contaminating trade with the Gold Realm.

Some see it as progress, Ragnar said.

Pookahs, he spat the word. Too fat to fly and always meddling. He strode away, the mist closing around him.

Fat indeed! Electrum mumbled under his breath. I fly just fine without this burdensome robe.

The pier creaked under a heavy boot. A dark form emerged from the fog and the two pookahs stepped back. A powerful sprite wearing the dark colors of a lieutenant leered down at them.

Leave them, Tanner, Sterling’s voice growled from the fog.

Tanner’s face split in a mock grin. Then he slunk after Sterling.

The hornet and his mosquito, Ragnar said. He chuckled and the pleasant sound was welcome. You did well to have Prince Silverthorn serve as a pollywog on the Salamander. He learned the trade well, and he will make a better king for it.

If he hadn’t met Amber, Electrum said, he would have been a much more contented king. Rumors have been rampant in the palace about his flirtation with a gold merchant girl. Sterling is not the only one who objects.

Don’t second guess yourself, my friend. You don’t know what good might come of it.

TREETOP CONFERENCE

December

Gusts of cool wind rocked the top slender branches of the Palace Oak. Electrum lay in a hammock with eyes closed, but he was not asleep. He lay listening to the sound of boots scuffing over the wooden platform’s dry flooring in a repetitive shuffle.

He didn’t bother to open his eyes. Every movement of the pacing prince was familiar, but the sprite’s emotions tugged at the edge of his consciousness intruding on his thoughts.

Electrum wanted to think about a small retirement tree. Something out of the way. Fully furnished. Maybe even a small boat of his own.

The pacing stopped. Silverthorn’s urgent voice severed the pookah's foggy thoughts. The silver is spreading. What am I going to do, Electrum? Look at my wings.

With reluctance, Electrum focused on the sprite. The prince’s wings were the same dark shade of green as his skin but transparent and narrow like a dragonfly.

There’s nothing wrong with them, the pookah answered. Of course they’re not like mine.

With a grunt, he rolled out of the hammock. Reaching up, he retrieved a black hat from a nearby twig. When he put it on, his ears poked through holes in the brim. His wings spread out like a large moth. The underside was the glossy color of wet holly leaves with gold and silver veins. He shrugged and folded them tight against his back, tucking the color inside a dark, v-shaped hump.

The prince reached behind and tugged at his own glimmering wingtip that was outlined in white. You know what I mean. The silver is spreading.

Electrum knew, but the wings weren’t the prince’s real problem. The issue was coming of age. As his tutor, he had thought it a logical part of education to acquaint the prince with commerce. He hadn’t expected him to fall in love with Amber.

Everyone’s wings turn either silver or gold when they come of age, said the pookah. You’re an evening sprite so of course you’re going to turn silver. It’s the way of things, Ralphie.

Stop calling me Ralphie. My name is Silverthorn.

Exactly. Silverthorn. Need I say more?

The prince folded his arms. You’re not going to remind me about my tiresome responsibilities again, are you? His lower arms were covered with swirling brown lines that looked like a tattoo, but were as natural as the silver freckles on his face and the straight brown hair that fell to his collar. They would turn silver too after the wings.

As Grand Pookah, you know it’s my duty to be sure the heir apparent is well educated and aware of his position. That’s you Ralphie. You’re going to inherit the throne, and that comes with obligations.

The prince had to focus on reality and accept that the relationship with Amber was impossible. Once they both matured, they would forever be in different worlds.

Gripping a tree branch, Silverthorn leaned out over the edge. The breeze stirred his hair. Below him a series of platforms were built onto the branches at different levels all the way to the bottom. Lights twinkled and voices drifted up as servants and guardsmen moved about in the tree palace and on the ground far below.

He turned back and strode across the wooden deck to the pookah.

What about Amber? We’ll be forever separated in less than a year. This will be our last summer. By the time the snow flies in the Tween World, she will have turned gold, and I will be silver. What do I care about the throne?

A shiver went up Electrum’s back. Swiveling his ears, he listened for sounds from below. The movement disturbed thought dust that had gathered on his hat, and it spilled over the brim. What wasn’t caught in his hair blew away on the breeze.

Be careful of your words, he cautioned. Sterling is an isolationist. He hates having the gates open. As Captain of the Guard, he has the King’s ear. The halls are peppered with his followers.

No one can hear us up here, Electrum. We’re on the top tier. The winds are too strong tonight for flying without good reason. Sterling is old. He and his soldiers have too much bulk to bounce along these thin branches, and they don’t like the cold air.

Electrum grunted. He didn’t like the cold air either. Not that it was really cold. Not like the Tween World.

He’s not that old, Electrum said, and he’s more agile than you think. There’s nothing wrong with his hearing, and he’s perceptive. Don’t underestimate him.

It’s you that should be careful. You’re spilling thought dust on the wind. Whomever it lands on will know all your thoughts.

Not all of them, Ralphie. The dust isn’t concentrated. Any thoughts picked up will be scattered and too confusing to make any sense.

Silverthorn sank onto the floor and dropped his hands on his knees. He smoothed the cloth where his pants were tucked into his boot tops.

Electrum sighed. Just one more year and he could move into a nice little retirement tree. He was looking forward to picking one out.

Maybe we’d have been better off if the gates were never opened, Silverthorn said.

Now you sound like Sterling. Do you wish you’d never met Amber?

The prince moaned and shook his head. Maybe if I could talk to the gatekeepers. They know how to keep the gates open between the worlds. They might have a solution for Amber and me. How can I meet one?

Only gatekeepers know other gatekeepers, Ralphie. There’s no way to talk to them. Even if you could, they would never reveal anything. It’s the only way to keep the gates secure.

But someone before me must have been discontented with where they found themselves. Suppose the place they seem to be is not the real place they should be?

Huh? Electrum was having difficulty following the conversation.

Maybe I can work toward changing my place.

Certainly you can make some changes, but you have to accept things. You’re a prince, and she’s a merchant. Even if you could overcome the social differences, you can’t overcome the physical barriers. You can’t survive in each other’s world. Your wings would shrivel and burn. Some things just are. You can’t change nature.

But aren’t there ancient tales of creatures morphing into other forms?

All the worlds have their myths. Electrum wasn’t sure he liked where this was leading.

I think some of them are true, Silverthorn said.

Which ones did you have in mind?

Silverthorn grinned. Like a sprite turning into a pookah, he said mischievously.

Electrum grunted. Where do you really think pookahs come from?

From other pookahs?

Electrum frowned. Yes, but I meant originally. What is a pookah?

Silverthorn got up and paced the floor. His voice took on a singsong quality as he recited.

"In great upheaval the land was torn

And from the struggle two worlds were born

Rumbling and thunder

World asunder

All forlorn

Now two realms with different light

One for the morning, one for night

Families apart

Broken hearts

Different twilights

Sprites turn silver in a misty land

Sprites turn gold as the desert sand

Silver wings

Gold wings

Tween World strand

But sprites who were in the Tween World caught

Turned into pookahs, and their homeland sought

Over river hovered

Gates discovered

Gatekeepers taught

Between the worlds the pookahs glide

On Passage River’s flowing tide

Alas,

Only they can pass

And in either world abide

Pookahs can their form conceal

Thus disguising what is real

Cloaking ships

Making trips

With merchants deal

The gatekeepers task - to keep the gates open

About their secrets, little is spoken

Open gates

Accommodates

Unites worlds broken"

Electrum laughed. A fair recital.

Silverthorn bowed. Scrolls in the royal library record the old tales. Simon says there is great treasure in the ancient writings.

Electrum smiled. Simon can be overly dramatic. I sometimes think the office of king’s aide and librarian should not be held by the same person. He takes the responsibilities of Librarian far more seriously than those who held the position before him.

Silverthorn’s eyes glistened. Some tales say that the parents of a pookah can be a silver sprite and a gold sprite.

Electrum’s shrug was nonchalant, but he was wide-awake now.

Silverthorn’s voice was soft. There are some vague passages about an obscure plant. It must be picked fresh and mixed with sprite dust. Then, the sprite in question is sprinkled with the dust and he changes color.

Electrum tried to brush it aside. This was getting too close to parts of his history that were not generally known. I believe you left out some important details.

Like what?

The small matter of a lunar eclipse for one. The kind of sprite dust. Where to get the plant. It’s a vague legend at best. His stomach felt quivery. Your time would be better spent pacifying Sterling than in reading old myths. There are many more worthy scrolls in the archives you could be studying. I’m sure Simon would be thrilled to introduce you to them.

But if it were true. If it could be done. Wouldn’t that sprite’s children be pookahs?

Of course not. That would take a blue moon eclipse.

But it does happen, Silverthorn insisted.

Rarely. You’d be hard pressed to find one in the records.

There was a blue moon eclipse about 60 years ago.

Electrum stiffened. How do you know that?

It’s recorded in the Gold Realm archives.

I see. He felt a trickle of sweat run down his neck. The cold air now felt good on his hot face. Perhaps Sterling was right about not sending you to the Gold Realm.

Your parents weren’t pookahs were they?

There was a long silence. It wasn’t a scarlet secret, but it could make his life more difficult if widely known. Sterling would hate him even more, if that were possible.

Finally he shook his head and cleared his throat. My parents were sprites. My father was a common silver dockworker. My mother was a gold seamstress. He had nothing to lose and no responsibility to anyone.

Is that why you have thought dust instead of cloaking ability?

My gift is rare, but it has nothing to do with my heritage.

Silverthorn leaned forward eagerly. So how does it work?

Thought dust?

No - changing.

Don’t be foolish. Didn’t you hear what I said about my parents? They had nothing to lose. You have everything to lose.

What I don’t want to lose is Amber.

"It would mean abdicating your royal station and relinquishing the palace. You’d forfeit your royal privileges with your best hope being to join the merchant

Hai raggiunto la fine di questa anteprima. Registrati per continuare a leggere!
Pagina 1 di 1

Recensioni

Cosa pensano gli utenti di A Sprinkling of Thought Dust

0
0 valutazioni / 0 Recensioni
Cosa ne pensi?
Valutazione: 0 su 5 stelle

Recensioni dei lettori