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 life-sized limestone figure of St. Louis (King Louis IX of France, patron saint of architects), carved by Viennese sculptor, Karl Bitter, that adorns the exterior grand staircase tower, click HERE! Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!
Knight of Stone and Steel
I GRIPPED the knight’s hand, the kindness in his stormcloud eyes felt familiar. “Are you hurt, Tariro?” he asked, his French-dipped words laced with something more than concern.
It was the first time, in my sixteen years at Olympus, that he’d come near me—this mystery of a man sheathed in stone and secrets.
“No, I’m…I don’t—” my world suddenly tilted, the colors twisting and turning into another time, another place.
The same knight stood before me, battered and broken, his armor dented with death and destruction, his sword soaked in spirits. A suffocating fog surrounded us, the air heavy with the copper scent of spilt blood. Fire raged all around us, a pool of hungry flames licking the shattered bones that littered the battlefield.
“Go!” he pleaded in French, “I’ll fend off the witch!” He swiped at the crimson river running from his brow, an angry gash grinning beneath the rusted metal mesh.
“I won’t leave you!” I heard myself shout, throwing my arms around his waist.
He pressed his torn lips to my head. “They mustn’t capture you, my love,” he whispered in my ear. “If we lose you–we lose everything.” He broke away from my embrace. “Atlas is waiting beyond the boundary.”
His head snapped to the side, where a cloaked figure emerged from the smoke.
“Go. Now!” he shouted, tightening his grip on the blade.
I stumbled towards the tree line, not daring to look back until I reached the shelter of Atlas.
I felt it before my eyes could register the loss.
My heart died the moment he was swallowed by stone.
“Tariro,” the knight prodded, gently cupping my shoulders.
I sucked in a breath, as if I’d been drowning. My heart was pounding against its cage, desperate to escape into the arms of a memory. “I know you,” I stammered.
He took a step back, releasing his hold. “Of course. I’ve been here since the day you first arrived, guarding the tower—”
“No,” I shook my head, “not from this life.”
I could see the truth of it in his eyes.
“Tell me who I am, Louis.”
© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary
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