Exiles Release Giveaway, Review, & Interview!

I am excited. It’s finally here! The wait is over and you can find out what happens next…

Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Exiles, has been released! Exiles is the fourth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. Below you’ll find MY LENGTHY REVIEW as well as an INTERVIEW with a very special and fun character. Be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page, and don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book
Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all.

Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir, but with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.

One small misstep could prove fatal for all.

 

Available now on Amazon
(click here to view)!

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My Review

Exiles…unexpected in some ways, fulfilling in others, satisfying in still more. If I could sum up Exiles in one phrase, I would call it an “exciting bridge.” It’s truly a transition between the first three books of the series and the last two, and it both clears the stage and resets the stage in multiple ways.

But never fear. There are no boring info dumps or slow plot-setting sections here. This Bridge is exciting. Exiles offers the same depth of character, adventurous plot, breathtaking descriptions, and spiritual parallels as the rest of the series.

To me, Resistance was amazing. The King’s Scrolls was even better. Samara’s Peril was better yet. I was quite interested to see if Exiles would top them, but personally I found it more on a level with Resistance. Just as Resistance is setting the stage, Exiles is clearing the stage and resetting it. Personally, to reach the level of surpassing favorite, a book needs to touch a deep chord spiritually in me, and whereas The King’s Scrolls has Timothy, the Scrolls, sacrifice, and family, and Samara’s Peril has Elon, there wasn’t a particular element of Exiles that pushed it over the top for me. But if you know my passion for Resistance, you know I still absolutely LOVED Exiles, so never fear. Exiles is like Resistance magnified. The stakes are higher. We already know and love the characters, so we can jump directly into the fast-paced and action-packed plot. With so much happening in Exiles, I can’t wait to see what amazing things will take place in the next two books and I fully expect at least one of them to become my new favorite once they are written and published.

Exiles is the fastest-paced Ilyon book so far, and with three separate storylines, it’s easy to understand why. Large chunks of time are skipped; we see what’s happening, but not the details. Although I enjoy reading the details of daily life, I understand the need for a fast-paced story in this case. I loved following the different people in the various places of the three storylines, even though the necessarily shorter scenes don’t allow as much time to get into what’s happening and into the characters’ minds.

Content: Romance (discreetly portrayed), matchmaking talk, mild kissing, mentions of ryriks wanting to “have fun” with a girl (using those words), some injuries mentioned (mild description)

What I Liked Less:

  1. Timothy and Leetra. I don’t know why, but I really don’t get the right feeling during their scenes. Realistically, sometimes someone falls in love but the person doesn’t reciprocate. They just don’t feel right together to me, though I do appreciate what is happening with them. Aside from that, I do love Timothy and his mature character and actions.
  2. A very young crush. It wasn’t a big part of the story or dwelt on, but I still wasn’t comfortable with the message it might send to the youngsters reading this story.

What I Loved Most:

  1. Ryriks! Jace! Ryriks! To avoid spoilers, I will simply say that the emotional and spiritual impact of this element is excellently done—not to mention paired with beautiful and picturesque description that makes me want to leave Earth, hop to Ilyon, and hunker down there for a lifetime.
  2. CRETE COUNTRY! It’s so wonderfully described, and it’s beautiful. I felt as though I was actually visiting. All the hype about the cretes’ home in The King’s Scrolls and Samara’s Peril is satisfying fulfilled and surpassed in Exiles. It was magnificent. And I don’t even like heights. 🙂
  3. Anne and Trask! They are wonderful together.
  4. Jace and Kyrin’s relationship. I’m not big into romance (and most romance isn’t written well or as discreetly as I’d prefer), but I need so much more of Jace and Kyrin. They are realistic, loyal, loving, understanding, open, honest, raw, gentle, modest, chaste, patient, kind, and did I mention real? 🙂 Their ups and downs are portrayed so realistically. I can relate to all of it. I especially love Jace and Kyrin’s loving, gentle, chaste conversations. This is such a sweet time in their life and relationship, and I enjoy going along for the ride. Thanks to the author for writing such a beautiful relationship.
  5. Daniel! He hasn’t made the top of the list of what I’ve loved in any other book, but that changes here. 🙂
  6. JAMES?! I can’t wait to see more of him in a later book…
  7. Family life in Camp is the best! I love those little homey scenes!
  8. I love the scenes the book begins and ends with…that’s all I will say to avoid spoilers. 🙂
  9. Saul is amazing. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.
  10. Giant cabins…again, go read the book.

All in all, I enjoyed Exiles – Five Stars! I am looking forward to the next book!

Interview With… Meredith!

Meredith walks in and sits down, looking around timidly. “I’ve never done an interview by myself before, but Kyrin said I could do it.”
“Of course you can,” I reply with an affirming smile. “Kyrin is right. I’m glad you’re here. I’ll just be asking you a few questions, and they aren’t hard. Not like the interviews Jace has to do sometimes…” I glance away from her and wrinkle my nose a bit before returning my attention to Meredith.
“First, what is your favorite memory and why is it special to you?”
Meredith smiles a bit, and I can tell she’s searching my face carefully before answering. She seems satisfied since she answers without further hesitation. “I like to remember my birthday before I had to go to Tarvin Hall. My mommy and daddy took me out for a picnic by the river, and my daddy helped me try to swim. It’s my favorite because we were happy and it was just before the emperor’s men came.”
“That’s wonderful!” I exclaim. “That sounds like a fun day. I’m glad you have a good memory like that with your parents. So what might you like to be or do when you grow older?”
“I don’t know what I want to do. I hope I’m brave like Kyrin. And maybe I’ll be a mommy like Lenae or my mommy. I would like that.”
I can’t keep the smile off my face as I watch the light in her eyes. “I’m sure you’ll be a wonderful mommy. I hope you get to sometime. And I hope you get to spend time helping younger children even if you’re not a mommy yet. Next question: what do you like to spend time doing?”
“I like to play with my kitten, Violet. She’s fun. And I like to play with dolls, especially if Kyrin can play with me. If she’s busy, I like to play outside with Ronny. Sometimes we pretend I’m a princess and he has to rescue me from evil bandits.”
“That sounds fun. I didn’t know you liked dolls. I suppose you help with the chores and cooking around camp, too. So what do you think of Jace?”
“I like Jace. Some people think he’s scary, but I don’t, and we both like animals. I like when I get to play with Tyra when he’s gone so she won’t get lonely.”
“Aw…that’s so sweet of you. What do you think of Kaden?”
“I like Kaden too. He’s like my big brother. No one wants to mess with him.”
I grin. “Always good to have someone like that around. Last question – do you have a favorite passage from the Scrolls?”
“I like the verses that talk about how Elôm takes care of us and won’t ever leave us alone, even if bad things happen.”
She pauses and appears to be thinking, so I wait in silence for a moment. When she doesn’t add anything more, I speak. “So do I. He will never leave us nor forsake us, so that we may boldly say He is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.”
We share smiles. “Thank you so much for coming, Meredith. I’ve enjoyed having you here. Come visit again sometime, and keep an eye on Kyrin, all right?”
“All right,” she grins again. “Thanks.”


About the Author
JayeAuthor2015Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

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Go enter, and then go visit Jaye’s Blog to find all the other release tour stops. Over forty other bloggers are posting reviews, author interviews, character interviews, excerpts, or other fun things this weekend about Exiles, so check them out!

Did anything in my review make you want to read Exiles? 🙂 Or start the Ilyon Chronicles from the beginning?

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Lady Dragon, Tela Du: Interview with Granite

recently-updatedCheck out yesterday’s post with more information on the book, my review, a free book, and more!

Today I’m back with the Lady Dragon, Tela Du blog tour, and this time Granite is here with me.

Let me tell you, I love Granite. From his deep loyalty to his true love to his heartfelt pain, he’s patient, faithful, true, and steadfast. That’s not to say he hasn’t made his share of mistakes, but he’s a character to be loved.
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WR: So Granite, welcome to Written Rest. I’m honored to have you here all the way from Rizkaland. First, where did you get your deep loyalty to your wayward wife Amber, the Lady Dragon?

Granite: She used a love potion on me the day after her sixteenth birthday – it had been a present from her mother. And even though she say’s it worn off … I’m not entirely convinced.

I pledged my life to her, and I didn’t mean it just for the good times. If I had known where our path would lead, though … She was so good once. And I can’t help but wonder if, maybe, I could have done something, said something. If I’d been more forceful. Maybe she’d still be good.

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WR: Maybe…but maybe not; we can’t live life in the maybes.

Tell me about your relationship with Laura. What do you think of her?

Granite: Laura raised Amber and I, so she’s like a mother to us. Most of the time, at least. I’ve met her sometimes when she’s younger. Scared and innocent. Then she’s more like the kid sister we never had, and the older I’ve become, the more often I see her that way. She’s a fascinating person – a force of nature, really. It’s impossible to know her completely – some days I wonder if even she can make that claim – but she told me once that I know her better than most, and I consider that to be a rare honor.

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WR: That does sound like a rare honor. A “force of nature.” Interesting way to describe a person. On another note, Amber has lured many innocent people to her castle as servants. Do you have any kind of a relationship with those servants?

Granite: For the most part, I don’t interfere with the people around the castle, lest I direct Amber’s attention to them.

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WR: Probably a wise course of action. Tell me about a time when you interfered with Amber’s plots. What did you do and what was the result?

Granite: When we first came to Rizkaland, Amber kidnapped a number of the new kings and queens, froze some of them, and put two of them, Jane and Renee, into her dungeon. Laura and I helped their uncaptured friends sneak in and rescue them. Amber was furious, and a few weeks later we were on the Isle of Banishment. Such is my life.

WR: I’m sorry about that life. Life is hard…but there are bright spots even in the hardest life. What’s your favorite memory?

Granite: The first time Amber kissed me. It was after the love potion wore off. I don’t remember much of my actions under its effects, only that I very much acted the fool. And I was very embarrassed, so I hid. And Amber found me. Long story short, she kissed me. It was the first time she had ever shown me affection.

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WR: That’s sweet. What did you feel (due to your shared heartbeat with your wife) at the moment when the Water Princess and Fire Prince fulfilled their prophecy?

Granite: The moment when were forced back onto the Isle of Banishment? From amber, nothing, actually, aside from her detransformation from her dragon state as soon as were back in our castle. She was very calm, turned away, and marched to her office and didn’t emerge until the next day. She was annoyed, but not really angry, you see. I was mostly relieved that we were back where she would make minimal people’s lives miserable.

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WR: That is a benefit. What do you appreciate most about your wife?

Granite: She has a brilliant mind. Amazing. I just wish she’d stop using it for evil.

WR: As do I, Granite. As do I.

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Lady Dragon, Tela Du Cover Reveal

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Amber, the Lady Dragon, has been promised a fifty-year reign over Rizkaland and nothing can stop her from claiming it. But when you’ve lived six thousand years, fifty is such a pitiful number. Only one person can keep her from making this reign permanent – the Tela Du, a girl who shall share Amber’s face.

The last thing Petra wants is a magical world interrupting her plans for a normal life, let alone an ultimate battle against the Lady Dragon with only one prophesied survivor. She has her childhood best friend, Reuben, at her side, but she’s not sure if he’s more of a help or a hindrance right now. Though she’d much prefer to just return home and forget about this whole crazy affair, things change when she discovers that the world has surprising connections to her own family – including her sister who disappeared without a trace two years before. Still, Rizkaland can’t possibly expect her to risk her very life, can it?

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Kendra E. Ardnek is a homeschool graduate who picked up a pen at an early age and never put it down. The eldest of four, she makes her home in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her parents, younger siblings, giant herd of giraffes, and honor guard of nutcrackers.
Official Website: kendraeardnek.weebly.com
And so is another of Kendra’s books: CinderEddy: https://www.amazon.com/CinderEddy-Kendra-E-Ardnek-ebook/dp/B00KZNW2TO/
Cover Design Credit: Benjamin Ingalls – https://www.behance.net/BenjaminIngalls
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Kendra, if you were a tree, which would you be and why? 
Kendra (author): Ummm …. A mimosa. It’s my favorite tree because it refuses to blend in and look like a normal tree (have you seen its leaves), and it has the most gorgeous flowers.
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Petra, if you imagined a dragon, what would your perfect dragon look like? 
Petra (Tela Du): Uhhhhh … either a small dragon that I can keep as a pet, will ride on my shoulder and hiss at people who get too close, or a large dragon that I can ride instead of a car. If you want a detailed description of an ideal dragon, you can talk to Reuben. I’m sure he has more opinions on the matter.
 
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Amber, what motivates you and what you do?

Amber (Lady Dragon): The good of the people and creating a better world.
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Kendra’s Note:  One of the new things I learned while writing the final draft of Lady Dragon, Tela Du was the fact that Amber likes to write. So when I found this pin, it just felt so perfect.

From Lady Dragon, Tela Du

Rintaya’s “house” proved to be a doormat.

At least, that’s all that Petra could see even remotely resembling a home, when Rintaya stopped walking and declared that they’d arrived. It did not even remotely resemble the castle she’d promised.

“Is your house magic?” asked Reuben.

“What do you mean?” asked Rintaya.

“It’s just that, normally, when someone says castle, I picture a large fortress with lots of towers, maybe a moat with a small sea monster in it, definitely some heavy walls, and I don’t see anything like that here.”

“Oh,” said Rintaya, nodding slowly. “Then I suppose I do understand your confusion.”

“Does ‘castle’ mean something else here in Rizkaland?” asked Petra.

“Oh, no,” said Rintaya, shaking her head. “Indeed, your definition is pretty much spot on for what we describe as well.”

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Five Years of Bookania: Character Interview

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Ladies and gentleman, writers, editors, and readers of all ages: today we have here with us a special guest with a very special gift from a very special world out of a very special book series (Bookania) penned by a very special author, Kendra E. Ardnek. Please join me in welcoming Prince Richard of Refrence (known to his friends as Dick)!
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Dick and Theo

He’s graciously agreed to answer a few questions about himself and his world. Dick, thank you for joining us here today. I understand that your gift is the ability to define any word and use it correctly. What’s your favorite word and why?
Friend. Unlike my brother, I prefer smaller words with more meaning, rather than big words with less. Friend is such a large, powerful word, another person who wilt stand by thy side through thick and thin. I also enjoy the fact that, if thou removest the r, it becomes “fiend” and has essentially the opposite meaning.
That’s truly fascinating, and that’s a great favorite word with both depth and richness. So – tell me the funniest or most exasperating story regarding you and Doranna, with her habitual misuse of words.
I try not to talk to Doranna. It almost never ends well.
Really. (laughing) I can see that, I suppose.
I occasionally find her insistence of “fiend” instead of “friend” amusing … but for the most part, it’s just frustrating to listen to her misuse the English language. I think the most exasperating thing she ever did was the time she decided to give up on words entirely and speak only in numbers. I don’t remember how long that lasted.
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Doranna

Oh my. Sounds like a mess. Moving on from Doranna, you have a brother whose gift is using big words. You always know the meaning and the context of the word, but have you learned new words (the words themselves) from him? If so, what is it like to learn a word for which you already know the meaning?
He does frequently use new words that I hadn’t heard before. It isn’t so much that I know the meaning of every word, but I can define any word. There is a subtle difference. When I hear a new word, I know not its meaning immediately, but based upon context, etymology, and some other strange factors that I can’t quite explain, I can work out the meaning within moments. It’s a disorienting few moments, but it usually doesn’t last very long. 
That makes sense. One of the unique side effects of your gift. That would be an interesting skill to possess.
Unless of course, I learn a new word from Doranna. For some strange reason, everything she says is a real word, just in a completely wrong context. It took me a week to work out the meaning of “wombat.” 
Wow, that would be confusing. On the topic of confusion in language, when Bookania speech switched from older English to more modern English, what was that like for you? How did you adjust?
It has been disorienting. The new grammar has had a similar disorienting effect on me as new words, only worse because things that have always been wrong before now seem right, and some aspects of grammar that were right are now very wrong. And some words have lost meanings, and others have gained meanings. I refuse to give up the proper usage of “you” – plural nominative, but I have had to concede many of my old speech habits. 
Enna, for some reason, has already forsaken the old way of speaking entirely.
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Enna

For most of us, the change didn’t happen like that. We had generations to slowly change. Have you ever thought about writing a dictionary or thesaurus?

Oh, I do have a dictionary I’ve been working on. Theo has a thesaurus.
Wonderful. Using your gift to give a gift to the world. Sounds like a big task, though. Moving on beyond the topic of your gift, what do you appreciate most about your fiance?
Amy has many endearing qualities, but I think what I appreciate most is her incorrigible spirit. Hers was a terrible childhood, and she received little love, but it didn’t stop her from becoming the kind soul she is with such a zest for life.
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Amy

That’s wonderful. I’d love to get to know her better. As far as your titled position, what does your role as prince involve?
Since I’m not the crown prince, mostly following my brother around and translating him.
Great. (laughing) I’m sure that makes for an interesting life. It’s been a pleasure having you here, Prince Richard, and many thanks for dropping by. Ladies, gentlemen, writers, editors, and readers of all ages, we’ve been chatting with Prince Richard of Refrence. If you haven’t been introduced to his story yet, check out these books that are currently free on Amazon:
Sew, It’s a Quest: Free July 24th – July 28th!
The Prior Quest: Free July 25th – July 29th!
Thank you for stopping in for Five Years of Bookania! You can check out the rest of the party at knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com – including some fun giveaways!
Image credit: Pinterest

Water Princess, Fire Prince Interview: Kiona

It’s time to interview Kiona from Kendra E. Ardnek’s new book, Water Princess, Fire Prince!

I wander up and down the garden, waiting impatiently. At last a step is heard and a face peers around the rows of sunflowers. I step into the nearest arbor and beckon.

“Greetings, Queen Kiona. I must admit that when I heard you were coming, my first thought was, ‘Who’s Kiona?’ But once I refreshed my poor brain on the subject, I was intrigued. I do hope you were able to bring Stephan along, as you and he seem quite inseparable. Don’t worry, I won’t ask him any questions. I just wanted to meet him.”

“Well, I do tend to be a bit overlooked even by people who do know me. And yes, Stephan accompanied me, Cousin Tyrus wouldn’t dream of letting me to anywhere without him to keep me in line.”

Kiona steps into the arbor and I see that Stephen is shadowing her. I start to hold out my hand, but then catch myself, press my fist to my heart, and bow slightly.

After introductions, I glance back and forth between the two of them. I can’t help myself; the question slips out.

“What is the most annoying prank Stephan ever played on you?”

“Well, I’m not sure it was a prank, exactly, but there was a good week or so that he had me convinced that I was the nobody that came off the streets. I was very upset, but I had to believe him.” *to Stephan* “You were a terror! Don’t give me that look, you have a very powerful gift.”

I grin. “I’m glad you’re not a talkative one anymore, Stephan. That sounds scary. But on a more upbeat note, Kiona, what do you appreciate most about Stephan?”

She lights up. “Well, now that he doesn’t talk as much as he used to, he has many amiable qualities. However, I think what I appreciate most is that he’s a steadier person than me. I can get upset by the littlest thing, so it’s nice to have someone beside me who just rolls with it. He can be boring at times, though.

“That’s an excellent trait. I’m sure it’s been a steadying influence on you, too.”

My gaze drifts about the arbor and lands on a small object resting below her neck. Tell me about your necklace. How did you get it, and what is special about it?”

“My necklace? Oh, you mean my box, which is, granted, worn as a necklace. Every king and queen of Rizkaland has one. They’re how Alphego marks the chosen heir. When my father died, each of my siblings were presented with his box, but none of them could open it except for me, so I got it, and the queenship. They’re like the wooden boxes the elves wear, except that the elves make their own. But they contain gifts. Mine is perfect aim. Stephan’s is commanding speech.”

“Interesting. It would be neat to have a gift like that… but gifts in my world are given in a different, and often not so evident, way. Still, we have been given many gifts and are greatly blessed. We just have to learn to use them according to God’s will. So when did you begin archery?”

“Shortly after we realized that my gift was aim. Cousin Roland suggested it.”

“Cousin Roland… another king, I presume. The royalty system in Rizkaland seems a bit complicated. I understand that you are one of the queens. What is the scope of your power and reign?”

Kiona pulls a twining blossom from the side of the arbor and toys with it. “Rizkaland likes a balance of power, so we have four kings and four kings at any given time. It is monarchy, but shared between four families. As a unit, we wield more power than anyone else in Rizkaland, holding sway even over the islands. However, since I’m the youngest queen, I have very little power. They think I’m still a kid.”

“I get that.” I glance at the purple blossom she holds. I hear you’re of Violet’s line. Who was Violet? And is violet your favorite color?”

“The founder of my line, and with her husband, Michael, Queen over the Wind and Seasons. She was the younger sister of King Ralph of Fire and Electricity, and the youngest of the Eight, which is what we call the first eight kings and queens.

“But, no, it isn’t my favorite color. It is pretty, but I like a rich red-purple best.”

Nice.” I rise and pace back and forth in front of the arbor.

“What are your primary duties as Queen of Rizkaland? What does a normal day look like for you?”

“Well, my primary duty is to ‘learn and observe.’ My mornings are spent with the Bookholder in study of the Legends. Mid-morning is spent with either Cousin Maria, Cousin Tania, or my mother being taught etiquette and laws. Then after lunch, I get an hour to practice my bow after lunch, and then all eight of us spend the afternoon in the throneroom listening to requests and the like. Then we retire to the Council Room to discuss the welfare of the country and do negotiations and the like, and we’re free after supper.”

“That’s interesting, and quite different from life in my world. It sounds fascinating, though. If you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?”

She seems perplexed by this question and hesitates before answering. “I … don’t know, really. I mean, I talk being able to do what I want – but what would I do if I were given the opportunity to do what I want. I really don’t know.”

I take pity on her confusion and decide to change the topic. Sitting back down, I ask a more personal question.

“Tell me a special story about you and Alphego.”

“A few weeks after my father died, and I’d become queen, I was just eight at the time, and feeling very lost and confused, and I was just wandering the halls, and I somehow found myself outside, before Alphego’s Hill, and so I climbed it and just sat down and started crying. I never really saw him, but I certainly felt the brush of Alphego’s wings, and I knew He was there, comforting me.”

“That’s very special. He is always there, whenever we need Him. And He will guide us throughout our lives.” 

In my pocket, my phone buzzes. “What? Lunch time already?” I ignore it and turn back to Kiona and Stephan. “Thank you very much for your time. I believe the Doorkeeper is here to let you back into Rizkaland, since my powers don’t extend that far. I’m glad they sent you here for this brief chat. I wish you well, and look forward to meeting you again soon.”

Kiona bows slightly. “The same to you. May Alphego guide you. Twa.”

Image credit: pinterest