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Tales From Camelot Series 12: QUEST Part 1

Tales From Camelot Series 12: QUEST Part 1

Автор Paul Green

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Tales From Camelot Series 12: QUEST Part 1

Автор Paul Green

Длина:
550 страниц
6 часов
Издатель:
Издано:
27 дек. 2020 г.
ISBN:
9781005419844
Формат:
Книга

Описание

Finally we come to the Legendary Quest for the Holy Grail. A story so large and epic it requires two volumes for the telling.

Part One sets up the story and introduces all of the players - some of whom are mythical in their own right. We have already assembled the completed Knights of the Round Table. Now it is time for their greatest adventure, one which will take them to places unknown. The stakes are high, the risks are great, and the outcome is uncertain. Who will live and who will die? Who will be victorious and who will fall? Prepare yourself for many unexpected twists and turns.

Part Two, to be released at a later date, will be the epic conclusion.

Enter once again, into the amazing world of Camelot.

Издатель:
Издано:
27 дек. 2020 г.
ISBN:
9781005419844
Формат:
Книга

Об авторе

Winner of the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Paul Green (1894-1981) taught philosophy and drama at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a native of Harnett County, North Carolina.


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Tales From Camelot Series 12 - Paul Green

Tales From Camelot Series • Book Twelve

QUEST

Part One

paul green

Copyright Notice

www.PaulGreenAuthor.com

Copyright 2019 Paul Green All Rights Reserved.

First Printing: May 2019

Second Printing: May 2020

Revision A5

Printed in the United States of America. No part of this work may be used or reproduced, transmitted, stored or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, scanning, digitizing, tapping, Web distribution, information networks or information storage and retrieval systems, or in any manner whatsoever without the express written approval of the author, except by reviewers who may quote brief excerpts in connection with a review.

For further information, contact info@paulgreenauthor.com

United States laws and regulations are public domain and not subject to copyright. Any unauthorized copying, reproduction, translation, or distribution of any part of this material without permission by the author is prohibited and against the law.

Table of Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright Notice

Tales From Camelot Series

From the author ...

~ Far Away ~

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

~ Origins of a Legend ~

Map of Pretania

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

~ Touched by an Angel ~

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

~ Starting Lines ~

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

~ Nemesis ~

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

~ Paths to Oblivion ~

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

~ Hope ~

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

~ Hell is for Heroes ~

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

~ Fallen ~

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

~ Pandora's Box ~

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

~ Sacrifice ~

Notes to the reader ...

Tales From Camelot Series

About the Author . . .

Tales From Camelot Series

Part One

Book 1: PENDRAGON

Book 2: CAMELOT

Book 3: CHAMPION

Book 4: SORCERESS

Part Two

Book 5: ROYALS

Book 6: EXCALIBUR

Book 7: CURSED

Book 8: LADY Part 1

Book 8: LADY Part 2

Part Three

Book 9: WARLORD

Book 10: MIRROR

Book 11: WYVERN

Part Four

Book 12: QUEST Part 1

Book 12: QUEST Part 2

Book 12: QUEST Part 3

Book 12: QUEST Part 4

Book 12: QUEST Part 5

Grand Finale

Book 13: LEGEND

www.PaulGreenAuthor.com

From the author ...

Just real briefly - first things first, obviously don't read unless you've finished WYVERN.

So a funny thing happened while I was writing QUEST. The story grew. And grew, and grew, and grew and grew. So much so, that what happened with AVALON in the Second Chance series and what happened with LADY right here in the Camelot series, has happened again. The end result being that QUEST will now be released in FIVE parts - with this volume being Part One.

Because you see, the QUEST storyline is much bigger than merely going hunting for a lost artifact. But in order to locate and secure the legendary Grail, some prerequisites need to be met. And that is what Part One will be focused upon: those wild and crazy prerequisite requirements to finding the Holy Grail.

Now I am going to be upfront and tell you right off the bat - this particular book will end up in a cliffhanger. Which as you know I am generally not fond of doing - although that does seem to be happening lately with our beloved character Cassi. But in the past that has not been my preference as I prefer each story to be complete. However this QUEST final portion of the Camelot series is a complete Pentalogy (that's Greek for five parts) and with QUEST Part One, this is the best and most natural place to break the story, as the next part will begin changing the general focus towards the Holy Grail itself. However, there is a significant amount of story here in Part One - with some mind-blowing, jaw-dropping revelations, so you will not be disappointed with what you learn in this outing, even if it does leave you hanging and hungering for more.

So Cassiopeia has changed things. At least that should've been apparent from the end of our last story and the little hints dropped in the Reader Notes at the end. The question is, how much as she changed? It should also be apparent by now that Cassi is in fact responsible for White Heaven's startling reappearance. The details of what has happened however, have yet to be explained.

And as always, there will be sub-plots. And because this is where our story begins, I will mention one sub-plot in particular: Cassi is beginning to realize that she needs to accept things how they are and not keep trying to change things just because she doesn't like the outcome. Kind of a lesson we all have to learn at times, as painful as it can sometimes be. But that too is part of growing up - accepting life's pain and working through it, even when we don't understand it or think it's fair; and then learning to move on and grow from the experience. Early on in this story she will have already begun realizing that she needs to stop 'playing God' - because whenever she does, try as she might and as pure as her motives might be, it only ends up making things worse instead of better. One case in point as we will learn, her own personal trauma which she has clearly experienced can be attributed to her meddling in things she should not have been meddling in. Things need to unfold as they were meant to unfold, just the way the One had intended.

We begin our story where we left off. Cassi is in some sort of coma or catatonic state. Her hair has completely turned white (and not in a beautiful 'White Heaven' way). Furthermore she now has a second additional Slaver's tattoo upon her face and her body is a scarred, physical wreck. What the heck happened!? And where has she been!? And what has she done!? One thing is for certain - Galahad will be more anxious than ever to find that Holy Grail if he is going to have any hope of saving the love of his life. Hence, the official launch of the Quest for the Holy Grail.

This is a BIG story, with some larger than life characters. It's a race against time and a race against each other to find the legendary Grail, with each search team having their own unique reasons for finding it. Some of those reasons we may not even be familiar with yet, and that too will be part of the overall story arch.

Now it should also be pointed out that the search for the Holy Grail of legend is regaled in countless versions and variations with no two accounts alike. There is no standard to follow and no one story stands out above the others as being accurate. For all practical purposes, Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones could be just as valid as all the rest; so the freedom is there to come up with our own unique twist and version of this famous tale. Which of course is exactly what I have done. :) This is my version of the Quest for the Holy Grail.

What's going to happen? Let's find out, shall we? It's time to once again enter the amazing wonderful world of Camelot.

Paul

~ Far Away ~

Chapter 1

I have hidden her markings. said Elias, as his hand passed over her face.

It was still in the wee early hours of the morning, only a short time after Elias had first returned with her. Elias and Kiana were now alone in Cassi's bedroom, where Kiana had laid Cassi upon her bed. Her eyes were now closed; as one of the first things Kiana had done was gently close her eyelids so that her glazed eyes wouldn't dry out.

Why would you do that? Kiana asked.

What was done to her was abominable. It will be up to her to choose whether to reveal her markings or not. Until she awakes, her family needs no constant daily reminder of these things; there is enough reminder upon the rest of her body as it is. If she wishes her markings displayed, Merlin can restore them. But for now - out of sight, out of mind, as they say. The rest I shall also leave to Merlin, for this is his time and age, not mine. As for me, I must go now; my work here is done.

Thank you, Elias. And I agree; I think not having to look upon those vile markings will make this at least somewhat more tolerable on her family. Thank you for everything. Thank you for finding her; I know it was not easy. And thank you for bringing her back to me.

Elias nodded. She is now where she belongs. Take care, Protector. May the One guide you in all things, as you guide the others.

And with that, Elias disappeared into a fine white mist, and was gone; leaving Kiana alone with her protective charge.

*** *** ***

Oh Cassi. Kiana tearfully whispered. Where are you? What happened to you? What have you done?

While Kiana stood alone in the candlelit bedroom looking down upon her in her bed, the rest of those who had congregated for the all-night Candlelight vigil remained out in the main living area, until Kiana came out to advise them otherwise.

Cassi was in some sort of coma or catatonic vegetative state; at least as near as Constance and the Master Physician had been able to determine. Elias had stated that he wasn't able to reach her mind, that she was too far away; and that Cassi's frail body was only barely alive and barely breathing and barely clinging to life.

Even Anna had stated that she didn't know where Cassi was; and that Cassi's condition was so fragile and hanging upon a delicate precipice that she dare not touch her out of fear she might push Cassi over the edge. People needed to have at least presence of mind and some degree of physical strength in order to withstand Anna's powerful healing energies, but that Cassi was hanging on by a thin thread as it was. Cassi needed her mind back first, before anyone could do anything.

Even worse, Galahad and Gwydre had witnessed Cassi take her last and final breath in the mirror's vision; which only further confirmed her current fragile state.

Even Elias dared not make an attempt; for if her mind was far enough away, she would not be able to sustain a healed, fully functioning body. He explained that the human body shuts down for a reason, when it needs to; and that her condition was too precarious to risk interference. Without a mind, to attempt anything could result in total body failure and no way to revive it. It was a difficult quandary which even he had no answer for; and thus Elias had chosen to err on the side of caution, and hope that things would unfold as they were meant to unfold. Interference, was not an option.

However, Elias did offer one possible theory as to 'where' she was - in that perhaps Cassi had retreated into her subconscious 'safe place', deep within the furthest recesses of her mind; likely due to some traumatic event. In the case of Cassiopeia, her safe place took the form of their tree house. It was something Cassi had briefly done before during the Concerts in the Caves, and so it was considered a possibility that maybe that's where she had gone.

The only problem was, how to reach her? If neither Elias nor Anna could, then who else was there? Or would they just have to wait for Cassi to decide to come out. What if she never came out of hiding? What if her body couldn't survive with her mind being 'gone'? Her gaunt, emaciated, sixty-pound frame was clinging to life as it was.

There were many concerns and questions and not near enough answers; and it felt as if they were running out of time. It was an unresolvable dilemma and an unsolved mystery as to what had happened to Cassiopeia, and everyone was dying to find some resolve, and to find it soon. They were unsure how much longer Cassi would be able to hold out.

As for 'when' Elias had found her and brought her back from? That was a bit of a surprise. As it turned out, he had been searching for her for a very long time, but Cassi had been eluding him. Finally his long search ended when he had found her a mere two years earlier from their current present time. That is to say, he had found her in the past; even if it wasn't by very much.

However he knew she had been gone for a lot longer than that. He was well aware she had been in the future, but he also knew she had been in the past. Apparently Cassi had at some point in time, whether in the past or in the future, eventually figured out a way that didn't require traveling in Dream, which he knew she wasn't capable of.

He didn't know what her new way was or how or when she had learned it; but he did know that she hadn't learned it overnight - as evidenced by the age clues on her body. Cassiopeia had racked up at least a few thousand years, judging by the age of some of her scarring. But beyond that, the Elias from the future could offer no further clues. At least he had finally found her, and had brought her home. As far as Elias was concerned, his mission was complete; leaving everyone else with far more questions than they had to begin with.

The biggest question was of course, when would Cassi awake? Even Elias had suspected it might take Cassi a long time; based upon all the extensive trauma she appeared to have experienced.

As Kiana continued looking down upon her, she was struggling more and more with each passing moment. It was tearing her apart to see Cassi in her horrific physical condition. Now weighing a mere sixty pounds, the rail thin 5'2" woman looked more frail than she had ever looked before. Cassi's undyed hair was completely white from root to tip. What was especially tough for Kiana was seeing Cassi's body covered with scars and old wounds. Scars and wounds that were meant for a warrior Protector, not for a 'civilian' like Cassi. Kiana was well aware that Cassi now bore the scars that had been intended for her; for that was how Cassi had 'fixed' the future problem of Kiana dying in 1932. Kiana's perfect Elf genes prevented her from aging; and in that regard she was immortal. However she could still die from a mortal wound.

But with Cassi, just like Elias and Kemuel, Cassi was unique in that supposedly she could not die, even by a mortal wound. At least that had been the previously presumed belief. And that was how Cassi had solved the problem. With a simple kiss to establish a new additional bond with Kiana - a unique type of bond in which any wounds Kiana received were now permanently transferred to Cassi.

Kiana tearfully wondered to herself - Did those marks upon Cassi's body belong to her? Had Cassi at some point taken those upon herself for Kiana's sake? If so, then Cassi's body even now bore a few of Kiana's 'death wounds' that had been intended for her.

As much as many others loved Cassi, Kiana's Protector heart was broken the most. It could be comparable to Georgina having to look upon Gwen covered with scars. The Protector-Seed bond was stronger than love, even in its infancy; and for that reason Kiana loved Cassi very deeply. Such was only natural between a Protector and the Seed. And yet ... there wasn't a thing that Kiana could do about it. It was Cassi now taking the hits for Kiana, not the other way around as it should be. Which was why Kiana's heart was broken the most.

And then the matter of the new tattoo upon Cassi's face - a second one in addition to the original. And though Elias had hidden it from view, the underlying reality remained. Those were the markings of a Pleasure Slave - such as Megan wore upon her face and Isabella wore upon hers; albeit Megan's and Isabella's tattoos differed in appearance being that they were from different Slaver clans. Cassi had chosen to mark herself initially to mimic Megan's markings, so that Megan wouldn't have to go through life alone dealing with the public shame and humiliation. However the second set of markings on Cassi's face were from yet another Slaver clan; which indicated to Kiana that at some point in time, Cassi must have been captured by Slavers herself. Ordinarily, such a thing was unthinkable as Cassi should have been more than enough match for any opponent. However Kiana was also aware that if Cassi had somehow been drugged - like once before when the original Captain of the Black Rose had drugged and raped her, then Cassi would have been rendered vulnerable. Just thinking about what Cassi must have endured was breaking Kiana's heart over and over again.

Her charge was now lying down, safely in her bed. Yet as a Protector, she had never felt more helpless in her life. There wasn't anything she could do for Cassi - except look upon the horrors that Cassi had suffered. Kiana's troubled mind was desperately grasping for answers. But tragically, there simply weren't any.

Chapter 2

Four days later

Team Galahad

Four days had passed and nothing had changed. It was midday on the fourth day, and just outside in the back yard beneath an overcast September sky, five individuals had gathered for a private meeting.

We must embark upon the Quest, now. Galahad said resolutely to his team. Her condition remains unchanged. Without further delay, it is the only way to save her.

Galahad's official team consisted of himself, Gwydre, Jacques, Laurel and Christopher.

Jacques countered, But is there even time? I hate to say this, Cousin; but can she even live much longer in this state? Consider how much time it would take for us to even learn the Grail's whereabouts. This mission of yours could take weeks or even months!

Galahad argued back with an edge in his voice, I have already privately spoken with Adrien and Sara; they have provided me with what clues they can for a head start. But we must make haste and depart straightaway. A sense of urgency is paramount to our success; for the window of opportunity for obtaining the Grail is narrow. I shall provide more details after we are supplied and underway.

But Gwydre shook his head saying, Even you cannot deny what you and I witnessed in the mirror. Cassi died, Cousin. We saw her die; we both saw her take her last and final breath.

If ... we fail. Galahad argued. The mirror did not reveal the timing; only the results of our failure. Failure is not an option. Every minute we stand here arguing only decreases our chances of success and her chances for survival. We are wasting time, Gwydre; join me or not, but I leave now.

Of course I am coming with you; you do not even need to ask.

Jacques also nodded in agreement.

Christopher was also quick to step forward to place a comforting hand on Galahad's arm. And of course we are coming with you, Cousin; Laurel and I both. I am anxious to get started as well. I do not even know that 'old' white-haired woman in there, but I know how much she means to you. Be assured I am as determined and committed in this endeavor to saving her as you are. In fact, I myself may also be able to offer some clues from my own personal historical research and studies down through the years.

Galahad looked over at Laurel and she quietly nodded in solemn but firm agreement.

Christopher hadn't been wrong to call her 'old'; for even though her face still retained youth, her overall appearance looked ancient. And they understood the reasons why. However, being that her mind and soul were far away, there were no further connections Christopher could make. Even her eyes were not open; the Pirate Queen was neither familiar nor recognizable to him. As anxious as he had been to finally meet the person whom he had mysteriously felt drawn towards - the truth was, there was no one there to meet.

Gwydre and Jacques also quickly chimed in with their final vows of confirmation; only that they had been wanting to be forthright by vocalizing their concerns. They wanted to ensure that their distressed cousin had considered every option before setting out. But they also knew that their cousin was level-headed, even if distraught and distressed. Even so, Sir Galahad was still wise and mentally sound to lead their quest for the Holy Grail. If Galahad was convinced that this was the proper path to take, then they assured him that they were willing to follow their leader to Hell and back.

Which for Team Galahad, was in fact much closer to the truth than they realized.

Chapter 3

Team Galahad wasn't the only team preparing to leave.

Rumor had already been spreading about what Galahad was planning to do in his desperate solution to save Cassiopeia.

And surely, if one team had a chance, more teams stood an even greater chance.

After Adrien and Sara had privately advised Galahad, they took it upon themselves to also advise the other teams which had already formed, starting with her own dad's team and Team Bors. Because, just as Sara and Adrien had advised them, there were multiple ways into 'Hell'.

Team Bors consisted of General Bors, Marshal Bedivere, King Lancelot, Admiral Percival, Shepherd Mordred, and Protector Jake. And like Team Galahad, they wouldn't come back unscathed and unscarred, either.

Then were was Team Ben: Consisting of Ben and Susan, Michael and Alana (who insisted on going else her husband Michael wasn't allowed to go), Stuart and Zagnut, and closing up the ranks to protect Alana and the rest were Protector Frances and Running Star. With Ben leading Team Ben, scars of course were inevitable.

But following what had just happened with Elias showing up with Cassiopeia, and knowing how important the Pirate Queen was to everything, there was now also a brand new team forming. This new ensemble team consisted of four individuals: a Protector, a Knight who doubled as a drummer, a Brain who doubled as a Knight, and a Historian; who ... pretty much was all he did. But Adrien knew stuff. And stuff was important. As for Sara, she had originally hoped to offer herself to join Cassi's team; but for obvious reasons that no longer appeared to be an option. Instead of joining Cassi, she was now part of a team whose goal was to save Cassi. And so it was that Georgina, Julian, Sara and Adrien were Team #4.

But it didn't end there. There were more than four ways into Hell. There were others who wanted to save Cassi, too.

Enter Team #5 - consisting of five of Captain Cassi's most capable crew members: Gabriel and Isabella, Princess Isolde who, destined to become Ireland's queen also knew her way around a sword, and her devoted Knight husband Sir Tristan. And Queen Felice, Georgina's best friend and sometimes sidekick and the most experienced warrior and leader of the group - who would in fact be leading the team.

Much to macho man Gabriel's protests.

Nor would it be the first and only argument between Felice and Gabriel. They wouldn't return from their Quest without scars either. Though not all scars would come from Hell - sometimes there can be things worse.

And so it was that the race was on to find the Holy Grail and save Cassiopeia.

*** *** ***

Of course there was one other team which had originally been intending to go on the search. But unfortunately for Team Cassiopeia, that option no longer seemed viable.

Chapter 4

Day Seven

Seven days had now passed; and still nothing had changed in Cassi's condition. It was another overcast day and the last of those leaving were saying their goodbyes. With the exception of immediate family and closest friends, everyone else had already gone their own way. The only ones remaining were Arthur and Gwen.

Gwen was holding both of Lydia's hands in hers as she exhorted, We know the One has big plans for Cassi, Lydia; we know this to be true. He is not about to let her go.

Are you certain of this? Lydia asked tearfully.

Arthur nodded. We are certain. Gwen and I have been praying much for your daughter; and we both feel the One's peace within our souls when we do. Cassiopeia may have traveled far and wide to distant faraway places and even greater distances over the course of many ages. But even so, the One was with her at all times. Who can say if and when, Cassi has at all times been in His will. But whether she has operated within His will or outside of His intentions, one thing does remain steady and sure. Cassi has not been abandoned by the One. He remains with us, and is quick to forgive us, even in our failings. There is nothing that can separate His children from His love. The One is still with her, Lydia; and there is still much more for her to do. As odd as this may sound, we believe Cassi has merely scratched the surface of her destiny. Of this, Gwen and I are certain.

Lydia had to stop and pause to cry for a time, though this time, hers were tears of relief.

Thank you, Arthur. she finally replied after composing herself. And thank you, Gwen; you have both been such an encouragement to me; I cannot express how much. All of you have been wonderful. Who knew that our nation's leaders could be so loving and caring.

She is going to be okay. Gwen smiled, as she gave her a warm farewell embrace. We know she has been through a lot, but she is going to be okay. And you can be assured we shall never cease in our prayers for her.

Lydia tearfully nodded. I am finally starting to believe so, myself. If it were not for you two.... Lydia then stepped backward to offer a smile to both of them. Thank you for being our King and Queen. And most of all, thank you for being my friends.

Arthur replied with a grin, As the saying goes, Cassi always comes back. And we know she will. We will keep in touch; let us know if there are any changes in her condition. I have already authorized you access to my private courier network; any word you send will reach me quickly, regardless of where our travels take us.

Thank you Arthur, I will.

Gwen smiled as she added, You are one of the family now, Lydia. And hopefully, once she is recovered, we would love to have all of you visit us in Camelot. There is a whole world there I would love to show you, personally.

Lydia chuckled as she wiped her eyes one last time. I cannot think of anything more wonderful than visiting Camelot. Once things settle down around here, I fully intend to take you up on your offer.

And by all means... said Gwen, ...bring that nice man of yours, Hector.

Lydia grinned. You think Hector is 'nice'? I do not hear that often, most people are taken aback by his appearance.

Appearances are only outward and can be deceiving. Arthur replied. What is plain to see is that he loves you; and he loves Cassi, too. I can see these things in his heart; even I do not need to see his good heart to know he is a good man; others have said the same.

Thank you, Arthur; thank you Gwen. You have no idea what those words mean to me. Have a safe journey.

Gwen then gave Lydia one final goodbye in the form of a kiss on her cheek. Goodbye, Lydia. We will be praying for you and Cassi.

And with that, the last of the visitors to the home of Lydia departed; leaving their home once more to the few - of Cassi's immediate family and closest friends.

Chapter 5

As for the Judge? He was still on the clifftops at Pirate's Cove.

Alone.

Sitting beneath the shade of a tree.

Some might say that for the past seven days he had been praying.

Others might say that he had been in deep meditation.

Still others might say he had been fasting, and for the past week had been on a spiritual journey of personal enrichment.

But regardless of what others might think or believe of the wise and discerning Judge, the truth of the matter was...

...Hawk was sulking.

For seven days, Hawk had been struggling with coming to terms with the shocking turn of events. What had happened to his great love and betrothed? Had Kea'Lani met a tragic fate such as White Heaven, only in her stead? A question which still remained unanswered; though the gut-wrenching suspicion was that it might in fact be permanent. At this stage in their lives, they were supposed to be planning their wedding. And now all of a sudden, the rug had been pulled out from under him. Was it really true? Had she really been replaced? Was Kea'Lani really gone?

Even White Heaven couldn't offer much comfort to Hawk, as what had happened was unprecedented. And while White Heaven was all wise, what Cassiopeia had done was beyond even her knowledge.

For the White Heaven who existed now, had never actually died. Furthermore, neither did she possess any memories beyond what had been meant to be her time of death - which Cassiopeia had somehow altered. She retained no recollection of her 1500 years as a ghostly memory; she retained no memories of Kea'Lani. White Heaven was in fact, a mere twenty years of age; and the memories that she did possess, were only her own.

And just like Kea'Lani before her, she too now struggled with the new reality that the man who had been her husband of four years, was no longer the same man.

After a brief uncomfortable and awkward introduction, which had been a painful experience for them both, White Heaven had gone her own separate way - in order to be alone and ponder her own existence and reason for being. Or if she should even be.

So it was that Hawk remained atop the clifftops at Pirate Cove - sitting alone beneath the shade of a tree.

And no one had seen White Heaven since.

~ Origins of a Legend ~

Chapter 6

On the seventh night, southbound Team Georgina had stopped to setup camp for the night and had just finished dinner.

According to Adrien the Historian - with the added help of his wife's brilliant mind and photographic memory, there were nine possible points of origin to begin their Quests. Team Georgina had chosen for themselves, one of the nine.

Each of the five current teams had picked one of the uniquely different starting points - for the strategic purpose of spreading out their efforts and thereby improving the odds of finding and retrieving the Holy Vessel - that was believed to have the power to restore Cassiopeia to full health with all of her faculties fully intact.

Now, there was far more at stake, and more to the overall objective, than merely healing Galahad's girlfriend. For the truth of the matter was, the entire fate of Ireland and the freedom of their people; the riddance of Slavers and the fear and terror they inflicted upon both the citizens of Ireland and Pretania; the future of the Pirate Nation and even the future of other peoples as well - everything hinged upon Cassiopeia's survival and full recovery. And so it was that many valiant comrades in arms had set out - not merely to save a girl, but to save nations.

Of course the girlfriend factor was important too.

As for what Adrien and Sara were basing their theories upon? Between the two of them, they had come up with a fascinating and intriguing hypothesis. With Adrien's encyclopedic knowledge of both history and literature - past, present and future - combined with Sara's perfect record of using her extraordinary auburn-haired abilities to read, memorize and postulate sound, solid speculations based upon even the most vague out-of-the-box clues and evidence - well, suffice it to say that Sara's theory was better than anything else that anybody else had, as nobody else had anything. The core basis for Sara's theory was this...

*** *** ***

Dante's Inferno. Sara said simply as she absently poked the campfire with a stick. Sitting beside her was her husband Adrien; and sitting beside them were Julian and Georgina. Whom of course was the leader of Team Georgina.

Sara... Georgina said, trying to remain patient. Let's just pretend that the rest of us don't have a clue what you're talking about.

Besides me. Adrien smiled.

Georgina smiled. Besides you. Whaddya say you two whiz kids give Julian and I the 5th Grade Reader's Digest Condensed version so we don't have to strain our pea-sized brains.

Julian grinned at his wife and teased, Now my brain is pea-sized? I believe that's a step up for you. Have I received a promotion?

Eh. Georgina shrugged. You've all caught me on a good day. I've got my man back...

Julian smiled and put his arm around her. I'm glad to be back.

Me too. Then turning her attention back to Sara and Adrien,

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