Congratulations to M.J. Irving on the release of her new fantasy novel, Nova’s Quest for the Enchanted Chalice!
When a comet lights up the night’s sky, an ordinary boy from a small town in Dacaan begins to see that everything in his world is not as it seems. A secret that he didn’t know about himself becomes exposed and he finds himself running from the clutches of his enemies as he embarks on an adventure with his best friend to a mysterious land of magic called Happenstance. It is not long before he realizes that he has a bigger place in the world than he could have ever imagined. It is up to him to fulfil his new quest and challenge everything that he thought was good around him. But, the path is not so easy to travel and there are challenges, lies and betrayal in its wake.
Nova’s Quest for the Enchanted Chalice, is a story of a world after magic has been banished and evil resides. A powerful regime that rules Dacaan uses social media, a virus and other invisible shackles to keep its citizens in their districts as ignorant hostages. But, as Happenstance begins to vanish and magic is lost forever, it is up to its inhabitants to fight back and they know that Nova is their only hope to save their world of magic and Dacaan.
“But, why can’t we know the stars?” he asked.
Alexander Kerr had been listening to his father’s disconnected tales for many years but had never understood why he could not know the stars. He knew he couldn’t ask anyone else but his father these sorts of questions so he pressed him as hard as he could.
Jacob, Alex’s father looked at him with a moment of clarity. His eyes darting around the smooth lines and freckles on Alex’s face, searching for something and making Alex feel uncomfortable. Jacob more often than not looked confused. His face was usually clouded, like he was a vacant shell with no inhabitant. Jacob had not always been this way. When Alex was young, too young to remember, his father and his mother had contracted the Virus and were taken to the Infirmary. His mother was never to be seen again and his father returned to raise him but with the result of the Virus, Amnesia. Alex however felt lucky as most who went to the Infirmary never returned.
“We can know the stars if we try, but not here and not now,” replied Alex’s father knowingly but with a troubling look of withdrawal. This look usually preceded his retreat from the world, the steps he took in to his shell. He removed his hand that had been stroking the side of Alex’s face, sat up straighter and looked away from Alex and out the windows at the luminescent subjects they had been discussing twinkling proudly in the night sky.
“What do you mean we try father?” pleaded Alex wanting to know more but he knew it was too late for tonight, his father was already leaving him. His father was folding in to himself and would lock away the key for hours or perhaps days, it was always hard to know how long the darkness might last.
Alex swung his legs over the side of the bed. He was wearing a flannel pyjama set with white and blue stripes that were warm enough for the short walk between his bedroom and his fathers. He held his father under his arm and tucked his feet in to the soft fleece insides of his slippers, picked up the candle and for a short moment looked out the bedroom window again in to the starry night sky.
The heavy drape that hung to the floor was moving in the wind. Alex moved around his father and pulled the window that was slightly ajar shut. Their log cabin was very cosy when sealed up but could get extremely cold in no time at all. Alex didn’t mind the cold but he felt safer with the window closed at night when the lightless hours set in.
Alex began to pull the drapes across and was grabbed suddenly by the arm and quite firmly.
“Look, it’s the sign.”
Frightened at the unusual reawakening of his father, he first looked down at his arm where his father’s strong hand had grabbed it. He was often in awe at his fathers strength but knew he would never hurt him. Alex then noticed his other hand pointing out the window.
Alex looked up at the night sky, more closely this time. Sparkling, dancing lights flickered and shimmered against the deepest navy background. A small sliver of moon cast a reflection on the lake where it rippled in the water below the tall Rocky Mountains that towered behind it. He was always impressed by the beauty of the skies but tonight something was different, something was brighter.
Stepping forward, Alex pushed the drape aside again and could see out the right hand side of the window where his father had been pointing that a brighter light than any of the others shone fervently. It looked like a ball of yellow fire, like a star that had been thrown towards Dacaan with a tail streaming beautifully like feathers on a bird behind it. Because of its tail, it appeared to be moving but after looking at it for a few minutes it was obvious that it sat motionless in the sky. It was a comet, the first Alex had ever seen and his jaw dropped in disbelief.
For years, Alex’s father had referred to the coming of the comet in his stories, a phoenix of the sky with its long tail. Alex had thought it was something that his father had made up since he was always creating wonderful imaginary things. Alex once asked his teacher what a phoenix was and was told there was no such thing. That day Alex had been given after school detention for no apparent reason and was asked to write ‘I will not make things up, I will obey’ on the chalkboard one-hundred times before he was allowed to go home. He subsequently missed his bus and had to walk for over an hour along the long mountain path in twilight alone and frightened. He had vowed to himself that he would never disobey again.
Alex did however love hearing his fathers stories because they excited him and made him think of different worlds. He kept his words, ideas and thoughts about these different worlds and the stars between himself and his father and he was happy that way. They were safe in their small bubble made of spruce logs and his thoughts were safe in his mind as long as they didn’t dare to come out.
As the comet hung there above the wispy clouds and mountaintops, on display for all of the world to see, Alex wondered if he should send a Link message to let Cassia, Ariadne and Niall know. Cassia was Alex’s best friend, she also lived in the Creston District, just five minutes down Sanca Creek from him. Ariadne and Niall were also his closest friends. They had grown up together, went to school together, knew almost everything about each other and had a group chat called The Clan on the Dacaan’s communication channel ‘The Nexus’ that they communicated through it daily.
Alex reached in his pocket to pick up his Communicator but quickly dropped the idea to send a message to The Clan as he saw the time on his Communicator face. It was past curfew and Link time so he could do no such thing. The only thing on The Nexus to see were old episodes of The Champions after 10:00 at night unless there was an Alert from the Capitol. Alex hoped that his friends had noticed the comet and he was excited talk with them about it tomorrow. He was sure however that the Regime would explain it on tomorrows bulletin and all of Dacaan would know in any case.
After standing there for longer than he’d initially anticipated, Alex pulled the drapes shut. He turned around but his father was gone…
M.J. Irving has always followed the advice that if you believe in something, it can come true. M.J. has spent life following this philosophy which has brought her to this point; where she can share the magical worlds in her head with you.
MJ is a Canadian of Jamaican, English and Irish descent currently living in London, England with her significant other. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of British Columbia and has led a career in research, marketing, sales and strategy management at one of the world’s leading media companies in the events industry.
She has travelled to over 50 countries and many of her experiences have helped in shaping her writing. When MJ is not writing, she enjoys countryside walks, playing board games and eating chocolate. She has a fascination with the unknowns of the world and the universe and her mind is quite often in the clouds.
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