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The first time I saw her, I was certain there’d been a mistake. The Lady only appeared to the boldest of heart, and I had never been anything but a coward.
Yet there she was, that early spring morning, rising from the lake like a phantom, a myth that couldn’t possibly be true. I heard her before I saw her: her unearthly wailing a mixture of all the world’s grievances and all the world’s hopes. I’d been sitting up in a tree at the edge of the lake at the time, listening to the silence of the mountains isolating the valley of Ainan. And just as the first rays of dawn broke over their rugged peaks, the surface of the lake began to ripple. From the very depths of the dark blue water, normally so still that in the absence of a breeze it looked like a sheet of glass, a light began to pulse. And ever so slowly, as the ripples spread further and further across the lake–all originating from one eerie gleam–the light began to rise.
I sat frozen in my tree, entranced by the magic, and watched the light rising up and up from the very bottom of the lake. At last it broke the surface, and I was able to see it’s source–her.
The Lady of the Lake.
No one believed me, of course. Not only was she decidedly a legend, but Peregrine Whallow was decidedly a coward. She would never have chosen me. I soon learned that she only appeared to me when I was alone, thus proving her existence to others was virtually impossible.
Eventually, I came to accept the fact that she was a secret. A beautiful, mysterious, incredibly powerful secret that I couldn’t tell even if I wanted to. That was probably for the best, as I’m terrible at keeping most secrets.
But it irked me constantly that I had been bestowed such an honor and yet no one accepted it. I became determined to prove it. Not that the Lady existed or that she had chosen me, but that I was worthy to have been chosen. I started by doing little things at first. Standing up for myself more, not letting people push me around. Eventually I even got to the point of standing up for others. I was beginning to feel that perhaps I would prove myself after all.
Then came the dragons. Then came the Quest. Then came my final and true chance to prove myself worthy.
This is the story of how I failed, and why the Lady chose me anyways.