How to Read

On a phone:
Swipe, or tap the edges of the page

On a laptop:
Use the arrow keys, the space bar, or the touch pad

On a desktop:
Use any of the above, or the scroll wheel

Basically, everything works

The Dark Harp A Fairy Tale

J. Scott Bradley

“All Shadows,Whisper of the Sun.”

Emanuel Carnevali

Prophecy of the Black Lion

Do you hear that sound? The shrieking? Someone is playing a violin on the other side of the iron fence. Over the hillside. Down the lane. Oh, my solitude now disturbed.

Today, the sun shone bright. The leaves blew in the cool wind. What a perfect, beautiful day. Yet, a child dares come outside and play the sounds of havoc and chaos. String instruments are the worst. I can tell this little one doesn’t appreciate or grasp the instrument’s power. The tone wavers. The pitch is off.

To my dismay, I have to pay for lack of practice and such callousness playing. The sound shakes me to the core. The noise ripples right through me.

Alas, this awful hack of Ode to Joy is not the worst I’ve heard.

Oh, kind and gentle soul, I can tell you a story about an ominous sound that brought an entire kingdom to its knees. My name is Maven and I promise you won’t forget. Take time and listen. This is not the traditional fairy tale with King and Queen, vast armies, knights on horseback, and honor and duty. Sure, I’ll hit the high notes. You need all that stuff in a fairy tale, but this story is different. It’s real life. There is no happily ever after in real life. Right?

Still, I promise you will love this yarn of yesteryear, please just give me a chance. Maybe, if you listen closely, you will learn a thing or two, maybe even how to dance.

Before we get started, I want you to know a little about me. This is my story, and I think these details are important. My kind isn’t like you. Everything is black and white to me. There is no yellow, green, or blue. My body changes drastically. These fingers of mine bend and contort. My teeth grow long and sharp. I can even disappear. Yes, I scare people. On a late-night walk, you’d be afraid to cross paths with me in a dark narrow alley or out in the open.

Because of what I can do, some think I’m a monster. Being scary is a curse. Not everyone wants to talk to me. Sometimes, I get frustrated by it. Wouldn’t you?

What I’m about to tell you is how I came to be. It’s about the life I don’t think much about anymore. My kind lives between the spaces now. This place between worlds is where the strongest of us hide. What does that mean, exactly? What are the spaces?

Okay, I’ll get to that, just not right away. I don’t want to skip to the end because it’s a surprise. And what kind of storyteller would I be if I skipped over the journey? If I did that, I betray the story. I have to take you there slowly, carefully. Otherwise, you wouldn’t understand. You might not even finish.

That is the problem with you people. You make rash judgments. It’s who you are, unfortunately. Who is beautiful? Who is special? Who is not quite right? You answer far too quickly, always jumping to conclusions. This makes me sad.

I only wish some would take the time to walk in another’s shoes. Understanding makes the world a far better place. If your fingers bent backward and you couldn’t come outside at all to play, you might be a bit upset too. That happens to me. Sometimes, contorting limbs happen every day of the week, including Sunday. Terrible things shouldn’t happen on Sunday. It’s the day you’re supposed to eat hot fudge, drink cola, and play hide and go seek.

And the child can’t hit the right notes! How I wish the shrieking sound would end. My claws grating against rock and stone sound better. Yeah, I can block the racket out. I was a prisoner once. I’m used to terrible symphonies.

So, enough of the chitchat. Where was I? Oh, I never really got started did I? Let me try again. This is a tale of heroes, villains, and a mom who loved her little boy more than anything in the whole wide world. It happened long ago.

You see, I am old. Far older than you. I was so young then but still remember. Even now, I can see the greatest hero of an age greeting his new army inside Castle Silver Throne. A glorious moment when the sun finally poked through the hazy grey clouds. To this day, I’ve never seen the fiery ball glow so bright. My kind continue to celebrate and sing about the day the world changed.

I’m getting ahead of myself, skipping to the end again. We have to start at the beginning when all is not so rosy. Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived a Duke who ruled over the tribe of Silver Throne. I have no idea where this story takes place in today’s world. You see, I’m not good with maps. My kind doesn’t read much.

What I can tell you is a bunch of warring tribes fought over stuff back then. Each led by competing Dukes, one for the tribe of Butter Creek, Insa, Glastonbury, and so on. Some fought over water. Others fought over olive trees. People even fought over old shoes.

After trying for a long time, the Duke of Silver Throne finally captured a knight wearing stone armor who had the power to see the future. It was a rare gift and could turn the tide in battle. Eventually, the knight became known far and wide as the great and all-seeing Oracle. I bet it’s hard to capture one who could see the future. If the Oracle knew your every move, how would you go about setting a trap?

For the hunt, the Duke found a sword cast from a rare metal. Everyone called this weapon the Harmonix Blade. Why? I’m not sure, but it was real powerful. He trapped the Oracle with it!

So the Duke built a big castle and with the help of the sword locked up the seer of fortunes inside the dungeon. In exchange for telling the future, the Duke promised to let the stone clad knight see the stars for eternity or forever, whatever came first. This was a hollow promise. I’ll get to that later.

After reaching an accord, the Oracle foretold the Duke that he’d have a son named David. The boy would one day conquer the known world, uniting all the warring factions and defeating the Tribe of the Golden Hand. These raiders ran around wearing bones and screamed far more than necessary. I don’t want to know where they found all the bones. I’ll leave that to your imagination, probably best that way.

But this conquering came at a steep price. Nothing in life is free. You see, the Oracle predicted a warrior known as the Black Lion would rise to change the kingdom forever. Shadows would creep across the land. Peasants and noblemen vanishing into the night, that sort of stuff. Silver Throne would be no more.

Upon hearing this, the Duke erupted in rage. He demanded his captor change the prophecy! I know how he feels. I know rage! That child keeps plucking at the violin, driving me crazy. Someone needs to teach the scrawny kid how to truly play the instrument. Practice, practice, and more practice.

Nobody wants to hear the truth especially if they don’t like what they’re hearing. The Duke waved his sword back and forth but was careful not to let the metal touch the floor or ceiling. It emitted this low and noisy hum. Bone-chilling. Despite all the threats, the Oracle refused to change a thing. I don’t think prophecies can be changed.

So, the Duke taught his son how to fight and prepared him to become a great warrior raised for a single purpose, to unite the kingdom and end the Black Lion threat. That’s if the prophecy turned out to be true.

My story starts with the Duke long since dead and King David all grown up and ready for war. He was always going to war. Some called him the conqueror. Others called him the Golden Man. Most of my kind thought he was evil.


I actually felt sad for him at times. All of us can agree he never did listen, but I hope you take the time. My lessons might just save your life. Or, at least give you the tools to live a better life for those who matter most to you.

Don’t believe me? Well, stay with me, and you will see. The child finally quit and gave up for now. I heard his parents yell, and the door slam shut. Now, we have plenty of time to finish my story. No more interruptions. Hopefully, we conclude before dark. You don’t want to be around me when night falls.

Heed my advice.

Act I


The Duke would have been proud of his son. As the prophecy foretold, King David conquered most of the known world. Only the ocean waves stopped him on the Eastern front and the thorn forest in the West. That’s near the Outlands. A bunch of seedy smugglers, one-eyed dragons, and a handful of unicorns lived there. That’s where the Tribe of the Golden Hand hid for thousands of moons.

As I’ve said, most of my kind despised King David. He was a hard man, always demanding more of his subjects. The Duke raised him that way. He had prepared his son to rule the land and track down the Black Lion.

After years of training, King David bested all souls in a fair sword fight, leaped stone walls as tall as any man, and hunted big, scary boars blindfolded. To keep his energy up, he’d eat nine dozen eggs, four pounds of sausage, and a couple chickens for breakfast. He grew to the size of a house.

Since he was so enormous and strong, King David feared nothing. He’d even go out of his way to step on a spider. He’d do it in the dark! My kind think spiders are creepy, especially the hairy ones. Don’t you?

Of course, King David couldn’t conquer the world all by himself. He commanded the Chaos Guard. They were known never to take prisoners. Most invading marauders who saw the fearsome force march turned tail and fled back to the safety of the thorn bushes. Fighting one-eyed dragons in the Outlands turned out to be a safer job.

Warriors in the Chaos Guard wore the same red cape with a roaring lion on it. In Silver Throne, every boy started stitching the lion by hand on their fifteenth birthday. It was the last skill their mothers taught them how to do. I think you call it embroidery or needlework.

All of the hand-stitched lions looked a little different. Some skinny. Others fat. The boy embroidered the lion exactly how he wanted. When finished, the father shaved his son’s head, gave him one last kiss and hug, and sent him out to join the army. This was the day the boy’s journey toward chaos began.

Just like King David, every Chaos Warrior trained to joust and ride. In a fight, they wielded these long, pointy silver spears to stop invaders who crossed their path. None could stand against them. The smart ones never tried, often giving up before the battle started.

Inside his throne room, the King looked down at a model of his kingdom. His most skilled sculptor cast it out of clay sourced from the nearby river.

He must have been a busy man. The map kept growing and growing. For every town conquered, he molded these tiny houses and painted each carefully. I wonder if the sculptor visited each place. Did he know Butter Creek had a church with a steeple? Did he actually try the bread at the Echo Valley Bakery? Maybe not, but I like to think he took the time to make each just right. You should strive to finish your work the right way.

The best of the Chaos Guard huddled close around the model. They whispered and pointed, trying to guess where King David would send them next. March south? It was known far and wide Thistle and Nottingham possessed substantial riches. Silver Throne needed to expand. Why not invade?

Only the King could make the order. I don’t know how he chose.

Ruling a kingdom must be hard. Above all else, I guess King David wanted to be remembered. History only remembers the winners. This is sad but true. I think that is why he kept on conquering. If he changed course, maybe he feared a bigger king with a bigger army would get him one day. What a terrible way to think.

Looking up from the model, one of the guards said, “My King.” His voice wavered. His cheeks shook.

“Yes,” King David growled. He never just talked. He always growled.

“Your mask of gold,” the guard said. He extended a red-feathered pillow.

To be even more imposing, King David wore a golden helmet molded into a wicked grin. Just looking at it, made me cold all over. My kind still cowers a little when we talk about the mask. I’m tough, but even I get goosebumps. Everyone gets scared once in a while.

Rubbing at his chin, the King kept staring at the clay model. He growled.

“Sire?” The guard refused to stare at the unmoving wicked smile for too long. He tried to keep his hands steady in front of his King. “Awaiting orders. Where do we march?”

“Since I was a boy, I dreamed of meeting my equal,” King David answered. “The man in the black lion cape haunts my dreams. He will be hunted down.”

“Yes, to the ends of the earth and back again,” the guard said and bowed.

Rumors swirled amongst the faithful that King David might be losing his mind. The Chaos Guard had hunted the bandit for years, burned villages to the ground, and destroyed many armies. The entire kingdom knew about the Oracle’s prophecy. There were even a few sightings. None amounted to much. The bandit proved elusive, always out of reach. A ghost who only lived in the King’s worst nightmares.

King David picked up his golden mask. He held the shining helmet up to the open window, and light reflected off the brow. The head piece was so polished it could blind a man if the light hit a certain spot below the chin.

He put the mask on. “My spies tell me the Black Lion hides in Thistle. We go there to claim the town and hunt the warrior. Make preparations.”

Another Chaos Knight ran through the entryway. He sprinted across the hall and bowed. “My King,” he said. He heaved in more air. He must have come from the other side of the castle. It was a big place.

“Explain yourself.” The King crossed his arms. He looked perturbed.

The guard did not hesitate and said, “The Oracle speaks!”

“That’s impossible,” the other guard gasped. “The knight wouldn’t speak to you. It hasn’t uttered a word since the King told us to go to war. These days, the beast broods in the dungeon. The monster’s eyes never wander from the twinkling lights.”

I wonder if King David’s jaw dropped. You couldn’t see a thing behind that golden, wicked grin. Wearing a mask had advantages. The King always looked the same, even in battle. There was no way to tell if he was happy, scared, or excited.

But I bet the Oracle spooked him too! It wasn’t any old knight. It was a creature created by nightmares. That’s what I think.

“Prepare the Midnight Room,” the King ordered. If he was worried, he never showed it. “I must speak with the Oracle.”


King David marched down the stone hallway. Mask on. Chin lifted high. His red cape flowed behind him, sweeping the dust away with elegance and rage.

The roar came. The foundation of the castle shook. The grout crumbled. The brick floor shook and jutted uneven. Five Chaos Guards sprinted past him. All ran for cover.

“King David!” the Oracle spoke.

And it didn’t sound happy.

I am going to tell you a really big secret. So, listen close. Remember when the guard said the Oracle hadn’t spoken to anyone but King David since being locked up inside the dungeon? The guard wasn’t exactly telling the truth. I’m not saying he was a liar.

That’s a strong word—one of the true fighting words amongst my kind. Never call someone a liar. It isn’t polite.

You see, the guard passed along information the entire kingdom already believed. If King David said he talked to his most famous and only prisoner, it had to be true? Right? Don’t think that way. Be smart.

The truth was the all-seeing seer had not spoken to anyone since being promised the stars. After hearing the prophecy about the coming of the Black Lion, the Duke wasn’t too happy. Still, he didn’t like breaking promises either. Instead of granting the Oracle freedom, the Duke called his master craftsmen together and built a place called the Midnight Room in a part of the castle where no light could reach.

Do you remember the life-like map with all the little buildings? People from Silver Throne were known to be great at building stuff. Deep underground, the carpenters installed mirrors and punched holes in the walls to look like stars. When Chaos Knights lit the torches outside the room, the Oracle must have thought it gazed upon a beautiful night sky.

But the stars were a facade, an illusion. The Midnight Room was a prison built to hold the knight. And that’s where the seer had slept for a long time, until now.

“David!” The boom echoed across the castle.

More guards scurried past the King. They were rats running from a fat tabby cat.

King David grabbed one of his fleeing men by the tunic, picked him off the ground, and pushed him against the wall. “Why do you run?”

The guard swallowed. He didn’t dare look at the golden mask. “We’re scared. I’m sorry, Sire.”

“You should be more afraid of me,” The King answered. He put the guard down and shoved him back. “Now, get out of here! I’ll handle this.”

The guard straightened his cape, lowered his head in shame, and then ran off. The King didn’t bother to punish the coward and marched onward to the quake and roar.

“I know your secrets,” the Oracle moaned. “Come and face me! That’s if you dare.”

The mighty knight had a reason to be angry!

How do I know? Well, my kind has a way of knowing secrets. We have this gift of being around most of the time without drawing a lot of attention to ourselves. It’s a little like magic. You will know how soon enough. Trust me, all will be revealed. I promise.

Now, you’re probably wondering why all the guards thought what they thought. I’m going to tell you. Many moons ago, King David called the entire kingdom, including the Chaos Guard, to the gates at Castle Silver Throne. Thousands of troops got all decked out in their red lion clothes. There, he announced the Oracle had appeared to him in a dream, told everyone the Chaos Guard had to march across the land.

King David possessed a true silver tongue. No, his tongue wasn’t silver. It’s an expression. He was just convincing. Without even trying, he motivated noblemen, peasants, and even little kids to do whatever he wanted.

He told the crowd the time had come to do their duty. Some people farmed, others cooked, and the remarkable conquered. Everyone wanted to be remarkable. Nobody questioned his tale a bit.

Why would King David tell a story like that? He needed the mob to do his bidding. The world isn’t necessarily made up of good intentions. Anyone that tells you that is a liar. Whoops! I shouldn’t use that word. I meant they just don’t know how the world works. This is a hard lesson to learn.

With the Oracle’s so-called approval, the Chaos Guard marched from town to town. If thousands of well-trained troops holding these long sharp swords showed up in your town, what would you do? Most bowed to King David.

Others fled to the Outlands. I’m not sure wandering into the thorn woods with a bunch of bandits and unicorns running about was a good idea. But what choice did they have?

King David approached the two guards flanking the doors to the chamber. “Brave of you to remain at your post. Some don’t have such courage.”

One tensed up. The other said, “My Lord, can you believe it? The Oracle actually speaks.”

“The seer has spoken to me before,” Kind David said. His gold mask had the same disdainful look. “Leave us. There are matters to discuss.”

“Are you sure?” The guard asked. The excitement in his voice vanished. The mask’s wicked smile did that to people. “We dare not run, but whatever is inside sounds like a crazed beast. And it isn’t happy. You are in danger!”

“Give me a torch and leave.”

The loyal guard reluctantly handed the flickering flame over. He was doing his duty. You protected the King no matter what.

When the guards filed past, the King heard both whisper, Our leader is so brave. He doesn’t even look scared.

My kind knew better. The Oracle was rumored to wield powerful magic besides telling the future.

Stop time.

Possess great strength.

Turn people to dust.

Creepy stuff too, even change people into spiders!

If I were the Oracle, I might be a bit upset if my name was used to get an army marching. You don’t put words into someone else’s mouth like that.

“Face me, King!” The room quaked. “Enter my lair. You invoked my name to inspire the mob. Now, pay for your deeds.”

Dust fell from the ceiling and covered the King’s red cape. When he reached down to open the door, his hands trembled more than just a bit. Even the Golden Man can get a little scared from time to time.

By now, you are probably wondering why everyone was so scared of the Oracle. Sure, it possessed crazy powers and told the future. Whatever the knight said always came true. Now, the Oracle didn’t sweat the small stuff. It never said don’t eat peas for dinner; they’re green, smell funky, and taste bad.

The seer only warned of big events. It foretold almost to the day when the Tribe of the Golden Hand would show up. Compared to them, my kind even preferred King David. His manners were better than that lot of marauders. But all that magic wasn’t why the knight was so scary. The Oracle stood nine feet tall! Every inch of it had these tiny spikes jutting out. They were small daggers and cut deep. I wouldn’t dare touch the stone! Touching the Oracle was bad. Looking at it wasn’t much better.

Don’t believe me? Well, I’ve lurked inside the Midnight Room, and I don’t even think a person hid underneath all that stone armor. Surprised?

The Oracle was a big giant rock carved by people who lived thousands of years ago. Why they made a statue that ugly, I have no idea, but the carving somehow came alive. Magic? Perhaps. I do know they worked real hard to make the stone shine. When light hit the armor, beams reflected in all directions.

The blackest knight was so bright it blinded folks. Not permanent, you could survive. Still, the light burnt to your core. When I looked on the all-knowing seer for the first time, I remembered everything bad I had ever done in my life. I remembered sitting back and seeing a bunch of bullies beat up a little kid. They punched him in the stomach and tore his new shirt. Alas, I did nothing. I should have. Reliving that wasn’t fun at all. I think that’s why the Duke locked the knight up in the dark.

But don’t touch it! That’s real bad. You could lose your fingers or worse.

King David put the lit torch inside a crack in the wall. The Midnight Room bathed in a warm glow. He blew out the guard’s torch, set it aside, and slowly walked toward his captor. The King didn’t want to approach too quickly. There were stories about getting too close. None ended in happily ever after.

Road to Hope

King David stopped on the lion engraved into the floor. It was just like the one on his cape. He bowed but didn’t dare take his mask off. Who could blame him? I wouldn’t want to show myself to the hulking suit of armor either. It’s ginormous. I’m not sure that is a real word, but it means really big if you didn’t know.

The Oracle roared to life. There wasn’t enough light to make the black stone truly shine, but the slats in its helmet erupted in fire. The room became hot and began to quake. More dust fell from the ceiling.

The stone knight pulled a sword from its belt and pointed it smack at the middle of the golden mask. I forgot to tell you about the sword. It’s ginormous too. If the Oracle balanced the hilt on the floor, the sword would stand a head taller than King David. Like the knight, it’s made of the same hard, black stone. I bet the sword was as heavy as ten horses, but the Oracle didn’t seem to care at all. Waved the blade around as if it was a small feather.

“King of Silver Throne, at last we speak,” the Oracle bellowed. “Rise and show yourself.”

King David did as he was told. Wouldn’t you? I bet he wished he hadn’t sent those guards away so fast. Perhaps, that wasn’t the best decision. But what could they do to a nine-foot stone beast? If it wanted, the Oracle could probably eat the guards and King David in one big gulp.

“I said show yourself,” the monster bellowed again. “Take the mask off!” King David put both hands on the golden cheeks. His fingers started to shake. Then, he stopped. “No,” he said—his voice firm.

Fire shot out from the Oracle’s helmet and surrounded King David.

He breathed in soot; yet, he refused to budge. “I don’t fear you, cursed knight,” King David lied. He had to be lying. I know that’s a strong word, but everyone feared the all-powerful Oracle.

More fire came. Smoke filled the room. How could anyone stand to breathe it all in?

“I’ve kept you in the dark all these years because I don’t believe in you. You’re nothing, just like a ghost or the boogie man.”

The Oracle lowered its sword. The fire in its eyes burned out. A deep blue glow replaced the flames. “Don’t lie to me. I know you believe in me now. I am awake. You are scared of me, King.”

“My father built this prison for a reason,” King David chided. “The Duke found your weakness. He found the Harmonix Blade. It can destroy even you.”

“Nothing good comes to those who use the cursed blade. The Oracle tapped on the hilt of his own sword. “Your father told you as much. Use the blade. Lose your kingdom.”

“Nothing you say is good. All lies.”

“Before the Golden Hand came to this land, I told your father to build this castle,” the Oracle bellowed. “I saved Silver Throne. These walls held the hoard back.”

“The Duke told me you created the Black Lion,” King David responded. “I am cursed to chase a ghost of your creation forever. You destroyed my life. That’s why you’re down here.”

“The Black Lion is no ghost,” the Oracle moaned. “I didn’t conjure it up. Destiny has a way of finding all of us.”

The King shook his head.

“You’ve become your father,” the Oracle continued. “No vision. Always afraid, never accepting. He didn’t understand. You don’t either. That’s why you have done so little.”

“Under my rule, the kingdom has doubled in size,” King David answered. He inched closer. His anger drove him. “I have accomplished more than my father thought possible. I’m the better ruler, and I’m stronger than you.”

The Oracle didn’t speak at first. Those blue eyes only pulsed. I don’t think the Oracle cared about the King’s achievements. It was old. You see, my kind believes everlasting beings tend to see the world differently. It wouldn’t care about armies and castles, but I bet the Oracle hated being spoken to like that. Nothing would.

Finally, the seer said, “If you are so strong, why hide the Harmonix Blade? Are you afraid of destiny, mighty King of Silver Throne? Your father wouldn’t have been.”

“If you’re so powerful, why don’t you leave?” the King asked. “I’m not the one afraid of the blade!”

“Like all beings, I choose my prison. Perhaps, I like this stone place.”

“What do you want? Haven’t you done enough? I’ve been chasing the Black Lion for years. Where is he?”

“I do not believe you will ever understand. You have used my prophecy about the Black Lion to conquer the land, imprison others. You do not know how to truly lead. Inspire your subjects. Show you care. Maybe then, you will become great.” “You’re the one who doesn’t understand. My father and I created this kingdom. What more can I give?”

My kind would have liked to answer that question. We know tyranny. The Duke banished my kind, sent us all into a darkness where terrible music played all the time. The sound was so high pitched! He could have let us all out. If he had, this tale would have been different. There might have been a happily ever after.

“Take your mask off, King,” the Oracle said. “Show me your sincerity, and I’ll tell you what you want to know.”

It’s only a guess, but I think the Oracle could see another man’s heart through his eyes. I bet he could tell if you were good or bad just by looking. Maybe, that’s why the King always wore the mask. He was afraid to show who he really was. I think that’s sad.

“Come take my mask,” the King said. “Use your blade, god of old.”

Kind and gentle soul, I would not have done that. There are rules against provoking a ginormous, stone knight. Either the King was crazy or knew something about the Oracle nobody else did.

“I am beyond such things,” the Oracle said. It didn’t budge. “Still, you would be wise to take your mask off to hear my prophecy. Only the pure can truly see what is in the darkness.”

The Oracle often spoke in riddles. At the time, my kind had no idea what that meant. We would find out much later.

Again, King David refused.

“I don’t need a prophecy,” he said. “I only need the legend of the Oracle. Your prophecies help me guide my army. That’s why you’re down here. It’s the reason I don’t use the blade.”

“The mask has hardened your heart, King,” the Oracle said. The blue glow around his eyes pulsed brighter. “So be it. Hear a true prophecy, not one from your imagination. You will go to the Village of Hope.”

“I go to Thistle,” the King said. His scouts had told him there wasn’t much in Hope, nothing of value worth diverting an entire army to find. “Hope is known as a place of song and dance. It is poor, not worth the time to conquer.”

“Beware, King. In Hope, you will find the road that leads to the Black Lion’s cape. A powerful army slumbers there.”

“We’d have to march through the canyon pass or around the Elysium Fields. Nobody goes that way. It’s the stench!”

“And I thought you feared nothing, King,” the Oracle teased. “It’s only a lava field. Afraid?” More fire burst from its eyes. The walls began to shake. It meant take the big stone knight seriously. Then, the Oracle suddenly fell silent.

Now, my kind isn’t sure if the Oracle was good, evil, or somewhere in between. I’m not sure if it knew the difference. Like I said, it’s an old everlasting being.

I am sure the Oracle never cared for the Duke. Hate drives all of us to do terrible things, but would the knight actually send the Duke’s kid into a trap? To this day, nobody knows for sure−even those who know how this tale ends.

If it was a trap, the King took the bait. Mentioning the Black Lion by name did the trick.

King David knew the Chaos Guards wouldn’t want to go to Hope. There was nothing to pillage or steal there, but this wasn’t the army’s choice. This was his destiny. Save the Kingdom. Destroy the Black Lion. King David backed out of the room with the same unmoving, creepy smile. There was never a doubt where he would go.

Thistle would have to wait. Riches and treasure meant little. The Golden Man and his army would march on Hope.

Charge of the Chaos Knights

It didn’t take much persuading to get the Chaos Guard marching. Sure, they grumbled some about the sulfur smell around the Elysium Fields. Few wanted to go near that place. So, the King assured his troops they’d march well around it and told them all about the Black Lion’s Army in Hope. The Chaos Guard would move heaven and earth to find a good battle …

Finish the Story

Want to read the entire tale?

Download on Kindle today and coming soon to places where fine books are sold.

Written by,

J. Scott Bradley

Story told by,

Maven, better known as the shadow of Prince Evan, who was the son of the Golden Man, the Black Lion, and future King of Silver Throne

Other Books

Knights of Legend
The Day Life Breaks (Coming in 2020)

Stay up to date with Second Act Happenings:

Thanks For Reading

Text copyright © 2017 by J. Scott Bradley

The Dark Harp, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of © J. Scott Bradley

The Dark Harp Publishing Rights © Second Act Fables Cover Art, Book Design and Interior Illustrations are copyright © and trademark of Second Act Fables.

All rights reserved. Published by Second Act Fables.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, or stored, in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.

For information regarding permission, contact Second Act Fables, Attention: Permissions Department

Library of Congress Control Number: Pending

ISBN-13: 978-0-9824576-3-4
ISBN-10: 0-9824576-3-4

Designed in the U.S.A. First Edition/And Constant Changes, January 2017

Second Act Fables | Reimagine the Fairy Tale