The Girl With The Bow
Book One in the Nyla Series
(C) 2013, 2016 Adam Cole
Published by Nuncici Press, an imprint of Adam Cole Works LLC
“Yes,” the Clef said, his eyes shining eagerly. “She mentioned hearing music…in her head.”
The Clef’s hands came together and he seemed to be regarding a far off place as he spoke. “Of the sacred instrumnets, many were created to delight, and later to enslave. A good number of them were destroyed over time.
“The greatest of our instruments was the Vee A’Lyn, a four-stringed instrument held under the neck. It had great power of the subtlest kind and could not be perverted the way Tooth Skin was. Although the Vee A’Lyn was kept safe Underground, it was not clear to me what became of it during the years of the Overreacher’s trance.
“When this girl said she had an imaginary fiddle and that it had protected her from Tooth Skin, I began to suspect that she had somehow been befriended by the Vee A’Lyn and that it was keeping her safe.” The Clef considered. “Perhaps all is not lost,” he said. “It may be that even the Overreacher did not have the heart to destroy such a prize. Perhaps it remains underground, or perhaps he took it with him when he fled.”
“Time we got some sleep,” Chere said. Nodding, the Clef led them to a couple of pallets covered with blankets where they lay down. Extinguishing his light, the Clef retired into the other room.
It was cold and pitch black in the caves without the lantern light. Nyla shivered on her pallet beneath the blankets. “Chere?” she asked.
“Do you think Vival is still alive?”
“I expect so,” Chere answered confidently.
“Do you think he’s all right?”
“He manages pretty well in tough spots, doesn’t he?” Chere reassured her.
“Yeah, but the Lich King…”
“Look, you’re tired, Nyla. Go to sleep.”
“I can’t sleep.”
“Dream of your music.”
Startled, Nyla heard the strains of a fiddle playing in her imagination. Its sound was so comforting that she could not keep from listening. She was asleep before she noticed that she had closed her eyes.
There was no way to know how long they slept. Dawn’s light never came to that place. Nyla woke once in the pitch blackness, terrified at having forgotten where she was, until she heard Chere grunt in her sleep. Then, comforted, she buried herself under the blankets and quickly passed out once again.
The next time she woke up, Clef was sitting there with a lantern, watching her intently. It was just the two of them. “Where’s Chere?” Nyla asked dimly.
“Washing. Antheppe was able to find some hot water. And I have discovered some other things as well…” The Clef’s eyes twinkled in the lamplight, but he said nothing else.
Chere returned and directed Nyla to the hot water which was in a tub in a part of the Clef’s rooms which had been turned into a private space with the help of a blanket. Using a rough cloth and some foul-smelling soap, she washed herself all over until she at least felt cleaner. Although she had no mirror, she examined the braids in her hair with her hands and decided they must look all right.
Returning to her friends, she found more of the bread and dried fruit, and some cheese. This time, the bread was warm.
“I am encouraged,” said the Clef. “Despite the Lich King’s tyranny, the bakeries have returned to their work.”
“So you don’t think the Lich King will be a good leader for you?” Chere asked, through a mouthful of bread.
The Clef shook his head. “Though we are grateful he has come to save us from the Overreacher, he should never have remained. He is dead, but no longer wishes to admit it! A dead king can only bring death to us. He has no compassion, no love of living things.”
“Why did he capture Vival?”
The Clef thought it over. “I am surmising that the hero did not defeat the Overreacher himself, but instead called the Lich King to do it.”
“Then he must have said the dread King’s name.”
Again, Nyla nodded, more vigorously.
“A very foolish thing to do,” remarked the Clef, shaking his head. “The King is easy to summon, but difficult to control. Did you hear the name?”
“I heard it, but I’m not sure I remember it,” Nyla said.
“That is fortunate for you. Even if you did, I would not attempt to say it unless you had power to control the King. He would be enraged that anyone should have this knowledge and would surely exercise his wrath upon them. I suspect that is why he has captured your friend.”
“What can we do about it?”
The Clef fidgeted. “Wait here!” he said, seeming barely able to contain his excitement. He disappeared into the darkness. Shortly, he returned, bearing a stringed instrument. Nyla’s heart leapt for a moment. “That looks like…” she began.
More about The Girl With The Bow
When Vival, Knight of the Fittest, risked his life to rescue the princess from Veer Isle, he never thought he’d be the one who needed to be rescued. And to make matters worse, the girl he was helping didn’t want to leave! The first book in the Nyla series introduces Vival, Knight of the Fittest, Tom the Incredibly Helpful Sword, two mysterious island dwellers named Cher and Sherluck, and Nyla, the mysterious girl with the bow.
Adam Cole is an author and music educator in Atlanta, GA. He has written numerous books and stories for children, as well as a number of adult and non-fiction titles including The Speed of Darkness and Seven Ways the World Can End.
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