Queen of Thorns


Queen of Thorns is the second book in the Gothic Faerie Tale Series.

Gerda and Kai make plans to return home, as Khione recovers from
Queen Eleanor’s second failed assignation attempt. Even though Khione remembers
nothing of the last six months, she faces some tough decisions. Eleanor unaware
of her failed plan to rid herself of her daughter, decides to move forward with
her political and personal alliance with King Wilbur. A decision she may yet

It's Ruby's eighteenth birthday. Whilst walking through the woods,
to her grandmother's house, she is subjected to an unpleasant experience. When
she finally arrives at her grandmother's she witnesses something that makes her
wonder if all is not what it seems.

In the realm of Terra, Lexi awakes to find a freak snow storm has
ground the whole city to a halt. This sets off a chain of events, including a
shocking revelation from her past.

The Gothic Faerie Tale Series, a fusion of faerie tales, folklore, myth & legends with action/adventure and a magical touch of romance.

Available in eBook and paperback formats. Click on the retail image links below for more information or to purchase.  

Chapter One

The sun peeped out from behind a cloud filled sky, on a chilly November morning. It cast its light down upon the trees in the forest below. A thin stream of light poured through a chink in the curtains covering Khione’s bedroom window. The sunbeams danced over her eyes, and as if touching her face the light roused Khione from her slumber. She opened her eyes and fixed them upon the unfamiliar surroundings of the tree house room she slept in. The modestly furnished room held a small wooden table and a chair, and a bookcase. An oak wardrobe stood against the opposite wall of the room.
She turned her head and gazed at her friend Gerda as she lay upon the floor on a straw filled mattress, blankets tucked around her small frame. She slept peacefully; her unkempt red hair framed her serene face. Khione almost envied the tranquil expression on her face. She felt no peace; only feelings of confusion, frustration, and turmoil had filled the last two days. She had dwelt in the Forbidden Forest for more than six months. Yet the last memory she recalled upon entering the forest was fleeing from Griff, her mother Queen Eleanor’s huntsman. Griff had attempted to carry out the first of two failed assassination attempts orchestrated by her mother. She shuddered as she vividly remembered her terror and the look of menace on Griff’s face as he raised his hunting knife to kill her. Also her revulsion, after he tried to force himself upon her in return for not carrying out the task of murdering her. This terrifying ordeal seemed to Khione as if it had passed only days, not months ago.
Khione recalled waking from her sleep of death in a dimly lit room, and staring at the unfamiliar faces of Garion and Virion. Both wore a look of concern and shock when she revealed she did not know them.
“Do you remember nothing of us?” asked Garion.
His face fell in disappointment as she shook her head and replied, “No, nothing.”
She swung her legs over the side of the bed. Garion sat down on the bed beside her. He looked into her eyes, as if searching for a flicker of recognition, but found none. He gave a wry smile. “You are alive, this is more important.”
“Garion saved you,” said Virion.
Khione scrutinised Virion as he stood before her, and could not help but notice his pointed elven ears. She turned her attention back to the man sitting beside her. “Are you Garion?” He nodded in reply. “Thank you, but perhaps you could tell me what you saved me from?” Garion shifted slightly and looked at Virion.
“Tell her,” urged Virion.
“Not yet, it may be best to wait until Avira has seen her first.”
Khione grew agitated. “No, I wish to know, and who is Avira?”
“Avira is a physician,” replied Garion.
Khione frowned. “I do not need a physician. I am perfectly well.” She attempted to stand up. Garion took her by the shoulders and gently pushed her back down. “If you promise to remain here I will explain.”
She swallowed, her throat felt dry and scratchy. “Please can I have some water to drink?”
“I will bring it to you,” said Virion. He promptly left the room. Khione and Garion sat in silence. He placed a hand upon her shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. She turned and glanced at him. Garion removed his hand and clenched it into a loose fist to prevent himself from touching her again. “I apologise, did I make you feel uncomfortable?” he asked.
“No,” replied Khione.
Virion entered the room with a glass of water in his hand, Alwin following on behind him. The sound of voices had woken him. Virion passed the glass to Khione. She thanked him and drained the contents. The water soothed her parched mouth and throat. Alwin smiled at her. “What has passed here?” he asked.
Virion answered, “Garion shook her, and a piece of apple flew out from her mouth. As you can see she is now well.”
“But she remembers nothing of the last six months,” interjected Garion.
Alwin remained silent for a moment then spoke, “Post trauma amnesia. I have read something of it.”
Khione looked puzzled. “I do not understand, post what?”
“You took a bite from an apple enchanted with dark magic; your body suffered a great shock. This has caused a partial loss of your memory. It will be light soon, I shall ride over to the village and fetch Avira,” Alwin replied.
Khione sighed and thanked him. She looked at the dark haired Alwin and the fair haired and green eyed Virion. Then her eyes rested upon Garion’s brown eyes, she also noticed his ears were unlike those of an elf, not pointed, they were more human like. “Are you not an elf?” she asked.
Virion chuckled. “I think we have much to explain.”
At the break of dawn, Alwin rode to the village and swiftly arrived back at the cottage with Avira. She examined Khione, agreed with Alwin’s assessment and declared she was none the worse apart from amnesia.
“Will I recover my memory?” Khione asked.
“The brain is a delicate instrument, and we have much yet to learn from it. I will be honest with you; it may take some time for your memory to return.” Avira patted Khione’s hand and smiled. “I am sorry, we have been good friends. Give yourself time and all will be well.” She then bid the rest of the household not to force too much information upon her.
A tapping on the window brought Khione’s attention back to the present. She rose from her bed and drew back the curtains. A little brown bird tapped furiously upon the glass. Khione opened the window to let in Aya, her sparrow friend, along with a blast of chilly air.  Aya flew, landed on one of the bedposts, and proceeded to twitter away at speed. Khione understood the language of birds and animals. “Gifford came to see me at first light and told me you were dead, murdered. Where he has been for the last two days, he would not reveal. I fear he is going mad.” Gifford was another of Khione’s feathered friends.
Aya ruffled her feathers. “Why did he tell me such a horrendous tale?”
“He spoke the truth,” whispered Khione, “But I cannot tell you all of what has happened, as I have no recollection. I do know that the Queen tried to kill me with an enchanted apple.”
“What?” screeched Aya.
Khione put her finger to her lips. “Shush, you will wake Gerda.” She sat down upon the bed and looked again at Gerda, still sleeping soundly.
“I will tell you what I know, but please be quiet.”
Aya stayed silent and listened. Her curiosity satisfied, she left with a promise to relay the good news to Gifford.
Khione climbed back into bed. She closed her eyes, but sleep did not come to her. She lay in silence and willed herself to feel something, anything, other than the overwhelming feelings of uncertainty and fear. All treated her with kindness and assured her she would be safe. But how could she be if her mother knew of her whereabouts. If or when she learned she had failed to kill her again, she would come after her. Khione knew her mother well enough never to doubt her tenacity.
Gerda opened her eyes, yawned, and stretched out her arms. She rolled onto her side, looked at her friend and whispered, “Khione are you awake.”
“No,” Khione answered, in jest, her eyes still closed. 
Gerda sat upright and patted down her messy hair. “I see your sense of humour is still intact. I have need of your hairbrush. I do not wish Kai to see me looking like this.”
Khione got out from the bed and picked up the hairbrush from the bedside table. “ You told me Kai loves you. He will not be concerned with the state of your hair. Would you like me to brush your hair? It is the least I can do after you refused to let me sleep on the floor.”
“If you wish,” replied Gerda. “At times I find it hard to believe you are a princess. I am certain no other royal person would entertain brushing my hair.” She sat down on the bed. Khione gently pulled the brush through Gerda’s tangled locks. It reminded Gerda of her mother, Agnes, as a child she had brushed Gerda’s hair morning and night. Many months had passed since she last saw her, but she would soon be on her way home with Kai.
“You have a contented look upon your face, what are you thinking?” asked Khione.
“About home.”
Khione sighed. “Oh, how I wish I had a home, or at least one where I am welcome.”
Gerda twisted her head. “You have a home, here, do you not? The elves all love and respect you.” Khione pulled the brush through a knot of hair. “Ouch, that hurt,” cried Gerda.
“Gerda keep still,” ordered Khione. She continued brushing through the tangle. “This may seem ungrateful, I wish I could think of this dwelling as my home. Everything is so unfamiliar, any affections I had for anyone here, apart from you, have gone, along with my memories. Also it may not be safe for me or anyone whilst I am residing here.”
“Do you wish to travel to Bracan with Kai and me?”
Khione thought for a moment before answering, “I have thought long about this. My mother has a second cousin, she is Queen Consort of Agraunia. I shall visit her and ask for protection.”
“You never spoke of her before.”
Khione pulled one last brush stroke through Gerda’s hair and laid the brush on the bed. “Perhaps not, but you may know her son Tristan.”
“That is so peculiar, you mentioned him recently.”
“I did?”
“Yes you told Garion and Cameron of a fight I had with Tristan when we were children.”
Khione wrinkled her forehead. “Tristan is very disagreeable. I have not seen him since we were children. Hopefully he has changed.”
The girls talked as they washed and dressed. By the time they descended downstairs Khione had made her decision. Kai and Garion were sat at the table eating breakfast. Alwin stood in front of the fireplace, he threw more kindling onto the fire, and the orange flames grew brighter. He then prodded the fire with a poker until the flames grew higher and spoke to himself, “There, much better now.”
 Kai looked at Gerda as she approached the dining table. “Someone is a sleepy head.” He flashed her a broad smile and her heart skipped a beat. She returned his smile and sat down at the table beside him.
“We have been discussing our journey home,” said Kai, “Garion has offered us the use of a horse and he will accompany us. He has also provided me with some clothing. To think I have been wearing the same clothes for years.”
“Thank you Garion,” said Gerda.
“I am happy to assist you,” replied Garion.
Gerda then turned to Kai. “I did not know you could ride a horse.”
Kai grinned. “I can, I used the Blacksmith’s horse. Even though he did not know it at the time.”
Gerda laughed. Khione joined her at the table. She greeted everyone with a “Good morning” and poured herself a cup of milk from a jug on the table.
“How are you?” asked Garion, concern still etched in his face.
“I am much the same, but otherwise well. I have turned things over in my mind and made an important decision.” She put the cup to her mouth and quickly swallowed the milk. Khione could feel the weight of Garion’s stare as he waited for her to continue.
Alwin came over to the table and sat down beside Garion. “We are eager to learn what you have to tell us,” he said.
“First of all I wish to thank you for your kindness and hospitality. I feel it is no longer safe for you to have me here. Therefore when Gerda and Kai leave tomorrow I shall be joining them,” she said.
Garion, about to take a bite from a slice of bread, dropped it onto the plate before him. “Are you in earnest? You cannot be seriously considering this, where will you stay?”
“I wish to leave before the snow comes or it shall make travelling so much harder. I will ask my mother’s cousin Queen Katrina for refuge. She and her husband King Darrius live in Tormain Palace, in Agraunia. I have never visited there. I believe it is not far from Bracan.”
Khione met Garion’s gaze, she could feel his eyes burning into hers. Struck with a feeling of sadness and longing, tears began to well in her eyes, which she fought to hide. “Khione, you are still welcome to reside here for as long as you wish. Queen Eleanor has no knowledge that you are alive,” he said.
She clasped her hands in front of her and averted her eyes from his stare. “I no longer wish to be a burden. I have made my decision, please respect my wishes.”
“You have never been a burden,” said Alwin.
All those sitting around the table fell silent.

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