Chapter - 1
"Mom! Why did they kick us out to this damn desert buggy !!" Elijah shouted.
"Boy, at least we got this thing. What did you expect? 'A Limousine'? We are in the middle of Sahara. Elijah! Mom! Let's take turns on driving this buggy. First up, Mom" Elana said.
"Okie Donkey!! Hehe... Bad joke! Sorry!!" Mrs. Valley said looking at Elana.
They had travelled at least 150 kms from the airport. "Oh-Oh! The buggy tires are punctured! Welp! time for a break!" Mrs. Valley said.
They got off and Mrs. Valley and Elana were changing the tires when Elijah spotted a coyote on top of a sandy hill just two dunes away.
"Aah, mom quick! A fox!" Elijah shouted running towards his family. "What?! A fox? Oh... it's a coyote!" Elana said spotting the coyote.
"Mom, do you think coyotes travel in groups? You are a zoologist!" asked Elana. "Oh! I don't think. They go in pairs." her mom answered.
"Hey! It's gone...and a sandstorm is coming!!!!" Elijah screamed.
"Elijah quick!!" Elana shouted. They climbed onto the buggy. Elana was driving.
Now, they were far away from the sandstorm. "Elana, does your phone show where we are?" Mrs. Valley asked as she started looking around.
"No, mom. No internet connection." Elana said peeping into her phone, "but I did save a map of Sahara's Sifister Square and Darha Dunes.
" She said opening her phone gallery, "Okay, now we are near the Myntar Village."
"North, South, East or West???" Elijah asked looking rather amused.
"Uh.. East ofcourse." Elana said smug.
"Ok then, are you sure?" Mrs. Valley asked puzzled.
"Duh.. mom" Elijah said mockingly, " it's coming from the Queen of Geeks!"
"Ok. ok... I am smart and you are jealous, Elijah" Elana said angrily.
They headed east. All they reached was a sandy big rock. "uhh, is 'geeky' wrong?" Elijah said.
"No, this shows Myntar Village here! Maybe we should climb the rock and take a closer look." Elana said.
"Fine geeky!" Elijah sighed getting off the buggy and put his backpack. Elana got her's and Mrs. Valley pulled down her bag from the top of the buggy.
"Let's park it behind that large rock" Mrs. Valley said parked the buggy and climbed onto the top of the rock.
"woah!" Elana sighed.
"What! We reached Ma.... Ma.... Marty Village?!"Elijah shouted gripping Elana's shoulder tight. "Woah.... owww" and they all tumbled down together.
"Ahh...my arms are bruised!" Elijah said looking at his arms which were covered in sand and blood.
"Easy for you to say... my ankle is sprained here." Elana complained looking at her ankle.
"Kids, mommy is coming..... woaohhh" Mrs. Valley said and jumped down and landed on her feet.
"Oh mom, let us get some help from the villagers." Elana said leaning her head against her large backpack.
"Yeah, I'm going." Mrs. Valley said and disappeared into the sand stairs.
She saw a wall and peeked down inside from there. She said nothing. She didn't feel so safe about this place. She didn't go out in the open. Instead she started climbing higher.
This wall had lot of holes too.
She again peeked outside and saw an armed man, wearing a cloth as a mask and holding a large gun in front of a sand-made house like a shed on which something in Arabic was written on a board.
The man almost saw her, but she ducked and clamped her hand on her mouth and sat there, thrilled. The man called a person and pointed to the place she was hiding.
She knew, that it meant that the man was going to check if someone was there.
She quickly climbed to where her children were and said to them, "Kiddos, this place isn't friendly! Armed men with guns are there and I think they know that an intruder is in their place."
"But... but mom, I can't walk and Elijah can't climb and who will take the backpacks?" Elana asked in panic.
"We don't have time, someone is coming!" Mrs. Valley said holding her children tight.
They thought a muscular man would be coming but they were astonished to see a woman and a girl. "Oh my God! Spies from Kartha!!!" the little girl screamed and hugged the woman beside her.
"Who are you? We are the citizen of Myntar Village. I'm Kailana and this is Karaathi, my daughter. You don't look like you are from Kartha Village. Karaa, shush! Samaa taku mey!!"
The woman looked at Mrs. Valley sharply.
"We don't know any Kartha Village. We are from America. We don't think you are harmful. Please, help my children." Mrs. Valley pleaded looking at her dear children.
" I'm Rebecca Valley and this is Elana Valley and Elijah Valley."
"Oh Karaa please! They are travelers....do you hear?" the woman asked glaring at the girl.
The girl was tearing at the loose cloth hanging from her hands. She tore the cloth and took a funny clip from her hair and let her hair run loose. Her brown hair flowed like the ocean.
Her cat-eyes stared into Elijah's eyes. She smiled and tied the cloth to Elijah's hand.
"Ohh mother... hehe... he looks funny staring at my face!" Karaathi chuckled.
She lifted Elijah and started walking down the sandy stairs. "Woah, you can lift me?! I thought you were.... weak!" Elijah asked amazed of the strength of Karaa.
She was shorter than Elijah. She told, "That's the specialty of Defenders of Darha. Women are strong and with just three babies we could defeat the great Ruthrose Edwards.
Ruthe would come here and pollute our dear village, trying to kill us.... when she was just like you Alaina!"
"It's Elana! Anyway, did you just say the Ruthrose and three babies... what?!" Elana asked pushing her backpack and looked at mom and Elijah.
"Who is this Kailana?" asked a sweet but bold voice.
Kailana bowed before this woman. She was draped in a dark cloth. She had brown hair and blue eyes. She looked like a queen.
She wore a black cloth laced with golden silk in the pattern like that of a bird. It looked like an eagle.
The woman gently leaned down and stared into Elana's eyes. Elana saw a sharp, bold and strong feeling in this woman's eyes.
Suddenly, a falcon came flying and perched on this woman's shoulder, with a beautiful yellow flower crown in its beak. She grinned and spoke in some foreign language gently.
Then she placed her ear close to the falcon. It cooed and gurgled. She chuckled and plucked the crown and wore it. Then she lifted Elana with her hands, without taking her eyes off her.
Elana was shocked to see what the woman did. She looked at the woman's face. It was a beautiful radiant face.
"My Queen! These travelers have come here from... Please let me call Karaa and let me and her stay with them." Kailana said to the queen and bowed and touched her chest twice, in respect.
Elana looked at Elijah surprised when suddenly, the queen grabbed her hand full of dust, out of nowhere and sprinkled it on her face. Elana fell unconscious. Mrs.
Valley tried fighting them but the queen touched her neck with two fingers and she fainted...
...to be continued