The fate of two worlds rests on the shoulders of a few unsuspecting souls.
Inner Earth, Agartha, a land where the color of your Aura defines you, losing the entire population of greens to the war left a visible void.
Ethan, a fourteen-year-old young man, discovers he has a green aura, the last of an extinct race. He leaves the school of Nafoura in search of the truth about the fate of the greens, and to find a home to call his own.
Joined by a girl from our earth, and an exiled shapeshifter, Ethan must race to the Chronicler of Agartha in search of answers.
But Ethan has a mark on his head by the very woman who decimated his people, doggedly chasing after him for nefarious reasons of her own.
Ethan must walk a thin line to get his answers, inadvertently stepping into the web of a prophecy he knows nothing about, one which may lead to salvation, or to a promise of doom for his and our world.
If you liked The Inheritance Cycle, of Eragon’s fame, you will love The Green Boy
Targeted Age Group:: Young Adults
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Isaac Michan my co-author had a dream of exploring Agartha, Inner Earth, part of the myth of Hollow Earth. We met online and shared the idea, and from there the story started to take shape.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Ethan was conceived as an average teen boy, who takes the weight of the world on his shoulder, struck by tragedy and mystery at his young age, it was natural for him to be written as an accidental hero. As for Mara, she was to be the sound of doubt, but she grew in the telling to be far more powerful and independent. Darren, on the other hand, was written as character fraught with inner turmoil, because of the difference between his nature and his heart's desire.
Ethan woke up as he had every day for the last eight years, and like every day, he pulled the basin from under his bed and his small mirror to wash his face and to arrange his unruly hair, which as usual, failed to arrange. Then he dressed in his school uniform and went to the fountain with the other kids.
As usual, the line seemed to stretch forever, but he went on to join it anyway. He stood waiting for his turn to drink from the fountain, as he did every single day since he came here, and to pass the time, he thought of last night’s events, and a smile rose to shine on his entire face.
As usual, kids sipped and ran from the line to the school —the teachers didn’t like for the kids to linger outside of the school grounds that early in the morning. Understandable for the younger ones, like the bears, but Ethan found it to be a silly rule to be applied to the Falcons as well, but he really didn’t have a say in the rules of the school, and he had to comply if he wanted to avoid demerits.
As he approached the fountain, a girl who was two places ahead of him in the line was told to drink from the other side. He, along with the other kids, gave the usual cheer for the anointed girl, who drank from the other side with a very big smile, which almost ate her entire face in its radiance.
Every three months, the Dream ritual would take place in which children became adults, as they drank from the exit side of the fountain and had their aura stabilized to a single color. The children who studied in Nafoura were marked by their ever-changing auras, identifying them as children, even if some of them were taller and bigger than the Keeper himself.
Children’s auras had multiple hues of all the possible colors, and it changed all the time until of course, they participated in the Dream ritual, then it would settle down to the destined aura of the person, identifying them as adults belonging to a single nation for the rest of their lives.
The Dream ritual was the most important event in the school calendar, either you were one of the selected to the Dream, or you had the pleasure of a couple of days off to do as you wanted around the school. Either way, all the children in the city of Beimini eagerly awaited the ceremony every quarter of a year with passion and mirth.
Ethan woke up from his reverie when it was his turn to kneel in front of the Keeper to be allowed to drink. Instead of being given permission to do so, he heard him say something, but for some unknown reason, his brain decided just to go off at this very moment, and he couldn’t really make it out.
He looked in confusion at the Keeper, who smiled and said in a louder voice, “Ethan, go to the other side and drink from it.”
Ethan stood stock still in shock for a moment, or it might have been for a whole minute, then as his brain translated what his ears heard to his legs, he ran to the other side of the fountain. In the most ungraceful way possible, he dipped the ladle and drew it up to his lips, and as he gulped and slurped the water, making enough noise to alert the entire line, he thought this must have been the worst way start the ritual, in the history of the school.
But then the cheers went up behind him, and even though he wished he would have acted far more gracefully and far more resigned than he did, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of achievement, and a big smile drew itself on his face and manifested in a permanent grin of victory and mirth.
As he stood beside the girl who he was too shy to stare at, Ethan thought he knew her, so he looked at her again and realized this was Carmen from last night, the masterful music player, who made it a special night for everyone.
Then suddenly, a thought hit him., When he leaves, it will not really affect anybody, well, besides making Sarah and Malik sad for a day or two, but when somebody like Carmen here leaves, it would cause a significant void in the student body, one he envied her for, yet he pitied his fellow students for her future absence at the same time.
The line went on, and by the end of it, around forty kids were standing beside Ethan and Carmen, awaiting the famous words which would be spilled forth from the mouth of the Keeper, ones who were part of the ritual and they all heard them at all past events.
The rest of the students just stood by, and the ones who rushed early on to the school were called back by their fellows to join the ritual. During this time, the Keeper watched patiently as the students settled in a large circle around the selected few and the fountain.
When there was complete silence, he started to speak, “You came to me as younglings with closed eyes, and I have opened them to the knowledge of our world.”
He raised his right hand high to indicate one finger pointing outwards; after each reclamation of the Keeper, the entire school shouted in return, “Yes, Keeper.”
“You have come to me as wild animals, and I have taught you the ways of man.” He uncurled another finger, the answer resounded from the throats of all the students.
“You have come to me as weak as a mewling kitten, and I made you warriors.” Again, he uncurled a third finger, and again came the customary answer.
“You have come to me fresh-faced and naïve, and I have marked you with the experience needed to pass through the world victorious.” Now, he had four fingers out, and the shouted answer seemed even louder.
“You have come to me as children, and now you will leave as adults.” He now raised a fully opened hand, the answer came back as thunder rolling over Nafoura.
“I have fulfilled my duty, and I have unloaded my burden, now go forth and dream, to fulfill yours as well.” He stood as the students shouted in unison, “Your duty for those graduating, is fulfilled, now they carry theirs.”
Cheers erupted in a torrent of differently pitched voices; the cacophony was deafening, and yet, it was also astounding and glorious. Ethan even imagined he heard the shrill whistle of Malik among the crowd of voices.
Several hands clapped the backs of the selected few, as the belief was that luck can be transferred by touch, and everybody, even the very young bears, who joined the school at the young age of six, in the height of excitement, wanted to be chosen at the next Dream ritual.
Nobody really knew how the Keeper chose the ones to undergo the ritual, or for that matter, the exact day the ritual would begin, as some students were nearing their eighteenth year, and were yet to be selected, but the only certain fact was, the children were never picked before the age of fourteen.
Everything else about the ritual was mysterious and vague, and this caused the children to build their own theories and mythos around the whole ceremony, some were plausible, others were so otherworldly as to be the complete work of an overactive imagination. There was even the occasional ominous theory of dire consequences to the ritual, going as far as to say children never leave the school and that the ritual and the selection were just to cull the population of the city and that they are actually sent to their death. This particular theory was only spread through a single girl called Amelia, who everyone called the mad prophet of Nafoura.
Yet every three months, some of those theories were refuted, and others became more established, but the reality was only known by the Keeper and the kids who became the workers, support staff, and teachers of the school of Nafoura.
Ethan was having a myriad of feelings competing to occupy his mind at that moment, he was thrilled, excited and happy, as he was about to be an adult and he would venture forth to join his nation, yet, he was also intimidated, scared and sad, as he would leave the life he knew, for another, presumably, completely alien to him. It also didn’t help that Malik and Sarah were not ready for the ritual, meaning, he was really going to leave them behind.
The last thought caused him to start to search frantically through the milling crowd for his friends, the ones who he will miss the most. If there was something like siblings in Agartha, they would definitely qualify to be his, alas, you belonged only to the nation holding your color, and this was the single most repeated law of Agarthan existence the school and its teachers constantly tried to ingrain in the minds of the children from the very first day at the school.
He started to move among the throngs of kids milling about, and in his search, a lot of other students clapped his back, touched his face, and one kid even hugged him so hard, he felt the breath knocked out of him.
Eventually, somebody grabbed his arm and pulled him to the side. As he reached to remove the hand holding his arm and was ready to give a scathing comment about the touching thing, he found it was Malik, who was smiling a wide smile as he pulled him to where Sarah stood, mostly away from the other kids, near the supplies hall.
“You have done it,” she shook her head and said in a sober voice as he and Malik closed in on her. “You broke the group and made us just a duo instead of a trio.”
Ethan felt guilt and sadness wash over him, especially that they were discussing this very subject the last night. He wanted to comfort Sarah, to apologize somehow for being picked, maybe even promise to seek her out or wait for her, but he didn’t know what to say to his friend.
Thoughts raced in his mind to formulate an answer to her statement, but before he could say a word of what ran in his mind, she smiled and said, “I wish that you will be orange, then we both will be able to know the secrets of life together.”
All his complex feelings of guilt and sadness, which were about to consume him and make him a miserable wreck for the rest of the ritual, vanished, as she made him smile and totally melted his building anxiety, an effect only Sarah had on him during his entire stay in Beimini, but he knew this was one of her talents as she usually managed to do this to other people all the time.
This also reminded him of his major weakness, anxiety in the face of any alarming situation with other people, one he was working on almost every day, just to keep at bay. He didn’t mind jumping off a cliff or wading in crocodile-infested waters, not even going through a raging fire, but when it came to people, Ethan usually was not at his best.
Sarah now nodded. “I hope that after you are gone, Malik wouldn’t pull me into his catastrophic schemes and plots.” She gave Malik a disapproving look, which he countered by a look of shock, and he even reached to hold his chest as if in agony.
Ethan’s smile turned into a laugh, and he was soon joined by his two friends, so he said, “Even though my life will change forever after today, I would like to think that even in the future, I will always have you two as my friends.” He drew a long breath in and continued, “I will miss you, Sarah and Malik, a lot.”
Both of his friends reached to him, and they had a group hug, something that Ethan never experienced before. In fact, it was his first hug ever, well, aside from the hug of the smaller kid earlier, the one that was done totally against his will, he rather enjoyed this hug with his friends immensely more than the other one.
As they broke the embrace, Malik said nervously, “Why are you still here anyway?” He pointed back to the school. “Shouldn’t you join the other selected students to receive the instruction to the second part of the ritual?”
Sarah looked panicked for a moment. “Yes, you should not dally.” She pushed Ethan towards the school building. “The last of the chosen will be a red.” As she said it, she blushed and looked embarrassed, she even tried to look away, as this was a running rumor in the circles of the students, the last to enter the instruction phase will be a red by the end of the Dream ritual.
Ethan looked at her in fear, then he turned and ran to the entrance of the school, he even did something he never had done before, he pushed his way almost too hard through the students already ascending the stairs.
Eventually, his fear wore off as he was now in the middle of the crowd of the forty chosen students, they were led by Miss Julia, the archery teacher, which raised Ethan’s spirits a great deal, as she was his favorite teacher for his favorite subject.
Not long after they filed into the theater room, the one where the history experts of the school made representations of the past events in drama, not Ethan’s cup of tea for sure, but still, a leisure activity he occasionally enjoyed with the other Falcons when they were invited to one of the acts.
The kids sat along the horseshoe stair shaped seats, which surrounded the raised circle in the middle of the room, where Miss Julia, Master Boyed, and two porters stood in front of a huge blackboard. Miss Julia addressed the children, “Congratulations, chosen ones.” She gave the entire assembly a big smile of assurance and continued, “Today, you were set apart from the rest of us, tomorrow you leave these grounds forever.”
“We will advise you of basic information of what is to come,” she said in a firm voice that was framed by her big smile. “Master Boyed, your teacher of Fauna and Flora, will give you a hint of what you should do tonight to have a painless experience in the Dream.”
Master Boyd acknowledged her invitation with a nod, then he came to the front of the theater and started talking. “As all of you know, the Dream is unique for every group which gets chosen to graduate, meaning, every group before you and every group after you graduate, will have a different dream of their own.”
He continued after looking at the assembly to be sure each of the forty was paying attention to his words. “You should sleep tonight without having dinner, as it helps to go faster from the normal sleep to the Dream that you will all share.”
“Try not to overdress tonight, and I know it is rather chilly of late during the night as we are nearing the end of fall, but again, this helps.” He pointed to the blackboard behind him, and one of the porters rushed to give him a rather big piece of chalk.
He started to write, and Ethan regretted not having any parchments or quills around him to take notes, then he smiled, as he probably will not need ever again to take notes, no more examinations of his collected knowledge during the school year.
“The first part of the Dream will be feeling pulled out of your body, it is not entirely pleasant, but don’t be alarmed by that.” As Master Boyed talked, he wrote on the board what he said.
“Next will be a sense of weightlessness, this is the most certain sign that you have entered the Dream.” He turned from the blackboard to look again at the kids, then assured he had their full attention, he turned back to the blackboard.
“The Dream will begin at this point, don’t fight it or try to control it, it makes it harder for everyone in the entire group if only one of you fought the Dream and its passage.” He turned and pointed a warning finger to the group of kids to emphasize his words.
“When the Dream finishes, you will complete your normal sleep, but as you wake up, it will be the only memory of the night, and it will be really strong and vivid, you will know that it was different from any other dream that you ever had in your entire life.” He wrote the last words and signaled Miss Julia to come forward.
As she came to the front of the stage, Miss Julia thanked the teacher of fauna and flora and started to talk. “Ok, as you all know, you will not return to the Falcon building for sleeping tonight. Instead, you will be all sleeping in the infirmary like all the groups before you.”
Ethan had shivers and chills running all the way from the base of his neck to the end of his spine; he entered the infirmary many times along his years in Nafoura, but none of his memories of the squat side building to the school had any favored moments, the last of those best to be forgotten moments was when he broke his left arm, in hand to hand combat, six months ago. The Keeper came with a strange small mirror which he pointed to Ethan’s broken arm and did something to it, the next hour was agony as his arm’s bones mended and fixed themselves very fast and very painfully.
“Food will be brought to you for breakfast and lunch.” She signaled to the porters who ran to a big wooden box in the back, grabbed several small woven reed boxes, and started to pass them on to the chosen kids. The smell of baked goods inside the containers made Ethan’s mouth water. Miss Julia continued, “You can have your breakfast the moment we finish this orientation lecture, and later in the day, the porters will bring you your lunch.” She shook her head as she said, “However, you will not be given any dinner as Master Boyd pointed out that eating before the Dream makes it more difficult to pass through.”
A kid sitting next to Ethan, who Ethan couldn’t quite place, whispered to the one next to him, “What do they mean by ‘pass’? Could it be some actually don’t pass the night, as in die in the Dream?”
Ethan had enough to think of, and it was already making him edgy. He didn’t need to hear what that kid just said, so he decided he will not let the kid next to him affect him with his omens of doom and death. Still, he became a bit more worried when he heard him say what he said.
Miss Julia continued after giving several whispering kids a warning look. “For the time being, you have total freedom to cruise the school, but when the bell for dinner chimes, you are to head immediately to the infirmary to have your sleeping arrangements done.”
She suddenly gave a loud cheer, “Go forth chosen ones, make us proud.”
The kids cheered back, then they opened their boxes and ate the still warm contents. Once done, they started to mill from the theater room.
Ethan went out with them but soon found himself alone. Sure, he knew a lot of the surrounding faces, but he didn’t know them all that well, they were just faces in his classes and in the Falcon’s common bath, as he always preferred the company of Sarah and Malik to the rest of the students. He felt quite a stranger among those others.
As the students started to move out in groups, he stood in the hallway out of the theater and started to think about his next move when Miss Julia came around the corner towards him. She approached him as if she knew what he felt and what he was going through and said, “Hello, Ethan.”
She grabbed his arm and walked with him. “Care to join me in the archery grounds?”
Ethan followed his favorite teacher to the middle of the school, where a stairway led to the roof. As they ascended, pictures of various animals, mythical and magical beings which inhabited Agartha adorned the walls of the stairwell, ones that Ethan knew now by heart. Here was a rabbit, and a deer, next there was a mighty griffin, and next to it, there was the ethereal looking merman. The pictures were so lifelike, that when he first came here, he almost fell to his death as he bounded a corner and was met by the fearsome head of a red dragon.
Dragons were believed to have disappeared along with the yellows and blues, a strange coincidence t nobody could explain. One day they were seen all over the place. The next, the magical beings just seemed to have ceased to exist, coincidentally at the same time, the nations mentioned above disappeared.
Finally, Miss Julia approached the gate of the archery ground on the roof of the middle building of the school, placed the strange glass amulet she always wore on her chest to the gates, and they swung open.
One of the reasons Ethan cherished the archery classes so much was that he could only enter the grounds for practice in the presence of Miss Julia or one of her two assistants, making it always a much sought-after activity for him and for a lot of the other students as well.
They entered the archery practice grounds, which had three meters tall walls all around the perimeter of the oval space. Along one corner were the regular bullseye targets, ones the stopped using more than four years ago.
He was here for the other unique feature of the archery grounds of Nafoura, the almost real animals and creatures that could be made to appear when Miss Julia activated the moving target system.
He grabbed one of the bows hanging on the sides of the entrance and a quiver full of the blunt-headed arrows next to it, got down to a crouch, and waited. Miss Julia approached a pillar near the entrance and placed her amulet again on its face, then the open-roofed space darkened, and the plain wooden floor looked like it sprouted thousands of plants, trees, and tall grass blades. Hanging above the roof now, was the scoreboard, made up of burning fiery letters to show the score of each participant.
Ethan drew the first arrow and knocked it to the bow and waited for the usual white orb to dance into existence somewhere ahead of him. As it did, he fired his first arrow, hitting it smack in the middle, but instead of disintegrating like it did when he first moved from the stationary targets to this moving target system, it started to change color and transform.
The orb would eventually change to another color, then the likeness of an animal or a magical creature would appear from it, yellow meant game animals, as it usually would change into a rabbit, deer, or something like that and would race across the grounds. If the shooter was fast enough, they could get the points of hitting it and move to the next color.
Blue was for animals with thicker hides or natural armor, and these took several shots to count as a hit. Next came the purple, which was usually one of the smaller magical creatures, and these required the special red-tipped arrows to hit. Usually, each quiver had a couple, but they were fast, elusive creatures, and even a master archer could barely hit a single one in each practice if it was at all possible.
Next was the green, which was the grander of magical creatures, like dragons, and griffins, nobody in Ethan’s e memory ever managed to count a single hit to those creatures, not even the best archer in the school, Miss Julia herself.
Then you had the indigo ones, which, even though they were really rare to encounter in practice, were more than just elusive, they could disappear from the field if you missed them in a shot, but they carried almost the highest number of points in the game.
Last were the reds, who either were dangerous predators or armored men, and you had to kill them fast or they would bound towards you, erasing all your points and kicking you out of the game if they touched you.
Ethan began with a red, who he got in seconds without any hesitation, next came a purple, which he managed to hit, to the cheers of Miss Julia. And this was how Ethan passed the day. Soon after, other students joined him, and even Miss Julia took a bow to compete with them.
Ethan had favorite classes such as hand to hand combat and trekking, but nothing came close to archery, he even had his lunch on the archery grounds.
When the dinner bell chimed, he headed along with the other chosen to the infirmary, to be welcomed by Master Dalmatius and Master Michael, who gave each of the chosen a blanket, a sheet, and a soft cotton sleeping gown, and guided them to choose from one of the forty beds arranged in a circle around a big metallic ball placed in the center.
Carmen was the first to ask about the metallic ball, and Master Dalmatius, cryptic as always, just said, “It is there to guard against interference in the ether,” and he said nothing more.
Eventually, every last one of the kids lay down on his or her own bed, and the porters diligently started to put out all the candles and lamps in the place, sparing only a few, which were placed near the ball.
Soon after, the sounds of soft breathing filled the room as one after another, the kids fell to sleep, but not Ethan. He was awake, wide awake, in fact. He couldn’t adjust to the change of sleeping quarters easily, as well as the lack of the usual sonorous breathing wafting to his right side from Sarah’s bed, he was missing all these small things which made his bed in the chamber, his own sleeping place.
He also had a lot of unspent energy, as well as a lot of anxiety playing in his mind. He was thinking of the Dream, and of the words the kid who disturbed him earlier uttered, thinking that some might not pass the night, and as he did this, he started to turn over and over in the bed, unable to find a resting position to feel the need to sleep.
As he turned again, Master Dalmatius was standing right beside his head, and he said to him, “Can’t sleep, Ethan?”
Ethan just nodded, and the older man reached to his head, and something cold touched his forehead as Dalmatius touched it. Within seconds, Ethan was feeling he was being pulled out of his body. He remembered Master Boyed’s words and resisted his intense wish to fight the pull, soon after, the feeling went away.
He was floating as if he was lighter than the surrounding air, which started to fog over, and soon everything around him was covered by soft clouds. He thought he saw a light in the distance and felt it was important to go where it was, so he headed towards the light, floating sometimes, and at other times walking on the soft clouds which covered everything in sight.
As he came close to the light, he noticed it was some kind of huge candle, and next to it stood a woman who was dressed all in green, and a man who was very tall and made entirely of shadows, or maybe he was the shadow of a hidden man.
Something screamed in his head to run, but he pushed forward, trying to see the faces of those two people. As he came nearer, he realized both of them were trying very hard to extinguish the candle, but for the time being, they were failing.
Suddenly, they noticed him, and the woman produced a strange growl from her mouth and gave pursuit, so Ethan had no choice but to run, to flee away from her. He didn’t know for how long he had been running, or if the woman in green would ever stop chasing after him, but he felt tired and scared, and as he went on, he felt the woman gained on him, he could almost feel her breath on his neck.
As he was about to fall out of tiredness, a very strong light rushed towards him, then past him to the woman in green, and for a moment, the whole world went silent as if in anticipation.
The light materialized into the form of a man, but just like the shadow man, Ethan couldn’t really be sure if he was even a man.
The woman in green jumped at the man of light, screamed and vanished, then the tall shadow man came bounding to where Ethan lay on the ground, and the man of light stood above him.
A great fight ensued when the shadow and light man met, Ethan could see sparks, hear thunder, and the whole world shook around him.
The light man looked like he was about to lose as he fell to one knee, so Ethan rushed at his side, and he felt the pull on his body even stronger still, but the man of light stood strong once more in front of the man of shadow.
Then something strange happened as the man of light started to melt as well as did Ethan, and both became one.
Suddenly, Ethan was whisked out of the entire scene, into the grounds of Nafoura. His heartbeats raced and pulsated in his head and in his ears, but he knew the Dream was finished, and now he had the night to himself.
He tried to open his eyes and shake the sleep off, but couldn’t, and eventually, he even forgot he was dreaming as he joined Malik and Sarah, competing for the best archer of the three.
The rest of the night was just like any other night for Ethan in Beimini, peaceful and serene.
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