Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Chariot of Aurora

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the library’s Pellegrini ceiling painting, The Chariot of Aurora (where there is, in fact, a rooster) click HERE! Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Chariot of Aurora

TARIRO EDGED closer, transfixed by the swirling ball of magic dangling from my neck. “Your teleo…it’s beautiful. I’ve never seen one like it.” She reached for the crystal, twirling it between her fingers. The storm clouds pitched and rolled within, igniting tiny silver sparks. Tariro’s sea-glass eyes lit up, her lips curving with delight. “You must have been someone quite special.”

It’s a surreal notion, referring casually to one’s previous lives when I’ve yet to find purchase in my current one.

Before I could reply, an ethereal figure threw open the library doors in a flock of doves, her trailing gossamer gown unfurled like feathery wings. “I am Calliope, your headmaster. Welcome to my domain,” she announced, her arms outstretched to encompass Delphi’s mountain of words in ancient bindings, their stale breaths bound between the pages.

A red bantam rooster, who apparently lost sight of his proper place, hopped onto the edge of a large ceramic bowl depicting a five-fingered Chinese dragon, scaring me half to death.

My attention snapped back to the Muse of epic literature moving fluidly about the room. Like a Native American princess, her radiant caramel skin and startling violet eyes glowed with wisdom. A feather-adorned raven river cascaded down her back, pooling at bare feet. She gestured towards the soaring ceiling, reverently. “Here, you shall discover who you once were, who you are, and who you shall become!”

I followed her gaze to the painted scene above.

Beyond the intricate Grecian columns, the light of learning penetrated the billowing clouds of an open sky where angels welcomed the dawn, flowing robes and feathers dancing in the wind.

I felt a sharp prick on the tender flesh of my wrist. The chicken, enamored with my shiny silver-plated band, pecked away with abandon, determined to draw blood. I shooed him away with a flap of my highly irritated hand. In a not-so-subtle batting of wings and squawks, the rooster flew up to the pictorial balcony and landed, astonishingly, atop one of its pillars, its plumage transformed into painted canvas. My mouth hung open as oil-glazed women leaned over and waved, their laughter trickling down in the space between myths and magic.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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