Cici was aware of the gleam of panic in the Queen’s otherwise calm and superior gaze, and she was looking at her as if she were looking at her dead mother. How the Queen babbled and repeated things that Cici already knew — Marcus and Zelda had led a life together on planet Erthar where they had raised three children.
“That’s the rumour going around. They want to rob my poor Marcus of his crown.” She uttered a cry as if the pain was tearing her heart apart. If the rumours proved to be true, it was not just the crown, but Marcus’ life that was at stake.
“Think about it, Cici, you and Marcus hand-in-hand walking up to the sacred altar to swear your marriage oaths, cheered by thousands and thousands of Barans … I have always wished ever since your birth, that my dear Yola’s daughter would be my son’s wife.” Her face lit up, and she took her in her arms.
Cici’s face was pressed against the Queen’s bosom. The Queen’s heart beat rather fast, but she felt stiff and strange. It was a curious moment, and Cici wasn’t sure she liked it much. For a girl growing up motherless, being cuddled was simply too strange. But she made her mind up to help the Queen. She liked to think she came to this decision under the influence of her dead mother’s spirit. But the Queen’s soft embrace and her hints of marriage also did their share of magic, especially the marriage. Not that it was a big deal for her, it was just a glimpse of a distant light in a deep, dark wood. Instead of drifting aimlessly in the darkness, she liked the comfort and assurance of seeing a light ahead.
As soon as she heard that two Ertharan youths had been captured and taken to the arena, the Queen had come straight to her. She had an overwhelming intuition, as she described it, they were two of the three children, and her theory was that the third had been killed in transport.
“They are possessed so they think they are Marcus and Zelda’s children.” The Queen talked like she was a peasant woman, shaking her fists, totally forgetting her usual graceful and mild manner, “One of them is a boy. I don’t care about the girl, but the boy has to be taken care of.”
Cici knew what she meant by “taking care of”. Only the death of the boy could settle the Queen’s nerves. It was typical that she cared less about the girl, for a girl, being inferior to a boy, never had her voice heard. Furthermore, a girl slave would most likely vanish into some household and not be seen again, and would often be kept quiet by having her tongue removed, a common and cheap practice that prevailed among the slave-owning households.
Title: Children of Swan
Author: Coral Walker
Genre: YA fantasy/scifi
It seems that nothing could be worse than waking up one morning to find their parents have disappeared and their young brother Bo bawling his eyes out, but for Jack and Brianna, the squabbling teenage sibling rivals, the worst is yet to come.
Much to the bafflement and distress of their children, Marcus and Zelda have actually returned to their home planet, Cygnore. Marcus and Zelda, the runaway prince and princess of Bara and Rion, had a life on Earth. For twelve years, they lived happily and peacefully under the name of ‘Goodman’.
Bo is kidnapped. In hot-headed pursuit, Jack and Brianna plunge into a wormhole that takes them to Taron. Little did they know their impetuous arrival in Taron has placed the lives of their parents in peril. Locals catch them and bring them to an arena. In bewilderment and dismay, Jack finds himself fettered to a wall and examined by a smouldering-eyed and blue-skinned young woman of Bara, Lady Cici.
Lady Cici, the daughter of Lord Shusha, has come to the arena for one and only reason — to have them killed. She is to be engaged to Prince Marcus, their father, and she cannot afford their existence to jeopardize Marcus’ life and her forthcoming engagement. She must have them killed, and the arena, where slaves routinely fight to the death, is the perfect place.
Coral Walker was born and raised in China. She holds a BSc in Computer Engineering, MSc in computing and PhD in Computer Science and, and has spent most of her adult life striving for an orthodox, academic career path. She now lives in Wales, UK with her husband and three children. Becoming a mother, and teaching her children to live a fulfilled life resuscitated her fading dream of being an author. The urge to write became so great that she pursued her dream and the ‘Children of Swan’ trilogy is the upshot — a symbol of a new journey in life.
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