Excerpt from Book 2

Here is an excerpt from Book 2 in The Keepers of the Orbs Series, The Rising Past

He enjoyed the normalcy he had found once again, and wanted to soak up every minute of it, even if it would be short-lived. On this particular day, he ate his breakfast on the terrace connected to his quarters overlooking the ocean. He took a deep breath and enjoyed the crisp morning air filled with the salty aroma it gathered as it blew over the white-capped water. It mixed with the sweet smells of the flowers surrounding his terrace, bringing back pleasant memories of his childhood. He took a sip of his steaming hot tea and let the citrus aromas flood his senses.

He knew he was only stalling, though, and needed to confront his brother. He sighed and collected his plates. He left them on a table, knowing they would be taken care of when the servants cleaned his room for the day. He hated leaving them; his preference had always been to take care of them himself, but time was of the essence.

He left his room and made the short walk to his brother’s quarters. With no idea whether or not his brother was even in his room, he pounded on the door and awaited a response.

He faintly heard noise from inside. “You may enter.”

Raythum could tell his brother had no idea who had interrupted his morning, and he quickly recognized the surprise on his face when he walked through the door..

He didn’t rise when Raythum walked in. “Well, if it isn’t my amazing brother. What brings you to visit your loathsome brother?” he asked with a sneer across his face.

“I hope I am not interrupting?” Without waiting for a response, Raythum walked into the room and motioned toward a high-backed chair. “May I?”

“Please, by all means.” Tirell arrogantly crossed his arms and leveled his gaze at his brother.

Raythum wasn’t surprised to find his brother—who now was in his mid-twenties—curled up on his couch with his head engrossed in a book.

Tirell marked his page. “Please tell me why I have the honor of your visit? Shouldn’t you be busy taking care of your lizard, or saving the world?” The sarcasm dripping from his brother’s words wasn’t lost on Raythum.

“My Dragon’s name is Milenthia, and is it turns out we are making preparations to travel to Agripina.” He could see the greedy look in his brother’s eyes. He knew he counted the days till their departure so he would be out of his affairs. “Before I leave, though, I have received several troubling reports of your activities while I have been away.” He stared sternly, not wanting to come off like an angry parent, but in a manner that would express the importance of the situation.

A disdain-filled grin crossed Tirell’s face. “I should’ve known Norlun would run to you. That meddlesome old man should know to stay out of other people’s business,” he hissed angrily.

“Yes, well, he is concerned about you. He talked of your infatuation with Luther.”

Tirell stood. This obviously struck a chord with his brother. “Infatuation! There is no infatuation. Luther was a powerful wizard. The more I have learned of him, the more I have come to respect him.” Raythum saw a passion uncurbed in his brother’s eyes.

Raythum stood to meet his brother. “Calm down. No one is accusing you of a misplaced love affair, or anything like that.” He directed his brother back to the couch, before he continued. “Norlun is just concerned. Luther was a great wizard, but he followed a dark path. A path that led to his death. I… we would both hate for the same thing to happen to you.” Raythum’s voice filled with concern at the words.

“What do you care what happens to me? You have never cared before,” Tirell almost spit the words as he spoke them. A grotesque look crossed his face.

“Come now, brother. I have never been anything other than supportive of you, and the unorthodox practices you uphold.” Raythum tried to placate Tirell’s anger.

Tirell shot Raythum a glare. “Is that so? Then tell me again why you challenged my claim to the throne?”

Raythum tried to hide his agitation. “You know that to be a false claim. I never expected, nor did I have a desire, to be named heir. I know I am the second born, and my eyes longed for other things. The test we went through for the throne was not of my doing. It was fathers!” Raythum approached Tirell who sat on the couch. He pushed a finger into his brother’s chest, no longer able to hold his anger in check. “Father saw something in you, something he did not care for.”

Tirell shoved his brother’s finger aside. “Don’t play the innocent with me. Father has never understood me, nor have you. Out of fear, he rigged a test, enabling him to honorably depose me as his heir, only to put you in my place. He has always understood you better, and instead of getting to know me for the person I really am, it was easier for him to brush me aside. He had this planned for years. You cannot be so naïve as to think otherwise!” he scoffed.

Frustration overwhelmed Raythum. He had been having this same argument with his brother for years and he grew tired of it. “So that’s it then? You are going to let your petty father-issues potentially send you down a dark path?”

Tirell stood and faced his brother. “It’s so easy for you, isn’t it? Everything has been handed to you on a platter, and you expect it to be as easy as you wish. I cannot tolerate it, and I won’t.” He turned his back on his brother. “I know you better than most, and can see through your rouse.” He spun around on his heels. “You’re no better than me. You may not have sought out the throne, but the second father handed it to you, you changed. You may have father convinced, but not me. You look forward to the throne as much as I. Maybe not for the same reasons, but you cannot deny it.” He looked menacingly up into his brother’s eyes.

“Would you stop it already? As much as you would like to believe otherwise, I have never been in competition with you. I had nothing to do with father’s decision, so please let it go.” Raythum threw his arms up in frustration.

Tirell rolled his eyes. “So why are you here then?”

“You need to stop with all of this Luther nonsense. You are drawing too much attention to yourself and people are starting to notice. I cannot believe you have gathered followers,” he spit with scorn.

Tirell’s face turned as red as the apples growing in the thick forest outside of Havenbrook. “Now you mock me?”

“Nobody is mocking you, Tirell. I am just surprised.”

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