Category Archives: Fiction

Harry Potter’s Back (and more)!

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Art by Kazu Kibuishi

For more than a year, muggles, witches, and wizards alike have been asking us when we would bring back our Harry Potter discussion groups for 8-17 year-olds. We are thrilled to announce that Prefects and Junior Prefects are back at Carbon Valley Regional Library in Firestone and Erie Community Library. Both libraries are part of High Plains Library District where they know all about the magic of reading!

All of our discussion groups are conducted according to our Geek Philosophy method that encourages young people to speak and listen to each other in a spirit of wholehearted inquiry. We can’t think of a better way to approach the thought-provoking works of J.K. Rowling. 

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Send us an owl: What are the most important lessons you have learned from Harry Potter?

There is one catch to all this, however. Junior Prefects and Prefects in the High Plains Library District are being run as pilot projects. In order to continue the discussions past February, we need to show that young witches and wizards are excited to gather once a month or more to talk about magic! Please sign up and tell your friends!

Carbon Valley meetings will take place on the first Tuesdays of the month, beginning December 6. Junior Prefects meet 4:30-5:30 p.m. Prefects meet 6:30-7:30 p.m.

8-11 year-olds: Register for Junior Prefects here.

12-17 year-olds: Register for Prefects here.

Erie Community Library meetings will take place on the second Tuesdays of the month, beginning December 13. Junior Prefects meet 4:30-5:30 p.m. Prefects meet 6:30-7:30 p.m.

8-11 year-olds: Register for Junior Prefects here.

12-17 year-olds: Register for Prefects here.

Are you a Jedi as well as a wizard? Register for Fandoms Unite: A Star Wars Story to share your excitement about Rogue One and all things Star Wars with fans your own age! The story begins on December 1 at 4 p.m. Register here. May the Force be with you!

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Be sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for event updates. From time to time, events open up for an expanded age group or new spaces are added. Don’t miss out on the magic! 

You can get more information and register for any High Plains Library District programs by calling 1-888-861-7323. 

“From one explorer to another, thanks.”

Nimoy Tribute by Courtney (Cropped)
A Tribute to Leonard Nimoy drawn by Courtney, a GHYA artist, at a Grey Havens YA event planning meeting. We decided that our skit for this year’s symposium will pay tribute to Leonard Nimoy.
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Some Grey Havens YA members honor Nimoy with the Vulcan salute at the close of our meeting.

Send Us an Owl: Are you an explorer? What are your favorite worlds to explore in books, TV shows or movies?

We Apologize for the Interruption in the AWESOME!

If you know our Grey Havens Ya Awesome Box, you probably know that it is always on duty. The Awesome Box never takes a break. It is always there, in a library somewhere in the universe, waiting to discover all of the worlds that reading opens to us. We at Grey Havens YA, however, can sometimes get a little distracted. We have been busy preparing for our fabulous Blind Date with a Book fundraiser that took place on Valentine’s Day, a new activity called Fitness for Nerds that took place that very same evening and our upcoming Real Myth Symposium. That is why our report from the Awesome Box parked at Frederick High School is coming to you just a tad bit late.

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Here are some of our volunteers preparing for Fitness for Nerds.
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We want to be in shape in case we have to run for another blue box when it suddenly appears.

Here, at last, are some of the books that students at Frederick High School thought were AWESOME.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. In an articulate review, this book was described as being about “[a]n independent, intelligent young woman in 18th century England who refuses to conform to society’s standards.” It is recommended for “anyone who likes complex, relatable, characters and some witty humor.”

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Into the Wild by John Krakaur was recommended with the endorsement, “Chasing dreams, yo!” We agree that this inspirational adventure tale is about exactly that and would appeal to anyone who has ever dreamed of setting off on a life-changing journey. You don’t even need a blue box to do it!

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson was recommended for “those who love plot twists.” The Doctor adores plots twists like the ones in this book of complicated magic. In fact, he believes that the universe is full of them!

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Finally, the Awesome Box received a strong recommendation for Mistborn, the first of a trilogy also by Brandon Sanderson. “It was amazing. Every detail matters. It was a twist of suspense and action.”

We at Grey Havens YA very much appreciated the thoughtfulness of the book suggestions made by FHS students. There are more to come, not only from Frederick but from Mead High School, Westview Middle School, Altona Middle School and the Longmont Library. The Awesome Box is currently visiting two others schools in the area. We hope to have enough recommendations to take you all the way through the summer! Allons-y!

Send Us an Owl: What do you think of these books? Do you have suggestions of your own?

Heroes of Rune Chapter 5 (finally)

Círdan’s note: Many suns have passed, and I’ve grown no closer to uncovering the secret of the World of Rune. I had begun to worry I would never find any other texts aside from Chapters 1, 2, 3, or 4. But Huzzah! I’ve just come across this scroll from spock0528: “Sorry guys. This one took me a while. New chapters coming soon!” Could it be? See for yourself in Chapter 5 below!

Chapter 5

Farion Stormborn

The soldiers of the Eastirim marched all throughout the night. What was needed was quickly packed up and what was not was left behind. Armor was hastily shoved on, weapons stored, and the massive war machines were loaded up for transport on wooden carts. Renly quickly put on Farion’s armor. Farion was impressed with how efficiently he did it. The armor of the Eastirim was a set of overlapping steel plates that covered the body. The armor was designed to take hits with light and medium weapons effectively but also allowed the wearer to have quite a bit of maneuvering room. It was not the strongest but it would not slow the person wearing it down too much. The helmet covered the entire face except for two narrow slits for eyeholes. The top of the helmet was an iron spike that, if necessary, could be used as a weapon. Each standard Eastirim soldier was equipped with a large sword and a small round shield. The sword was large but it could still be wielded with just one hand by strong warriors. The shield was small but powerful and it was often used to slam enemies to the ground rather than block attacks. In half an hour the entire army was gone from the campsite. Only tents and campfires, still smoking, were left. The men were gone. The battle for the fate of Rune was about to begin.

Farion marched beside Mason and Heimgal the whole way to Pymnimily. Renly had gone to join the rest of the squires. He would meet up with Farion when they reached their destination. The march was a hard one. The Zarkaran had chosen an excellent time to attack. The scout had reported that he had seen a fleet of Zarkaran warships heading for the beach near Pymnimily from the old watchtower stationed there. When the Eastirim arrived it would be in the wee hours of the morning. The men would have been marching all night and in no condition to fight. It was the perfect strategy for taking Pymnimily valley.

Fighting back the urge to yawn, Farion continued to move at a brisk pace. He could not afford to be tired, but it was hopeless. By the time the battle had started he would have been awake for more that 24 hours. He felt his eyelids start to close and his pace begin to slow. He jerked himself awake. He bit his tongue as hard as he could without biting it off to prevent himself from drowsing off again. He had to focus.

Around five in the morning the weary party of soldiers arrived at Pymnimily. The valley itself was a narrow passage only around 20 feet wide and 15 feet tall. It was an ideal place for an invasion because numbers did not matter in such a narrow pass. Here both armies, no matter their size, were equal. On the opposite side of the valley there was a sandy shore and after that the River Tywin. Farion could see around 50 Zarkaran warships closing in. The black sails of the approaching ships fluttered in the breeze. Farion knew that each ship could hold around 300 troops. That meant that the Zarkarans were outnumbered by around 3,000. This, in any other battle, would affect the outcome but this was Pymnimily. It would be anyones guess on who would be victorious.

Pymnimily’s southern side was home to the Great Watchtower. It was an ancient tall structure, built before the time of Drake Furror, and it was where Acosor stood when he separated Rune into two and created the River Tywin. At the very top of the tower there was a telescope put in place by Drake Furror so that when the Zarkarans rose again the Eastirim could spot them from a long way off. The telescope could see for many miles and it was what the scout used to spot the incoming warships. Farion could see General Icarus and his commanding officers ascending the steep stone steps of the watchtower.

Renly approached Farion. He wore leather armor and had a sword strapped to his side. He began to tighten Farion’s armor straps and polish his sword. “You scared, boy?” Farion asked. Renly nodded. “Good, that means you’re not stupid.” Farion suddenly remembered that Diggle had said the same thing to him before his first battle. He had quoted Diggle without even realizing it. “We won’t call you in unless you’re really needed,” Farion said. Serving Farion was not Renly’s only duty. During the battle Renly would assist the archers stationed along the top of the valley along with the other squires. If the Eastirim were losing too many men the archers and squires would be called down to fight and Farion and Renly knew every last man (or boy) would be needed. Farion put his hand on Renly’s shoulder. “May Anirab guide your sword,” Renly said. “And yours as well,” Farion replied. It was the standard warriors farewell, but Farion knew that Anirab wouldn’t be guiding his sword today. Anirab hadn’t guided Farion’s sword since the death of Jeremy. He just hoped he didn’t need it now.

Soon after Renly went to join the archers at the top of the valley a loud horn blast came from the Great Watchtower. General Icarus stood at the top of the tower with the mighty horn he had just blew from in one hand and his sword in the other. The design on his breastplate was that of the Golden Dragon of Acosor and he wore no helmet.

“Warriors of Rune,” he shouted. His voice sounded like thunder. “They mean to destroy us. They mean to take our land. To take our women and children. To destroy what has stood for centuries and what will continue to stand for a millennia,” he bellowed. The men looked up. Suddenly they didn’t feel so tired anymore. They now had energy. An energy no man of Rune was without. The energy of battle. “Well I don’t know about you”, Icarus said with sword raised high in the air. “But I’m not planning on dying on the edge of a sword being held by a Zarkaran dog.” The men cheered. The warships were drawing closer to the beach. The catapults were assembled and were being loaded with boulders. The ships were almost at the beach. The men were forming up. The archers were readying their flaming arrows. Farion tightened his hand around the hilt of his sword. The catapults were ready. The ships were in range.

“Fire,” General Icarus yelled. Boulders flew high into the air. There was a moment of silence where the rocks spun through the air silently like a leaf on the wind. Then the boulders found their targets. Several boulders crashed harmlessly into the water but others found their mark. A warship got a boulder right through its hull and it sank into the river in seconds. Another warship got a boulder right through the mast, knocking the ship over. It swerved into another ship sending the men onboard flying. The first wave of rocks had been devastating to the Zarkaran fleet but there was no time for a second. The first warships had arrived at the beach and the men onboard lept off, ready to fight.

“Archers, nock,” General Icarus said. Thousands of arrows were loaded into their bows. “Draw.” Thousands of bows were drawn back, ready to fire. “Loose.” Thousands of arrows curved up into the air then plummeted into the waves of Zarkaran troops. Many men went down but there were still more coming. The final ships had arrived at the beach. The Zarkarans began to run at the Eastirim, swords flailing about wildly.

“Charge,” shouted the general. The Eastirim drew their swords and the men at the front began to sprint towards the invaders. The rest of the army followed and in a matter of seconds all of Pymnimily valley was filled with troops. It was important to get to the Zarkaran before they put up the shield wall. Zarkaran armor was light but what they lacked in protection on their bodies they made up for with their legendary shield wall. The Zarkarans’ shields were long, heavy, curved rectangles made of iron. The shields could be connected side by side with metal hooks. The soldiers behind raised their shields overhead to protect from arrows and the soldiers on the side turned outward and connected their shields with the men next to them. The result was a wall that was not vulnerable on any side. The Zarkarans’ shields each had small slits in them. Too small for an Eastirim sword to get through but small enough for the Zarakarans to get their thin narrow blades through. The men trying to break the shield wall would have to deal with thin blades stabbing them through the chest, throat, and head. The Zarkarans could kill hundreds of Eastirim without losing a single man. The key to beating the Zarkaran in combat was to get to them before they formed their shield wall.

The two armies ran through the valley, swords raised. Farion ran with all his might. Getting to the Zarkarans before their shields were up would be a crucial part of winning the battle. The Eastirim army was almost to the Zarkarans, but all of a sudden the Zarkarans stopped. They rose their shields and hooked them together. Exhausted, Farion ran with all his might but it was too late. The shield wall was closed. It was too late. Farion tried to slow down to prevent from crashing into the wall but he was going too fast. He rammed into a shield with all his might hoping that it might collapse. The shield barely moved. The other men were ramming into the shields with the same success Farion had had. The Eastirim were now extremely vulnerable to the Zarkaran’s thin blades. Farion was pierced through the shoulder by one of the blades, and he grunted in pain. The man next to him was impaled through the throat with the little blade. All around him men were dropping, pierced by the Zarkaran’s swords. The sword emerged from the shield, like a snake coming out of a hole, but this time Farion was ready for it. He brought his sword up and sliced the Zarkarans sword in two. He then repeatedly slammed his sword into the shield. Farion noticed that Heimgal was doing the same thing. Soon men all around them were working to try and bring down the shield wall. At first there was nothing, but then a shield cracked. Then another. Then another. The Eastirim in front cut down the Zarkaran holding the shattered shields. The men flooded into the collapsing shield wall. They had done it! They had broken through. But not without a price. Eastirim dead lay scattered around them, suffering from multiple puncture wounds to the head and chest. Some were dead, others lay drowning in their own blood. Farion charged into the Zarkaran army. He cut down the first Zarkaran soldier he saw. He never even knew what hit him.

Now that the Zarkaran shield wall had been broken the Zarkarans dropped their heavy shields and drew a second of the light and narrow Zarkaran blades. Their swords weren’t as powerful as the Eastirim weapons but they were fast and they had a nasty knack of finding even the narrowest gaps in Eastirim armor.

A tall Zarkaran warrior attacked Farion, swinging his two swords at him in a flashing arc. Farion parried the attack and stabbed the man through the chest with his sword. He hit him with his shield so hard that his neck snapped and the Zarkaran fell to the ground in a heap. Farion saw Mason battling a Zarkaran. Mason had broken one of the Zarkaran’s swords and the Zarkaran was backing away. Mason moved in but the Zarkaran dropped his sword and lept up. Farion saw a hidden blade shoot out of his sleeve and the Zarkaran stuck it into Masons head. Farion moved towards the soldier who had just killed Mason but he was intercepted by a Zarkaran holding a battle axe. Farion was knocked to the ground and the soldier with the battle axe stood over him, grinning. As the axe flashed down towards Farion a spear went through the Zarkaran’s heart. Gendri stood behind the dead Zarkaran. He nodded to Farion and Farion nodded back. Farion stood up and surveyed the battle. The Eastirim were pushing Zarkaran back. Their progress was slow but they were making it. They were winning! They were actually going to win!

But then there came a horrible roar from the beach. Both the Zarkaran and Eastirim soldiers turned to look towards the horrible noise. The noise was coming from a wrecked ship that had washed up on the shore. Suddenly the ships hull exploded and something lept out. It was seven feet tall and dressed in the ceremonial robes of Udun, the Zarkaran god of war. It wore an elaborate headdress that was decorated in various animal skulls. In its hands were a mace and a sword both as tall as the figure itself. It stood on the beach and shrieked. A noise that would make the hair on even the bravest man’s neck stand on end. The Zarkarans began to cheer and every Eastirim’s heart was struck with fear. It was a Shaman of Udun. The shaman charged, straight at Farion.

There are many legends and myths about the Shamans of Udun. Some say they are men given the powers of a demon by the war god himself. Others say they are wholly demon, the children of Poshrux. Some even say they are the products of Zarkaran experiments on there own troops, experiments designed to create the perfect warrior. No matter what anyone thought, no one could deny that their appearances were extremely rare. They are believed to guard the temples of the gods in Zarkaran, and they rarely ventured onto the battlefield, but it is not unheard of for one to lead the Zarkarans into battle.

The Zarkaran soldiers lept out of the way of the charging shaman, Those that were too slow were crushed under the shamans massive feet. Heimgal gave a battle cry and ran directly at the fastly approaching shaman. With a single blow from the shaman’s mace Heimgal was sent flying. He slammed into a rock and lay still. The Zarkarans cheered again. They knew their savior had come.

The shaman was not slowed down by its massive size. It had gone from the beach to the Eastirim side of the battlefield in just a few steps. The shaman was just meters from Farion. He stared into the eyeholes of the shaman’s headdress. He saw nothing. At the last possible second Farion lept to the side, just out of the creatures reach. As he did so he raked his sword across the shaman’s thigh. The shaman kept running, unaware of the bleeding gash in its leg.

“At least it’ll bleed,” Farion thought to himself. The shaman crashed into the Eastirim soldiers, knocking them senseless. It swung it’s mace and sword taking men out left and right. Farion saw him impale two men at once with its sword and lift them high into the air. Farion had to get its attention. He grabbed a dagger from the ground and threw it at the shaman’s head. The dagger went through the back of the shamans skull and stuck out its forehead. That got its attention. It turned around and located Farion. Then it charged again.

Despite the fact that it had a dagger sticking through its head, it didn’t seem hurt. Only angry. Farion was surprised. That should have killed the creature instead he was its next target. Just as the shaman reached Farion he dove to the side and jumped onto the back of the shaman, his sword raised high. But the shaman appeared to be expecting this. Before Farion could plunge his sword into the shamans back it grabbed him and threw him off. Farion was airborne. He landed hard on a large rock. The creature dropped its sword and grabbed the mace with both hands, moving in for the kill. Farion couldn’t move. His collision with the rock had knocked the wind out of him and he lay there, gasping. The shaman was nearly on him when Farion saw Renly, out of the corner of his eye, stab the shaman in the leg with his sword. They must have needed the squires!

When Renly stabbed the shaman he must have severed some kind of artery. The shaman shrieked and twisted around awkwardly, hitting Renly with the back of his hand. Renly was knocked over and Farion saw blood pouring out of his check. The sword was left quivering in the shaman’s calf.

The breath had returned to Farion’s lungs. He jumped to his feet and ran at the shaman, hoping to get there before the shaman killed Renly. Just as the shaman raised his mace over the collapsed Renly, Farion reached the shaman and swung his sword aiming for his neck. But again the shaman seemed to be expecting it. The shaman grabbed Renly’s sword, ripped it out of his calf, and plunged it into Farion’s side. Farion dropped to one knee. Blood gushed from the hole in his chest. Even though the pain was excruciating Farion climbed to his feet and ripped Renly’s sword out of his side. The wound began to bleed faster but Farion didn’t have time to notice. Using every last bit of energy he could muster, he picked up his sword and ran for the rock he had been thrown into earlier. The shaman followed quickly. He had to get to the rock before the shaman got him or else he would be finished. Just a few more feet. He had to make it.

With one final burst of strength Farion leaped onto the rock twisted around and jumped again. The shaman swung at him with its mace but it had aimed too low. Farion passed over the shaman’s mace and brought his sword down through the horrible creature’s head. The shaman was slammed to the ground and Farion’s blade stuck deep into the earth, pinning the shaman there. The shaman twitched, but, after a few seconds, it finally stopped and died.

A cheer went up from the Eastirim side. The shaman was dead. But the battle was far from over. Farion fell to his knees. He couldn’t see Renly anywhere. Then, to his surprise, the shaman’s body withered away and turned to dust. All that was left was a pile of ash and and a sword, deeply embedded in the ground. The Zarkarans starred in shock. Then they charged forward in one final push. Farion tried to stand but he had lost too much blood. Fighting the shaman had taken him far away from the rest of the Eastirim army. He lay there, without a weapon and completely defenseless. The Eastirim charged at the approaching Zarkarans, but they would not reach him in time. The last thing Farion remembered before he blacked out was a heavy boot of soldier, he could not tell whether he was Zarkaran or Eastirim, coming down onto his head.

Send us an owl: What’s going to happen to Farion? Tell me, I must know! …Ahem, excuse me.  Wow, what a thrilling tale! Please share your thoughts for spock0528 below and keep a lookout for Chapter 6. 

Heroes of Rune Chapter 3

Cirdan’s Note: I’m pleased to introduce to you another installment from our very own spock0528. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been itching to find out more about the World of Rune! Make sure you’ve read the prologue,  chapter one, and chapter two before continuing on the journey below!

Chapter 3

Darius

Darius ran quickly over the cobbled stones, past a row of shopkeepers and through a narrow alley. As he ran he adjusted the strap on his courier bag. He was going to be late. Darius quickly sidestepped a merchant carrying a basket of a fruit on his head. He could see his destination just ahead. With a flying leap he jumped over the stone steps and skidded to a stop just in front of the door to the couriers office. He flung open the door and darted inside. Madame Dreyfus looked up from a stack of papers. “Ah, Darius, did you bring the message from the minstrels guild?” she asked in her dry nasally voice. “Yes Mam,” Darius said as he pulled out the envelope marked with a red seal. “They have everything ready for Lord Seacrests arrival.” “Excellent, now I think you’re wanted back at the palace,” Madame Dreyfus said taking the envelope. “Yes Mam,” Darius said as he exited the office.

Darius strolled through the streets of Teroh. He was approaching the palace, a massive tower that rose so high into the sky it’s head was not visible from the street. Etched into the side of tower was a gold dragon that curled all the way up the tower like a coiled rope. Surrounding the single tower was a courtyard with several small official structures inside it. This was the mighty castle of Teroh, the home of the great King Alistair, the mighty stronghold of the Eastirim. At each of the corners of the square courtyard were the four gates into the palace. Above each gate was a statue of one of the four gods. Each statue towered above the gate so that while walking through a gate you would go under the statue’s legs. Right in front of him was the North Gate and a golden statue of Acosor holding in one hand a sword and in the other a scepter.  As Darius drew closer to the center of the kingdom, the people he encountered grew more official looking and the merchants and street vendors began to diminish. The people here were dressed in fine robes and some wore armor and carried swords. The buildings became taller and less ramshackled. The road sloped steeply upward now, and Darius began to tire.

The city of Teroh was built into the side of a mountain with the palace at the top. Buildings were built on all sides of the mountain and long walkways extended from its many towers. Most structures were made of sandstone and the towers near the top of the mountain were capped with gold and red. Flags fluttered in the gentle breeze of a mid-spring day and the waters of Lake Teroh sparkled below. Teroh was a mass of buildings all stacked on top of each other and all sticking out at odd angles. To the a person viewing the rest of Teroh from the street it was a crazy mess of people and buildings. But from afar it looked as if it were one giant structure instead of the thousands of individual ones. It was quite the view, and Darius saw it everyday.

Darius was part of a special program for orphans in the city of Teroh. Darius had entered the city at the age of ten claiming his parents were killed by bandits. Instead of being put up for adoption he was selected by Master Pibb, the head of the program, to become a royal aid. There were about 15 orphans working as aids at a time and each one was selected from the orphanage by their devotion and loyalty to the kingdom. The aids worked a variety of important jobs around the kingdom. Darius had been a personal assistant to several important lords and helped in the royal kitchens. He had even been the king’s food taster for a while. And now he was working as a courier. The aids did whatever was needed. The program also allowed the orphans to experience a variety of jobs. If they excelled at a job, one of the masters of that trade could select them as an apprentice. It gave the orphans a chance to learn trades that they would have learned if they had parents.

Darius had pale skin, quite unusual for an Eastirim, so unusual many believed he had a skin disease, and blue eyes. His short raven black hair fell loosely in front of his eyes and he was constantly brushing it out of the way. He was around 14 years old (he claimed he had lost track of his birthday) and was just two years away from being chosen as an apprentice by one of the masters. Darius did not know what he would be chosen for. He was decent in all of the areas he had tried but didn’t really excel at any one. Darius found it hard to fit in in Teroh. It was so different from his homeland. He had friends, other orphans in the program, but he spent most of his time by himself. It gave him more time to reflect, to plan, to figure out how to get out of here.

As Darius approached the palace, he ran into Master Pibb. “Ah Darius, I was looking for you,” he said. Master Pibb was a heavy man with a bald shiny head and a pinkish face. Darius guessed that Master Pibb was around 50 but it was hard to tell with his bald head. “I assume Madame Dreyfus got her messages on time?” he asked. “Yes Master Pibb,” he said quickly. Darius got nervous when he talked to Master Pibb. He got nervous when he talked to any official. “I have new orders from Sir Roddick,” Master Pibb replied. Sir Roddick was in in charge of the army in Teroh. “You know very well of Lord Seacrest’s arrival here next week.” Darius nodded. “There is a tournament in his honor. Lord Nicholas Snow v.s. William Gore. You are to clean and polish Sir Gore’s armor and weapons. Make sure there shining! They will be collected tonight so hurry on down to the barracks”. Darius gave a “yes sir” to Master Pibb and headed around to the East Gate where the barracks were.

Darius cursed under his breath. He would be up all night polishing William Gore’s armor. If that even was his real name. Sir William Gore was probably the biggest man in Eastirim. He had bright red hair and was seven feet tall and he looked about seven feet wide too! He had become famous for winning a duel without any weapon when his opponent carried a great broadsword. He had simply grabbed the sword, broke it in two with his own bare hands and smashed the mans head open like a watermelon. This had earned him the name of “Gore.” Or so the story went. Darius doubted it was true, but either way he felt sorry for Nicholas Snow, whoever that was. He seemed to remember hearing it somewhere but he couldn’t remember where. Since Sir Gore was so big, special armor three times the normal size had to be built for him. Three times the size meant three times the polishing, and that meant Darius was going to have a very late night.

On the way to the East Gate Darius heard a commotion. As he drew closer he saw a man standing on top of a crate with a group of people standing around him, listening to him shout. “The last of the Turks are dead! Methelga and Fayrx were caught a fortnight ago near Farbean.”

Darius knew of the Turks. For a while they were the most powerful family in Zarkaran, second only to the King himself. Baron Ramm Turk, the head of the family, was the King’s most trusted advisor. The Turks basically had their own private army that they lent out to the King in time of trouble. Around five years ago the Turks had gotten cocky. They had launched an attack on an Eastirim city called Pinebone. They had burnt the city to the ground, killed its men and taken its women and children away to work as slaves. This caused outrage from the Eastirim and it nearly started a full scale war. The war was prevented when the Zarkakran government claimed the Turks had acted without permission from the government but the Zarkarans still protected the Turks. Action needed to be taken. An Eastirim raiding party attacked the Turks mansion and killed almost everyone inside including the Baron himself. Only a few stragglers had escaped and for the last half a decade the hunt was on. Now the last of them had been caught and killed. This move had not caused war right away, but Darius and many others believed the Turks were the main reason the Zarkarans were rumored to be attacking the north of Eastirim.

“Second cousins of the great baron himself,” the man on the crate shouted. Darius noted that he spit as he said the word “baron.” “Tracked down and killed like the dogs they were,” he shouted as the public viewing his rant cheered.

Darius moved on. He was going to to have to get a start on that armor sometime. He moved through the riled up crowd and continued on to the barracks. So the last of the Turks were dead. Darius thought about it. He had been hearing about the manhunt for years now. Darius continued to think about it. Then he smiled under his breath.

Polishing the armor took his whole afternoon and most of his evening and when he was done a burly attendant collected it with a grunt. Darius headed back to his house that he shared with three other orphans in the program, his arms sore and calloused from the job he had just completed. The others were not back yet. Good, he had time for it. Darius lit four candles and placed them in each corner of the room. He pulled up a loose floorboard near his bed and removed a small item from it. He sat in the middle of the room and put the item in his lap. Darius murmured a few words under his breath. “Ncvx delagreen xuqrt merkxh,” he said as if he was in a trance. He looked back at the door, his eyes wide. If someone walked in and saw this… He put his hand over the item and whispered a few more words. “lmbn haxcv uiz,” he said quickly. He then put out the candles and placed the item back in its safe spot in the floorboard. The item was a small stone statue of Azolael, the Zarkaran god. It was the last thing given to him by his father. His father, Baron Ramm Turk.

Send us an owl: Whoa! Twist! What did you think? Stay tuned for Chapter 4 coming soon!

Box Moves On, AWESOME Sticks Around!

We are very grateful to Longmont’s Westview Middle School for hosting our Awesome Box in their fabulous library! It is time for the blue box to move on but we received so many thoughtful book recommendations from Westview students that there will be many more reports to come from the Awesome Box’s time there.

Here are some of the stories Westview students thought were AWESOME! If, like the blue box, you are traveling for the holidays, you might want to take one of these great reads with you.

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Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter is recommended for “people who like Divergent, Hunger Games, Maze Runner or just people who like magic and love books. It is great!”

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson is described as “really, completely awesome” and is recommended for fifth graders in particular.

Deep, Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn is recommended for “kids who like spooky.” There is nothing like a good ghost story on a chilly night! Even a Time Lord can get the shivers from a good book, which reminds us….

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Shiver, a scary novel by Maggie Stiefvater is recommended for sixth graders. You might want to check out some of Stiefvater’s other atmospheric reads, including The Raven Cycle.

Finally, Looking for Alaska by John Green is recommended for “…dear friends and family that have given up.” Thank you for the touching recommendation. We love stories that remind us that there is always hope!

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Watch this space for more AWESOME recommendations from Westview Middle School, Altona Middle School and the Longmont Public Library. If you are a student at Westview, you can find more AWESOME book suggestions posted in your school library and, of course, it is always wise to ask a librarian. We think some of them might be Time Lords!

Click here for more AWESOME recommendations from Longmont students!

Here is a tip for AWESOME spotters: We hear rumors that the box might be traveling outside of the Longmont city limits soon. The Doctor mentioned that he would love to see more of Colorado and has always wanted to visit Frederick and Mead!

Heroes of Rune Chapter 1

Cirdan’s Note: I’m pleased to introduce to you another installment from our very own spock0528. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been itching to find out more about the World of Rune! Have you read the prologue yet?

Chapter I

Farion Stormborn

    Farion Stormborn crouched over the Cliffs of Rylonth watching the ocean swirl around the treacherous rocks below. He was doing one final check for signs of the enemy but could find nothing. It was the end of his second night there and he was ready to return to camp. There he would find a sleeping mat (only slightly more comfortable than the ground he had been forced to rest on here), a warm fire, and the comfort of his friends. Farion decided to make one final sweep of the cliffs before starting the long trip back. He collected his gear and slung the little that he had with him over his back. Farion had brought: two weeks supplies of rations, a cloak, a small hunting bow and arrows, a compass, and a his large broadsword. His mission was based entirely on stealth so he bore no flint or steal or any means of making a fire. He also was not permitted to bring a horse, so a mission which would have taken two days was now stretched into a week…

     Farion completed his detailed sweep of the cliffs in less than a hour. Satisfied that there were no signs of Zarkaran forces, Farion began heading southeast towards the Eastirim camp. Even though he had thoroughly examined the three miles of land that looked over the cliffs he couldn’t help but look back at them one last time.

     Rylonth overlooked the Aldren sea that the river Tywin ran into. Steep and slippery, climbing the caves would pose a challenge to even the most advanced climber. Dozens of unexplored caves were also embedded into the cliff walls. Rylonth would serve as a sneaky way into Eastirim and with enough time and proper climbing gear the Zarkaran could send in a large invasion force and be halfway to Teroh before an alarm was sounded. That was why Farion Stormborn, an elite soldier of Anirab, had been sent to scout out the cliffs.

    Two weeks ago Eastirim spies posted in Ruir, the Zarkaran capitol, had warned the Eastirim of an invading force heading across the river Tywin towards Eastirim. Less than a week ago the messages had stopped coming. The army had no idea of the location that the Zarkaran would be invading from but there would be three possible location where an attack might come from. The were the beach of Baywater to the west, the valley of Pynimily, and to the very east the Cliffs of Rylonth. Scouts had been sent to all three locations and Farion being an expert tracker and woodsman was chosen as one of them. But he had found nothing and Farion was not surprised. Climbing the cliffs was something that took time and it was something the Zarkarans did not have now that their plan to invade had been discovered.

    Not since the time of Drake Furror had the Zarkaran been in Eastirim and the idea of them returning worried Farion. He had heard of them gathering their strength for an invasion but the idea had always seemed far away to him. For while the gods had all but disappeared from the lives of the Eastirim they had not so from the Zarkaran. They remained visiting often and the idea of the creatures of Ncava being unleashed into Eastirim was enough to upset even the most hardened warrior.

    Farion was just over 30 years old though his eyes showed the light of a man who had been through much more than your average 30 year old.  He had long dark hair that matched his dark skin that all Eastirim had. His eyes were bright green and bore a long dark blue cloak that concealed his sword that was draped across his back. He was from the city of Bahruna and was one of the city’s elite guards. Though he lived in Bahruna, Farion had spent the first half of his life training to be a soldier in Teroh. He had left his parents when he was five years old to train to be a servant of Anirab or a temple guard. 16 years later Farion was stationed at the Temple of Melgen (a lesser entity who had helped the gods in the Ancient War) in Bahruna. Within his first day there he uncovered a conspiracy to kill the governor of Bahruna. He was immediately promoted to head guard. In his first year he was offered a chance to become a priest of Anirab but he declined. He said a soldier’s place was protecting the city but that was not why Farion had declined. Farion despised the gods. 

    But it was not always so. Farion’s parents will tell they never saw a boy more devoted to serving the gods of Fabeu. And it was true but now Farion had no time for foolish deities that had abandoned him and his people hundreds of years ago. He did not deny their existence but he knew they would never return to Eastirim and he was glad of it. He wore the sign of Anirab because it was expected of him. He worshiped and did the ancient rituals every year because it was expected of him. And he prayed with his family each night because it was expected of him. When the others praised Acosor he cursed him under his breath. For the abandonment of this world was not the only reason Farion loathed the gods.

    Farion trekked through the forest. He was making good time. By this rate he would be there tomorrow by mid-day. The Melegren forest Farion was travelling through was uninhabited. In fact the nearest town was several miles away, a town called Sandfly. Farion had been there many times and he looked forward at stopping there tomorrow at noon and having lunch and whiskey at The Wand and the Barrel if he had time.

    As he was crossing a small stream Farion noticed a hizzleberry bush growing by it’s shore. The bright yellow oval shaped berries reminded Farion immediately of his youngest son Brandon. Brandon loved hizzleberrys. He ate them until his face was bright yellow. Most children avoided the sour berries like the plague but Brandon ate them by the pound. Brandon was funny that way. He was six years old, the youngest of Farion’s two children. His oldest daughter was named Tamriel and she wanted to be Eastirim’s first female prophet. She was only 15 but she had spent her short time on this earth learning as much as she could about the ancient gods. Farion and his wife Elba were both very proud of her and encouraged her. Well, Farion tried to encourage her. It’s hard when your daughter wants to be a representative for the thing you hate. He wanted her to be happy and if that meant her pursuing a career as a prophet would make her so he would be happy too.

    Farion had meant Elba in Bahruna and the two fell in love immediately. He hated to leave his family but before he had gone off with the army he had told his wife he had to fight for Eastirim. Not for the gods but for Eastirim. Elba with tears running down her face asked “How do you know you will come back?. “I promise I’ll come back to you,” he had said. Brandon and Tamriel were both hugging him. ” Promise?” Brandon asked. “Promise,” Farion said. “Swear on the gods,” Tamriel said. “I swear,” Farion said. and holding back tears he walked out the door. 

    The last conversation he had with his family ran over and over again in his mind. “Swear on the gods,” Tamriel had said. Farion had thought of the gods as nothing and he was pretty sure that swearing on nothing wasn’t a good sign.

 Send us an owl: What do you think will happen to Farion?

The Latest in Awesome!

Have you been following the adventures of our AWESOME blue box? It is currently parked at the Longmont Public Library in Longmont, Colorado where patrons are encouraged to leave behind their book recommendations so that a certain Time Lord can find them. Even a traveler in time and space occasionally needs help figuring out what to read next.

Here is what you thought was AWESOME!

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The Blood of Olympus Book 5 in Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan. Watch the trailer for the book!

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly  is recommended for middle school students. This moving piece of historical fiction received a 2010 Newbery Honor Award.

A Journey to the Center of the Earth is described as “a very cool story” in both the original and abridged versions. Read the book then check out the movie!

Grimm’s Fairytales comes highly recommended for teens who enjoy fantasy stories. Here is another version and another! If you want to spend more time in the sometimes dark world created by the Brothers Grimm, you can check out these works of contemporary fiction based on the famous tales: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz and The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Whatever you decide to read this week, we hope it takes you on a memorable adventure. Watch this site for AWESOME recommendations from the students at Altona Middle School in Longmont!

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You can find even more AWESOME recommendations here and you can always click on our AWESOME BOX page, located in our “About” menu, to learn about recent blue box sightings.

Remembering Tolkien on the Day of the Dead

Longmont, Colorado is not only home to Grey Havens YA and its parent organization, the Grey Havens Group, it is also the home to a beloved annual exhibition celebrating Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead. The exhibit features beautiful altars, carefully constructed labors of love, honoring the lives of those who changed ours. This year, the Grey Havens Group and Grey Havens YA contributed an altar in memory of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and the first book Grey Havens YA ever discussed as a group, The Hobbit.

These are the skulls decorated by our YA members. You really have to see them in person to appreciate all the inspired details. For photos of the altar itself, click on this link.

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The exhibition runs through November 9 at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center at 400 Quail Road Longmont, Colorado.

Send us an owl: Has an author who is no longer living inspired you enough to remember him or her on the Day of the Dead? If so, who?

The World of Rune prologue and preview

Cirdan’s Note: By the sea and stars, I have stumbled upon a most fascinating text! Our very own spock0528 has uncovered an ancient scroll that he thought would be of some interest to us. Read his findings below.

Heroes of

Rune

Part 1

 

Prologue

Of Gods and Men

“For the great god Acosor rode on the Golden Dragon from his Kingdom, Fabeu and discovered Rune, land of mortals. He taught the Eastirim, a then primitive tribe of Rune the ways of his kingdom and the ways of his fellow gods. There was Anirab, god of battle and victory, Herarl, goddess of wisdom, and Olset, goddess of the elements. Acosor, god of the sun changed the once small nation of the Eastirim into a mighty empire. The Eastirim prayed to the gods and they answered. For it was a time of peace and of closeness with the divine. But the gods and demons and darkness from the underworld of Ncava wanted Rune for their own. They found the Zarkaran, a tribe willing to do whatever to take Rune from the Eastirim. The dark god king, Azolael lead the Zarkaran into battle against the Eastirim on the Black Dragon. Helping him were his fellow gods, Udun, the dark god of battle, Shidiel, goddess of plague and disease, and the terrible demon Poshrux the Merciless. It was a hard battle lasting many days but finally Acosor and the Eastirim banished the dark gods and drove the Zarkarans back to their home. The final act of the Acosor was to split Rune into two pieces to separate the two nations. The river Tywin was left to be the border of Eastrim and Zarkaran.

All was well until Acosor and the other gods disappeared. Prayers were no longer answered and the great temples of Teroh, Eastirim’s capital city were left unvisited by the divine. Why did the gods disappear? None can say. The gods work in mysterious ways and it is not up to mortals to question them. Still the gods did not reappear for 2,000 years. The two halves of Rune drifted side by side peacefully. The land masses drew near to a new land where new races entered Rune and the noble blood of the Eastirim was all but gone. The gods were remembered as ancient stories among the Eastirim. But then the Zarkarans returned led by Azolael to conquer the rest of Rune. Still the gods did not return. All looked hopeless until the great warrior Drake Furror arose, for he was of pure Eastirim blood. He defeated the enemy in a single swoop with his army of elites and reigned for many years as king. He was as good of a king as he was as a warrior. When he died he was buried in a tomb made of solid gold 10,000 feet beneath the palace of Teroh in the ancient hall of kings.

That was 500 years ago and we have remained safe from the Zarkarans for now. Perhaps they are truly gone or perhaps they are biding their time and preparing to attack again. We cannot be sure but either way we are prepared for war. For we know that the power of the Zarkarans and Azolael are great.”

_ excerpt from The Scrolls of the Eastrim chapter 4 by Barnabas Lessiar and Malistair Huckberry  

Welcome to the

World Of

Rune

 

Follow the stories of four very different individuals in this magical world.

 

Meet Farion

A warrior now forced to live with a terrible curse

Join him on his mission of vengeance

 

Meet Darius

The king’s trusted boy servant who has a dark secret

 

Meet Eastior

A young elf prince who now must take over an elven

kingdom when his father is killed

 

Meet Violet

A nine year old Zarkarvan slave girl who is about to discover her

massive destiny that will change the course of Rune forever

 

New chapter every week

Coming Soon!!!

Send us an owl: Wow! Which story are you most excited to hear about?