- Author: Dani Swanson
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The Circle of Owls
Copyright © 2020 Dani Swanson
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form is forbidden without written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. It’s not about you.
All rights reserved.
Cover by Elle Swan Design and Jessyca Bellinger
Editing by Lisa Swanson and Ken Coy
To my Mom, Lisa Swanson: Thank you for teaching me, pushing me to be better and always being my cheerleader. Even when I’m being a tad ridiculous and making bad decisions, you are always there for me (even it is to tell me I’m being ridiculous). I was really lucky when they passed out moms to get you as mine. I love you.
……. You can only control how you react.
For six long months had they wandered through the icy abyss of the Izotza Mountains chasing after the Blue-Scaled Dragons. The end of the summer months was hard enough, but the wintery cold was blowing in more snow; covering every path and hiding all the creatures that were looking for their next meal. The only thing that showed any light was the small flame flickering from the entrance of the cave – reflecting Robin’s red hair against the rocks.
“I DON’T CARE! I’M SCARED, ALRIGHT?!” Robin looked out of the entrance of the cave; nothing but the void of the mountainside could be seen for miles. The fresh powder from last night’s storm made everything blinding white. “We can’t see the path ahead….and we can’t see any of the markers….and the yetis are out there…and what about that albino dragon? It’ll try to eat us again!” Her breath was becoming short and sporadic, as she stared without blinking. “We’re going to die.” She spoke just above a whisper. Tinker, her cat, started weaving in and out of her legs. Robin fiddled with the ends of her curly red hair which were sticking out of her hat, as she tried to control her breathing. She watched the foggy billows of her breath blow out into the nothingness.
“I think you’re overreacting just a bit, Robin.”
Robin ran her fingers through her tangled red hair, before stuffing it back into her hat and out of her face. The fire was dying down, but Robin didn’t see much else laying around that she could burn.
“You always do this! You get us into these situations that create more stress than what is needed! I don’t want to aimlessly run through the snow trying to avoid creatures that I can’t see!”
“Where’s your sense of adventure? It’s fine. Okay, I’ll go, and you can wait here…. alone.” The sarcasm of the statement was thick.
“Don’t leave me! I don’t want to be alone.” Her voice was small. The fear had consumed her. She was hugging the little grey cat in her arms, letting the vibrations of the cat’s purr sooth her anxiety.
“Well then, let’s get going.”
Robin wiped the tears from her eyes as she kicked dirt onto the fire. She didn’t want her tears freezing to her skin again. She bundled her coat around her and her cat, placing her book back into her bag, before venturing out to the void of the mountain top; hoping the next mountain that they climbed would bring them back to the Ice King’s palace.
“So, what you’re basically telling me is that you have no idea how you did it? That’s rich. Nobody with magic ever reveals their secrets.” Charles rolled his eyes as he listened to Thea’s story of how she freed his soul from the purple crystal in the Kingdom of Owls.
“Seriously! I don’t know how to explain it. It didn’t feel like when I make a fireball appear, or a mud troll…. it’s just different. I’ve tried to control other objects, I just can’t! I have no idea how I did it.” Thea shrugged her shoulders as she adjusted her coat; Fig was trying to lay on her shoulders, making it difficult to stay fully covered by the fabric. “I’m cold too, cat.” She said in a cooing tone, as she scratched him under his chin.
The climb to the top of the Izotza mountain was getting colder the farther they went. Thea, Dean and Charles were accompanied by Fig, as they went to visit the Ice King. They were trying to keep the conversation light – trying to ignore the growing concern in the pit of their stomachs for their missing friend, Robin. Fig on the other hand, was more concerned with the shadowy figure that had been following them off and on during their climb. Lilly Quinn had been stalking them ever since they left Dean’s cabin the previous day. The little tabby’s fur would stand on end, and Thea would gently pet the cat, trying to not let on that she too saw Lilly through the trees.
“So, you just got really emotional and then everything in the room started to attack the crystal. That’s how you did it?” Dean’s brow was furrowed as he couldn’t wrap his head around what she was saying.
“From what Sorgin and Agatha had taught me, only a Supreme witch can control the ‘Ether’ which I guess is like the void around everything that we can’t see. Like the energy in the air, the little tiny particles of dust you can see in the sunshine, the momentum of movement…. I don’t know guys, I just did it. I don’t know how to