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The Odwin Chronicles


Guardians

of the Veil



C.M. Ghilchrist





An Original Publication From C.M. Gilchrist



The Odwin Chronicles Guardians of the Veil
Written and published by C.M. Gilchrist
Formatted by Frostbite Publishing
Copyright © 2016 by C.M. Gilchrist
All rights reserved.



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This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and locations are either a product of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious setting. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, organizations, or people, living or dead, is strictly coincidental. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written consent from the author. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



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The Odwin Chronicles


Guardians
of the Veil










The Call on the Wind




It was the middle of the night, and all the towns and villages were asleep. All the lights were out, and people were asleep in their beds. The streets were empty, apart from a stray cat roaming around looking for shelter. It was a night like any other for most people and the creatures that lived in the town of Kafton. However, this was not the case in the nearby forest of Odwin.

Something was stirring. Something was awakening all who lived there. She who cares for all the earth and all the people and creatures that live on it sent out a call. The call started in the earth’s core and spread up and out. It ran along underground, up into the roots of the trees, into the burrows and the drays and the nests in the forest.

Creatures stirred in their beds. Even the wind picked up the call and carried it through the leaves and up into the air where the birds caught it. It bubbled up into the water and the nymphs, sprites and undines could feel its message as it rippled along on its journey.

Fangus, the wolfhound lived on the edge of Kafton town. A gust of wind had blown open the back door of his home, so he slipped out into the night air. He sniffed it as he always would, to see what was happening. Something smelt different. It came on the wind. He couldn’t quite figure out what it was. He knew it wasn’t food of any kind. It wasn’t danger either. It smelt more like excitement. Yet, it was not the same excitement as was in the air during yesterday’s birthday party in the garden.

The scent was drawing him further from the house. He had to follow it. He took off in a trot across the nearby fields towards the forest. He was not a creature of the forest. He was born and bred in Kafton town but he knew he had to keep following the scent.

The moon lit the way as he bounded along in the darkness and stillness. He had never been this far from home before. It was scary but also a little exciting. His mother had always warned him to stay away from the forest but here he was, getting closer and closer, unsure of what he was doing. His heart was pounding in his chest.

As he crossed a field he had never been in before, he wondered if he was doing the right thing. Should he turn around and go home? He thought of his basket beside the fire and how lovely, warm and safe it was there. Yet, the pull of the scent was getting stronger.

When he reached the edge of the forest, he stopped. He thought of the large creatures that his mother told him lived there. She had said a dog was no match for them, not even a large wolfhound, so it was best for him to stay clear.

Fangus began to bark into the forest. He didn’t really know why exactly. He just wanted it to know that he had picked up the scent and was here, ready and willing for whatever was drawing him to this place.

The forest was black and dark, and he couldn’t see anything, but he could smell movement. He could sense it in the trees and within the ground as it traveled and moved up through his paws. He had never felt anything like this before. He didn’t know what to do. Should he continue into the dark forest? He didn’t like this option, so he decided to wait there to see what would happen.

Perhaps the wind would change and the scent would move elsewhere. Perhaps it would disappear and he could turn around and go home.

Deep within the forest, all the creatures had felt the call and began to prepare. Each in their own way would have a part to play in Her mission. There would be much work to be done, but it would be a time like no other. A time when a great change would be possible. A time when a great darkness would finally be cleared from the earth if everything went according to plan. Only She knows the full plan and reveals it bit by bit to whoever needs to be a part of it.

It was the nature of all creatures to work closely with Her. They would make sure the paths were clear. They would make sure everything that needed to be hidden and secured was protected. They would take up their appointed places. Some of them would work together in teams, and others would have to work alone.

And as the creatures in the forest prepared, certain children across the world were having strange dreams in the middle of the night. Gently, She whispered to them. She would send out her messengers to bring them to the forest when the time was right.

She could not force them to come. It was their own free will if they wished to join her. All she could do was contact them and offer them the opportunity to assist Her. Only time would tell how many would answer the call and choose to come here.

A great adventure lay in wait for them, but danger would also be close by. They would have to be brave. They would have to learn new skills. They would be tested along the way. She didn’t even know if they would be up for the task but She would soon find out.









Guardians of the Veil




Something is not right” said Mr Rabbit, sticking his head out the door of the school and sniffing the air. “I can’t put my paw on it, but there is something in the air. “Perhaps it will blow over”, he said shutting the door and heading back down the stiars to his office.

Mr Rabbit was in charge of the magic school in Odwin. The location of the school was top secret. It could only be accessed through an ancient oak tree. The path to this giant oak tree was hidden behind a veil. The veil kept the path protected from human eyes. Well, most human eyes. There were some exceptions.

Only children and adults with extraordinary gifts would find their way there, but everyone else would go about their lives never knowing it existed. It was safer that way. Ordinary folk may not understand the purpose of this place and, out of fear, try to destroy it.

There were two creatures in charge of protecting this veil. A very important job indeed, as you can imagine. One of the creatures was from the Animal Kingdom, and the other one was from the Fairy Kingdom.

Oswald, the owl, was a splendid fellow by all accounts. He was snow white and very large, even by owl standards. He had a pair of piercing amber eyes and two very sharp black talons. He was quite gentle really, but very proud, and took no nonsense. His family had protected that veil for centuries, and he took his job very seriously.

Azra, the Fairy King, was another story. He liked to play tricks on other fairies, the animals and any humans that happened to pass by. However, even he was wary of Oswald and kept his tricks to an absolute minimum. This was difficult for him. So every now and then he couldn’t help himself.

Azra would pluck a white feather from Oswald’s tail to put in his bed; it made it soft. He tried to do this when Oswald was snoozing on a nearby branch. Sometimes he was successful but at other times Oswald would feel a tug as Azra pulled out the feather. A glare from those amber eyes was enough to put Azra off from trying again, at least for another month.

“Azra, something isn’t right.” “What do you mean Oswald?” “I’m not sure but my feathers are telling me something is off. I know it’s time for new students to arrive and there is excitement in the air, but I feel there is something else going on.”

Oh Oswald, I agree with you. I thought it was just me feeling strange so I didn’t say anything. I have been burping at odd times too. It usually only happens when someone is trying to get through the veil.”

At that moment a strange looking man stepped out from behind a tree. He was very tall and thin, and wore a long black leather coat and black boots. His skin was a sort of yellowish and green colour. His hair was black and greasy. He made a lot of growling and snarling sounds that sounded more like an animal than a person.

Oswald immediately got to work. He swooped up, eyes fierce and his talons ready to attack. He screeched very loudly and flapped his wings wildly at the man. Oswald rarely touched anyone with his talons. The sight of them coming close was enough to scare most people off.

Get away from here”, said Azra who was now burping. Azra was able to make himself invisible, and he started pinching the man’s arms and throwing small sticks at him. The man began hoping about and ducking from the sticks while trying to point his wand at Oswald. All this activity around him made it impossible to concentrate on any spells. Oswald could swoop in and change direction so quickly, that the man had no chance of hitting him with a blast from his wand.

Azra grabbed the wand from his hands. It was a little heavy for him, so Oswald snatched it with his beak and took it to his home. The man gave up and left, but not before he cursed and swore that he would return and have his revenge.

I will be back and you will not be so lucky the next time” he snarled, before disappearing through the trees.

Where did he come form?” asked Azra who had now stopped burping as the danger had passed. “I don’t know” said Oswald, but we haven’t had anyone like that finding their way here for a long time.” “Perhaps he was the one who was making us feel uneasy and now he’s gone everything will be fine again,” said Azra hopefully. “I’m not so sure,” said Oswald. “We shall see.”

Oswald had gathered quite a number of wands over the years. He always brought them to Orogon the elf. Orogon was able to melt them down safely and kept the magic they held in a special jar that could never be broken. It had a spell on it that only Orogon knew. The magic was being kept for a time when the forest would need it.

No one knew when that time would be but it was always good to have an extra supply of magic around for emergencies.









The Fairy King




The following afternoon, Azra was having an afternoon nap after enjoying a little dew beer and eating far too many mushroom pies. He started burping in his sleep but didn’t know it. His wife Isobel had to shake him awake.

“Azra wake up, I think someone is trying to get through the veil.”

Azra flew up in such haste that he hit his head on the ceiling of his home. He lived inside a large red toadstool. He felt rather dazed and dizzy, but he knew he had to get to the veil, IMMEDIATELY!

When he got to the place, there was no sign of Oswald and no sign of anyone trying to get through the veil. Not only that, but he was still burping. Normally it stopped when he reached the veil. He scratched his head. He couldn’t figure it out.

He flew up to Oswald’s tree and called for him.

“Oswald are you there?”

Oswald stuck his head out and looked quite surprised to see Azra.

“Yes, what is the matter?”

“I was burping, and when I got to the veil you weren’t there. And no one else was there either. I don’t understand it.”

“I didn’t feel anything,” said Oswald. He stepped out onto the branch and looked closely at Azra, who was hovering nearby looking very puzzled and was still burping.

“Have you been eating too many mushroom pies again?” inquired Oswald.

“Oh….well…er… maybe… perhaps one or two,” said Azra, feeling very silly.

He had forgotten about the pies. When he started eating them, he always meant to eat just one or two, but he always found himself reaching for a third and a fourth and…well…. in fact, on several occasions he lost track of how many he ate.

“I guess that must have been it, so sorry to bother you. I won’t eat as many pies again,” he said quite sincerely. Oswald just shook his head in disbelief and disappeared back into his home.

Azra lived with his wife Isobel and their triplet daughters: Marigold, Daisy and Bluebell. Marigold had red hair with a red curl on her forehead, Daisy had blonde hair and a blonde curl and Bluebell had brown hair and a brown curl. They were two years of age and it was difficult to keep them from putting buttons, coins and other small objects in their mouths.

Bluebell, in particular, would get excited when Azra came home with a new trinket of some kind. She would clap her hands and bounce up and down on her bottom when she saw him coming in with something new.

The last time Azra came home with a large silver shoe buckle Isobel said, “Bluebell is going to be just like you when she grows up. Though I hope she doesn’t grow up to like mushroom pies as much as you. If she does, I’m not sure how we are all going to fit in here. We may have to move to a bigger home.”

Sometimes, while Azra was trying to have an afternoon nap, his daughters would crawl over and try to play with him. One would pull an ear, another would pull his socks off, and the other would sit on his face. Azra would sometimes wake up unable to breathe.

He would often take them for a hike through the forest, especially when Isobel wanted to give their home a good clean. It was a little difficult to do that when they were all at home. Azra would strap two of the triplets to his back and strap the third one to his chest.

It was difficult to get very far, since other fairy folk would continually stop him to have a look at the triplets and want to play with them. They were such a novelty. Triplets were very rare in the Fairy Kingdom and considered a good luck omen if you came across them. There hadn’t been any for about three generations.

The last triplets were boys. They had been quite a handful when they were young but they were very good at finding gold coins. By the time they were thirty years old, they had found, or traded, enough coins to fill a swimming pool.

They were very kind-hearted fellows and, although they were not supposed to leave the forest, sometimes they would travel to nearby towns and leave gold coins on people’s doorsteps. Often they left coins for people who were poor and really needed the money.

It was advised that when triplets grew up, they shouldn’t marry, because that would break up the good luck. Isobel and Azra worried about this. They didn’t like the idea of telling their daughters that they shouldn’t get married. But that was something they didn’t need to think about for a quite a few years yet.

When Azra took them for a hike, he would often use it as an opportunity to perhaps trade objects with some of his neighbours or sell them some dew beer he had been brewing. He would catch up on all the gossip and stop and visit some cousins who lived nearby. One such cousin was Ronald and his wife Selma and daughters, Harriet and Lilly. Harriet and Lilly would play with the triplets while Azra enjoyed a little dew beer and pumpkin pie with his cousin Ronald.

Ronald was a great singer and poet and would often make things up on the spot. After hearing all of Azra’s news, he jumped to his feet, puffed out his chest, and began reciting a poem he had just made up:

Guardian of the veil

Is a little too fond of the ale

He jumped out of bed

Hit his poor head

And grew a monkey tail


Azra was impressed, though he was a little unsure if he liked the idea of having a monkey tail. After spending a very pleasant evening with his cousin, Azra decided it was time to go home. If he had a little too much dew beer, he had to be careful walking home with the triplets attached to him. He had a tendency to stagger a little.

Ronald often, and very kindly, walked them home to make sure they all got there safely. Isobel was not very pleased whenever Azra came home staggering a little from too much dew beer. Though the triplets quite enjoyed being bounced around a little more than usual.

He arrived laughing and repeating Ronald’s poem.

Guardian of the veil

Is a little too fond of the ale

He jumped out of bed

Hit his poor head

And grew a monkey tail


Isobel was annoyed.“Azra I will string you up by that tail if you come home like this again do you hear.”

“Yes, my love,” said Azra, carefully unstrapping the triplets, and placing them in a neat row on the kitchen floor before lying down on the sofa for a snooze.









A Wise Owl




Oswald lived alone. Unlike Azra, he didn’t keep any objects or have any family so he led a very quiet life. He had no interest in collecting gold or other coins. The only objects he had were the ones the wind blew in, like feathers, leaves and twigs. He had no interest in dew beer or mushroom pies either.

Oswald lived in an old oak tree. What most creatures didn’t know, however, was that this oak tree was connected to the one at the entrance of the magic school. Oswald would receive messages up through the bark of the tree and would know all that was happening there. It was as good as having a telephone.

“Oswald, are you up there?” came a voice from down below. Oswald stepped out onto the branch and saw Mr Rabbit standing at the bottom of the tree.

Hello Mr Rabbit, how can I help you?”

“I need to talk with you, can you come down please?”

“Certainly” said Oswald swooping down onto the ground.

“Something isn’t right Oswald. I cam smell it in the air.”

“I agree with you Mr Rabbit. We had an unfortunate occurrence yesterday at the veil. A strange looking man tried to get through it.”

Oh my, that’s not very good” said Mr Rabbit, tapping his foot on the ground. “There is another issue too that is concerning. One of the school squirrels told me he noticed something odd yesterday. He was out gathering some nuts at the edge of the forest and he noticed the grass there was dead. We’ve had plenty of rain recently so there is no reason for this to occur. What do you think has happened Oswald?”

Other creatures would often call to ask Oswald’s advice on various matters. They would ask him questions such as the best place to find worms, where they should store their food, how far away the nearest water source was, when the rains were coming or when it was going to stop raining.

I am not sure yet, Mr Rabbit, but I shall investigagte the matter and get back to you.” “Very well”, said Mr Rabbit, I must get back to the school as there is much work to be done” he said, and away he scampered leaving Oswald in a troubled mood. I will go and talk to Azra, he thought to himself.

When the triplets were born, Azra asked Oswald if he would like to be their godfather. Oswald felt very honored to be asked. Usually, it was a relative who was asked, especially since they were lucky triplets. Many of Azra’s other friends and family were hoping to be given the honor.

Oswald took his godfather duties seriously, as he did with all his duties. However, he didn’t like to get too close to the girls. He was afraid that, like their father, they might enjoy stealing owl feathers. Oswald fascinated the girls, with his big eyes and large talons. If he happened to visit, they would sit and stare at him with their mouths open. This occasion was no different.

Oh hello Oswald, what a pleasant surprise, do come in”, said Azra. The triplets were seated in a row at the kitchen table and Isobel was trying to feed them. It was obvious that there was more food on their clothes than in their mouths. When they saw Oswald their mouths dropped open in surprise. Isobel took the opportunity and began shoving food in as quickly as she could.

Oswald please feel free to come at all mealtimes so I can get food into my daughter’s mouths, which only seem to open when you are here,” said Isobel.

Then Azra came up with a suggestion that Oswald was not too pleased about.

“Perhaps we could get what human children have, a toy that looks just like you Oswald. If you could spare some feathers, I am sure I could make one that would do the job. We would only take it out at meal times of course. We could put it on the table in front of the girls. It would not replace you in anyway of course. Though I’m not sure what I would use for the eyes. I’m not sure if I have any amber buttons in my collection.”

He was about to go and check his button collection when he saw that look on Oswald’s face, a look he knew only too well. So he quickly changed the subject declaring he was sure it was going to rain any moment and perhaps it would be best to take the clothes in off the line.

When the triplets were born, Oswald brought a gift of three owl feathers that belonged to his father. Azra was very moved by this generous gesture. He made sure he put them in a safe place until the girls were older and could understand what a precious gift this was. Owls do not like parting with their feathers so a gift of feathers from a family member was indeed a big deal.

Azra, may I talk to you privately for a moment please?” asked Oswald.

“Sure”, said Azra. “Come on out the back while I hang up the clothes.”

Oswald shared what Mr Rabbit had told him about the grass. “This is concerning,” said Azra. “The new students are arriving tomorrow, perhaps they can help.”

Perhaps” said Oswald, looking troubled. “I am not so sure it is a good time to arrive in Odwin”

Azra could feel another burp coming on.

In many ways, Azra and Oswald were very different but, underneath it all, they had a strong friendship. A friendship that needed to be strong because of the important job they had of protecting the veil. Not only did the safety of the forest depend upon them, but what many didn’t realize was that the safety of all the humans on the planet could be in danger if anything happened to that veil.










Ben and Billy’s
Indian Adventure





Ben Richards was a child with the gift of special sight. That’s not how he would have described himself though. He thought there was something wrong with his eyes. Ben saw and felt things a little differently from others. He found school difficult. Words didn’t look right to him on the page. Sometimes letters appeared backwards. Sometimes words would have tastes too. For example, Monday tasted like bananas and Friday tasted like chocolate. He liked Fridays. Wednesday tasted like onions, which wasn’t so good.

However, on Wednesdays they had an art class in school and Ben loved art. He especially loved painting. He loved mixing the colors. It was like magic, watching how yellow and blue mixed together made green and mixing red and blue together made purple.

Ben could see colors other people couldn’t see, but he couldn’t describe them. There was no name in this world yet for them. He couldn’t make them with paints. Sometimes he would see them around people too. He would always know if his mum was feeling sad, as colors around her would change to gray. When she got angry they would turn red. When she was happy, she had lots of gold and pinks around her.

Ben lived in a large white cottage with his mum, just on the edge of the town of Kafton. His dad disappeared when he was two years old. No one knew what happened to him. He just didn’t come home one day. Ben had a vague memory of being carried by his father around the garden of their home and his dad pointing out the different flowers and plants in the garden. He couldn’t know for sure if it was a real memory. He didn’t like to ask his mum about him, as she would get upset when he was mentioned.

Ben’s house had belonged to the local church. His great grandfather had been the minister there. When the church closed, his family got to keep the house so it had been in the family for a few generations. It had rose bushes trailing up the front around the door. In summer, when they were in full bloom, they gave out a beautiful smell. On the side of the house, there was wild honeysuckle growing; it gave out a sweet smell in the evening time. There were loose floorboards in the house so it creaked a little, but it was warm and cosy.

Ben’s mum was a dressmaker and would often sit up late at night working. People would come to the house looking for a coat or a suit to be made. Local girls would come to have their wedding dresses made. Ben was always amazed at how his mum could turn a piece of material into an item of clothes. She didn’t follow any patterns. She did it all from her head.

Ben would come home from school and see this large piece of material spread over the kitchen table and his mum looking at it, frowning with concentration. A few days later it would be transformed into an item of clothes. Sometimes she would ask Ben to thread the needle for her if it was evening time and the light wasn’t so good.

It was a normal Wednesday, just like any other and of course, for Ben, it smelt like onions. He came home from school and, after doing his homework, spent the evening in his room coloring and playing with the train set his Uncle Tom had given him for his birthday. His mum always brought him up a cup of hot chocolate on Wednesday evenings. Perhaps she felt sorry for him because it was onion day.

Billy, who was Ben’s best friend often came around on Wednesday evenings. He liked Ben’s mum’s hot chocolate too. Plus, he had four brothers and four sisters at home so he liked coming to Ben’s house. It was a lot quieter than his own. There was no one fighting or crying here either.

Ben and Billy had met on their first day at school. The classroom had a train set and they both played with it together. They had been friends ever since. In class, if Ben had to read out loud Billy would whisper to him the words that he stumbled on. Not so loud that the teacher could hear. In turn, Ben would sometimes help Billy with his math.

Ben enjoyed going to visit Billy’s house for the opposite reason that Billy liked coming to his. For Ben, it was an exciting place to be in. Billy had four brothers and four sisters. There were lots of games going on in various rooms. Therefore, there was always someone to play with.

One day when Ben was visiting Billy’s house, his sister Catherine, who was three years old, followed Ben around and tried to put lipstick on him. Billy thought it was very funny watching Ben being chased around the house by a 3-year-old and a tube of lipstick. Billy sat watching them for a while and then rescued Ben. He locked them both in his bedroom so she couldn’t get in. Billy told Catherine through the door, “go find Peter he loves lipstick.”

Today Ben and Billy were on another train adventure around India. They thought it was a good country to travel around because it was so big. Ben had an old Mecanno set, so they built train stations and bridges for the train to go through. Ben had made a small flag of India and put it on the train.

They had agreed that Billy would be the driver for the first part of the journey, through Mumbai and New Delhi. Ben and Billy had taken out a map of the world and looked at India. These were the two cities they choose. Billy would keep the coal on the fire, take passenger tickets and look out for any obstacles that might be on the track ahead. They were just about to start when Ben’s mum called up the stairs

“Boys don’t get any crumbs on the carpet. Ben, you know what happened last week.”

“OK Mom.”

Ben and Billy looked down and noticed they each had a small pile of crumbs on the floor from the chocolate cookies they were eating with their hot chocolates.

“What happened last week,” asked Billy

“I was sitting in the living room watching television when I heard mum screaming upstairs. I ran up, and she was standing here in my bedroom. She told me she was passing my room and glanced in to see a mouse nibbling crumbs off the floor. It didn’t even move when it saw her. It was only when she screamed that it ran off.”

“We have mice in our house too. My mum is always telling us not to leave food in the bedroom. Peter found one asleep in his shoe one morning. He wanted to bring it to school to show everyone, but mum wouldn’t let him. Luckily he had another pair of shoes. When he got home, he checked to see if the mouse was still there, but it was gone. But it had left some droppings in his shoe.”

“Yuck,” said Ben. “Mum says our cat is useless. He should be catching mice but he is too well fed. He is just lazy.”


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