A female alchemist who inherited the search for the Lost Stone from her mother. As a young woman Layla was an apprentice to a French alchemist who left her his modest fortune when he died during a life-extension experiment. Layla is a member of the Cult of Lilith, which honors the memory of Lilith by creating a beautiful garden paradise wherever they live. Layla purchased a small rundown castle in England, where she created a garden and an alchemical laboratory.
Layla practiced a rare form of meditation designed to extend one’s life by realigning the body with the earth’s magnetic poles. She also experimented with hallucinogenic mixtures made from mushrooms, poisonous belladonna concoctions, and black powder explosives before they were well—known in Europe.
An orphan who is 15-years-old when he arrives at Layla’s doorstep, Aaron is a prodigy who learns to read and write several languages in just a few months. He lives and studies with Layla at her castle in England for nearly a year, where he also assists with alchemical operations.
Aaron falls in love with Stephen of Cloyes sister, Eunisia, at first sight. When he leaves Layla to travel with Eunisia and the Children’s Crusade, Layla gives him the eggplant as a gift. Aaron and the eggplant become best friends on their journey, and when Eunisia is separated when the Children’s Crusade crosses the Mediterranean, Aaron and the eggplant begin their search for her across the desert.
This was no ordinary eggplant—this one was the size of a small toe, hard as polished marble, rich like a deep purple-black jewel and more than handsome—it possessed a certain intelligence, magnetism and ‘voice’ that set it apart from the rest of the vegetable kingdom. It was a magnificent little companion.
When this eggplant was fresh, it was extremely edible and probably quite delicious if anyone had been foolish enough to eat it. But unlike other vegetables, this amazing eggplant was preserved to last forever. It’s almost 600 years old and there are no others like it anywhere in the world.
The older sister of Stephen of Cloyes, the historic figure who led the Children’s Crusade. Eunisia is interested in protecting her younger brother, who has been deemed a prophet. She is kind and compassionate to everyone she encounters. After surviving the journey across the Mediterranean, she is rescued after years of abuse.
The Non-Existent Knight
When the non-existent knight and the Sheriff of Nottingham disagreed about an old religious Stone, King John wiped the knight’s name and deeds from all records, leaving him with no identity—as though he no longer existed. The non-existent knight continued to roam the countryside, helping those in distress and “doing his knightly duty.”
Mina the Wondrous
Mina is a follower of St. Anthony, an Egyptian and first Christian monk. Like St. Anthony, Mina, lived as a hermit deep in Egypt’s Western Desert. She found a small shrine with a well, where she stayed alone for three years—until Aaron arrived with two young orphans. Mina accompanied the trio to Cairo, where they stayed at her sister Amira’s house. Later, Mina joins Layla in her search for the Lost Stone.
Natalie and Donatelle
Two young French girls who joined the Children’s Crusade in Paris, and were abandoned by slave traders in the desert.