Authors: G.S Tucker
This book is dedicated to
My Dad, my Hero
My husband, my rock
My boys Finley and Oscar, You two are my greatest adventure.
So many people have helped me realise this moment.
Thank you Beverley Hollowed for pushing me to do this, your belief that I could has always surpass mine. Your constant support and guidance mean the world to me.
Thank you Sally Orchard for editing for me. I am sure it was a nightmare.
Thanks to my sister Aimee Price for reading every chapter as I wrote it. I know it was hard going. And for polishing it till is shone.
A big thank you to my husband, I know I have hidden away a lot while writing, thanks for the endless cups of tea and the reminders to take breaks.
The last thank you is for my Dad, He passed away before this was even an idea. Thank you for sharing your love of books.
The Aurora Stone©
G.S. Tucker has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
Cover design by Beverley Hollowed
Book design by Beverley Hollowed
Editing by Sally Orchard
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
It was indeed the most beautiful day, a very special day for Evangeline; today was her eighteenth birthday. For the elvish people turning eighteen is a special time; this is the day each elf discovers what their extra ability will be. Evangeline, however, would rather have sat by the stream reading than attend the big ceremony that accompanied this milestone birthday.
It’s just such a long and dull ceremony, all the standing and then sitting, just to stand again!
I would rather just receive a letter
from the wise ones
, sighing she gathered up her book and the flowers she had picked for her mother. With one last look at the dappled light dancing on the sparkling waters of the stream, Evangeline turned for home.
“Happy Birthday, Sweetheart,” her mother said.
“Thank you, Mother; here I picked these for you. They are the last of the season.”
Gwen smiled at her child, how beautiful she had become, the envy of many of the local girls; it broke her heart to think of what she must reveal later that day.
“Are you alright, Mother, you seem sad; can I get you some fern tea? That always seems to make things better.” Evangeline moved to the kitchen to prepare tea for them both.
I will miss her
. The sadness was almost too much for Gwen to bear. They sat and enjoyed their tea until it was time to get ready for the ceremony. Mother and daughter left to change into their best clothes. Eve had a new dress made by her mother; the material was exquisite, soft as silk with the lustre of moonstone. Eve turned in front of the mirror admiring Gwen’s talent with needle and thread.
Here we go.
She thought, not able to delay the inevitable she picked up her shoes and went downstairs.
“Today is midsummers day, a day full of beauty and promise…” Eve was tuning out the extremely long-winded prelude to her gifting ceremony, her mind drifted back to the stream glittering like diamonds, the cool water lapping at her toes.
Eve was suddenly pulled from her daydream by a rather cross looking elder.
“Please take your place on the circle of souls and close your eyes.” Eve walked to the circle and stood in the centre, she had a quick glance at her mother before closing her eyes as the Elder had instructed.
“Ready or not,” she whispered to herself.
The Elder began the chant that would gift Evangeline with her extra ability; the circle began to glow, first blue, then purple, before finally settling into a brilliant indigo. The Zephyrs caused her hair to fly and her skirts to ripple in a shimmery dance. The chanting faded away, a hush fell over the congregation. Eve stayed perfectly still, waiting for the instruction to move off the circle and re-join her mother; she felt no different which was disappointing.
“Evangeline you may step off the circle of souls, you are no longer a child, whatever gifts the souls bestowed upon you are unique to you.”
“Thank you, Elder.” Eve took a breath and opened her eyes to re-join her mother. There was a gasp; a murmur ran through the gathered elves like a ripple in a pond, the sound growing in volume as it travelled through the crowd. Eve looked down at herself, nothing was amiss; she glanced at the Elder, who was looking at her in wonder, a slight crease had formed between his brows. Disconcerted Eve returned to her mother’s side; Gwen moved her head towards her daughter and whispered,
“It is your eyes, my love, they are no longer the brown of a doe’s; they are the green gold of the first leaves of autumn.”
The walk home was a quiet affair. Once in the house, Evangeline went as casually as she could manage to the nearest mirror.
OH, OH, MY!
Looking back at her was the face she knew, but it was also very different. Her skin was still the peaches and cream it had always been, her lips still soft and with the hint of a smile playing at the corners, but her eyes, they were indeed a brilliant green-gold and they appeared to be lit from within, their depths full of mystery that had not been present when she had awoken this morning. “These are going to take some getting used to,” she mused.
Eve headed downstairs for dinner. After the events of the day, all she wanted was a nice warm meal, then to curl up in her reading chair and finish her latest book.
“Something smells wonderful, I really am quite hungry,” Eve said entering the kitchen.
“Sit down it will only be a minute,” Gwen called through from the kitchen. Eve took a seat at the table and waited, anticipating the soothing warmth of her mother’s cooking. It always made her feel warm and comforted. After a rather delicious stew, Eve left the table to collect her book. When she entered the snug, her mother was already in there. This was nothing unusual, however, tonight, she seemed on edge. Gwen had a small box in front of her on the occasional table.
“Come and have a seat, sweetheart. There are some things I need to tell you.”
A sense of foreboding settled over Evangeline, taking cautious steps she walked over to the chair opposite her mother and sat on the very edge, mirroring Gwen’s pose. Taking a deep breath, Gwen looked into her daughters’ strange new eyes and began the task of revealing the truth.
“Eve, I am not your birth mother.”
Before Eve could absorb this earth shattering news, another shocking piece of information was thrown into the already charged atmosphere.
“You had a brother, your twin. His name was Eli.”
The room began to spin; Eve felt suddenly sick and far too hot. Before Gwen could stop her, she bolted from the snug and out into to the night. Eve ran to the bottom of the garden; she had her sanctuary there. A tree house her father,
well the man she had called Father for thirteen years of her life,
had built it for her when she was six. Eve climbed the ladder that was still as strong as the day it was made. When she reached the top, Eve opened the trunk she kept there, pulled out her blanket to wrap herself in, then sat in the pile of cushions in the corner and cried herself to sleep.
“Eve…Eve are you up there?”
The sound of someone calling her name roused her from sleep. “Ugh,” Eve grumbled as she disentangled herself from the blanket. Why was she in the tree house anyway? It then all came flooding back, the ceremony, her eyes, and the revelations.
Who am I?
“Evangeline, please come back to the house we have to talk… Please.” Gwen stood at the foot of the ladder John had made so long ago.
I wish he were here,
she thought as a tear rolled down her cheek. Thoughts of her husband always brought tears to her eyes.
He would know what to do,
Admitting defeat, Gwen stroked the ladder rung one last time and headed back to the house.
Eve found her mother where she had left her the night before; though she looked tired and had clearly been crying; there was also a look of defeat about her. Gwen had lost her sparkle.
“Hey, Mother, just let me change out of this dress, and then I will listen to whatever it is you have to say.”
A pot of freshly made tea waited for Eve on her return to the snug; along with some toast slathered in honey, just how she liked it.
“I thought you might be hungry,” said Gwen.
“Thank you.” Eve took a seat, picked up her plate of food and braced herself.
“I am so sorry about last night, sweetheart; I know it was a terrible shock. The truth is, your birth parents vanished when you and your brother were just six months old. No one knows where they went; they were just… gone. We found you in your cradle.”
“My brother, why did you only take me and not Eli?” She couldn’t help but interrupt; anger had bubbled up at the thought of her twin just left behind.
“Eli wasn’t there, my love. We searched for him all over the house. We thought another family must have found him in a different room and taken him in, we asked everyone we met that day if they knew what had happened to Eli. No one had seen your brother, I’m so sorry.” Tears rolled down Gwen’s face; “please don’t hate me, Eve. We searched for him, we really did, your father even went out into the surrounding woodland to see if he had somehow been left outside. He searched every day for three weeks”
Eve put her plate down again, with only a single bite taken from one slice, it tasted like ashes.
My brother is lost, or worse dead! And I never knew, I wish I had a picture of him.
Eve couldn’t cry, the tears wouldn’t come; everything was too raw.
“Here,” Gwen had opened the box. Holding a small frame out to her, Eve reached out with trembling hands and received the object. Taking a deep breath, she quickly flipped over the frame and gazed at the photo within. Two tiny children sitting beside a dog smiled out at her. A red haired girl with brown doe eyes and next to her, holding a rattle and the dog’s tail, was a fair-haired boy with eyes the colour of bluebells, a beautiful piercing blue.
“Eli,” she whispered while reaching out a finger and stroking the boy's image. “I will find you, I promise.” Evangeline looked at her mother and waited for her to continue, she had a feeling there was more, a lot more to come.
Gwen picked up the small box and handed it over. It was a small wooden box adorned with typical elvish craftsmanship. Taking a hold of her emotions, Eve lifted the lid to reveal the contents that were sure to change her life even more. Inside the box was another photo; this one was larger and not framed.
She thought, staring at the image before her. They looked so happy. Putting it aside, she reached back into the box and drew out a very old and tatty piece of parchment, the kind the elves of generations past would have made. Careful not to damage it, Eve very gently peeled back the folds until it lay open on the table.
“It’s a map, but not a map I have ever seen before.” Eve looked closer at the map hoping to see something she recognised. “There is Harmonia, the land of the Elves. But where are these places?” Gwen came to sit beside her daughter, and she too looked down at the map.
“I know of Clear Water Valley, the land of the Witches. They are our allies. It is the witches who spin the beautiful yarns we use to make our clothes, in return we trade our lush grasses and some of the herbs that only grow in our lands and it has been this way for hundreds of years. The other lands I don’t know.”
“I think it would be best to seek out Reena, Mother. She will know the answers.” Eve was all ready to go out in search of the wise old elf when she noticed something wedged into the lid of the box. Careful not to damage it, she removed a piece of moonstone. It was just larger than her palm, a quarter of an inch thick and so very beautiful. Stroking it with the very tips of her fingers, Eve suddenly felt a warm tingle rush up her fingers and settle in her chest.
“That is a seeing stone; they are extremely rare,,” Gwen whispered in an awed voice. “They can only be activated by an elf that has wisdom and the sight. We need to find Reena.” Eve looked up from the stone with a puzzled expression.
“Hold on, a seeing stone? Those are a thing of elvish legend; it’s a story dad used to tell me at bedtime.” She looked disbelievingly the stone to her mother’s face and back again. “Right...?”
Gwen gazed upon her beautiful child in all but blood, knowing what this stone meant, and how much it was about to change Eves’ life, Whether the change would be for better or worse was not yet clear. One thing is for certain, the only elf who could glean the message from the stone was Reena.