Chapter 1

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Please note: I am updating this draft of The Prisoner of Arlunn. The most important change is that the main character's name has been changed from Philip to Rian.

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1

Darkness hurled around them, surrounded by the cold of the Void. Rian Pierce Bross couldn't breathe; his lungs felt crushed. He could scarcely feel his little brother Kyran's hand in his anymore. Time seemed to halt. And his stomach told him that he was falling. The Arlunni had told him it would feel like that, but not to be alarmed.

As suddenly as it began, it ended. Rian almost lost his balance as they met the ground with force. For a moment, he stood there dazed. They had arrived at the world of Chuness, capital of the Seven worlds of Cathal. He had never dimension-traveled before; this was his first time.

Rian was from Earth--Nebraska, to be exact.

He let go of his little brother, Kyran's hand. Kyran, who was a small, pale, ten year old boy, had been born an albino. But, of course, in the past 24 hours they had learned that he had not been born at all--but made.

And Kyran had been through enough for one day.

Because the boy was small and quiet and seldom showed emotion, people sometimes mistakenly assumed that Kyran had very few. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as his older brother knew. Kyran could be passionate about things that interested him, curious about things that were new, and angry at those who didn't understand him. When he was angry, his grey eyes sometimes turned slightly red. But events had overwhelmed Kyran and now he stood passive. Looking every bit the helpless human child.

There were seven in their group that arrived in the teleport atrium in the center of the Eye, the busiest place on Chuness, adjacent to the Palace. Flowers planted in neat rows lined the sides of the beautifully tiled walkways. Guards stood in uniform at the entrances to monitor who came and left the city.

Three Arlunni guards escorted Rian, Kyran, and their Aunt Aldena Jade. With them came Anya, Aldena's adopted daughter.

And while Rian had never left Earth--and hadn't known that he could--Aldena had been born and raised here--in the Eye, on the world of Chuness. She was no ordinary Aunt. She was tall--as tall as Rian, who was now seventeen, according to Earth years. She didn't knit or sew. She didn't bake cookies. She didn't have a cat. Her house wasn't neat and orderly. It was neatly stacked with piles of books, papers, and collections of artifacts.

His aunt Aldena had brought her foster daughter, Anya. The girl had been with her less than a year, but it seemed like a good match.

Aldena and her brother, Corey (Rian's father), had gotten lost years earlier, falling through a portal to Earth. Ten years ago, Corey had been murdered by the necromancer Molan who had followed them to Earth. The wizard used Corey's death to create a magic-spawn, a nexus for the mage's power. But the spell had been interrupted and the magic-spawn never bonded with Molan.

The magic-spawn had grown up on Earth as Rian's brother, Kyran.

"This way," said the Arlunni guard, Ehina. She led the way. Rian followed her closely as did Kyran, Aldena and Anya. Ehina's sisters came up in the rear. None of the palace guards challenged them, but let them pass.

Rian caught up with Aldena. His stomach was in knots. He had thrived for years on tales of fantastic worlds: Narnia, Hogwarts, Middle Earth and yet the thought of making his own great journey frightened him. He still had another year of high school, which he would never finish—not that he'd rather be there than here. High school sucked.

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