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Haven Lost — The Dragon’s Brood Cycle, Vol. 1
by Josh de Lioncourt
Legends never die; they just go into hiding …
Sixteen-year-old Emily Haven, heroine of the girls’ hockey team at Lindsey High, has spent her young life keeping two secrets: her rapidly deteriorating home life and the seemingly supernatural power that makes her a star on the ice. When she begins seeing visions of a lost and ragged boy reflected in mirrors and shop windows, a series of events unfolds that tears her from twenty-first century Minneapolis and leaves her stranded in another world with horrors to rival those she has left behind. Lost amidst creatures of fantasy and legend, she is forced to confront the demons of both her past and future to unravel the riddle of the mysterious boy and embark upon a journey to uncover long forgotten histories and the dark, cloaked figure in the shadows behind them all. Caught between opposing forces of a war she does not understand, Emily must find new strength within herself and, above all, the will to remember her friends.
“Hello?” she whispered, but she couldn’t hear her own voice over the low whine that was building in her head. The knowing hadn’t abandoned her. It hadn’t abandoned her at all. If anything, it was stronger than it had ever been.
Her muscles spasmed with the force of it. The whine in her head rose to a crescendo that made her feel as though she’d become some kind of weird human tuning fork. She began to shake uncontrollably, and the floor seemed to sway and heave beneath her feet, like the deck of a ship on rough seas.
She fell to her knees in front of the mirror, unable to tear her eyes away from the strange boy with the pony-tail and the torn and ragged clothes. She could see every minute detail of his attire, from the thick red and black thread that had been used to mend his jeans and jacket, to the filth and tarnish on the old-fashioned fastenings.
He reached out toward her, and as he did, her own reflection in the mirror winked out. Only his face stared out of the dusty glass. His eyes were full of hope and sadness, and seemed the eyes of a much younger child. Those eyes spoke of suffering and loss, and Emily’s heart called out in recognition. She thought she saw the flicker of flames behind the boy, and then she was reaching out to him as well.
Their fingers met. She clasped his in her own, feeling their warm, rough reality, and wanting to give comfort as much as receive it. Such a simple action. Such a mundane, human gesture. And with that ordinary decision made, two worlds changed forever.
“Yes,” she whispered, and watched as the breath of that word fogged the glass between them, spreading until it filled the world with a cloudy, white mist.
A clay tablet, a scroll of parchment, a clean sheet of paper, a blank computer screen—all these things are the void. They are cold, silent, and without any form that matters. They exist, in some sense, only because we exist. We can compare their emptiness to our own reality, and thereby understand that they are nothing.
Then, without warning, matter begins to fill the empty spaces. Knives, ink, digital bits—these things blemish the purity of the void. They draw letters, which make sounds, which form words, which link together to create sentences, then paragraphs, and finally stories. Worlds are created, not in an instant with a colossal big bang, and usually not even in seven days. The creation is slow, painstaking, and wrought with peril.
But in the end, ultimately, it is worth it. This is magic, after all, of the purest kind; it is magic born out of blood, sweat, and more than a few tears. All other uses of that word, however attractive or well defined, are simplifications of that single, unalterable truth.
You build your world, one brick at a time. Some of these bricks have been used before, in other worlds, put in place by another’s hand. They’ve been saved, tucked away in a forgotten corner, just waiting for their time to come. They are taken out, polished, and re-purposed in some new and unique way.
Here, we shall build a wall; there, we shall place another. Can you feel the cobbles beneath your feet? Can you smell the horses as the carriage goes by? Stand right there and let the warmth of the late summer sun fall upon your face, for all too soon the harvest will come, and you shall reap the fruits of your labors.
A beam goes up for the next building. It springs up from the ground, seemingly fully formed, and shines with a dazzling brilliance that is the sole providence of the new, unused idea. These beams are fragile things; they must be nourished, fed, and cared for, lest they die and melt away, to be replaced by more mundane materials. Children know how to care for these, but you have nearly forgotten.
Slowly, other souls, born from the depths of your imagination, begin to populate this world. At first, they are as thin and flat as paper dolls, and you fear that, in a moment, they will be caught up and carried away on the winds of change that blow endlessly across the landscape of this place. Gradually, however, they grow denser. Soon, they have desires of their own—voices of their own—thoughts of their own—and they will not sit idly by and wait for your fingers to tell them what to do. They go on, rushing blithely ahead, as blissfully unaware of the fate that awaits them as are all of the gods’ creatures.
And before you know it—before you’ve even had so much as a chance to lay down your pen and take a sip from your ever present teacup—these souls, children of your mind, have lifted you up and taken you away.
And all you can do is hold on to whatever is at hand and let them carry you away.
The sights you see are no longer carefully crafted artifacts of your own devising; now, they are as rough and ragged as any landscape on earth. They are dirty, and flawed—full of surprises, and full of beauty.
You watch, horrified and fascinated, as the world you created spirals inexorably out of your control. The neat lines and careful masonry is destroyed, and the children must find their own way to rebuild a new world from the ashes of the old.
You wait, holding your breath, for the next catastrophe to befall your creation. You cheer when your sons and daughters achieve feats of which neither they, nor you, truly believed they were capable.
And then the dusts settles.
You put down your pen, take another sip of tea, and begin thinking about doing it all again, only this time, it will be different.
This is the writer’s journey.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Josh de Lioncourt was born and raised in California and enjoys writing projects in a wide variety of fields, including fiction, music, software, blogging, and tech articles. He has written on Apple accessibility for Macworld and Maccessibility, hosts or participates regularly on several podcasts, and writes and records music with Molly, his other half. Josh enjoys the works of Stephen King, the music of George Michael, Masters of the Universe, and Los Angeles Kings hockey. He currently lives in Pennsylvania.
GoodReads Author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8333122.Josh_de_Lioncourt
Dragon’s Brood Cycle: http://DragonsBrood.net
Buy Links for Haven Lost