Arcadia: The Complete Collection – 10th Anniversary Edition
Author: Al Stone
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: 7 July 2022
AN UNTOLD PROPHECY, A BROKEN COVENANT AND A FALLEN ANGEL AS AN ALLY.
WILL CHARLIE SURVIVE?
Arcadia, 10th Anniversary Edition is a complete collection, featuring three full length novels in a single volume for the first time. A young-adult fantasy series full of magic, mythology and adventure. Perfect for fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Lord of the Rings.
Talisman Of El
They have always been here … watching in silence. Now both worlds are about to collide.
Charlie Blake has always known he was different. He hears what others don’t. He sees what others can’t. In his quest for the truth, he discovers he is the physical embodiment of a powerful ruler and finds himself locked in an ancient battle between good and evil that threatens the life of every being on Earth.
Hold your breath. It’s contagious.
Saving mankind becomes near impossible when Charlie’s visions start to invade his reality. He can no longer identify what’s real. When he starts exhibiting symptoms of a deadly disease, he faces a race against time to find a cure, but shocking revelations makes him question where his true allegiance lies.
Mankind’s only hope is not human. Approach with caution.
26,000 years ago, a supernatural apocalypse almost wiped out civilisation. Now that time has come again and no one is destined to survive. Charlie Blake is determined to stop the apocalypse, but fate might not have the same agenda. Is Charlie destined to save the world or destroy it?
‘Why do I feel as though we’re chasing a ghost?’ said Derkein, who was carrying Richmond on his back. ‘Are you certain we’re going the right way?’
Charlie, who was holding a wooden stick torch, glanced at him. ‘I’m sure,’ he replied. I think.
‘You know, if she really wants to help,’ said Alex, who was also holding a burning torch, ‘she could sort us out with a pizza or something.’ The others regarded her. ‘I’m just saying.’
The gang had been walking for ten minutes, and Charlie still saw no sign of Candra. He was starting to wonder if it had been a mistake going after her – if it had been her – when they came to a slope and spotted a shallow stream below.
A profound sense of déjà vu stirred inside Charlie, and an image of a high stone wall flashed across his mind, lasting only seconds.
Charlie blinked hard. ‘There’s a wall,’ he muttered under his breath. He glanced around him, but all he saw were trees and moss-covered boulders. He took off down the slope.
‘Charlie, wait,’ Derkein called after him.
‘There’s a wall around here,’ Charlie said.
‘How would you know that?’
‘I just saw it –’ Another image flashed across Charlie’s mind, and he stopped. It was the same stone wall with a twin-arched doorway, three steps leading up to it. The image vanished, and his head swivelled to the left, as if someone had called him. ‘I saw a doorway …’ He took off, and the others pursued him.
A few short steps later, they came across the doorway – or rather the ruins, and the only part of the wall still standing, just about. What was once a twin-arched doorway was now a single arch, enclosed by shrubs, vines and trees.
‘You just saw this in your head?’ Derkein asked.
Derkein’s face displayed a mixture of shock, disbelief and confusion. ‘Just now? Since we started walking?’
Charlie nodded again. He couldn’t tell whether or not Derkein believed him, but he was starting to feel as though he had no control over his own mind.
‘It could just be me,’ Alex said, ‘but you seem to have gone up on the weird scale since we entered Arcadia.’
‘Look, maybe we should go back to the campsite,’ Derkein suggested.
Charlie wasn’t paying attention to the others. As he stared at the remnants of the past, the strangest thing started to happen: the world came alive.
The twin-arched doorway materialised before him, the stone wall on either side. Charlie’s jaw dropped. Climbing the steps, he walked through the doorway, the view expanding before him, and his heart fluttered.
The rich floral smell was more than welcoming; it was mouth-watering. He saw flowers, large mushrooms, trees, peacocks, tigers, buildings … people. Everywhere he looked, he saw merry folks dressed in elegant gowns and robes.
He knew right away that the people weren’t human, but it still surprised him when he saw a young boy sprinting so fast he couldn’t keep his eyes on him, a girl travelling thirty feet in one leap and an eagle transforming into a man.
He had no idea what paradise looked like, but he was willing to bet every penny he had that this was it.
Heading up a set of stone steps, he came to a raised circular pavilion bordered by vine-covered pillars with a fountain in the centre. Beyond the fountain were more steps, which led to ancient Greek architecture surrounded by columns that supported pyramid roofs. Charlie turned around to admire the view below.
A voice behind him said, ‘Your Majesty.’ It was a woman’s voice, soft and familiar. Whirling around, he saw a woman in a long russet gown, her auburn hair tied back, descending the steps.
Your Majesty? Charlie pondered. The woman smiled at him and bowed. All it took was one look at her alluring green eyes for him to realise it was Candra. His breath caught in his throat as he gazed at her scar-less face. She looked so different, so happy. He returned the smile without realising what he was doing. His eyes followed her as she continued down to the garden. He was about to go after her when a splashing noise behind him made him stop and turn around.
The water from the fountain swirled upwards like a whirlpool and transformed into a woman. Charlie stared in awe at the woman who had just climbed out of the fountain, her gown dry. She bowed to him.
There was a note of frustration in his voice when he asked, ‘What’s with the bowing?’ The woman just smiled and walked away. He turned back to the fountain and walked over to it.
When he looked in the water, he saw the white-haired man he had seen in the creek.
‘What do you want from me?’ Charlie asked. He paused when he noticed the man mimicking him. He found it even stranger when the man wrinkled his brow, for he felt as confused as the man looked. It was then, as he stared into the man’s grey eyes, that he realised something. At the same time, the wrinkles on the man’s forehead vanished, and he looked shocked –
The image vanished, and Charlie found himself staring at Derkein, who was standing in front of him, gripping his shoulders. ‘Charlie, can you hear me?’ Derkein asked.
Charlie blinked hard. He looked through the single-arched doorway behind Derkein, but all he saw was the forest.
‘Hey,’ Derkein said, ‘talk to me.’
‘There used to be a palace here,’ Charlie said.
‘Doesn’t look like a palace now,’ Richmond observed.
Derkein let go of Charlie, his expression anxious. ‘All right, I think it’s time we head back to the campsite.’
They started to head off when Charlie suddenly stopped.
‘What is it?’ Alex asked.
Charlie’s eyes swept the forest. ‘I heard something.’ He expected Candra to pop out of her hiding place. Instead, he saw the red-haired boy he had seen earlier that day, watching him from behind a tree. ‘Hey. Where’s my bag?’
The boy’s eyes widened in shock, and he took off.
‘Hey.’ Charlie chased after him.
‘Charlie,’ Derkein called. ‘Charlie, get back here.’
Charlie didn’t stop. With the burning torch still in his hand, he raced through the forest after the boy. ‘Stop!’ he yelled. ‘I just want my bag.’ The boy was a good thirty feet ahead of him. What do they feed this kid?
‘Charlie,’ he heard Derkein call. It wasn’t until a loud cry reached him that he stopped.
It was Alex.
He turned around but saw no sign of the others. Panicked, he looked back at the boy, who had also stopped, and then he turned and ran back the way he had come.
It didn’t take him long to spot Derkein. When he got closer, he saw Richmond, who was now on his feet, Alex’s burning torch slowly fading on the ground beside him. But where was Alex?
Seeing Derkein and Richmond glancing up into a tree, he followed their gazes and spotted Alex trapped in a rope net.
‘It could be worse,’ Richmond said. Charlie and Derkein glanced at him. ‘What? It could be.’
Derkein’s gaze shifted to Charlie, and the lines on his forehead smoothed out, his expression stern. ‘Didn’t we just have a conversation about you running off?’
‘I know,’ Charlie said, ‘but I was trying to get my bag back.’
Derkein looked confused. ‘It’s not just going to fall out of the sky.’
‘What? No, that kid –’
‘Ah, hello,’ Alex said hotly. ‘Girl in a rope here. I don’t know about you guys but I’m thinking whoever set this trap might come back.’
Charlie looked up at her, her body bent in an awkward position with her legs reaching high above her head, and a faint smile crept onto his face. ‘Hang in there, Alex,’ he called up to her.
‘You just wait till I get down, Charlie Theodore Blake,’ she threatened.
Richmond snickered. ‘Your middle name’s Theodore?’
Charlie looked at him, his smile fading. ‘Shut up.’
Derkein cleared his throat to refocus their attention. ‘How are we going to get her down, boys?’ he asked.
Charlie glanced back up at the tree. The distance between Alex and the ground was at least twelve feet, twice Derkein’s height. To get her down, Derkein would have to hoist Charlie onto his shoulders and then some.
As Derkein pondered a strategy, Charlie’s focus shifted to the thudding sound he heard coming towards them. Before he even had time to panic, the sound died almost as soon as it had begun.
He turned around and froze, the sound of his heartbeat in his ears as he stared at the line of people armed with shiny blades and arrows pointed at his head.
Taken from Talisman Of El (Arcadia, Book 1), Chapter Ten: Blast from the Past