• Black as Light, Part 9

    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 8

    “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 7

    “We need the Gray Sword,” Tanith said to me one day when we were strawberry picking. “What?” I said, looking down at her. She was kneeling on the ground, picking the strawberries, while I followed her with the baskets. “The Gray Sword.” “Never heard of it. Why do we need it?” “It’s the only sword that can protect us, silly. And you need it since you’re our protector. It’s the only way you can protect us,” she said insistently. “And how do I get this Gray Sword?” I asked dubiously, obediently following her from plant to plant. “By combining the Black Sword with the White Sword, of course.” “Right,” I…

  • 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 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.…