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Bryn’s Quest: The Search for Clun’s Treasure
Editor: Katie Hines
Line Editor: Les Tucker
Cover Designer: Kaytalin Platt
Bryn, the only son of Niles and Daryd Cernwn, Lord and Lady of Clun, has been raised unaware of the curse that hangs heavy on his noble family and their fiefdom of Clun, a county in Wales.
Frustrated by his father’s overprotection, and determined to prove himself, Bryn sets off on a quest written of in his grandfather’s long-hidden journal. At the onset of the quest, Bryn forms an unlikely partnership with a serf named Simon.
Simon and Bryn’s friendship grows as they match wits with the Woman of the Wood, and Bryn is imprisoned in her forest cottage by oakmen guards. The boys’ bond is sealed when they realize their desire for the same ideal.
Bryn’s mother, the Lady Daryd, who in truth is a dryad (a tree spirit), has left the castle in search of her son, but is soon found by the Woman of the Wood and Herne, who are in the midst of a battle for power. It is up to Bryn to face them in order to help his mother escape. Alas, unable to flee, Lady Daryd sacrifices herself for the land and transforms into the oak tree of her spirit, leaving Bryn to continue on his quest. With the help of the Green Man, his father, and Simon, Bryn finds the dark star and ends the curse that has blighted the land.
Bounty returns to Clun and the people of the fiefdom celebrate Bryn as a hero. Bryn has what he sought; his father’s praise and recognition, but at the cost of the loss of his mother.
The Search for Clun’s Treasure is a story of how our past affects our future, and how the values of love, respect, and responsibility affect our lives and the earth we live on.
“Hear my words, my son.” Lady Daryd worked to smooth her dress though no wrinkles creased it. She took a seat in the emperor chair nearest the window and motioned for Bryn to sit beside her. Instead he crossed his arms, holding the journal as before.
She began, “Long ago, the king bestowed upon your grandfather, Cedric Cernwn, the position, and title, of Marches Lord, guardian of the border between England and Wales. In celebration, your grandfather made sure that the upcoming Michaelmas, the harvest feast day, would be the biggest ever—and it was. To celebrate his newly given kings’ authority, your grandfather invited the lords and ladies of our world, and those of the spirit world to the castle.
“The feasting continued long into the night. Your grandfather became so besotted during the festivities that he imagined himself equal in power to the rulers of the spirit realm. He demanded to join the Autumnal Hunt of Herne, the forest lord, lord of all the beasts that roam the land, the sky, and the waters. Herne jeered at his request and leaped upon his spirit mount. His brother, the Green Man, lord of all that grows, tried, as was his nature, to keep the peace, but neither would listen to him.
“Herne charged skyward into the night, pursued on horseback over the countryside by your grandfather. Hurling insults into the air, your grandfather chased onward. Herne grew tired of your grandfather’s tirade and swooped from the clouds, rousting him from his horse. The Green Man laughed at their folly, but that served to further enrage your grandfather and he swore he’d see the spirit lords, Herne and the Green Man, humbled.
“He vowed to prove he could affect the richness of the land and the spirit of its creatures as much as those lords did. And so, during the dead of the night, your grandfather did a secret thing; a thing that proved to have deep, lasting, and terrible consequences.
“No one from the court knew what he had done until a fortnight had passed, when an imposing bard, dressed in the heady green of the forest’s treetops and the deep shade of its bowers, appeared in the castle’s courtyard.
“With a rapt audience, the bard accused your grandfather of stealing something precious to the land; it was known as the dark star. Its magic conveyed bounty onto the land and inspired generosity among its people. The bard foretold of a curse that would blight the countryside and remove all memory of its previous riches, if the star were not returned by Hallows Eve. And then the bard revealed himself to be none other than the Green Man.”
“A dark star? A forest lord? A Green Man? Next you’ll tell me that unicorns gamboled on our hillsides. Paah! Mother, I’m too old to believe in fairy tales. And Grandfather wrote nothing of what you say. He spoke of his search for the dark star and wrote of how once it was found, the blight upon our land would end. Why would Grandfather embark upon a quest to find this dark star, when he’d stolen it in the first place?” Does Mother think me daft?
“I would take all that is written in that journal with a grain of salt. What I have told you I know to be true. The Green Man, who had seen to the land’s care, could not bear to witness the effects of the curse. The sight of the afflicted land wounded him, so he left Clun, and as foretold, took with him the memory of what Clun once was.
“And scoff though you may; to my greatest sorrow, the unicorns, which did roam our forests, followed after the Green Man. It is my hope that one day they both will return.” Lady Daryd fell silent.
“You seek to plant doubt in my mind so I’ll give up my quest. But I won’t be put off. I will find this mysterious star of Grandfather’s.” Bryn turned and stalked toward the arched doorway.
“Bryn, mayhap this quest calls to you. Sometimes, we can know the truth only if we seek it ourselves,” sighed Lady Daryd.
At her words, he stopped, turning to face his mother.
She unclasped her pendant, a twining triangle of silver leaves that had always lain at the base of her throat. She held the charm out to her son. “Take it. It is a talisman of some power. Its leaves hold the strength of the oak tree, the power of the ash, and the healing protection of the rowan. It will tell me of your safety, and you may find it of no small use during your quest.” Bryn came forward and allowed his mother to slip the pendant over his head where it fell on his collar.
He picked it up, peering at the charm with a doubtful eye. “What do you mean it has power? It wields magic?”
“Many are the forces that surround us; some call them magic,” said Lady Daryd. “What do you know of magic, Mother?” asked Bryn facing her gaze. He was unsettled when, instead of his own reflection, he saw within her eyes the reaching branches of a slender tree.
“Open yourself to more than what stands before you. Only then will you find the truth.”
About the Author:
Jan Milusich is a writer, a reader, and an avid day-dreamer. By day she is a mother of three children and a teacher for the blind and visually impaired, and by night or any time in between she is a weaver of words, a teller of tales. She enjoys sharing her love of words with children and has facilitated writing programs designed to encourage young writers.
Author's Other Works:
Off Go Their Engines, Off Go Their Lights (picture book published by Dutton Children’s Books)
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