The Sea of Valour -The Ocracidia Series 1




The Sea of Valour

Ocracidia Series 1





Lottie F. Yinka


Visit me on line at www.lottieyinka.com









Cover images © Shutterstock.com  

Copyright © L.F. Yinka August 2015



This book is copyright 2015 Lottie F. Yinka



All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the author.








Chapter 1 –Time Before


Chapter 2 – Deception


Chapter 3 – Zedia


Chapter 4 – The Volunteer


Chapter 5 – Zedia’s Ring


Chapter 6 – Leaving


Chapter 7 -The Sea of Valour


Chapter 8 –The Challenge


Chapter 9 –Clawrion


Chapter 10- Adonijah


Chapter 11 -Freedom


Chapter 12– Gills and a Fish Tail


Chapter 13– One Eyed Monsters


Chapter 14– Kantang


Chapter 15– On My Way


Chapter 1 – Zedia

Three years had passed since Diagus; the god of war attacked the Land of Ocracidia and took the goddess Zedia captive.

Zedia was now imprisoned in the darkest dungeon of the land of Goreloth; a dark, evil land formed deep within the abyss. The key to which was hidden in the belly of the evil beast of Goreloth.

Most of the houses in Ocracidia had been burnt by thunder and lightning leaving only black, sooth filled, half collapsed structures. But one building stood tall and untouched amongst the ruins. It was the Temple of the goddess Zedia – an enormous, gorgeous building decorated in red and gold precious stones and interlaced with medium sized white and purple orchid flowers. It stood firmly balanced on twelve tall purple and white stony beams a stunning and compelling presence to all that entered into or left the land of Ocracidia.

Most said the temple of Zedia had been left untouched because Diagus wanted it to be the last thing in the land that he destroyed; but others claimed that it was because the power of Zedia still lived in the temple and was too great for Diagus to overcome.

Diagus’ evil spirit soldiers still paraded the land; they were dark, ferocious, shape changing spirits which deceived anyone they could into captivity. They took on forms both of humans and animal and sometimes even birds and struck the people with terror and fright so much so, that the people of Ocracidia hid underground and only came up to gather food and water.

It was during such a time that a young boy named Cezar emerged to secretly do some fishing. Cezar loved being near the sea because he loved to fish. He had not been allowed out since the land had been attacked because his parents told him it was not safe for him to be. They warned him to stay away from open land but on this day, his parents were away at a meeting of the elders to discuss strategies to defeat Diagus, and Cezar felt he would sneak away, do some fishing and return before his parents got back.

Cezar was very careful to avoid Diagus evil spirit soldiers; he stayed in the shadows but as he approached the blue green sands of the shore, his fingers tingled with excitement at being so close to the water. He glanced up at the Temple of Zedia and was amazed by how alive the temple seemed to be today. Cezar walked forward and touched one of the beams holding the temple up; it felt warm and smooth.

The lower part of each beam had the soft beautiful face of the goddess Zedia deeply etched into it. Cezar stared at the face of Zedia; he felt an energy he couldn’t explain pull him closer.

He had been to Zedia’s temple many times, but today something was different and he couldn’t put his finger on. He began to walk away from the temple when a strong energy field surrounded him. Cezar looked back at the etched face of Zedia.

The eyes of the carved face of the goddess narrowed and blinked at him, a smile formed around the mouth of the carved face and then the face signalled him in the direction of the temple.

The face is alive? It can’t be! Cezar thought to himself. He shook his head to get rid of the image before him. ‘I must be imagining things.’ he said and blinked. The face smiled and blinked back at him.

This time Cezar knew he was not dreaming. The face motioned him towards the entrance of Zedia’s temple, again without speaking any words.

But Cezar had not been invited to the Elders meeting which was taking place there and he wondered how his father the high priest of the goddess Zedia would react if he suddenly walked into the meeting. He knew his father would not be happy; Cezar turned and began to walk away from the temple. He had fishes to catch.

After taking only three steps a warm, sweet, female voice stopped him.

‘The temple is the other way,’ the voice said.

Cezar immediately turned towards the etched face but he saw no one. A few moments later, a bright shining light appeared before him. It sparkled and shone in red and gold – the colours of Zedia and though the light was very bright it didn’t hurt Cezar’s eyes.

Cezar watched the light expectantly. For moments nothing happened then a soothing feeling came out of the light; it enveloped and caressed him all over. Reminding him of times when he was upset and his mother would sooth his fears away.

At that moment Cezar felt happy, at peace and without a care in the world; he didn’t want the feeling to stop. But then an image stepped out of the light and though Cezar had never seen the goddess Zedia in the flesh before, he knew the moment the image appeared before him, that it was her.

She wore of a flowing grey robe, her hair was bright red like fire and around her head she wore an onyx crown which had dazzling precious stones and shinning pearls; her eyes were blue-green like the colour of the sand on the shores of Ocracidia and she smiled the most beautiful smile. In her left hand she carried a long red and gold trident.

Zedia took a couple of steps towards Cezar leaving behind her was a trail of purple and white orchid flowers. Cezar was certain it was the goddess; he felt apprehensive not because he was afraid but because he knew that it was something important when a god or goddess appeared to a human. Aside from his father Oscar, Cezar had never before heard of Zedia appearing to anyone.

Cezar took a number of steps back and almost tripped but Zedia stretched out her hand and caught him. Her hand was warm, light as a feather and her fingers felt very delicate. Zedia helped Cezar gain his balance, she steadied him then let him go.

‘Thank you,’ Cezar said.

Zedia smiled. She touched his forehead right between his brows and a tingling feeling travelled down Cezar’s spine and into his fingers and toes. His head felt light and his whole body burnt with an excitement he had never before experienced as each part of his body came alive. It was as if all his senses had come alive. His eyes became clearer as he saw how beautiful the goddess was. His ears heard the gentle rustle of her gown on the ground and her scent which was gentle, surrounded and filled him with a feeling of love. Cezar felt a strong surge of power in his head which he felt came from Zedia’s trident. It made his eyes widen with delight and left a sweet taste in his mouth. His palms and feet felt a little warm and he felt fuzzy. Cezar’s eyes twitched and for a moment he closed his eyes; when he opened them, Zedia was gone and on the ground before him was one purple and white orchid flower where the goddess Zedia had stood.

Cezar realised he had just had a visitation from the goddess Zedia; he picked up the orchid flower, put it in his pocket, and ran towards the doors of the temple; convinced he had to be in the meeting.

Chapter – 2 The volunteer

The temple was horse-shoe shaped with dark onyx marble stone steps all around that doubled as seats; the walls were the colour of the blue green sands on the shores of Ocracidia.

Twelve fire torches hung from the walls and two huge marble structures of the beautiful goddess Zedia stood beside a pulpit from which Oscar, Cezar’s father spoke. Everything in the temple was beautiful. Though Cezar had been visiting the temple all his life, it was as if this was the very first time he was seeing the place because he saw everything in a new light.

Still trembling from the encounter with goddess Zedia, Cezar sat down at the back of the temple gathering. He did not want to call attention to himself nor did he want his father to see that he was present.

He was convinced that Zedia only wanted him to listen, after all what contribution could a thirteen year old boy make to an elders’ meeting about fighting or defeating a god.

Oscar’s voice was loud and clear.

‘The only way we are to save our land, is to break Diagus’ spell and free Zedia from the land of Goreloth,’ Oscar said. He took two steps forward stopped and looked at the elders sitting in the front row of the temple with piercing grey eyes before he continued. ‘She is the only god whose power can defeat that of Diagus.’

‘Aye.’ echoed all the elders.

Oscar was a six foot tall man, with huge shoulders and strong muscles, his presence filled the room as his spoke. His long blue green hair was held high in a bun at the top of his head, and he wore a long, dark brown tunic over his clothes. He took more steps towards the fifty seated elders who sat listening to him.

Cezar shifted uneasily where he sat fearing that his father would notice him but Oscar did not seem to.

‘Everything in Ocracidia has changed since Zedia was captured,’ Oscar said. ‘And that is because her spirit no longer feeds the land.’ Oscar turned and pointed to the two marble structures of Zedia. ‘We must free the goddess,’ he urged emphatically.

Cezar looked to the two marble structures of Zedia wondering if they too would come alive.

Cezar knew Oscar spoke the truth. Everything in Ocracidia had changed since Diagus came down under the pretence of a visit and captured the goddess Zedia. The atmosphere in Ocracidia was now cold, dark and horrible. Everything and anything warm, bright, lovely or beautiful had left the land or been destroyed by Diagus’ spell.

Cezar thought about the beautiful fairies that had once taught him how to fly by making wings from tree leaves and tying them to his back as they lifted him into the air. He reminisced over old times, and bit his lip in regret wishing he could see the fairies again.

‘We need a warrior to travel to Goreloth and free our goddess by killing the evil beast of Goreloth and break the spell,’ Oscar said.

The Elders in the room remained quiet. Their faces filled with dread and anticipation. No one in the land of Ocracidia had ever before fought in battle. Most did not know how. They had been specially bred for peace, kindness and joy and it was even more difficult for them to comprehend fighting a beast.

No one replied and Oscar looked from face to face. He walked to the two marble structures of Zedia and gazed at them as if expecting some sort of sign. Moments later he walked back and faced the elders he had been addressing.

‘Are there any volunteers?’ He asked hopefully.

All around the temple, heads hung low and eyes looked away from Oscar. The smile on Oscar’s face was slowly replaced by disappointment. Cezar read Oscar’s expression well. He knew Oscar would have volunteered if his position as high priest of Zedia hadn’t prevented him.

‘Any volunteers?’ Oscar asked again, this time his voice was low, quiet and unsure.

Cezar’s mother Annabel, said nothing; her face showed neither surprised nor disappointment at the silence that followed her husband’s request.

Cezar thought to himself that surely one person in the room would volunteer and he waited. He hoped for just one person but not a single soul did. What Cezar saw were people whose courage eluded them.

Then something stirred deep inside Cezar.

‘I volunteer,’ he shouted. His hand shot up as if a bolt of electricity had run though him. His body trembled slightly and his heart beat so fast he thought it would burst.

Many faces turned to see who it was that spoke. Questioning looks confirmed that not everyone was happy at his boldness to speak at an elders meeting. But Cezar did not let that deter him. If Zedia needed a warrior to help her escape Diagus’ clutches then he would perform his duties to her especially when there was no other.

Silence filled the temple and one by one, the elders turned to face Oscar.

Oscar himself did not look Cezar’s way; it was as if Oscar hadn’t heard Cezar speak.

Cezar crossed his fingers, closed his eyes and wished very hard that the elders especially his father would agree for him to go on this quest. He was convinced this was what Zedia wanted of him.

‘I volunteer,’ Cezar shouted out again. This time his voice was louder, more confident and energetic; almost as if daring anyone to challenge him.

All heads turned once again towards the tall, slim built, boy sitting at the back of the gathering with his right arm in the air.

Oscar’s eyes travelled to where Cezar sat and held his gaze. Cezar now had Oscar’s attention. Cezar grinned lopsidedly; he waited; then he slowly brought his arm down.

Annabel glared at Cezar and he knew she was trying to grasp what was going on in his head. Her outward countenance was composed and cool but when he looked into her eyes, he sensed she was both angry and confused.

Slowly the moment passed, seconds turned into minutes and the shock of Cezar volunteering yielded a relief amongst the elders that someone had indeed volunteered.

The elders looked to Oscar with anticipation. He had asked for a volunteer and now he had one. Cezar waited too!

Would Oscar accept his own son as a volunteer on this very dangerous quest?

Minutes ticked away before Oscar moved or said anything; then Oscar smiled and his eyes lit up. Cezar took a deep breath, he realised that his father was neither angry nor upset with him.

Oscar stretched his hand out to Cezar signalling him to step forward. Cezar came quickly to join his father at the front of the gathering.

‘My Son Cezar, will journey to the land of Goreloth on the quest to destroy the spell that holds our land captive,’ Oscar announced; ‘and he will save our beautiful goddess Zedia.’ He patted Cezar gently on the back and everyone cheered. Everyone, that is except Annabel, Cezar’s mother.

Chapter 3 Time Before

Later that night, Oscar called Cezar aside and took him into a private room.

Oscar sat down in one of two chairs placed side by side. ‘Sit down,’ he pointed to the other chair. ‘I must tell you the history of our people before you begin this quest,’ he said.

Cezar sat beside his father and waited. His father looked into space and began his tale; this was the moment Cezar had been awaiting for a long time.

‘In times gone past, the world was divided into three planes; the heaven, the earth and the Abyss.

The heavens were made of gold, silver, pearls and all types of precious stones. Twelve gods of creation ruled and lived in the heaven; each with his or her own powers and attributes. They were all very powerful in their own right and even without leaving the heavens, they saw and heard everything.

Sitting on their thrones; each wore a crown made of their signature stone and colour. A long magical trident stood upright to the left of each throne emitting a bright light in all the beautiful colours of the rainbow. The light from each trident rose high up and together formed a large orbital sphere through which everything that happened on the earth and in the Abyss could be seen by the gods.’

Oscar paused and looked at Cezar.

‘During those times all the gods stood united as one. They were united in spirit as they were in action but of all the gods, two stood out the most, these were Diagus and Zedia.’

‘Our goddess Zedia?’ Cezar asked.

Oscar nodded. ‘Diagus the god of war, whose power is thunder and lightning. He is the most wicked, unforgiving and hateful of all the gods. His eyes are black with yellow pupils and whenever he is angry they turned purple.

The goddess Zedia is the complete opposite of Diagus, She is the goddess the peace. She is kind, peaceful and always full of Joy. She never gets angry and her blue green eyes shine with love and affection.’

‘Why were they the most important gods?’

‘Because both these gods were the stabilizing force of all the other gods; their powers balanced out each other’s and kept the heavens, earth and abyss stable.’

‘I see’ replied Cezar.

‘Now the second plane in the world was the earth.’

‘Is that where we live?’

‘Yes,’ replied Oscar. The earth comprised of air, water, and land and was inhabited by humans, birds, animals, reptiles, fishes and all living things. Some parts of earth were warm, hot and sunny but there were other parts which were dark, empty, cold and frightening. All types of humans inhabited the earth; and though they lived closed to each other, most spoke in separate tongues.

‘Now the third and final plane of the world was the Abyss.’

‘That’s where the goddess Zedia is imprisoned isn’t it?’ Cezar asked.

‘Correct my son,’ replied Oscar. The abyss is a dreadful, evil place which reaches into the depth of the world. Everywhere in the abyss is pitch dark and there is always the most dreadful sounds you can think of. It is inhabited by dark, wicked creatures, demons and evil shadows which take delight and pleasure in creating all manner of suffering and pain. No earthling has ever travelled to the abyss and successfully returned; you will be the first.’

There was quiet as Cezar thought about the information his father had just given him about the abyss but his father wasn’t finished.

‘And so it was that the gods continued to watch over the earth and the abyss. They ruled as they had done since creation, punishing those who erred and rewarding as they saw fit.

Then one fine day, our goddess Zedia decided to leave the upper plane and instead of residing with the gods in the heavens, she chose to create her own land on earth and live with humans.’

‘Really? Asked Cezar

‘Yes my son, Oscar replied. But this decision had very serious consequences. You see, it meant that Zedia could never again return to the heavens and live with the other gods.

‘What about the balance of the force of the gods,’ Cezar asked.

‘Patience my son, I was coming to that. Zedia decision also meant a replacement had to be found to bring about balance in the power of the gods. The gods were not happy with Zedia’s decision and they asked her to reconsider, but she remained adamant that she wanted to create her own land that would be filled with peace, joy and love. Finally, the gods agreed that she could leave the heavens and Nadya, the goddess of hope was chosen to take Zedia’s place in balancing the force of the gods in the heavens.’

‘Did that work? Cezar asked. Was Nadya able to balance the force of the gods?’

‘No one knows for sure, but it is rumoured that since Zedia left the heaven nothing has been the same there.’

Cezar sat pensively thinking about what Oscar had said.

‘The first thing Zedia did when she came to live on earth was to create her own land which she named Ocracidia,’ Oscar continued.

‘That’s us!’ Cezar said excitedly.

Oscar raised a hand to quieten Cezar. ‘In this land, Zedia put every beautiful thing that ever existed in both the heavens and the earth. From Precious stones that dazzled night and day; beautiful winged spirits that sang like cherubs; fairies that danced all day long, brightly coloured dragonflies, dazzling butterflies, to every beautiful thing that anyone could ever think of.

She created blue green sands to separate Ocracidia from the rest of earth, then she formed a temple for herself upon the shores of Ocracidia which stood tall, high, erect and pleasing to the eyes.

Zedia decorated Ocracidia with the most beautiful flowers that had ever been created. She planted trees that bore the tastiest, juicy and mouth-watering fruits and then she set up a magical fountain to water the trees. The fountain was stationed right in the centre of Ocracidia; it ran into all the nooks and corners of the land. It watered the fields, filled the lake, rivers and seas and brought joy and happiness to everything that drank from it. The fountain flourished the land of Ocracidia with life.

Zedia handpicked the most beautiful, gorgeous and breath-taking animals from all over the earth and put them to inhabit the land of Ocracidia.

Finally, she filled Ocracidia with the kindest and most beautiful people in all the world but not before she breath into them, a special kind of spirit; the Spirit of love, peace and joy that came from her own heart and soul.

Thus, Ocracidia became the most sacred, blessed and beautiful land in the whole of the earth; and every living thing that was in the land of Ocracidia, flourished.’

Oscar got up and poured himself some Ocracidia juice. Cezar watched his father’s every move until his father sat back down beside him.

‘Now where was I?’ Oscar asked.

‘you said everything in Ocracidia flourished under Zedia.’

‘Yes! The land of Ocracidia was full of tantalizing life under the blessing and spirit of Zedia. But the gods were unhappy that Zedia had deserted the heavens and come to live with humans; some were unhappy that she had created a land different to the rest of the earth and had given the people of Ocracidia love and peace and joy which was a god’s characteristic; other were upset because she had been allowed to leave the heavens.

The most bitter of the gods was Diagus, the god of war. He had fallen in love with Zedia, since he first set eyes on her and he wanted her hand in marriage. So, when Zedia left the heavens; Diagus swore that he would destroy Ocracidia because in his heart he felt that the people of Ocracidia had stolen the love of his life.

But Diagus was not in a rush to punish Zedia; he waited patiently until the opportunity came to unleash his evil plan of destruction upon the land of Ocracidia.’

Chapter 4– Deception

‘A thousand years passed after Zedia had left the heavens to inhabit the earth and things in the heavens were returning to what they were before Zedia left. Everyone had come to accept that Zedia now lived with humans on earth that is everyone except Diagus who was now ready to put his plan of revenge into play.

He sent a message to Zedia; asking if he may visit Ocracidia to see the good things that she had accomplished on earth. Knowing that Zedia favourite flowers were purple and white Orchids, Diagus sent along with his message the most exotic, beautiful and heavenly purple and white Orchids there ever was.’

Cezar’s hand instinctively went to this pocket, he felt the Purple and white orchid he had picked up when he had met Zedia outside the temple a few days ago but he said nothing.

Oscar continued, Zedia was immediately won over and being the kind and peaceful soul that she was and welcomed Diagus into Ocracidia.

Diagus brought along with him the most evil and ferocious soldiers and upon setting foot on the shores of Ocracidia declared war on Zedia and her people. Zedia realised she had been deceived but it was much too late for her to fight Diagus.

Diagus took her captive and imprisoned her in the land of Goreloth; a dark, evil, land, formed deep within the abyss. He locked Zedia in the darkest dungeon and hid the key in the belly of the evil beast of Goreloth.

Diagus then set about destroying the land of Ocracidia and all that Zedia had built over the past thousand years, for he wished to ensure that there was not a trace of Ocracidia left on earth.

With thunder and lightning, he destroyed the magical fountain of Ocracidia which fed the land of Ocracidia and sent forth huge snakes and scorpions into every home. Hugh tall evil demons appeared as shadow spirits casting fear and destruction into the land and filling the people with sadness and gloom.

And for the past three years, the siege has continued, the land has grown dark and unfertile. Everything that was good and beautiful has perished, food is scarce, and starvation ravages the Land.’

Oscar turned to Cezar and placed a hand on his shoulder. ‘This is why, it is so important that you go on this quest and kill the beast of Goreloth for only with the power of good can the evil power of wickedness be totally defeated.’

[* Chapter 5 -Zedia's Ring *]

Two days later, Cezar prepared to leave Ocracidia. He knew Annabel did not want him to leave but she would not stop him.

His father, Oscar on the other hand took every opportunity to tell him how proud he was of him.

‘You must be brave and courageous to kill the beast and break the spell,’ Oscar emphasised; ‘because only then can our goddess Zedia be free and our land be returned to the peaceful place it once was.’

Cezar listened; he sensed how important this quest was to Oscar and made up his mind to make his father proud by destroying the evil beast of Goreloth, and freeing Zedia.

Many villagers came to visit Cezar that day, they wished him well bringing him little knickknacks to take on his journey and offering advice that he promptly forgot the moment they turned their backs.

Cezar was only interested in what his father could tell him and he listened attentively to the instructions Oscar gave him.

Finally everyone departed to their homes and only his best Friend Nosa remained. Nosa was more like the twin Cezar never had. Having been born just hours apart, both Cezar and Nosa had grown up doing everything together and developing a tight bond and friendship. Cezar wanted Nosa to come on this quest with him but Nosa’s parents refused.

When it was time to leave, Oscar said ‘follow the south tunnel out of Ocracidia, it will lead you to the sea of Valour.’

Cezar’s eyebrows furrowed because every child in Ocracidia is taught from a young age to avoid the Sea of valour which surrounds Ocracidia to the West.

‘But the sea of Valour is dangerous and treacherous,’ Cezar objected. ‘The route through the red forest to the east of Ocracidia is the fastest way to reach Goreloth.’

Oscar raised his right hand to ask Cezar to listen. ‘I know the route through the sea is a dangerous one,’ Oscar said; ‘but it is the only way out of Ocracidia, which is not heavily guarded by Diagus’ evil demons. It will be your safest route my son.’

Cezar knew his father was right, he knew the route to the red forest was heavily guarded by Diagus’ army of spirit soldiers; but Cezar felt able to manoeuvre through the forest without being seen. Something he knew he couldn’t do with the sea of Valour, which was rough and unpredictable.

But his father was always right and so Cezar resigned himself to travelling via the sea of Valour.

‘The south tunnels open to the coastland;’ Oscar said. ‘There is a boat already waiting for you there; cross the Sea of Valour into the land of Shells using this boat. From the Land of Shells, you should journey through to the flame mountain and into the land of Giants to reach Goreloth. Be extra careful in these foreign lands’ Oscar warned ‘and always let your instincts guide you.’

‘I will father,’ Cezar replied.

He wondered if his father had journeyed to any of these lands but before he could ask, Oscar stroked his thin short beard and as if hearing Cezar’s thoughts, said. ‘I myself have not journeyed to any one of these distant lands so I do not speak from experience. However, I know that you have to be very cautious because Diagus has eyes everywhere.

Oscar sighed, he looked into Cezar’s eyes and continued; ‘Goreloth has only one beast. Find it, kill it and break the spell. But be watchful; there’s a powerful Wizard named Viguli whose soul is tied to the beast. Viguli will feel, hear and see everything that the beast does. He will try to kill you before you can harm or kill the beast so you must be cunning and wise to achieve your goal.

Oscar held Cezar by his shoulders and said ‘it will not be easy but you must succeed.’

Cezar knew this was going to be a very dangerous quest and he made up his mind to succeed at all costs.

Oscar walked Cezar to a table where a scroll lay open. A map of Ocracidia and its surrounding lands showed on the scroll. The map moved about each time Oscar touched it, as if it was alive and Cezar was astounded; he had never before seen a moving scroll.

‘This magical scroll will guide you with its map’, Oscar said.

Cezar listened carefully.

‘The scroll transforms into a ring when rolled up; this is so it can be kept safe from evil eyes and so that the bearer will always have it close by. It changes back to a scroll when you take the ring off your finger;’

Oscar handed the open scroll to Cezar who immediately rolled it up.

The scroll changed into a stunning and beautiful emerald green ring the moment Cezar rolled it up and a huge smile spread across Cezar’s face.

For many moments, Cezar admired the stunningly beautiful, emerald-green ring. He put the ring on the middle finger of his right hand, it was way too big for him; he twisted the ring around wondering how he was going to get the ring to say on his finger ; Suddenly the ring shrunk in size and fitted round Cezar’s thin, slim, finger perfectly.

Cezar grinned lopsidedly at Oscar; he was already loving being on a quest even without leaving Ocracidia. Cezar took the ring off, it immediately changed back into a scroll. Cezar laughed softly and so did Oscar.

‘Be careful,’ Oscar warned; ‘many would kill to have that ring. You must guard it at all times and be very careful when you use it.’

The ring has a godly history,’ Oscar said. ‘It was made from a strand of Zedia’s hair and forged in the secret wells of the heavenly planes where the gods reside. Its power is such that it reveals and leads the wearer to where he or she can learn the secrets of creation which only the gods possess. But,’ Oscar raised a finger; ‘the power of the ring is only revealed to who the ring wants and chooses.’

‘So though the ring is in my possession I don’t have the power to the secret wells of the heavenly planes?’ Cezar joked.

‘No you don’t;’ Oscar laughed; ‘ but what you do have, is a map that will show and lead you to where you can destroy the beast of Goreloth and free Goddess Zedia. So guard it with your life and it will do the same for you.’

‘Yes father,’ Cezar replied.

‘One more thing! The ring is only visible to the one, who wears it this protects the ring from falling into the wrong hands.

Oscar hugged Cezar fiercely, ‘May Zedia’s wisdom and knowledge, always direct you.’

Cezar hugged him back. He looked into his father’s eyes and saw tears. Cezar knew that deep down his father was scared Oscar would not come back to him alive. It was the first time since he had volunteered that his father showed any emotion and Cezar knew his father didn’t want him to leave.

‘Don’t worry father, I’ll be back soon,’ he said and turned to leave before his own emotions could take control of him. But Annabel’s voice stopped him just as he was about to step out of the house.

‘Wait!’ she called, hurriedly running over to Cezar.

Annabel had said nothing since the elder’s meeting nor had she shown any emotions over Cezar volunteering but Cezar knew her heart was breaking over his decision to go on this quest; he had thus decided to leave without bidding her goodbye.

Annabel held Cezar at hands length and looked into his eyes before she hugged him. In his mother’s eyes Cezar saw a reflection of himself. People had always said he inherited his mother’s light green eyes but that he had his father’s height and build; and though he looked a number of years older than his thirteen years of age, Cezar was still only a young boy who loved both his parents dearly.

Annabel took off a bright red amulet she always wore around her neck and put it round Cezar’s neck.

‘This will protect you on your quest,’ she said. ‘It is a family heirloom which has been in our family for generations.’ She put a sleeveless dark brown buckskin tunic around Cezar; it fitted him as if he had measured for it.

‘Wow!’ He whispered silently.

‘This will protect you come rain or shine,’ Annabel said gazing at him with tears in her eyes. ‘Do not take it off.’

‘Thank you mother,’ Cezar replied.

Annabel kissed Cezar’s forehead and bid him farewell, but Cezar held on to her tightly seeing his mother in tears broke his heart and silently he promised himself to come back to her safely.

This was the first time Cezar would ever leave his family and his stomach was already doing trampoline jumps at the prospect of not seeing either his father or mother for a long time.

With a dark satchel across his body, Cezar and Nosa, his best friend left his home and walked towards the Southern tunnels as his father had instructed. The Satchel contained a water flask and some bread; enough food for a couple of days at the most. It also contained a medium sized yellow Torch light for when it was dark and a small fairy statue made of blue green topaz stone which the fairies had given him before they left the land of Ocracidia.

Cezar and Nosa reached the entrance to the south tunnels and stood facing each other.

‘Don’t you get lost,’ Nosa chided Cezar.

‘Don’t grow old before I get back,’ Cezar replied smiling at Nosa.

They exchanged a hand shake which was a little code they had developed to mean farewell and when Cezar walked away to begin his quest, Nosa stood watching him disappear into the South tunnel and it was a long time before Nosa turned and returned back to the village.

[* Chapter 6- Leaving *]

The southern tunnel was pitch dark and Cezar got out his yellow torch to light up his path.

Cobwebs and green moss filled the corners. Cezar had never known the tunnels to be this way, it had always been bright and sparkling, with magical silver bells tinkling as they hung in mid-air.

As a child; Cezar, Nosa and some of the other children had never been able to reach the tinkling magical bells no matter how hard they tried because the higher they jumped, the further away the bells rose. Reminiscing about the good times he had in the past made Cezar determined to break the spell.

Everything in Ocracidia had turned black or grey and every place was dark, cold and full of shadows. Even the trees and flowers had shrivelled and withered up.

Cezar remembered a time when the trees, bloomed with magical gold and blue flowers and large, rainbow coloured fruits. When brilliantly coloured butterflies, flew across the land and when magical waters ran from the centre of Ocracidia into all parts of the land, giving Ocracidia everything it could ever want.

He remembered a time when he grew so fond of the fairies that he saw them every day. Cezar absolutely missed the times he had before Diagus placed a spell on Ocracidia.

He sighed deeply wishing he could see the fairies one more time before he left on his quest; but Cezar knew that until Diagus’ spell was broken, the fairies would not return. He reached into his satchel, brought the blue green topaz fairy statue out and gazed at it. The wings on the statue slowly began to flutter and the statue illuminated but after a few moments the statue grew cold and lifeless. Cezar knew that Diagus’ Magic was too strong for that of the fairies; and he traced his finger over the statue before placing it deep into his pocket so he could have it near him.

Cezar thought about goddess Zedia and how she was doing in prison. He wondered about his encounter with the goddess days before; he stuck his hand down his left trouser pocket and felt the orchid flower; its soft petals told him his experience was real.

Cezar cleared his head, he needed to concentrate on his quest. Breaking Diagus’ spell was the only way to get the fairies back and restore his land. It wasn’t going to be easy; Oscar had drummed that into him but he would do his best and he would succeed.

Chapter 7 The Sea of Valour

Three days had passed since Cezar had left his home; he was still trying to find his way out of the south tunnels. He felt exhausted and tired; and was covered from head to toe in dust and dirt but he continued with slow and steady steps. He wondered how much farther the sea was. He had only stopped once for sleep since leaving Ocracidia because he had been too excited to sleep but now he was feeling tired.

The scent of the salty sea water reached his nostrils and he knew the sea was close by; the tiredness he had been feeling varnished, strength filled his bones and his steps quickened with renewed vigour.

In the distance he saw faint rays of sunlight streaming into the tunnel, he quickened his pace until he saw the tunnel brighten sufficiently to switch off his torch. He tucked the torch into his satchel and when he saw a glimpse of the tunnel’s exit, he broke into a run.

It wasn’t long before he found himself in between tall reefs and staring at the clear blue sea of Valour. The scent of the salty seas hit his nostrils and he welcomed it happy to be rid of the stale dark air he had endured for three days in the south tunnels.

A small, wooden, boat sat in between the reefs. Cezar smiled. ‘Thanks Dad,’ he muttered under his breath.

Cezar inspected the boat, running his hand over it and looking into it. The boat was made of the strongest wood and was just the right size for him to steer without any help. Lying on the floor of the boat was a set of small oars, just big enough for him to handle; and a large round black torch light.

Cezar knew the boat could do the job of crossing the Sea of Valour, it was strong enough but only if the sea remained calm. If the sea became rough or if the winds became stormy; the boat would capsize because it was not big enough to withstand severe turbulence. Silently he prayed that the sea would remain calm enough for him to travel across her.

Cezar looked around, though the boat was hidden by the reefs; he did not want to take it out to sea in daylight and run the risk of being spotted. He decided to wait until nightfall to begin his journey. He would while away the time getting the much needed rest he deserved and travel out of Ocracidia when it was dark and the chances of being seen and caught much slimmer.

Cezar walked back towards the tunnels and sat with his back up against one of the reefs; with his eyes closed. But he couldn’t fall asleep because his belly growled and hunger pinched the inside of his stomach; he brought out what was left of the bread Annabel had baked him three days ago and unwrapped it.

Bits of mould sprouted from the bread. He picked them off and sniffed the stale bread deeply. The freshly baked scent it had three days was long gone. Carefully he wrapped it back up and decided to keep this last piece of food until a time when his hunger pangs were much too serious to ignore.

But he took a few sips of water from his flask then closed his eyes; this time he promptly fell fast asleep.

It was dark when Cezar opened his eyes again. His body was stiff as a log; he’d been asleep for longer than he intended. Very carefully, he walked towards the boat, and once near enough he climbed into the small boat and began gently paddling out to sea.

Once out to sea, he tied the black torch to the helm of the boat, turned it towards the sea and switched it on. He took off his ring and waited for the scrolls to direct him. The scrolls turned into the three dimensional map and an arrow pointed Cezar to the east in the direction of the Land of Shells. Cezar rolled the scroll back up and put the ring back on his middle finger. He began rowing in the direction the scroll had pointed.

The Sea was calm and the moon cast a bright light over the dark sea. Cezar kept on rowing hoping that the sea remained calm. Hours later, Cezar felt a cold breeze blow at him from the direction of the Land of Shells.

Out of nowhere, a forceful wind began to blow and the moon disappeared behind thick black clouds. The sea grew rough and his boat swung from side to side. Cezar struggled to keep the boat steady, he paddled faster trying to get ahead of the storm he thought was approaching. But as he looked ahead a ferocious looking sea monster stood in the middle of the sea. Cezar knew this was what had caused the sea to grow restless.

The sea monster was shaped like a dinosaur with huge dragon like teeth. Cezar stopped rowing, he placed his oars inside his boat and waited. The sea monster came closer and Cezar saw that it possessed a huge long tail and that its body was covered in short sharp spikes interspaced with black shinning scales.

The monster lashed its tail about and waves of water splashed into Cezar’s boat causing the boat to rock to and fro. The black torch which Cezar had previously tied to the helm of the boat swung about restlessly and upturned. It cast a bright light on to the Monster’s face. The monster became agitated and let out a skin crawling sound.

Cezar reached for the torch and turned it off. The monster’s screams died down. With blood shot eyes it stared at Cezar opening its mouth and revealing very sharp teeth. Cezar picked up his oars and contemplated rowing away from the sea monster.

In the dark, the outline of the monster wasn’t clear but the gleam of its teeth stood out. Cezar watched for many moments until the sea monster slowly slid back into the sea and disappeared. Cezar sighed with relief. He wasn’t sure the creature was gone or if it was simply hiding in the water, either way he knew he had to move quickly towards the land of Shells.

He reached out to the turn on the torch and felt the boat rock precariously as huge sea waves pushed it back in the direction he had come.

‘Oh dear!’ Cezar exclaimed. He picked up his oars and began to paddle furiously trying to keep the boat in the direction he wanted it to go which was towards the Land of Shells but his boat continued to be forced backward.

The waves steadily grew, they beat on the sides of the boat, rocking the boat violently, and forcing sea water over Cezar and into the boat.

Cezar’s heartbeat increased at the sight of the sea in his boat, the thought that his boat might over turn and he would be thrown into the raging sea scared him; for though he was a very good swimmer, Cezar had his doubts about swimming in the sea of Valour.

Moments later the sea calmed down a teeny bit and Cezar stopped paddling. He checked the scroll again for directions to the land of Shells. He rolled the scroll back up and it changed into the emerald green ring. Then without any warning, a huge wave beat at his boat with such a great ferocity that Cezar lost his footing and stumbled.

The ring dropped to the floor of the rocking boat and disappeared into the water at the base of the boat.

Cezar threw himself after the ring feeling around for the ring in the water but he couldn’t find it. More Waves hit the boat rocking it ferociously. Cezar reached into his satchel for his yellow torch and turned it on. He flashed it around praying he would find his ring before another huge wave hit the boat and his worst nightmare became a reality.

Still there was no sign of the ring. He lay down on the floor of the boat, dug his head into the water which half-filled the boat and flashed the torch light on inside the water. A sparkle caught his eye on the far end of the boat. He dived in the direction pointing the torch at the sparkle and reached for what he thought he’d seen; but it was simply a reflection from a white stone.

Cezar looked around under the water in desperation. Then his left hand felt something hard. He picked the object up and flashed the torch at it.

It was the green emerald ring. He quickly slid it on the middle finger of his right hand and stood up. As he reached for the oars a final huge wave hit the boat and Cezar was flung backwards. Without warning the boat capsized and Cezar was plunged into the sea of valour with the boat over him and slowly sinking.

Cezar was pushed deep down into the sea by the sinking boat. He held his breath and struggled to get out and away from the sinking boat, but the sea was cold and dark and he could hardly see anything.

With his hands and feet, he thrashed about desperately trying to swim away from the boat and couldn’t. He realised that his satchel was stuck on a broken edge of the boat. Cezar pushed and pulled at his satchel he did not want to leave it behind but when he couldn’t get it away from the boat, he quickly took it off his neck and left it behind.

Swift as a fish, he swam trying to get to the surface for some air but the sea was fierce, and much too strong; it was powerful and in control; it did not give Cezar the chance to swim to the surface or stay afloat.

Suddenly, Cezar noticed saw a pair of red blood shot eyes of the sea monster staring at him.

Cezar dived away in the opposite direction but the monster pursed after him, its razor sharp teeth snapping at Cezar’s heels.

Another huge wave washed in and the current lifted Cezar carrying him away from the Monster’s reach but further out to sea before plunging him deep down into the depths of the salty Sea of Valour.

Cezar tried to swim up towards the surface of the sea but the force of the waves wouldn’t let him.

Cezar’s lungs burned for air and the salty water stung his eyes. He was no mermaid and as the moments passed with him still holding his breath and struggling to get to the surface of the water; a deep pain developed in his chest that felt as if he was about to burst open.

No longer able to hold his breath and desperately needing air, he gave up trying and let his lungs fill with water. At that point Cezar knew he was drowning and slowly began to sink towards the bottom of the sea.

Total darkness surrounded him as he lost consciousness, then something very strange happened, Cezar felt a very warm hand circle his wrist and pull him up.

Chapter 8 The challenge

When Cezar opened his eyes; he was lying on a soft bed, floating in mid-air in a large room with Apple green coloured walls.

He thought he was dreaming and closed his eyes; but when he opened them again, he was still in the same room.

The room was empty except for the bed he was lying on but there was a feeling of peace and tranquillity all around. He tried to remember how he could have got there but could not.

He remembered leaving home, travelling through the tunnels, getting into the small wooden boat, the boat capsizing during a storm and being chased by the sea monster. He remembered sinking to the bottom of the sea of Valour but his mind just wouldn’t remember anything after that.

He thought perhaps he had died and was in heaven.

He was still wearing the clothes he had left home with and they were dry as a desert; but his satchel was nowhere to be found. He remembered leaving it behind when it got stuck on a broken edge of his capsized boat.

Instinctively, his hand reached into his right pocket, he felt the outline of the fairies’ image and smiled to himself. He reached into his left pocket, Zedia’s orchard flower was still there. Then he remembered the green emerald ring his father had given him. His heart beat increased. Had he lost it?

He felt around his middle right finger, the ring was still in place. His heartbeat calmed a little. His hand reached round his neck, his mother’s red amulet was still around his neck.

He had the fairies’ statue, and his father’s ring, his mother’s amulet and his buckskin tunic; almost everything he had left home with, which was good news! But where was he?

Cezar closed his eyes, placed both hands over his eyes and willed himself to remember what had happened after he began to drown; and then, as if his mind had been switched on – he remembered!

Someone had taken hold of his wrist and pulled him up as he lay drowning in the sea of Valour.

That someone saved my life, he thought to himself. Cezar surveyed his surrounding more carefully this time. The walls of the room wobbled like jelly on a plate. He got off the floating bed and walked towards the wobbling walls.

The unusual movement of the walls fascinated him and being an inquisitive little soul; he reached out and touched it. His whole hand sunk deep into the wall.

Cezar jerked his hand away but his palm had left an impression in the wall and he smiled. He liked this place already. He put both hands forward to touch the wall but before he could, the walls magically disappeared.

Cezar found himself in the middle of a long hallway so beautifully decorated in gold and purple that he stood staring in awe at his surroundings. He looked to the floor and it was covered in stunning purple stones which shimmered in the light.

Cezar loved any kind of adventure; He took a step forward but stopped himself. He was unsure which way to go. He knew his emerald ring would point him in the right direction but he had a very strong feeling he was not alone, so he decided against using the scrolls.

He decided to go left and just as he took a few steps to his left, a beautiful young girl about the same age as him appeared. She wore a lavender coloured flowing gown covered in pearls and sparkling diamonds and was stunningly beautiful; and she was guarded by eight tall sentries.

‘You are awake,’ the girl said in rhythmical voice, which reminded him of the wind chimes in Ocracidia. Her hair was white as snow, her eyes were clear as glass and her skin was very pale.

Cezar stared at the girl, who was so very different from the girls on Ocracidia, who were a lovely brown colour from the heat of the sun, and who all had golden brown hair.

‘Em! Where am I?’ he asked eyeing the girl’s eight sentries.

‘We’re in Talori, deep within the sea of Valour,’ the girl replied.

‘Talori!’ He gasped.

A small shiver of excitement ran through him.

The City of Talori! Millions of questions raced through his brain cells terribly exciting him.

Had he found the lost city of Talori? Had he really found the mermaid city? And who was the girl standing before him?

Cezar had heard tales about the city of Talori – a massive mermaid city with millions of sea people, all half humans and half fish, which was thought to have been lost almost a century ago and whose queen was said to be the evilest of all the rulers who had ever lived.

He wished Nosa was here with him and felt a tinge of sadness at having to experience this all on his own.

Cezar glanced at the girl. He had never before seen or met mermaid people and this excited him. But where were their fish tails?

And these people standing before him had no scales. In fact, their skin was as smooth as silk, and they definitely didn’t look like mermaids to him.

Hmm! He thought to himself . Perhaps this wasn’t the same Talori he’d heard tales about. Or…Perhaps they were hiding their tails.

He wondered if they could be imposters; in which case he would have to be very careful!

Cezar tried to appear friendly by smiling at the girl and her eight sentries.

Certainly, the girl was not dangerous; maybe her sentries were, for they looked to him a little disturbing.

His fingers tingled excitedly. Control yourself, Cezar cautioned himself. You don’t know who these people really are.

The young girl looked nothing like an evil ruler to him, but she did have eight sentries. He wondered if she was, the queen of Talori in disguise because she was so splendidly dressed but he quickly decided against that idea, because he thought the queen of Talori had to be much older.

None-the-less he knew the girl must be quiet important to have this many guards even if she was not the queen.

‘Are we deep within the sea?’   He asked after many moments. The young girl did not answer, so he tried again. ‘And I assume you saved me from drowning.’

The girl shook her head in answer. ‘No I did not’ she replied.

Cezar felt a little confused, if she did not pull him out of the sea, who did?

‘So who are you?’ He asked taking a daring step towards her. The eight sentries took two steps towards him and pointed sharp spears at him. Cezar stopped in his tracks. Now he was sure the girl was a very important person.

For the first time since she appeared, the young girl smiled at him.

‘I’m the princess Moshen of Talori, the next in line after my mother, Queen Elena of Talori.

Cezar raised his eyebrows, so this really was Talori; he thought to himself. His excitement doubled.

‘Oh my! Oh my!’ he exclaimed no longer able to hide his feelings. ‘And where if I may ask is Queen Elena?’ Cezar asked coyly.

If this queen Elena was the same evil queen he had heard about, he wanted to be sure to avoid her but he was not to be that lucky because instead of answering his question Princess Moshen turned and said, ‘follow me.’

Cezar was not sure if this was a good or bad thing and as he stood trying to decide; four of the princess’ sentries ushered him roughly along.

‘Move!’ They ordered.

Cezar did not bother arguing or resisting because the sentries were much taller than he and they were armed with swords in their scabbard as well as spears which they pointed at him.

Like Princess Moshen, the sentries too had hair that was white as snow. Cezar was just a wee bit scared of them; but that was not at all because of the shining silver swords they carried, nor because of their long sharp spears nor because they were as tall as two fully grown men, nor even because their hair was white as snow. It was because their eyes were black as coal and when they looked at him, it seemed they were looking right into his soul.

Cezar followed Princess Moshen through long and winding corridors, with the sentries close on his heels. They passed walls covered with all manner of living, sea-creatures which bowed in reverence as Princess Moshen walked past and when Cezar stretched out a hand to touch one of the living sea creatures the four Sentries behind him pointed their spears at him sending cold shivers down his spine. Cezar realised it was a bad idea and retreated from touching them.

Finally, they entered into a majestic hall decorated with bold coloured ornaments and scented in the most pleasant scent.

On a throne was a woman sitting regally. On her head was the most gorgeous crown made of sapphires and diamonds and in her left hand was a long golden sceptre.

The woman was just as beautiful as Princess Moshen but her hair was golden. Her eyes were icy and ink blue, her nose shapely and straight and her lips were the exact right size for her face. She was magnificent.

On her arms were long, beautiful, delicate, transparent fins which reflected all the shades of Blue one could think of and which were studded with huge diamonds that shone brilliantly. She was surrounded on every side by countless numbers of tall, ferocious looking sentries who all looked identical to those who guarded princess Moshen.

Cezar knew this was the Queen.

A million questions raced into his head but he was tongue-tied and couldn’t find the words. He had a million questions to ask her but didn’t know how.

Twelve old men with long white beards stood before the queen, six to her left and six to her right. They all possessed thick black dorsal fins which protruded down the back of their necks to the base of their spine, and ended in a six inch spear. The men were not as tall as the sentries but they were taller than was usual for humans. They had piercing orange eyes which contrasted sharply with their white beards.

Princess Moshen bowed before the queen and took a seat to her right.

‘Is this the stranger?’ One of the twelve men asked.

The princess nodded her head in answer. All eyes turned to Cezar and he suddenly felt very uncomfortable.

The man who asked the question, glared at Cezar in the most unfriendly manner before he spoke.

‘I’m Elder Hosei of the city of Talori,’ he said ‘who are you?’

Before Cezar could answer, the woman on the throne held her hand up. Her fingers were webbed and there was a very large sapphire ring on her right thumb.

Cezar was pushed to his knees before the woman on the throne. She gazed at him with icy, ink-blue eyes that chilled him to the bones but though she looked scary, Cezar was not afraid of her. For he sensed that beneath those icy, ink, blue eyes lay some warmth that he could not understand.

‘Stranger,’ she said; ‘tell Elena, the Queen of Talori, and her Elders what you came to be doing in our waters.’

So she really is the Queen Elena, Cezar thought to himself. He felt a cold, icy, chill pass down his spine as he listened to the Queen; for her voice was the harshest voice he had ever heard. Surely someone so beautiful could not possess such a terrible and disturbing voice.

He was suddenly surrounded by an army of sentries with long spears pointing at him and demanding that he answer the Queen’s question and he sensed that what happened after this would depend on how much the queen believed his reason for being in Talori.

Cezar began his story very carefully. He started from the beginning, telling of his land Ocracidia, of his quest to free his people, the goddess Zedia and how he wanted to break the evil spell Diagus had placed on his land.

No one spoke for moments after he finished; then the Queen got off her throne and looked at him.

‘No one can prove that the story you tell is true,’ she said; ‘and, no one can ascertain that you are not a spy. I therefore have no choice but to banish you to the dungeons; there you will live out your days in servitude to Talori and its people.’

Cezar knew that the Queen did not believe his story, but he did not for one minute intend on becoming a slave.

‘Oh most gracious queen,’ he said, in the most gently and low voice he could manage. ‘I did not intentionally enter into your kingdom; I was brought here by someone who saved my life.’

Cezar looked the queen in the eye and continued; ‘surely, my gracious Queen; that person did not save my life in order for me to be condemned to your dungeons.’ Cezar bowed his head respectfully. ‘Give me a chance to prove that what I tell you is the truth. Just one chance,’ he pleaded.

The queen gave a sign with her left hand and the sentries who surrounded Cezar, lowered their weapons and stepped away from him.

Cezar was a little relieved. He waited for the queen’s response; but instead of speaking, she gave another sign. One of the sentries stepped towards Cezar and helped him to his feet.

The queen took her seat and after a long pause, she said ‘very well, I will give you a chance to prove what you tell me is true.’ The queen looked to her elders. The elders nodded in agreement. ‘ You must prove to Talori and her people that you are not a spy or an enemy.’

This time her icy, ink-blue, eyes pierced Cezar’s face as she spoke’ ‘You must do this, by facing in battle, three of Talori’s greatest defenders.’

Cezar did not know who these defenders were or who they would be, but he was not afraid to fight for his freedom.

‘I accept the challenge, great Queen,’ he replied.

Sounds of drums and trumpets echoed loudly all around him and an announcer shouted; ‘The Stranger in our midst has accepted the challenge to face the defenders of Talori.’ Then four Sentries stepped forward and marched him away.

Cezar was taken to a dark cold prison cell deep under the city. The cell was narrow, dark, had an odour like that rotten fish. When Cezar walked in, the water reached his ankles and soaked his shoes.

The walls of the cell were slimy and green algae grew on them. A square stone rock sat in the right corner of the cell. Cezar walked through the water and sat on the rock waiting for what would happen next.

Chapter 9 Clawrion the defender of Talori

 Down in the prison cell, Cezar tried to remain calm, he knew he was to face a challenge but he didn’t know who, what, when or how. No one had said anything to him and when he had tried to ask the guards that had escorted him to his cell; they had looked right through him as if he did not exit.

Cezar thought that this must be what his father meant when he told him that to be calm in the face of adversity was the mark of a great warrior.

But at that moment being calm was the last thing Cezar was. He closed his eyes and took deep breaths to calm his feelings but didn’t feel any better, instead he felt restless and began to pace the length of the small and wet cell.

He thought about Ocracidia and wondered what his parents were doing. He missed both of his parents and everything in Ocracidia but most of all he missed Nosa his best friend who was a very good fighter.

Cezar heard footsteps approach. Within seconds four sentries stood at the door of his cell and the bars swept back. They signed for Cezar to step out and he was taken back to his old room with the floating bed.

Two sentries waited in the room, they held iron amours in their hand and Signalled for Cezar to change into them. Cezar refused.

He shook his head and said, ‘I’m not changing into those. I’m fighting in these;’ he pointed to the clothes he was wearing. The Sentries looked stunned but they nodded and left the room.

Cezar knew that the challenge was about to start and he waited patiently. He slid both hands in his pockets, and felt the orchid flower and the fairies’ statue. A calm and gently feeling passed from his fingers to all parts of his body like a cool breeze blowing. Cezar was no longer restless, his spirit was unruffled and his mind quiet; he was ready to battle.

Suddenly, a whooshing sound like that of water rushing around could be heard and before Cezar had time to think what it could be; the walls of his room varnished and he was face to face with a creature the height and size of three grown men.

The upper torso of the creature was like that of a fish, and covered in giant sized brown fish scales; with huge fins, but also with two arms. Its face was the head of the ugliest looking fish Cezar had ever seen. It had large, fang-like teeth which were disproportionate and which made its mouth stay open. Its lower body was like that of a man with two limbs. The creature’s feet were huge, webbed and ended in giant claws; and when it turned, Cezar noticed a huge long tail.

Cezar had never seen a creature which looked like the most horrendous upside down mermaid and he instantly knew this creature was one of Talori’s defenders.

The walls of the room re-appeared but this time they were strong, thick iron bars like those of the prison he had just left. Cezar felt as if he was in a cage with this creature with nowhere to run.

He took a number of steps away from the creature; the creature took the same number of steps towards him making the whooshing sound he had earlier heard.

The creature jeered loudly at Cezar; and without warning, it rushed at him. Cezar ran out of its way but the creature’s tail lashed at his back. Cezar doubled over in pain from the impact of the creature’s tail on his back.

The creature charged at Cezar a second time. Cezar whipped around quickly, there was nowhere for him to go or run; he waited until the creature was almost on him then dashed in between the creature’s enormous feet and ran to the other side of the room. But the Creature was very agile.

In a flash, the creature turned around flipping its long tail at Cezar. The tail narrowly missed Cezar’s face by inches.

Cezar wished he had a weapon to fight the creature with. He looked around desperately, all he saw was the floating bed. He considered jumping on it but realised that would do him no good.

Then the creature came at him again, Cezar zipped back under the creature making it turn around again.

Think Cezar, think,’ he urged himself.

‘Hey ugly monster, what’s your name?’ Cezar called to the creature.

‘I’m the great Clawrion,’ the Creature answered.

‘My name is Cezar and this is a most unfair fight ever,’ he said to Clawrion; ‘you are ten times my size; why don’t you pick on someone your own size, eh?’

Clawrion laughed heartily but watched Cezar with great caution and distrust. And, he was right to do so because Cezar had a plan, – it was to keep Clawrion turning and twisting until he could come up with another plan.

It was not a very good plan at all, but it was all Cezar could think of at that point.

Unfortunately, Clawrion was not ready to play games and when Cezar tried to zip through the creature’s legs one more time; Clawrion lifted his foot and brought it down on the ground with a terrible smash, landing a toe into Cezar’s ribs.

A cracking sound of Cezar’s rib cage sounded as Clawrion’s toe collided with the Cezar’s ribs and Cezar was thrown backwards.

‘I am the great Clawrion!’ the creature yelled at Cezar in a voice that sounded like a thousand neighing horses; ‘never before defeated in any challenge!’

Clawrion stamped his feet a second time. This time he used such brute force that the ground cracked open in ten places and a massive gap formed right at the point where both Clawrion and Cezar were standing.

Clawrion laughed at Cezar’s stunned look. He stepped towards Cezar and caused more cracks to appear in the ground. Then without any warning, a number of cracks collapsed and a gap formed; within seconds, a gigantic sinkhole appeared pulling everything down it.

Clawrion let out a scream as he fell into the sinkhole.

Cezar immediately ran over to the bed, which was still floating in mid-air and jumped on it. Relieved, he watched Clawrion tumble down the hole like Alice in wonderland. He had no clue where the hole led but he hoped it was far, far, away.

Minutes later, his relief turned into his worst nightmare as the floating bed was also sucked into the same sinkhole that Clawrion had only minutes before disappeared down.

Cezar tumbled down the dark hole, holding on to the ends of the bed for his dear life. The journey down the hole seemed to take forever and a damp smell rose into Cezar’s nostrils as he fell. He could not see where he was going because it was too dark neither did he hear anything; but he kept his eyes open as he tumbled down what seemed to be an endless black tunnel.

At this point, Cezar’s main concern was that he would end up back at the bottom of the Sea of Valour.

Finally, Cezar and the bed landed unceremoniously on top of a pile of bricks and sand. The impact threw him back up into the air and when Cezar landed on the ground a second time, he was face down in a pile of rubble.

Slowly Cezar lifted himself half up from the pile of rubble. He looked around and found to his utter surprise that he was lying right before Clawrion; who having himself landed only minutes earlier, had the immense pleasure of not only watching Cezar tumble down the hole like a rabbit; but of seeing him face down in a pile of rubble.

Clawrion seized the opportunity and brought his fist down in a strike. Cezar closed his eyes and thought that surely his end was only seconds away.

But to Cezar’s surprise, the red amulet around his neck began to glow intensely and a very bright, luminescent white light appeared; blinding and making Clawrion stagger backwards.

Out the white luminescent light, the outline of a golden red sword formed and within seconds the sword landed by Cezar’s feet and the light disappeared.

Cezar picked up the sword and scrambled away to safety. Clawrion swung his tail at Cezar trying to prevent him from escaping and aiming to trip him.

Cezar saw Clawrion’s tail coming at him and instinctively swung the sword in the direction of Clawrion’s tail cutting it off.

Clawrion screamed out in pain, he thrashed about unable to balance without a tail. The expression on his face made Cezar smile mischievously.

Cezar was momentarily safe from Clawrion and his lashing tail. With every step Clawrion took he lost his balance. Cezar realise that the tail was Clawrion’s weapon and it was what kept Clawrion balanced. He knew he had to keep Clawrion and his tail separate. So he rushed over to where the tail had fallen and picked it up.

The tail was heavy, it dripped with Clawrion’s blue coloured blood. Cezar grinned lopsidedly but he soon began to feel guilty at seeing Clawrion trip every time he took a step.

After moments of watching Clawrion stumble about unceremoniously, Cezar called to him.

‘Hey there Clawrion; I can give you back your tail you know.’ Cezar chuckled grinning lopsidedly; ‘Well, that is, if you really want it.’

‘Of course I do,’ replied Clawrion stumbling towards Cezar.

‘Stay where you are!’ Cezar commanded pointing his shining, red sword at Clawrion because he was not entirely convinced that Clawrion was harmless. After all, Clawrion was still a very huge creature with an awful amount of sharp, ferociously protruding, teeth.

Clawrion took one look at Cezar’s magical sword and stopped dead in his tracks. His eyes trembled with fear at the blade aimed at him.

Cezar did not put the blade away, but he lowered it.

‘You don’t understand,’ Clawrion said; ‘without my tail, I can no longer protect Talori!’

Cezar understood that Clawrion was sworn to protect Talori. He did not want to take away Clawrion’s one and only purpose; and he truly felt sorry for him.

‘I will give you back your tail,’ Cezar offered trying to compromise with Clawrion; ‘but only if you will swear never to attack me again.’

Clawrion stared at Cezar, his fish face did not move but his eyes bulged out more than it had done before. It was obvious to Cezar that Clawrion was thinking about Cezar’s offer.

‘Come on Clawrion,’ Cezar urged; ‘I don’t have all day you know!’

Clawrion lifted both his arms up in frustration before answering.

‘But if you do that, I will be forever indebted to you because I will be bound to you for the rest of my life.’

‘Yes,’ answered Cezar ‘but you will be able to remain a defender of Talori because you will have your tail.’ Cezar raised the tail at Clawrion, ’which is your only weapon, remember.’

‘As long as I can remain a warrior and defender of Talori, I accept,’ Clawrion said.

‘I knew you would come to your senses,’ Cezar replied with his usual lopsided grin. ‘Where I come from when two people agree on something, they shake hands.’ Cezar held out his hand to Clawrion who reluctantly took it. Both shook hands.

Clawrion’s grip was firm and strong and Cezar felt an immediate connection as a warm sensation passed from the monstrous beast to him.

‘Now can I have my tail back?’ Clawrion asked.

‘Of-course,’ replied Cezar ‘Catch!’ Cezar threw the tail at Clawrion who caught it in mid-air. But moments later the tail still lay in Clawrion’s hand and he asked Cezar

‘How do I put my tail back on?’

Cezar himself had no idea, he shrugged his shoulders and answered; ‘I’m not particularly sure.’

‘Oh No!,’ cried Clawrion. ‘If I can’t get my tail back on, I cannot be a Talori Warrior. My tail is my weapon.’

Cezar had already guessed as much and he felt guilty that he’d cut Clawrion’s tail off. ‘Don’t worry he replied; ‘we will find a way to get it back on.’

For many moments, the two sat side by side racking their brains on how to get Clawrion’s tail back to his body.

His mother had often jokingly told him when he was younger that if he thought about things long and hard enough they could manifest and come true. He had tried this many times; sometimes it had worked, other times it hadn’t. Once when Cezar had wished that Diagus would simply disappear; that had not worked. But another time, when he had wished that the elders would agree he could go on the quest to save Ocracidia; that had definitely worked.

Cezar closed his eyes and wished hard that Clawrion and his tail would become one again. Suddenly he knew what he had to do.

‘Hold still,’ he said; ‘I will try to stick it back on.’

‘Eh?’ Clawrion questioned. He had no idea what Cezar meant but he did as was asked.

Cezar placed his shining sword at the point, where the tail had been severed off; hoping and praying the magic in the sword could help repair the tail. He felt that if the sword had cut the tail off; the same sword should be able to join the tail back on to Clawrion’s body. He wasn’t sure what he was doing would work, but he kept his fingers crossed

Cezar closed his eyes, for moments, he visualised Clawrion’s tail coming back together with its body and becoming one.

He opened his eyes and touched Clawrion’s skin with his magical sword. A spray of magical sparks flew around turning Clawrion’s end into a bright, orange, coloured gluey point.

Cezar quickly stuck the tail on, joining both ends together. ‘Does it hurt?’ he asked Clawrion.

’No, but it tickles a lot,’ Clawrion giggled moving his body.

‘Hold still,’ Cezar commanded ‘or you are going to end up with a very crooked tail, which I’m afraid will be of no use to you.’

When Cezar was sure that the tail had stuck, he asked Clawrion to move his tail.

It took a little while and then Clawrion’s tail slowly began to move again. Without warning the tail flicked up and Cezar jumped quickly out of the way as the tail came lashing past.

‘I’m sorry,’ Clawrion said Cezar; ‘I didn’t mean to strike out at you again.’

‘That’s quite alright,’ Cezar replied.

‘Thank you great Warrior,’ Clawrion bowed. ‘Now climb aboard; it is my honour to carry you wherever you wish.’

Before Cezar could climb onto Clawrion, a massive sea horse balanced on a long snake like tail, with a very, long neck appeared before them and charged at Cezar.

Chapter 10 Adonijah

Clawrion stepped protectively in front of Cezar.

‘You will have to go through me first, Adonijah;’ he called to the sea horse.

‘I’m glad you remember my name,’ the sea horse replied; ‘because your allegiance to your people seems to be forgotten. You were to destroy the boy not make him your master!’

‘Adonijah is Talori’s second defender;’ Clawrion whispered to Cezar.

Cezar had almost forgotten that he must battle three of Talori’s defenders and that Clawrion was only one of the three.

‘As I am sworn to serve you human warrior, it would be my honour to fight beside you,’ Clawrion said to Cezar.

Cezar shook his head. ‘No my friend this is something I must do alone. I therefore release you from my service.’

‘What does that mean?’ Clawrion asked.

‘It means you are free and do not have to fight with me;’ replied Cezar

‘Are you sure?’ Clawrion asked. The look on his face told Cezar he did not really want to leave.

‘You will always be my friend,’ Cezar replied; ‘now, go quickly, I don’t want you to get hurt.’

‘Thank you,’ Clawrion replied and slowly left.

Adonijah towered massively over Cezar. Cezar wondered how he would defeat Adonijah who seemed all bent on killing him.

Cezar knew that Adonijah was going to try and surprise him with an attack and he was right. Just like Clawrion had done, Adonijah rushed at Cezar and when Cezar tried to avoid him Adonijah grabbed Cezar by the legs, yanking him up into the air.

Cezar’s red shiny sword tumbled out of his scabbard and clanged to the ground.

Adonijah tossed Cezar around like a beach ball and Cezar felt quizzy and faint.

Cezar was thrown into the air and then caught on Adonijah nose over and over again, as if Cezar was a trapeze artist at a circus.

Desperate to get out of Adonijah’s hold, Cezar rubbed the red amulet thinking it might present him with another sword or weapon but the red amulet did not change. 

Then, as Cezar was thrown up into the air again; instead of landing on Adonijah’s nose, Cezar jumped onto Adonijah’s back, slid down huge round rings on the seahorse’s trunk and landed on its dorsal fin.

Cezar grasped firmly unto Adonijah’s skin, which was thick, slimy and very difficult to hold.

Adonijah wriggled about trying to shake Cezar off its dorsal fin but Cezar held on firmly.

From where he was precariously balanced, Cezar saw his shining, red, sword staring at him from the ground. He thought of jumping off Adonijah to get his sword, but he knew Adonijah would get to the sword before he could.

I wish I had a rope to hold on to this creature he said to himself.

Suddenly his amulet began flashing and within moments long, red, ropes bridled the face and mouth of Adonijah. Cezar grabbed the ropes taking control of the sea horse.

The amulet had again come to Cezar’s rescue.

Nevertheless, Adonijah struggled like a wild horse that did not want to be broken; pulling and pushing, trying to throw Cezar off its back.

Cezar did not lose the reins, instead the ropes made him magically stronger than Adonijah; and when Cezar tugged on the ropes Adonijah made loud, painful sounds.

Cezar knew that the bridle was hurting Adonijah and he did not want this, so he thought to calm Adonijah down.

He closed his eyes, leaned very close in to Adonijah and whispered to him.

‘I’m not here to hurt you,’ he said ‘I only need to prove I’m not an enemy of your people. I’m sorry if the bridle is hurting you but I cannot allow you to defeat me.’

Adonijah struggled fiercely in answer to Cezar’s words.

‘I promise to let you go if you promise not to fight me;’ Cezar said.

Adonijah slowed in his struggle but still did not stop trying to be free; Cezar was not sure if the sea horse understood what he had told him so he tried again.

He slowly stroked the back of Sea horse trying to calm it; then he said ‘I promise not to hurt you.’

It was a long while before Adonijah finally stopped fighting to be free. Once Adonijah was calm, Cezar climb down from the sea horse and the bridle disappeared.

Cezar rushed to pick up his sword from where it lay He was not sure if Adonijah would try to harm him again and he wanted to be ready; but Cezar needn’t have worried because Adonijah had become very calm.

Then, out of nowhere, something circled the skies above where they were standing.

Cezar thought this might be the third defender. He did not want Adonijah to get hurt.

‘Go.’ Cezar commanded ‘go now.’

Just like Clawrion, Adonijah too slid away. Cezar, had been expecting the third defender, and was very surprised to find Queen Elena floating towards him in an open chariot drawn by six giant shrimps each with a pair of wings on their backs.

Chapter 11– Freedom

Queen Elena landed a few steps away from him and alighted from her chariot. She walked towards Cezar and signalled for him to approach her.

Cezar walked over to the Queen not sure at all what to expect. She smiled a most brilliant smile and said,

‘Young Cezar, now I know that you are not a threat to Talori.’

The queen’s voice was changed, it was the sweetest, kindest, voice Cezar had ever heard and his surprise showed on his face.

Queen Elena gently laughed at the expression on Cezar’s face; ‘I know’ she said; ‘this is my real voice, the one you heard earlier is reserved for enemies of Talori.’

‘But, I was never your enemy,’ Cezar protested.

‘We could not be sure until you had passed the test;’ she said.

‘I passed the test?’ Cezar asked surprised ‘But I haven’t fought the third warrior.’

The queen smiled at Cezar, she did not reply his question instead she said; ‘from now on you shall be called a Warrior of Talori.’

‘I’m deeply honoured,’ Cezar replied.

‘You have defeated two great defenders of our land and you have shown great kindness in not killing them;’ the queen said smiling at him. ‘You see, the true strength of a warrior is not in the many battles he wins, but in the way he treats those he defeats.’

The queen turned and began walking; she called for Cezar to walk with her and he followed to her chariot,

Within moments, they were flown away back to the queen’s palace but this time the queen took Cezar to a different room than the one they had previously been in.

This room was magnificently decorated in very warm blue green emeralds and precious stones. It reminded Cezar of watching the sea on a clear and bright day. The emeralds and precious stones dazzled brilliantly reflecting light all over the room. Cezar hadn’t seen such a beautiful sight in a long time.

Two large framed pictures sat next to each other on the wall. One was of the Queen and the other was of Princess Moshen and both looked to have been taken during some kind of ceremony because in both pictures the Queen and the princess wore a crown and held a sceptre. Cezar thought how beautiful and alike they both were.

The queen took a seat in an armchair made of white pearls and signalled for Cezar to do the same in a chair near her.

‘Sit Warrior she said; ‘I must tell you the history of our people so that you can understand a little about us.’

Cezar sat down and listened as the queen spoke.

‘For centuries our city was a peaceful and happy place;’ she said. ‘We lived in the third level of the sea of Valour, close to where humans would venture and where sea creatures lived. ‘

‘Then enemies, who wanted our land, grew on every side. One particular enemy by the name of Kantang was the most cantankerous. He came from distant waters and wanted our kingdom for his.’

A sad expression formed on the queen’s face as she spoke and Cezar felt like comforting her but she was Queen Elora, head of Talori and he didn’t want to offend her.

‘Kantang attacked and waged war against our land; almost destroying our city. To throw him off our scent, we circulated tales of an evil queen and of Talori being completely destroyed. We moved our city to the seventh and deepest level in the sea of Valour and have managed to live here safely ever since.’

The queen stopped speaking giving Cezar time to digest the tale she was telling him, but Cezar sensed there was more to be told.

The queen got off her seat and began pacing as if what she was about to say was too difficult for words. She stopped in front of Cezar and looked directly at him before continuing.

‘Recently Kantang found that Talori was not destroyed and he has resumed his pursuit of claiming our land.

The queen raised a finger, ‘However, we have been successful in failing all his attempts and have remained safe; though I fear this may not be for very long.’

She took her seat once again, the look on her face was a pensive one and she seemed far away in thought.

Cezar was saddened at what the queen had told him.

What makes anyone think they can invade and take over other people’s land and ruin their birth right? He thought to himself.

He knew exactly how the queen felt; it was the same way, he felt about Diagus.

He wished he could help the people of Talori but he had Ocracidia his own land to save from the evil clutches of Diagus and he had to continue on his quest; everyone in Ocracidia was counting on him. Silently, he promised himself to come back and help the people of Talori after his quest.

‘Do you have any questions?’ The queen asked after many moments.

‘Yes, just one.’

‘What is this question, young warrior?’

‘Who saved my life?’ Cezar asked.

‘Sereta one of our sentries did.’ The queen said. ‘She pulled you from the bottom of the sea when you were drowning.’

Cezar was surprised; he’d always been sure that Princess Moshen saved his life.

The queen rang a golden bell beside her and a young girl with long, white braided hair, whose eyes were golden and wide and who was exactly the same height as Cezar walked through the door.

‘This is Sereta,’ the queen said ‘she saved you from drowning. She is a master spellbinder and has used her spells to protect the citizens of Talori from Kantang. ‘

‘Thanks for saving my life,’ Cezar said.

Sereta smiled but did not reply. A set of dimples appeared in her cheeks as she smiled and Cezar was drawn to her.

‘How did you know I was drowning?’

‘I didn’t know you were in trouble at all,’ Sereta replied. Her voice was gentle like the wind blowing on leaves of a tree on a beautiful day and Cezar smiled to himself. ‘I was on patrol on the outskirts of our land when I saw a red light beckoning from afar. I knew it was some kind of magic because it pulled me closer and would not let go of me until I swam closer. Then I saw it was a human – you that is; and that you were drowning. I could not leave you in the sea to die and had to rescue you.’

Cezar wondered if the red light had come from his red amulet but he said nothing.

Sereta continued, ‘Talori forbids us to bring in strangers, but I couldn’t let you die; I had to save you. Somehow, the red beckoning light compelled me to save you. I put a sleeping spell on you and brought you to the Princess Moshen.’

Cezar knew at that moment that the light Sereta had seen had come from his mother’s amulet, which he wore around his neck and he was grateful to Sereta for saving him.

‘Thank you,’ he said to her again.

It was at that point that Cezar realised that the amulet really only worked when he was in the greatest of need.

The queen told Cezar that he was free to continue on his quest.

Cezar bowed to the queen and took his leave. Sereta began leading him out of the palace but just as he turned to exit the palace, Cezar heard shouts of panic emanating from every corner.

‘Talori is under attack!’ the voices screamed.

Sereta turned and raced back the way they had come; quickly, Cezar followed her. He knew she was heading back to the room where they had left Queen Elena to ensure her safety and he too needed to be sure the Queen and princess were both safe from harm.

Chapter 12 Gills and a Fish Tail

  ‘The evil Kantang and his men are upon the city’ a voice cried to them.

Cezar and Sereta ran quickly back in the direction they had come. The queen met them before they could reach the room they had left her. She stood flanked on every side by armed sentries whose numbers had tripled in the few minutes since Cezar and Sereta left her.

‘The north of the city has been taken my queen,’ one of her sentries said ‘and reports tell us that they are heading straight for the palace.’

‘We must get you to safety now!’ The sentry said.

‘No! We must protect the people first,’ the queen replied; ‘get all the citizens into the safety wells. The army can hold off Kantang’s men until everyone is safe.’

The queen was unruffled, her calmness under such an attack surprised Cezar.

The sentry tried again, ‘we will get the people to safety but you must leave now, your highness;’ he said bowing his head.

‘I’m not leaving if my people are in danger;’ the queen replied dismissing him. ‘Is the princess safe?’ She asked.

‘Yes my queen,’ the sentry replied. ‘Our duty is to protect you as…’

‘Kantang’s men have broken through,’ a voice interrupted the Sentry and another male Sentry rushed in. He spoke urgently with a fearful look on his face. ‘They will surround the palace in a little while my Queen,’ the young sentry said; ‘look,’ he pointed.

Cezar looked where the sentry pointed and in the distance, he saw flames high in the sky from parts of the city. He watched grey smoke curled up in the sky and saw the wind blow it towards the palace.

Cezar could no longer stay out of this battle; he had to help Talori and her Queen. ‘I will stay with the army and ensure that everyone is safe;’ Cezar said to the queen.

‘And I will stay with Cezar,’ Sereta offered ‘I will use my spells against Kantang and his army and we will delay their attack.’

Reluctantly, the queen agreed and was ushered away to safety by her men.

‘Come quickly’ Sereta said moving ahead of Cezar, ‘there’s a secret passage that will lead us directly into the city.’

Cezar followed Sereta through a passage hidden inside one of the palace walls which led them right to the middle of the city where the fighting was the fiercest.

Chapter 13 One-eyed monsters

Cezar drew his red sword and joined the sentries in preventing Kantang’s army from passing through.

Sereta formed spells against Kantang’s army that made the ground difficult to walk on.

Slowly the sentries drove back Kantang’s army in the direction they had come. The fight was slowly being won and Cezar felt the battle was soon to be over.

But he was wrong when a huge, one eyed, monster emerged. The sentries scattered, their well-rehearsed battle formation disintegrated and they all ran away from the one eyed monster.

The sound of boulders flying about shook the point where both Cezar and Sereta were standing.

Cezar watched as the monster roared in anger, picked up the citizens of Talori, squeezed the life out of them before throwing them as far away as possible.

  A yellow, diamond shaped, object, glowed intermittently from the monster’s chest. It reminded Cezar of the red Amulet he wore around his neck. Cezar immediately suspected that foul magic was at play here.

 ’Cezar!’ Sereta shouted out. ‘Can you distract it so I can bind it with a spell that will prevent it finding its way?’

Cezar nodded. The only way he could distract the monster was to get its attention. He ran out towards the monster waving his arms in the air.

‘Hey! Put them down,’ he screamed at the top of his voice.

The one eyed monster initially ignored Cezar. Cezar screamed louder, he picked up a huge piece of stone from the ground and threw it at the monster aiming for its face. The monster turned its full attention on Cezar; roared at him and begun walking towards him.

Cezar did not move; he was just going to have to fight another monster. He drew his sword but knew it would be useless against such a huge monster because his sword was so small. He realised he would need magic to defeat the one eyed monster. Cezar rubbed his amulet but nothing happened.

‘No surprise there,’ he murmured to himself.

The one eyed monster was almost upon Cezar now and Cezar began to run the other way, trying to put some distance between them.

‘Hurry!’ he shouted to Sereta who seemed to be taking her time with preparing her spell. Cezar turned to look back at the Monster when he felt himself being lifted up from the ground. The monster had picked him up! Then he heard Sereta magic words and he was dropped to the ground again.

Cezar ran as far as he could form the Monster who stood still as if it was confused.

Sereta cast a second spell and the monster turned and returned the way it came.

‘Phew! That was close.’ Cezar said letting out a sigh of relief; glad he was not squashed to smithereens in the monster’s fist.

Kantang’s army saw what had happened to their monster; they turned and fled.

‘The spell will wear off soon,’ Sereta said. ‘We must evacuate this part of the city before the spell wears off and the one-eyed monster returns,’ she urged Cezar. The sentries began clearing the people to safety but before all the people could be safely moved another monster the same as the first appeared.

It rushed instinctively towards Cezar.

Cezar ducked quickly out of its way. He saw the same yellow stone in the chest of this monster as he had noticed in the previous monster and suspected that both were somehow being controlled by this yellow stone and that there was bound to be more monsters if he didn’t destroy the yellow stone.

‘Stop,’ Cezar commanded ‘I do not want to harm you but I will if I have to.’

The Creature ignored Cezar, and came at him again.

Cezar waited until the monster was very close, then he jumped towards the one eyed monster, climbing on its back and using his red sword as leverage. The monster roared violently every time the sword pierced its body. It shook itself to get rid of Cezar, swinging around wildly; but it was unsuccessful. 

Perched on the back of the one eyed monster, Cezar tried unsuccessfully to reach the yellow stone.

Carefully he aimed at the point on the chest of the one eyed monster just above the yellow stone and threw his sword. The creature cried out in agony as Cezar’s sword struck him in the chest.. Cezar swung quickly off the back of the one eyed monster and latched onto his sword pulling it downwards with all his might.

The sword ripped at the stone pulling it as it came down. The yellow stone was jarred off the body of the creature falling unto the ground.

The one eyed monster now free of the stone turned and ran quickly away. Cezar and Sereta ran to where the yellow stone had fallen but to their utter amazement, the stone turned into a yellow slimy worm and varnished.

Shouts of victory arose from the sentries and all the people who had seen the monster delivered from the spell of the yellow stone clapped loudly. Cezar hoped this was enough to stop any more monsters from appearing.

Then Amidst the celebrations a loud blast like that of a cannon ball went off and within moments waves of water pushed into the city from every direction possible. The celebration stopped and people ran in all directions.

‘What’s happening?’ Cezar asked Sereta.

‘Kantang has broken all the walls which protect the city from the sea with his magic. We have to evacuate the whole of Talori to another level.

The sea gushed all around Cezar and now reached his waist. Cezar watched as the citizens of Talori began changing their human form into mermaids and mermen.

We will have to fight in our true form Sereta said; ‘quick take this.’ She handed Cezar two tiny, cream shaped seashells. Cezar glared at the seashells not sure what to do them.

‘Place one behind each of your ears,’ Sereta shouted to him; ‘you need gills or you will not survive the sea.’

Cezar realised what Sereta was saying. He was the only human amongst the sea people and they were used to the sea, they could not drown. But he needed gills to swim this deep. Thoughts of drowning filled his mind and he felt a sudden panic of having a second drowning experience.

‘Wake up!’ Sereta shouted. ‘Put the shells behind each ear or you will drown.’

Cezar immediately did as Sereta asked; he did not want to drown. He felt his body tighten. As the tiny seashells stuck on to the skin behind his ears and hurt really badly. Then the pain transferred to his chest and he felt as if the air in his lungs was being sucked out. He remembered he had felt this way before and realised that it was the feeling of drowning. Moments later, the air rushed back into his lungs and he felt fine.

Suddenly, the ground beneath his feet was swept away as the sea flooded the city.

Cezar expected to be swept away too but to his sweet surprise both his feet were now one huge scaled fish tail and his fingers had become webbed.

He looked around for Sereta and found her swimming beside him.

‘Use your tail,’ she said.

He did his best to copy what Sereta did but it was awkward having a fish tail instead of two legs and he failed woefully. Being a merman would take more getting used to.

Sereta grabbed hold of his hand and pulled him towards her.

 He wanted to ask where they were heading but feared that water might enter into his lungs and he would drown.

‘It’s alright to speak,’ she said ‘your gills will take care of the water.’

‘Ooh!’ he said, water rushed into his mouth as he spoke. Cezar tried to cough but to his surprise, the water rushed back out through the gills that had grown behind his ears. He loved the feeling of water flowing in through his mouth and out via his gills and he smiled.

‘Come on then,’ Sereta said; ‘we have a battle to win.’

Chapter14 Kantang

Under the water, the mermaid and mermen had grown huge blue green armours, which covered their human bodies and tail. The same coloured horned headdress covered their head and each had a shiny long spear.

‘Talori Soldiers,’ Sereta said.

Cezar was shoved into the middle and the fighting began.

Sereta kept close to Cezar even as she fought off Kantang’s army who had also transformed into seamen. Cezar did not have to do much because within moments the soldiers of Talori drove their enemies back and shouts of victory sounded.

Cezar and Sereta made their way to the point where the walls had been broken and found the citizens already busy rebuilding them. The Water slowly drained out of the city and magically the mermaids and mermen began changing back into the human forms.

Cezar and Sereta changed back too.

‘I was just getting into the swing of things,’ Cezar laughed to Sereta.

‘That’s good to know,’ she replied ‘because from now on; you will always have gills.’

Cezar instinctively touched behind his ears. He felt a very tiny piercing behind his ears. ‘Nice!’ he replied. As long as there wasn’t sea shells stuck behind his ears he would be fine when he eventually returned to Ocracidia.

Cezar and Sereta began helping to rebuild the wall.

Then all of a sudden, a dreadful silence spread and when Cezar looked he eyes met with a tall dark, male figure with eyes red as fire and a flowing cloak.

Kantang,’ Sereta whispered fearfully to him

The citizens of Talori ran helter-skelter except for the Talori Soldiers who stood poised, ready to fight.

Sereta stood beside Cezar; her stance told him, she too was ready to battle the evil Kantang

Pure evil shone through Kantang’s eyes as he glared at the Talori soldiers but Cezar was not afraid. 

‘Run while you can,’ he laughed at the scrambling citizens. Cezar could bear his taunts no more, instead of running as Kantang suggested, Cezar took a number of calculated steps forward, and said.

‘We are not going anywhere. Why don’t you go back to your land? The people of Talori do not want you here, this is their land, and they deserve to live here in peace.’

A wicked laughter ran through the air. The evil in Kantang voice crawled at Cezar’s skin.

Kantang took one-step towards Cezar, and the ground shook like there was an earthquake. Cezar knew Kantang was using magic to create these tremors and he wondered if his mother’s amulet would have enough magic to match Kantang’s.

‘You dare challenge me,’ Kantang asked; a look of utter shock and surprise on his face.

Cezar moved closer. ‘Yes; I challenge you,’ he replied. ‘I challenge you to leave this city or be defeated.’
‘Defeated!’ cried Kantang. ‘And how do you plan to defeat me? I have all this on my side.’ He stretched his hand out and Cezar saw a horde of Evil monsters standing behind Kantang.

Kantang laughed wickedly, just as he threw a massive ball of fire magically towards Cezar.

Cezar ducked and the ball of fire missed him but it landed on a building bringing it down with a crashing sound.

Sereta rushed forward casting a spell on Kantang but with a wave of his hand, Kantang blew her away and she crashed into a nearby wall under the force of his magic.

Cezar winced. He hoped Sereta was alright. He was now more determined to defeat Kantang and stop the terror he was inflicting on the Talori people. But how was he to match Kantang’s wicked magic and his thousand soldiers?

‘Let’s make this between you and me,’ Cezar said to Kantang.

‘But it is already between us both,’ laughed Kantang.

‘Agreed!’ Cezar said. In that case, I challenge you to fight; one on one, just the two of us.’

‘You do?’ asked Kantang in mock horror. ‘You expect me to be scared of a little boy? He screamed. ‘Well, sorry to disappoint you… I’m not and never will, even if you now have gills and can breathe through water.’

Cezar wondered how he knew about that and thought that Kantang’s magic probably gave him the knowledge.

Kantang glared at Cezar as if expecting him to turn and run away. When Cezar stood his ground, Kantang showed his surprise. 

‘Very well, I accept; and to show you how generous I can be, I will let you choose what weapon we shall use in combat.’

Cezar was secretly pleased; he knew how to handle a sword very well. ‘A sword Fight,’ he replied.

‘Swords it is then;’ replied Kantang ‘but there’s one more little thing.’

‘What’s that?’ asked Cezar.

‘The loser will be forever trapped in the deathly prison …and the winner gets Talori.’

‘No!’ shouted Sereta. ‘Don’t agree to it. You can never be free of the deathly prison. No one can!’

Cezar shook his head, he was not scared of the deathly prison but he knew it was not his place to offer Talori to anyone.

‘I’m afraid I cannot offer you Talori,’ he replied; but I agree, that the loser should be imprisoned forever.

Kantang’s eyebrows furrowed into a frown then they widened into a most mysterious and evil smile.

‘I accept,’ he said with a voice that rang out over a great distance.

Cezar knew that Kantang would never keep his promise and realised that Kantang wanted him out of the way so he could get Talori. If Cezar lost the sword fight, Kantang would have him imprisoned forever and would still go after Talori.

Cezar knew he had to win.

He got out his sword and a small buckler magically appeared in his other hand. He smiled, his amulet never ceased to amaze him. Now he wondered if it could save him from the dungeons of the deathly prison.

Cezar knew he was no match for Kantang but he was going to do his best to save Talori from this evil monster.

Moments later, Kantang made the first move; and ran towards Cezar. Kantang pushed Cezar with his shield as he struck out at him.

Cezar had his sword and buckler poised protecting his face. Using his buckler, he deflected Kantang’s sword keeping well out of Kantang’s range.

He had the advantage of being smaller and quicker but Kantang had evil magic on his side.

Both spared for moments without succeeding to get at the other; then Kantang took a sudden aggressive stance and said ‘enough of these games.’

Cezar realised that Kantang was going to rush an attack on him.

He placed his buckler in his throat area and extended his sword towards Kantang but being so much smaller than Kantang, Cezar’s thrust landed on Kantang’s exposed leg, slicing it to the core.

Kantang screamed out in pain; anger filling his body and his eyes darkening with hate. Kantang threw his sword and shield to one side, he began speaking spells as he walked towards Cezar closing him in.

Cezar felt evil surround him and he backed away from Kantang. He knew Kantang was now using magic to fight him and he willed his amulet to do something. To his surprise, Cezar’s amulet shone a bright light, which formed a balloon shield all around him.

Kantang’s spells manifested as small, grey, pea like objects, which stuck firmly to the balloon shield. Without warning, the grey objects turned and flew back towards Kantang sticking firmly to all the parts of his body.

‘No!’ Kantang screamed as he tried desperately to get the objects off him. Seconds later, only Kantang’s head was visible amongst the grey, pea like objects.

The grey objects bore quickly into the ground like a massive drilling machine, dragging Kantang screaming and kicking with them.

The ground closed up after Kantang and slowly Kantang’s screams died down. 

Cezar put away his shield and buckler and Sereta walked towards him

‘What happened?’ Cezar asked.

‘Kantang sent spells to take you to the deathly prison but your amulet protected you and the spells turned on Kantang instead dragging him down to the prison where he will remain for eternity.’

‘Yes!’ Cezar said pumping his fist into the air.

‘Thanks to you, Talori is free;’ Sereta said smiling widely.

There was jubilation, clapping, hugging and singing all around Cezar and he was pleased he had been able to defeat Kantang but he knew he could not have done it without his mother’s amulet.

Cezar realised that he had a most powerful magic in the red amulet his mother had given.

He felt like staying behind to celebrate with the Talori people, but he needed to get on with his quest. ‘I’ve got to be on my way,’ he said to Sereta.

‘Yes’ she replied’ but first we must see Queen Elena.’

Chapter 15 – On My Way

Back in the palace, seated on her throne with a beautiful smile on her face; the queen welcomed Cezar back into her presence.

‘Is there anything that you might need to help you with your quest?’ she asked.

Cezar could think of nothing he wanted more than to be on his way to saving his beloved Ocracidia.

‘You are most gracious, Queen Elena’ he replied bowing. ‘All I want is to continue on my journey, if you please.’

‘In that case,’ Queen Elena replied. ‘May I give you something in remembrance of Talori?’

‘Anything would be appreciated,’ he replied.

‘Very well; kneel before Talori and her people and stretch out your hands towards me.’

Cezar did as the queen requested.

The Queen placed her staff on his palm for a brief second. Cezar felt a tingling feeling in both his palms. When the queen lifted her staff; there, imprinted on the back of each of his palms was a golden blue tattoo of a fish with a crown on its head.

The queen smiled at him ‘that’s the emblem of our great city Talori,’ she said. ‘You have been knighted with one of our highest honours. Whenever you find yourself in dire need or danger; the spirit of Talori will come to your aid.’

‘Thank you, Queen Elena;’ Cezar replied.

‘Arise now, young warrior and May the spirit of Talori always be with you.’

Cezar stood to his feet amongst cheering and clapping from the people of the city. 

His eyes looked for Sereta and within moments, she was by his side. 

‘I will show you the way out of the city,’ she said; ‘and through the sea of Valour.’

‘Not the sea of Valour.’ Cezar exclaimed.

‘Yes the sea of Valour.’ Sereta laughed. ‘No one survives the sea without first receiving Valour. Now you have the Talori seal of honour, the Sea will always be your friend. It will assist you when you need it, it will fight your enemies when they try to overcome you, and it will always be right there in you. Don’t you ever forget that.’

Cezar laughed heartily. ‘I won’t forget, Promise;’ he replied.

A whistle left her lips and two light blue beautiful and gentle looking horses appeared.

‘Come along,’ she shouted out to Cezar, ‘we haven’t got all day.’

Cezar eagerly jumped on one of the horses but was immediately thrown off.

‘What’s going on?’ he asked Sereta.

‘Don’t think she likes you,’ she replied laughing
He tried again. This time the horse allowed Cezar to mount him but refused to move. 

Sereta whistled and the horse kicked off suddenly, almost throwing Cezar off

Both rode to the edge of the city.

‘Close your eyes,’ Sereta said.

Cezar obeyed.

‘Now open your eyes,’ she said.

When Cezar opened his eyes, he found himself deep within the sea with Sereta beside him.

‘Breathe,’ she said to him smiling.

Cezar took a deep breath and the water passed through his nostrils and exited behind his both his ears. He opened his mouth and felt the water rushing in and out through his gills. Cezar blew bubbles through the water excitedly like a child and wished that Nosa was here with him.

It was many moments before Sereta asked if he was ready to continue because he was having such fun with the bubbles she did not want to stop him.

Regretfully Cezar nodded. His quest to save Ocracidia and the destroy Diagus’ evil spell was waiting and he had to go.

Out of nowhere, two dolphins settled beside them. The dolphins moved closer. They swung both Sereta and Cezar unto their backs, and began to swim up towards the surface of the water.

Cezar almost lost his balance but he held on giggling to himself and loving the experience he was having.

‘Lima and Lina,’ Sereta told him.

Cezar held on as tight as he could. The last thing he wanted was to fall back deep into the sea even though he could now breathe through water.

Within minutes, they were both pulled to the surface of the sea by the dolphins and Cezar was once again breathing air. The dolphins somersaulted high into the air and then dived deep into the sea with both Cezar and Sereta on their backs. When they surfaced the Dolphins slowly edged Cezar and Sereta off their backs into the water, then turned and headed away.

They’re gorgeous,’ he said to Sereta.

‘I agree,’ she replied; ‘They are always around to help.’ Not too far away Cezar noticed a small boat. He looked again; it was the same boat he had lost days ago. He grinned lopsidedly.

Both Cezar and Sereta swam towards the boat. Everything was the same as when he had capsized, even the torch was lying on the floor of the boat. Just ahead of the boat a blue and orange crystal orb magically rotated in mid-air.

‘Compliments of Queen Elena,’ Sereta said.

Which way is it to the land of shells? He asked. Sereta pointed to the east. There was one more question on his mind and Cezar would have been disappointed if Sereta’s answer was negative. He thought not to ask it but then found himself asking her.

‘Can you come with me?’

Sereta smiled. ‘I thought you would never ask.’

Both climbed into the small boat and Cezar took a deep breath in. ‘I just need a minute to catch my breath’ he said grinning lopsidedly.

Land of Shells Book 2 of The Ocracidia Series




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Copyright ©2015 by L F Yinka


Published by PAZ Publishers www.pazpublishers.com


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This book is entirely a work of Fiction.  All names, places, characters, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events, or localities is entirely coincidental.




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Land of Shells, Ocracidia Series II by Lottie F. Yinka


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The Sea of Valour -The Ocracidia Series 1

In the land of Ocracidia, where good magic once flourished; there now lives Diagus, a wicked wizard, with very, dark magic holds captive all the people of Ocracidia including their goddess Zedia. But, a very courageous young boy named Cezar, has volunteered to travel to the land of Goreloth. From where Diagus came, to destroy the source of the evil magic, end the dark Wizard’s rule and free the Princess. His first mission is to sail and navigate through the treacherous and dangerous Sea of Valour as he begins his quest to save his beloved Ocracidia

  • ISBN: 9781310021138
  • Author: Lottie F Yinka
  • Published: 2015-12-12 19:05:13
  • Words: 19876
The Sea of Valour -The Ocracidia Series 1 The Sea of Valour -The Ocracidia Series 1