Fantasy Science Fiction posted March 22, 2024 Chapters:  ...26 27 -28- 29... 

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Theo seeks help from across the mountain.

A chapter in the book Return To Concorde Valley

The Sorcerer's Hut

by davisr (Rhonda)

Years after a fire took her parents lives and devastated her home, Echo worked at a small town newspaper. She was rescued from danger by her old friend, Theo, who took her to a new life in his world.
Last Chapter:

"Why didn't they go get Theo? He would be much better at this than me."

"He's gone to the valley beside us, called Carack. They used to be our enemies long ago, but are friends now. They were once ruled by Hades, and so Theo's trying to see if there are any old priests around who could find a way to defeat him."

"That's smart."

"That's what Rebecca said when he came by late last night. Oh, and he said to tell you, hi, when we saw you, and that he loves you."

"He said that?"

"Actually, no, but Rebecca said he should have," Phillip said. "He did say to look out for you and keep you safe."

"Which we aren't going to do."

"Not if we go in that cave after Hannah."

"Which we will."

"I plan to."

Echo took a deep breath and leaned against the cave entrance. "I still don't know why I was sent for. I would think anyone in your family would be more qualified to help than me."

New Chapter Begins:

Theo trudged down an overgrown path in the valley of Carack. He clutched an inadequate torch, trying to fend off the moonless night. The closer he advanced to the hut of the sorcerer, Mageia, the darker it appeared to get.

As he drew to the door stoop, he detected a putrid odor emanating from the house and surrounding yard. He hoped Georgois had been wise when he recommended he visit the old magician. His brother seemed certain Mageia would have advice on how to defeat Hades, a god who had once ruled Carack.

Shuddering from the cold and his own dark thoughts, Theo knocked on the aging door. Even this brief touch made him shiver.

Theo heard shuffling and then a voice.

"Who approaches the home of Mageia?"

"It is Anthos, son of Phoebus, King of the Two Valleys."

"By what authority do you come?"

"That which was given to me by my father."

"Then enter."

The old door creaked inward of its own volition.

Theo took a deep breath and stepped inside. He must appear self-assured with this former minion of Hades.

"What brings you to my humble home?" Mageia asked. He motioned with a withering hand for Theo to sit across from him at a table, the only furniture visible in the small hut.

Theo took the offered seat, trying not to stare at the roaches scampering about.

"I came for your assistance, old one. Our valleys are about to be attacked by your former master, and I seek a way to defeat him."

Mageia narrowed his eyes and stroked a stubbly chin. "He's a very powerful enemy, son of Phoebus, one you should think carefully about taking on at any level."

"The decision was not mine." Theo dropped formal address and fell into the common language. "To be frank, I'm not the one who picked the fight."

"You always have a choice, young man," Mageia said. He, also, chose to drop formalities. "And there are others who might be more qualified to take on this battle."

"You know, I'd love to leave it to people older and more experienced," Theo said, "but I've received a mandate from Mount Olympus to either find a way to defeat him, or surrender both our valleys."

"And you think you can do this?"

"Not alone. I know enough to realize I need help."

"My help?" the old man asked. He gestured with feigned helplessness. "What can I possibly do to help a strong man such as yourself?"

"I only need information you might provide." 

"And what makes you think I have anything worthwhile to tell you?" Mageia leaned back in his creaking chair as though distancing himself from the conversation.

Theo noticed the gesture and leaned in. His voice grew calm, almost a whisper, forcing the curious magician to listen closely. "I was told by my father's captain, Georgios, that you're on our side. He asked me to mention him by name."

Mageia slowly eased the chair back to the table. A gentle light began to glow in the old man's eyes. "Georgios and I have worked together for years to help rebuild Carack after the destruction Hades left behind. He's a good man."
"He's my brother."
"I know, but not all brothers work as a team."
"We do."
"I see that, but why are you standing in your father's place and not him? He's the eldest."
"Yeah, by a longshot." Theo couldn't help but chuckle. "But, he doesn't want the position. He was truly glad when our father started having more children."
"I can see that in him. He's the type to work hard and let others take the credit."
"That and he says he doesn't like politics."
"Do you?"
"Not really, but I do want to be a leader, so it goes with the territory."
"Well, I don't know much about you, but Georgios' name gets you credit in my books."

"Then you'll help us?"

"I might," Mageia said, "if I think there's something I might get out of it."

"I would be willing to pay you handsomely," Theo said.

"Riches are what Hades always offers, young man." Mageia looked sternly at Theo. "If that could have bought me, I would still be with him. It was the desire for material things that led to the destruction of this valley. You'll have to do better than that."

"What do you want then?" Theo asked.

"Legitimacy," he replied. He leaned his elbows onto the table. "I want to be recognized for my wisdom and to have a chance to be heard by kings and princes."

Theo nodded understanding. From what Georgios had said, Mageia was held in high esteem in the former regime. "What position do you think would give you recognition?"

"I want to be a member of the King's Council," he replied.

Theo's eyebrows raised as he shook his head. "That's my father's closest advisors. I'm not free to choose his councilors."

"But you told me you're here with his authority, didn't you?"

"I did, but it's only temporary."

Mageia responded quickly. "You don't know that for sure. He's gone and we don't know when he'll return. As far as I'm concerned, you're the king, and if you want my help, you know the price."

"Let me explain what I need from you first."

"I know what you want," Mageia said. He shook his head impatiently. "Hades has taken control of Mount Olympus. He did it two days ago and he's holding your parents along with the other gods.  You want me to tell you his weaknesses so you can defeat him."

"How did you find out about the revolt?"

"Wisdom belongs to the aged, young prince, as do contacts. It's why you came to me, isn't it?"

"I came because I was desperate."

"Desperate men don't come alone to a sorcerer's house in the middle of the night. You came because someone you trusted sent you here."

"That's true, and I apologize if I've made you feel misjudged," Theo said, "but how do I know you don't still serve Hades in secret?"

"You don't, nor do I know if you weren't the one behind the coup. There are enemies on both sides of Concorde Mountain."

"I guess we'll have to trust each other."

"That we will. Now, what about my position on the council?"

"I'll grant it, if you give me useful information."

Mageia stood and began pacing the room. With withered hands and bent legs, he leaned heavily on a cane. Suddenly he stopped and pierced Theo with a glance.

He drew in a chestful of air and began to speak in a voice so clear and strong, it took Theo aback.

"There are two brothers, twins. They're the sons of Nyx, Queen of the Night. Their names are Hypnos and Thanatos."

"Sleep and Death," Theo translated. "Are they gods?"

"No, they're above the gods," Mageia said. He waved his arms wildly. "And they're very dangerous beings."

"Then why should I ask for their help? They sound worse than Hades."

"They have no love for the god of the underworld, for personal reasons."

"Aren't they on the same side?"

"Not at all, but you'll have to ask the twins what enmity lies between them and Hades. For now, it doesn't matter. They're the only ones powerful enough to end his reign. He's always been terrified of them."

"How can I find them?"

"I don't know. Only the Twelve Olympians have that information. I just know of their existance and what they can do."

"I have Hermes helping me," Theo said. "He's one of the Twelve."

"Yes, a good ally, that boy," Mageia agreed. "How did he manage to escape the rebellion?"

"From what I understand," Theo said, "he has his ways."

"Then get him to tell you where they are. Better yet, take him with you."

"I'll try," Theo said, "but if they're as dangerous as you say, how will I approach them?"

"The same way you do any beings of power you need a favor from. You must bring a gift."

"What kind?"

"Something so precious it hurts to give it away," Mageia replied. "In that way, you'll always remember they helped you."

"I don't have much that would fit that category," Theo said. "Like you, I'm not very materialistic."

"On your journey, you'll think of something. To go empty handed will incur wrath rather than aid."

Theo sized Mageia up. He looked old and frail, but his words were strong and his mind clear. There was something, in spite of his past associations and the condition of his home, that drew Theo to him.

Mageia spoke. "I want you to know, I never completely served Hades and for that he hated me. He still does. Now, what about our deal?"

"In absence of my father, I'll take the chance and grant you a position on the council. You've been more than helpful. Is there anything else you need?"

"Just for you to be successful, King-son," Mageia said. "Our valley has not completely healed from the damage done it under Hades' reign. Dawn has broken while you were here. On your way out see what has become of our land. If you fail your mission, this is the fate of all Earth."

"Then I must not fail." Theo bowed his head in acknowledgement. "Thanks for your help."

Mageia nodded his gnarled head and opened the door for his prince to leave. Theo patted him on his filthy back as he passed.

Climbing on the back of the great, roan stallion, he headed towards the pass in the mountain that would lead him home. As he went,Theo let out a call to the wild horses in the area. Several responded with their own piercing reply. He instructed them to get a message to Hermes to meet him in the garden outside his house, that is if he was back from his own mission.

Theo did what Mageia suggested and took a good look at Carack Valley in the growing light of morning. As always, it was desolate and depressing. Once a valley as beautiful as Concorde, it was brought to ruin by an abusive society.
As the last view of Carack filled his eyes, Theo spotted life returning to the ruin. Hope had begun to refill a valley long devoid of light. He had to make sure that hope had a chance to flourish, and that such destruction be kept from the whole of Earth.


A special thanks to Sally Law for the artwork of Theo.

Book Summary so far:
Young Echo Jones is overlooked by First Responders as she hides in a wheat field during a house fire. Both parents killed in the fire, she escapes into an ancient forest behind her home. Alone and afraid, she meets up with a young boy, Anthos, nicknamed Theo, from mysterious origins that tends to her while searching for help.

20 years later, Echo is working for a newspaper called the Taylorville Sun. Among other duties, she investigates a serial killer who has now struck in her small town, and covers the opening of a new mega-store, Super Handyman.

After gathering all she needs on the store opening, she meets up with Bessie, an elderly columnist from the Sun who has an inside scoop on the death of the woman killed in their town. Bessie tells what she knows about the night of the murder, and sends Echo off to go back to work.

Echo arrives at the Newspaper, where the Christmas party has already begun. Before going in, she finds an envelop addressed to her. In it are pictures of the dead woman and Echo. The newest member of the police department, Tony Bradley, shows up to take her statement. He is, immediately, suspected of being the serial killer Echo is investigating.

At the end of the party, a parade of her friends set out to follow her home and keep her safe. After a series of unfortunate events, she ends up fleeing across ice and snow to trees she hopes to keep her safe. She's confronted by Specters who try and take her hostage. Theo, her childhood acquaintance, shows up to save the day.

After a battle outside Echo's apartment complex, Echo and Theo have fled through the trees toward his homeland, Concorde Valley, an undisclosed place near or within the Great Forests of Southern United States.

Theo takes Echo into Concorde Valley where she is tended to by Phoebus, Theo's father of many roles. He patches her up and sends her with Theo to meet the family.

There, she is taken on a walk through a magnificent flower garden Phoebus planted long ago and tends. Afterward, she joins part of the family for a luncheon.
The luncheon turns into a food fight, which Echo enjoys, but thinks is a bit odd for a royal family.
Theo receives a missive from the 12 gods, via the rascally Hermes, instructing him to free the gods being held captive on Mount Olympus and defeat the enemy Hades.

He is also, asked to find the missing god, Apollo, who had joined humanity to live as one of the mortals.

Echo begins her own mission after one of Hannah's rabbits draws her to find the missing child.


Echo Jones: Young girl left stranded by a fire that took her home and parents in the first part of the book, then as an adult, she's an investigative reporter for a small town newspaper.

Theo: Named Anthos by his parents. Protagonist of the book, and Echo's love interest..

Specters/men in dark clothing: Minions of the Enemy. Have eyes that turn red when they're angry. Can appear as normal humans, serve the Enemy.

Kitty Sunshine, aka Sunny: Echo's Russian Blue cat

Theo, A nickname for Anthos: An 8-year-old, of mysterious origins, who finds young Echo in the forest and tends to her needs. We see him later as a grown man who rescues Echo once again.

Georgios: One of Phoebus' Captains. Theo's half brother

Phoebus: King of Concorde Valley, Theo's father
Diantha: Queen of Concorde Valley, Theo's mother
Poseidon: god of the Sea, Theo's grandfather
Hermes: messenger god, warrior, boyish charm; Theo's 2nd cousin, one of the ruling 12.
Apollo: Hermes' elder brother, sun God, and more. One of the ruling 12. Currently on sabbatical.

Rebecca: Theo's 25-year-old sister. She's married to Henry and has a baby Caitlyn
Henry: Rebecca's husband.
Adam: Theo's 21-year-old brother
Phillip: Theo's 17-year-old brother
Helen: Theo's 10-year-old sister
Hannah: Theo's 7-year-old sister who loves animals and can talk to them in their own language.
Mary: Rebecca's mother-in-law and a woman who is like a grandmother to the kids.

Mageia: Old Sorcerer who lives in Carack Valley. Used to work for Hades.
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