• Black as Light, part 13

    The basilisk turned his head in Tanith’s general direction. “Begin? Oh, yes, of course.” “And you can put your papers on the table,” Tanith said. “Table?” Virgil said, peering through his glasses. He leaned forward until his nose was practically touching the varnished surface. “Dear me, it is a table. I hadn’t noticed. And here are my papers. Yes, here they all are.” The councilors glanced uncomfortably at each other, unsure of what to think. I just sat there, impatiently tapping my foot, waiting for this to be over and done with. Tanith gave me a sharp look and I instantly stopped tapping my foot. “We don’t want them to…

  • Black as Light, part 12

    We all stood on the bridge the following morning, just staring at each other. Euclid, trembling uncontrollably, was held tightly between Tanith and I. The misunderstood creatures stood in fright of the knights and the knights stood in fright of the misunderstood creatures. “Release my daughter!” King Adam said authoritatively from astride his clearly trembling stallion. “We have a proposition for you,” I called back when Eva kicked my heel. It was a hard kick, too, and it left me wishing I had worn my armor so her foot would hurt instead of mine. “We would like to negotiate a treaty with you.” I glanced over at Tanith to make…

  • Black as Light, part 11

    “Tanith!” Eva yelled. “In here!” Tanith called back from the library, where we sat with Virgil, Drago, Manny, Bede, and Euclid. Books on diplomacy and books containing copies of hundreds of treaties lay open around us. We seven would be taking care of the treaty business, but only Tanith had any idea of what to do, which really wasn’t much. It was the day before King Adam would arrive with his army and we still had a lot to do. Eva appeared at the doorway and we all looked at her in varying states of exasperation and frustration. The preparations were not going well. “Look!” Eva cried out, holding out…

  • Black as Light, part 10

    “Tanith, we’ve got four days to figure this out.” “Four days?” she said in surprise. “What do you mean?” “I mean, your father is amassing an army of knights from all over and they’re going to storm this castle in four days.” “They can’t!” Eva gasped, covering her mouth with her hands. “You can’t let that happen, Shane,” Tanith said. “You have to put the swords together now!” “Again, how?” “I don’t know! Just stick them together.” Frustrated, I pushed the two swords together. We all saw a spark, but that was it. I twisted the swords around each other, pressing them together any way I could, but there was…

  • Black as Light, part 9

    Walking back through Bottlecreek, I could believe that. Walking back to the Black Castle, I couldn’t. I should have gone hiding behind my couch with all the other knights and let the king’s army storm the castle. But then Tanith would never forgive me. I would never hear the end of it. I sighed and just kept clunking back up the hill to the Black Castle, the White Sword hanging at my side. When I reached the doors, I paused to pull off my boots. I didn’t want Manny screaming at me about dirt on the floors, much less Eva’s scolding. Once was bad enough. I pushed open the doors…

  • Black as Light, part 8

    I couldn’t believe it. I was really walking back across the moat, headed back for Bottlecreek. Well, actually, I guess I could believe it. I had spent months imagining myself heading back to town triumphant. But I had always imagined Tanith would be with me and the monsters, er, misunderstood creatures, would be vanquished. Instead, I’m stuck walking back, alone with all those creatures waiting for me to return with the White Sword. “What did I ever do to deserve this?” I muttered to myself, my armor clanking with every step I took. I marched down the hill, trying desperately to not think of what I would say to King…

  • Black as Light, part 7

    “When are you going back to the castle for the sword?” Tanith asked, sitting beside me in the library. For once, the castle was quiet since Gina had gone to spend the evening with the harpies and had dragged Euclid along with her. I assumed Flavian was raiding the kitchen again for more cinnamon and Ferguson was with him, munching on some turnips Eva had allowed him to have. Eva herself was doing the dishes and doing her best to keep Flavian from finding the cinnamon. Drago was presumable out in the forest taking a walk with Bede as he usually did every night. Manny was quietly rearranging the books…

  • Black as Light, part 6

    Anyways, dinner was surprisingly delicious and my conversation with Tanith and Eva, who sat across from me, and Flavian, who sat across from Tanith, was more entertaining than I thought it would be. We talked about everything from my childhood with Tanith to Tanith’s sisters to Eva’s gardens to the various types of oranges that Eva cultivated in the orange grove in the middle of the forest. I almost, almost, forgot they were monsters. They were monsters; how could that possibly be completely forgotten? The surrounding conversations were lively and the gargoyles were sitting far enough apart that they didn’t even register the other’s presence, so there was no arguing.…

  • Black as Light, part 5

    The room Eva showed me to was right across the hall from Tanith’s and, thankfully, none of the monsters were quartered in that part of the hall. They called it the “Human Visitors Quarters.” Ferguson wasn’t considered a human. He was a werewolf to them and he seemed perfectly happy about it, so it was just Tanith and I. It was actually a very nicely arranged room with soft ruby red carpet and matching heavy velvet curtains that pulled back to reveal a view of the meadow and the forest and mountains beyond. There was a wide, long bed with drapes that matched the curtains and carpet and the quilt…

  • Black as Light, part 4

    I don’t know how I could have been so stupid, but I decided to remain. Who was I to abandon my oldest friend to a bunch of monsters? When I finally found the kitchen, my helmet now tucked firmly under an arm, I caught Flavian rustling around in the cabinets looking for more cinnamon sticks. He looked at me with a guilty expression and told me Eva was out in the gardens feeding Drago after making me promise I wouldn’t tell her he had been stealing into the kitchen for more cinnamon. After a few wrong turns and another run-in with the zombie, who went running and screaming out a…