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Authors: Patricia Bernard

Tags: #Fantasy, #Children

Legend of the Three Moons

BOOK: Legend of the Three Moons
9.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub







The M'dgassy Chronicles: Book 1








Patricia Bernard









Five children held captive in an ever-changing forest, trapped by their own memory loss, face the battle of their lives to overcome evil and reclaim their birthright.

Why do they only have some memories for one day?

What is the purpose of the Three Moons' Song?

Which of their magical gifts will allow the children to conquer the riddles of the imprisoned mermaid, the chained eagle and the frozen dragon?

Adventure and danger abound as Lyla, Celeste, Lem, Chad and Swift face enchanters, murderers, shape thieves, monsters and slave traders to save all that is precious to them.

The Moon Dial

Lightning flashed over Lem's head illuminating the clearing as bright as day. The leaves around the moon dial sparked and sizzled and the smell of burning filled the night air. Lem clung to the rocking pedestal.

Lyla stuck her head out of the cave and shouted over the rumble of thunder, `Come inside! It's dangerous!'

Lem shook his head and the grit-filled wind blew his long fair hair across his face, blinding him. It was just like Lyla to tell him what to do. But he wasn't going to do it. This time he would do what he wanted to do. `I don't care! I want to see it properly this time!'

She sprinted across the clearing and tried to pry him loose but he twisted his legs around the pedestal to stop her. Beside them a tree split in half and a whirlwind of sparks scorched her bare feet and burnt her fur leggings. She brushed the sparks away and yelled into his stubborn face. `What difference does it make? You won't remember it tomorrow! None of us will!'

Lem knew she was right but he didn't care.

She tried to move him again but when he chose to be, he could be as stubborn as the wild donkeys they'd chased around the meadow that morning. Not only that, but of late, for no reason Lyla could understand, Lem had started questioning her leadership. Which was stupid because she was the eldest.

She tried one last time to get him to change his mind, but when a vicious gust of wind blew ice into her face, she gave up and ran back to the cave. As she crawled under its ox hide curtain, Swift blocked her way.

`Why can't Chad and I go outside to see the eclipse?'

`Because the storm could kill you,' she snapped.

Swift was Lem and Lyla's younger brother. Or so they thought because he looked so much like them. In fact, apart from their different hair colour, the three of them looked like peas in a spiral-pea pod. And everything Lyla or Lem did, Swift tried to do. Although this wasn't always possible as he was small for his age, which, they'd all guessed to be about twelve summers.

Blonde-headed Celeste was about fifteen summers old, the same as Lyla, but they looked nothing alike. Lem was about fourteen summers; and Chad, who looked so like Celeste that he had to be her brother, was about thirteen.

But with only a twenty-four-hour memory for so many things in their lives, it was impossible for the five children to know anything for sure.

At first they hadn't realised they forgot things every night. Why would they? They woke each morning to all their familiar things, like their boxes of books and furniture, their clothes, weapons and the five small named paintings of themselves. They loved to talk about all the things they had learnt from their books and the fabulous stories they contained. They knew which books to use to perfect new sword, spear or bow skills; or what foods that they could eat or not eat.

But each day on leaving their cave, they rediscovered their world anew - from the clearing and its moon dial, to the Forest and river beyond, as if for the first time.

They fell asleep every night with the fabulous tales from their books mingling with their own adventures, only to wake again with no memory of anything they had done away from their cave.

It was only after Celeste discovered the diary amongst the stacks of books and decided to write in it every evening, that they realised they had no recall of what they had done the day before.

Her diary was how they knew that although Swift was the smallest but that didn't stop him being daring and bold. They knew before they ventured out for the day that he would climb the highest trees, jump off the highest cliffs or swim across the river three times just to prove he could do anything they could do.

Celeste's diary and her neatly-drawn maps revealed other startling facts, such as how some things didn't always stay where they should. A peach orchard one day was a field of daisies the next; or a swimming hole became a small grassy hill.

Without Celeste's diary they wouldn't have known whether, if they brought home a meadow pony or a long-haired lemur, they would know on waking why there was a pony or lemur tied to the moon dial outside their cave. After they tried it once and had no idea why a pony was tethered in the clearing, until they read Celeste's dairy, they made sure they always spent every night in the cave.

Celeste had written:

Everything changes except our cave, the clearing, the moon dial, the river and the three moon eclipses.

From then on they swam in the pools and picked the fruit on the day they discovered them in case they never found them again.

Her diary told them the eclipses happened three times a year. And that with each eclipse came a horrific storm that battered and thrashed the trees, stripped the fields, caused the river to flood and the wolves that lived outside the Forest to howl like demented spirits.

Eclipses were when the Forest animals shivered in their burrows and the children huddled together in their cave, singing songs that Lem made up or listening to stories Celeste made up, while outside the lightning slashed at the sky, the thunder crashed and smashed overhead and enormous boulders fell from mountains that they hadn't remembered were there.

But not tonight! Tonight Lem wanted to sit on the moon dial and watch the eclipse while the screeching storm threw broken branches and hailstones at him.

Lyla pushed a bowl of water out into the clearing so they could watch the merging of the three moons from the safety of the cave. Mirrored on the bowl's surface the large golden-rimmed moon slipped behind the silver-circled moon and the silver-circled moon slid behind the smaller pink moon forming a large three-coloured disc that shone down on Lem turning him into a silver statue.

`Look!' gasped Celeste. `There's a blood mark on the pink moon. Bad things are going to happen!'

`Bad things are already happening!' shouted Swift as a large branch slapped against the ox skin curtain tearing a hole in it.

Swift peeked through the hole and saw a jagged line of lightning rip open the sky and light up Lem like a giant glimmering glow-worm. Then the moons slid apart and the storm was over.

Lyla yanked the ox-hide aside and ran to her brother. `Lem. Speak. What did you see? What happened?'

Lem pushed his hail-covered hair out of his startled eyes. `The three moons spoke to me Lyla, and then they sang me a moon song.'

The Three Moons' Song

Huddled around the cave's fire the four listened while Lem told them everything the moons had told him.

`They said that the Sender of Storms, who is also called the High Enchanter, is our enemy. He is the reason why we have to live in this Forest with only a 24-hour memory.'

Chad looked surpised.`We have an enemy?'

`Yes,' Lem said. `To find out more we have to break the moon dial. The three moons sang me a song.'

`Sing it,' said Celeste, her pen poised.

Lem closed his eyes and sang:

`Three moons to save three Princesses born,

Five journeys to save a land that's torn,

One journey to find the dragon mocked,

One journey to find the merwoman locked,

One journey to find the poisoned tree,

One journey to set a chained eagle free,

Five journeymen to find the cage that swings,

Five journeys to free five Queens and Kings.'

When he'd finished they stared blankly at him so he added, `I think everything will make more sense after we do what they've told us to do.'

With Chad and Swift holding up burning sticks to light the clearing and Celeste dragging the broken branches out of their way, Lem and Lyla tried to push over the heavy moon dial. It wouldn't budge until the five of them pushed together.

Finally it toppled over and crashed to the ground where it broke in half. Hidden inside was a jewelled casket with a royal insignia of precious stones embedded in its lid. Lem was handing the casket to Lyla when a wolf howled from the other side of the clearing.

`How did it get into the Forest?' hissed Swift, who was sure he could see hungry, burning eyes watching him from the bushes.

Lyla grabbed his arm. `Quick! Into the cave!'

It was only after the ox-hide curtain was fastened, followed by a grid of woven iron-tree branches tied over the entrance and Celeste and the boys poised behind it with their bows and arrows ready, that Lyla felt comfortable about opening the casket.

Inside was a rolled up parchment. She took it out, unrolled it and read the words written on it.

'Dearest children,

Before you were born your grandparents ruled the Kingdom of M'dgassy. Because of their knowledge of Extreme Magic their subjects were the happiest of the six kingdoms of Ifraa. Unfortunately the Queen and King had no heirs.

Over the years they consulted every magician, sorcerer, enchanter, witch, oracle, fair-spinner, elf-speller, wind-singer, stone-thrower, bone diviner and sand-reader throughout the known world.

No one could help them until the arrival of High Prince Jarrimonte. The prince told the King and Queen of a magical well situated in his far distant kingdom of Acirfa.

The King and Queen and their entourage of 100, travelled 50 days to reach the well where they did as High Prince Jarrimonte had instructed.

Your grandparents had to promise that if they had a child they would give up their knowledge of Extreme Magic and, on the child's 18th birthday, they would arrange a marriage with one of High Prince Jarrimonte's descendants.

No sign came from the well to show that their wish had been granted so they performed the ceremony a second and then a third time before returning to M'dgassy.

That year, at the time the three moons appeared in the M'dgassy sky, the Queen gave birth to three identical daughters. Each was given a jewel to wear so they could be told apart. Princess Elle was given an amethyst, Princess Ona a sapphire, and Princess Hail a pink pearl.

As the princesses grew older their beauty and magical accomplishments became legendary. On their 18th birthday the palace was full of suitors.

Princess Ona chose Prince Atric, a Captain in the King's navy, and Princess Hail chose Prince Tefan, a Prince much accomplished in music.

But Princess Elle refused all suitors, including High Prince Jarrimonte's heir, Prince Yor. The princess preferred to continue her studies of Extreme Magic.

That very night Princess Elle disappeared and even all her sisters' magic could not find her.

Ten years passed and five children - all Princes and Princesses - were born to Ona and Atric, and Hail and Tefan.

When the King and Queen died, the Princesses Ona and Hail were crowned Queens of M'dgassy, and their husbands became King-consorts.

On their 28th birthday a messenger from the Kingdom of Acirfa arrived to say that High Prince Jarrimonte was dead and Prince Yor was now the High Enchanter.

Prince Yor's message was that if they vowed to give up their Extreme Magic, he would free Princess Elle from his father, the High Enchanter, Sender of Storms.

The Queens did not trust Prince Yor but wanted to save their sister so, by the light of a three-moon eclipse, they bestowed a magical gift upon each of their five children. Then they placed the precious children, two of whom could barely walk, in a spell-protected, ever-changing Forest where the High Enchanter could not reach them.

BOOK: Legend of the Three Moons
9.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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