Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2022 finalist Anneliese Jarausch. Anneliese finished 5th grade this past school year and wrote a story called “Above all mountains, but not in the clouds.” One judge had this to say about Anneliese’s story: “The story is told from two perspectives: Silla and Inga. These perspectives reveal the world to the reader in different ways, and add to the suspense as the story builds.” Enjoy!


By Anneliese Jarausch



“Ahhh!” Silla sits bolt upright, “Oh, it was just my alarm. . .”

She quickly gets dressed and heads downstairs. No one is awake, so she decides to take a stroll in the woods. Silla ambles down the narrow footpath, daydreaming.

A little while later, she realizes that she has gone farther than she ever has before. An enticingly sweet smell wafts from up ahead. Silla decides to follow it. She angles off the path a bit, her nose high in the air, following the smell. A grove of beautiful trees emerges in the midst of the evergreen and pine trees, their blood-red leaves swaying softly in the wind. She plucks a fruit from a tree and sits down. As Silla bites into the red flesh, a thousand voices fill her mind.

STOP, Stop! It’s poisonous! 

Silla pushes the fruit away as another voice pushes into the front.

Eat it! It will relieve you of all your worries! Eat it! 


No, EAT IT! It will bring you great joy!


“STOP!! I can’t handle this any more!” Silla shouts, standing up. As soon as she stops talking,  the voices come back, she crumples to the ground and bursts into tears.

It will soothe all your worries and bring you happiness!


No. Those are all lies. You should ea–

Crunch. Crunch. The voices fade as the sound of boots on dry leaves fills the air.


INGA WOOD  taps her foot impatiently, waiting for her brother to get ready. It is early morning and her parents are not yet awake.

“Darjus! What is taking you so long!?” Inga calls. 

“My–ugh–boots!” Darjus stumbles out of his room, tugging on a green leather boot.

“Here, I’ll help you,” Inga pulls the boot up and pop!, the boot pops onto his foot.

“Where are you taking me, Ina?” Darjus asks, looking up at his sister curiously.

“Somewhere special. I’ll tell you when we’re outside.”

“So. Where. Are. We. Going?” Darjus tugs on his sister’s arm. 

“To this vespine grove.”


“I know we are not allowed to go there, but it will be vital to your later learning. Remember: No touching, no picking, no eating.”

“Yes, Ina.” Darjus’ eyes have gone wide, “Woah.” A grove of trees with blood-red leaves and thick with fruits emerges between the pines and evergreens of the surrounding forest. An enticingly sweet scent fills the air. A girl with blond hair and blue eyes approaches them warily. 

“Who are you and why are you on Roonan territory?” Inga asks, her tawny gold eyes burning holes in the girl. 

“S-Silla Santos. . .” Silla takes a step back but then regains her posture and steps forward. “What are you doing here?”

“Well. . . I am taking my brother, Darjus, to see these trees, as they are extremely dangerous, and he really needs to be educated on that sorta stuff. He is like, not at all cautious.” Inga replies, kindly. “Anyhow, the name’s Wood, Inga Wood. This is my little brother, Darjus.”


 “Well, Silla, d’ya think you can find your way home? I mean, It’s extremely dangerous in this vespine grove.” Inga says vespine like this: vespin, Silla notices.

“Home!?” Silla asks, alarmed, “Well, my parents passed away when I was a baby. Yellow fever. So I have been staying with Ms. and Mr. Schwankö, but they really don’t care for me. They wouldn’t mind if I never interfere with their lives again.” 

“Okay.” Inga nods, “Then, I think it would be good that you come with us. Since you have seen us tree people, we can’t risk you giving us away.”

“Tree people!?” 

“Yep.” Inga shifts into a magnificent alder tree. Then she switches, matching the vespine trees around her. 

 “Whoa,” Silla gasps, watching in amazement.

“Yeah. But only some people can become multiple trees. I’m lucky I’m a chosen færie.” 

“Ina is awesome!” Darjus looks up to his sister proudly.

“Come on, let’s go. Silla, you ARE coming with us.” Inga steps onto the path and starts in the direction of the Roonan village. The others follow her, Darjus pelting Silla with questions. 

“Dar, leave her alone,” Inga scolds, so Darjus runs up to Inga and continues questioning, but this time about his Calling. The village comes into view and Inga’s mom emerges from the buildings.

“Inga. Where were you!?”


Woah. Silla sits down on a stump while Inga gets confronted by her mother. 

“Inga Margerie, you can’t just sneak off like that! Your father and I were worried sick!” 

“Mo-o-m, I was–Darjus and I were only gone for fifteen minutes!”

Silla sighs and returns to her own thoughts. So, what the heck did I just go through?! The voice of her teacher enters her head. ‘Let’s break it down.’

Okay, Silla says to herself. ‘Take it one step at a time.’ So, I decided to–

“Silla! My mom needs you!” 

Silla snaps out of her thoughts and raises her head.

 Confused, she looks around. “Right. Sorry. I’m coming!” She walks over to where Inga and her mom are standing. 

“So, you’re Silla, am I right?”

“Yes. Silla Santos. What should I call you?” Silla asks.

“You can call me Aurie.”

Silla watches, her eyes round, as Inga moves over to a group of girls her age, almost shifting in and out of tree form as she walks. Inga’s mom notices her staring, and says,

“Oh, yeah, Inga’s a special type of Roonan.”

“Whoa. What’s a Roonan?”  

“It’s our tribal name. Anyhow, let’s get to the point.” Inga’s mom sits down on a mossy rock, and Silla does likewise.

“Inga says that you do not have any parents. Is this true?”

“Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Schwankö, my foster parents, do not care for me at all.”

“Well, then we probably should. . .” Inga’s mom trails off.

“Am I going to stay here?” Silla asks.

“I suppose so. I’ll think about what will happen long term.” She gestures to Silla to ‘stay here’ and walks off. A few minutes later, she comes back with Inga.

“Inga, show Silla to the cabin,” Aurie says, then walks off towards the other grown-up Roonan. 

“Well, I better show you where you’ll be staying.” Inga starts off on a wide path leading farther into the forest, away from the big clearing. The smell of pine and moss fills the air as they walk farther into the woods. Suddenly, a thought strikes Silla. If Inga can turn into a tree, wouldn’t it be easy for her to get my stuffed dragon and my other stuff!? She quickly brings it up. 

“Inga, do you think it would be possible for you to get my stuff out of my old foster parents’ house?” She asks.

At first Inga looks a little taken aback, then responds, “Yes, I think that would be possible. What would you want me to get?”

“Oh, only the things on and in my desk, and. . . uh. . . also the green stuffed dragon on my bed,” Silla turns a bit red at this confession, but Inga waves it off.

“That’s nothing to be worried about! I’ll do that in a jiffy!” By this time they have reached the quaint red cabin where Silla is to stay. With blue and white trim around the windows and door, the cabin looks fit for any woodland vacation. 

“I’d better leave you to settle in here, and get your stuff from the Schwankö’s. Do I follow the human path? Will that lead me to your house?” Inga hands Silla a little silver key and turns to go.

“Yes. That is exactly where you go.” Silla turns the key in the lock and sets about investigating her new quarters.


As Inga walked further into the woods towards Silla’s old house, she wondered why the fates had brought her and Silla together. The last time a human had joined their ranks (as the story went), it had had a bitter ending. Silla seemed trustworthy, though. There it was! A blue building against the sun-bathed sky. She slowly climbed the building, using her strong tree power to turn her hand and feet into clinging vines. Inga’s green tunic fluttered in the wind, revealing the brown leggings underneath it. Her hair flowed out behind her, secured by a hair elastic. She reached the window of Silla’s old room and opened the window. A familiar scent hit her: pancakes. Inga went out with Darjus quite early and hadn’t had breakfast yet. Heedless of the protest her stomach was sending her, she jumped through the window into the room. There it was. The stuffed green dragon Silla had described. Inga grabbed the blue backpack at the foot of the bed, filled the front pocket with office supplies from Silla’s old desk and then filled the main chamber with clothes and a pair of weird-looking foam things-floppy flipps?-that she had once seen in a human graphic novel. Finally, she grabbed the stuffed dragon and headed back to the Roonan village.


Silla sat down once again, trying to process what had just happened to her. She

was in a village full of magical beings and was going to stay there? No way! It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! She lay down and closed her eyes. A lady dressed in flowing white robes stood before her. She began to speak. . .

“Heed the great shadow

The bringer of storms

Embark on a journey

Ere the coming blood moon

On the fifteenth morn


Find the lyinth

The crystal crown

Above all the mountains

But not in the clouds.”


Silla awoke to a knock on her door. It was Inga, with the stuff from her old room.

“Oh, Hi! Thanks for the stuff.”

“You’re welcome.” Inga handed her the backpack and her stuffed animal. 

“Actually, I had something to tell you,” Silla said.


“You should come in.” Silla walked into the cabin and flops on the bed. Inga followed and took a spot in a chair by the small table across from the bed. 

“Spit it out.” Inga leaned back.

“Well. . . I had this dream. . . A woman in white spoke to me,” she took a moment to recall the words.

“So, what do you take from that?” Silla waited expectantly.

“I take several things.” Inga rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “First, the great shadow. I have a theory about who or what that is. My mother and father used to tell me stories about a great wizard who lived in the north. . .”

“Tell me his story!” Silla leans forward, excited. 


“Once upon a time there was a great wizard. He was named Senturac, the great storm. He lived up in the arctic, where the ground was frozen, all year long. One day, his gaze fell upon a beautiful young woman. His heart was enthralled. He wandered down to the small cottage where she lived with her mother.

“‘Tell me, young lady, what is your name?’ he asked.

“‘Robna, sir.’ Her eyes were filled with wonder at the handsome man who had come out of the far north. As the days passed, the young couple grew more and more in love. But suddenly, Senturac received notice that he must return to his castle at once.

“‘Lovely Robna, dear,’ Senturac said, ‘I must return home at once. When I return, I will be yours.’ He returned back north. After seven years, he came wandering down once again, only to find that Robna had gone off and married some old country boy. In a fury, he killed the two. He has roamed the earth ever since, raging and furious. 


“Tidings have said that he has been looking for the Lyinth, the crown of the forest, to restore the life of Robna, the young maiden.” Inga finished, letting out a deep breath, “Which brings me to point two: the Lyinth.”

“And what is that?” Silla asked.

“The crown of life. A magical crown. Legend has it that the wearer of the crown can

restore the life of one person. And that’s where we come in. The Roonan, sworn protectors of the crown. We promised, long ago, to protect it. It, in return, would bring us great health.”

“Doesn’t that mean that the prophecy is already fulfilled, since you have it?”

“No–here’s the catch,” Inga lowered her voice to a whisper. “No one’s supposed to know, but the Lyinth has been missing since about a month ago. And we can’t let Senturac get at it while it is still missing. He’ll kill the forest if he keeps it. It belongs here.”

“We need to go find it, then.” Silla stood up. “Before the blood moon.”

“Yes, the blood moon. Every blood moon, we have a festival. It replenishes our health. But we need the Lyinth for it.” Inga sighed.

“Well, isn’t that all the reason to go?” Silla flopped on the bed once more.

“Yes, but I should talk to my parents about it. Oh yeah – my mom said you can live with us. Well, as long as we don’t die in the process.” Inga stood up and headed out. “See you for dinner at six.” She walked along the path and into the bigger house. As Inga headed up the stairs to her Dad’s study, she thought about the story of Senturac and Silla’s prophecy. The place above all the mountains but not in the clouds. . . Where could that be? She resolved to ask her father. Inga knocked on the green door of her dad’s study. 

“Darjus, is that you?” Her dad called and Inga bit back a laugh. Her father, who was also the chief of the Roonan, was constantly pestered by the little boy’s requests for a sweet treat. 

“No, it’s Inga!” she called back.

“Come on in!” The Chief opened the door and gestured to his daughter to come inside. 

“So,” Inga took a seat in one of her father’s plush armchairs, “Silla got a prophecy and it said to find the lyinth and I think it all goes back to Senturac and can we go find it? Also, where is the place above all mountains but not in the clouds? I think it could be in the Himalayas but that seems too far away so I was thinking maybe the Cloud mountains? Maybe like at the tip of the tallest mountain?” She took a deep breath and was about to continue talking, but her dad cut her off.

“Slow down. Start by telling me who Silla is.” 


Silla decided to organize her things. She found her pencils, her blue sketch pad and her lamb nightgown. It took her a while to organize everything in the perfect way, but she managed. Ten minutes later, Silla stood up and proudly looked around. The cabin was starting to look more like a place that she had lived for a while. It was evening and Silla was getting hungry, when she happened to see Aurie pass by. 

“Um… Hello?” She called nervously. “Where could I find dinner?”

“Oh, right! Come to our house, the one across the way in, like, 10 minutes.” Inga’s mom bent down to pick up her basket and headed toward her house. 

“Okey dokey!” Silla closed her window and looked around inside. She was not wearing appropriate dinner clothing. She rifled through the dresses, tunics, and leggings Aurie had left in her closet, and settled on a light green dress. It was flowy, and felt light on her body. Silla put on brown strappy sandals to go with her dress and brushed on the faintest hint of eyeshadow. She sensed she didn’t need to be so formal, but it was her first time eating dinner with these people, and she felt the urge to be presentable. Silla ambled across the path that separated the houses. Inga’s house was a big Victorian, covered in vines and blooming flowers. Silla rapped on the door three times. Inga opened the door, smiling when she saw who it was. 

“Silla! Come on in, dinner’s ready!” Inga followed Silla into the airy house. They seated themselves at the big table, and soon, Darjus, Aurie, and Chief (as Silla later learned) Anwyll. The topic of conversation at the table soon turned to the upcoming quest. Inga’s father suggested they leave at once.

“The sooner you go, the sooner you’ll retrieve the Lyinth. I know we only just heard about this, but the safety of our tribe depends on it. The blood moon is in only two months.”

“But Honey, how will they prepare?” Aurie protested. 

“I can get packs ready. Girls- I know that we think the Lyinth is in the Cave of Crystals, in the cloud mountains, a few days’ journey, but will you be prepared to face the dangers that come with the quest?” 

“Yes,” Silla and Inga answered in unison.

“How long will Siwa and Ina be gone?” Darjus asked. “Will they miss my Calling?”

“Oh, Darjus, your Calling!” Aurie exclaimed, “We must get ready!” She bustled Darjus out of the room. 

“Well, that settles it. You leave tomorrow morning. Silla, you should go get some sleep. Inga, you too.” Chief Anwyll shooed both girls out of the room. 


The next morning, Inga woke up bright and early. She found her supplies at the foot of her bed, including clothes for the journey. She still couldn’t believe that she had met Silla only yesterday, and now they were embarking on a quest together. Inga showered and headed downstairs, her new pack slung over her shoulder. Inga hoped her mom was making something great for breakfast, as she was planning to use photosynthesis during the journey.

Fortunately, Aurie Wood was making something good for breakfast. Waffles, to be exact. Silla was sitting at the kitchen table, and the scent of strawberries and whipped cream filled the air. Inga noticed that Silla had received the same set of supplies. Aurie handed her daughter a plate heaped high with waffles, whipped cream, and strawberries, of course. Once they had finished eating, Inga’s mom handed her a map with a route marked out. 

“Your father thinks that the Lyinth is now in Ivíjun. This is the route. It should take you 3-4 days, at most, to get there.” Inga nodded gratefully, and stuck the map in the waterproof pocket of her backpack. In doing so, she noticed a sleek silver thing in a narrow pocket of her pack. It hummed with tree magic. Inga ran her hands along it. Her hands reached a small groove in the metal, and the rod extended to a full length quarterstaff. 

“Whoa,” she breathed, “My own quarterstaff! Thank you so much, Mom! Silla, did you get something too?”

“It was actually a gift from your father.” Aurie smiled. 

“Yesss!” Silla exclaimed with joy, “I got a collapsible dagger. I wonder how Mr. Wood knew I was good with daggers? Also, what is Ivíjun?” 

“Oh!” Inga laughed, “Ivíjun is a sacred temple in the cloud mountains.” 

“Okay. Cool. When do we leave?”

“Now, actually,” Ms. Wood said, “Inga’s father says it would be best to leave before Darjus wakes up.” Mother and daughter hugged tightly, and then Aurie planted a kiss on Silla’s head.

“Hope you’ll be back soon!” She opened the door, gesturing the girls out. Inga grabbed Silla’s hand, and they embarked on their journey to find the Lyinth, the crystal crown of life.


Their path led through the woods for about two or three kilometers, and then broadened out into a wide country road. Inga explained to Silla about photosynthesis and how she was able to absorb energy from the sun. They paused only once before sunset to let Silla eat a sandwich. The stars were magnificent that night, and Silla stared at them for a while before succumbing to a gentle sleep that let her wake up, refreshed. The pair of young adventurers made good time, and reached the mountains after only. It was the third day when they finally reached Ivíjun. 

“Inga,” Silla had been asking, “When do you think we will–” She stopped short, taking in the structure that had suddenly risen up in front of her. 

“Is that Ivíjun?”

“Yes indeed, Silla,” Inga answered, looking up from consulting the map, “We have reached our destination.” 

“I guess we just need to find the Lyinth, then.”

“Yep. You should get your dagger out, though, just in case.” Inga pulled out her quarterstaff. They entered the ancient temple hand in hand. Inga led them to the central room. 

“I think we should start looking here,” She said, “I’ll take the right side.” Silla moved to the left, and almost tripped on a circlet of smooth rock. She picks it up and inspects it. The shape of the stone resembles a crown. 

“Inga!” she calls, “Come look at this!” Inga hurries over and takes the stone circlet out of her hands. As it touches the tips of her fingers, a transformation begins. The gray stone transforms into crystal, inlaid with jewels. 

“I think we found it, Silla!” Inga breaths, eyes twinkling. 

“Yes, my dears, you found it,” A voice speaks from the shadows, “And now, it is time to give it to me.” Senturac lunges, but Silla is faster. She whips out her dagger and slashes him across the wrist, sending him recoiling to the wall. Inga uses this moment to set the newly recovered crown down, and extend her quarterstaff. She sends him a blow to the head, and then steps back as Silla lunges forward, striking at his stomach and leaving a big gash behind. Senturac tries to grab the Lyinth once again, but Inga hits his head against the wall, making him slump unconscious.

“Guess he’s not used to fighting anymore.” Inga took rope out of her backpack and bound the villain up, then grabbed the crown. They set out on the journey home, walking in a comfortable silence. 

“Well, that was quite an adventure, wasn’t it?” Silla remarks.

“Yes indeed,” Inga replies, “And now I can’t wait to take a shower.”

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