I'm slowly working on book three of The Prophecy of Tyalbrook. The story continues to develop and go in directions that both surprise and, sometimes, infuriate me. I appreciate your patience with me as I work to make the next chapter of Skye and Xander's story perfect.

I rubbed the back of my neck as I entered castle grounds. A group of children played in the small clearing of the outer bailey inside the gates. Their shouts of laughter ricocheted off the high stone walls surrounding them, filling the air with joy.

“What is this? A Guardian with a smile?” 

I nodded a silent greeting as Emeline joined me, ignoring her comment. “Do you know where Skye is?” I asked as my eyes continued to track the children. In the center a young boy wearing a hood turned in circles, his arms outstretched as he attempted to catch his friends. A simple childhood game of blind man's tag.

“The children are all orphans,” Emeline said and my smile wavered. “When Skye learned of the children’s home in the village she invited them here for a feast. Now they join us two days a week. We feed them and mend their clothing. We attempt to bring joy to their lives.”

“And it looks to be working.” The children appear happy, their faces and clothing cleaner than many of the village children I’d seen loitering around the training field today.

“She can be a magnificent Queen, Xander.” 

My eyes snapped to her pale head, turned away from me. “I’ve never doubted that,” I told her tightly.

After a moment she met my gaze, her eye's challenging mine. Her fingers grasped her skirts as she prepared to leave. “Don’t make her doubt it,” she said, 

her voice as tight as mine. 

Apparently I'd upset her today as well.

As she walked away her hand lifted toward the wall walk and she called over her shoulder, “you’ll find her up there.”