Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior
An Alliance Award Nominee by Ralene Burke
INTRODUCTION—Bellanok by Ralene Burke
A haven for myths and legends . . . until evil discovers a way in.
With evil darkening the mountains to the north, the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm of Bellanok to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.
Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He’s tired and frustrated–a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.
Fauna must open Brian’s eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven’s secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.
BELLANOK by Ralene Burke — EXCERPT
Fauna coaxed a flower to bloom and leaned in to inspect it. The color was duller. The bright fuchsia had faded to a dingy pink. Another effect of the curse. She pressed her lips together and let her wings pull her away from the plants.
“Come on, Fauna.” Nella gestured for her to catch up. “We are almost to the field.”
Fauna flapped her delicate wings, and the breeze carried her over to her sister.
The same breeze rippled through Nella’s wavy white hair and swayed the trees towering over them. Below Fauna, the grass had begun to wilt, the tips drooping and changing to brown. Why did Father not intervene?
Nella flew on ahead, dodging large bushes and massive tree trunks. Her pink petal skirt twisted around her body.
Fauna was not sure she wanted to visit the field. Rumor had it that her childhood play place had been turned. What that meant, she was not sure. Inside her chest, though, her heartbeat thundered like centaur hooves.
Nella paused at the edge of the forest. A bright light shimmered around her and then disappeared as she shed her tiny form for a much taller version.
Fauna landed on a nearby boulder and did the same. Light swarmed around her. She breathed in the change and then settled upon the rock once again. No longer was it an enormous boulder, but more of a stepping stone.
Without waiting for her sister to say anything, Fauna marched past her and into the field. Dreary flowers hung their heads as she approached. Long grasses swayed with a brisk wind.
Nella followed behind her, her steps swishing in the grass. “It looks so different.”
Beyond the field, mountains stretched to the sky. Menacing clouds hung around the peaks and cast shadows on the field.
Nella ran a finger over one of the forlorn-looking flowers and then let out a deep sigh, dropping her hand to her side. “It’s so sad. I feel like the island is dying.”
Fauna took Nella’s hand and pulled her over to a pile of rocks where they sat side by side. “That’s because Bellanok is dying.”
“When the demon entered our protected land, it let death and sin in with it. Now everthing that is happening to the outside world will happen here—unless we find a way to stop it.”
Nella crossed her arms. “We have plenty of capable dragon and centaur warriors to venture into the mountains.”
“yes, but they would not be able to destroy the demon. Not on their own.” A pair of light blue eyes floated through her mind. Why was he haunting her dreams again? “As queen, it is my duty to protect Bellanok. I must seek Father’s will. Right now, I sense that he wants me to leave.”
Her crystal blue eyes widened. “You cannot leave!”
Fauna pulled her sister close. “I do not want to.” Tears stung the corners of her eyes. She could not remember the last time she had cried. Queens had to be positive and uplifting, at least around those they were charged with caring for.
“Fauna, look.” Nella pulled away and pointed behind Fauna to where the tree line met the edge of a mountain face.
She turned to look and gasped. A stunning snow-white unicorn strode into the meadow. It stopped after a couple of steps and dipped its head to graze. Every time its head moved, the silver horn glittered like dew on the early morning leaves.
“It has been so long.” Nella stood and took a hesitant step toward the unicorn. “The unicorns have stayed hidden in the deep forests since the demon found its way to the island.”
Fauna could only stare at the magnificent creature. Every movement—so ethereal.
The unicorn jerked its head up, ears pricked.
Something was wrong.
Fauna stood, surveyed the tree line around them. She did not see or hear anything unusual.
“It is beautiful, is it—”
“Shh.” Fauna held a finger to her lips. Her senses tingled in an unfamiliar way. They seemed to scream, Danger, danger! till, she saw nothing.
The unicorn pawed the ground and pranced a few steps. It swung its head from side to side. It sensed something too.
She glared at her sister, who shut her mouth and shrank back. A now-familiar pain started in her chest—one that had only occurred since the demon had slithered into Bellanok.
Something moved in the shadows of the forest beyond where the unicorn sood. It moved, but it did not have shape—no form—like water in the air.
The unicorn shinnied and lunged forward.
AUTHOR BIO—Ralene Burke
Whether Ralene Burke is wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, she always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE BEYOND! She has worked for a variety of groups/companies, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients.
Her first novel, Bellanok, is available on Amazon!
When her head’s not in the publishing world, Burke is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .