Here is a taste of the book I'm working on.
"The Tales of Ezra Dragonsbard"
The Rescue of Stephanie.
Early one spring day, word came of overseas piracy.
Hanlo became despondent by the grim news.
The wash of grief awoke Braymon from his nap. He looked toward Hanlo as if he could see his Companion through the rock between them.
“I come, my friend.” Braymon sends a thought to Hanlo.
Becoming a mist, he flies through the trap door to the castle. The mist settles to the floor as he shapeshifts into a dragon the size of a large eagle. He flies down the hall and out the window. Circling the castle, he flies through the open window of the Castle Office, where Hanlo was sitting at his desk, landing on the pedestal of carved rock that that had stood in the corner of the Library since the time of Mezen.
“What causes your grief, M’Lord?”
“Stephanie, daughter of my brother, Budroe,” Hanlo sighs.
“She was trading oversea and her ship was taken by bandits. Her captors are demanding ten times her weight in gold for her return. They further demand a hundredweight of gold for the return of the Minerva.
Hanlo becomes quiet, looking down at his hands. Braymon patiently looks on while Hanlo fights back tears.
“As this involves Family,” He says, looking back to his Companion. “Would you help me, my friend?.”
“What would you have of me, M’Lord?”
“The Droplight returned this morning with the ransom demand. The Captain and crew are arranging her reprovisioning now. She will be ready to sail within the week. The Farseer will go with her in case there is need for Naval battle, which I hope will not be needed.
“I would like you to accompany the fleet to insure our Stephanie is safely returned. The Sengar is being loaded with extra supplies. The main deck hold is still equipped to serve as your quarters.”
Hanlo walks over to the window and looks out to sea. A few seconds pass.
“If possible, save the Minerva.” He said with a slight growl. “She is a worthy vessel. If this is not possible, do not let her fall into the hands of the pirates.”
“I shall do my best, M’Lord.”
“With your permission,” Braymon replies formally. “I will prepare.”
“This good weather saved us two weeks of sailing, Braymon.” Captain Andrew of the Droplight announced to Braymon one afternoon five weeks later.
“We arrive at Lomera tomorrow morning and will be finished with customs late afternoon. If their practice is the same, your quarters will be given no more than a cursory glance, on the assumption the space is going to be filled during our trading mission.” The last two words came out rather sarcastically. “While Staff is handling official business, crew is going to nose around the town with talk about being on a trading mission. The fleet will depart from port the next morning. You can rejoin us then.”
“I like this idea Honlo has.” He says with a chuckle. “By keeping your presence hidden until the last moment, those ruffians will get the shock of their tawdry lives.
“This part of the plan has additional interest for me at this point, Captain.” Braymon says, looking out to sea. “I’m ready for fresh red meat.
“Don’t misunderstand me,” Braymon says, turning his head and giving Andrew the equivalent of a draconic grin. “I may like red meat but I’m rather fond of venison.
“Now seems like the time for the next part of the plan to commence.”
Braymon approaches Andrew. Holding his paws as if he were cupping a drink of water, he rises to look at the Captain at eye level. As he rises, a silvery ball manifests itself from the cup and slowly floats to the top of the mainmast
“These will remove all memory of my existence from everyone onboard.”
Identical silvery balls manifest over the Farseer and Sengar, not too far in the distance. All three balls expand to cover the ships after Braymon takes flight. Each ship is suddenly obscured by fog as Braymon dives into the ocean.
“Damn me.” Andrew mutters, looking around to make sure the fleet was still in proper formation.
“That was the oddest fog I’ve laid eyes on. I thought I saw a dragon.”
He turns and gives the order to change course for the port of Scaldar, Lomera Island.
Three port visits later, word came to Lanribian, Master Merchantman of Sengar, of the location of some independent operators who had a load of fine silks to sell. For an extra gold coin, the informant continued with a hint these people were pirates and there will more than likely have more than silk to offer.
“From what the gentleman had to say,” Lanribian was saying to Captain Dominic as they drank morning coffee in the wheelhouse on Farseer. “This group has a base on an island named Aktearn, which they use as their base of operations. They grew from a small band of ruffians to where the Arkon, their equivalent of our Judiciary, have started paying serious attention to them, especially the tax revenue aspect of it.
“The way it works here, as long as they obtain an Operating Permit and keep up with their taxes, they are considered a legitimate business, as long as they stay from domestic vessels.”
Lanribian reaches into the leather satchel sitting on the floor next to him and pulls a rolled up scroll from it.
“This map was part of the information provided.”
Dominic takes the scroll and unrolls it on one end of the chart table, placing an unused candlestick on each corner, to stop the scroll from rolling back up. He looks over the map then walks to the other end of the table to look at a larger map on the Quartermaster’s chart table.
“If I read the chart correctly,” He says quietly. “This island is but four days from here. We are scheduled to leave this port tomorrow as it is. Let us remain on schedule.
“As long as we are in sight of this island, we will appear to be doing so. Once we are beyond the horizon, we will change course for this Aktearn.”
Andrew consumes the last of the coffee in his mug and sets it on the table.
“Come, Gentlemen,” He says with a wry smile on his face.
“We have to prepare for the formal ceremony of signing the trade contract. One mistake we made was not having an expert from the Justice Ministry.
“Be that as it may, let us endure this last one.”
Everything went off without a hitch. The fleet got underway with the morning tide. Clearing the mouth of the harbor, they set sail for Fentar, their supposed next stop. They arrived just over the horizon from Aktearn on the evening of the third day.
“The knucklebones talk of bad omens,” Sentar said to Jalzar, the Captain of the pirate crew, looking in the direction of the smoking mountain. “This island may no longer be of use to us.”
Aktearn island was unsettled at this time because of the constant plume of smoke from Mt. Galin. A century ago at the time of this telling, Aktearn had been considered for settlement. The island had vast amounts of land suitable for farming and a large cove that would have made for a perfect harbor. An expedition of two thousand people set forth from the island of Neibar for that purpose. Three years later, 200 survivors of the volcano returned to Neibar. When Galin exploded, two of the three farms were covered in ash, the earthshake caused half the fishing village to collapse and the village of Daskar to be covered with lava.
“The Spirits sent a dream last night. In the dream, Galin spouted a flow of lava that blocked the mouth of the harbor.” Sentar took a flaming twig from the fire and turned to face Mt. Galin. Uttering the Charm of Protection, he traced the Rune in the air, sending the Charm toward the mountain.
“Thanks be to the Spirits.” Jalzar responded, kissing the palm of his left hand and holding it up to the air.
“I wish they would have picked a better time for this,” He continued, with a tone of impatience for the timing of the Spirits.
“We need a secure base of operations. Having to change locations now is going to place additional burdens on our plans for ransoming Lady Stephanie.
“It is time, I think,” Jalzar muttered as he walked next to Sentar. “For the Erne to fly.”
The rest of the chapter can be found at
The Rescue of Stephanie.