Raja and the Monkey of Minah
by Avah Broc

"'You will need to appease the Ogin spirit by apologizing to the orb.' Hagatha then added in a more sinister tone, 'And you know if you don’t your life is cursed.'"

After a traumatic youth, Raja, the princess of Kazan Castle, has made a role for herself as an adult by teaching and giving a stable home to rescued orphans. There is more to do, however. The evil Hagatha—the nemesis of all who are good and seek peace and justice—has an evil orb in her possession. She enslaves children and seeks to enslave Raja and her allies. Hagatha has her own version of "people care"—a slave orphanage in Marsh Mansion—and a group of apparently lost souls called the Wailers, who live in a place called North Vel Saca and where Hagatha literally cooks up evil. Demonstrating a good deal of courage and faith, the princess and her friends set sail to free the children. Enslavement is Hagatha's goal. If she can gain control of Raja and the others who see things the same way as Raja does, Hagatha's power will be assured.

The author's story is a classic good vs. evil tale for young adults. The good people are portrayed as heroic and self-sacrificing, and, like in many fairy tales, several of them are noble or royal. The evil witch also follows the standard formula for wickedness by attempting to acquire power through the torment and enslavement of others. The author increases the threat level in the narrative by incorporating many victims. And as is common in the fantasy genre, practically everything hangs on the actions and fate of a specific individual, which in this case is Raja. Hagatha seeks the enslavement of Raja because the princess is literally the jewel in the crown, the key piece she needs to gain control. Broc expertly shows through this tale that the bonds of love, family, and a common goal of seeking peace and freedom are profoundly threatening to the exercise of evil.

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