Excerpt – The Glass Apple

The area around the fiery hearth was empty of people as they moved away to give Myrrdin a performance area. Several had gone up the stairs and leant down over the long balconies, staring down towards the fireplace. The sense of celebration had gone as the word spread that the Guardian of the Forest was to repeat the prophecy, and an expectant silence had settled over the group. Aiken, sweat pouring down his brow, had finally escaped from his kitchen as he, too, came to hear the Wiseman speak. Of Gaira there was no sign, though she could have been hidden by the sheer number of people in the inn.
  Myrrdin did not stand. He sat by the side of the fire on an old upturned barrel. He neither looked at nor acknowledged his audience as he sat studying his hands. Jason sat only a few feet behind him, staring at his back as he waited, like everyone else, to hear this story. Around him people began fidgeting, and then muttering, as Myrrdin’s silence continued. Jason was about to call out to him, to prompt him to get him to speak, when a sharp wind whipped past his face, startling him as it extinguished the candle on his table.
  Around the room this wind travelled, whistling dolefully as all candles across the tables were extinguished. Within seconds, the only light came from the fireplace. Orange, amber and red shadows danced with devilish glee above the shoulders of the villagers as they nervously glanced around them.
  Myrrdin stood, and as he stood the fire itself began to go dim, and soon only the faintest silhouette of him remained, hardly visible in the darkened room. The nervous muttering began to get louder.
  “Be still.”  Myrrdin’s voice, strong and intractable, silenced the room room. “I speak the prophecy of the Glowing Ones, the Peaceful Ones. I speak the prophecy told to me by Taliesin who went before.
“When the black wheel of Oppression
Comes to the western shores
Defence will be bitter and Sustained.
Even predictions prove costly
And the young shall fail through adversity
Love betrays the aid it gives
Even as it saves.
A boy shall come unbid, unseen
A light from beyond, two birds in flight,
And steel is his name and gift.

“When the sharpened blades of oppression
Cut the flesh of the western shores
Defence will be bloody and bodies unnumbered
Will line the sealer’s coves.
Follow the steel of the two birds in flight
Fight in the innocent’s shadow.
Draw blood in the name of the young.
Love saves
Even as it betrays
Two birds become four
The curse a gift
The gift, a curse.”

  A silence hung in the inn then as the words, half understood, half feared, hung in the smoky air. The fire behind the figure of Myrrdin, whose shadow had only seconds before dominated the whole room, flared into life once more. 
  “And is this the boy?” asked Cináed quietly, looking over to where Jason sat. “Is this the two birds in flight, whose name is steel?”
  “Jason,” said Myrrdin gently. “Stand.”
  Jason stood, Anna in his arms. He knew the words. He knew the meaning, and knowing it, he wanted to run, to run as far and as fast as he could.
  “You were given a name, Jason,” said Myrrdin. “And a gift.”
  “...I was.” He placed Anna on the ground; she wrapped both arms around his legs.
  “Tell us,” said Cináed. It was more command than request.
  “The Gwyllion, they...” he drew forth his blade. The simple, incongruous plastic yellow handled kitchen knife. “They gave me...well...powered this...I don’t know...” he took a deep breath. “They named me Crowanhawk Yellowblade. This is the blade of my name.”
  And he burst into tears. 
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About The Author
 Robert Franks was born in norfolk, England. His father was a dairy farmer, his mother a nurse and his sister a frequent sparring partner. Brought up in the middle of the Norfolk countryside, he grew up with JRR Tolkein, Anne Macaffrey and Alan Dean foster for company. Oh, and 12 dachshunds, a welsh collie, two pekinese, a great dane, two bassett hounds, innumerable farm cats, a rabbit hutch of both rabbits and guineapigs,a golden pheasant, some chickens and a rather cantankerous old goose.
He wrote from an early age, completing his first full length novel at the age of 15. It was never published, but certain characters never went away, and have resurfaced in his most recent books, The Glass Apple Series.
He worked as a shop manager for many years, and his writing was put, for the main part, to one side.
The first three chapters of The Glass Apple were finished way back in 1997, but again work took priority. In the winter of 2009, he was made redundant when his shop was closed. Since then he has returned to his first love, writing. 

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