Guardian of the Gauntlet by Lenita Sheridan
Length: 256 Pages
Camari and Mila are two sisters who are princesses and live in the kingdom of Harroway. One day they encounter Prince Denir from the kingdom of Thalon. He was given a special gauntlet that has special powers, but only when used by one who has a belief in a higher power. One day he turns Camari invisible. A problem occurs when Denir is called off to war and Camari is left invisible. There is an enchanted bog witch named Bogwina and a wicked magician named Mecandel who are conniving to steal the gauntlet.
In the Sendior Mountains, two kingdoms away, lived a magician named Mecandel. His heart was filled with wickedness, but his power was weak. He was a short man of stocky build with cinder-black hair and virulent eyes of an indistinguishable murky color. As the first son of a wealthy baron he enjoyed enormous riches. He owned an estate in Lower Sendior, which he left his wife, the Baroness Fallo, to rule. Fallo had been promised to Mecandel in an arranged marriage. She was a simple, gullible woman, the only child of a neighboring baron and had inherited her father’s estate, which comprised the whole of her dowry. Fallo had brought the estate to the marriage and Mecandel, the means to keep it up, for it had been foundering and wrought with debts. Mecandel soon tired of his wife and her simple ways and went to the mountains to strengthen his magic. He had a great black tower built which he furnished mostly with bookcases full of spell books and paraphernalia for making magic such as dried ripplewort, an orange berry that only grew in the mountains of Sendior, and locks of hair which he had snatched from persons of royal blood or whom he suspected of having sorcery in their ancestral line.
The tower was four stories high and had a circular staircase running up the inside. Mecandel had designed the top floor as a prison. His diabolical mind had designed the room, complete with chains and manacles hanging from the walls.
After two years of studying and practicing spells he had not much success. The only thing he had the power to do was to change the color of things, and so far he had found little use for this. He had a carrier pigeon as his familiar. A sorceress had enchanted the pigeon. In actuality, it was a bog witch from the Wetlands of Fremil who had been doing mischief and had gotten on the wrong side of the sorceress by turning her brother into a slinget, an amphibious creature from the Wetlands. If the witch had known of the connection, she would never have done so, being a somewhat cowardly bog witch, for now she was doomed to life as a pigeon.
As an enchanted pigeon, Bogwina could talk and served as a stool pigeon and resident eavesdropper for Mecandel. On one of Bogwina’s eavesdropping forays, she learned about the gauntlet and its magical powers. After hearing this she flew home as quick as she could, entered an open library window and lit on the sill. Mecandel was busy reading a chapter entitled: “Garlic and Onions: Nine Easy Spells to Thwart Your Enemies.”
Bogwina flapped her wings to get his attention and then told him what she had seen and heard.
“I must have this gauntlet. Bring it to me!” Mecandel commanded.
Bogwina protested that the gauntlet would be too heavy to carry in her meager beak.
Seeing the logic in this, Mecandel said: “Very well, then, we must lure it to us.”
They then formulated a plan to kidnap the Princess Mila.
Bogwina flew about the tower in the mountains squawking: “The time is right! The time is right! Princess Mila is left unprotected and Prince Denir is off to war. We can capture her and he will come to her rescue. Then we will have the gauntlet!”
“Yes,” said Mecandel, “but how shall we lure her up here?”
“A false message! We shall say the Prince has been taken captive here!”
“No, you stupid hag! Then Camari would come, too. I don’t want two silly Princesses on my hands. I want the sweet thing all alone.” He laughed wickedly and rubbed his palms together. “I shall have to leave my tower and fetch her myself. I shall use my powers to camouflage myself so that I can sneak into her kingdom undetected and then I shall catch her unaware and bring her back here.”
Bogwina was swiftly winging her way to Sendior. Mecandel had already made his way down the mountain and saddled a horse at his manor house. He had almost reached the border between Sendior and Palinoth when Bogwina flew up, getting his attention by flying in circles around him and squawking loudly.
“What is it now, you pesky fowl?” he demanded.
“You must change your direction. The Princess Mila is leaving this evening for Harroway.”
The sunset was already streaked across the sky. Mecandel took note of this and snapped: “You bird wit! It already is evening! I must make for Thalon now.”
“Don’t forget,” Bogwina added nastily, “Your head is wanted in Thalon for that silly trick you played on their water supply, making it blood red. I’m afraid they didn’t think it quite as funny as you did.” She squawked again. “You are known. If they see you, you will be arrested.”
“You forget yourself, featherbrain, I can disguise myself.” He thought a minute. “But suppose we meet them at the border.”
Bogwina lit on his horse in assent and squawked: “Right then, we go.”
Mecandel brushed his hand at the bird, causing it to fly off and yelled: “You lazy twit! If you had a thought in that measly pea brain of yours, you’d know to scout ahead. How am I to know where the Princess is otherwise? Now go, or I’ll put ashes in your seed!”
Bogwina flew off to the southwest, toward Thalon, and Mecandel kicked his horse into a run in the same direction.