Weaving Moonlight

The first in the Tales of Terrahgonia series.
Lux Robertson has a destiny.
Prince Stefan wishes to shape his own.
Jamie Cooper just wants to belong.
What do these three teens have in common? They all have a legacy to uphold. But to do this means braving a war against the tyrannical false queen of Terrahgoina, a mystical land long ago forgotten by mortals. But with hidden secrets and traitors in their midst, they may not survive to save the kingdom.

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1. Out of the Shadows

Lux

“Lux...Lux...I’m here. Come find me” The voice called out faintly. It sounded tired but determined. Lux continued to climb up the mountain. The rock face was icy and unforgivable. She couldn’t believe that she had even contemplated quitting. She had come so far, and she knew that failure was not an option. Many were counting on her. She was exhausted and the cold bit at her bare skin. Her fingers gripped tightly around the ice axe. Then every mountaineer’s worst nightmare occurred. The harness began to snap. There was nothing she could do. Her grip on the ice axe slipped and she descended down the mountain. She had failed.   

Destinies are tricky things to avoid, whether you like it or not. So when Lux Robertson woke up gasping, in unfamiliar territory, she knew that hers was just beginning. Her dream had felt so real but seeing her surroundings, she hoped that this was a dream too. Autumn leaves surrounded her as she shivered in her pyjamas. She sat up slowly, seeing darkness all around and realised that she was in the depths of a forest. Bare trees swayed with the wind, branches like outstretched arms ready to grab her. How had she gotten here? Where was she? These thoughts bombarded her, but they remained unanswered for now. Searching around, she saw green grass with dewdrops that grew in uneven lengths and a nearby lake, reflecting the illuminating crest moon in the night sky. She breathed evenly in an attempt to keep calm, as water vapour swirled around her mouth. Lux heard a stick snap not too far away and fear overpowered her. She stayed perfectly still in the hope that whatever was nearby would not notice her. She was wrong.

An ominous figure stepped out of the shadows. He was tall and lean with a black hooded cloak. Lux bit her lip in nervousness.

“Your majesty” He bowed his head in respect for a moment and she blinked in confusion. All she could make out were his unsmiling lips. She noticed his shadow move and take a three-dimensional shape. He approached her and held out a hand to help her up. Despite her shock, she took it. It was cool to the touch and solid...very solid. She was convinced that her hand would go through his as if it were made of mist. When she arose, the shadow dissolved and went back to the hooded stranger like a dog returning to its master.

“You have a pet shadow?” She asked.

“I wouldn’t put it quite like that. My shadow is a creature that simply does my bidding. The term ‘pet’ implies it thinks for itself.”

“Oh” Lux felt a bit dumb. “Who are you and where am I?” She asked, though she already knew. As soon as she had opened her eyes she knew exactly where she was as if this place had been buried deep in her memory. It was a place she had wished never to visit because she had heard of the dangers that existed here.

“I think you know.”

“Terrahgonia” She whispered.

“Really, I’m rather disappointed that you have forgotten me so easily.” But she could not remember him. A feeling in the pit of her stomach warned her that he was dangerous. He took several steps towards her and it took all her willpower not to step back. He made one step too many into the space she called her personal bubble and she reeled back. He chuckled a little from the amusement of her obvious fear. “You do not need to fear me.” He had a deep silken voice that tried to reassure her.

“Says the guy in the hooded cloak” Lux countered. “If you want to make a good first impression, then you ought to uncover your face.”

“But where is the fun in that?” Then he dematerialised. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen you, Lux.” His distant voice called out. She turned around to see where it was coming from.

“How do you know my name?” He simply laughed.

“There is no time for such trivial questions, I’m afraid.” He replied from somewhere else. He seemed to be throwing his voice everywhere.

“Terrahgonia has lived in the dark for too long.” Leaves rustled behind her. “It is time to bring out the light.” She turned around again and the stranger was in front of her, as if he had appeared from thin air. “It is time for a new ruler to take the reins.”  Perhaps he had. Having failed to stifle her shock, she finally gasped in a late reaction. “Terrahgonia needs you on the throne.”

‘This is not happening’, she thought. ‘Not now at least.’ She knew what this was all about. Not only did Lux know about the kingdom of Terrahgonia- a realm that had been forced to move into another dimension when mortals threatened its very existence- but she knew that she was its royal princess.

“I...I can’t. I’m sixteen. I’m not ready. Isn’t there somebody else?”

“The people would never accept him.” But she didn’t care, as she did not regard it as her world. She had not chosen this and she didn’t want it.

“I’m sorry. Terrahgonia will have to survive without me.” She turned her back on him and was about to walk away when he grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

“You have no idea just how terrible things are here. The kingdom is being ruled by a tyrant. Only with the power of the Guardians combined can balance be restored.”

“Well good luck with that”

“I advise you think about it. Perhaps the next time we meet, you will have a fresh perspective on things.” She doubted that. “Well, the guard dogs will be patrolling here soon so... until next time, Princess.” He dematerialised in thick black mist and she was left there cold, and alone. Then she heard several twigs snap and the sound of a deep, guttural growling. She guessed he had not been joking about the dogs. A hound ran up to her and before Lux could make a move, she was in her room again. Sprawled across the floor, next to her bed, she hoped the whole thing had been a dream. Then she saw her muddy clothes and had to face the true reality of the situation.

Hearing a deep laughter, she looked all around for the source of the sound. Not a person or creature was in sight. Then she saw the slightest flicker of a shadow. A shadow hand waved at her, and then it was gone.   

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