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The Fairy Chronicles, Book 1: The Castle of Feathers by Linda Massola (Mid-Grade Reader: Fantasy)

The Fairy Chronicles, Book 1: The Castle of Feathers by Linda Massola (Mid-Grade Reader: Fantasy)
 
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Six babies were born in The Kingdom of Fairy on the same day that six were also born in the Land of Mortals.

When the fairy, Tatiana, is banished from The Castle of Feathers after trying to usurp her sister Queen Mab, she joins forces with the evil Drabon in the Kingdom of Gloomia. Together they come up with the plan to switch six fairy babies with mortal babies.

Without the presence of the six fairy babies, the feathers on the battlements of the castle disappear. This leaves the Kingdom of Fairy vulnerable. When the fairies reach the age of twelve, Mab is able to contact them in their dreams... Using the powers they were born with, can the children fight their way back to the Kingdom of Fairy and outwit Tatiana and Drabon and return the feathers to castle.

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The Fairy Chronicles, Book 1: The Castle of Feathers by Linda Massola (Mid-Grade Reader: Fantasy)
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Sample Chapter

Chapter One

A darkness had spread over the land; a darkness which nothing could penetrate. Not Janus with his wings that let out a fiery glow, wings that were pointed with tips as sharp as the blade of a sword; not even Oberon himself, whose wings were so blindingly white that to look on them caused the fairies to shield their eyes. Since that terrible night when the babies had been taken the darkness had descended not only over the land, but in the hearts of the people themselves.

Because of Tatiana, Mab, the queen of the Kingdom of Fairy had been forced to use magic to protect herself. Because of Tatiana only one feather stood on the battlements of the castle and as a result, the power of the kingdom was sorely depleted.

Nobody in the kingdom had suspected how Tatiana felt, not even her husband, Janus. When Mab created spells to manifest the beautiful flowers that grew around the castle, the fairies were delighted and began to add their own species to complement them.

"Trivial!" Tatiana scoffed under her breath.

"Trivial?" The fairy Lottie had heard her.

"Trivial." Tatiana repeated. "I can create flowers that are just as beautiful; even better than Mab's!"

The fairy Lottie frowned and moved away from her. Tatiana was definitely a little unsettling lately. Mab saw her sister watching intently and called, "Come Tatiana, come join us in the garden."

Tatiana shrugged and turned her back.

"Ignore her Mab," Oberon, her husband said.

"I don't know what's got into Tatiana lately," Mab sighed. "It is most upsetting. Since I told her we are to have a child, she has been acting very strangely."

"Perhaps she is jealous," Oberon suggested.

"No, I don't think so. Janus told me that Tatiana has no desire to have a child at present."

"Mm...perhaps Janus knows what's wrong with her."

"Perhaps."

***

Janus constantly blamed himself for not taking his wife seriously. He remembered the day she had told him of her desire to be queen.

"To be queen? Are you mad?"

So that was the reason for her strange behaviour lately.

"I can work magic as well as Mab can," she told him.

"Well, you are certainly able to work magic, but..."

Tatiana narrowed her eyes. "You think I am mad? Mab sits in her beautiful castle, surrounded by helpers and attendants. Everywhere she goes, everyone bows down in front of her. While I can work magic as well as she can, I am destined to live in her shadow, simply because I am the younger sister! Not only that," she added, "When Mab has her child it will eventually become king or queen of The Kingdom of Fairy. I have no hope of the throne!"

Janus looked at her in dismay. "But why do you want to be queen? You live in a beautiful castle. You have everything you want and you have me!"

"I want to be Queen of The Kingdom of Fairy!"

***

Mab too remembered the dreadful months when Tatiana had continually challenged her in feats of magic; the last one almost cost Mab her life. On that dreadful day Tatiana had tried to make Mab use her powers unnecessarily, to the point where she was almost totally drained of energy. Luckily, it had all backfired on Tatiana as she had also been drained of energy. Oberon had warned her many times about Tatiana, but she had ignored him, not wanting to believe her sister was out to ruin her.

If only I had listened to Oberon, the coloured feathers would be still on the battlements, she cried to herself constantly. If only I had listened to Oberon, the babies would not have been taken. She sat back and let her mind wander to happier days; days when the coloured feathers had stood proudly in the battlements of the castle.

The Kingdom of Fairy which Mab and her husband, Oberon ruled, was prosperous. The harvest was abundant and best of all, their people were happy. Fairies of all shapes and sizes flitted in and out of the castle constantly, creating beautiful coloured hues. Because of Tatiana, the halls of the castle were now quiet.

Mab thought with affection about the fairy folk that made up her kingdom, especially the fairy cooks. They prepared all the delicate foods that only fairies partook of; food that was cooked with much love and melted in one's mouth leaving one with feelings of peace and tranquillity. Even now, she could almost taste Lottie's special sugared cakes on the tip of her tongue.

Mab sighed. Poor Lottie was taken to Gloomia that terrible night when the Glooms had raided. She wondered how she was faring in that dreadful place. Then she remembered Tatiana again and shuddered. The day she had challenged her right to the throne still haunted her.

When Mab realised that she and Oberon were expecting their first child, the Kingdom of Fairy was agog. The Mage, Odin had predicted that this first born of Mab and Oberon would be a very gifted child.

"Not only that," Odin announced to the fairies, "there will be five other children born on the very same day who will also display special gifts. These children will each be born on a coloured ray, making up the colours of the rainbow. Six more coloured feathers will appear on the castle battlements to complement Mab's violet one," he explained. "With the seven colours of the rainbow displayed on the battlements, the kingdom is ensured of protection."

"No! I will not let this happen!" Tatiana screamed to Janus. "Mab will not have this child!"

"Tatiana..." he began in dismay. His wife seemed to distance herself from him more each day. She spent hours in the caves in the mountains mixing up brews in a huge cauldron and practicing spells.

"Tatiana, return to the castle, I implore you!"

"Janus my love, it won't be long now. Soon I will be Queen."

"You have gone mad!" he told her in disbelief.

"Go away Janus," she said in annoyance, and then watched as he made his way back down the mountain side. I do believe he is going to warn Mab, she told herself angrily.

"Your Majesty, I have something very grave to tell you," he began.

"It is about Tatiana, isn't it Janus?" Mab said softly.

"You know?"

Mab nodded sorrowfully. "Yes, I am aware of what she is planning. But she forgets that I am very powerful. It is one of the reasons I am queen you know. I am aware that she means to harm me and my unborn child; but I will not allow it to happen!"

"You fool, Janus!" a voice screamed from the back of the long throne room.

"Tatiana!"

Tatiana stood there in her beautiful shimmering silver gown that matched her beautiful silver wings to perfection. Her black hair hung free to her waist and to Janus she had never looked so beautiful or so terrifying. However, when he looked into her fairy eyes, they were full of madness.

"I followed you," she shouted in anger. "I knew you would try and warn Mab! Now you leave me no choice!"

In her right hand, Tatiana had a silver wand which she pointed towards Janus. Mab simply raised her left hand and put a shield of protective light around him. Then standing up very straight and tall, she said in a commanding voice, "No! Your magic will not work to destroy someone who is loyal to me."

Tatiana angrily dropped her wand and turned to face Mab. Raising both the palms of her hands towards her, she screamed, "Now you and your child will die! The throne is rightfully mine!"

Then she began to chant, using words that were so ancient that no one in the Kingdom of Fairy had heard them for centuries. Mab felt herself teeter a little, and then with sudden resolve, she raised her arms above her head and pointed them towards the sky.

"By the power invested in me, I now revoke the words that my sister is directing at me and my unborn child. I call on the light and power of the coloured feathers for protection. I now declare that all the words my sister is cursing me will be returned to her. May they find the heart where they truly belong!"

As Mab spoke, a tremendous surge of coloured light filled the room, taking Tatiana by surprise. Janus shielded his eyes. Tatiana stopped chanting and looked in horror as Mab directed the light towards her.

"No! no!" she screamed.

As the light hit her, Tatiana continued to scream. Her silver dress began to burn, then hung in rags on her body. She put her hands over her eyes to shield them from the glare of the light. When the light finally receded, Mab slumped to the ground. Tatiana took her hands away from her face and Janus gasped in horror.

"My hands!" Tatiana cried in shock. Her hands were like those of a very, very old woman...gnarled and twisted. Then she gazed at what remained of her beautiful luxurious hair which had fallen out and now lay scattered around her. Seeing Janus' shocked face, she got to her feet and ran quickly out of the throne room to look in a mirror. The sight that greeted her was one of a toothless old hag with withered skin and matted greying hair. Her beautiful silver wings were now burnt out twigs. Tatiana's screams could be heard all over the castle.

Later, Mab cried with Oberon. "You only sent her what she wished upon you!" Oberon reminded her.

Mab jolted herself out of her reverie. She shuddered at what might have happened that day, but it was no use dwelling on the past; there was work to be done.

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