THE SONS OF THE MOON
[THE WORLD WITHIN MY WALLS VOL. 1]
a young adult fantasy novel by G.Y. Haney & Matthew A. Rodriguez
Welcome to Eldynwood...
As he climbed, Baron was struck with a strange thought about the logic of the situation, a thought that had somehow failed to find him until now. He had, after all, discovered a room - shown to him by a ghost, no less - that was apparently stories above the reality of his house, and yet still somehow in it. He had never once questioned how it was that this room existed in walls that weren't supposed to exist; how he was able to climb this ladder at all. It had however crossed his mind that this fort wasn't actually in his own world at all; that it was somewhere else, some place that challenged his old ideas about what it meant to be real.
It was magic, plain and simple, and Baron knew it now, felt the fact of it surging through his veins like blood and oxygen and life itself. There was no logic involved because this defied logic, lived outside the realm of supposed possibility, like the Lochness Monster or the lost city of Atlantis or some other strange tale people didn't believe in. But Baron believed, and he felt with an increasing certainty that this tale was meant for him to find.
At last Baron reached the pinnacle of the ladder. He intended only to grab Xander and return to his room, but the cat could not be seen from the opening in the wall, and so Baron crawled in after him. He stood and looked around. What he found conjured a heavy brick in the pit of his stomach. Through the thin beam of his flashlight, Baron could see that the place was a disaster! The table and chairs had been thrown across the room, shattered and scattered into pieces. The stove and sink were wrecked. Jagged bits of turtle shell, wood, and pottery littered the floor. The ashes from the fireplace, now stirred into the air, lingered around the room like ghosts, frightening and elusive. It appeared that the tree house had been robbed, looking every bit like a quintessential set on a bad cop show where every drawer of every filing cabinet lay scattered about the room so as to leave no doubt in the viewer’s mind that the place had been ransacked.
But more amazing than the assault on the fort was the fact that the large, round door to the house now stood open about two feet. An ethereal moonlight crept into the room. Whatever had laid waste to the cottage's belongings hadn't come from the house on Winchester Street. It had come from outside. Baron's mind raced. If the rightful owner - if such an owner exists - had returned home, why would he trash his own belongings? Obviously someone had entered with malicious intent. Baron felt dizzy, his stomach churning with anxiety as he peered around the room for any intruders that could still be present. He clenched his teeth and edged to the fireplace where he fumbled around for the poker. Finding it, he spun to face the room, holding the poker at the ready, like a sword, determined to at least look prepared to strike anyone who may startle him. But there was no one to be found. Baron slowly made his way to the door and halted, afraid to see what waited out in the moon’s full rays.
From behind Baron came a meow. Xander had reappeared and without hesitation went to the door and began pawing at it, pushing on it with all his might. Baron had to chuckle even in his trepidation.
"Well, sir, you've made your position clear." Baron had no choice but to follow his friend's lead. Placing a shaking hand on the door, Baron pushed it open and stepped into the moonlight. His heart beat with a fury, pounding on his ribcage like a man desperate to break free from a locked room. The hairs on his neck and arms were alert and waiting.
With his rapidly adjusting eyes, Baron saw what he had only caught with a glimpse through the cottage window. He was standing in a large clearing, the expanse surrounded on either side by other tree cottages. It was a village of some kind and a pretty small one at that. But it felt oddly comfortable, familiar even. Baron's eyes wandered to the starless sky above where two pale moons, one more blue in hue than the other, drifted like giant construction paper islands in an oil-soaked ocean, flooding the village with their heavenly light. Baron's mind felt suddenly at ease; his heart felt no heavier than a feather floating on the lush warm wind that fluttered about him.
"Well, this doesn't seem so bad," Baron said to Xander.
From a thicket of trees to his left came a brusk voice, low and weathered. “Looks can be deceiving, my young friend.”
Baron spun towards the voice, his fire poker up and ready for action. A lean young man with a stippled face and reddish, shoulder-length hair stepped from the shadows, brandishing a battle-worn sword. He had a long bow strapped to his back; a leather quiver loaded down with red-feathered arrows strapped across his shoulder. Baron's first instinct was to yell and flee, but the stranger exuded such an intangible heroism that Baron couldn't help but stare at him, frozen in awe. This man was iconic, like a character from one of Baron's favorite types of books – once-treasured tales of valor and honor and all those things that make a man into something greater than himself – and he stepped from the woods as if he were stepping off the pages of such a story. He was dressed in humble garb, protective outer layers of brown leather; his clothing underneath was simple cotton and dull in color, muted forest greens and burnt orange. And much like his sword and his attire, his face looked older than it should, world-worn and tired. But it wasn't in his mangy appearance that the warrior could be seen; it was in the depths of his steel blue eyes. They cut through the moonlit darkness with a razor-sharp calm, capable of both comfort and intimidation in a single glance.
“Where did you come from?” Xander spoke in a handsome voice that caught Baron severely off guard. Xander looked shocked as well, but cleared his little throat and looked up at Baron with an embarrassed shrug. The stranger answered Xander as if he spoke to cats all day long.
“I shall be asking you the same thing, noble beast, but for now we must make to the East. The Dardanians will be upon us in no time.”
“What's happening?” Baron asked. "Where are we?"
“We are in the village of Pior," explained the stranger with increasingly noticeable urgency. "In a land called Eldynwood."
Baron gasped. "Eldynwood?", and his mind raced back to the manuscripts in the basement of his house. "Are you kidding me?"
“Kidding?” The stranger looked confused. “Not at all." He shook his head. "We don't have time for this. We are in danger. It is my duty to get you to the Wishmaker intact.”
It was Xander who posed the question this time. “Wishmaker?”
The stranger shot Xander a glance that would shut up a blind man, and Xander snapped his mouth closed so tight that his fangs rattled. The man walked into the trees without another word. Xander, obviously convinced of the seriousness of the situation by the look he had just received, followed the man.
"Xander, wait!" Baron exclaimed, indecision pulling at him. His initial thought was to follow as well, but he hesitated. He spared a glance behind him and looked at the open door to the tree house, his mind a cacophony of possible paths and probable outcomes.
It occurred to him that most curious boys of his nature who enter a new world of magic and mystery seldom return to find their old world in the same shape it had been when left. Baron had always dreamed of adventures, but his pragmatic mind had always kept reality and fantasy on opposite ends of his head. Here, in this world, they collided and made his brain ache. Xander talking was in and of itself enough to make Baron wash his hands of this, turn on his heels, and head back home.
Before a decision could fully form though, a hand came to rest on Baron’s shoulder. Baron spun his head back around to find the man standing beside him, looking at Baron with concerned eyes. For a moment, the two stood in silence.
“You mustn't stay here,” He said after a beat. He gestured to the open door. “And I can't let you go back now that you've entered. The enemy will be on us in no time. I saw their scouts during my approach. I think it were these same beasts that raided this village last night. They are camped now mere miles from here, and may have already detected your presence."
"Detected my presence?"
"Please, we cannot stay.“
Baron looked back towards the door. "But I can't just leave my family,” he replied in a near whisper, his senses dulled. The man's urgency filled Baron's head with the desire to rush into the moonlit woods and away from Pior and imposing dangers. Still, he could just as easily run to the open door, back into the cottage, back down the ladder, and back to his warm, familiar bed. Baron wanted to know more – who was this man and where would taking his council lead? Yet how could he leave everything behind?
The stranger knelt down and looked Baron square in the eyes. "I am Archer," he said. "And I swear that you can trust me."
Baron pulled at the bottom of his hoodie, feeling awkward under the weight of the man's sapphire sincerity. Finally, he said, "I'm Baron.” He cleared his throat. “And I trust you, it's just - "
"I have been sent here to find a Son of The Moon, a visitor to our shores - the very person whom I believe you to be."
“Son of The Moon?" Baron asked. Again, his mind thought of Winchester. Baron shook his head. Archer took a finger and pointed it at the blueish moon above.
"A traveler from the Blue Star, a land of legend kindred to Eldynwood."
"You think I came from the sky?" Baron shook the thought away exasperated and ran a hand through his hair. "I came here by a ladder!"
"Others have arrived in stranger ways than that."
"There have been others?"
"Baron," said Archer, more stern than ever. "The questions can wait. Please, we must hurry."
"But what is a Son of The Moon? Seriously, who do you think I am?"
Archer took a deep breath, biting back his apparently boiling impatience. When he spoke again, though, it was with a gentle reverence, one that caught Baron by surprise.
“I believe, young Baron.” Archer cracked a weary smile. “I believe that you are hope.”
To read the first chapter of THE SONS OF THE MOON, click here.
Audio excerpt from THE SONS OF THE MOON coming soon!