All Christopher Fredrico wanted was to be a peaceful scholar who could spend a lot of time with his friends. Now, falsely accused of stealing a magical artifact, he is forced to leave the only home he knows.
But as he and his friends travel towards the coast, they find a riddle that may save a kingdom — or cost them their lives.
Banished: The Riddled Stone Book One by homeschooled teen author Teresa Gaskins, is being serialized freely on this website at the pace of one chapter per week. The full novel is available in ebook or paperback format on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.
Wide-eyed with curiosity, Chris crept away from the grassy spot where he was supposed to wait. His nurse had turned away to clean up Trillory, his twin sister, who had spilled her food over her front. Chris went quickly as he could with waddling, short steps.
He paused just before a corner of the hedge, his chubby two-year-old hands catching himself on a branch. From around the corner he could hear someone crying in short sobs. He continued forward and was surprised to see Anthony, his eldest brother.
Anthony’s hair, usually so much like Chris’s own slightly-curly black, was in a mess. He was sitting with his back to the stone wall of a gazebo, his knees pulled as tight against his chest as they could be with his head buried in them.
Chris let out a slight gurgling sound. Anthony looked up. His pale blue eyes, also like Chris’s, were slightly hollow, and the top of his cheeks tear-stained. Chris smiled and cocked his head, much like a puppy. Then he stumbled forward a couple steps before tripping.
He looked up in time to see Anthony’s face go from surprise to anger. His eyebrows squeezed together until they nearly touched, and his lips all but disappeared as he pinched them.
Chris was surprised. His brother had always been smiling, friendly and loving. Last time, Anthony had reached out his hands and laughed when Chris had grabbed his fingers.
Anthony rose and scooped his brother up. Holding him loosely, he carried Chris back the way he had come.
“Naughty child! You should be with your nurse, not sticking your nose in other’s business,” he hissed. Chris gave a small cry at his brother’s roughness.
Then a few steps later they encountered the nurse, carrying Trill and hurrying down the path. She paused as she saw Anthony, and then dropped a curtsy.
“Thank you, young master Anthony, for returning your brother to me.”
Anthony gave a slight humph, and handed her Chris. “See that you don’t lose him again.” Then he turned, leaving as fast as he could while retaining a noble posture.
Chris stared after him for a second, and then buried his face against his nurse, who spoke with a slightest tremor. “Now, now, Christopher. See that you don’t wander off again. It’s time you two were headed inside for your nap.”
Copyright © 2012 by Teresa Gaskins
Published by Tabletop Academy Press
Cover and layout copyright © 2016 by Tabletop Academy Press
Cover art copyright © Anton Tokarev / DepositPhoto.com, and Christian Joudrey / Unsplash.com
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.