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The forgeron legacy, p.1
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       The Forgeron Legacy, p.1

           J.D. Atchison
 
The Forgeron Legacy
The Forgeron Legacy

  Book One of Alteria

  By J. D. Atchison

  J. D. Atchison

  Copyright © by J.D. Atchison 2013

  First Published, 2013

  eBook Edition

  Dedication

  To my fiancé, Anthony de Leon, for without you this book would have never happened.

  Table of Contents

  Prologue

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Prologue

  The night was dark. No moon shone in the cold September sky to provide light to see by. On the outskirts of town, at the end of a long gated driveway, a house was in its final stages of construction. It was a large, two-story cottage that the owners had spent months designing. The Wellworths were only waiting for the interior to be painted before moving in. The closest neighbor was half a mile away. There was no one around to notice a car pull up to the empty house or two figures creeping up to the door.

  “It’s locked,” Alexandra whispered, tugging on the doorknob. She stared, wide-eyed into the pitch-black darkness of the night. Her ears twitched at the slightest sound, every creak of the porch and rustling of the trees in the mid-autumn breeze. Turning back to the door, she rattled the doorknob desperately.

  “I’ll open it,” Ryker replied.

  Alexandra stepped back and Ryker handed her the box he had been carrying. Placing his hand over the lock, Ryker closed his eyes and focused. Alexandra glanced around nervously, absentmindedly tugging on the drawstring of her hoodie. When she heard the lock click open she looked back, startled. Ryker opened the door and took a step inside, his eyes scanning the dark interior. He held up a hand, motioning for Alexandra to stay outside as he listened intently for any sound in the house. Satisfied that it was empty, he turned and nodded.

  “Are you sure about this?” Ryker murmured, taking the box from Alexandra as she brushed past him. Alexandra turned on a small flashlight she had been carrying in her pocket and crept across the foyer and down the hall into the main part of the house.

  “We don’t really have another option,” She replied. “Come on. The laundry room is this way. The attic will be just above it.”

  Ryker stood for a moment in the entryway, watching Alexandra as she walked away. With a slight shake of his head, he adjusted his grip on the box and followed her.

  In the laundry room, Alexandra stood under the hatch that lead to the attic and stared up at it, her expression pensive. Ryker stopped beside her and carefully set the box on the floor.

  “Is this it?” he asked, indicating the hatch.

  Alexandra nodded silently, her gaze never leaving the square piece of wood set into the ceiling. Ryker looked down at her and saw a strain in her features that hadn’t been there before. Her usually smiling mouth was pinched tight and tension had creased the skin around her eyes. This last year had aged her, aged them both.

  Ryker moved the box to one side with his foot and pulled the hatch down, carefully sliding down the ladder attached to the inside of the door. While he was doing that, Alexandra crouched down next to the box and slipped a journal out of her jacket. Flipping to the last page, she grabbed a pen out of her pocket and began writing.

 

  August 12, 1996

  This is my last entry. I have seen the outcome of my decisions and I know that this is the only thing I can do in good conscience. It is not easy to leave my daughter, especially knowing that I will never see her again. The decision is even harder given the challenges she will be facing. There is so much I wish I could tell her but all I can do is leave this journal and hope that she will find the right path.

  Then Alexandra pulled a folded piece of paper from her pocket. She stroked her finger along the edge, eyes bright with unshed tears. Carefully pulling at the bottom seam inside the journal’s cover, she slipped the paper in and smoothed it down. Only a slight bump betrayed that there was anything there.

  Alexandra tucked the journal into the cardboard box with a sigh. Then she picked up a plain wooden box that had been lying nearby. Alexandra stroked her hand against the smooth top. The glossy finish of the wood shone in the dim lighting.

  “You ready?” Ryker asked, once the ladder was secured against the floor.

  Opening the box, Alexandra slipped off the bracelet she was wearing and placed it inside. She stared at it, committing every detail to memory. Three leather strands braided around each other with smooth metal discs woven into the design. Strange symbols she didn’t recognize were etched into the small discs. She rubbed her finger across one of them, feeling a pang of regret that she would never find out what they meant. Once again, as she had often felt in the past, Alexandra was amazed that something so simple and ordinary looking could be so important.

  Ryker frowned, opening his mouth to say something before changing his mind and pursing his lips together. He watched with narrowed eyes as Alexandra put the bracelet inside the wooden box, then placed it back in the cardboard box. Closing it, Alexandra looked up at Ryker and nodded. He knelt next to her and kissed her on the forehead, brushing away the tear that slipped down her cheek with his thumb.

  Alexandra gave Ryker a watered down smile. Reaching up, she cupped the back of his hand with hers and pressed a soft kiss to the center of his palm. Then she drew in a resolute breath and pushed herself to her feet, stepping away from the box as she wrapped her arms around herself.

  Alexandra watched Ryker climb the ladder and disappear into the attic with the cardboard box. She could hear his footsteps as he crossed to the corner of the attic and the soft sound of the box being placed on the floor. Then Ryker’s footsteps returned and she watched as one large foot, then another, appeared on the ladder.

  Jumping off the bottom step, Ryker brushed sawdust off himself before folding the ladder back up and closing the attic hatch.

  “It’s not too late to change your mind,” he told her, watching with level grey eyes.

  Alexandra shook her head. “This is the only way.”

  “What if you get hurt?” He reached out and brushed his fingers across her cheek.

  Alexandra glanced down for a moment before taking his hand in hers. “Come on,” she said, “We need to get going.”

  No one saw the two as they moved stealthily out of the empty house and drove away. When the work crew arrived two days later, no one noticed the small unmarked box hidden away in the corner of the attic.

 
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