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Fifth Tale of the Double Keltic Triad
A quest throws Bard, naked and alone, from his world to the Sahara, searching for a way to return. Deep in research for something--anything--to protect her family from ever-present evil, Kaelea’s ordered life is disrupted by Bard and her instant attraction to the strange man.
Apart, they find questions. Together, the answers become clear.
He would not crawl. If it meant he would die in the middle of a Guardian forsaken land far from his home, then die he would. But he would not crawl upon his belly, nor admit the defeat such actions would prove. He would walk upright, as a man walks, until he collapsed.
Bard chuckled to himself, then bit his cracked lip at the hysterical sound echoing around him. Had he made that sound... or was it the wind? Was insanity the last thing he would hear?
As if answering his internal question the wind died, and a shroud of silence surrounded him. His muscles twitched, trembled, and folded in upon themselves, collapsing him to the ground. Bard groaned and struggled to rise.
He wasn’t ready to die. He lifted his body to his hands and knees then slowly straightened. Sand grated against the sensitive skin at his groin, the prickling of pain a reminder he still lived. He dragged the blanket from his head, wiped at his body, then covered himself. He would die cloaked in modesty, as befit a man, not naked and tortured as a wounded animal.
The struggle to move one leg in preparation to rise was nearly more than his abused body could tolerate. He rested his crossed arms on the top of his thigh and panted, the breath wheezing from his lungs. He would stand. Bard lifted his head.
The painful widening of his eyes made him blink and glance away from the sight before him. When he looked again, tears blurred his vision until he blinked the dampness away. There had been nothing there before--had there? Where once had been nothing but sand, and sand upon more sand, now hovered a spot of lush green. Where once he had heard nothing but the wind scraping sand from the dunes, was now the faint tinkling of water upon stone. Where once there was despair, he found a rising hope.
If the vision were only that--a vision--a trick of his exhausted mind... Bard didn’t care. If it was cool, if there was shade to shield him from the sun, if there was water...
A word of praise burst from his lips, breaking open a deep, dry crack and releasing a trickle of warm blood. Brows drawn close over his eyes, Bard licked at the blood, winced at the stinging pain of his tender lip, and rose awkwardly to stand. He stared at the grove of trees.
He took a step. Then another. Until he ran mindlessly. Fully expecting the trees to fade from sight as he neared them, he could not tear his eyes from the splotch of green and stumbled over the smooth sand. Flailing his arms, Bard regained his balance, paused, then ran again. The trees were still there. His heart sang with the joy of discovery, of hope. The trees were still there.
Beneath his feet the sand gave way to more solid ground. The softness of patches of grass tickled between his toes, the bruised blades giving rise to a fresh, green scent. Bard smiled and slowed, listening, following the crystal sounds of water bubbling over rock. His soul felt a surge of renewal as soon his body would experience as well. First, he would drink. Then, if the water would allow, he would cover himself with moisture. Then, he would drink again.
The siren’s call drew him closer and he silently thanked the Guardians before asking forgiveness for his doubt. He inhaled deeply. Damp air caressed his nostrils and the lush scents provided him the Guardians’ response. He would not doubt again.
Rising over the sounds of the water came a new sound. Bard frowned. Singing? He stepped from under the trees onto a grassy knoll beside a wide, clear pool. The water called to him, urged him recklessly forward, but the bare back and flowing dark hair of the woman singing in the center of the pool froze him in place.
*lizzie made up games and stories to keep her company as a child. So, a witch lived in Grampa’s weather research station and was only held at bay by a certain weed. An ancient road grader became a boat carrying wild adventurers to islands filled with sheep that turned into lions and cannibals.
Now, the stories of her imagination are beginning to find their way to paper and pixels. Filled with fantasy and love, these tales take her far from the mundane world.
When *lizzie has to return to that mundane life, she’s a lead cook at a university dining service. Happily, the folks she works with have become accustomed to her writer’s ways and just shake their heads when she goes off on some fantastical tangent, asks strange what if questions, or just has to find a piece of paper and a pen that actually writes. One of her greatest delights is to watch the joy of writing fill a friend, and she’ll do anything to help them achieve their dream.
And someday, when she grows up, *lizzie wants to be eccentric.
*lizzie adores hearing what you think about her tales.
“It sparkles…” -- Margaret B Lawrence, author of Caresse: A Loving Touch
Lizzie Starr pens an original romantic fantasy with Keltic Flight. I enjoyed learning that faeries can be sexy. The winged hero Korin faced difficult, even lethal obstacles sure to destroy his chance to win Nanceen. His determination and devotion made this inter-species romance a very pleasurable read.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 287
Paper Weight (lb): 12.2
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