Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book Poem

I like this one! :)

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears the human soul!
- Emily Dickinson

The Chimera's Curse

The Chimera's Curse   [CHIMERAS CURSE] [Hardcover]



*WARNING! CONTAINS MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS!* It has been another year since her last encounter with Kullervo. His voice keeps creeping into her dreams, saying to meet him at the mark. Connie jolts awake in bed. She calls through her bond to Sentinel that Kullervo's voice has come again. Sentinel comes and stamps out the remaining shadow of Kullervo. A thin laugh is all that's left before, it to, disappears.
The next day Connie is on a picnic with her great uncle Hugh, her brother Simon, and her two friends, Anneena and Jane. Hugh is asleep under a tree and the four kids are bored. They decide to go for a walk. Connie senses something and gets nervous. Jane says it isn't any cooler in the trees and that they should go back. Anneena and Connie are about to agree when Simon says he wants to go farther in. Connie and Simon argue about going in further. Connie lowers her voice and says that they don't know what is in there. Anneena asked what they were talking about. Connie was about to reply when they heard a shout. The kids ran out to find what made the cry. They find Col on the ground. Connie asks what happened and he said that his horse(Mags) had bucked him off. Simon says that Mags never bucks Col off and that it's weird. Connie whistles to Mags and the frightened horse gallops over. Simon says he's going to go see what the thing on the moor was. Connie suddenly asks Col if he's hurt. Col clutches his ankle and says he sprained it. Connie tells Simon to help he with Col and they become his human crutches. Anneena says she is going to look for what ever they heard in the forest. Connie, Jane, and Col say they don't want to help but eventually they agree.
They go back to Evelyn's house and Mack is waiting for them. Connie finds out that Evelyn is going to have a baby when she touches her forehead. Mack and Evelyn say she's right and ask her how she knew. Connie doesn't know and says that she's not sure.
Col walks in with a little boy named Liam. He says that Liam saw the fire imps in a small fire, and that he kept him away. Connie tells Liam it's probably his companion species, and that he should be tested by the Accesser.
Later Anneena and Jane are talking with Connie. They start talking about the thing on the moor and Connie gets worried. She says that if they're going she has to go too.
Connie goes to see Dr. Brock. He tells her that Argand wants to see her. Connie says she will.
Connie heads to Devil's tooth to wait for Argand. She tells Gard through her bond she'll be fine because Argand will be there in a couple minutes. Gard agrees, and Connie waits. She notices that the grass is very dry. Then it starts to catch fire. She shouts for Argand but the dragon is too far away. She sees the creature from before running around. She wonders if it's trying to get away from the fire or if it's making the fire itself. She calls for Argand and Gard through her bond but both are far away. She is a little worried. Leave it to Argand to be late when she needs to hurry.  The flames get close to the rocks she's on. She tells Gard that there's a fire on the moor. He says he'll notify everyone. Connie is worried because they wont get there in time. Connie sits down coughing. The air too thick to breathe. Argand arrives and Connie tells her to get her out of there. Argand does and they get far away from the flames. But then they see Liam. Connie tells Argand to get him away from the fire. Connie starts to leave, but Gard, Rat, and Icefen appear. Gard asks how she is and Connie says she's fine, though if Argand hadn't come she would have been toast by now. Connie and Liam are taken to the Masterson's farm, and then home.
Later, Connie, Anneena, Simon, and Jane are waiting for Col. Connie knows that Col is patrolling from the air with Skylark, looking for the creature. Rat is doing the same with Icefen. Connie suggests they stay near the farm so Col can find them. Anneena agrees but Simon says-after they had been sitting there a while-that they should go deeper into the forest. He says Connie can stay behind if she wants. He, Anneena and Jane go off into the woods. Connie shouts at them that they said if she said it was dangerous they would stop. They don't listen and Connie follows them. Out of the blue, Gard tells Connie that the creature is close but Connie cuts him short saying she needs to get Simon. She starts calling his name. Gard tells her that Simon is twenty paces ahead, and she should hurry. Connie bursts into the area Simon is in. She shouts at him to run, but Simon triumphantly says that it's coming. Suddenly it jumps into the clearing. Connie shrieked, pulling on his arm, yelling at him to run. The creature looked between the two kids, wondering whom to strike first. Connie stumbled backward, still screaming at Simon to start moving. But her brother was in a daze. She shouted at him to move, that it didn't want to encounter him, that it wanted to kill them. Her shouting made the creatures decision. It stepped forward, it's jaws gaping wide. Connie turned to run and immediately tripped on a tree root in the dark, and fell spectacularly onto her face. She was stunned as her face made contact with the ground. The creature stalked forward. Connie pulled herself to her knees, dimly aware that her friends were coming. Icefen was now bounding across the plantation, Sentinel was charging from his the mines, and dragons were on the way. But nothing was close enough to step between her and the creatures jaws (Which were mere inches from her neck.) There was a shout, and Simon leap between the two, brandishing a stick. He yelled at the creature to leave Connie alone. He hit the monster on the noise, just angering it, his stick shattering. Connie got to her feet. Simon's attack had riled it into madness. Connie tugged on his sleeve, telling him to get behind her. He wouldn't budge. She told him not to be an idiot and to get behind her. They scrambled away. She succeeded in pushing Simon behind her and at the same moment dive into her mind and conjure the Universal shield. She raised the powerful mental tool. In the air, it looked like a fragile circle of silver mist. Connie didn't know if the shield would work against physical attacks, but it was that or they would die.(They would get burned to a crisp. :p) The chimera let out a jet of flames. The mist evaporated in a hiss, but Connie still held it up. She could feel the heat on her fingers. The fire stopped. The chimera leaped forward, striking her with it's front paw, sending Connie into the undergrowth. Not wasting seconds, it jumped after her and pounced before she even hit the ground. It grabbed her by the back of her jacket and bounded into the trees. Connie could hear Simon's cries behind her and she could tell he was following her. She would have shouted at him to call for help, but was nearly strangled by her own jacket. Her side was in excruciating pain. The deep scratches in her side were bleeding freely. Then, the creature dropped her on the ground, almost as quickly as it had carried her off. It rolled her over with it's paw, pinning her down. The chimera was trying to encounter her so she thought she would let it in. She regretted it. The three creatures were at war within themselves. if the attack from the physical world was terrifying, this was a vortex of stormy emotions. The three parts of the chimera-the lion, goat, and serpent- were in a constant battle. Connie cried out in pain as she was filled with the fire of the lion, the bloody serpent, and the crazed goat. They were all talking about how they should kill the Universal. The serpent asked if it should be bite, burn, or venom. The goat said they should stamp her then run. The other two ignored it. he lion said they would each get a turn. The serpent said that it should be it first, because the lion failed before. Connie called out to them but was ignored. The lion agreed that it would be serpent, then lion. The goat hysterically said it would be after that. The lion ignored it again. The last thing Connie saw was the snakes head lashing down like a whip-stroke. The bite felt like hot needles had been driven into her neck. She grew rigid, her eyes misted over. With a dreamy, vague, relief, she realized she wouldn't be conscious for the next stage of attack.

***

Col knew that something was wrong when he got to the deserted campsite. He could hear screams coming from the forest. He dashed inside. Ahead he could see someone with a flashlight sprinting full speed towards the uproar. He shouted at Connie to wait for him as he followed. Col realized the screams had stopped. He saw Simon running. He and Simon jumped into the clearing. They saw the chimera standing over Connie. She was stretched out on a pile of pine needles,-still, white faced, and death like. Their entrance startled the creature. It looked up at them, momentarily dazzled by the light that Simon was shining in it's eyes. Icefen charged into the clearing. Rat got off and the frost wolf rammed into the chimera. The three boys dragged Connie  away from the fight. Col tried to lift Connie off the ground but she was limp in his arms. Simon was sobbing and asking if she was still alive or not. Col didn't know the answer to that question. He said that they should get out of there, and dragged Connie away from the battle ground. Hooves pounded and Sentinel charged in. He picked Connie up and called at them to follow him. They ran for a while. The boys had trouble keeping up, even though they weren't carrying anything. Col helped Simon along since he saw he was close to collapse from exhaustion. Sentinel laid Connie on the ground. He said that humans were approaching, and that he was leaving the Universal in their care. He called for them to fetch healers as he left. Jane and Anneena ran up. Anneena screamed as her flashlight beam hit Connie. Col shouted at her to shut up and do something. And at the same time, he was calling the ambulance. Jane bent over Connie and checked her pulse. She said Connie is bleeding from her side, and that she was quite cold, but could definitely feel a pulse. She took off her sweater and covered Connie, then she touched her forehead. The touch roused Connie. She mumbled at Col to get Windfoal and something about poison. Col could barely swallow. Windfoal was miles away. How could they get her to the unicorn in just a few minutes? Col suggested they carry Connie to the road, so the ambulance could see them. Jane and Anneena got Connie's feet. Col and Rat got Connie's head. The awkward human stretcher made it's way to the road. Rat muttered that Icefen won to Col. Anneena said it was the creature that did it. She was close to hysterical tears. She said it was all her fault. Col savagely thought that it was her fault. Simon said it was his fault. That he didn't understand. He thought he could talk to it, but he never wanted to see it again, because it was evil-wicked. Col hoped the two girls will take it as ramblings. They reached the road. Jane got Simon to run ahead and get uncle Hugh. He wasn't gone long when the ambulance roared up with it's flashing blue lights. Jane waved her flashlight to get their attention. The paramedics got Connie into the ambulance. They asked for someone to come with them and explain what happened. Col immediately said he would go. Hugh told Col to tell Connie he was coming in the car. Tell Connie? Col wondered what he could say. She was out of his reach. He tried to stifle the terrifying thought that she may never return. The paramedics asked what happened. Col hoarsely told them that it was a wild cat. The man said that it must have been a hell of a monster to do so much damage. And that she was lucky. The cuts didn't go very deep, and that the jacket saved her. Lucky? Col wouldn't have called her that.

***

Connie was in the Chartmouth Hospital for three days now. She had been delirious and they asked what kind of snake had done this. Someone from Nepal suggested it was a cobra, but the doctors told him to be realistic. A cobra, in England, ha!
Mack, Col, and Rat walked into the youth ward with only flowers and innocent smiles. Mack scooped Connie off the bed. Col said that she needed a quick trip to the parking lot. And that they would bring her back unharmed. Rat said she need to see her horse, and that she would never get better if she wasn't satisfied it was okay. So that they had brought it here. They waited impatiently in the elevator. Col asked Rat why he said something about the horse. Rat said that he bet his money that the kids in the in Connie's room were looking out the window, looking at what they were doing. Col agreed it was a good cover story. They went to the horsebox. Kira was looking at her watch, waiting for them. She smiled when Mack went into the horsebox and laid Connie on the ground in front of Windfoal. They waited outside.

***

Connie was healed by Windfoal. Connie told her she had better go back before people started worrying about her. Windfoal agreed but told her to come see her so she could treat the scars. Connie nodded and left. The doctors were running into the parking lot as Kira drove the horsebox away. Col looked happy to see Connie standing. She told them that she would handle this. The doctors asked her what she was doing. She said she needed a breath of fresh air.
Connie was visited by Anneena and Jane, they were relived she was okay. She was let out of the hospital after a day.

***

They went and picked up Liam, so they could take him to his assessment. They signed in and entered the Chamber of Counsel. All the Trustees were in four different points in the room. North, South, East, West. Connie looked at each of them.
The her eyes fell on the new trustees. An Chinese man-Mr. Chan,and a rock dwarf-Jade. Jade greeted Connie and she bowed respectfully. To Connie's surprise, Liam ran over and sat down next to Jade. Kinga confirmed Liam as a companion to the Fire imp. Connie's face registered astonishment. Eagle-Child laughed. He told her there were different ways to do an assessment. Connie glanced at Simon. He was biting his lip. She asked him where he wanted to go. Kinga-after a pause-said Connie should step out of the circle because her presence might be confusing them. After a bit, Kira said that Simon was theirs. Morjik growled that he was theirs. Mr. Chan said he couldn't be both. Connie walked forward. She asked if she could see which one he was supposed to be in. She placed he hands on his shoulders and closed her eyes. After a moment she opened them, and said he was both. She said he is both, like the chimera he is both. Connie decided he should sit with Kira for the time being. He sat by Windfoal and Kira. Connie turned and looked around the room. She said the last question was, where should she sit?

***
Liam, Simon, and Mack had gone to the cafe to meet Liam's teacher. Connie is sitting cross legged in the center of the room. Kira said that Connie should say if she is getting tired. Connie agrees. Windfoal says she will heal Connie's scars, and that she'll be more comfortable then. Connie is healed and they all begin the encounter. They discussed what to do with the Chimera, and finally concluded that they should ask the librarian where a book about the chimera is. Kira's shadow self jumped up and said she would get the librarian. Connie stopped her. Shouldn't they stop the encounter first? They all agreed and opened their eyes. Kira got up and said she would now get the librarian.
Mr. Dove the librarian came with Kira five minutes later. He looked through his records and found a title of a book with the chimera in it. The Treatise on Conjoined Creatures and Multiple Monsters. But the problem was that it is not available. Kinga asks why. Mr. Dove says that it's in the Universal's library. Kinga asks Connie to go and read as much as she can about the chimera. Connie agrees, but asks them to tell Mack that she should be a while, so they can take Liam home now. Kinga nods and Kira says she'll get her some refreshments to take up to the Universal library.

***

She found the book and pulled it out of the shelves. She looked through it. Connie was about to give up in despair because she couldn't finds anything, when yellowing paper slipped out of the book. It was dated 1940, Reginald Cony. Connie realized she had stumbled upon notes from the last British Universal. The uncle to the previous trustee Fredrick Cony had told her about. The notes told about how he was about to go to the basement but had to finish his message. Also that his friend-a Universal- Guy de Chaliac is spending a lot of time on research about the chimera and that he wont bore anyone with the details. Connie urged him to but she was decades to late to make a difference. But Reginald says that Kullervo  is able to shape-shift into the chimera to calm it's madness and communicate with it. He can persuade the creature to do his bidding. The note ended right before Reginald could finish his sentence of advise. A bombing raid during the II world war must have sent him into hiding. Connie leafed through the book and came across a old English message.
Guy passyd oute of thys world by the mark and there was wepyng and dolour out of mesure. Our counsels are grievously lessened. But he defeated Kullervo for thys time.
Connie couldn't make much sense of it, but the over all message was clear enough. What ever Guy had done-challenged at the mark-it had worked. But the challenge had cost his life.


***
Connie told the trustees about the chimera. Kinga mused that they couldn't use the method so they would have to think about something else. Morjik grunted that it was possible. Kinga asked how. Wearily Connie said that they only needed to gather the Nemean lion, great snake, and Amalthean goat, and through a shared bond, they could communicate with the chimera. She says she could do it. Jade says that not only she can do it. Connie realizes and mutters Simon's name. She says that Simon hasn't yet started his training, and that he is only twelve. Eagle-Child cut in saying that she was only eleven when she first faced Kullervo. Kira gently says that it would be better to use his skills for the task so Connie wont have to go in the creature's path again. Connie leapt to her feet and shouting no. She told them they can't do it and that they don't know what it's like. Eagle-Child says that they don't but that she should not deny him. Connie snaps back that she isn't denying him anything, and certainly not his gift. She shouts that she doesn't want them to exchange her life for his. The room fell silent. Kira told her she was tired and upset, and that they had overtaxed her. She says that it was their fault and she should rest now. Connie shook with anger and fatigue. She would have to make them understand, when would she get to see the trustees again? She tells them they don't get it. That it isn't about the chimera, it's about Kullervo, and that's what Reginald Cony and Guy de Chauliac realized. That she should challenge him at the mark! The silence that followed turned icy. Kinga and Morjik were furious, Kira and Windfoal were afraid. Connie looked at them. She asked them if they are afraid of the truth. Kira sternly looked at her,s aying that they weren't afraid of the truth. That they were afraid for her,-of her. Eagle-Child asked her to listen. That she shouldn't make the same mistakes other Universals made in the past. Connie argues that it wasn't a mistake, and that it ended the black death. Eagle-Child shook his head. He tells her that she has only read one account. Guy failed his attempt, he was taken by Kullervo before he could complete the ordeal. It is a horrible death, a torture beyond Connie's imagining. Connie was shocked. They had known about Guy? What else did they known that she didn't? Connie says that he succeeded. Eagle-Child says he did his part, but only partially. He asked Connie if wanted to pay the same price? Kullervo would exhaust and attack Connie, then throw her aside. Connie sat down. She didn't want to be in the center of the room anymore. Connie stubbornly said that he was on to something. Eagle-Child cut her short saying that he failed. He walked over to her and held out his hand. He said that they forbid her from going down this path. She jumped to her feet, knocking away Eagle-Child's hand. She said she understands but that she doesn't agree. And with that she fled the chamber.

***

On the train home Connie was irritable. She got angry with Mack, Simon, and Col. She left to get some coffee. She noticed Col coming up behind her. He asked her what's wrong. She told him that she'd argued with the trustees and that she found a way to defeat Kullervo but that they wouldn't allow it. Col said it was great she found a way and asked her what it was. She told him that she had to challenge Kullervo at the mark. Col asked what was so bad about it. She said that if she failed like the other Universals, she would be tortured to death. Col was aghast. She asked him if he was on her side. He said of course not, because he wouldn't want to agree with her death sentence. She said she wanted to do it properly, to avoid the mistakes of the past. Col cut in saying he was on her side but that she promise not to do anything stupid. He gave her a hug but she said she couldn't promise anything, but that she'll think about it, and he'll have to do with that for now. Col agreed.

***

A couple days later Connie sits practicing the Universal powers with Gard. She said that she wanted to learn more Universal tools. Such as the quiver, and lance. Gard asked Connie if he could ask a question. She granted him the pleasure and he asked why she was learning more warrior tools, instead of healing or defensive moves. She said that she wanted to follow the chapters in her book she found in the Universal library. Gard said that he knew that wasn't the case, and that she shouldn't lie to him. She said that if there was a way to defeat him, shouldn't she try to do everything in her power to find it? Gard told her no. And that there are not buts, that she should not try to match the shape shifter. He told her to obey the rules and not look into it anymore. Then as if nothing had happened, he said that they should study the portcullis.

***
Connie opened the door a few days later, to see Mrs. Clamsworthy. She looked flustered. She asked if they had seen Col. Evelyn said they hadn't and said that Connie could ask Gard where he was. Connie was hesitant but called out to Gard. There was no answer. She apologized, saying that he must be inside somewhere. Connie asked if it would be alright to go to uncle Hugh's. Evelyn agreed but told her to stay away from the moor. Connie nodded and left.
Later, she met Rat and told him why she was out. Rat agreed to help find Col. She reached out to sense his gift, but instead found many mythical creatures. She didn't know why but she knew the creatures weren't friendly, and said that they should go tell Dr. Brock, but Rat snagged her jacket and said "what about Col?" Connie had forgotten her reason for coming and said that she couldn't spot him with all the commotion. Rat said one of the creatures might have got him. She searched and found him. She told Rat that he was near Devil's Tooth. Rat said that they should go but Connie shrunk back, and said she wasn't allowed to go on the moor. Rat told her not to be pathetic and that they weren't going far, or would she prefer that a mythical creature attack Col. Connie knew she would get in more trouble with the trustees but what would it matter if she could help Col? She climbed over the fence and dashed to Devil's Tooth. She told Rat that they were getting close. She waved the beam of the flashlight around. She found a body lying on the ground. They rushed over to it and Connie called Col's name. Col groggily awoke and asked what happened. Connie asked him how long he had been there. He said he didn't know. She saw something on his neck, and asked Rat to shine the light on it. He did and Connie saw a mark only the Universal's shield could stop. Stone Sprites. Connie asked if Col could walk, because they really needed to get off the moor. Col got his cell phone out to call his Gran, but dropped it on the ground. He checked it and it was dead, and he said this isn't his day. Connie offered that Col could use her phone. Col agreed but Rat took the phone and said he should probably be the one to call. Then Col realized Mags was gone. He called out the horse's name and asked if he was alright. Connie said she would find him and whistled into the darkness. Nothing happened. Rat joined them and asked if they needed any light. He also said that Col's Gran told him he would go straight to bed after this and that they should get off the moor immediately. Col said he wouldn't leave without Mags, and they started to search. Rat shined the light around the land and Col exclaimed, pointing into the distance that Mags was over there. He had wandered off with the Dartmoor ponies. Rain started to fall, and Connie said they should hurry and get Mags. She said she didn't like being on the moor with so much going on. She dipped her mind into the activity going on near them. She said they'd better hurry because her friend was coming. Rat asked who but Col got it immediately. The chimera! Col grabbed Connie's arm. He said she should get on Mags and she should ride back to the cottages, she would be safe there. Connie started running towards Mags. She said it wasn't just her she was worried about. It was them too. Col boosted Connie into the saddle and almost immediately Mags snorted, and bucked, smelling danger approaching. Connie fell off and onto Col. Col asked Mags what had gotten into him. Connie knew Mags was terrified. First stone sprites, now this. She scrambled back on. The chimera was loping towards them, roaring triumphantly. Connie told the boys they needed to go, but Col said Mags couldn't carry them all. Then he saw the Dartmoor ponies. He told Rat that they would ride them. They jumped onto them and the three kids dashed down the hill. But the two dartmoor ponies veered left, heading towards marshy ground. Connie yelled to them. She told them that they weren't horses.
It was too late. Rat and Col were dumped into the marsh. The kelpies had ditched them.
Col told Connie to run but she said she wouldn't go without them. She could see them because of the light Rat was holding, but it showed them waist deep and sinking. She dismounted and stood there. Mags took the chance to bolt. Col let out a warning but the reins slipped through Connie's fingers. She had to let Mags go, she had to save Col and Rat from drowning. She shouted at them to stop moving, Rat said it was easy for her to say. Connie said they needed to lie flat. Rat announced he wasn't putting his face near the goo. Col growled at him to do it and they lay flat. Col saw flames in the darkness. He shouted at Connie that the Chimera was coming. There was no where to go. She jumped onto the tussock grass in the middle of the icky mud. It sagged beneath her weight, but didn't sink. The chimera bounded up, but once it caught a whiff of the bog it stopped short. It howled in disappointment and paced back and forth, it's amber eyes glaring at her. It was wondering if it could leap upon her and not tumble into the mud. When the lion's eyes met hers, they both knew it could not. But the chimera had other methods of attack. So did Connie. Rat shouted out Col and Connie's names, he was up to his chest in the bog. The chimera let out a torrent of flames and at the same moment, Connie pulled the shield from her mind. The shield would hold out for a while. The mist evaporated under the attack. From Col's point of view, he could see a silver halo of a cloud surrounding Connie, as it was battered by the intense flames. Her shield wouldn't hold out against another spout of flames. She threw her shield aside. Col shouted her name is dismay as he looked at his friend, who had no protection. But almost instantaneously, a golden bow appeared, she pulled the only arrow from the quiver and shot it at the chimera. The arrow's aim was true and it hit the flank of the goat. The chimera howled and hurtled off into the darkness. Connie turned back to them and pulled off her shoulder bag and threw one end to Col. Col pulled off his belt and threw one end of it to Rat who was barely above the rancid mud. He grabbed the end and Connie slowly pulled the two boys in. They decided to get out of the moor as soon as possible. They jumped across and started running for the Masterson's The chimera appeared and started to follow them. Col shouted, saying where were dragons when you needed them.  Connie said she couldn't summon help on the move, and that she would summon them at the devil's tooth. It should give them some time. They climbed to the top. She called out to Gard but he didn't answer. She told Col and Rat that the stone sprites must be blocking her. Col asked if the creatures could reach them from there and she said she could protect them with the shield if they stood close to her. Col asked if she had a plan, and she said she was working on it when a piercing shriek filled the air. Rat grimly said the Lion was back in control. Stone sprites littered the ground. The lion roared that Connie should face them, the goat said "He wants you", and the snake said "it's you he's after!", and the lion finished by saying-"We'll take you to him." Connie turned to Col and Rat. Col asked if she had a plan. She said she had one but he wasn't going to like it. Rat said if it kept him from getting eaten he was listening. She told them she's going to make a deal. Col started asking what she meant but she cut in, saying that if she went with them, they might let her go. Col grabbed her jacket and said she would be eaten alive. She told him that they wont because they're working for Kullervo. Col said Kullervo would kill her. Connie said that he might, or she might defeat him. Col suddenly asked if she wasn't thinking of challenging him or anything. Col gave Connie a quick embrace and told her not to challenge him, and to wait for help. She smiled at him and Rat, and with that climbed off the rock. She stepped towards the Chimera. She told it she would go with them if they let her friends go. The Chimera agreed and Connie put her shield down. Immediately the snake lashed out and Connie struck the ground. Then it carried her away.
Rat had to haul Col back when the Chimera struck. He told him that they should make a run for it and get help. The two boys leapt off the rock but were immediately caught by a large black dragon.

***
Connie got to her feet, after the chimera deposited her on the ground. She looked up into Kullervo's dark eyes. Kullervo got to the point and said that she would do his bidding in the end if she liked it or not. Connie said he would have to kill her first. He said he wasn't thinking of killing her, if she refused her friend's lives would be at stake. She heard footsteps and the chimera walk in. It flung Col into the wall. Connie shouted at the chimera to stop attacking Col and Rat. Kullervo turned to Connie and asked if she would give in. Col shouted at her not to give up. Connie couldn't think straight. Overwhelmed with terror, she didn't know what to do. Kullervo said he guessed that she needed more time to decide. He told the chimera to tie Col and Rat up. The stone sprites tied Connie up as well. Kullervo sank into the darkness. The two boys made hollow jokes but they were too down hearted. Out of the silence, Col heard Connie say she was scared. Col said he was too, but she must be strong, and not let Kullervo use them again. Connie choked on tears saying that that would be leading them to their deaths. Col said that she must do it if she was to save everyone. Connie shook her head. She said the only thing she could do is challenge him at the mark. Col and Rat started arguing about if Connie was aloud to our not. As this was happening Kullervo sneaked back into the room. He asked if she had come to her decision.
Connie looked him straight in the eyes and said-"Meet me at the mark. I challenge you to single combat."

And that's the end of my book report, book summery, review. (What ever you call it. :p) (Sorry if I went out of different tenses throughout the review. :p)
:) This book is by far my favorite. You must read it. It's extraordinary. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mines of the Minotaur

Mines of the Minotaur (Companions Quartet)

*WARNING! CONTAINS MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS!* It's been a year since the last fight with Kullervo. Connie is now thirteen.
She leaves her house, like in a trance and stops at the beach. She raises her hands and wind lashes the sea, causing monstrous waves to crash together. She roars as she raises the storm. She laughs as the wind and rain crash, making everything fly around. She points her index finger in the air and lightning hits it, making a golden light around her. Horses made of water dash around her, spraying her with water. She's jolted from her tempest-dream by the water, she gasps and crumples to the ground. Col who took shelter from the storm walks down the road after going to a party his father had. He sees a small form in a white nightgown on the street. He runs over and finds it to be Connie. He shakes her shoulder and she awakens, asking where she is. He told her that she should get home because she was soaked. She nods and they go back to her house. She grabbed a blanket and sank into the couch. Col told her he would get her some tea. He asked her what happened and she tells him she thinks she summoned the storm. And she asks him to not tell anyone. He agrees reluctantly.
A few days later at her aunts wedding-in Mr. Masterson's barn-to Mr. Clamsworthy-Col's dad-Col decides to tell Dr. Brock. Connie doesn't want him to but he does anyway. She feels terrible, she doesn't want people to think of her as a monster. Her hands crackled with power and she ran from the barn. Dr. Brock, Col, and Rat(one of Col's friends who is a companion to the frost wolf) chase after her. Dr. Brock shouts above the wind that nasty weather is brewing, and Rat asks Col what companion Connie is bonding with. Col doesn't know and he runs up to try to stop her. Dr. Brock stops him, telling Col that he'll just get killed. Col shouted Connie's name and she turned to him. She shot lightning at him, Dr. Brock, and Rat. Rat shouts, wondering what Connie's playing at. Dr. Brock says that Connie isn't playing, and if they stay they'll get fried. Argand, Connie's companion, the golden dragon, dives into the lightning and touches Connie's feet. She falls over, all power gone, as well as the lightning, and Col runs over. He shouts at her, asking her what she thinks she's doing. Dr. Brock silences Col and asks Connie what was wrong. She sobs, and tells them she's sorry over and over.
A few days later the new trustee(a trustee are the leaders of the society. I forgot to mention them in the secret of the sirens review. :p) Ivor Coddrington, announced that Connie should be put on trial for what she's done.
Dr. Brock tells Connie that Coddrington wants to see her for she did the last weekend. There's a meeting at the Masterson's farm, and Mr. Coddrington announces that he is going to question Connie. He asks her what she's been doing and she replies that she doesn't know. Mr. Coddrington says he's going to suspend her for being a danger. Dr. Brock says that Connie is just a kid, but Mr. Coddrington says that she is a Universal. Connie tells them that that's what Kullervo said, and Mr. Coddrington accuses her for communicating with him. Connie gets angry and says that he's like Kullervo because she has the gift and he hates it. Dr. Brock tells her to calm down but she doesn't. She says that Coddrington is doing Kullervo's work for him, since he's trying to get rid of her. Coddrington demands that she hand in her badges and have no more communication with the society, and that she should stay away from the society people, and the people should stay away from her. She slams her chair backwards and throws the badges at him, then she told them that Kullervo was right-she was better of without them. With that Connie ran away from the Masterson's farm. She ran to a cliff near the water and cursed the society and Mr. Coddrington. She was about to make another storm, but stopped when she heard seagulls. She dropped her hands in disgusted and went to Hugh's cottage by the shore.
 Col and Rat went to visit Connie. She was near the mines and when they walked over to her, she called for them to stand back. They said they didn't care what Coddrington said, they were going to talk to her. She told them she was dangerous. Rat just said she was and that the Society could shove their ban. She yelled at them to get back. Pounding footsteps came behind her and a minotaur grabbed her. She screamed. Col ran forward, but Connie's screams faded away as she disappeared into the mines. She shrieked and told the Minotaur to put her down, but he said he wouldn't till she was safe. She asked him what he meant. He told her that she called and he came. She says he shouldn't be talking to her, because she was banned from the society. He tells her that the mines have the shamed, the sick, and the outcasts, and that the society doesn't reach them, because they have been forgotten. She says that she's in the right place if that's the case. She asks him why he's here and he says he was wounded in battle and now is blind in one eye. She bonds with him and they talk in their minds. She asks him who else is down in the mines. He says that other people like him were down in there waiting for him. They go and she sees all the companions sick and hurting. Connie feels terrible. The minotaur says that she can heal them. She says that she can't because she's not allowed to be a Universal. He tells her that she will be a Universal, Society or no society. There is a pause, and she asks why the society has abandoned them and he says the society has lost it's way and that it needs a leader-a Universal. She tells him the society doesn't want her, let alone be the leader. Then they hear calls. The minotaur asks if she wants him to drive them off but she says that she should be getting back because they are probably worried. He tells her that he'll be there if she needs him. She asks his name and he says he doesn't have a name anymore. She leaves.
On Christmas, Gard a rock dwarf-the companion to the previous trustee Fredrick-contacts Connie through the ground and tells her that the other trustees don't approve of the expulsion and that they will have a meeting to decide the matter. Her aunt comes back from her trip with Mack(Col's father), Evelyn asks what's up and Connie says that nothing much has happened, she only got expelled from the society. Evelyn demands the whole story and Connie tells it.
Later Connie takes Gard, Col, Evelyn, Rat, Dr. Brock, Skylark, and Argand down to see the minotaur, whom she gave the name Sentinel, to guard her mind from intruders. They decide to go into Connie's mind and see if there is any problem inside her.
Everyone bonds with her and they enter her mind. Sentinel tells them to be careful, anything could happen in her mind, she could trap them, throw them out,at anytime she wishes. And that this is her labyrinth, she governs it. They walk through the door and up some stairs. The group arrives in a hall, cave painting cover the walls, and in the center of the room was a mural. It was dark, whispers came from it, as well as a chilly wind. Col asked the sentinel what it was and he told him he didn't know. Gard reached forward to touch it but Col stopped him. He told them he knew what it was. It was Kullervo's mark. He says that he had it when Kullervo had captured him. Kullervo had never broken is link with Connie. A wind blasted them and they were cast out of her mind.
A few days later Connie awoke to rain. She got up and looked outside. The water horses were going to damage the cliff if she didn't do something. She put on her slippers and shouts that the horses were there. She ran outside and yelled at them to stop. They came crashing towards her, and she got hit over and over again by the water. She struggled to pull away as the dragged her into the sea. She gasped at them to stop. Then two people hauled her away as the horses hit the three again and again. It was Mack and Eagle-Child(a trustee). Mack told her to stop them but she told him she couldn't. He told her to learn fast and she tried. She imagined a bridle. She stopped them all and made them turn back into plain water. A blanket was thrown on her. She looked around. All the trustees were there. Eagle-Child and his companion Storm-Bird(an electric bird), Kira and her companion Windfoal(a unicorn), Kinga and her companion Morjik(a dragon) and Coddrington, with his companion Hoo(a weather giant). He said for the other trustees to see it with their own eyes, she was a danger to everyone and to herself. And that she must be stopped. Connie looked at Eagle-Child. He looked very disappointed.
The next day they were going to hold a trial. Evelyn, Mack and Connie arrived on time to the Masterson's farm. They went to the barn and saw a single chair in the middle. Evelyn said that this was too much. Mack suggested they hide the chair and put hey bails for Connie's seat as well as the seats that they were going to sit in around her. Everyone arrived. Col, Dr. Brock, his companion(a dragon), Rat, Mrs. Clamsworthy, and Gard sat with her.
Mr. Coddrington accused Connie of saying that he was in league with Kullervo. Dr. Brock cut in saying that Connie was just pointing out that he was doing Kullervo's work for him. By cutting Connie away from the Society, it made her more vulnerable. Mr. Coddrington waved it away and said for them to get down to business, and that she say if she summoned the storms in November and December. Connie admitted to it but said it wasn't willfully. Coddrington interrupted her by saying he heard it all before, and that she was going to say that it wasn't like that and that she couldn't explain why. Kinga stood up and declared that he might have heard it before, but the rest of them hadn't. Coddrington agreed saying that they would find the Universal's excuses wear thin very quickly. Kinga said that they would judge that for themselves and for Connie to continue. Connie didn't answer, she was looking at the door. Kinga asked if she was listening. Connie told them that there are hundreds of creatures waiting outside, trying to bond with her, and wanting to come in. Kinga seemed astonished and said that they could come in. They opened the doors and the creatures from the mines poured in like a flood. They all took a seat behind Connie. Kinga asked who they were and Sentinel said that they were friends of the Universal and that he was the Universal's Sentinel. Eagle-Child turned to Connie and gave a her tiny smile and a small nod. Kinga told Connie to continue and she did. She said it would be hard for people to believe but that she had Kullervo's mark inside of her, and that he had access to her when she is asleep. She paused, then said. Or very angry. Coddrington jumped to his feet and said she had no proof. Gard said that they had seen it. Kira and Windfoal went over to Connie's side and asked if she couldn't be held responsible for what Kullervo was doing. Gard said that Kullervo was just waiting to break through. Coddrington spluttered. He said that she conjured the storm last night. Gard shook his head and said she wasn't outside, and her feet hadn't hit the ground, until the storm had already begun. Coddrington stubbornly said that she could have summoned it from inside the house, and they didn't know what else Universals could do. Connie looked around at everyone. She said that that no one knows, not even her. But that she knew she didn't summon the storm. Connie said she was just trying to stop the white water horses from crashing down on the cliff. And it was her word against what Coddrington thought he saw. Storm-Bird and Eagle-Child went over to Connie's side. He said he was sorry for ever doubting her. Kinga turned to everyone and said that she spoke for the trustees. She said that Connie's expulsion was no longer firm. But that they would need to see the mark for themselves. Kinga stepped forward to Connie and held out the badges. She told Connie welcome home.
The next day, Connie met with the trustees. She was fine with everyone but when Coddrington walked up she remembered he was a trustee also. She turned to Kinga and asked why Coddrington was coming. Kinga told her that all trustees should be present.
Everyone got ready. Kinga asked if Connie was and she nodded. They all followed Sentinel into Connie's labyrinth. Suddenly a wind struck. Everyone held onto their companions. Connie realized her mind was trying to get rid of them, so she tried with all her might to stop the current of wind. With a great effort, she mentally slammed a door against it. Coddrington got up and dusted himself off.  He stalked over to Sentinel. He told him to tell Connie to behave. Sentinel growled that Connie had warned them, and he was lucky it wasn't worse. Coddrington said she was doing it on purpose and it was all part of her plan. There was a loud crack and a fissure appeared under him. Eagle-Child told him he wouldn't say anything if he were him. Coddrington agreed and said he wanted to get it over with. They next stopped at a underground lake. Kira wondered if they could cross and Sentinel said it depended in the Universal. The water turned out to be ankle deep only. Coddrington asked if it was safe and Sentinel said he didn't know. Coddrington stepped in and sank. He came up spluttering, saying he couldn't touch the bottom. He almost said something when he pulled himself out on the other side, but Eagle-Child's look made him keep his mouth shut. Coddrington asked how much farther and Sentinel said they could be there in minutes or it could be hours. Eagle-Child said that Connie doesn't want them to reach their destination. Kinga muttered "come on Connie" under her breath "let us in". A wind swept through, putting out the torches and plunging them into darkness. The trustees waited in the dark. Then there was a creak and a door opened. Sentinel announced that they were there. There was a shadow of Connie sitting near the mark. Sentinel held up his hand saying the universal was there and they should not disturb her. Connie thought she could end the encounter. They had seen the mark, hadn't they? The shadow Connie got up and said "You should leave now, she wants you to leave now." Kinga asked since they had just got here, if they could look around a bit more. The shadow Connie didn't say anything. Kinga said that they should make it swift because they had outstayed their welcome.  Hoo the weather giant stepped forward. Sentinel shouted at it to not touch but the giant put his hand into the mark. Dark water poured into the cavern Everyone held onto their companions. The shadow Connie laughed and fell into the water. Sentinel shouted for everyone to end their encounters and they did abruptly. When they came to their consciousness in front of them mine they saw Evelyn, Col, and Mack lying on the ground. Connie was gone.
And on that mysterious note I'm ending the review. You MUST read this BOOK! :)

The Gorgon's Gaze


The Companion's Quartet, Book Two: The Gorgon's Gaze (Companions Quartet)
*WARNING! CONTAINS MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS!* It's been a few months since Connie stopped Kullervo and the sirens from recking a Axoil liner tanker, and Scark's death.
Connie walks back to her house after going for a ride on Skylark, Col's Pegasus companion. And becoming a companion to the only golden dragon in the world. When she get to her aunt's house, she sees two old people sitting on the front step. The man is her great uncle Hugh and the woman is her great aunt Godiva. Evelyn arrives and Godiva announces that Connie's parents have instructed them to take her to the town of Chartmouth a few miles away, and to take her out of the society and away from anyone in it. Evelyn thinks it's crazy.
Later Godiva takes Connie to the Lionheart Lodge where she'll be staying. It has no plants, trees, or even water, in it and Connie thinks it's sadly dreary. Godiva tells Connie that she will teach her at home, so she will get over being 'sick' from being in the society. Connie is confused and tells her she isn't sick and that the society isn't bad. Godiva tells her to unpack and leaves. A few days later, the doorbell rings and it's two of her friends from the society, Horace and Antonia. They tell Godiva and Hugh that they live in London and that they don't have anything to do with the society. (Even though they do.) Horace invites Hugh to a boat show and says that Connie and Antonia can come too. The next day they go on a train to where it's supposed to be held. Horace exclaims that the ticket says only navy veterans are allowed to go. He suggests that Connie and Antonia stay at the library. Hugh goes on ahead and Horace takes Connie to the 'library'. When they get to the building it's actually the headquarters to the society for the Protection of Mythical Creatures. She signs up at the front desk and is given a key to the Universal's library where no one is aloud to go. She goes to the stairs and begins up the railing but it turns out that it's ALIVE! It turns out to be a snake and she thinks it's going to eat her. She realizes she needs to put the key inside it's opened mouth. She tentatively places it in the mouth and the snake slithers up the stairs, and she follows. She reads about previous Universals and what they discovered.
She goes back to Lionheart Lodge.
Connie asks Anneena to tell Col that she wants to meet him at the abbey tomorrow. The next day she asks Hugh if he will take her to the memorials at the abbey. He and Godiva agree, because Godiva remembers Hugh used to go there all the time.
They go to the abbey and she sees a memorial with the Universal's sign on it. Hugh says that it was his favorite. Connie says she likes it too, and Hugh suggests he will get her a post card of it. He leaves and Col walks up. She tells him that the memorial has her sign, and that it's a tomb of Suzanna Caldicott Lionheart, a Universal.
A few days later Anneena and Jane are allowed to take Connie for a bike ride. Once they get away from the house Anneena says that Col hasn't come to school the last few days. Connie gets worried and they decide to go look for him.
The rest of the story is SOO good. The ending was really cool. You must read this book also. :) 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Secret of the Sirens

The Companions Quartet, Book One: Secret of the Sirens



*WARNING! CONTAINS MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS!* Connie Lionheart has gone to stay with her Aunt Evelyn. Her parents sent her to Hescombe to go to school because everywhere else animals follow her. And her mismatched  eyes don't help the fact that people think she's weird. (One eye green, one brown.) 
Her aunt seems to be hiding something from her, but she doesn't know what. Her aunt gets a pair of earmuffs that blocks out the sound completely, and she wont tell Connie what it's about. Evelyn also is a part of some secret society, and changes the subject every time Connie tries to ask questions about it.
A week before school her aunt introduces her to a boy named Colin (more known as Col.) Her aunt says she might as well have one friend when she starts school. Col has mismatched eyes as well and Connie wonders why. Later, Connie finds out that Col and his grandmother Lavinia are in the society also. Evelyn starts getting angry about the oil company that's being built, because they will be dumping waste into the sea and that workers have gone missing. Connie asks about the problem but is ignored. She's a little upset that no one is telling her what's going on, but she soon forgets once she meets a new friend in school ( a girl named Anneena,) who wants to stop the oil company, Axoil. Anneena, her friends Jane, and Connie decide to interview Axoil. The teacher says they can do a group  project and Col gets stuck with them. He is against them interviewing Axoil and wants them to stop poking into other peoples business. Anneena and Col argue about what to do, but come to a compromise to just ask certain questions, nothing about the missing workers.
They go to Axoil, but Anneena's older sister (a reporter) asks a employee about the missing workers. Which wasn't a good idea.
Later, Evelyn tells Connie that she will be tested to see if she can go into the society, she doesn't say why. Connie takes the odd test from a man called the Accesser. She has to point her index finger directly in front of her and to turn in a circle. If one of the four things-a mouse, a lizard, a bird, and a crystal- reacts to her she can be in the society. Connie points at all of them and they all react. The Accesser-Mr. Coddrington- looks a little startled, and he tells Connie that she failed and leaves in a hurry. Connie gets very upset and doesn't want anything to do with the society.
Later, Evelyn tells Connie she's going to go out with the society to do some things. Connie follows her. She gets aboard a boat called the Watersprite. She sees Col getting on later, after she hides under a tarp. They go to a place called The Stacks. Connie is shocked when she sees Sirens. She gets a connection to them through companionship and she goes with them to their home in the stacks. They tell her she is not their companion, but a companion to all. What they call, a Universal Companion. They tell her that Axoil is going to dump oil into their water, and that they are going to stop them with the help of Kullervo. Connie asks them who Kullervo is, and they tell her that he is going to help them with their problem. Connie pleas with them to wait so she can think of something to do that wont involve people getting hurt. They tell her that they'll wait till the first snow storm arrives, because that's when Kullervo does also.
Later, when the Sirens are asleep, a man in the society named Dr Brock comes on a dragon. He takes her back to her house. On the way he asks her what happened. She told him that the Sirens called her a Universal. Dr Brock gets excited and asks her what else she was told by the Sirens. Connie then tells him that  the sirens would wait till a thing called Kullervo to come, and that she had that much time to think of a solution. Dr Brock gets worried and tells her not to say anything about being a Universal or Kullervo to anyone. She agrees puzzled and they depart.
The rest of the story was so cool. So I'm not going to spoil it. :) READ THIS BOOK! :)

The Companions Quartet (Book review of the whole quartet)

The Companions Quartet 4 Books Julia Golding Collection Set Pack (The Companions Quartet) (Julia Golding) (Secret of the Sirens, The Chimera's Curse, The Gorgon's Gaze, Mines of the Minotaur)



*WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS!* This is a four book story. Secrets of the Sirens, The Gorgon's Gaze, Mines of the Minotaur, and the last, The Chimera's Curse. The quartet is by Julia Golding.
It was so intense, though at first the story seemed a little well...slow, but it got more interesting. Connie learns that she is a rare person, called a Universal Companion. She can be a companion to all mythical creatures.
In the four books she battles the enemy, Kullervo, who wants to rid the world of humans. He is a shape shifting mythical creature who is the Universal's companion.
In each one she fends him off and he leaves for a while, but he always comes back more powerful, and in the end she battles him.
And to see what happens you'll have to read the books! :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Avatar: The Last Airbender review


*WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS* Katara and Sokka are sister and brother from the south pole. Katara (is fourteen) and Sokka (fifteen). One hundred years ago, the four nations were at peace. Then the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, who can master all four elements can stop them. But when he was most needed, he vanished. The war has been raging for one hundred years, and the Airbenders has been wiped out when the Fire Nation attacked them. Now, Katara and Sokka find a boy in a iceberg, along with his bison. They discover he's an Airbender (after he sneezes and blasts fifteen feet into the air. :p ) named Aang. (Who is twelve.)
Katara is the motherly character, who wants to learn how to use her Waterbending. She is very protective and will kick butt if someone is trying to hurt her friends. Sokka is the guy who likes lame jokes which turn out to be pretty funny. He's in love with his boomerang and likes everything to be normal. Aang is the silly kid who wants to have fun but will protect his friends no matter the cost. He evolves from season to season and I like watching how all the main characters grow. Many other main characters appear from season to season and they are really cool. This show is for seven and up and is kid friendly.
The story takes thousands of twists and turns, and your holding your breath during each battle. I think this is one of the best TV series EVER. :) This is a must watch.
It's...amazing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sisters of the Sword

Sisters of the Sword

*WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS!* Kimi and Hana live in the 13th century ancient Japan. They have learned to read, write, and a bit of fighting. Kimi dreams of becoming a Samurai but knows it will never happen. One day, when their uncle-Hidehira-arrives. Later that night, Kimi, and Hana spy on the men (their father and Uncle, doing a tea ceremony) and witness their uncle and his men poison their father and kill almost their entire household. They escape and believe that their mother and brother did as well. They are chased through their land and disguise themselves as servant boys. They are being searched for so they go to a Dojo. Once they get there they meet one of their cousins, the son of Hidehira- Ken-ichi. They hope he doesn't recognize them. But when they try to walk by Kimi accidentally runs into his sword. He gets angry and attacks Kimi. She fights him until the Master appears. The Master-Goku- stops them. Kimi asks if she and Hana can learn from him. Goku doesn't think they can do it and tells them to leave. Kimi challenges him to a fight, and he accepts. Kimi does a pretty good job and allows them to stay. The rest of the story is a really cool clash of fighting and mystery. This is a must read. I liked reading it. :)

The Sisters Grimm

The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1) (Bk. 1)


*WARNING! CONTAINS SPOILERS* The Sisters Grimm is a great series I read a year ago. There are eight books, in which I've read. This is the cover for the first book. This book is about two girls-Sabrina (who is eleven) and Daphne (who is seven). They have to go to an orphanage because their parents were kidnapped. And all that was left of there parents was a blood red hand print on the window of their car. The kids had been adopted by plenty of crazy people, but they always ran away. And now, they have been adopted by their supposedly dead grandmother, Relda Grimm. When they get to their grandmothers house weird things begin to happen. The lightning bugs outside bite, they are locked into the house, their grandmothers friend is mean (Mr. Canis), their grandmother thinks that fairy tale characters a real (she calls them Everafters), and finally her grandmother, and Mr. Canis are kidnapped by a giant. They must work together with Puck ( from the midsummers night dream) and Jack the giant killer (from jack and the beanstalk). They must use magic, sneak into mansions and talk to magic mirrors to save their grandmother and Mr. Canis.
This book was such a thrill to read and I re-read it from time to time. :)