Have you ever wished you could step into a fantasy world and
get lost in it? Have you ever wished that you could live in that world forever?
Well, that's exactly what Kate Byron wanted. She wanted nothing more than to
live in the world she created, live the lives with the characters she had
dreamed and written about all her life. Her wish is about to come true.
When Kate's best friend and the love of her life moves away,
she is devastated. When she realizes that her story, the one that her best
friend helped her create, is no longer possible without his companionship and
love, she stops writing it and resolves to live in the real world, a world she
doesn't fit in.
While resting by the river where her and her best friend
used to spend most of their time, a man comes out of the mist. At first she
doesn't believe her eyes, for the handsome man of her dreams is only a
character on paper. Soon she realizes when he touches her, that he is indeed
real. Mystral is falling apart he tells her. Mystral is the world she dreamed
about, the world she created, and she needs to save it at all cost. But will
that cost be too high? Once crossing through the veil, will her dream world be
everything she hoped, or will she discover that it holds far more pain and loss
than she ever imagined?
Take a Peek:
Kate sat on the bank of the river,
dipping her toes in the ice cold water. The thick stand of trees stood mighty
and majestic over her, and the light summer breeze blew the loose strands of
her hair, which was long again. The morning sun shone down on her chestnut
hair, the highlights shining. She hadn't been here in awhile, almost three
years, and she only came today for escape and reminiscing.
notebook she had written her story in for almost her entire life sat closed at
her hip. She had taken it out to read over her work again, work she hadn't
touched since Ben left. School and jobs took most of her time, but she missed
just wasting time here, listening to the rapids rolling by. An occasional boat,
whether row or motor, slipped past her, the occupants fishing or just enjoying
the swiftly flowing waters.
tipped her head back so the rays of the warm summer sun touched her face,
closed her eyes to revel in the contentment of the lazy morning. She should
take the time to come here more often; it was peaceful and quiet, and her
thoughts were not jumbled with the stresses of everyday life here.
heard a sound to her left and opened her eyes, dropping her head back and
looking around. She was sure she heard footsteps but came to the conclusion it
was just a bird hopping around in the underbrush looking for worms or seeds.
She closed her eyes once more.
heard the sound again, more pronounced this time, too heavy to be a bird or
squirrel. She was letting her imagination run away with her, swearing she felt
a presence near her. She opened her eyes just to prove she was imagining
things, but to her surprise she was not alone. She sat up straighter, startled.
was a man there, a young man, who seemed familiar to her although she knew
she'd never seen him before. He stood about six feet tall, had muscular arms
and legs, a flat torso, and his eyes were a light color of sea green which she
could see even from a distance. He made no moves toward her, and she got no sense
of danger from him; he simply stared at her, absentmindedly peeling a
leaf. He was dressed oddly, long-sleeved
tunic type shirt tucked into black leather tie-front pants, and even from here
she could tell how well they fit. His hair was neatly trimmed, and he had just
a hint of facial hair, as if he hadn't shaven for maybe a couple of days. He
was extremely handsome, and she felt her cheeks flush with heat as he stood
there and gazed at her.
a few minutes, he broke the silence. “It is amazing that I found you here
today. I have been waiting for a long time for you to return. It has been
awhile since you have sat on these banks.”
do you know that? Who are you?”
know who I am, Kate. I know you have not forgotten me entirely.”
laughed. “I should. After all, you created me.”
stared at him. Once he said it she knew who he was. She laughed at herself. It
was impossible of course. She was obviously dreaming, and she admitted it was a
good one. “This is a very vivid dream. I’ve never been in one this realistic.
It's almost as if you were standing right here, almost like I could touch you.”
can.” He moved closer to her. She felt she should back away from him, but
something in his eyes and the way he moved made her pause. She felt no malice,
no evil. She felt more at peace at this moment than she had in a long time.
When he reached her side she could see his features up close. Face to face he
seemed older than first glance; lines on his face made him look a bit weary.
Only the brightness of his green eyes, which dazzled in the sunshine, kept his
young features in check.
you do not believe what you see, touch my face. Feel my skin under your
fingers. I am here, just as you are.”
reached out to touch him, but pulled her hand away as if burned. He took it in
his and brought it to his cheek. She could feel the smoothness of his skin,
despite the stubble, and the warmth of it. She stared into his eyes, and this
close, she could see herself reflected back at her.
never had a dream so real that I could feel another person's skin, feel another
person's breath on my face. I don't even remember falling asleep.”
are not asleep, Kate. You are awake. The sensation of our closeness should
impossible. You’re a story, a fantasy.”
yet with each page you felt we were more alive.”
I am, but I am real as well.”
haven't written for years, haven't thought about you in a long time. How could
you be here?”
you think we would just fade away into oblivion because you left? We have been
born, grew, and have lived our lives according to your will. You have given us
life, but things are changing. If we cannot find a way to fight the evil that
is coming we will eventually fade away into nothing, and eventually we will
cease to be.”
looked down at her notebook. A shiver raced up her spine at the inconceivable
notion that her story had come to life. “Why are you here?”
need your help, Kate. Faldor has grown strong. He has decided that his brother
should not sit on the throne and will do anything to have it, no matter the
cost. With the help of an evil sorcerer and black magic, he has begun a
campaign to usurp his brother from the throne and take over the kingdom. I need
you to help me stop him.”
stared at him, eyes squinted in the light of the sun that had shifted positions
since she had arrived. She felt his presence just as she did the trees and the
water. She wanted desperately to believe that he was flesh, but he couldn’t be.
He was just the imagination of a silly girl who felt most alive when creating
worlds that only she could see. But she was no longer a girl, and imaginations
did not belong to grown-ups.
going to sit back down and close my eyes. When I open them again, you’ll be
gone, faded from my memory like only a dream does.”
grabbed her arms and looked into her face. “I have come to find you, Kate, to
tell you that we will all die if you do not help me turn the future around. We
cannot fight alone. Things have gone too far. Erryk has tried to talk Faldor
into turning away from this path that can only lead to suffering and death, but
he will not listen. He wants the throne, and he will get it if you do not
can I help?”
can come with me. Help me turn things around. Help Erryk vanquish his brother
and save his throne and his kingdom. The kingdom of Mystral
do you mean come with you? You’re pages in a notebook. I can’t come with you.”
you can. Let me show you.”
felt her heart sing at the thought of being in Mystral, of seeing things as
clearly with her own eyes as she could see them in her mind. See the beauty of
the land, the majestic mountains, the thick forests and the sparkling waves of
the sea. See the castles of Mystral, gray stone structures with breathtaking
panoramic views, endless gardens and powerful armies. She shook out her muddled
head. She wanted desperately to go but refused to give in to what could only be
can’t go. I have a life here.”
but can you live your life without us, without the world that brings you peace
in your heart? We are a part of you, just as you are a part of us. Help me,
Kate. Come with me.”
stuck out his hand for her to take, but she could only stare. The real world
that surrounded her seemed to shimmer with mist, started to take on a different
look. She felt as if she were stuck between two places and couldn't make either
one come into focus. She tried to make her body move in one direction or the
other, but it would not cooperate. She felt like she was outside herself. She
closed her eyes and swallowed, opening them again, hoping something would
become clearer. She saw him, standing there looking sullen, his face conveying
a fear that hadn't previously shown in his eyes or heard in his voice. She
moved closer to him, taking his hand in hers, closing her eyes again. She could
still feel his touch, his closeness to her, and the smell of him, soap and
leather. His hand wasn't as rough as she had imagined, but she could tell by
the feel of them that he was a warrior. She wanted to wrap her arms around him
and feel her body against his, but she didn't, she wouldn’t. She opened her
eyes again and he was still there, still holding her small hand in his larger
one. His green eyes up close were more hypnotizing, and she wanted to get lost
in them forever. This was the man she wanted, the man she needed in her life,
but he had never come, had never made himself a reality in her life. She remembered
back to an afternoon similar to this one, when she thought for sure someone had
been watching her from the opposite bank. She was certain she saw someone, but
when the mist had cleared, no one was there. Could he have been there that day?
She wished he had shown himself before, but he was here now, and Kate decided
to take a chance.
do you trust me?”
answered before thinking. “Yes.”
didn't say another word. He led her to the edge of the river, the water’s sound
ringing louder the nearer she got. He turned slightly west and passed a tree
that she was sure wasn't there before. They walked hand in hand, never uttering
even a sound as they wended their way down the riverbank and out into a
clearing. She stopped.