The Ultimate Passages Fan Scavenger Hunt
August 18-31, 2009
We have our winners!

From August 18-31, 2009, the Odyssey Scoop, The Unofficial Podcast, and AIO Wiki teamed up to bring fans an opportunity to prove themselves the biggest Passages fan to win cool prizes. Participants went through a several-step process. First, each contestant was required to visit each of the individual sites to find five questions about Passages, set up in a scavenger hunt style. A total of fifteen questions were asked of the contestants, and all the answers could be found within the pages of the official Passages Site and the Official Site.

Next, participants had the opportunity to create their own Passages episode or story. It was up to them how they wanted to do it. It could be a short script, a plot summary, or any method they chose -- as long as it impressed the judges and seemed as if it could fit into the Passages series. Contestants could use characters from the existing books or come up with some of their own. Once they collected the answers to all the questions and fine-tuned their Passages stories, all they had to do to be considered was submit their answers and stories via a contest submission page.

This contest was set up in such a way that readers, as well as those who have never opened a Passages book, could participate for Adventures in Odyssey prizes.
 



Building Excitement
We even had a commercial to get contestants excited! Thanks to our friend Kevin at the Ceiling Fan Podcast for his creativity and audio skills!


Choosing Winners
Between the three sites, as well as promotion from the Official Site, this contest sparked a lot of interest. A total of 48 contestants submitted their answers and a Passages story. For a writing contest, having 48 contestants is quite a large number, considering writing intimidates some people and takes a good amount of effort. Even with so many entries, the judging had to take place. As a team, Jacob Isom (The Odyssey Scoop) and Chris P. from The Unofficial Podcast judged the entries as fairly as possible. The winners' plot summaries have been judged by their creativity, originality, and Biblical integration.

And now, our winners!

Grand Prize Winner:
Erin S., age 25

Runner Ups:
Ryan S., age 22
Peter S., age 17
Michaela B. age 12
Lizzie G., age 20

Honorable Mention:
Rachel D., age 12
Stephen S., age 21
Erica G., age 18
Christian A., age 13

All of us from the Odyssey Scoop, The Unofficial Podcast, and AIO Wiki would like to congratulate Erin S., our grand prize winner. She will receive a free copy of the audio adaptation of Passages: Darien's Rise. Our runner ups (Ryan. S., Peter S., Michaela B., and Lizzie G.) will all receive a poster of the Darien's Rise cover artwork signed by the Adventures in Odyssey team. You can read our five winners' entries below, along with the judges' comments as to why these entries were chosen as the best. You can also take a look at the stories of our four Honorable Mention participants. Contestants, if you're dying to know the answers to our scavenger hunt questions, we've got those below as well.

All of these fabulous prizes are compliments of Focus on the Family and the creators of Adventures in Odyssey! Thanks, Focus on the Family! And, as always, a big thanks goes out to everyone who participated in The Ultimate Passages Fan Scavenger Hunt!


Passages Scavenger Hunt Answers
All answers could be found within the pages of the official Passages Site and the Official Site. Highlight for answers. Answers are provided first, followed by a reference to the section at the Passages site where the answer is located. Out of 48 contestants, 47 answered at least 10 of the 15 correctly to be considered for prizes. Congratulations, Passages sleuths!

The Odyssey Scoop
1. What is the 43rd word in Chapter 1 of Darien's Rise, not including the chapter title?
(Kyle, Read a Chapter)
2. Which city is nearest to Darien's family home?
(Leapford, Explore Marus)
3. What actor will voice Mr. Whittaker in the audio adaptation of Darien's Rise?
(Andre Stojka, Official Podcast #75)
4. Darien's home is located on the edge of which city?
(Sarum, Explore Marus)
5. What color is Anastasia's hair?
(Gray, Characters)

The Unofficial Podcast
1. Which city is an ally of Marus?
(Gotthard, Explore Marus)
2. What's the name of Kyle and Anna's uncle?
(Bill, Read a Chapter)
3. Who rescues Anna from being sold as a slave?
(The Old Judge, Characters)
4. In which city did Darien defeat Commander Soren? (Glendale, Explore Marus)
5. Who is the author of Passages?
(Paul McCusker, Video Interview)

AIO Wiki
1. What is the site of the Adrians' first attack?
(Territory of Peace, Krawley; Explore Marus)
2. Who is Darien's father?
(Torbin, Characters)
3. Fill in the blank: "The Chronicle of the ____"
(Chosen, Read a Chapter)
4. What city did King Lawrence use as his headquarters in the war against the Palatians?
(Kellen, Explore Marus)
5. What is the 111th word from the end of Chapter 1 of Darien's Rise, counting backwards?
  (Anna, Read a Chapter)


Stories from our Winners
The story of our grand prize winner Erin S. is presented first. All runner up stories are not presented in any particular order.

Untitled Story
Erin S., age 25
Grand Prize Winner

Characters:
Jeremiah Thompson—June's twin brother, much more outgoing than June, sometimes "speaks for her" in unfamiliar situations, paralyzed from the waist down from a drunk driving incident as a toddler that took their mother
June Thompson—Jeremiah's twin sister, very quiet, stopped talking altogether until she was four as a response to their mother's death, helps Jeremiah when he needs it (Jeremiah and June are very close and usually get along pretty well)
Ben Thompson—father of Jeremiah and June, has had a hard time dealing with his wife's death, but is usually good humored and a good father
Rachael Thompson—mother of Jeremiah and June, died in a drunk driving incident when they were toddlers
"Bear"—nickname of the girl the diary the children find, becomes a prophetess who predicts the desolation of Marus (represents Jeremiah)
"Taz"— nickname of the boy the diary the children find, thinks of himself as strong and independent until his experience in Marus
Zerich—prophet who predicts desolation of Marus (represents Isaiah)
King Mirad—last king of Marus
Eli—comes with the favor of the king to help Marus rebuild (represents Ezra and Nehemiah)
King Rulin— King of Palatia, has a policy of tolerance, and Josiah has made a good enough impression on him that he looks on the people of Marus with favor (represents King Artaxerxes)
Ichabin and Toaz—Enemies of Marus, work against Josiah and Marus's rebuilding

Ben Thompson has spontaneously decided to buy an old house on the verge of being torn down, move himself and his two children (Jeremiah and June) there, and fix it up. The story begins with June outside planting flowers and Jeremiah tossing a ball around nearby. The two children are discussing (and occasionally complaining about) their father's strange move and wonder if it has anything to do with their mother's death, though it's been almost ten years. Suddenly, June hits something with her trowel and digs up an old tackle box. The two children pry it open, and discover it's a time capsule. Inside are some toys, a baseball cap, and a few other items, but the most interesting is an old diary. Jeremiah decides to read it, and June, though feeling a little guilty, reads along over his shoulder.

The diary turns out to be a story in the form of a diary from the point of view of a girl nicknamed "Bear". One day in late June, her friend "Taz" decides to break restriction and sneak out to the movies. She later finds him in their tree house in the woods not daring to return home. Bear tries to convince him to go home, but instead he starts blowing bubbles pretending to ignore her. Suddenly Taz starts seeing images in the bubbles. After not believing him, Bear starts seeing them too. Suddenly the bubbles grow bigger and somehow they each find themselves separated in a place neither of them recognizes.

Taz finds himself with an old man named Zerich, a prophet for the Unseen One. At the time, he shouting at people going into what appears to be a place of worship predicting the demise of Marus if they don't obey the Unseen One. He explains how the people of Marus claim to follow the Unseen One, but their actions don't match their words, and this place called Dorr used to be a place to worship the Unseen One (rebuilt several times), but now the people worship whoever they want there. He agrees to let Taz spend the night with him, but he plans to go speak to the king in the morning, and it would be too dangerous for Taz to go with him. During their time together, he tells Taz about the history of Marus and what's happing now.

Meanwhile, Bear spends the night by herself, finding shelter as best she can. She is scared at first, and her eyes are in pain for some reason, but suddenly, she finds herself comforted, and for some reason, she knows where she is. The next day, the two manage to meet up, but in a surprising way. Taz finds Bear in the village square preaching against the people of Marus! Those that aren't laughing at her are ignoring or whispering about her. Taz tries to stop her, but she refuses. She later tells him there are many things she said that she'd rather not say, but if she tries not to speak, the Unseen One's words are like "a fire in her bones" that would consume her if stopped.

They later learn of Zerich's death at the hand of the king. Eventually, Taz helps her, even if it's just by being the only one that listens to her. In the end, Palatia captures Marus and drives everyone out as slaves. Though both Taz and Bear are sad, Bear tells Taz that the Unseen One promised the city would one day be rebuilt. Eventually, both Taz and Bear make it back, humbled by their experience. Taz goes back to his parents and admits what he did, willing to accept punishment as long as they were willing to forgive him.

Jeremiah and June are surprised it ended that way. No more Marus? June grabs the diary and tries to flip through it to see if it continues, but a strong wind suddenly takes it and she chases after it with Jeremiah chasing after her. They suddenly find themselves running through Marus and meet up with a man named Eli, who has the favor of the king to help rebuild Marus. They help him, and he continues the story where the diary leaves off. They also see how different Marus is after the exile, continuing to persevere despite opposition. Apparently the Unseen One has finally gotten their attention and turned it where it should be.

When they finally return, June flips through the book again and discovers the author of the diary has signed her name on the last page: Rachel Carver – their mother's maiden name. They are excited to learn more of their mom and decide to ask their dad if he knew anything about the diary. Instead of answering right away, he takes them to the book of Jeremiah in the Bible and explains how he and their mom chose their names...

Judges' Remarks:
I personally thought this entry was the best of the best, as it gave a brief overview of who the characters are and where they fit within the story. We sifted through many entries and this was the only one to include these details. Also, the story was very creative in that Erin weaved the story of the Odyssey family in and made it connect with the Biblical account of Jeremiah. Congratulations, Erin!
- JACOB I.

Highly creative, strong characters, and great Biblical parallel. I especially loved how it was the children's grandmother who originally visited Marus. This nicely matches up with the chronology of the original Passages series. Great work, Erin! - CHRIS P.


Florian's Faithfulness
Peter S., age 17
Runner Up

After James Curtis had mysteriously disappeared, Whit and Jack no longer found any more of the manuscripts. Whit was allowed to make copies of the manuscripts and he put them in Whit's End Library where they were read quite often by the children. Some had even written a variation of the first and had performed it in Little Theater.

Much later, Whit's church was holding an auction to raise money for a charity. Whit decided that it was a good excuse to clean out some of the random objects that had accumulated in the basement of Whit's End over the years. He picked a rainy day to do it when he expected very few children would be coming in. After finding many long-forgotten gadgets and inventions of his from years ago, Whit made an important discovery. In an old suitcase lying on top of another stack of boxes, Whit found some his old college papers of. But that isn't all. He also pulled out a strangely familiar, musty, old notebook. On the front were inscribed the words: "The Chronicles of the Faithful".

Whit immediately called up Jack. Jack was soon there in the basement flipping through the notebook in astonishment. It was definitely another one of the manuscripts and written by the same hand. Whit got up and flipped a switch on the wall, which illuminated a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling over an old workbench with two chairs.  The two men seated themselves. Whit opened the notebook to the first page and began to read it out loud.

The story starts with two Odyssey kids in the year 1943, Robert and Barbara (more commonly called Rob and Barb). On the way home from an average day of school at Odyssey Middle School, the town's air raid alarm was set off. In reality it was just a practice, but it startled the kids just as much and they joined a crowd of people dodging into the air raid shelter in the bottom of the Fillmore Recreation Center. While there, the two are accidentally pushed through though a doorway where there is a short flight of stairs. As they fall there is a flash of light. Instead of landing on a cement floor, however, Robert lands in a pigpen, and Barbara lands in a grassy yard.

Barbara is taken in by the family that owns the yard. Robert is set on his way by the pig's owner and meets Florian (Jeremiah) in a nearby town where Florian is preaching. Florian describes to Robert how he was chosen by the Unseen One to warn of its evil ways, but the people rarely listen. Florian is faithful to the Unseen One by doing all He tells him to which includes: warning King Hamish (King Neco) of Palatia (Egypt) not to attack Marus, buying a pot and smashing it as a metaphor, wearing a yoke before King Cadmus of Marus, and often prophesying. Throughout Florian's story, he is persecuted and ridiculed often. He is beaten and chained, imprisoned in the basement of a man named Harkin (Jonathan)'s  house, and thrown in an old well filled with mud. Robert serves Florian by writing God's words to Florian as Florian dictates them. At one point, Robert (as Baruch) must read Florian's scroll to the king and the king burns it piece by piece. Barbara meets up with Robert once again when Florian is jailed in the basement Harkin's house. She had been staying with Harkin's family. Finally, Marus is being threatened by Adria (Babylonia), and against Florian's prophecies, the citizens all to Palatia (Egypt) for protection. They are warned by the Unseen One through Florian they will die there, but few listen. Florian reluctantly goes along with them. It is during this journey that Robert and Barbara are sleeping in a tent for the night, when they are suddenly on a cement floor-back in the basement of the Fillmore Recreation Center!

Whit and Jack were again very curious as to the chronicler of the manuscripts and just how many manuscripts there were. The two got up from the table to stretch their legs. Then Jack helped Whit carry a few boxes for the auction upstairs and outside to where Whit had parked his car. After stuffing the boxes in the trunk, Whit closed up the shop, bid Jack Allen goodbye, and drove back to his cozy home.

As Whit pulled up to his driveway, he noticed that the flag on his mailbox was turned down. He had turned it up earlier, so evidently he had received mail. Whit stopped the car, reached out the window, and opened the mailbox. Sure enough, inside the mailman had dropped off a thin yellow package that felt like it contained a thin book of some sort. Whit couldn't remember having ordered any book recently. There was no return address on the label, and the postmark had been smeared by the rain. He ripped open the end and pulled out what was inside...

Judges' Remarks:
This story had a lot of believability tied with it. The publishing of the manuscripts and their placement in the Whit's End Library was certainly a nice touch. Not only that, the creativity of the author of this plot brings in little details, such as the Fillmore Recreation Center, that older AIO fans would like in a future Passages story. The Biblical parallel is somewhat challenging to unearth, but brings with it a joy like that of reading Passages for the first time.
 - JACOB I.

I like how this story transpires after the events in the sixth Passages novel. This entry could almost be the seventh manuscript! Peter does a fantastic job referencing key landmarks in Odyssey before diving into the land of Marus.  - CHRIS P.


Drake's Treachery
Ryan S., age 22
Runner Up

In the beginning, Someone created the heavens and the earths.  He created the beasts, the vegetation and, in a certain world, the moons.  On the sixth day, He created Man with three blue eyes, so that he would be wise, and with whom He was friends.  Together, the unseen Someone and Man walked through the most fertile part of this world, which the Unseen One christened "The Glen."  But Man could not see the Unseen One and was lonely, so the Unseen One gave him a visible companion.  Man was put to sleep, and whilst asleep, had one of his eyes removed.  From this eye, the Unseen One created Woman, and He made her eyes green, so that she would be shrewd and intelligent.  Together, the three of them inhabited The Glen, and were content, and so would remain, as long as Man and Woman did not stray from The Glen.

In another world, twelve-year-old Drake Knowles had had enough.  He was sick to death of hearing everyone in his family go on and on about God and Jesus and all that junk.  When his eighteen-year-old brother was killed in Vietnam only two weeks before his thirteenth birthday, he had finally decided that there was no God.  Rebelling against his family and disobeying his father's warnings, Drake hopped on his bike and took off for the harbor to vent.  A horrible accident at the docks resulted in his drowning and death.  He was buried next to his brother.

Drake woke up, lying in a sparkling green clearing in a wood.  When the Unseen One spoke to him and told him that He had a plan for him, he refused to listen and ran from The Glen.  Because he rebelled against the Unseen One, Drake was cursed to have long life and to be eternally separated from Him.  In his anger, Drake lost it mentally and became completely deranged.

In a plot against the Unseen One, Drake found that His favorite creations were Man and Woman.  He observed them for several years before approaching Woman at the edge of The Glen one day with the perfect plan.  On the outskirts of The Glen was a clear brook, and Drake tempted Woman, saying that if only she were to drink from the brook, she would be more intelligent than even the Unseen One.  Her will was weak, and she invited her husband to partake as well.  Because she was cunning, she was able to persuade Man to come to the brook, and they drank.  Great was their shame when they realized what they had done.  The Unseen One was both angry at and sad with them, and they all left The Glen to live a hard life together.

Furious at the love the Unseen One continued to show towards Man and Woman, Drake vowed to tempt every living human being on the planet from that time on to join him against Him.  A hundred years after their departure from The Glen, Man and Woman had a son, which was named Gott, and a daughter, who was named Anemone.  Knowing that the son was weaker, Drake formed a new plot against him, a plot which would forever change the people of this world, and the land that would eventually become known as Marus.

Judges' Remarks:
Ironically, this unique account of the Garden of Eden was the first contest entry we received, but we found that as we narrowed down the entries when judging, this one was impossible to discard. The irony within the story is perfect with the use of an Odyssey character's siding with and becoming evil made the story much more appealing.
 - JACOB I.

Wildly imaginative and irresistibly compelling, this one-of-a-kind tale kept me at the edge of my seat (and nearly knocked me off of it once or twice). I would certainly be curious to hear the unabridged version of this narrative. ;o)  - CHRIS P.


Untitled Story
Michaela B., age 12
Runner Up

Two kids, a 12 year old girl named Rachel Clair and a 14 year old boy named Tommy Hilden are taken to Marus when Tommy gets sent to juvenile detention for breaking into Rachel's house. Rachel goes to visit Tommy and pray for him when the jail turns into a servant's shelter in the home of Kalor. Kalor has 7 sons and 3 daughters. The sons' names are Kitka, who is 25, Malidon, who is 23, Heltsa, who is 18, Remida, who is 14, Cargias and Komren, who are 11, and Malkit, who is 9. The girls names are Reilla, who is 20, Kaltesta, (becomes a good friend of Rachel) who is 12, and Portilla, who is 6. Kalor is a very rich man owning many animals, vehicles, forests, orchards, fields, a huge house, slaves, (he calls them servants,) and lots of land. He is also a devout follower of the Unseen one. He lives in Marus, during the reign of Darien.

One day, Rachel, who has the different color eyes, has a weird vision and says to Kalor that all his land has been taken over by the Palatians. She says that the Palatians took captive the servants at the site, taken the land, cut down the trees, and taken away the animals. Tommy has taken this place as some sort of weird joke, and refuses to do much of any thing. He tells Kalor it isn't true, and he doesn't need to believe what Rachel says. Kalor replies it would be a sin to not believe the Unseen One's Message. "Besides, your eyes are not different colors." he says. That makes Tommy angrier, and he runs away from the house, stumbling upon a group of raiders from Albany. They ask him to join them in taking over some of Kalor's land. He gladly agrees.

Meanwhile, Rachel has another vision and tells Kalor that the rest of his land has been taken over by the Albanians. Again, all the trees are down, the servants are captured, and the animals have been taken away. Kalor is stunned.

The very next day, Rachel says that a terrible drought has reached his crops, and they have all died. "How shall I feed my family?" Kalor says. Rachel answers that a terrible wind has blown against Kitka's house, where all the children were feasting and all have died. Kalor cries out, "Oh, Unseen One, have mercy on me!! That night, bugs infested the house of Kalor. Kalor was bitten head to feet. His wife told him to curse the Unseen One, but Kalor refused to.

Meanwhile, Tommy finds his way back to Kalor's home and begs Rachel for forgiveness, and she forgives him. A couple days later, all Kalor's neighbors come forward and fight the Palatians and Albanians off. Kalor's health is fully restored, his wife apologizes, and they are blessed with more children. Rachel and Tommy are at a party at Kalor's when the house fades way back to the juvenile detention.

Judges' Remarks:
Throughout the contest we had noticed that some contestants focused on some of the same Bible stories. In other words, some Bible stories were more popular than others. In the end, we had small collections of retellings of some of the same stories, but this one is the only one that took on the challenge of retelling the story of Job. Also, the interest was in the details of this winner's fiction.
 - JACOB I.

This particular story reminded me of "Darien's Rise," as it is the younger sister who remains faithful to the Unseen One. I liked how the older brother initially rejects his sister's words, but ultimately asks for forgiveness. Nice Biblical parallel, too!  - CHRIS P.


Darien's Fall
Lizzie G., age 20
Runner-Up

The Voice and the Protector have returned to Marus, but is the King the same man he was 30 years ago?

It is January 15, 1962, and teenagers Anna and Kyle are trekking down a snowy path in a thinned-out wood formerly known as the Black Forest.  Now, it serves as proof that Odyssey is growing.  Houses and buildings have sprung up, though not as quickly as the trees have fallen. 

On this white, winter day, this boy and this girl find themselves the only ones out and about.  And what is it that has torn them away from the warmth and the safety of home?

"It's just a feeling, Kyle, but I haven't felt so strongly about anything in… years."

He met his sister's earnest gaze, then, without a word of protest, reached for his coat. 

And now here they were, venturing toward that old house that had ushered them into Marus three years ago.  They continued on, even when the un-forecasted snow began to fall thickly.  There would be no point in turning around; the nearest shelter was ahead, not behind.  So they pressed on.

I won't say how long they walked, or how cold they got, or describe the shudder of fear that went through Kyle when he lost sight of Anna, because all those details pale in comparison to what happened next.

Kyle found himself heavily garbed, not in winter coast and hat, but in armor.  Directly in front of him lay the gates to a city he had never seen before… but he had no time to linger there in open-mouthed astonishment.

A bullet suddenly whizzed past his face, and a voice, emerging from the fray of battle, called out, "Don't stand there, boy – here, here!"

Kyle didn't hesitate, but followed the voice to safety… if crouching behind an overturned train car while bullets are flying can be considered "safe."  There were four other men hiding there, wearing uniforms he recognized.  Marus!

*****

Anna was dizzy when she came to.  Dizzy, but not frightened.  She was waking up on a soft couch, but she knew she was no longer at home, and that the person asking her if she was alright was not Kyle.  

She opened her eyes and saw a young man peering at her anxiously.  He looked unfamiliar and yet, somehow, familiar!  Wide awake now, she tried to sit up, but was rewarded with a throbbing pain in her head. "Owww… where am I?" she groaned.

"You're in my home, and you're safe," the young man said, moving unsteadily into a chair sitting by the couch. "My servant found you outside in the yard.  Looks like you fell out of the tree there." He gestured toward an unseen window, then paused. "Anyway, I'm glad you're alright."

Anna thanked him for his kindness, but still couldn't make it all compute.  Fallen out of a tree?  She didn't remember falling from anywhere.  Bewildered, she looked around the room and at her rescuer.  The man had mentioned having a servant… how could that be, when he seemed like a peasant himself, and his home, one of the poorest shacks she had ever seen? 

One thing, however, did not trouble Anna, and it was the most important thing of all: she knew she was in Marus, because she had had a dream the night before… a dream more vivid and real than any she had ever experienced in her world… a dream from the Unseen One.

*****

While fighting for his life against the Palatians, Kyle stumbles on a plot by one of the Marutians to kill one of his fellow soldiers!  Though unable to stop the assassination, he vows to tell King Darien about this treachery upon his return to the capital city.  When he finds out that the man responsible for this murder was none other than Darien himself, however, Kyle's world is thrown violently upside down.  What has become of his childhood hero, the valiant and noble Darien?

Meanwhile, Anna finds herself in the company of Prodigar, the only son of Prince George.  Because of King Darien's tumultuous relationship with his grandfather, Lawrence, Prodigar has been living in hiding most of his life, certain that that is his only chance of survival.  Anna, however, is determined to reunite them.

Their paths converge in the capital city of Marus, where introducing Prodigar to Darien becomes the least of Anna's worries.  She must work up the courage to confront the King himself on behalf of the Unseen One, while Kyle struggles with his bitterness and the desire to ignore that sick feeling in his stomach when the King is forced to flee the city and once again hide in caves – this time pursued by his own son, Prince Arnold!

This manuscript, titled the Chronicle of Redemption, is a story of healing, forgiveness, and the mercy of the Unseen One, Who not only cherishes His cracked vessels, but can still use them to accomplish His will in great and mighty ways.

Judges' Remarks:
The very first sentence caught my eye and kept me reading. Not only is the writing colorful and strong, the creative play off of "Darien's Rise" to "Darien's Fall" brought our contestant to a level of uniqueness unmatched. Why would readers of the first Passages book pass up this future story? It's genius!
 - JACOB I.

One of the more captivating entries we received, this story could almost be considered a sequel to "Darien's Rise." I enjoyed Lizzie's use of rich descriptions, which provided depth and detail to a story that could have otherwise been quite bland.  - CHRIS P.


Honorable Mention
We enjoyed your stories so much we had to share four of our other favorites!
Honorable Mention stories are not presented in any particular order.


Untitled Story
Rachel D., age 12
Honorable Mention

Hope, an 11 year old who tries to live up to her name, is preparing for bed one evening, when she glances in the mirror and finds herself in the bedroom of the queen of Marus.  Lady Guildoff, one of the queen's assistants, discovers her and soon the two become close.

Hope also meets King Evontide, whom she classifies as "someone I know I can trust."  However, just three days after Hope has arrived, the king and Queen leave to finalize the preparations for a new castle in the east.  The king reminds the entire castle of his few rules, which prohibit uncouth behaviour of any sort, with the consequence of death.

The very next day, Lord Pretorius, the king's own advisor, takes over the castle and begins breaking all of the king's guidelines, along with his many followers.  They host wild parties and begin engaging in disgraceful behavior.  Soon, almost all the castle joins in.  Lady Guildoff and Hope are the only two in the castle who resist Lord Pretorius and his tactics.

Hope tries and tries to make Lord Pretorius understand his errors, but he insists that since the king will not be back for months, there is no reason to worry.  He claims that "everything will be under control by the time the king arrives," and will not change his ways, although Hope points out that they have no idea when the king is planning to return.  Finally she gives up and even begins to lose her hope when the king fails to return after several weeks.

What's more, Lady Guildoff gives into temptation, telling Hope, "it's simply the best party ever given here.  How can I say no?"  But soon she becomes a regular in the ballroom every night.  "Hope dear, why don't you come with me?" she even asked once.  Hope knew later that she shouldn't have, but she agreed.  She had a fabulous time, also…until she realized her mistake the next morning. She felt horrible and terrified of the king.  But she would do what she should when the time came.

However, one night, as the rowdiest party ever is underway, the king suddenly appears.  The partygoers are shocked and begin denying what they were doing.  King Evontide is appalled that his friends would go against his specific orders and orders them all killed.  The next day, everyone who had gone against his wishes is beheaded in the courtyard.  Hope, scared, hides under her bed during it all.

The king decides to reward Hope for her faithfulness by inviting her to live in his new castle.  At that point, Hope breaks down and confesses, ending with "Will you please forgive me?"

King Evontide smiles and says, "Of course, because you asked forgiveness, unlike those other rabble-rousers, I would be happy to welcome you into my kingdom."

Hope says that she cannot, she has to return home. She stands before the same mirror she entered by and finds herself back in her hometown of Odyssey.
 

Untitled Story
Stephen S., age 21
Honorable Mention

Two kids find a tunnel which they explore. It has many different passages and they get lost in its maze. Finding a hatch in the ceiling of one of the passages, they climb up into it. They climb some stairs and discover they have just come out of the cargo hold of a ship. It is a warship in a battle with other ships. The kids are discovered and brought on deck where the captain sees that they have different colored eyes and says they are messengers. They are defending a ship that appears to be dead in the water. It has no lights. When the kids look through the scope they see that its name is Marus. They must defeat the invading fleet, and the two sea monsters. They fight the sea monsters, which disappear. The captain has the kids take a lifeboat over to the lead enemy ship, where they meet pirates. When they go below deck, they are in another world – one that is coming to an end. The pirates rule it and the sea has turned to blood. There are two pirate forces at war with each other. The pirate with the kids wants to capture one of the sea monsters in the other place to use on his enemies even though this will destroy his own world.

The pirate king and the kids journey back to the other place and take a sub down to where the sea monster laid its eggs. He gets one, but sees the Marus ship when they resurface. Its lights have just come on. The pirate king wants to build his empire in the young world of Marus. They go into Marus via the Marus ship, taking the monster's egg with them. Once there, they see the beginnings of that world – including its first people. The Pirate King offers these people the egg in exchange for making him king instead of the "Seen One." The people accept, and the "Seen One" becomes the "Unseen One." The kids join with other two-colored eye beings and fight the Pirate King who throws the egg into the sea before being killed. The kids and the beings then go to the other place where they discover that a full-scale war is going on between the ships. The pirate ship eventually sinks, but one of the allied ships also sinks.

The war is over, and the Captain has everyone stand on deck in a ceremony, honoring their lost comrades. The two-colored eye beings take a life boat back to the Marus boat, and the kids go below deck to try and get back to Odyssey. They don't know the way, but they discover a bean plant below deck that always grows and points towards the sun. Next to it is the symbol of the Seen One, who is now invisible, but who had apparently been there the whole time. They use the bean plant to find their way through the tunnels and back to Odyssey.
 

Rida's Loyalty
Erika G., age 18
Honorable Mention

The Palatian navy fiercely attacked the shores of Marus. Ardell, a wealthy factory owner, was wanted by Palatia because of valuable information that he had. Fearing for his family's safety, he decided to flee to Adria. Before escaping, he entrusted his factory to the son of his best friend, Badilon. In Adria,  Ardell, Natania, his wife, and their two sons lived in hiding. As the war raged on in Marus, Ardell's two sons fell in love with and married two Adrian maidens.

One day, Ardell fell ill. Before taking his final breath, he passed his factory down to his eldest son. Shortly thereafter, they received word that Marus was at peace. Natania, her two sons, and her two daughters-in-law started back to Marus. At an inn just outside the Adrian border, raiders attacked. In an attempt with others to save the innkeeper's family and guests, both of Natania's sons died. After the burial, Natania gave her daughters-in-law a choice: continue on with her to her hometown in Marus, or return to their families in Adria. Rida chose to go with Natania, while her sister-in-law chose to stay.

Meanwhile, in the little town of Odyssey, Jane slowly walked through the woods looking for a place to sit and write.  Suddenly she noticed a fog rolling in. Common sense said to return home. Jane's imagination and hope of adventure urged her to check it out herself.

Jane cautiously ventured through the fog. Soon, she found herself at the wood's edge. A village lay before her, and it was unlike anything she had ever seen.

Jane soon meets up with Natania and Rida and after hearing their story accompanies them on their return journey to Natania's hometown.  Needing an income, Rida and Jane went together to work in a woolen mill factory. The factory in which they worked belonged to a man named Badilon. He showed great kindness to Rida.  Jane and Natania soon noticed that Rida and Badilon loved each other. Together the three women planned how they could urge this honorable man to take Rida as his wife.

However, Rapiman, a big factory owner, sought to claim the contract of Badilon's prosperous factory. After Rida confessed her wish to marry Badilon, it was discovered that because Rida had been married to Ardell's eldest and the factory Badilon oversaw had been Ardell's Rida was the true owner of the factory. According to contract the factory had to remain in Ardell's family, so in order for anyone to receive the factory as their own they would have to marry Rida. Of course since Rida was of an enemy nation, Rapiman didn't want to marry her, no matter how much he wanted the factory. So, Badilon was able to marry Rida. Almost a year after the marriage, they had a son who they named Omar.

At the end of the manuscript Whit found a note which read "Badilon begat Omar, and Omar begat Torbin, and Torbin begat Darien."
 

The Chronicles of the Consecrated
Christian A., age 13
Honorable Mention

"This is so weird!" Christian said to himself. He had fallen into a well in the woods of Odyssey but when he came out of the water he was no longer in Odyssey, or even the woods. He was in this strange country called Marus where he met a man named Sorkah who seemed to have super strength that came from a being called the Unseen One. Sorkah told Christian that soon after he was born the Unseen One told his father and mother that He had chosen Sorkah to deliver Marus from the hold of the Palations.

The Unseen One had told Andre, Sorkah's father who was a welder, to make a ring of silver. Once the ring was finished the Unseen One wrote strange words on it that only He could understand. He told Andre that Sorkah was to be consecrated as a holy man of the Unseen One's choosing and that as long as Sorkah wore the silver ring He would give him supernatural strength.

Soon after he entered Marus, Christian's eyes changed colors. He started having visions in which the Unseen One spoke to him giving him messages to deliver to Sorkah. One message warned about a beautiful but wicked woman named Amelia who had been hired by the Palations to trick and capture Sorkah. Christian gave the message to Sorkah but he did not listen. He had fallen in love with Amelia and refused to believe the truth.

One night as Amelia was massaging Sorkah's head, she said, "Sorkah, my love, tell me what makes you so strong."

"I was told by the Unseen One not to reveal my secret except to the people that He releases me to tell it to," Sorkah replied.

"If you don't tell me," said Amelia, "then it's obvious that you don't really love me. How can you love someone and keep secrets with them!"

"Amelia, my darling, I do love you! You must believe me! The thing that makes me so strong is this silver ring. As long as I have it on, the Unseen One gives me power."

"Now I know that you truly do love me. Now just lie down and rest."

Sorkah soon fell asleep and Amelia left his room. Christian had seen everything from an outside window and remembered the warning about Amelia being hired to trick and capture Sorkah. Christian tried to open and crawl through the window to warn Sorkah, but just as he had opened the window and started to crawl into the house, someone grabbed him from behind and covered his mouth. It was Amelia! Christian tried to get away from her, but no matter what he did, he couldn't get free from her grip.

Amelia whistled and suddenly she and Christian were surrounded by a small army of Palatians. The head soldier walked up to Amelia and gave her what looked like a bag of gold coins. Amelia then led about twenty men into the room where Sorkah was sleeping. She took off his ring and gave it to the man in charge. The other men then tied Sorkah up in chains and woke him up. Sorkah tried to get loose of the chains but his strength had left him.

The Palatians took Sorkah and Christian and made them prisoners. They made Sorkah work long, hard hours welding and making silverware for the king of Palatia. Sorkah was grieved and prayed to the Unseen One. He asked forgiveness for not heeding the warning about Amelia and for disobeying by telling her his secret when he had not been released to do so.

Just as Sorkah finished praying these things, Christian went into another vision. In the vision the Unseen One told Christian that because Sorkah had repented, he was forgiven. After that, He told Christian the directions for making the silver ring that Sorkah had had before and told him to tell Sorkah to make the ring. He also told Christian that as soon as Sorkah put the ring on He would once again give him supernatural strength. "I will soon provide a way for Sorkah to finally fulfill the plan I had for him," said the Unseen One. "He will deliver Marus from the hold of Palatia,, but he must not use the strength I will return to him until I tell him to. Tell Sorkah everything you have seen and heard in this vision."

Christian followed the instructions given to him and told Sorkah all about the vision. Sorkah got to work right away making the ring and after he was finished the Unseen One inscribed on it the same strange words that He had inscribed on his last ring.

A few days later a man came to the jail to get Sorkah. "The King wants to show off our once mighty foe at the party that was thrown to celebrate his defeat," the man said with a chuckle. Sorkah knew Christian didn't want to be left alone and told the man that he had become sick in the jail and was nearly blind. "May the boy come with us to be my guide so that you won't have to lead me around throughout the party?" The man agreed and took them both to a giant pavilion on top of the King's palace where the party was being held. The Pavilion had a few big and beautiful pillars that held up its roof. There were thousands of Palatians there including the king himself.

The man who had led them to the pavilion then got everyone's attention and said sarcastically, "Here he is, folks! The mighty Sorkah!" As everyone laughed and mocked him, Sorkah heard the Unseen One say, "It's time. After this day the people of Marus, My people, will be free from the hold of Palatia." Right then Sorkah knew what to do.

Pretending to be blind and weak, he asked Christian to assist him in placing his hands on the two pillars nearest to them. Once Christian had done this Sorkah pushed on the pillars with all of his might.

Christian realized that Sorkah was going to break the pillars making the roof fall and  killing everyone in the pavilion including himself! He panicked and looked over the edge of the palace. He saw that there was an Olympic size swimming pool about four stories down. He was scared, but he knew that this was his only chance of staying alive, so he jumped off of the edge of the palace. He heard screaming and the roof of the pavilion falling as he was in the air falling towards the pool.

Christian fell into the swimming pool with a big splash. He then felt someone grab him and pull him towards the surface. It was his brother Sam. As soon as Christian came out of the water, he saw that he was no longer at the King of Palatia's palace. He had come out of a well in the woods of Odyssey.
 

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