Quest for Magic
The Leira Chronicles Book 0
By Martha Carr and Michael Anderle
He sang the notes again but she couldn’t make out what he was saying.
“What the hell was that?” she asked. “Wait, that’s familiar. Do it again.”
He sang it again, holding the last notes.
“Hold on, that’s the theme from Die Hard,” she said, laughing despite what was happening to her. “Best Christmas movie, ever,” Leira and the young elf said in unison.
“Yes, I’ve heard that before,” he said. “Not my first appearance here.”
“The ring?” she asked, the spark of hope she felt dimming. No ring and going crazy, she thought. A pang of loneliness settled in her chest. Next step to going crazy.
“Can you picture it in your mind?” the king asked.
“Child,” the other elf sang, sounding annoyed.
“Keebler,” growled Leira.
“Not a cookie, and we don’t live in trees,” he said. “Those Keeblers are a strange cross between a wood elf and a gnome and I assure you, have nothing to do with Light Elves. Although, neither one of those species has ever made cookies either.”
“How would you know about Keebler…?”
“Picture the ring,” the king interrupted. He took a deep breath and swept his hands, trailing gold light, through the air, making symbols in orange and yellow flame that hung there. The symbols came together and melded together, turning and reshaping themselves until they finally formed into the shape of a box made of light.
The king looked pleased, relieved even. He sang something Leira couldn’t understand, his face close to the glowing box.
The box began to spin faster and faster, starting to move around the perimeter of the room, bathing everything in a rosy glow, filling the space with a high-pitched moaning sound that was almost unbearable to Leira.
She struggled to keep her bearings and felt herself swaying from side to side.
All that she could see was a continuous stream of glowing orange light and inside of the stream was every memory she had of the ring, right up to the day it was lost.
Leira watched, fascinated, remembering all the good times with her mother and the dread as her mother started to get worse, finally giving Leira the ring for safekeeping, just before the orderlies took her away.
The spinning stopped abruptly and the light disappeared. Something small and hard dropped at her feet. Leira looked down and saw, resting against the tip of her sneaker, a platinum band with two sapphires flanking an emerald.
“Oh my God…”, she whispered. It was her mother’s ring.
She bent down slowly, hoping the illusion would last. Tears welled up in her eyes as she picked up the ring and slid it onto her finger, back where it belonged. She wiped away a tear with the back of her hand and blew out the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.
“Not a crier, Berens,” she said, balling her hands into fists. She looked up at the elves, who were waiting patiently for her to let them know if the test was enough to satisfy her.
She held her hand out in front of her and looked at the ring from every angle.
“I can feel it there,” she whispered. “Cold metal.” She pressed the ring into the palm of her other hand and felt the sharp prongs. “I’m not sure I care if I’m crazy or not,” she said softly.
“Good, then let’s be going,” said the younger elf.
“Wait,” said the king. “She has to agree to go. We don’t kidnap anyone.”
“Right, your rules,” said Leira. “I respect that. Where exactly are we going?” she asked, giving in to whatever it was that was happening to her.
“Our world, on the other side. Oriceran, to the east of the Dragon mountain range where the Light Elves reside,” the king replied. “We need you to help us solve a murder.”
“Who was killed?” Leira easily slipped back into detective mode.
“My son,” whispered the king, holding out his hand to Leira.
She hesitated for a moment but curiosity, and a deep desire to help won out. She put her hand in his.
“What the hell,” she said. She felt a warm glow course through her veins. Glowing symbols of every color appeared, crawling up her arm, under the skin.
The kingelf finally let the bat fall to the ground.
As the symbols spread, the portal opened around her, filling her cottage, swallowing up her world, until she found herself surrounded by the dense forest she had glimpsed earlier in the hospital.
“Welcome to Oriceran,” the king smiled. “Come, there isn’t much time. The memories fade with every passing hour.”
“Memories of what?” Leira asked as she tried to keep up, looking all around her in amazement at the new world. The ring picked up the light, flashing on her finger.
“My son’s murder,” the king replied, looking at her. “More will be revealed, but we must hurry.”
“I still don’t know what to call you,” she said to the younger elf, as she moved easily along the uneven ground. All the years of running were paying off.
“I told you my name,” he said, singing it for her again.
“Yeah, I know, theme from Die Hard. Guys in my world are hung up on it, too,” she scrutinized him. “I’m going to call you Bert. You know, like Bert and Ernie. Same high forehead.” She leaped over the biggest tree root she had ever seen, landing easily on the other side. Bert took note of her agility.
“Frankly, on you, it’s more of a seven or eight head,” she said.
“That’s a new one to me, What’s a Bert and Ernie?”
“What’s a Muppet?”
“You know Keebler but missed out on Muppets? Okay, whatever. It’s an oversized doll and someone puts a hand up their…” she said, jabbing the air. “To make them talk.”
Bert rolled his eyes.
“We’re past the Wood Elves kingdom,” said the king as they entered a lush, mossy clearing. “We can use magic again without being detected. Get us home before someone sees the girl.”
“I’m not a Muppet,” Bert grumbled, creating blue symbols made of light in the air.
Unnoticed, a cicada flew along above them, part organic, part machine. The whirring sound it made blending into the forest’s constant background noise.
“Uh oh, I’ve pissed off Bert,” Leira whispered as the ground dissolved around her. The cicada hovered for a moment before circling and turning back to report all that it had seen and heard. Bringing Leira to Oriceran meant breaking a basic rule and others would be interested in knowing more.
FROM MARTHA >>> Snippet #7! I have to admit something – I’m new to the snippet writing and being myself, which is hilarious because in person it’s been pointed out to me that I have no filters. (Anderle has said something about needing a tranq gun… I don’t know. I call it ‘rigorous honesty’) It’s a good thing! But I’m having to grow into letting it all hang out in the Universe. So, for now I’ll go with the highlights of the day – figure out how to be more clever later. Lost part of a leg (think muscle) to cancer, determined to do a 5k in October, almost ran that entire mile this morning. VERY EXCITED about Monday’s book release, wondering if I should do a live feed early in the morning (like 5 am) before a lot of people would notice. Get my feet wet. Till then, here’s a little more from Book Zero, Quest for Magic to keep you going!
Find out more about Martha Carr and her other books at www.marthacarr.com