The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough

The Yorkshire town of Parsley Bottom has a problem…

Peter Crisp, a boy with an unusual gift of being able to see things that others cannot, goes missing after spending the night in a graveyard. Two of Peter's school friends, join forces with a Knight of King Arthur to attempt to find him but come across some mysterious engravings which propel them on an adventure beyond their imagination.

Meanwhile MI6 operative Steven Knight is sent from London to investigate a meteor landing site, but Steven is advised by his own boss not to trust the puppeteers that hold the strings to his investigation. Within the core of the meteor is an alien bacteria that evolves at an alarming rate that not only puts Steven's life at risk, but the entire human race.

By unravelling ancient codes and riddles the children journey within the bowels of Edinburgh Castle as they attempt to find the key to Peter’s disappearance. The children not only need to save Peter, they need to save the world while they’re at

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11. The League of White Knights

Joe felt uncomfortable and wanted to get away from the man as soon as possible, but the old man was still sitting on the stone nearest to the footpath and, more importantly, next to his bike. His exit was blocked. How could the old man know about Peter, unless he was somehow involved with his disappearance? The old man was talking about tales and stories from medieval days when they also believed in Dragons and the bogey monster, but now everyone knew there were no such things as Faeries, especially ones that could turn things into stone.

'If this is an entrance to somewhere, then where’s the door?' he asked looking around the circle pretending he’d missed it but secretly looking to see if there was any other way to escape. All around the circle was farmland. He was sure that he could outrun the old man, after all he needed a stick just to walk.

'You can’t see the door. It’s an energy field that can only be opened in one of three ways. The first way is by being the possessor of the Silver Bough, a magical branch from an Elm tree. The second is for those that are gifted with The Sight, a unique vision of the Unseen world only available to certain ancient families and the third is the rarest of them all, by invitation. One of those will allow you to pass into the unseen world.'

'And you truly believe all of this?', asked Joe in a disbelieving voice. The old man was talking nonsense. 'You really think there is a silver Elm tree somewhere or that some people can see things that aren’t really there! And I suppose a Pixie is going to walk up to someone and just give them an invitation for you to go to their birthday party.'

The old man stood up, a look of fury had passed over his face fuelled by Joe's words.

'You do not have time to mock me, young man. Peter is in danger. Don’t be blinded by the things that you can see. There is much more to this world than what is in front of your eyes. You cannot see the air but you know it is there. You cannot see love, or sadness but you feel them inside you. Have you ever lost something that you were certain about where you left it?'

'Careless mistakes,' replied Joe back to the old man, dismissing the argument he was putting forward.

‘Well, what about the pretend friend you had when you were a young child. That was real wasn’t it?’

‘At the time it was, but he was probably just in my imagination. No adults could see him.’

‘That’s because their eyes are blind to things their brains don’t understand. What about when you see something out of the corner of your eye, but when you looked there was nothing there? The unseen world does exist and Peter was one of those who possessed The Sight; he could see things that no one else could.’ The old man paused, watching Joe thoughtfully, wondering if he was going to make a run for it. ‘But now you're quiet. Have you nothing to say to that? Does it not surprise you?'

'We all just thought he was talking to himself,' said Joe thinking about what Peter was like at school.

'Peter has The Sight, as did his grandmother before him. He would have been talking to things he saw, small creatures like Sprites, things you wouldn’t be able to see yourself,' explained the old man, slightly calmer now as he felt that Joe was starting to believe him.

'How do you know all of this?', asked Joe. Part of his brain still told him to run and come back for his bike another time, but another part was becoming curious to know more.

'My name is Sir Edgar Gorlois, Duke of Tintagel and one of the original members of The League of White Knights,’ he gave a low bow as he introduced himself before continuing. ‘We are an ancient group of Knights founded by King Arthur himself to protect the human world from the dangers of the unseen world. After Gawain and Belphoebe suffered their fate here by the hand of Morgan Le Fay, a Faerie Sorceress and their Queen, Arthur swore to protect England forever and left a band of four knights to remain hidden but protecting all known entrances like this one, keeping the Silver Bough safe and watching over the families with The Sight.'

Edgar now started to walk into the centre of the circle nearer to Joe. Although Joe was still unsure about the old man, he stayed where he was alongside Gawain’s stone.

‘You may have heard the old tale about King Arthur coming back to save England in its time of greatest need,’ continued Edgar. Joe nodded. ‘Well, he won’t be coming back because he’s never left. In me I carry his beliefs and ideals and am here to serve England and prevent creatures from the underworld from entering this world again.’

'But that would mean you were thousands of years old!' Joe replied with a laugh.

‘About 1500 years old actually, but I loose track from time to time. My body is not a day older than when the Immortalitus spell was performed on us by Arthur’s friend and teacher Merlin.’

'So where are the other three Knights?', asked Joe.

'Unfortunately, they are all dead. There is now only myself left. We can still be killed just like anyone else, still be affected by viruses or have our bodies harmed, but every cell that makes us up remains the same and never ages. I was an old man when I became a White Knight as I am today, but despite my appearance, I have the strength of a man much younger.’

‘Then why do you carry a stick?’

‘For appearances' sake. If I look old, I must be old. That way I don’t draw attention to myself and no one takes any notice of me. But I have been amongst you and your families for many years. I swore to watch over those with The Sight and came to Parsley Bottom when Peter moved here.’

‘Peter’s mum knows you watch her family. The police are probably looking for you; they think you may have something to do with Peter’s disappearance.’

Sir Edgar frowned, ‘then we need to move fast. I too want to find Peter, but if he entered the unseen world his life is in danger.’

‘From what?’

‘From creatures you could never imagine. He could be killed,’ Edgar explained with no emotion. ‘Or worse than that.’

‘What could be worse than being dead?’ asked Joe with a laugh

‘The Faerie Queen may realise how useful Peter could be and use him to show her the way into the human world which she wants to rule for herself and then we would all be doomed.’

‘So if the Faeries can’t get into this world, how do those small creatures that Peter talks to get to be here? Do they go between the worlds?’

‘Sprites are small creatures that live in both worlds but don’t cross between the two. The ones that Peter talks to have probably lived here for a long time, and more likely been friends to Peter since he was a child. Maybe they were Peter’s imaginary friends?’

‘So can’t we just go in and take him out of the unseen world?’, said Joe.

‘It’s not that easy, I’m afraid. I don’t know how to get in. Peter is the only child of the last living line of families that posses The Sight. Without him we can’t see the entrance.’

‘What about his grandmother? You said she had The Sight before Peter,’ said Joe, desperately trying to think of a way to get Peter back.

‘She does but age has blinded her and she can no longer see anything but blurred clouded shapes.’

‘What about the silver twig you mentioned?’

‘The Silver Bough. There are only clues as to its whereabouts, but so far no one has found it. My brother, the Earl of Rosslyn, who was also one of the White Knights, was the sacred guardian of the Silver Bough and he too died last year. His tomb is held in the vaults beneath Edinburgh Castle

Joe wandered aimlessly around the large stones, kicking at the loose gravel around his feet. He still couldn’t quite believe what Edgar was telling him. It was a tale of fantasy and imagination, but some of what he said about Peter seemed to make sense.

He looked over to Edgar, who stood watching him whilst he leant on his twisted stick. The daylight glinted in his silver beard.

‘Can you prove anything you’ve said?’, asked Joe finally.

Sir Edgar nodded his head.

‘Meet me at the graveyard in one hour and I will show you. Bring your friends too. I will need your help if we are to stand any chance of getting Peter back.’ With that the old knight turned his back on Joe and walked towards the outside of the circle, leaving him a clear route to his bike and his way out.

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