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.
Nora sat beside the campfire with her arms around her knees, which she had pulled up to her chest. Her eyes were on Arnold and Terrin, who were talking quietly. Arnold had a worried look, and Terrin was looking rather serious.
Chris was already asleep, or at least pretending to be. He was on the far side of the fire from her, and she watched him.
She understood why Arnold had been thinking so hard during the day. She had been thinking hard, too. But she’d made up her mind: Chris was her best friend, and life wouldn’t be the same without him. It’s true she was leaving her family, but she could come back someday to visit them.
Anyway, ever since she met Chris, she had wanted to travel more. She had never really known anything outside of North Yorc before.
She slipped into her bedroll.
When she awoke, she saw that Chris had already woken up and was gone.
She jerked up, throwing off her blanket, then calmed as she noticed Marc grazing nearby. For a second she had thought that Chris had slipped away while they were sleeping.
Comforted by the fact he wouldn’t have left Marc, she guessed that he had gone down to the nearby stream. She stood and stretched with a big yawn. She slipped on her shoes, boots that were made for traversing the rough terrain of a mountain, and started towards the stream.
Chris was there, sitting in the shade, fishing.
She stood beside him for a moment, then whispered, “Will you let me fish for a bit? I used to help my father, and it would be fun.”
Chris looked at her with a surprised expression. She wasn’t sure why he had that look, but he handed her the rod. They continued to fish for a while, then they headed back to camp with their catch.
As they walked, Nora said, “I doubt I’ll be much help in catching food. I can only fish, and fish gets pretty tiring. But, I’ll be sure to cook us some tasty stuff.”
“Don’t. It’s not your job.”
She turned on him, her brow furrowed. “Listen here, Chris. It’s not your job to take care of us. Especially because you don’t want us along.
“Which brings me to a point that I can’t understand: Why don’t you want us along? If I was in your place, I’d be overly eager for company. Is it so bad for you that we’re here? We’re old enough to leave our nests, Chris. What would you do if I were in your place?”
They looked at each other for a while, then Chris gave up. “Fine. Just make sure that whatever you cook is yummy stuff, or I’ll have to fire you.”
She gave a solemn bow, though she could feel the corners of her mouth twitching.
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.