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CRYSTALS & CODES (Auraling Book 1)

In the mythical land of Pangola, an ancient book, the SACRED ORDER OF THE CRYSTALS, foretells ofan Auraling of no color will be born in the Reign III, and in Year 215, will ascend to become the next Keeper of the Records.’

Fifteen-year-old Norman is an outcast in a race of Auralings, who are designated at birth into an apprenticeship based on the color of their aura encircling their bodies. Having no aura, Norman is a disgrace to his parents, bullied at school, and humiliated by the villagers.

He runs away from home and meets Lady Grace of Graceheart Castle, who helps him develop his own aura powers as he learns the ‘old ways’ of crystal magic. The Lady teams him with four other young Auralings, each with their own unique aura, to embark on a quest to decipher the secret codes of the ancients.

Can they break the codes in time to learn the date of the invasion by the alien Subina warriors? Will Norman be able to rally their nation to stand together and fight to protect their life-giving sacred crystals? Or will their fate lead to complete annihilation?

Q: Tell us about your characters in your book? What is an aura?

A: An Aura (awr-uh) is a color of atmospheric energy that can be seen emanating around the body of a newborn Auraling. This aura disappears as that child becomes an adult. The powers of their auras are enhanced by using the energy of the sacred crystals (as in a crystal necklace) along with magical spells. The color of aura indicates the natural talents Auralings were born with.

Auralings are a race of people born with an aura encircling their bodies. The population resides mainly in the Pangola village of Many Springs. They resemble human beings but with a colored aura indicating their natural-born talents.

The Characters: Aura Team (name with color of magical talents):
1. Norman (nor-muh-n) White (or iridescent ‘no color’) – A Scientist, an outcast in the village, and an embarrassment to his parents. He learns to channel all auras into a powerful grid as the new Keeper of the Records.
2. Barich (bear-ich) Red – Able to communicate with animals, is an orphan raised by his aunt & uncle, and is a horse-master apprentice and excellent horseman.
3. Lilly (lil-e) Blue – A healer apprentice learning the properties of herbs, plants and crystals for treating wounds. She is the main money maker and care giving for her ailing parents and siblings.
4. Jayder (jay-der) Green – A ‘Forest Ruler’ or tracker (camouflage), is a bully at school, and he’s abused at home by his parents.
5. Velvet (vel-vit) Yellow – A creative artist with sewing (fibers), is blind (lost her vision due to an accident), and lives alone in a cottage behind the dress shop.

Q: You have a lot of hidden meanings in your writing, will you explain some of them?

A: First – all Auralings are born with an aura (or their God-given talents – similar to what I feel we humans born with), and as Auralings grow into adulthood, they lose their aura because they don’t believe in the “old ways of magic” anymore, much they way humans waste their talents and childhood dreams as we get caught in the “Adult” mindset of the world.

Second – I feel we take our energy, our natural resources, for granted, just as the Auralings waste crystal energy and assume the resource will always be there from them whenever they demand it. We must conserve and protect…

Third – on earth, I believe all races need to work together for the greater good of the planet. In my story, the Auralings, Dwarflings, and Greylings discover that they have to work together in order to defeat the alien intruders, the Subina warriors. They embrace their differences and come together.

Fourth – there is enough negativity and suffering going on in our world, and in the mythical land of Pangola, it’s no different. Each of my characters know all too well how it feels to be judged, to be labeled, and to not belong. (Norman is a misfit, an outcast both at home and in society. Barich is an orphan. Lilly is the money earner and caretaker of her family at age 15. Jayder is severely abused and whipped by his parents. Velvet lost her parents in an accident that left her blind.) I believe everyone wants and needs to be accepted, encouraged, and loved – it’s what brings people together!

BOOK REVIEW by Karen Stevens on Crystals & Codes on Amazon.com!

“When the stars foretell the long-feared return of the evil Subina warriors, the Keeper of the Records knows her reign will soon end. She must find someone who can take her place to battle the invaders. But who? She chooses five teens to defend the land of Pangola.

They are unlikely partners: Jaydar, the school bully; Lili, caretaker for her family, Velvet, blinded in an accident; horse-loving Barich, and Norman, barely tolerated by his parents because he was born without an aura. Together, the youngsters must solve a mysterious code, embark on a perilous quest, and learn to use their magical talents if they are to become a team that can defeat the fearsome Subina warrior-mages. The ending is a cliffhanger, leaving readers waiting eagerly for the second book in the series.

First-time author Berst has created a world of magic and deadly danger that will appeal to readers from grade school to adults. She weaves a heartwarming tale of five teens who learn to overcome their differences to become true friends.”

Thanks, Karen Stevens, Author & Editor


Lady Grace drummed her fingers on the window sill, knowing she must be patient. Her ever-present aura shimmered around her body creating a white, soothing glow. In her small library in Graceheart Castle, she paced. She wanted to see it for herself – she had to see it for herself – to witness the stellar Nebunova. This rare star explosion would be one of the most important events in her life. Her Auraling ancestors believe that a Nebunova was either an omen of danger and death, or one of prosperity and peace. The Lady wondered which it would be.

Thunder boomed far overhead, echoing across the valley. The violent storm lingered, raging on into the evening. Deep in thought, Lady Grace hoped that she had deciphered the ancient codes correctly, and that the rare Nebunova would occur that very evening.

As midnight drew near, she glanced out her window toward the heavens. The storm was clearing, the dark clouds parting. Lady Grace worried if the sky would clear in time to see the Nebunova. The Auraling prophecy stated that a Nebunova signaled a critical shift of who will wield the power of the crystals. It was also a sign that a new Keeper of the Records will arise. The last Nebunova happened over two hundred years ago, at the time of her own birth. Would she recognize a Nebunova if she saw it?

The Lady stopped in front of the heavy wooden mantel and slid her fingertips along a silver wand. At her mere touch the crystal ball on its end illuminated, filling the room with a bright white light. She watched it glow for several seconds. As she withdrew her hand, the crystal ball faded back to its dormant state.

She turned to an iron bookstand in the corner of the room. The tall stand held a large, elaborately decorated book, embossed with golden letters that read Sacred Order of the Crystals. As she picked up the book and ran her hand over its worn cover. Opening at the satin marker, she read the definition of the Nebunova aloud, looking for any clues she may have missed:

‘Nebunova – A celestial star explosion that occurs once

every two hundred years during the time of the summer

solstice. When a juvenile white star explodes, it signals

the commencement of a great shift and the beginning of

the transference of crystal powers to a new Keeper of the

Records. This new Keeper will arise to seize control of

the sacred crystals and rule all the lands of Pangola.’


A lightning bolt cracked in the distance, startling her cat, Charma and dog, Ruffins from their naps. Her pets were her constant companions, by her side wherever she was. Both stared wide-eyed at their mistress.

“My reign as Keeper is slowly coming to an end, dear ones,” she said, with reassuring pats on their heads. “Someday, I must train a new Keeper of the Records to take my place here in the castle.”

She herself had been born, as the Auraling prophecy had predicted, ‘an Auraling born of no color in Reign II / Year 200 – the Reign of Hathor’.

Fifteen years later, after extensive training by her mentor Hathor, Lady Grace became the new Keeper. An entry was written in the sacred book. ‘The end of Halthor’s Reign II and the beginning of Reign III / Year 0 – the Reign of Grace’.

Soon it would be time for her to pass on her responsibilities, her knowledge of magical powers, and the sacred crystals, to a new Keeper of the Records. Would the new Keeper be born that night? Would she document the birth in the ancient book as prosperity and peace? Or does this Nebunova signal danger and death yet to come?

Lady Grace carefully turned the fragile page of the Sacred Order of the Crystals and read another familiar coded passage. ‘Time will tell the stars, Nebunova in the night’s sky…’

She looked toward her library window, her satin gown swirled around her. She searched intently at the clearing sky. Then she saw it, a brilliant star exploding in the heavens! Joy filled her heart, and she stared with amazement as a white mist slowly encased the exploding star.

“A Nebunova! It has to be!” she said excitedly. “Just as our Auraling ancestors predicted!”

As her excitement grew, her aura brightened even more around her body, flooding the entire library with a brilliant light. She continued to stare at the strange star formation with its eerie, misty glow. Charma and Ruffins, sensing her elation, jumped to their feet and danced around the Lady.

“This is our sign!” the Lady said to her pets. “The one we’ve been waiting for!”

*          *          *

A small two-seated carriage halted beside a white picket fence in the small village of Many Springs. The doctor stepped off the sideboards and waddled along the wooden planks. He pushed through a low yard gate to an imposing front door of the mayor’s home. A lightning bolt cracked overhead as the doctor rapped on the iron door knocker. He shivered, and tilted his head for the rain to run off his hat brim.

A short, plump girl, with her hair piled into a loose bun, curtsied as she opened the door. “The Missus is close to her time, Sir,” she said anxiously.

Taking his wet coat and hat, she hung them on the rack near the door. “This way, please. Hurry!”

The girl ushered the doctor along a narrow hallway, and into the master bedroom. The room was heated by large crystal pillars stacked inside an arched brick fireplace. Standing beside the bed was the mayor, a tall, broad-shouldered man, his hands stuffed into his pockets. His wife, Olivia, tossed and turned on top of the covers. The short, plump girl hurried to her side, dipped the end of a soft rag into a basin of water, and dabbed the perspiration from her forehead.

The doctor placed his brown leather bag on the top the dresser and pulled out various medical instruments. Without a word, he bent over the foot of the bed to examine the progress of the laboring woman.

“Time to push, Olivia!” he said encouragingly. “Push – now!”

Mayor Charles turned pale, spun on his heels, and quickly walked out of the room. “I’m too old to become a father!” He grumbled to himself.

Mayor Charles pulled back the living room curtain and peered out the window toward the heavens. The storm was clearing, the dark clouds parting. The sky revealed a few bright stars.

He opened the front door and stepped onto the porch, searching his vest pocket for his pipe. As he lit the tobacco, he heard the soft cry of a newborn. He cringed at the sound of a baby crying. Blowing out a long stream of smoke, he gazed absently at the stars. The ambient light of the evening cast a silvery shadow over the quiet village below.

Far above him, his eyes focused on a brilliant star. He stared with amazement as a white mist slowly encased the exploding star. “Hmm,” he muttered to himself. “That’s something I’ve never seen before.”

Mayor Charles heard the floorboard squeak behind him and the doctor appeared next to him on the porch, carrying his large medical bag.

“Mayor,” nodded the doctor, putting on his hat.

“Doctor,” he replied, puffing on his pipe.

“You have a son,” said the doctor hesitantly. “Now, I hate to be the bearer of sad news, but he’s … well, he’s …”

“Speak up! What is it?”

“Well, I’ve been delivering babies for over forty years now, and I’ve never seen an Auraling born without an aura!”

Stunned, the mayor slowly withdrew his pipe and looked curiously at the doctor. “What are you saying?”

Straining to keep his voice low, the doctor leaned towards him. “The boy is very odd – very odd indeed! With no aura – no color to signify his natural-born talents – there’s no way of knowing what apprenticeship he’ll go into,” the doctor checked to make sure no one else was listening. “Without an aura, I’m afraid your tiny baby is a misfit. He may live through the night. I suggest you name son – immediately!”

Speechless, the mayor returned his gaze to the unusual star explosion that had caught his eye earlier. Then he scanned the heavens, searching until he spied the familiar North Star.

“North,” Mayor Charles blurted. “Northman.”

“Yes …,” the doctor said curiously.

“Norman means ‘man from the north’. So, that’s what we’ll name him – Norman.”

The doctor shook his head. “I’ll be back in the morning to see if he’s still alive.”  He turned and made his way to his carriage. “I am so sorry … this is terrible …,” he mumbled over this shoulder.

The mayor watched until the doctor’s carriage disappeared along Main Street then walked into his home. He tiptoed quietly through the door of the master bedroom. The plump girl had wrapped the newborn in a blanket and placed him in the small crib near the fireplace.

“Oh, Charles,” cried his wife, Olivia, “how absolutely disgusting! We have a baby born without an aura! My status in this community is ruined. Now what do I tell the ladies in the Tea Party Society?”

(Click to enlarge map)

Hi everyone, check out the Auralings map of Pangola, illustrated by Brian Ashmore, a professional artist in my hometown in Montana!

The Auraling Series #1

(here are the reviewers: spelling worts and all!)

“The book is not like anything I’ve ever read! It’s an intense story filled with action, battles, magic, fantasy, love, and dramatic events -I wasn’t able to put it down!!!! The book brings out all emotions, -happiness, rejection, love, affection, anger, and the will to stand up for what you believe in and to stand together as one. This book shows that when you ignore your differences and stand together you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Take it from me, you have to read this book to see what I’m talking about! It truly is amazing! – like I said, its not like nothing I’ve read before! I absolutely loved it!!!”   Chase Mclane, 13-year-old girl, from Bozeman, MT

I loved the book! It was awesome – it had a lot of action. An it seemed like real-life not fantasy or some kind of fairy tail except for the fact that the characters are Auralings (a magic being with a ‘aura color’ that surrounds their body) one example is they had some bullies at school and they picked on Norman because he was different – he had no aura color. It’s for both boys and girls – the Auralings are like Tinkerbelle but its like the color of their aura showed their talent. It was extremely hard to put down and the point is- I loved it and I hope you too can enjoy it as much as I did! “ Chance Mclane, 10-year-old boy, from Bozeman Montana.