Castle of Dreams – Week Six

Doesn’t time fly? I can’t believe it is Friday again already!

Things have been very wintery here in Warwickshire recently. School closed early last Friday, and was shut all day on Monday, so my daughter had a lot of fun playing in it all. Not so much fun for me driving to work in it, but it is still beautiful.

I wonder what Leah would have made of Kenilworth Castle having to close because of the snow? How would she have accessed the portals when she couldn’t get into the grounds? Well, you just might have to read Book Two to find the answer to that one…

Back to the blog series. This week I am delighted to welcome my friend Lisa Wiedmeier, author of the successful Timeless Series. Now I openly admit to being a sufferer of CAtTS – that’s Chronic Addiction to Timeless Series for those of you that don’t know, and I’m delighted that the piece Lisa has given me is an extract from her latest Novella, which was released shortly before Christmas, and was written with another Alliance member Sam Dogra. In the passage below, the three brothers Callon, Colt and Daniel arrive back to the family manor in Ireland.

Lisa Wiedmeier lives in Idaho with her loving husband, two sons and crazy dog Mandi. She has tamed the wilderness of her imagination and has released two of her eight novels in her Timeless Series, with a ninth book upcoming and a new novel The Gate also in the works.

Fated, Excerpt Chapter Six

It was a long, quiet drive to the O’Shea estate. Callon had been silent, his eyes closed as he sat in the front. Both Daniel and I hadn’t attempted to make conversation since leaving the airport, unsure of what was going through his head. He had been gone a very long time, but even then I knew how powerful memories could be.

Especially Callon’s.

By the time we entered the gates, a small patch of sunshine had slipped through the clouds. I tensed, waiting for the short-lived jolt of the enchantment to hit me, but oddly it never did.  I can’t feel the enchantment anymore. Has it weakened that much?

Daniel kept quiet, concentrating on driving. I frowned. He’d sounded so desperate over the phone, begging us to come over as soon as we could. I had to wonder what he’d been up to in our absence.

The manor loomed, its aged exterior drab and lifeless. Even with the vines trimmed back, the trees pruned and the marble fountain spotless, the place had no vibrancy. It was an old forgotten building, filled with a chilling emptiness, and not at all the warm, welcoming house I’d grown up in. How Daniel had been able to stay here all these years was a mystery to me. That would have to change, though, and I knew Cheyenne would help with that. Her loving spirit would lift the dark grief that had plagued our house, and we could start everything afresh. Sure, we’d have to protect her and limit her freedoms, but she wouldn’t be lonely. And maybe at last we could leave the past where it belonged and move on.

Callon remained quiet as Daniel parked the car in the front turnabout. Without a second glance he opened the door and stepped out onto the gravel. I followed, joining him next to the massive fountain. The trickle of flowing water was soothing, and I caught a small chip at the bottom of the stone. It brought on a grin. That had happened a while ago, when Callon and I had had a wrestling match to prove who was strongest. Somehow he’d still beaten me, though I’d had the last laugh when I’d pushed him into the water. Dad had been less than pleased…

“I’ve been getting the place completely renovated,” Daniel said, nodding to the front door. “Should still feel like home, though.”
Callon nodded slowly. His silence unnerved me. Back during those horrible years after Dad’s death, he’d been exactly like this. And he was always so unreadable. You could never tell what was going through his mind. That had proven almost fatal that night when Daniel and I had found him in his room, unconscious. I definitely didn’t want to go through any of that again.

As Callon stood there, staring, I clasped his shoulder.
“You okay?” Callon didn’t answer right away. Eventually he sighed.
I’ll be alright. Give me a minute.  I nodded and let my arm drop. I could only imagine what was going on inside his head. He’d vowed to never set foot here again, to lock away the guilt and sorrow that had almost drowned him. Now he’d returned, the head of the O’Shea household and leader of the Consilador, and had to face those darkest moments once more. I didn’t envy the amount of responsibility he had to bear. I just hoped it wouldn’t be too much.

Suddenly Callon strode towards the door, his back straight and shoulders squared.  “Let’s do this,” he said.

Daniel and I nodded at each other, then followed in his step.  Callon pushed the black door open, and the comforting scent of wood and citrus brushed past. The place seemed in good condition. I dropped my bag near the staircase and looked around. There were new carpets and dressers, but some of the original paintings and mirrors were still around. The chandelier hadn’t changed, either, although it had electric lights instead of candles.
“You’ve done a good job, Daniel,” I said.

“Well, Ryan did most of it,” Daniel admitted. “I mostly set things up for Cheyenne’s arrival.”
“Oh?” Callon asked, inspecting the fireplace. A new grate had been fitted and the charred bricks replaced.
“Of course!” Daniel pointed towards the sitting room. “I got stuff for her room, and even pulled down the instruments from storage and had the piano tuned. She’ll love that.”

Callon muttered something to himself, but I didn’t quite catch it. He continued to wander around, as if to re-orientate himself. Daniel and I followed, unsure of what to expect. He seemed alright so far. At any rate he’d dropped the teasing routine, which was a relief. It really didn’t suit him.
Daniel walked ahead, leading us to the kitchen.

“The builders are almost done with the remodeling here, too,” he said, gesturing to the black granite worktops and silver cabinets.

“Wow, looks sleek,” I said; I remembered when we had the oak wood look.

“It was pretty bad,” Daniel said, leaning on a worktop. “We still had the workbench and coal pit. Kinda out of place next to the microwave and fridge. So they’ve installed a new oven, an eight-hob gas cooker, and replaced the cast iron stuff with stainless steel.”

“You’ve lived here in the last twenty years, and you never thought to get this sorted out before?” Callon asked.

Daniel rubbed the back of his neck.

“Well, I lived on take-outs most of the time,” he said. “Didn’t really think to get the place modernized. Aside from the microwave, of course.”

Callon sighed. “At least it’s done,” he said. He stepped towards the terrace doors. “Now then, care to tell me how you destroyed the enchantment?”

I blinked. Where had that come from?

Daniel paled.
“I-I didn’t…”

“Daniel, don’t lie.”

“But I didn’t mean to!” Daniel protested. “It was an accident, I just…”

Callon held up his hand, and Daniel fell quiet.

“I don’t really care about your excuses,” he said. His voice was level. “The enchantment can only be broken by one of our family’s blood, and last I checked, you were the only O’Shea here.”

Daniel gulped.

“I’m sorry Callon, I was only trying to take some of the burden off you. You’ve been under so much stress and I know you never wanted to come back, so…”
Callon stepped forward and held Daniel’s shoulders, in an almost fatherly manner.

“Sometimes good intentions lead to the gravest mistakes,” he said. “I’m guessing you found the book?”

###

The sun had yet to rise as I walked behind Callon, heading towards the lake. Daniel was in step behind me, yawning, though I could sense his nervousness. It had been five days since we’d arrived—five days of wrestling non-stop with my chaotic emotions—and Callon had finally discovered how to recreate the enchantment. If this worked, we could rebook our return flight to Idaho tomorrow, and I’d be back with Cheyenne within twenty-four hours.

Failure wasn’t an option.

We reached the lake’s edge, the crystal cold water lapping at the bank. Callon halted, and turned back to the manor.

“This will do fine,” he said. “Stand in front of me and make a triangle.”

Daniel and I did as we were told. I stood to Callon’s right, Daniel to his left.

“Raise your right hand and place it on top of mine,” Callon said.

He extended his arm, his palm facing up. His Consilador ring lay loose in his hand. I pressed mine on top, feeling the metal pinch my skin, while Daniel added his. Callon adjusted his grip, so all three of us had contact with the ring.

“Keep this position and don’t break it,” Callon ordered. “No matter what you see or hear, you must never let go. Is that clear?”

Daniel and I exchanged a puzzled glance.

“What should we expect?” I asked.

Callon sighed.

“I’m not too sure, but you might sense things that aren’t here,” he said.

“Whatever happens, don’t lose contact with the ring. Try and think of something to focus your mind, it’ll help you not become distracted.”
Daniel nodded and closed his eyes. Sighing, I followed suit. I decided to think about the song Cheyenne liked to hum when she did her homework.

Slowly, I felt the ring grow warm. Despite the temptation I didn’t open my eyes, concentrating on the melody. The warmth became stronger, so strong it almost scalded my palm, but I didn’t budge. I felt Daniel’s grip tense, and Callon’s fingers tightened, keeping us together.

A low moan ran through my ears, and I clenched my teeth. It started off quiet and faint, before increasing in pitch. Then it turned to an ear-piercing shriek, and I couldn’t stop myself daring to sneak a look.

I gasped. A racing whirlwind surrounded us, tearing through the lake and forest. The waves rose high, twisting, before smacking back down again in a rush of bubbles and foam. The trees bent close to breaking-point, threatened to be de-rooted from the spot. Between the shadows and cloud I could just about make out the manor, though I couldn’t see what was happening around it.

As I continued to watch the spinning tornado, shapes began to appear inside it. First they were animal-like with claws and teeth, and then they became more human with arms and legs. It was horrifying to look at, but I stood my ground.

Next thing I knew, I felt something cold creep around my neck and chest. Icy tendrils had wrapped around me, trying to pull me into the vortex. I dug my heels into the grass. No way! I wasn’t going anywhere. Their grip tensed, but I was too strong an anchor.

Then a voice whispered in my ear,
“Let go, Colt.”

My eyes widened. That was Cheyenne! But no, impossible, she wasn’t here…

“Don’t fight it,” Cheyenne’s voice cooed. “Just let go and come with me.”
“Where are you?” I called out.
“If you stop fighting, I can show you.”
“But I can’t, my brothers…”
“Leave them, you don’t need them anymore. I promise we’ll be together, forever…”
My muscles began to relax, and I felt my hand pull away from the ring.
“Yes…come to me…”
The voice turned to a dark hiss, and my eyes widened. Wait, this was a trick! I renewed my grip over Callon’s hand, and the voice began to choke.
“No! C-Come…with…”

Suddenly Callon was shouting, his voice clear against the howling wind.

“We, the last of the O’Sheas, pledge mind, body and soul to these lands, as have our ancestors before us. Protect these grounds, and we promise our children will renew the vow for every generation!”

As he spoke, the tendrils slipped away. The heat from the ring lessened, and then the whirlwind ceased. The trees returned to their upright position, and the lake waters calmed, the dawn light sparkling off the waves. A shiver ran down my spine, and my eyes lit up. That feeling…the enchantment was back!

Grinning, I looked to Daniel. He seemed alright, though he did look a bit spooked. He must’ve experience the same thing. Callon, though, wasn’t moving. His eyes were closed, and his grip on the ring was iron.

“Callon?” I pulled my hand free and touched his arm. Callon groaned and stumbled, and I had to grab him before he hit the ground. “Callon! What happened?”

Callon mumbled; he was groggy all of a sudden. As I helped him stand, Daniel’s breathing hitched.

“Look, look!”

My eyes snapped ahead. A tall figure stood a little way ahead of us, watching carefully. He raised his head, revealing a smiling, bearded face, and deep blue eyes.

“Well done,” he whispered, before he vanished.

“Wait!” Daniel cried. “Dad!”

He jumped to the place where the man had been standing, but it was empty. It was as if he’d turned to smoke. I couldn’t believe it. That man, no, Dad, had been right here with us…how could that be? He’d been dead for so long!

“What’re you staring at?” Callon muttered. He seemed a bit more awake now.

“Did you see the man?” I asked. “He looked just like…”

“I didn’t see anything,” Callon interrupted. “Never mind, we’ve done it. The enchantment has been reborn. We should head back.”

He shook off my arm and started to walk back to the manor as if nothing had happened.

“Callon, tell us what’s going on!” Daniel snapped, hurrying to keep up. “Why did Dad appear?”

Callon stopped, his eyes intent on the fountain.

“He didn’t appear,” he said, his eyes narrowed. “It was an illusion.”

“So you did see him,” I commented.

Callon sighed.

“Alright, you’ve got me there. I wasn’t expecting it, you know,” he admitted.

“All I could go on was what Marilyn and William had written. They were the couple who originally created the enchantment. They said it tested their deepest fears and longings. But once they’d overcome that, they had their courage acknowledged.”

“Oh!” Daniel’s eyes brightened. “Is that why I thought I heard your voice, yelling at me for being weak, and that I should just give up?”

Callon tensed.

“Most likely,” he said. “What about you, Colt?”

I slid my hands into my pockets.

“I heard a voice making promises and asking me to let go, too,” I said. “Couldn’t really tell who it was, though.”

Callon frowned. He knew I was lying.

“And you, Callon?” Daniel asked.

“I heard Dad blaming me for his death,” Callon answered. “He tried to get me to let go, too. But we made it.” He managed a smile. “I guess glimpsing him once again was our reward.”

“Yeah,” I said. “He’s proud of us, I know it.”

Callon and Daniel nodded.

“Well, we should rest up,” Callon said. “We’ve got a long journey tomorrow.”

“What? Can’t we leave today?” I asked. “It’s still so early.”

“We can’t leave for twenty-four hours,” Callon explained. “Not until the enchantment has stabilized.” He poked my chest. “We’ve already been away a week. Another day is not going to make much difference.”

My teeth clenched, but I knew I couldn’t say anything. Damn it, all this waiting was driving me insane. Whoever said absence makes the heart grow fonder was definitely on the right track.

I couldn’t wait to be back on that plane.

###

 

Darn it Lisa, I’m going to have to read all three again now just to keep me going until Daylight comes out!

To find out more about Lisa, her books, and her crazy dog Mandi, you can find here in these locations:

Blog website: http://lisawiedmeier.com/Home_Page.php
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/TimelessSeriesNovels

Or email her at timelessseriesnovels@hotmail.com

Links to buy the books are here:

target=”_blank”>http://www.amazon.com/Cheyenne-Timeless-Novel-ebook/dp/B005CLHGQS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311038477&sr=8-1
Promises: http://www.amazon.com/Promises-Timeless-Series-Novel-ebook/dp/B0085C2O2C/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1
Fated: http://www.amazon.com/Timeless-Series-Novella-Companion-ebook/dp/B00AIA3LKS/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

And of course here in the UK they can be found here:
Fated: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Timeless-Series-Novella-Companion-ebook/dp/B00AIA3LKS/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1
Promises: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Promises-Timeless-Series-Novel-ebook/dp/B0085C2O2C/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1
Cheyenne: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cheyenne-Timeless-Series-Novel-ebook/dp/B005CLHGQS/ref=pd_sim_kinc_2

Next week we have the wonderful author of White Mountain, Book One of The Darkling Chronicle, Sophie E Tallis….

Have Fun, everyone 🙂

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5 Comments

  1. Another lovely entry in your magical Castle of Dreams series! Huge congrats Andrea on this genius brainchild idea!!! Lovely imagery from Lisa as always too, well done guys! 😀

    Speaking of congratulations…Andrea, I’ve nominated you for a very special award, The Flight of Fantasy Award, dedicated to the very best fantasy writers around. I’m very proud to include you in that list and to nominate you with the other wonderfully talented AWBer’s to be the very first recipients! Congratulations sweetie, SO well deserved!!! 😀 xx

    http://sophieetallis.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/very-inspiring-again/

    Reply

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