Isles of Olympus: A Guardian's Truth
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publish Date: February 19, 2014
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Book SynopsisA Guardian's Truth is about Ariella, a young Guardian Queen of Royals, in the secret land called Isles of Olympus. Forced to sit on her throne before she comes of age, and yet kept in the dark about her history, who her parents were and the life she never got to have with them, after being given to her maternal uncle and his wife, when Ariella was only minutes old. No one would even speak her parents names after that. Frustrated by the constant over protection of the councilmen and women of the Isles, Ariella and her closest friend (whom rarely left her side from the age of four), her dragon Kyith, set out on an adventure within and outside of her realms, that would start the events that could lead her realm back into war. Many enemies are found to be trusted friends, while some friends are shown to be true enemies, Ariella is left wondering: who can she trust, who she should trust? Guardians are descendants of the first two Gods, Uranus, the God of the heavens and sky, and Gaia, the Goddess of the Earth and nature. Their first born child, a son, Gaius, named for both his parents, was betrayed by his younger siblings as they overthrew Uranus by beheading him, so to rule the world and heavens themselves, Gaius wished only to avenge his father’s murder, but Gaia had other plans. She gave him his own realm hidden from the titan’s wrath, and their descendants. A gift for his loyalties, he and his kin and any God, Goddess or magical creature that wished to escape the titans and later the Olympians, would live free of the tainted bloodlines of those that had murdered the father God for greed and power, with only one hitch, no Guardian could ever wish to lay claim to the original homeland of Gods, Mount Olympus. For if they did, all that had been, could be undone!
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It had been such a long and drawn out day, filled with the usual festivities of brawn verses wit at the annual event of the Regents Cup. Ariella loathed this particular calendar event for one reason alone, she was not allowed to enter it. Not yet anyway. At 324 years of age, Ariella was still considered a youngling, nothing more than a child on the inside, while on the outside she resembled a young woman of mid-twenties in age, with dulled amber eyes that only seemed to sparkle with life when in the presence of her beloved Kyith. Ariella stood tall at six foot-two, which was quite the norm for her people, each as tall as the next, with slender athletic builds. They seemed built for fighting and hunting, though they were mostly too well-bred for such activity. But unlike the milky skinned people of her realm, Ariella had a glowing honeyed skin which people found intriguing and beautiful. In the mortal realm she would be considered a breathtakingly, beautiful woman, but here in the Isle of Olympus she was an awkward youngling with much to learn. Her looks no more appealing than the peasant farmer, for each of the people were equally beautiful, they were each considered God like.
In a land where immortals lived, time was not looked upon in the same way for mortals. In the Isles, you were not considered of age or an adult until you reached 500 years old, when you were of royal blood. Ariella was more of a wilful teenager, spoilt and stubborn. She did not proclaim to know all as many teens do. She was particularly shy towards larger crowds and hated being the pretty Royal at parties. Gowns and crowns were simply not her thing, no matter how hard her handlers tried in vain to make it so.
All day Ariella sat beside a tall, muscular man who looked almost as miserable as she did. They sat in the Regent's stand, watching over the games that were held ten feet below them in a large, oval stadium of stone. Men and women chosen by their lands, the crowned royal, to participate in fighting events, swords, jousting and hand to hand combat. One man and one woman fought for their land's pride and stature, until one of each stood alone, the victors who would go home heroes. Ariella had recently abolished the rule that crowned royals couldn’t compete. She wanted her chance, but her beloved Uncle Marcus, the King Consort of another land and the only father she had ever known, had forbade her to compete until she was of age.
As the first competitors readied their horses for the jousting, Ariella thought back to the last fight she had had with her Uncle and Aunt, hating that she seemed more at odds with them with every visit, wishing desperately that they would see her for her.
“So you force me to rule before I am of age, but all else is not allowed?,” she shrieked furiously over supper, three nights before the festival. She pushed her plate harder than intended and the remains of her bread roll hit over the humble wooden cup of rose water, with a distracted wave of her hand the liquid vanished along with the cup and bread.
“Yes, must we go over this again?," groaned the man seated to her left, as he ran his hand through his short, auburn hair, his wise green eyes pleading her to be calm, “You are the last of your bloodline, Ariella. Your seat on the throne is purely one for show, to bolster the spirits of your people. James is your proxy for all royal decisions. Please stop making this more difficult than it needs to be,” her Uncle said despairingly.
“Fine, but if I cannot compete, neither can he!,” she roared furiously pointing at the silent proxy glaring at her from across the food laden wooden table.
“I compete every year, little Queen, and I will again this year,” he growled, not caring to play into the bratty antics of the child Queen.
“Lord James, for the sake of further disputes, I think you best sit this year out,” Ariella’s Aunt ventured softly. “And next year we will have a far better solution.”
Ariella stuck her tongue out at him, he promptly narrowed his hard glare at her, she saw the fierce anger simmering in her “Right Hand” and did not care for it in the least. She knew if she made him sit out at least one year he would do better to have her compete the following year, so he would not be forced to sit out again.
“And who do you suppose will take my place?,” demanded Lord James, struggling to keep his tone mildly polite for Queen Rose’s benefit.
“Perhaps ask your general? Or use your most skilled guard? I will leave that decision to you, yes?,” offered Marcus as a way to keep the peace. Ariella watched as Lord James kept his mesmerising sapphire blue eyes pinned to her, he offered her a challenging smirk, as he nodded his agreement to Ariella’s uncle.
Frustrated to see that James would not fight better for his place in the tournament, Ariella stood so suddenly her chair fell back, and she did not bother to pick it up before she stormed out of the room, knowing there was no point in continuing their discussions, not this year anyway.
Ariella heard the wooden spear shatter against the steel breast plate and the unmistakable sounds of a body hitting the ground which brought her out of her thoughts and back to the games. She reluctantly noticed that the man lying flat on his back had a different Sigel on his chest than when she first drifted off, had she really missed the first challenger?
“Lord Ellen of Insula Divitae et Sapientia (Island of Wealth & Wisdom) is rather fond of putting his full weight into each strike. He has the power to bring down every opponent. When I saw him in the great war of our realm, he is not one to give up,” whispered Lord James, forgetting his anger for a moment towards the young Queen that sat silent beside him. Ariella looked over to the steel-encased man, sitting on the back of his exhausted white stallion. The bulk of the man with the weight of his armour was clearly too great for his proud steed, but it did not falter, or disappoint its Master. Ariella always liked their Sigel of a golden owl on a green shield, but on this man, it was too large and awkward. Ariella did not like this Lord, he had won at least two games, so with little effort and with barely a movement she sent out a spell that would have the Stallion to rear up before his master had the chance to lay his spear into another. His competitor stuck first, sending Lord Ellen backwards in dismayed shock. Ariella smiled serenely, ignoring James' questioning gaze offering a polite clap till Lord Ellen was helped off the field.
All day, Lord James made hushed comments to her. They were now cold and fierce as he longed to be down on the fields and not in the stand, but he refused to be outright cruel or nasty. He seemed to understand her need to compete, to prove herself in front of all the other Kings and Queens of the lands. He had the same needs inside of himself. After so many years of service to the Crown, James still felt unappreciated. When once he had been a great Lord, now he was merely a babysitter.
“Do you see how he rounded the sword back around to surprise Lord Daken? You need great upper strength for such a move and you will need to gain strength. You are too petite to fight.” Ariella replied with a curt nod, as she watched the battle continue for almost half an hour, wielding their sharp swords and parring back and forth, in a dance of strength and will. Lord Daken of Dracones Nidum Islandia (Also known as Dragon’s Nest Island in the common tongue) was as any Knight ought to be, tall and well built, he had over 700 years of battle knowledge. Ariella knew he must have been quite the fighter in the one dark war that enveloped this beautiful land that was now finally once again at peace. His challenger was the King Consort of Ignea Mountain Islandia (Fiery Mountain Island), King Glenden. Ariella had to admit he was rather good looking in comparison to Lord Daken, though she also conceded that the King Consort had never seen a day of true battle. He was a young child himself during the war, and so he had no battle scars or torment inside his heart or soul. He was competing not for glory but for pride, to show his love, Queen Gracelee, that he could be as fierce as any general or right hand. It was childish wishes even to Ariella. A battlefield was no place to show off, but then this was not a real battle. In true battle, queens and kings did not stand about smiling and cheering. They drank and ate their fill, they put on their battle gear and lead their people to the fight, so she had read in so many books. Mortals prayed to Ares for strength and blood thirst. They prayed for his helping hand to win their wars. The idea gave Ariella a sickening shiver down her spine, praying for blood thirst, praying to the dismal wretched Olympian God, twisted her insides. Olympians were the embodiment of all that was wrong in the world, Ariella told herself so often. Each of them bored with immortality, and trifling with mortals lives for entertainment, she wondered why they were not created without a conscious? Or did they give it up as they slaughtered their father and destroyed the generation of Gods before them. Another poke at her arm brought Ariella out of her tormented thoughts and she sighed deeply, turning her eyes upwards to the sky.
The day continued and Ariella spent her time saying “hmm” and “oh” and nodding knowingly whenever Lord James spoke, not really bothering to listen to his continued tips and observations. She reminded herself over and over she knew all about fighting, and one day she will show this know it all Lord. He would always gently knock her arm, and speak whenever he caught Ariella scowling at the competitors well after the battle had ended, or gazing up at the empty blue skies with longing wonder. It was the place she could always be awed and reminded that she was a part of something great. Something more than just sitting and smiling and nodding at gala’s and events. There was a big world out there, far beyond the borders of the Isles and one day she will give into her yearning and go out and explore the great wonders of this world.
After the last standing man, Lord Serian, soon to be the next Kings Consort of Insula Gemmae (Island of Jewels), and the woman Lady Rhea of Portus Dii (Haven of the Gods), were named the winners by Ariella. Each contender had been thanked for their efforts. Ariella rushed passed the congregation of Royals that had come to congratulate their fighters, till she found an open bare field far beyond the walls of the city and farms, so none would notice her absences until she was too far away to find. She knew the sun would leave her soon enough, but she would enjoy what was left of this day. It could not be a complete waste to her, she thought silently.
Kyith, where are you? I am ready to go! She thought happily, turning her face up to the warm friendly sun. She could feel his eyes on her from far above, in the white fluffy clouds that she had conjured to conceal him for the last hour. He would take only a moment to reach her, and then they would leave this wretched place for the rest of the afternoon.
Your Lord is approaching, I will wait till he has gone, rumbled the deepest of voices that would scare most. But not Ariella, it was her safety net. She could never be in any danger while he was in her life, and he had been a part of hers for all but 4 years of it. She would never forget that wondrous moment for as long as she existed. The day itself had been a vague dream like a memory with bits and pieces leaving her over the times, but she could still see the kindness in those pools of grey that twinkled hungrily, to see a smile on an all too often sad face. Some days when she recalled this thought she was sitting alone in her Aunt and Uncle’s garden, when he came to her holding an intriguing onyx orb twice the size of his own head. Other times she was sitting in the courtyard away from the guests at the party in her honour. Either way, she felt shunned by those of her kind and welcomed the visiting Elf. There were distorted screams and shouting somewhere around her when the Elf with an emerald bejewelled crown handed Ariella the orb. He whispered something that sounded like a blessing, in a language that felt oddly familiar to her. Even now, so many years on, for the life of her, she could not recall his exact words, or the meaning. The crackling sound of breaking glass came from the orb, and out came a strange creature that after a single glance stole her heart completely. It’s scales where the same shade of Black as its egg, and its eyes were endless pools of darkness. She thought she ought to be frightened of this creature, but he held no wrath towards her, only when her Uncle and Aunt tried to remove it from her hands did it bare its teeth and coughed out a horrible smelling greenish smoke.
“Your uncle has sent me to collect you,” James said reluctantly, standing behind Ariella searching the skies for the beast that lurked somewhere up there, and her thoughts returned once again to the present.
“Tell him you did not find me,” she returned carefully over her shoulder not bothering to turn around.
“You have responsibilities, my Queen. Send Kyith home to the mountains, today you cannot go off with him.”
Anger surged suddenly within her. Ariella rounded on him so fast that her braid wrapped around her neck, her troubled frown met his stubborn glare. He was ready for her tantrum, and she had no Aunt here to intervene today.
“Today you cannot go off with him,” Lord James repeated, his tone was one filled with a warning not to fight him further on this. He too was worn tired from a very unenjoyable day. He would prefer to be anywhere but in her presence, or surrounded by more Kings and Queens, whom managed to always remind him in some way that he is King Marcus’s puppet, and Ariella’s babysitter in their views.
I will return for you at first light, she heard Kyith sigh, as she felt his presence drift further away. Ariella took a long moment to unwrap her braid, still contemplating telling him to go away, until his glare turned icy, after Kyith had departed. She straightened her shoulders, stood remarkably tall and glided past him with regal elegance without uttering a single word. Though inwardly, she was telling him off for ruining her afternoon of flying high above the fluffy clouds that she had conjured and looking down over the vibrant green fields and valley’s that surrounded White Castle. Because she knew if she attempted to fly further away, they would lose the day’s light and make camp, just her and Kyith, and that would end in yet another disagreement between herself, the Queen and Lord James.