The Elf of Luxembourg by Tom Weston
The thing about El Dorado is . . . No, forget that. The thing about younger sisters is . . . What’s an older sister to do? It’s not all fun fairs and ice-cream. Well, it is – but that’s beside the point.
When one is in Luxembourg, there is a certain standard to maintain, and vacationing with Elves and Vampires is just so old school. But can Alex convince her younger sister, Jackie, of that? No, of course not, so she may as well get used to it. But deep beneath the ancient city of Luxembourg there lies a secret.
The Vampires believe it is protected by the Elf. The Elf believes it is protected by a prophecy concerning Alex and Jackie. And the sisters? They believe shoes in Luxembourg are too expensive.
Why are the Vampires going toe-to-toe with an Elf for the pleasure of the sisters’ company? Why does the Elf think Alex and Jackie can sing? And just who let Sir Walter Raleigh and the Conquistadors into this story? To answer these questions will take all of the sisters’ cunning, bravery and imagination, as well as some souvenir shopping. Because this is the Elf of Luxembourg and this is an Alex and Jackie Adventure.
About Tom Weston
Originally from England, Tom now resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Before turning his hand to fiction, Tom had a successful career as the CEO of a consulting company, conference speaker and writer of industry articles and business books.
His novel, First Night, set in Boston during the New Year’s Eve festival, introduced the unlikely heroines, Alex and Jackie, and the ghost of a 17th century Puritan named Sarah Pemberton. First Night won an Honorable Mention in the Middle-Grade/Young Adult category, in the Writers Digest 17th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards.
The sequel to First Night, called The Elf of Luxembourg, was published in January, 2010. As with First Night, The Elf of Luxembourg is also a supernatural mystery, with a blend of humor and history that has become Tom’s trademark. Tom is currently working on Book 3 of the Alex and Jackie Adventures, and is researching the background material for the story, which will be set in Ireland.
Tom has also written the screenplay, Fission, based on the true story of scientist, Lisa Meitner, and the race for the atomic bomb, and which was named a finalist at the London Independent Film Festival.
You can visit his website at: http://www.tom-weston.com
Read an Excerpt
Cuchaquichá entered the dream state. The smoke from the fire, the endorphins released by his brain to combat the blood loss and the hayo leaf cocktail, brewed to numb the pain and reveal the unseen, combined to help transport him to another level of consciousness.
The column of smoke leveled off and floated, as a cloud, half way between the floor and the ceiling of his little hut. Out of the cloud rose the Vision Serpent, a green, two headed giant snake. Out of its mouths trickled red blood. Its tail coiled around the burning parchment. If Cuchaquichá had performed the ceremony correctly, the Vision Serpent would open its mouths: a god would emerge from one, an ancestor from the other.
Cuchaquichá felt sick and near to passing out. The Vision Snake swayed towards him, baring its fangs. Then the image of a man appeared.
“Grandfather,” said Cuchaquichá. The Muisca called all male ancestors Grandfather, all females, Grandmother.
“Hello Cuchaquichá,” said the man. “Good to see you. I am honored with your presence.”
Cuchaquichá noticed the man’s beard and mode of dress, alien to the Muisca. “You are not a Grandfather,” he said.
“No, Cuchaquichá, I am not,” said the man.
“Are you a god? Are you Chibchachum or Xué?”
“No, Cuchaquichá, I am not,” said the man.
“Then who are you?” asked Cuchaquichá. He squinted to get a better look through the smoke and saw the paleness of the man’s flesh. “Oh wait, now I see you. You are Bochica, the traveler.”
The legend of Bochica the Savior told of a mysterious stranger with white skin, who arrived from the east, when the Muisca still lived as children, and taught them many things: metal work and writing, and law and morality on which they now fashioned their society.
But the Muisca forgot the lessons which Bochica had taught and fell into barbarism; until the gods punished them with a great flood. Bochica, hearing the pleas of the Muisca, returned to defeat the gods and channeled the flood into a waterfall, the Tequendama Falls. With the crisis averted, Bochica announced his departure, but also his return at the time of their greatest need; and he stepped into a rainbow and disappeared.
“Cuchaquichá, I do not have much time,” said the man.
“No, Grandfather,” said Cuchaquichá. He now used the title out of respect for such a hero.
“Tomorrow is the Ceremony of the Zipa.”
“You are to accompany the Zipa on the lake and make offerings.”
“I need you to deliver a message for me.”
“Yes, Grandfather . . . To who, Grandfather?” “To the gods.”
“But Grandfather, I have no offering worthy of carrying such a message. Our family has been scattered by the Spanish, as seeds in the wind. They have taken much and left little. My poor offerings would dishonor your message.”
The man opened his hand, palm up. “Here, Cuchaquichá, take this. It is both message and offering.”
He handed Cuchaquichá a small gold coin. Cuchaquichá turned it over in his hand and examined it. Etched on one side, Cuchaquichá saw an image which he interpreted as a raft on a lake, under a blazing sun. Under the raft swam a fish, or a snake, or perhaps Bachué, the Mother Goddess: Cuchaquichá could not tell for sure, for Bachué appeared in many forms.
On the converse of the coin appeared the moon and stars, and a snake, and what seemed to be the letter ‘A’.
“I know all the symbols of our tribe, Grandfather, but I do not recognize or understand these. This was not crafted from the hand of a Muiscan goldsmith. But it reminds me of the ceremony of the Zipa. Is that the Zipa riding on the back of a fish?”
“Do not worry. The meaning will be clear to those for whom the message is intended.”
“Your family is indeed scattered, Cuchaquichá. But if the message is delivered perhaps some of the seed may still find fertile ground.”
“Have you come to destroy the Spanish, Grandfather?”
“No, Cuchaquichá, something much more elemental. But if you wish it, the Spanish will indeed be destroyed. Is that what you want? Be careful what you wish for.”
“No, Grandfather, I do not wish for that.”
“When my message has been delivered I shall return with a reward for you.”
“I am honored, Grandfather.”
The Vision Serpent closed its mouths, swallowing the man. The fire died, and the smoke and the Serpent both dissipated. Cuchaquichá sighed and passed into the unconscious darkness.