Book Spotlight: Kinglet (Gemeta Stone #1) by Donna Migliaccio
Series: Gemeta Stone Book 1
By Donna Migliaccio
Fiery Seas Publishing
August 1, 2017
Kristan Gemeta has lost everything: his crown, his kingdom, his courage – even his name.
In the vast wilderness of the Exilwald, he's known to the other outcasts as Kinglet. As long as Kristan stays hidden, he can elude the bounty hunters, brutal soldiers and terrifying spells of Daazna, the Wichelord who killed his father and destroyed his life.
But when a new band of pursuers comes looking for him, Kristan's wariness gives way to intrigue. For bounty hunters they're oddly inept, and a young woman in their company is leaving enigmatic drawings wherever they go. As they plunge deeper into the Exilwald, Kristan follows. He discovers the drawings symbolize the Gemeta Stone, an ancient family talisman seized by Daazna but now in the little band's possession.
With the Stone's protection, Kristan might stand a chance against Daazna. He could regain his birthright and his honor. But to obtain the Stone, he must reveal his true identity and risk the one thing he has left... his life.
KINGLET EXCERPT #3 – From Chapter Four (589 words)
A chittering sound rattled in Kristan’s ears, and he jerked awake. He was numb with cold, his head ached, his vision was blurry and for a moment he did not know where he was. The chittering came again, closer, and Kristan blinked hard. A flock of nondescript little birds surrounded him, chirring and peeping as they hopped from twig to twig in the thin dawn light. One of them, perched only a hand’s length from his face, suddenly fluffed its feathers and raised a crest of red feathers on its head, for all the world like a tiny crimson crown. Then the crest flicked away, and the little bird and its comrades fluttered higher into the tree. Kristan was still staring after them when a laugh sounded below. He scrambled to his feet and saw the dark-skinned man and the hunchback at the base of the tree, gazing up at him.
“Looks as if the little kinglet birds have found one of their own,” the dark man said.
“Another rule of the Exilwald,” the hunchback said. “A tree makes a fine hiding place until you’re discovered.”
Kristan looked around and realized he was trapped.
“Come down, Kinglet,” the dark man said. “We’re not going to hurt you.”
Kristan edged out onto the thickest branch he could find and crouched there. The closest tree was a fair distance away, but its longest branches interlaced with those of the fir, and Kristan wondered if he could leap into it safely.
“Don’t do it, Kinglet,” said the dark man. “You may be a little bird, but those branches will never support your weight.”
Kristan shifted his sword belt so that his weapon hung behind his back. He inched further out on the branch, until it began to groan and bend beneath his feet.
“Oh, don’t do that,” the hunchback said, sounding genuinely concerned. Kristan glanced down and saw that the man was holding up both hands, as if in entreaty. What does it matter? he thought. What difference does it make if I fall? Alive or dead, I’m no use to anyone. He shut his eyes and in the sudden darkness saw his father’s head rolling across the green grass of the courtyard.
A squawk of protest from the hunchback brought him back. He opened his eyes and realized he was standing upright on the branch, balanced with his arms outstretched like wings. “All right, all right, we’ll let you be,” the hunchback said. “Come away, Gabriel. Leave the boy alone before he does something rash.”
“Not a chance,” said the dark man. He positioned himself beneath Kristan and stood there with his arms crossed, grinning. “All right, Kinglet. Go ahead and fly.”
“What are you doing? He’ll land right on top of you. You’ll both be killed.”
“That’s a fact. Come on, boy. I’m waiting.”
Kristan stared down at him. His knees began to buckle.
“Come on, Kinglet,” the dark man said. “You can’t stay in that tree forever. Time to fly or fall.”
The man’s image seemed to sway before Kristan’s eyes, and before he realized what was happening, he had crouched and was clinging to the branch. Coward, he berated himself. Failure. Not even enough courage to end your useless life.
“That’s it,” the hunchback said. “Come down, now. We shouldn’t stay here any longer. Come down.”
Kristan climbed slowly down the tree. Once on the ground he stood trembling, eyes downcast. “Do what you came to do,” he whispered.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. Her award-winning short story, "Yaa & The Coffins," was featured in Thinkerbeat's 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.