Authors: Richard S. Tuttle
Tags: #Fantasy, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Young Adult
Book 2 of Sword of Heavens
Richard S. Tuttle
Copyright © 2002 by Richard S. Tuttle.
All rights reserved.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious.
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
Five Collapse Children have been gathered by Garth and Kalina, who were discovered to be Alex and Jenneva Tork. Two of the Collapse Children are the Children of the Ancient Prophecy, but their identity is not yet clear. Calling themselves the Alcea Rangers, the group has managed to restore the Sapphire of the Fairies to the Sword of Heavens. Clear skies have replaced the Darkness over the area once known as Cordonia, but with the sunshine comes the pinpointing of their location to the forces of evil.
General Gregor had been released from prison and he now labors to build an army in preparation of the Heir's return to Tagaret.
Niki has met with Dalgar, who professes to be her real father. While acknowledging that he is a high-level Black Devil, Dalgar sows the seeds of doubt in Niki's mind.
Unicorns' Opal, book two of the Sword of Heavens Series, opens where Sapphire of the Fairies leaves off. Having restored the Sapphire of the Fairies to the Sword of Heavens, the Alcea Rangers prepare to continue their quest to find the rest of the missing gems needed to complete the Ancient Prophecy.
Arik was the last to awaken and he sat up and saw the rest of the Rangers sitting by the campfire and staring up into the blue and red sky. He stumbled over to the campfire and grabbed a mug of coffee.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Tanya remarked. “A real sunrise. Uncle Boris tried so many times to describe this to me, but no words could capture something this beautiful. He said that on some days this will happen when the sun sets, as well. It’s so indescribable.”
“Not every morning will be this pretty,” advised Alex, “but even one makes my eyes sing for the beauty of it.”
Jenneva wrapped her arms around Alex and kissed him. “I didn’t realize how much I missed the sky. I wonder how far it extends?”
“Alex asked Queen Mita to send off fairy scouts in each direction this morning,” offered Fredrik. “What did the Sword of Heavens do to get rid of the Darkness and will it return?”
“There is much we do not know about the magical Sword of Heavens,” Alex admitted. “The Ancient Prophecy makes no attempt to explain everything. We have to do our part to fulfill the Prophecy, but as we found out with the fairies, there are other prophecies at work also.”
“What was happening last night with the fairies swearing fealty to Arik?” Tedi inquired. “Why would they follow a human?”
Alex looked over at Arik who sipped his coffee while staring at the painted sky. “The fairies are responding to their own prophecy,” he explained. “The mark on Arik’s chest means something very special to them and their prophecy demands their loyalty to the one known as the Bringer. Without sunlight, eventually all peoples will perish. Food will dwindle and disappear. Depression will make people give up their hopes and dreams. Species will not grow and multiply. The Crown of Light was promised as their salvation from extinction and the price for its return is to follow and obey the Bringer. They all thought that the Bringer would be a fairy and gave it no thought. Now they know differently, but the price must be paid and the fairies will not turn from the bargain. Their existence as a people is guaranteed, no matter what cost they have to pay by following Arik.”
“What cost can there be?” quipped Arik. “I am no leader and I am not going to have the fairies marching off to war. Perhaps they should have sworn to Tedi. At least he will need them when he causes Alcea to rise again.”
“Have you forgotten that we have each sworn to help the others as best we can?” reminded Tanya. “If the fairies can help restore Alcea, you will lead them into battle for Tedi. You say that you are not a leader, but there are thousands of fairies that will disagree with you. You are their leader.”
“She is right,” added Jenneva. “We have no more idea of what lies ahead of us than we did when we started this journey. There are six clear glass beads left on the Sword of Heavens and six missing gems. We have only just begun the long road to toppling Sarac from power. There are also thousands of Sarac’s minions who will be trying to kill us, as well as the creatures that owe allegiance to Alutar. The Fairy Army may well be needed before we are done and their loyalty is owed to you, Arik, no one else.”
“But I didn’t do any more than any other member of the Rangers to get the Crown of Light,” argued Arik. “In fact, I am not even sure how we got it. You never did explain how you got it out of the mountain.”
“It does not matter how it is obtained any more than it matters how it was lost,” declared Alex. “What matters is that you fulfilled their prophecy. No one else could have done it. You were chosen by some fate to be the Bringer. Nothing that you or I say will ever change that. Accept it gracefully and vow to lead the fairies to the very best of your abilities. That is the most any officer in any army can be expected to do and whatever you are going to be, I see a leader of men in you. You have the presence, intelligence and strength to make a great general.”
“What are we going to do with the other glass beads?” Niki asked. “Shouldn’t we be trying to get another one out of the sword?”
“As if we knew how,” chuckled Fredrik. “The first one came out accidentally. We don’t even know how we did it. I would imagine that either Tedi or Niki would have to hold the Sword, seeing as they are the Prophecy Children.”
“We do not know that to be true,” Jenneva stated. “It was only said that the sword would not become active until one of the Prophecy Children touched it. Well, that has already happened. I suspect that anyone could get the next glass bead out. It is very important that we do not lose the Sword of Heavens now or we will never be able to fulfill the Prophecy.”
“Actually,” Arik bashfully admitted, “it has already come out. I thought that I might have rolled onto the sword in my sleep because it was loose this morning, but I guess it makes sense that it knows when to come out now. Should I throw it in the fire?”
“No,” Alex decided. “We will wait until we have left the fairy village. We should not leave them with the information of where we are going next. It is burden enough for us to know and the Dark One may send people here to find out where we have gone. If they do not know, they can not tell.”
“Well, the sunrise is over with,” Tanya stated as she rose. “Let’s get some practice in before breakfast.”
Alex led Arik and Tanya to a clear area to finally give them the opportunity of a two-on-one practice with swords while Fredrik and Tedi practiced with the Lanorian Stars.
“No bolas,” Alex exclaimed, “or I’ll chew through them with my teeth.”
Alex took a stand and Tanya immediately unleashed a series of quick, deadly blows, so quickly that Arik hesitated before he attacked. It was all the edge Alex needed to rebuff Tanya before Arik moved. He danced her in a circle until she was on the same side of him as Arik and then he pulled another wooden practice sword from behind him. With a sword in each hand, Alex pressed his two students before they realized what he was doing. Alex continued to force his two opponents back until Tanya tripped over a root and fell.
Before Alex could deliver a killing blow to Tanya, Arik threw himself to the ground and kicked Alex’s feet out from under him. The three sword fighters hurried to get up off the ground and put distance between themselves and their opponents. Alex saw Arik glance at Tanya and nod and knew he was in for a coordinated attack this time. Evidently, the two young Rangers had talked about an attack on Alex and Tanya’s opening move was just a shot at scoring an easy kill.
Arik and Tanya advanced on Alex and each started moving to a different side. Alex realized that they planned to make him divide his attention between them in the hopes that one of them would score a deadly hit. Alex had watched his two opponents train for months and knew he was in trouble. Fortunately, he had two tricks up his sleeve and both of them were Lanorian Stars made out of leaves that he had created this very morning.
Alex hurled one of his practice swords off to the side and used his free hand to grasp the fake Stars. With a flourish, he snapped the Stars into the forehead of each of his opponents and dove between them to recover his thrown sword. He would have liked to stay and watch their surprised expressions, but they were too quick to recover for his own health.
“Hey,” shouted Tanya, “that was illegal. Where did you get those, anyway?”
“Nothing is illegal except your bolas,” laughed Alex. “The only reason you can’t use those is because my wooden sword won’t cut the cord like a real one. Now, get your dead bodies back together and come, get me.”
And that is exactly what they did. Arik and Tanya had worked out several approaches to kill Alex and they used every one of them. After two hours of practice, all three of them had been killed numerous times and they decided to break for breakfast.
“You two fight very well as a team,” congratulated Alex. “I can see that I will require more practice if I am going to continue letting you abuse me.”
“You killed us more times than we killed you,” Arik pointed out.
“True,” Alex agreed, “but I have never been killed in a two-on-one before. Most fighters have too much of an ego to fight well as a team. You two do it excellently. If you had not fought as a team, you would not have scored a single kill. I am not only proud of you, I am glad you are on my side.”
“Where did you get those plant Stars?” inquired Tanya. “I thought it was real as it sailed at my head.”
“That was a bit unfair of me,” conceded Alex, “but I want you to expect the unexpected. Practice is great for becoming one with your weapon, but in battle men will come up with some rather peculiar ways of trying to kill you. You need to be ready for anything. I made those Stars this morning out of leaves. They’re not very accurate, but at close range it doesn’t matter.”
“Boy, have I worked up a sweat,” remarked Arik. “Is it hotter today or is it me?”
“It is the sun,” chuckled Alex. “It will get a lot hotter during the day. The Darkness filtered a lot of the power of the sun. With clear skies, you will have to watch yourself or you will get burned rather easily. Be thankful we are so far north. Back in Lorgo, this sun would be twice as powerful.”
Jenneva handed them towels as they approached the campfire where Fredrik and Tedi were discussing the results of their knife-throwing contest. Jenneva had prepared breakfast and Niki was actually serving everyone. Alex shot Jenneva a questioning look and Jenneva just shrugged.
Prince Midge took the breakfast break as a welcome sign and flew in to perch on Arik’s shoulder. “It certainly is a good morning, Bringer,” chirped Midge. “Will we be leaving today? You must give me some advance notice so I can assemble the troops for you.”
Arik smiled at the tiny warrior. “Please, call me Arik,” he said. “I am not exactly sure what a Bringer is, but I know who I am. We are not leaving today and we won’t require any troops when we do leave.”
“No troops?” quipped Prince Midge. “We have sworn to fight your enemies. The Fairy People will not renege on their duties.”
“You have not sworn to fight my battles,” reminded Arik. “You have sworn fealty and I believe that means that you will do what I ask. Right now, I ask you to live in peace and enjoy the sun.”
“Well,” persisted Midge, “you will still require a Fairy Representative in your Court. I would like to request that position for myself.”
“Court?” chuckled Arik. “I do not have a Court for your Representative, but you are always welcome to travel with me. In fact, if Queen Mita allows, I would wish for your company on the coming journey. It will be dangerous, though.”
“If she allows? Dangerous?” Midge said excitedly. “Of course, she will allow me to go and fairies were made to face danger. I will be of great assistance to you in times of peril. I have journeyed with the Great Mage to face Alutar. Surely, your danger could not approach that.”