Hello everyone! After a two long weeks of reading new entries, and a lot of thought and debating, the Future Homeschool Authors group has come to a decision. This was not a easy decision for us but the winner of Nicole Sager's amazing Heart of Arcrea is...
Anna Baber!!! Congratulations Anna! Your book will be sent to you as soon as possible!
Second place goes to... Nathanael Newton!!!
And Third place goes to... Kaycee Browning!!!
First place Anna Baber's entry:
The girl stared at the young man. Before, she would have noticed his strength, good looks, and impressive build. She would have been thrilled that he had once declared his love for her and had hoped she would soon wed him. Now, the handsome charm of the young knight was the farthest thing from her mind.
“You ran,” her voice cut like knives through the serenity of the open field. Her fine, long skirts billowed around her and mingled with the long grass.
His eyes fled her face, looking instead at the distant castle upon the hilltop. “You knew that I wasn’t strong enough.”
She marched up to him and grabbed his chin, forcing him to look at her. “That wasn’t what I asked you to do. I asked you to fight for Ellen’s life. Yet you ran.”
He yanked free of her hand, his jaw pulsing. “He was as big as a mountain. I couldn’t defeat him. Did you want both of us to die that day?”
Tears caught in her eyes. “I wanted you to act like the man you claim to be. I wanted to believe you were a brave, noble knight. But when you fled the dragon, trading Ellen’s life for yours, I saw who you really were.”
He grabbed her arm when she spun to leave. “Your sister Ellen would have died anyway! There was no way I could rescue her from the dragon.”
A sob racked her body. Letting go of her arm, he stepped backward. Her voice trembled as she spoke. “I don’t need your excuses. Face what you did.”
She ran from him. Her sobs strengthened, sending streams of salty tears coursing down her face.
Her eyes rested on the figure, now far away, as he crumpled to his knees, holding the back of his neck with his hands. Her heart ached with the weight of Ellen’s sweet memories and the love she still held for him – despite what he’d done. She closed her eyes as she remembered when Ellen had been snatched up by a fierce, fire-breathing dragon. Her worst nightmare had become reality when even her strong betrothed lost heart.
She felt a rain drop. She looked up at the cloudy sky, and then decided she didn’t care if she got wet. Wandering through the wild, open fields until she couldn’t see him, she wept. She began walking back toward the castle.
Suddenly, she stopped. She glanced at the figure still prostrate in the field. Ellen is gone, she told herself. But he is still alive. I cannot use the past to destroy the living. Ellen no longer needs me, but…Her heart whispered the words her lips could not.
With an unexplainable sense of peace, she slowly turned toward him and took a step.
Second Place Nathaniel Newton's entry:
Novor woke suddenly. He was sleeping in a cave in the Spear Mountains, on the border of Lorsworia and Ithima.
Why was he sleeping on a rock? He thought. Then it all came flooding back. Ithima’s enemy, the Lorsworians, had attacked their farm for food, burning what they didn’t take and damaging their house. To make matters worse, he had heard from traders that the Lorsworians were organizing an arrack on Ithima.
That night he had a vision of an angel coming and telling him that he needed to go to Lorsworia and talk to his uncle, a minor lord in the Lorsworian castle. He had no idea how his uncle got into any position in the Lorsworian castle. But he had set out on the journey, with God’s help, to save Ithima.
It was time to get going. He picked up his staff and pack, and walked out of his cave. An early winter snow had covered the ground. He pulled his coat tighter as he walked along. His breath came out in clouds. As he walked to the bottom of the last mountain, the Leopard’s Fang, he saw something frightening: snow leopard tracks. The mountain was named after the fabled snow leopard that lived in a cave near the top. But Novor didn’t let that deter him. He was determined, but he still muttered a small prayer.
Besides, he had his trusty oak staff, and his father had taught him the Art of the Staff, a technique of using the staff to fight enemies. He missed his father. But now he needed to get going. He kept a sharp lookout for the leopard. As he neared the crest, he thought that he heard a growl. But he didn’t see anything.
As he neared the top of the mountain, all of a sudden a furry mass pounced on him. Novor panicked and waved his staff wildly in an attack maneuver, managing to whack the leopard on the snout. It retreated and glowered at Novor as he brought his staff into a defensive position.
“God, help me!” he whispered.
Suddenly, without knowing why, he brought his staff down in an overhead strike as the snow leopard made a sudden lunge at Novor’s neck. The staff hit the head of the snow leopard. It lashed out wildly and fell silent in the snow. He stood there, panting, when he realized that it was God Who had given him the urge to swing his staff at that moment.
Novor suddenly say that his arm had a gash on it. He cleaned and bandaged it as best as he could. He stood up, scrambled to the crest of the mountain and saw the entire kingdom of Lorsworia spread out before him. Novor then felt suddenly bold, and he smiled.
I’ve killed the snow leopard of Leopard’s Fang! I have God and my trusty staff. Now I’m ready for anything! He thought, as he scrambled down the mountain to Lorsworia.
Third Place Kaycee Browning's Entry:
Of Bells and Boats
I've never been one to see the humor in a bad situation.
But this...this was hilarious.
I slip my pack off my shoulders and slide it under a piece of tarp. I turn away from the hilariousness and begin to tether my boat to the dock, struggling to hide the mirth tugging at my mouth. I steel myself to turn back, urging my mind to not let me smirk, smile, or laugh. I cast a glance over the glinting waters of the River, then pivot and face the scene.
A fairy girl is shouting at an elderly Elf, who appears impassive to her incessant jabbering. He scratches his pointed ears and heaves a long-suffering sigh.
“Miss.” I approach the fairy. Her squeaks have mounted into a crescendo of unintelligible gibberish, made even more complicated by exaggerated hand motions and tosses of curls-which are decked with tiny bells. Her wings tremble angrily, morphing from pink to red and back again to pink.
I deduce that she is displeased.
“Miss,” I repeat again.
“What do ya want, Mister?” She shouts, temporarily turning her attention to me.
The Elf yawns.
And she's off again. Another tirade of heated mice-noises fly from her mouth. I chuckle.
“What are ya laughing at, Mister?” She turns back to me, cocking a pink eyebrow.
“I am laughing at this situation,” I reply steadily. “You must admit, it's quite hilarious. A tiny pink fairy shouting and berating a stoic Elf over who-knows-what? I've never seen the likes before. I've traveled all through Natura, up and down on the River. It's a rare sight indeed to see a fairy and an Elf together, but rarer still to see them so...” I glance at the Elf who is yawning again. “Exclamatory.”
The fairy jabs a manicured finger at my face. “Listen here, Mister, I don't know who you think you are, but you stay out of our business!”
“So it's a business matter?”
She glares at me and I smile wanly. Her demeanor suddenly changes. A bright, toothy grin alights her face and she nods, causing the bells in her hair to jingle jingle jingle. “Yes! A business matter! We both ordered a boat to take us back to our respective kingdoms, but when we arrived at this dock, the company only had one prepared. We were discussing who gets the boat.”
“Looked to me like it was just you disputing the matter,” I point out.
“Yes, but I'm fine now.” She grins up at me, flapping her wings until we are eye level.
“Why are you fine now...?” I ask. Realization dawns on me. The Elf is gone.
I jerk around. My boat is gone. I spot it sailing down the River, the Elf at its helm.
Jingle, jingle. I spin. The fairy is laughing from the top of her boat, sailing in the opposite direction.
I fail to see the humor.
I just want to take a moment to say thank you to all who entered and helped support us on our first endeavor. I loved reading over all your entries and we hope you can enter in our future contests!
-Mikayla and Ysa-
The contest judges