Vision of the Griffin’s Heart by L. R. W. Lee @lrwlee
Up in the hot, stuffy attic, Andy knelt before the trunk and peered at its contents, praying it held the answer.
Abaddon has overcome the sting of Methuselah once and for all. Imogenia’s comment kept nibbling at the edges of his mind, and he had found it hard to focus on much else since his return from Oomaldee a week ago. The portent had caused hunger to flee, sleep to go AWOL, and a serious case of the grumps to overwhelm him.
King Abaddon, the evil sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor Hadession, had regained eternal life after walking into the phoenix’s pyre—Andy had witnessed him rise from the ashes. A light-headed feeling engulfed Andy, for Methuselah had been the only way to defeat the nemesis.
Making matters worse, the powerful wizard, Fides, had transformed into Abaddon’s dark assistant in the same flames. It had been Andy’s idea to honor the mage in death, uniting him with the phoenix he had devoted his life to serving, but the sentiment had gone horribly wrong. Somehow, Abaddon had commandeered Fides as he awaited his choice of destination in Cromlech’s afterlife. Having witnessed the wizard’s power while battling Abaddon’s then-mage, Andy knew the sorcerer would be a force to reckon with.
Andy slumped his shoulders, giving in to the feeling of helplessness, then rubbed the back of his neck. How is it even possible Methuselah can’t hurt Abaddon anymore? Andy shook his head. But grandfather agreed with Imogenia. If Methuselah can’t kill Abaddon, what will?
Andy lifted the trunk’s upper tray containing the black leather holster with purple crest, the small parchment decoder scroll, and the unsigned note he had disregarded, precipitating the sudden end of his first visit to Oomaldee. Setting it to the side, he scanned the fifteen scrolls populating the second tray, unsure which one to seek council from.
He found a scroll he had not yet taken time to translate. A detailed drawing filled the bulk of it: a triangle with the gold key, Methuselah, and a ball, respectively, at its three corners. Nope. I don’t think that’s going to help. Moving that aside he found A History of King Abaddon, which he had translated, along with a scroll recounting the history of Hadession and two more about alchemy. While they had proven illuminating in some parts and horrifying in others, they did not begin to answer his current quandary. He set them aside along with the ornate scroll depicting the family tree.
Prophecy of Deliverance. The title halted his rummaging. He pulled the parchment out and secured the corners with Mario Kart and Pokemon Stadium, which stood watch with the rest of his outdated games and game systems at the top of the attic stairs.
Andy began to translate:
The enemy borne from within appears, casting shadows, darkness, and fear.
He avenges without pity,
makes the Land’s inhabitants quake;
chaos and destruction
ravage in his wake.
Blind to the troika’s beacon,
a glow pierces the night.
Light and dark must wrestle long,
the struggle waging strong,
to see which rises victorious,
and whether there’s a dawn.
Andy’s stomach clenched. This is supposed to be a prophecy of deliverance? What’s this even mean? ‘The enemy borne from within’ has to be Abaddon since he was born in Oomaldee, but defected. And he’s definitely caused plenty of chaos making folks afraid. But what’s the troika’s beacon? And it sounds like there’s going to be some big battle with the outcome not guaranteed. Andy swallowed then wiped sweat from his forehead.
“I need some air.”
Andy flipped off the light and descended the unfinished stairs. Cooler temperatures embraced him as he neared the landing, and he let out a breath he had not realized he held. He paused to listen for anyone approaching, but hearing nothing, he pushed open the door.
Mom and Dad’s voices wafted into the hall as he neared their bedroom.
“Moving is not the solution, Fred.”
Andy paused outside their door. Mom and Dad were again discussing a plan Dad had championed since the zolt attack that brought about Andy and Mom’s most recent trip to Oomaldee. Maddy stepped from her bedroom, noticed Andy crouched, and approached.
Andy tapped his finger to his lips and motioned for her to stop on the opposite side of the doorway.
“It took them a year to find us, but I’m sure they’ll hunt us down again and I don’t want to be nomads just waiting…hoping,” Mom reasoned.
Dad objected, “The kids need a secure and stable home. Maddy’s had nightmares. I’ve heard her.”
“But your company…we can’t just pack up and leave.”
“Then what do you propose?” Dad’s voice rose, then dropped as he continued, “I’m afraid for us.”
Madison’s eyes opened wide. This was the first time she had heard their conversation.
One week later, as Andy looked out an upstairs window, he saw a chest materialize in the front yard next to his mailbox. He ran down the stairs and out the front door, swooping to pick up the prize he hoped would bear better news. Mom and Dad were both at work and Madison was out in the backyard reading—he and his sister had free run of the house as they enjoyed their summer vacation.
He dropped the box on the kitchen counter. The delicious smell of warm chocolate chip cookies brought a smile to his face as he pulled up the top.
“Mmm. Thank you, Marta!”
Two envelopes stood behind a stack of cookies. Pulling them out, the first one bore his name in messy printing. Alden. On the other his name appeared in neatly written calligraphy. His heart fluttered like the butterflies that took flight in his stomach. Yara. Andy had met Yara, the princess of Cromlech, during his recent trip to Oomaldee when the healer, Hans, spearheaded a mission to rescue her from Abaddon and his minions. The two future sovereigns immediately hit it off, and more than a bond of friendship took root. There was no contest which letter Andy would open first.
You left so suddenly. One minute we were hearing that banshee wail and the next you’d vanished. Alden tried to explain, but I still don’t understand. He said you don’t live here most of the time, but he doesn’t know where you and the queen do live. He also said you probably wouldn’t be back for a year. That’s so long.
“Too long,” Andy agreed.
There’s been no sign of Abaddon, which surprises me. The King says he thinks he’s preparing an attack or something sinister. It worries me, but until we know more, there’s no point in dwelling on it. Well, not much else to report. Write soon. I miss you lots.
Andy remembered how she had felt in his arms for the brief seconds he held her while the banshee shrieked. A sigh escaped and he reread Yara’s letter twice before moving on to Alden’s.
You sure disappeared quick. Yara was really upset and made everyone freak. It put a damper on the celebration, but I know you don’t control when you come and go. The King tried to reassure everyone and keep the festivities going, but when the queen disappeared, too, there wasn’t much that could be done.
The King tried to hide how upset he was, but I could tell. His smile looked stiff. Hannah says she senses his sadness since the queen left, and that makes her sad, too. You and your mom sure do lead weird lives!
Andy chuckled at that last comment, but his laughter faded quickly as Alden’s words settled. Yara’s reaction had upset other guests. He reread the princess’s letter, longing again washing over him.
Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5
Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.
Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!
If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more.
5 Stars! – “A marvelous book in a great series!” – Erik Weibel (Age 14) This Kid Reviews Books Blog
“Readers of this series have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles, and on an epic scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.” – Richard Weatherly, Author
“One of the admirable qualities I like about the entire series is seeing Andy’s growth from a self-absorbed kid to a more thoughtful teen as he learns how to deal with the various crises which face him, all the while knowing that the future may hold unpleasant consequences. The watchword for Vision of the Griffin’s Heart is “courage.” – Wayne Walker, Home School Book Review
OTHER BOOKS IN THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES:
Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks.
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Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
- R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series.
- R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.
L.R.W. LEE INTERVIEW
- How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson? Did he just pop into your imagination or did you specifically develop him?
Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.
- How did your experience with building a business help with your writing?
It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.
- Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?
I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.
- What do you love the most about writing for young people?
Young people are moldable. My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.
- Which part of the creative process is your favorite? Least favorite?
Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing/revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.
- How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?
Usually about 6 months.
- I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why?
I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.
- Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy?
Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.
- How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?
I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that J
THE DEPTH OF THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES
If you’re an adult looking for a clean series you can sink your teeth into, Andy Smithson is definitely it! In it I develop four layers simultaneously: 1) Andy Smithson in Lakehills, TX 2) Andy in Oomaldee 3) the Afterlife 4) a meaning layer. A few examples to demonstrate the depth…
Symbolism is used extensively (a couple examples):
- The fog of the curse symbolizes blindness and oppression.
- The magic key unlocks doors, brings stone statues to life, as well as revives. Put another way, it symbolizes bringing forth, opening up, and revealing (aka taking responsibility).
- Methuselah is not only a weapon and helper, but also represents justice as it divides good and evil. Consistent with life, justice requires diligence to uphold.
Names are also important in this series (a few examples):
- Andy means brave or courageous.
- Alden means helper.
- Hannah means favor or grace.
- Imogenia means blameless.
Alchemy used throughout the series (a few examples):
- Alchemy played a significant role in the development of modern science. Alchemists sought to transformbase metals into the gold or silver and/or develop an elixir of life which would confer youth and longevity and even immortality.
- In the series, the first instance of alchemy begins with the gold weavers, Max, Oscar, and Henry, spinning straw into gold to manufacture the wealth of the kingdom.
- The four elementals: air, earth, fire, and water are then seen on Methuselah’s hilt.
The titles of the books manifest yet another layer of meaning and reveal Imogenia’s evolution.
- Beginning with Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Imogenia is furious at what has happened to her and she fuels her emotional hurt.
- In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Imogenia turns venomous (or spiteful) and cunning in seeking ways to continually punish her brother.
- Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor has Imogenia act in a manner disgraceful to the honor of royalty.
- In Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace we see Imogenia’s grace reborn as she begins to reflect.
- In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Imogenia realizes she is gripped by hatred and distrust she has harbored for so long. Unlike griffins who choose to trust others, Imogenia cannot yet make that leap when it comes to her brother.