In my upcoming YA Fantasy novel, accessing the magical realm of Everdream isn’t as simple as falling asleep. There’s a bit of magic involved—a set of magic words…and a talisman.
The talisman is personal to the Dreamer. It must be something that has deep significance to the bearer, and is best something small and portable. It is this talisman that becomes a portal point both to enter and exit the dream world. The Dreamer chooses a talisman on his first visit to Everdream, and that same object will be a constant for every visit thereafter, so it should be chosen with care.
When Kynan first enters Everdream, he chooses as his talisman a child’s wooden sword—no bigger than a small dagger—which he received as a gift shortly before his mother the queen disappeared into the Eversleep. It came from his father’s advisor, a knight named Lyr, and was carved by his mother herself in elaborate designs surrounding his personal crest as the Prince of Brenyn.
This talisman is a fitting choice for Kynan. As an adolescent boy, his life revolves around learning the art of fighting—and winning approval for mastering that art. As one small for his age, this approval is often hard to find. And since his father the king seems bent on keeping him back from battle and quest alike, he isn’t likely to get the chance to prove himself.
The wooden dagger represents not only his longing to be recognized as a fighter, but also his naivety about the harsh realities of life.
Queen Aderyn, Kynan’s mother, has a different sort of talisman. Although hers is also a carved piece of wood, it is a bead, about the size of a quail’s egg, crudely carved with the petals of a globe rose and strung on a cord of rough twine.
It is a remnant of a past all but lost to her. Born a commoner with a simple life, she met the king in Everdream and, not knowing who he was, fell in love with him. Unprepared for the life of a queen, she faded more and more into Everdream until she disappeared completely.
What about you? What would your talisman be?
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