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Andi J. Katsina

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Rick & Wylie's Fantastical, Magical Adventures (Book 1)
by Andi J. Katsina   

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Books by Andi J. Katsina
· Gurk & Whale [The Rose Mane Arrows]
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Publisher:  KatsInc ISBN-10:  095557952X


Copyright:  June 6 2007 ISBN-13:  9780955579523

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The Indie Oracle
The Indie Oracle

A father and his daughter go to Hawaii on holiday. Pursued by an evil wizard they become separated. Entering a mystical, magical forest, they eventually reunite, and awake the sleeping kingdom.


Every few thousand years, true evil, the likes of which roamed the earth eons ago, attempts to rise up from the navel of the world, to once again instil its darkness and establish its reign.


Rick and Wylie’s fantastical, Magical Adventures, tells the story of a father and daughter, Rick and Wylie, who go on a week’s vacation to the island of Kaua’i, in Hawaii.


Wylie buys a bag of costume jewellery from a yard sale, to decorate a ship’s anchor, as part of a school project. Amongst the jewellery, is a small quartz pebble. Wylie asks her dad can she take it with her on vacation. Rick takes teardrop shaped pebble to the old traditional Chinese jewellers, near his L.A. studio, to have a ribbon threaded through the hole, so that Wylie can tie it to the inside of her pocket, to guard against loss. The jeweller, Mr Fang, says he needs to keep on to the pebble for a few days, Rick doesn’t let him.


Rick and Wylie have a great time on holiday. Friends come to visit them. They go to visit friends in Maui. In Kaua’i they go ziplining, they visit lots of places, and go kayaking.


On two separate occasions Wylie tells her Dad that she has seen the jeweller, Mr Fang, lurking about. Very concerned, he contacts his Production Company staff in L.A.. They go to Mr Fang’s shop to establish his whereabouts. Strangely enough, they are unable to find Fang’s shop, it has disappeared! They all become quite anxious about this, but with only a day left, they agree it should be okay.


On the last day, Rick and Wylie go on a boat trip, during which, Mr Fang can be seen on the cliff tops, screaming up to the heavens, screaming out to the ocean, as if controlling the elements. A storm ensues. The boat capsizes. Rick and Wylie are separated.


Wylie is taken by the magical, invisible Manini fish, to an underground seawater cave, where she meets the Forest Keepers, Cherub like people, caretakers of the Mystical Küpono Forest; a mystical, magical forest, deep within the island of Kaua’i.


The Manini fish, tell Wylie that she must wake up the Sleeping Menehune Kingdom, and that’s where her Dad will find her. On her journey, she passes from region to region, encountering many trials, and creatures. Wylie makes it to the kingdom, discovers the underground palace, and waits for her Dad to rescue her.


After the boat capsized, Rick began sinking. When he realised Fang was after the Wylie’s quartz teardrop, he took charge of it. Sinking, he remembers Wylie had said there was a name scratched on the back on the teardrop. He utters the name. Suddenly he is flying up in the air, in a little fluffy cloud. Rick zooms off to the a holy mountain in Tibet, it opens up, and Rick, in his cloud, plunge down, ending up on top of the sacred Mount Meru. It transpires that the cloud is the hat of a genii, a Meru Guardian, one of the guardians of the world.


The Meru Guardian takes Rick back to Kaua’i. His brother, and members of his Production Team, have come to Hawaii to join the search. Two of Rick’s friend, and his brother, return to Los Angeles, to try to contact the holy people from the sacred Mount Kailash monastery, who’s help they need in dealing with Mr Fang, who is a ten headed man-snake demon, in the form of an evil wizard, Wan Chu Fang


Rick and three friends go into the Mystical Forest to search for Wylie. The route they take leads to many trials and mishaps. In the kingdom, Rick and Wylie go down a dry water well to retrieve a stone key. It’s very hair-raising with bubbling lava on their tail. In palace, their friends remain in one of the grand stone chambers, whilst Rick and Wylie go along a passageway to insert the stone key into a stone disc. They hear a loud voice, claiming to be that of the Menehune king, asking them to come forwards and declare themselves…. It’s at this point that Book 1 ends, and book 2, with a whole new fantastical, magical adventure begins…


This is a wonderful story, enjoy, and have fun reading it, best wishes, And Katsina


The Brujax's Caldera

Wylie couldn’t relax, the downhill snow run she was soon to face was treacherous, and she was trading on naught but the reliability of her bark shield, for protection against the Brujax ice-fire pixie. She had a plan; she would climb out of the Ancient Grand Tree, and using the vines, would swing over onto a suitable rock protrusion. She would then work her way down the cliff-side, and settle on the rocks at the edge of the snow slope.

She’d been recalling all the fun times she and dad had enjoyed while skiing. He was a great skier, and he’d taught her very well. Rick and Wylie had had such good times on the snow slopes, they’d relished every moment of it.

Spotting her route down was nice and simple. She would take off from the rock ledge, which would provide a good fast launch off the cliff-side, setting her down, Wylie reckoned, just before the far end of the ice-glacier, at the foot of the upwards slope on the other side of the caldera, past the devilish Brujax’s heart.

From her observations of the glacier, Wylie figured the ice-ground was solid, and would be able to withstand the pressure of her set-down.. ..slam down. Not just that though, she’d be travelling so fast on her wooden bark shield, touching down on the ice should give her a great momentum boost, increasing her speed more than enough to send her snowboarding up the other side of the caldera. She envisaged that if there were to be any problems; that’s where the encounter would be.

Wylie wasn’t prepared to negotiate with her fears. She concentrated on the fact that her dad would find her at the Sleeping Menehune Kingdom. That thought alone gave her all the strength she needed. Reluctantly she began to climb out of the GaldernsBersnuh Ancient Grand Tree, using the vines to lower herself down onto the cliff-side where the tree roots were sunken in to the rock-face.

Successfully making it down to a rock outcropping, wide enough to sit on; Wylie began to arrange her bark shield. Greatly valuing its protective properties, it was extremely important to her that she didn’t lose her shield, she tied the vine leashes the cherubs had connected to the bark, around just one of her ankles. If she did come off her bark shield, it wouldn’t slide too far down the slope without her.

Knowing enough of the possible pitfalls, Wylie understood she was in a highly dangerous situation; it was a strange feeling, though she did have confidence in her physical abilities. After all, she’s brilliant at football. She’s a great dancer, everybody says so, she’s a young ace at martial arts, with lightening quick reflexes… but what felt so strange was that she wasn’t counting on any of that, Wylie was relying on pure trust and faith, and that alone.

Hesitating was a mistake, the same applied in any sport, she knew that to be a fact. Wylie tested the vine leash connection of the bark shield, she really didn’t want to lose it; it was secure. She prepared herself to go on the snow slope exactly the same way she did when she was with her dad. Wylie pretended that her dad had just skied across the Brujax’s caldera and was waiting for her on the far side of the glacier, on the slope below the other Ancient Grand Tree.

She was ready and just about to push off onto the snow when she thought she heard gentle chirping coming from behind her, from somewhere within the Ancient Grand Tree. Wylie quickly pulled back and leaned hard against the rock outcrop.

“Hhheelo, hhellooo?”

She spoke very quietly.

“Hheelo, birdie? Hi, birdie?”

She heard chirping again. Wylie was so delighted. It was one of the Spthaklepardins, a Quoolobaridin, possibly the same one she’d fed in the GaldernsBersnuh passageway.

“Hi birdie, say hello.”

The chirping stopped.

“There’s some food for you if you go in the passageway. I left it there for you, where we were in the passageway before, it’s still there for you if you’re hungry. I’m going now birdie, I’m scared, but I’ve got to go. Bye birdie, see you, bye.”

No more chirping, perhaps the tiny bird had gone to get its food. Wylie was very happy she’d heard it again. Remembering the size of the tiny bird’s wings, she thought of how amazing it was that such a tiny little bird could even carry such big wings. Looking across at her destination, the Odin Lani Ancient Grand Tree, Wylie pictured her dad calling to her, wishing her a good flight, she smiled, pushed off and got ready to launch off the cliff-side.

The snow was beautifully pure, and it was granulated very differently to what she’d skied on before. It wasn’t too tightly compacted, and it didn’t give way so easily to the underside roughness of her bark shield. Wylie concentrated on making the jump.

It was possibly within the same second that she pushed off onto the snow, that loud confused rumblings could be heard in the base of the caldera. Wylie could feel angry ragings beneath her feet and shield, she forced them from her mind as she angled further into the descent. The danger in the caldera was much worse than she feared. It was as if the Brujax was staving off an unconscionable attack of its heart.

Even so far up from the glacier, the snowy ground felt completely unsafe. The underground raging was spreading, infiltrating every part of the caldera Wylie was currently snowboarding down. It was a very, very bad situation. It was too late to cancel the jump, her bark shield glided onto the rock ledge, practically flew across it, overshot over the edge, and launched her high into the air.

Just as Wylie launched off the ledge, ice-fire pixies were rearing their ugly flaming heads, popping up through the snow all over the GaldernsBersnuh side of the caldera. There was so many of them. Wylie wouldn’t allow herself to be drawn in, nope, more than anything it was imperative that she concentrated on what she was doing, attempting to pass through the Brujax’s caldera.

For the time being, as short as that was, her elevation protected her, and completely confused the ice-fire pixies. However, the bark shield snowboard had been too slow going into the launch, Wylie hadn’t built up sufficient velocity, she wasn’t even going to get half way across the glacier, ‘ah gaw’d’!

Even so, Wylie would stick to the same plan. She’d touchdown on the glacier, gather up the near frictionless momentum boost, and continue on as far as she could. The most important thing was to be ready to scramble up the remainder of the Odin Lani snow covered cliff-side. If she could just reach the rocks, she’d be fine. Mind you though, that involved getting clear of enough of the snow ground so that the ice-fire flames couldn’t reach her, as they had done on the snow plain when the Brujax had iced her yacht shoe.

Wylie didn’t even attempt to look down, or glance back at the snow slope, or the emerging ice-fire pixies; firmly fixing all focus on her forward options. Sensing an intruder in the caldera, the ice-fire pixies were going berserk, burning through the snow, sniffing out possible sources of movement, and then just as quickly sinking back down into the Brujax’s icy hell fire, to once more immerge further up the GaldernsBersnuh snow covered cliff-side. The more they could discover no movement on the snow slope, the more raging the ice-fire pixie became, its flames simmering just beneath the snow surface.

There was still a chance Wylie could clear the caldera before being iced, because the ice-fire pixie was busy foraging in the snow on the GaldernsBersnuh side of the caldera, around the area she’d first pushed onto the snow. Hopefully by the time she put down on the glacier, which would be, to the devilish Brujax, the equivalent of a massive seismic tremor, she would have cleared the glacier and be almost up the other side of the caldera before the Brujax had time to pinpoint her exact location, yes there was still a chance of escape. Wylie stepped back in her airborne bark shield, and with her arms extended, leaned forward, she wanted take advantage of as much of the rock ledge lift as she could. She’d not done too badly at all with her down hill snowboard get away.

Realising it wasn’t going to be an easy touch down, Wylie felt panicked. She’d never skied on anything so rough, and going by the slowness of her launch, knew that the friction caused by the shield travelling across the glacier, in greatly reducing her velocity, was going to take a lot of distance out of her plan, leaving her short on the up hill race to the rocks.

Wylie braced herself and hit down hard on the glacier floor. She could hear the ice crack and splinter beneath her bark shield. That wasn’t a problem though, she was still going so fast; she’d be off the ice and leaving the cracks behind before the glacier floor began to give way. Suddenly Wylie began screaming with the on start of an almighty eruption from deep within the ice. It sounded as though the whole glacier was exploding. She could hear fractures and cracks cleaving through the clear ice-glacier, joined by a roaring avalanche of ice-fire flames crashing down the GaldernsBersnuh side of the caldera.

She’d given her position away, and the Brujax ice-fire pixies were hot on her tail. An experienced skier, Wylie bent her knees down to push at the bark shield and make it go faster, it wouldn’t, its underside roughness was working against it, instead of accelerating, the bark shield was decelerating… despite the monumental momentum boost she’d received from touching down on pure cold ice.

Wylie screamed again, louder, and for longer! ‘Ah gaw’d’, what was she going to do…? If she couldn’t make it across the glacier, and all the way up the Odin Lani side of the caldera, she’d be stranded. Wylie didn’t doubt that she’d be safe standing on her bark shield, the thing is though, she couldn’t stand on it, in the snow and ice, forever, without even moving an inch….

Trying to work out, she rapidly reviewed her situation; if her bark shield snowboard stopped too short, leaving her stranded with too far a run to get off the snow and onto the rocks safely… If she had to stay on the snow and stand on her bark shield and not move a muscle, perhaps after a while the ice-fire pixies would think there was no one on there, and retire back into the glacier, into the Brujax’s heart, in which case, she’d be able to get a little further up the slope on the Odin Lani side of the caldera… before she’d have to stop again and hide in plain sight from the wicked ice-fire pixies, again, and again, but would that tactic even work?

It was awful. She could feel her shield slowing down.. was still going relatively fast though, but not fast enough to reach the rocks.

“Please! Please, please! Don’t stop! Come on, come on, oh please!”

Without looking, Wylie could feel the Brujax gaining on her. The ice-fire pixies that had been searching for her in all the wrong places were at the bottom of the caldera now, and chasing across the glacier. She knew it way impossible to make it all the way to safety, they were too fast! But her bark shield had proven its resilience to the ice-fire flames, so there was that….

Without warning, about six metres up ahead, the ice burst apart, heaving open as a huge Brujax ice-fire pixie pushed it way up out of the glacier. Wylie was heading straight into the ice-flames, there wasn’t enough time or distance for her to change course.

A wall of cold blue ice-fire flames had spurted out of the Brujax’s heart. Big chunks of ice were thrown high, only to rain back down onto the glacier, smashing and denting into its surface. Wylie saw her chance and took it. Some of the glacier ice that had been ripped through and up heaved, had hit back down onto the ground in boulder size ice chunks, and lay turned at the exact angle necessary for a good take off.

Stripped of velocity to do any more than a near surface manoeuvre, Wylie positioned her bark shield onto the ice-blocks. Yes! ‘Yes!’ She took off well enough, increasing the lift by tucking her knees into her chest and grabbing hold of the bark shield with one hand, she then flipped over the wall of ice-fire flames, somersaulting in the process. So nicely executed, she survived the ice-fire onslaught!

Wylie’s bark shield didn’t quite clear the ice-fire flames though… mores the pity, it clipped the very top of the evil pixies’ flames as she was passing overhead, tipping the Brujax off. But fortunately it went after her in the wrong direction. The ice-fire pixies that had been clamouring down the snow slope, unified to form a giant ice-fireball. The fireball leapt and jumped and rolled across the glacier, joining with the firewall that had erupted out from within the glacier.

The fireball pixies sprang up the ice-firewall, searching for something to burn. Wylie had gone! The pixies were screaming in anger and frustration. The Brujax was raging, it couldn’t be bested, not in its own caldera, its hell fire abode. The pixie flames were clawing and pulling to climb up each other, to get higher and higher. The Brujax knew something had slapped it on its head… something must be up there, high above it. The ice-fire pixies were hysterical, their only object, to catch whatever had breached the sanctity of the caldera.

But sure enough, both the fireball pixies and the firewall pixies were jumping all over each other, so much so that before they knew it, the ice-fire had leapt up into the air, leaving nothing to connect it to the ground. The evil ice-fire pixies all freefell, back down to the floor of the caldera, they then scattered, maniacally, across the glacier, eager to do their worst.

Wylie was again descending into extremely dangerous and life threatening dire straits. She had resolved to meet the Brujax’s attack head on. As soon as she touched down, she would tiptoe as far as she could, away from her point of impact, and then crouch down behind her snowboard.. ..her bark shield, and stay there absolutely quiet.

She was breathing very heavily in and out through her mouth, as if preparing herself to jump into a pit of hungry puff adders. Wylie wouldn’t allow herself to cry, no, she had serious things to do. Still airborne, she started swinging her arms backwards and forwards, more forwards than backwards though, and each time she swung her arms forwards, she bent her knees down further, willing the board to stay in flight.

Looking up at the slope of the caldera facing her, there wasn’t that far to go to reach the safety of the rocks. She wouldn’t even need to get all the way up to the Odin Lani Ancient Grand Tree, in order to be safe, she just simply needed to get off the snow!

At least she’d cleared the glacier, the Brujax’s heart. She couldn’t wring another inch of flight out of her bark shield, and, descending rather quickly, was about to put down on a big thick pad of snow. Wylie checked out the fallen rocks, slid down over time from the rock-face beneath the Odin Lani Ancient Grand Tree; if she could just get to the rocks…. A landing was imminent, but she spared a quick moment to look up and check out the Odin Lani Ancient Grand Tree, having a much clearer view, she saw its branches and leaves, and vines hanging down, invitingly, it seemed to her. Wylie could see wisps of tree breath threaded in amongst the leaves, and then she could see her dad, a picture of him in her mind, his hand held out, and calling to her, encouraging her, helping her on and on. ‘dad, dad.. ..oh gaw’d, dad…!’

Micro-moments before the tears fell off her face and hit the snow covered ground, terrified, Wylie felt a slight jolt on the underside of her bark shield. It was as if she’d hit land, only she knew for sure she hadn’t, but was almost about to… perhaps there were more ice-blocks below her that she hadn’t seen.., that’s not possible, she’d been meticulously surveying the touchdown spot.

‘Wow! Hey!’ Wylie began to feel her shield easing out of the landing, and gaining a few extra feet in altitude. ‘Whooaa, hey, hey! Aaahhh!’ What was going on? She tensed and strained to keep her balance, fearing to look down. Although gripped by terror, it didn’t feel as though the Brujax had caught her….

For the briefest second, Wylie thought she heard.. ..’oh my gaw’d’, she did, she heard chirping, gentle, sweet sounding. She looked down quickly while keeping her balance.

“Aaahhhh, birdie! Birdie!”

Oh this was fantastic. She couldn’t believe it. It was too good to be true, unyet there was the tiny bird with beautiful wings that she’d fed, and left food for, in the GaldernsBersnuh passageway, it was a Quoolobaridin, one of the Spthaklepardins, the maintainers of the Sleeping Menehune Kingdom.

The tiny bird with huge, intricately patterned, iridescent wings; though this time it wasn’t on its own, there were more of them, many more! They’d practically joined wings and fanned out below Wylie’s bark shield, they were carrying her on the shield. Oh this was so fantastic. Wylie was shocked by the fact that they had the strength to carry her; the Quoolobaridins were such tiny little friendly things. She did remember seeing the bird when it spread out its wings, they were very, very big, beautiful looking, though oddly oversized for the birdie’s tiny body. Oh this was great!

“Thank you! Thank you birdie, birdies, all of you! Oh, thank you so much.”

Wylie was overcome with emotions. She didn’t know how many of the birds were underneath, carrying her on the bark shield, but she could tell that they were struggling to keep her airborne. She was becoming over excited with both relief and fear.

“Come on! Come on please, just a little further, birdie, please. Please, just a little bit further, to the rocks, oh please, please, the fire’s coming, please.”

It seemed as though the birds could understand her. She got the same impression from the bird she’d met in the GaldernsBersnuh passageway. Wylie appreciated their concerted efforts as she felt the even greater lift of her bark shield, she was clear!

The Quoolobaridins detached from the shield, and silently flocked away, leaving Wylie to sail the rest of the way, slamming down on the snow with only two or three metres left to the snow’s edge, where she could seek refuge on the rocks.

Wylie’s shouts of thank you to the Quoolobaridins who had helped her, was soon drowned by the evil sounding, deafening shrill, of the ice-fire pixies. As soon as she touched down, she leapt off the bark shield, which automatically flipped up, knocking against the back of her legs, it didn’t hurt her though. She’d completely forgotten it was tied to her ankle, thank goodness she done that, otherwise the second she jumped off it, it would have gone sliding backwards down the slope. Wylie easily sensed the fast approaching danger, and was in too much of a panicked hurry to collect her board. She ran with it strapped to her ankle, it was awkward, but that didn’t matter. She just needed to get onto the rocks, and then she’d be clear of the danger.

Wylie ran up hill as fast as she could. She tripped and fell forward in the snow, but began digging and scrapping, dragging herself along with her hands and feet. It was absolutely freezing cold. Her hands sank deep into the snow as she searched for leverage to pull herself along… just a few more feet and she’d be safe, well, she’d be off the snow at least. Hand over foot, Wylie was scrambling as fast as she possibly could.

Realising it had been outwitted, the Brujax became extra evil! All of it, ice-fire pixies as one, sped up the Odin Lani side of the caldera, chasing the slight vibrations Wylie, and her dragging bark shield were causing on the snow.

The slope was so steep, Wylie was more or less kneeling as she crawled up to the rock-face. She was ripping up handfuls of snow trying to get a decent grip on the hardened snow below. The Brujax was practically upon her, as her hands finally felt rock. She was almost off the snow. Sliding and pushing and pulling to get a hold on another dry rock, and then another, each time pulling herself further off the snow. She’d almost made it. There was a nice, small, round, flat boulder sticking out of the rock pile, to the left of her. She made a grab for it and then swung both legs up off the snow, and at the same time rolled onto the top of the boulder. Safe! She’d made it, ah thank goodness, she’d made it!

Wylie was safely off the snow, though still not safe enough. Her back was to the rock-face, and she was facing the Brujax. It was enormous, and it was very, very angry. The noise it was making made Wylie feel sick to her stomach. There was a shrill shriek, and a deep, deep roaring, all directed at her, all conveying the amount of hurt the Brujax intended to inflict upon her.

Not wanting to bash her shield, she silently, carefully leaned off the boulder, stretched her arm down and took a hold of it, pulling it up so that it lay on the same small boulder on which she was hiding.. a noiseless plain sight. The Brujax was sizzling at the edge of the snow, not so many metres from where she lay stretched out, exhausted, freezing cold and trembling, scared even to breathe, fearing the noise of it would alert the Brujax to her exact location.

The wicked ice-fire creature didn’t know precisely where Wylie was. It only knew that she’d invaded its caldera, skirmished its flames and ripped across its heart, and without a doubt remained somewhere within the confines of its caldera. The Brujax was insane with its obsessive intentions to mane, injure and ice whatever had dared to disturb it, especially by entering its own domain. This time it would not be giving up the hunt, and it wouldn’t be distracted. It would detect and ice whatever it was that dared to move in its caldera.

Wylie, a young girl age ten, hiding on the small, smooth stone boulder, had an overwhelming need to breathe out and take in deep breaths, to get up and jump around, force the feeling back in her feet and hands. She dared not though, and was too afraid to even lift her bark shield and use it for protection. She could do little more than lay on her back completely motionless.

The Brujax was motionless too. Wylie thought it looked so strange, its flames weren’t even flickering. It was listening! Detecting! Honing in! She must remain silent, she had to. The slightest move would give her away. Without looking, she worked out which was the top and which was the bottom of her bark shield; the narrow and boarder ends, where the leashes were, and where was the best place to stand it upright so that she’d get maximum coverage if she ducked in behind it. She began to think about this the exact instance she sensed something was extremely wrong, and life threatening. It was obvious that the Brujax was up to something… something exceedingly bad was about to happen, Wylie could sense it, though couldn’t imagine what it would be. She prayed that the Brujax definitely couldn’t come off the snow and climb onto the rocks… if it could do, she’d be toast the minute she moved.

Looking at the Brujax was terrifying, but she needed to keep her eyes on it in order to know what it was up to. With such little protection, she didn’t want any surprises, nevertheless, it came as a surprise just the same! The Brujax had already spread itself out a little, along the edge of the snowfield, facing towards Wylie and the cliff behind her. It suddenly began angrily, aggressively spurting a continuous jet stream of ice-fire at the rock-face! Wylie was so shocked and horrified, she was frozen by terror. As the Brujax spurted out the fire stream, it rebounded of the rock-face and almost instantaneously shot back at the giant, evil ice-fire pixie, becoming part of it again. There was no let up, and as soon as the fire retracted back into the Brujax, it spurted out more lethiferous flames at the rock-face, though this time, a few feet to the right. And then again the same thing happened; drinking in the rebounding jet stream, the Brujax viciously hurled ice-fire at the rock-face, more feet to the right, and then the fire chased back into the Brujax, becoming part of it once more. This happened again and again, with the evil pixie spraying the cliff with ice-fire flames, concentrating its attack on the rock-face, foot by foot. Sizzling any bits of snow that was there, and toasting the rock at the same time, disintegrating all that it touched.

Even being aware that it couldn’t see her, Wylie’s fear was still extreme; choking her and freezing her actions. The Brujax was methodically sweeping across the rock-face, burning everything in its path… and soon Wylie, with her bark shield, would be dead centre in the Brujax’s path. It was totally, utterly terrifying.

While Wylie had been hiding, laying on the boulder, looking up at the base of the Odin Lani Ancient Grand Tree, she’d seen its undercarriage clearly. If she could climb up to within reach of its roots, or vines, she’d then be able to make her way into the tree, into the greeny-blue tree breath. That’s all she needed to do to be safe. It wasn’t that far either. She’d also spotted a good climbing route to get her further up the rock-face.

The Brujax was still spurting and spraying its ice-fire at the rocks. It was getting closer and nearer. Wylie was finding it incredibly difficult to believe that the ice-fire pixie was actually causing so much destruction. She couldn’t believe that it intended to continue spraying the place with ice-fire. Surely if it couldn’t find her, it should have simply given up. Perhaps in the snow plain it would have done, but this was its home, and it was an evil wicked creature. It wanted to ensnare everything that entered its den. It wouldn’t be giving up anytime soon, especially not now that it knew it had been bested by whatever, whoever had cut across its heart; it had been Wylie, a lovely human girl, who by herself had so far managed to outwit the Brujax ice-fire devil. Unfortunately though, the Brujax, insane with rage, would rather bring its house down around it, than suffer the actuality of its domain being invaded.. anyone, or anything!

Wylie was unsure as to what to do. The Brujax was screeching and roaring so loudly, and its flames were making such a harrowing, crisp and sharp crackling noise, disintegrating everything they licked, she wondered if it would detect her movement if she made a run for it. When her Bark Shield had protected her in the snow plain, Wylie had been faced with nowhere near as much ice-fire as the evil pixie was currently spewing out, just metres away from her seat on the boulder. Stay or run? That was the conundrum.

The thing was, if she did turn and start to climb up the rock-face, even if the ice-fire flames only breezed against her, possibly a leg, or an arm, even a heel, she’d be very badly injured. She could lose a foot or… who knew what those flames could do. Wylie couldn’t risk it, because even if the Brujax didn’t ‘hear’ her climbing up the rock-face, its slightest touch would cause irreparable damage. And the way it was icing everything so indiscriminately, her only option was to stay put, not move, and face the flames.

Whilst the Brujax was burning, only a few feet away from her now, Wylie very slowly, without hardly breathing, bravely knelt up and drew in as far as she could, pinning her back against the rock-face. She quietly stood her bark shield up, the broadest end at the bottom, and wedged herself in behind it. She’d left no parts exposed, kneeling to the front rather than the side, so that the shield could cover the whole of her. Wylie pulled the top of it back, tilting it against the rock wall. It was an excellent fit, it afforded lots of protection. She was about to discover whether or not her bark shield really was as ice-fire proof as she prayed it would be.

‘Gaw’d, oh gaw’d, thank goodness’, it was ice-fire proof! Her bark shield withstood the fire attack. The Brujax still hadn’t identified Wylie’s exact location, and as such it hadn’t aimed its destructive ice-fire flames directly at her. Like the rock-face behind her, she’d been sprayed with fire, but the shield had taken the brunt of it, leaving her unscathed. Her bark shield gift from the Forest Keepers really was magical. Safe from the flames, she’d not felt a lick of pain anywhere, she’d not been burnt.. ..or iced. The Brujax though, was still carrying on its method. Roaring and screeching, and sizzling and burning, and icing, doing its damndest to do damage. It was a horrible evil creature and the only thing it wanted to do was destroy anything live and moving in the caldera.

Wylie heard the Brujax’s intention; each time it prepared to fire there was a loud gushing, hateful, slurping of an intake, followed by a rocket-boosting spurt of ice-fire against the rock-face. She desperately wanted to scream out, but it was as if she could feel her dad holding her hand and whispering in her ear; ‘you’ll be all right Wylie, it’ll be okay, don’t scream, it will be okay! You’ll be safe’. Wylie subdued the need to scream with gritted teeth and tear filled eyes. She wouldn’t scream out, and she would be okay… she would be!

She suddenly felt herself sinking! Thank heavens she’d been safe behind her bark shield. The ice-fire flames that had been crashing against the rock-face, has also been tearing it down, dissolving it, disintegrating it into rock dust. The top part of the boulder Wylie was still perched on had been saved, as she had been; both protected by her bark shield. However, the rocks that the small boulder had been settled on top of, had disintegrated fast into rock bits and dust.

Wylie, her bark shield, and what was left of the small boulder, began to sink into the hot dust and slowly slide down towards the edge of the snowfield terrain, along with the accumulating heap of rock debris and ash that was falling from the rock-face in the Brujax’s wake. She couldn’t take much more of this, ‘oh gaw’d no!’

Keeping quiet, pressing down on her bark shield, Wylie was slipping down towards the snow. But the more she dug her heels in and leaned backwards towards the smouldering rock-face, the slower she slid down… but then the deeper she sank into the rock ash pile. Given the circumstances though, sinking deep into a heap of smouldering rock ash was infinitely safer than sliding back down onto the ice-fire pixie’s snowfield. The Brujax was making minced ash and dust out of the cliff-side.

It was as if she was rapidly sinking in quicksand, only it wasn’t sand, it was hot rock ash. Everything on that side of the caldera was being converted into ice-flames and ash. The Brujax, with its ice-fire pixies were rolling to the right, as it continued its wide spread dispersal of ice-fire flames.

The air had become clogged with black ash, it was difficult to breathe in, and more difficult to see through. Under the circumstances, lack of visibility wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Not being able to breathe properly, Wylie was faced with having to muffle her choked coughs. And hardly being able to see the Brujax, that didn’t help either, she needed to be able to judge her running distance, how far away it was, and how quickly it could get back to her position. Of course the Brujax didn’t see anyway, it merely felt the tremors and vibrations. Wylie really was in extremely dangerous dire straits.

As the giant Brujax pixie continued its dastardly deed, a rock ash cloud greatly increased in volume to smother the whole lower side of the caldera, with a dark veil of soot. The heavier, burnt rock pieces floated down to the ground, the smaller, lighter disintegrated particles, remained in the air, making visibility nigh impossible.

Wylie lay still, in a very awkward position. What was left of the small boulder lay beneath her, crooked on its side. Her bark shield, as light as a feather, lay on top of her, with the half boulder jabbing into her back, even so though, she dared not move. If only she could get the Brujax off her scent, she’d be able to try for a rush up the cliff-side.

As she lay quietly, the disturbing sounds of the Brujax, as it refried some of the rockslide, reverberated throughout the caldera. The frightening sizzling and singeing and cracking of rock noises, as large sections of rock-face was totally disintegrated, crumbling as it split and fell into sharp little pieces, rang out, as Wylie witnessed the sound of total destruction, it was evil, it was hateful.

She was frozen with fear; the shrieks were so deafening, and the rumbling that followed gave Wylie the strong impression that all the ground around her was about to give way to a massive collapse. It was as if there was a full-blown, on high Richter scale, underground earthquake taking place, in extremely proximity to where she lay. But it was no quake, it was the maniacal Brujax! Suddenly something diverted its attention. And at this juncture, Wylie knew the only thing capable of distracting the evil Brujax, so as to draw it away from the complete devastating ruination it was visiting upon its own caldera, was the fact that it had sensed someone, or something else moving within its snowy domain. Wylie felt a tremendous sense of relief….

She’d been considering whether or not the Brujax would be sweeping back across the base of the now ashen cliff-face, to conduct a second ice-fire burn. She heard the wicked pixie flush up into a great giant ice-fireball, and roar off towards the glacier, at top speed; it whooshed, crackled and sizzled across the ice-floor.

If she could only be sure it wasn’t a clever, dastardly, evil trap. She was by then well aware of how easily the Brujax ice-fire pixies could immerge from beneath the snow. Even so though, making a run for it, she’d still have a good head start up the cliff-side. Ah, but if it tried to torch her… it only needed to reach her foot to do the damage… ‘oh gaw’d’, what was she going to do?

Wylie stayed silent where she was, listening for other signs, trying to determine whether the Brujax had genuinely been distracted, and was off hunting some other movement in the caldera, or whether it was laying in wait beneath the snow.

Without warning, a sweet sound carried down through the smog to Wylie’s ears. ‘Oh gosh’, it was a cheerful chirping sound, made by the little Quoolobaridin she’d fed in the GaldernsBersnuh passageway. Perhaps there were more of the birds, flocked together, it sounded like it. She could hear faint chirping noises, quickly drowned by ferocious, avaricious, vicious ice-fire maniacal maulings.

She was exceedingly grateful, and prepared to take all the help she could get; the Quoolobaridins didn’t need to offer twice. Wylie twisted on her hands and knees, on the burnt rock and ash, and in doing so sank further down into the smouldering, hot rock remnants that had accumulated at the base of the cliff. She rapidly scampered onto her feet, throwing her bark shield across her back, and with no time to spare, ran at the rock-face. Each step sinking her, a foot or more, into the ash pile. As she was trying to move forwards, Wylie was sinking and sliding downhill, backwards.

‘Ah gaw’d’. She prayed she wasn’t making too much noise. It was exceptionally difficult to discern the source location of sound in the caldera, over and above the reverberating wails of the devilish Brujax pixie, she was on the lookout for signs that the Brujax had detected her exact whereabouts. Trying to move uphill through the deep rock ash was a good deal worse than when Wylie had to climb, hand and foot, through the deep snow, onto the rocks, immediately after her snowboard touchdown. The ice-fire pixie had since reduced those very same rocks to a coarse, sharp, hot powder. Try as she might, her progress was slow!

Wylie had seen for herself just how short the Brujax’s attention span could be. Although having said that, it had seemed to fixate itself fully on the rock area beyond the snowfield, her general location. She knew the Quoolobaridins’ distraction was the best chance she was going to get. The Brujax could be heard ranting way over on the GaldernsBersnuh side of the caldera. If she failed in her attempt to take advantage of the birds’ presence, and climb out of the caldera whilst the ice-fire pixie was so distracted, she didn’t doubt that it would take her a very, very long time, and a great deal of patience, to get clear of the snowy domain.

She threw herself down on the ash and belly crawled along it. It was horrible. It was in her hair, in her eyes, in her mouth, her face was covered in ash, so were her hands, and her clothes, it was everywhere, and she was breathing it in, to boot. Wylie had to breathe and move as quietly as she could. Crawling was working much better than trying to run or walk through the ash pile. She dragged herself through the soot build up quickly and quietly, until she could feel the ash giving way to hardened rock. Excellent! This was it, home run….

Like a beautiful Phoenix, Wylie rose from the ashes, and gripped on to the burnt rock-face. She was smack bang in the centre of the thick ash cloud, and visibility was extremely poor. Fortunately though, Wylie had already mapped her climbing route, moments before the Brujax had launched its deep-frying attack on the rock-face. It was an easy route, and for someone as agile as she was, with care, she could make her way up cliff fairly speedily. Given the circumstances; the fact that she was privately choking for air, and could barely breathe, and was fumbling her way through a dark cloud of rock ash, Wylie was doing a super fly job of scaling the cliff-side.

She could still hear the Brujax. Its tone had altered. The distraction was over. It sounded as if it was on its way back across the caldera, to the snowfield edge, and Odin Lani cliff-side base. It was racing and whooshing as it fired down the far side of the caldera, to the glacier and across. Wylie, once more panicked, stuck to the same route, climbing faster and gaining altitude, quickening to get out of the Brujax’s ice-firing range.

Wylie thought she was clear, although she had no idea just how high the Brujax ice-fire pixies could climb. Earlier, on the glacier, when the rolling ice-fire ball had smashed in to join the ice-fire wall that was barricading her way, she’d seen the ice-fire pixies leaping on top of each other, climbing pretty high, but in a most disorganized, chaotic way, consequently crashing back down to the glacier floor. Perhaps the Brujax, currently reaching the snowfield edge of the cliff base area, was bringing with it renewed interest, and as such, would be inflamed and raging enough for its ice-fire clutches to reach great heights, perhaps….

Concerned that the Brujax may launch another ice-fire attack against the rock-face, higher than she’d believed it was capable of reaching, Wylie was under tremendous pressure she kept her mind solely focused on the climbing route she’d mapped out.

There was a lip of rock protruding a couple of metres above her, it was a good size ledge, so if she felt the Brujax was getting to close for comfort and was capable of reaching a height that would put her in danger of coming into direct contact with the ice-fire flames, she could stop, take up a position on the ledge, and fix her bark shield for maximum protection. On second thoughts though, the way the Brujax had been toasting the rock shale and lower part of the cliff-side, she would probably be better off not seeking refuge on the rock overhang. Plus there was a real danger that due to the sheer amount of damage the Brujax had already caused to the rock-face, the overhang would simply cave in on itself, due to lack of structural support from the toasted rock-face below. No, Wylie’s best course of action was to continue climbing, which she did at an ever-increasing pace.

The Brujax, constantly parading along the Odin Lani side of the snowfield, didn’t immediately launch an attack. Wylie was fortunately too far up the cliff for it to detect her movements. However, even though it couldn’t detect her, it was still raging with the sense of an unwelcome presence in its caldera. It was a hateful fiery devil, and as unpleasant a characteristic that selfishness is, the Brujax exuded it, in abundant quantity. Wylie climbed even quicker.

‘Ah, thank goodness’, finally, finally…! Wylie caught a side-glance of vines dangling down from above. They were too far out in mid-air for her to stretch and catch onto one, but it was a beautiful sign; in the dark and sooty air, she knew there wasn’t that much further to go. The decimated rock had settled, and the smog had partially lifted, being still very cloudy a foot or so off the ground. Wylie’s view of the caldera was very clear, except for where the smog was thickest.

The Brujax had spread out along the edge of the snowfield, and was intermittently snapping and lashing at the rock-face and ash and debris pile at the foot of the cliff Wylie was in the midst of scaling. There was no way it could reach her, no way! Even so, she was taking no chances. The Quoolobaridins, at no small risk to themselves, had helped her out of an exceedingly tight spot, she was sincerely grateful, and fully intended to repay both them and herself by getting out of the Brujax’s caldera ASAP.

Bingo! Wylie’s small hand came into contact with a fossilised root node. She reached the underside of the Ancient Grand Tree, ‘oh yes! Yes, yes, yes!’ She’d almost clear of the Brujax’s grasp, almost safe. Although she wanted him to be there, her dad wasn’t, but she knew he soon would be. At least until then, the greeny-blue tree breath afforded her a good element of safety.

Relief was spidering throughout Wylie’s body. ‘Just a little bit further, that’s all, just a bit….’ Scaling the cliff had been a fantastic feat, it was extremely steep, and high, but she’d done excellently well.

She could see the vibrant greenness of the tree breath lingering overhead. During the climb, her body had been rigid with fear, and as exhausted as she’d been, it was all melting away as she climbed into the Mystical Küpono Forest tree breath. Without a doubt, Wylie was safe, although she did still need to get completely off the cliff-side and into the Odin Lani passage, in a quick step too.

Given the degree of fire damage the Brujax pixie had caused to the rock-face, Wylie couldn’t be sure that the whole cliff-side wouldn’t simply, suddenly disintegrate, dragging her, the Ancient Grand Tree, and the rest of the rock down with it.

Wylie quickly side swung onto a root cluster. She got firm grips on it and hauled up, pulling herself up by the roots. As soon as there was a vine in arms reach, she grabbed hold of it. It helped her to get good footing, and practically walk, at an obtuse angle, the rest of the way up the roots and trunk, so that she was then free to grab hold of the tree branches, using them to swing and climb higher up into the tree.

She knew exactly what to look for, but the thickening of the greeny-blue tree breath told her she’d already found it; the entrance to the Odin Lani Ancient Grand Tree passageway through to the Odin Nani Plateau. Wylie had escaped the fiery clutches of the Brujax ice-fire pixie! She was safe, and still on her way to the Sleeping Menehune Kingdom. ∆

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The Complete Wardstone Trilogy by M. R. Mathias

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