“Shadows in the Stone” – Renewing Ourselves at Dawn

This morning as I watched the sun rise, sending its brilliant light upon the land, I thought about the opening scene of chapter 28 in Shadows in the Stone. It was a morning that had bathed Bronwyn Darrow in dawn’s early light, awakening him after a night of despair, one that witnessed him give up all hope and collapse to the forest floor.

I’d like to share the opening of that scene this morning for anyone who feels hopelessly lost. Renew yourself. Set aside that which weighs you down from the past, and look to the future.

The Castle Keepers series is about adventure, magic, family, home and friendship, but it’s also about hope. As Tam told Isla, “A good man isn’t down until all those who matter have lost hope.”

Chapter 28 Here in the Twilight

The six legs of the ladybug moved in unison across the leaf. They carried the red and black bug to the base of the foliage where it joined with the stem. Tiny white aphids worked there in the axil, sucking sweet juices from the plant and creating sugar that ants would harvest. The ladybug feasted on the succulent aphids until a robin swooped down, snatched it and flew off to feed its young.

The rush of wings pushed a breeze across the face of the dwarf lying on the forest floor nearby. A soft cool wind entered his air passages and worked to awaken his senses. Gentle but persistent prickles inside his nose and throat roused him further. He breathed deeper. The first dry swallow forced him to generate spit.

Another cool breeze flowed across his chest, rushing into his nose and ears. The first sound, the settling of the forest floor as its temperature rose in the new day, registered in his senses. All around him, the breeze swirled as if attempting to raise him into the air. The sensation made his eyes twitch, but the burning inside kept them closed.

Prickles in his hands as if they had fallen asleep made the dwarf wiggle his fingers. When a force other than the breeze brushed his cheek, he tried to swat it, but his arms felt like lead weights and remained still. He drew a deeper breath.

Alone and with only the feelings early morning conjured, the dwarf stirred. The soft flush of first light caressed his eyes, and he stared at the branches moving with the breeze overhanging his bed. He lifted his hand and drew it down his face as if to wipe away morning dew and cob webs. He lay still, watching and listening to the peacefulness of the forest.

A bird flew overhead, and Bronwyn followed its trail through the sky. His eyes settled on his left hand, scratched and dirty, and Farlan’s bracelet. He stared at the beads, conjuring his friend’s voice from the day he had given it to him: I’ll be spitting mad if you don’t return it.

A small smile teased the corner of his mouth. Farlan always sought the good, always hoped while others frowned.

A sharp pain like a pin prick sent his hand shaking. He swung his head around, hunting for the source. Mosquitoes? He slapped one on his arm. But the pain came from the back of his hand and no mosquito had sat there. Another sharp pain exploded behind his ear but when he swatted it, he found nothing.

He pushed himself to a seated position and gazed around. The sun still waited below the horizon, but its powerful light crept upon the land. Each day the sun is about to rise, I want you to renew yourself. Farlan’s words whispered in his head. Here in the twilight, with the ability to imagine things floating in the dense cyan air, did fairies flirt in his nose and poke him with needles as he slept? Or was it mosquitoes?

Thoughts of yesterday entered his mind. He rubbed his forehead trying to get them out. If he dwelt on them, they’d drag him into the darkness again. If he had lost everything, what had he left to gain by living?Let it wash away your fears. Farlan spoke to him as if he sat nearby. Add doubts to that, Farlan. Doubts were as debilitating as fears. He drew a deep breath of twilight. As he exhaled, he released the images, sent them into the air to be remembered at another time.

BUY the NOVEL

Shadows in the Stone, the first book in the Castle Keepers series, is available to Kindle Unlimited Members and the world at Amazon.

Download your copy today to start the adventure.

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