The Kingdom Lights
In a world where cities float, airships sail the skies and mythical creatures are summoned in a pinch, Celes Vale is distinctly average. Living in the shadow of his talented cousin and his powerful aunt and uncle, Celes is resigned to a future of soot, factories and well, more soot.
But on the night of his twelfth birthday everything changes. A blinding light, a whispered voice and in an instant Celes becomes the first ordinary child in history to develop magic, sending him on a fast-track ticket to the greatest of the floating cities, Gardarel. Boasting grand, elegant buildings wrought from shimmering white stone, the entire city appears as though it has been built from light, and so it has come to be called the Kingdom Lights.
Though some welcome Celes, others want the dirt-ridden up-start off their city preferably head first. Nowhere is this clearer than in the attitude and actions of the beautiful and haughty Lady Ban and her sneering nephew, Marcus Blackwood. But Blackwood, with his gang of goons and unimaginative one-liners, is soon the least of Celes s problems.
With a little magic and a lot of detective work, Celes and his group of Scurriers and Wisps unravel the dark truth behind Lady Ban s prim, perfect smile an alliance to the villainous Wardens and the masked man who leads them. However, in his attempt to expose Lady Ban, Celes unwittingly stumbles onto an even darker conspiracy a plan that could lead to the complete destruction of Gardarel itself.
With his immaculately polished shoes, carefully preened suit and even more carefully preened moustache Jaime Milton was the last person one would expect in the sooty factory city of Midgard. His father, Lord Milton, Sr., a great wobbly man with fat flapping fingers like purple bananas was a close second.
It was a brilliant June morning and the city of Floating City of Midgard was alight with life. Jaime walked through the weathered cobblestone streets and watched as houses flung their windows and doors open, lapping in the sunlight. Jaime had not been here for two years and yet the City of Factories was exactly as he had remembered; there were rows of homes huddled together, tightly packed into the little street as high rising billows of smoke sailed into the sky. The cobblestones of rose-tinged granite underfoot were boisterous and uneven and Jaime had to be extra careful so as not to fall over as racing children zoomed past, chasing one another furiously through the street. Some were covered in soot whilst others were rosy clean but, he noted, all were breathless.
Jaime Milton couldn’t help but smile.
“What are you smirking about?” barked Lord Milton, Sr. as his son pushed him through the streets in a beautiful silvery wheelchair.
“Just thinking about the first time I came to Midgard,” replied Jaime. “It was a…”
“I didn’t ask!” announced Lord Milton, Sr., brandishing his polished walking cane. “Always answering questions I didn’t ask! And stop your smiling! There’s no reason to smile!”
Tidus was crying. Tidus often cried and Zephyr wondered how best to cheer his friend up this time.
“It won’t be so bad. I mean, we’ll be in different schools, but maybe your magic is just getting started.” That’s a good approach, thought Zephyr. The tears ebbed and Zephyr thought he heard a sniffle. “I’m sure it’s taking a bit longer…bit longer than normal. But I bet… I bet when your magic does come, it’ll be really strong!” he finished enthusiastically. Tidus howled. Oh no, maybe it’s not working at all.
Barely four foot tall, Zephyr was small even for a Wisp. Covering his entire body was a thick robe that extended all the way over his head, upon which it became a large furred cowl. Being made of a great deal of spirit and magic, Zephyr’s face was rather hard to see and appeared as no more than a haze; dark as midnight, punctuated by two large silvery eyes that shone as bright as lighthouse beacons, hiding the pale skin that lay beneath.
“You’re just saying that,” sniffled Tidus, another Wisp with crackling eyes of electric blue and a full year younger than Zephyr. “You’ll go to the Anchor School in a few weeks then you’ll go to the Lunar Academy next year and I’ll be…I’ll be…” He hiccoughed, his whole body jolting. “I’ll be all on my own!”
“No, no, no. We’ll still be friends!” he said, giving Tidus a small pat. “And you’ll have so much fun at your new school, you won’t even notice.”
Light. Beautiful, pulsing, bathing him in its emerald glow…his eyes were peering open now, his mind fumbling for thoughts and memories, a taste like metal upon his tongue.
“Are you hurt?” said a voice, faint, distant. “I didn’t want to hurt you, but I didn’t have a choice.”
“Choice?” the boy croaked. He tried to reach up, but his hands had been bound, thick ropes cutting into soft flesh. I’m back in the Gravity Rooms, he realized, though the chamber itself had been transformed entirely. The emerald light now dripped with the crimson of hundreds of Flare Crystals, as though an angry swarm had surged forth against a far larger beast.
“I know why you’re here, but I…you can’t stop this.” As his eyes began to focus, Celes saw the Warden standing before him, draped in a white cloak, his iron mask half-hidden beneath his hood. It was strange, so strange to find the spectre amongst shadows for once illuminated.
“You can’t,” said Celes his lips cracked, his thoughts dizzy. What’s…my head, I can’t think… “You can’t destroy Gardarel. Please. I know you’re working for Lady Ban. You don’t…you don’t have to do this!”
The Warden took a knee before him. “I do,” came the whispered reply, soft and sad. “They made their choice; and I, mine.”
A resident of the sleepy coastal town of Bexhill, East Sussex, England. Steven graduated in the summer of 2013 from the University of Southampton with a Bachelor of Medicine Degree and a Master’s Degree in Global Health from Sussex University – where he spent the majority of his time in Shawcross writing this novel!
In between writing and dreaming Steven is a medical doctor and has worked at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and the Princess Royal where he fights the system with quirky lanyards.
- If we were to come to your house for a meal, what would you give us to eat? KFC. I can’t cook and I love KFC, seriously. It’s good wholesome food!
2. Are you a romantic? I really used to be. I’ll tell you a secret, I believe the only thing worth writing about is love. I like to dress it up in adventure and mystery, but love is at the heart of all my writing.
3. Do you listen to music when you’re writing? Always. I like to listen to musical scores from movies to get me in the right mood. There is nothing quite like it, and songs with lyric quickly get annoying and repetitive especially if you are writing over a long period of time
4. Do you ever read your stories out loud? Sometimes, yes. It can be helpful and can help you sound out the issues and problems with your prose.
5. What are your future ambitions? Honestly, I don’t know. I know I want to make a difference, but I am not sure how yet. I would love to travel the world, Bruce Wayne style but I really don’t know how feasible that would be. I’d probably die in Nepal or something.