Welcome to the latest peek at a character from The Camelot Kids. If you missed the Maille Rose peek, check it out.
Caradoc may look like something out of a nightmare, but… well, who am I kidding, he IS something out of a nightmare!
But the troll is complex. He’s one puzzle after another. When we first meet him, he’s as mean as he is ugly. But as Simon gets to know him, he spots a pleasing trait or two.
In the following scene, Maille Rose, Simon and Caradoc are searching New Camelot for some missing gold. They suspect two mischievous faeries have teamed up and hidden the gold in the town’s granary. Their suspicions are correct.
But they’ve forgotten one important thing. It’s Friday. And Rule #2 in the “Care of Faeries Handbook” clearly states:
Don’t let a faerie meet a faerie on Fridays.
Enjoy this excerpt from The Camelot Kids!
Caradoc slipped in the key and opened the door. Torches on the wall lit up slowly as they entered. Simon found himself in a huge cave, packed with grain.
“This feeds the whole city year round,” Maille explained. “Let’s hope that floating rodent didn’t do anything to our food supply. Okay, start looking.” Maille walked into the grain piles and started sifting through with her hands. Caradoc and Simon looked at each other. Maille glanced over her shoulder and rolled her eyes.
“For the gold! It probably hid the stash in here somewhere. The vents in the roof are meant to aerate the grain, but I bet they make it really easy to smell gold from a long ways away, too.”
“We have to find the gold under all of this?” Simon asked.
“Unless you have a better idea,” she answered, readying herself for a new argument with Simon.
“Can’t you use, like, I don’t know, a spell or something?” Simon plead.
“A grain-moving spell? Oh, sure! That’s magic 101!”
“Fabulous!” Caradoc smiled and clapped his hands together.
“She’s being sarcastic, Caradoc,” Simon said. He started digging.
“Wait a minute,” Maille muttered. Her eyes darted around the cave. She smirked. “I could try something. Stand back, guys. Way, way back. This might get ugly.” Simon and the troll stood behind her. “If anyone else is in here with us, you’d better show yourself now or you’ll be getting much smaller in about ten seconds!” This made Simon and Caradoc back up a little more.
Maille didn’t move for a moment. Then she started to breathe heavily, pulled out her bat-wand and uttered the ugliest words Simon had ever heard.
A red haze shot out from her wand and covered the mounds of grain. Slowly, the piles began to peel away. As more grain moved, the cavern filled with an excruciatingly loud sound, like a billion locusts swarming down on them. The top two feet of grain slid across the room and rested against the far wall. Finally, the grain settled and the sound died down.
Maille was winded. She sat and put her head between her legs.
“What was that?” Simon asked, stunned.
“The Peeler. It’s meant to skin dead animals. Figured I’d give it a shot.”
“Splendid!” Caradoc shouted. They glanced up to see if the spell had yielded anything.
Indeed, across the cave was a single point of golden light flickering in the torchlight. But before they could take a step, two færies swept down from the shadows, blocking their way.
“Outta the way, ya varmints!” Caradoc roared. When the faeries just hovered there, getting uglier by the second, Caradoc’s angry face turned into Caradoc’s really worried face. “What day is it?” Caradoc asked, quietly.
“Friday,” Maille and Simon said together.
“Uh-oh,” all three muttered.
And right in front of their eyes the two færies bleated something and went at each other with a viciousness that would have done cats proud. The two disappeared into the grain with a thud. Then there was silence.
Caradoc and Maille started to back away. “Where are you going?” Simon said. “They took each other out! The coast is clear.”
“Simon! Back away!” Caradoc hollered.
Out of the grain emerged a much larger færie. More specifically, it was the two færies melded together. It had four eyes and four wings, though they were quickly becoming one big, revolting monstrosity. The four eyes became two and the creature shrieked in pain, swelling, mutating with every second that passed.
The party of three were almost backed up to the door when a roar of anger filled the cave. The faerie was only around five feet tall, but equally wide. Its gigantic fangs made Caradoc squeak in fright.
Then it came for them.
Maille reached for her wand but Simon knew she’d be too slow to match its speed. At a full sprint, he grabbed the bat from her hand, twirled on his feet and swung with all his might.
The færie flew back as fast as it had sprung forward and hit the far wall hard. It lay still. Within seconds it had transformed into two pixies again. They were sprawled over each other, out cold.
“Home run!” Maille yelled, arms raised. Caradoc started running for the door again. “Caradoc, where are you going?”
“You told us to run home!” Maille and Simon laughed.
“It’s a baseball term,” Maille said, twirling her bat.
Caradoc tried to chuckle but he didn’t think it was funny.
“You grab my bat again and I turn you into a booger,” Maille said to Simon, with a wink.
The troll slowly approached the shiny object jutting out of the grain. He felt the edges of a large golden box and heaved it up as if it were cardboard. Opening it revealed a messy pile of golden leaves.
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We’ll be taking a peek at the characters of The Camelot Kids over the next several weeks. Ian Greenlee is doing a spectacular job of yanking the Fantasy series cast out of their comfortable nests in my head.
Today’s peek is at the main character, Simon.
If you ask Simon Sharp how his parents died, the 14-year-old New Yorker will tell you King Arthur killed them. Obsessed with Camelot, the two scholars perished in a plane crash en route to an archaeological dig in England.
Simon spends two awful years in an orphanage before his uncle surfaces. He offers Simon residence at a creepy mansion in Scotland where every shadow hides a surprise— including a girl, Maille Rose, who flickers in and out of view like a ghost. Maille warns Simon he’s in danger and, oh yes, he’s a descendant of King Arthur’s powerful knight, Lancelot.
That’s Simon’s response too.
But she’s right about the danger. Simon’s life becomes a battle for survival when his teacher is killed in front of him. Accused of murder, Simon escapes into the wilderness…
… where he gets kidnapped by a drunk troll. At this point, Simon’s tired of surprises. Which is too bad because then he’s saved by a 7-foot elderly man claiming to be Merlin. Maille Rose, Merlin’s apprentice, arrives swinging her bat-wand and leads them to a hidden castle. This, she says, is New Camelot.
Packed with surprises, The Camelot Kids is a fresh take on the beloved myth.
Come back for more peeks later this week.
Who’s up next?