A Tail of Camelot by Julie Leung


A Tail of Camelot by Julie Leung

Author:Julie Leung
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2016-07-26T04:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER

25

Settled securely in a small basket dangling from General Gaius’s talons, Calib and Cecily watched the nest shrink away into a small brown dot on top of a snow-covered stone wall. Before them, the wider forest opened like an immense, sugar-frosted dessert.

Calib’s fear melted away to wonder. He had known the world was vast from studying the library’s many maps, but seeing it all spread out beneath him was something else entirely. As Gaius lifted them higher and higher above the trees, Calib could make out the mountains in the faraway distance. The formations rose up over the horizon like a tidal wave of stone. Somewhere far, far below them were the Slate Rocks, Leftie’s chosen home. Beside Calib, Cecily clutched the side of the basket tightly and squeezed her eyes shut.

“The Iron Mountains,” Calib whispered. The gray-colored mountain range marked the farthest edge of their land. No mouse had ever crossed those ridges and come back to tell the tale.

“Aye,” the general said in his clipped voice. “The known woodland realm ends there.”

Taking a deep breath, Calib called up to the bird. “Did you ever know my father personally?” he asked quickly, before his courage left him.

“I was a lieutenant the day Sir Trenton met with General Thaddeus,” he said as his large wings caught an extra gust of wind.

“What was he like?” Calib pressed.

“He was as stupid as you were this afternoon,” General Gaius said over the noise of the wind. “But Merlin won us over to his cause. In the end, your father sacrificed much to protect those he cared for most. And for that, we remember him as a hero.”

Pride swelled in Calib’s heart. “Thank you,” he whispered.

As the owl continued his flight toward the mountains, Calib marveled at Merlin’s Crystal. It dangled from Gaius’s neck, just out of reach. The light from the setting sun made the crystal glow a fiery red. It almost looked like an ember against Gaius’s feathered breast.

Lulled by the crystal’s dancing light, Calib found himself nodding off. He hadn’t had much sleep the previous night, and the wicker basket rocked gently in the wind.

In his half dreams, he stood before his parents’ tapestry. Sir Trenton was holding out Merlin’s Crystal to him. If only he could reach out and take it. Calib grasped the one end of the crystal but could not pull it free. It was stuck half in the tapestry, half out. The earth began to tremble from underneath him, just like it had the day that Galahad arrived.

Calib woke and realized it was Cecily shaking him gently awake.

“We’re almost there,” she said.

“How long was I asleep?” Calib asked, rubbing his eyes.

“Not long,” Cecily said, but Calib could tell she was lying. She hesitated. “You were mumbling in your sleep.”

He scrubbed a paw in his eyes, trying to get the sleep out.

The general swooped below the tree line, expertly avoiding the branches as he brought them to the banks of a river. He gently lowered the basket to the ground.



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