Five Gems Book 1
by E. Kaiser Writes
Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure
On her first visit to the palace, sixteen-year-old Fia stumbles upon a court intrigue. To keep the secret safe, the Chancellor sends her off as apprentice to a famous, reclusive, mountain jeweler...
...And straight into adventure.
Discovering gems with deep secrets and new friends with the same, Fia learns a whole lot more than just making jewelry: when to trust a stranger, and when not to, why not to try stealing from gem thieves; what heroism is; what royalty ought to be; and that the mountains themselves can sometimes be the greatest danger of all.
Is the legend of the Sunlight Stone true?
Will peace ever come to the war-torn neighboring kingdom?
And what is the stable boy hiding...?
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Swiftly she wove through the arbors toward the spot where she thought she had glimpsed something. The closer she got the less sinister everything looked. She let her shoulders relax. She’d been letting the night and new surroundings get to her.
Perhaps it had been merely some gardener's boy coming back from a nearly unremembered duty. Or had it been sheer imagination alone?
That would be enough to account for a great deal, right there.
Suddenly her heart stopped, and she stared fixedly at the space between the arbors. It hadn’t been a shadow this time, nor could it even remotely be construed a gardener's boy. It was a man, clothed in dark garments, a black scarf of flimsy material hiding most of his face. His gait was purposefully soundless, and the intensity in his movements made her blood chill.
The Princess Illyria stood wrapped in her green cloak, a stern look upon her face.
“This girl was in the tree beyond the vineyard.” the hooded one said quietly. “I saw her jump down after you left, and so I caught her. Perhaps you would know better who would send her as a spy.”
“I'm not!” Fia said desperately. All her bravery was swept away by the presence of the king's daughter. “I only...got lost.”
“Got lost into an oak tree?”
When Larna was ready, they made their way back through the scenic little streets to the antiquary shop. The little store seemed empty, even their footsteps refused to echo here.
“Hello?” Fia asked of the silence.
“Good day to you!” Thayne called and then his face appeared around a stack of old record books. “Oh, it’s you two. I’ve found just the thing. In a minute!” And he disappeared again.
As they took up their seats again and prepared to wait for Thayne’s return, Fia picked up a book from the stack she had set on the floor on her first visit.
“A Brief History of the North Kingdoms;” She read aloud. “…with six appendices, an index of all battles, treaties, and declarations of war, in entirety.” She looked at Larna. “Brief?”
Larna shook her head. “I think we have that book in the library.” She smiled. “…If you’re interested.”
“Thanks.” Fia replied. “I think I’ll stick with listening to Andro tell it. Much, much, more interesting.... And shortened.”
It was the Sunlight Stone. She lifted it gently from its case, and it lay in her hand like an enchanted bird, the crisp golden facets nearly glowing in the light from the high barred window. It looked like an embodiment of sunshine, and felt as smooth and cold to her touch as if it had been cut from glacier ice.
She caught a shaky breath. To imagine, that she held in her hand an object of legend, one of the great stones known to the jeweler's trades, the mysterious, less than half believed, Golden Light. Enchanted, she ran a finger over the corners of the facets, and tapped a fingernail against its perfect surface. Adamant. The hardest stone on earth.
Evin’s eyes narrowed and he took a good grip on the scoundrel’s throat. “Talk or you’ll need to find some other way of breathing.”
Five Gems Book 2
Secrets. Sabotage. Murder. With Olayin House temporarily turned into a weapons factory, Fia is confronted with the care of three refugee children, an ill-timed visitor, a perplexingly brash messenger that she isn't quite sure what to think of, all while trying to keep her friend’s secrets safe. But when dangerous accidents start to happen, the young apprentice begins to tread a fine line of suspicion. Are saboteurs out to nix the weapons works... and is the incognito crown prince in mortal peril? Winter in the mountain house isn’t as cozy as her apprenticeship was expected to be.
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“But apparently some dwarf is willing to pay a pretty penny for it to be stolen.”
“Stolen, stolen.” repeated the king. “That’s the bane of having treasure. Everybody wants to steal it.”
Andro’s hearty guffaw filled the hall and he slapped his guest on the shoulder so hard the man stumbled to catch himself.
They were like two boys, Fia thought, and then understood. They had been two boys, and of course they had known each other for many years before family responsibilities and the hardships of life had drawn them apart and knocked the spark down in them.
But now, with Gilahdro’s release, there was a new element in his soul. The element of fire.
His dark eyes shifted sideways to catch her glance and he grinned. His good mood knew no bounds today. He reached out to chuck her under the chin and then gave her a mischievous wink.
“Been keepin’ secrets?” he asked, his voice filled with an enthusiasm he could hardly contain.
“Yes, sir.” Fia answered before she could think it over carefully, and then felt a little embarrassed as the two men laughed heartily.
She bit her lip and tried to figure out what was meant. Did he mean; was she keeping secrets from them? Or, was she keeping the secrets they expected her to keep?
“I’ve always been lucky.” His words held a deep undercurrent of meaning.
His listener smiled smoothly. “So it would seem. But…” his voice took on more of a lilt. “No luckier than I, my friend. A man without luck is soon a corpse, in this trade.”
"Ah, a new friend, Fia?"
She turned to face the newcomer, and Ilido dropped his arm from her shoulder. Why was it she felt her cheeks seemed warmer than usual.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, an old one."
Willex looked Ilido up and down as if judging a horse's age.
"Not too old of one, I take it." he jibed.
"Older than you think, perhaps." Ilido said softly, and there was a certain look in his eye that made Fia uncomfortable.
"Willex, this is Ilido. You must need a cup of warm cider, your hands must be freezing." She turned toward the stove, she immediately had a vision of the two young men standing there glowering at one another. Or even worse, saying something prickly.
The mood between the two was decidedly prickly.
She rounded the corner and was greeted from afar by the small circle of ruddy light spilled by Ilido’s lantern. The tiny flame within pooled illumination onto the blanketing snow, and the friendly snow banks played catch with it among themselves.
Five Gems Book 3
With her wealth of loyalist secrets, Fia’s position at Olayin House is compromised. Now a potential danger to two countries, she is made a ward of the king and sent away yet again; this time into the grassland kingdom of Erlandia, but her journey amongst the horse folk takes unexpected turns.
Trapped under siege, she faces two men from her past... one she fears might murder her, and the other may die of plague unless she wins the battle for his life.
And with the Sunlight Stone traded for troops, how long will Erlandia’s peace last?
“Bravo!” Siransa cheered and the whole section of the fence clapped their hands and sent shrill whistles in acknowledgment of a master hand and three fine horses.
“That’s one of our lads.” Siransa nodded proudly at the galloping set, racing back to the other end of the arena.
“One of yours?” Fia turned her head, trying to catch everything at once.
“Well, not mine, personally…” Siransa stuttered a bit and ducked her head, and Fia wondered if her new friend wouldn’t have liked very much to have that dashing rider be “her’s, personally.”
“Our local lads.” Siransa clarified and turned away a little too sharply, her chin held a trifle too strict in the air.
“And you can prove any of this?” he asked quietly.
She shook her head. “No.”
“Yes, I’ll go over it with you until we have it down pat. No slip ups.”
They looked at each other, and he added. “…This time.”
Grimly, Fia shook the sleet off the top of her blankets and then rolled them dutifully up, lashing them tightly in preparation for stashing on the pack horse.
“Well, if you aren’t a real trooper!” the voice was slightly shocked, and Fia cast a quick glance behind her to find the youngest member of the band.
“I was just coming to see if you’d wakened...” he offered as if he needed an excuse.
“With air so cold, who wouldn’t?” she asked rhetorically.
“...And you’re not only up, you’ve already tied your roll.” He finished his sentence.
Fia tipped the bed roll up on end and then stood, turning to him. “Well, it’s better to move when cold, then to lie still and try to pretend you’re just dreaming.”
“Here’s your horse, miss.” The young man lead Happy up to her, and she smiled at the red horse’s friendly face.
“Thanks.” She nodded to the lad and took the reins, then rubbed the chestnut’s forehead. “Hey Happy.” She whispered. “You feel warmer than I do.”
The horse stuck his nose under her arm and she felt that old warring emotion in her chest again; on the one hand, Happy had proved himself a reliable, honest creature. On the other hand, she was still afraid of horses.
Fia darted through the streets in the dusky half glow, her heart pounding in her ears for more reasons than just her hurried pace. What if someone challenged her and she had to explain what she was doing out here?
She shivered. The thought didn’t bare dwelling on.
She caught sight of the sign creaking over head and inched forward with bated breath, eyes strained to make out the shop’s purpose. Was this finally the herbalist’s shop she’d so discretely inquired the location of?
The light was too poor to read the weather beaten lettering, but the unmistakable symbol of a mortar and pestle let her lungs release their nervous squeeze and she let out a deep breath.
Once more she glanced around the street, just to be certain that she was alone, but the street was still deserted. At this hour, why wouldn’t it be?
E. Kaiser Writes was born into a family of readers, and got started on storytelling around the age of four when her older siblings prompted her into recounting an absolutely ridiculous account of a parallel childhood. It was good for the family's general entertainment, and she discovered the thrill of making people laugh.
At the age of seven her mother read the Hobbit aloud, and a fascination with beautiful fantasy was born. At nine she came to the decision that she wanted to be a writer, and set to reading rabidly to learn the art. At thirteen she attempted her first novel, and it was eaten in a computer's demise.
Afterward, during her teenage years she tried very hard at various times to stop writing all together.
Not succeeding, she at last gave in to her addiction, and wrote "for fun".
Her first novel, Jeweler's Apprentice, is a light-fantasy adventure for teens. The shy, bookish heroine is thrust out on the first step toward the adventure that awaits, and growing up. More books in this series are expected.
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