Dragons of Fyre


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After escaping from the temple of Fyre, Drakon returns to his home to find only two people and a yellow dragon. He and the Old One learn as much as they can about the land at present. The lord of Sea Cliff Tower has gathered the remaining dragons at his keep. On learning the High Peaks Tower’s red dragon is with egg they arrange her escape and rescue her eggs. Now they must find a way to defeat their enemy and return the dragons to the other towers. Arana, sold by the temple priestesses to the slavers is bought by the lord of High Tower and made a part of the family. Before they are able to adopt her the lord of Sea Cliff Tower invades and destroys the family, taking her and her friend prisoner. Drakon is sold. Arana because she can speak to the dragons is made a slave care-giver. She saves a green egg and raises the green dragon. After helping the High Peaks Tower’s red dragon escape she is in danger and must find a way to escape. Her attempt to ride the green dragon succeeds and she arrives injured and ill. Once she recovers she and Drakon attempt to find a way to rescue the other dragons of Fyre.



Publié par
Date de parution 09 août 2015
Nombre de visites sur la page 1
EAN13 9781773620466
Langue English

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Dragons of Fyre Island of Fyre Book 2 By Janet Lane-Walters
Digital ISBNs EPUB 978-0-2286-0080-0 Kindle 978-1-77145-387-5 Amazon Print 978-0-2286-0081-7
Copyright 2015 by Janet Lane Walters Cover Art by Michelle Lee All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights un der copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this boo k. Dedication To all the fantasy writers who have allowed me to s pend hours and days in the worlds they’ve created.
Chapter One Dtared at the collection ofrakon halted his horse at the end of the pass and s houses and the fields beyond. Last night he and his companion had ridden well past moonrise so they could reach the village this morni ng. Fall had arrived. Reds, yellows, and oranges, blazed across the hills. Why had this village remained untouched? Ten years ago, the lord of Sea Cliff had attacked High Peaks and ravaged the villages closes t to the tower. Of the three settlements sworn to High Peaks, only this one rema ined. The answer had to be treachery. Drakon wondered if he would learn the na mes of the traitors. “You will not, the Old One said. “They are dead. Drakon tightened his hold on the reins. Every time the ancient yellow dragon spoke to him, he felt warmth and delight. Years ago, his inability to speak to the dragons had doomed him to ten years as a slave. I wish they we re alive so I could see to their punishment. Their treason made me Lagon’s prisoner, and a thing to be sold to the priestesses. “Better a slave than living under the evil one’s co ntrol the way the heirs of the other towers do. A year had passed since Drakon’s escape from the te mple of Fyre. Though he had sworn to see the man dead, the lord of Sea Cliff To wer remained alive. A need for vengeance invaded Drakon’s thoughts. His family, hi s near kin, and innocent villagers, had been slaughtered on that dreadful day. “Patience, the Old One said. “Behold the lush growth of the fields. His compani on drew his steed to Drakon’s side. “Look at the height and fullness of the fyret horns. The harvest will be abundant. He raked his fingers through his gray-tinged brown hair. Drakon shook his head. “I see, but do we need all this for one dragon? Radlan shrugged. “Who are we to cry about good fortune? There are few dragons in the land. From what I have heard there are five pai r at Sea Cliff, and none at the other three towers. Drakon’s jaw clenched. His desire for revenge flare d anew. If only there was a way to defeat Lagon and free the High Peaks dragons. “Have faith. There will be more dragons at our towe r. Some of Drakon’s tension ebbed. “First patience and now faith. I’ll try. Before I gain those virtues, there’s a harvest to be completed. He prodded the steed with his heels and the horse trotted down the trail into the villa ge. As Drakon dismounted, the headman bustled across th e commons with a hand extended in welcome. “My lord. Drakon straightened. Would he ever become used to b eing named as the lord of High Peaks Tower. “Just Drakon. Am I in time to help with the harvest? The gray-haired man nodded. “The men have started i n the fields and the crew for the fyrethorns has just assembled.
Drakon pulled on a pair of heavy leather gloves, gra bbed a sack and strode to the row of fyrethorn bushes. Radlan had been right abou t the size of the harvest. A wry smile crossed Drakon’s face. The increased yield wa s due to the seeds he’d brought from the temple, the only good thing to come from h is stay as a stud in the harras. A half dozen young women and four young men joined him. Drakon glanced at his fellow workers. One young woman flipped her glossy ebony hair over her shoulder. He swallowed. Her beauty made him wish for what was im possible. Of the men, three were his age. The one with black hair was older. He glared at Drakon and drew the beauty away. Drakon frowned. Wh y did the man dislike him when they had never met? He shrugged off the stares of the others and moved along the hedgerow pulling handfuls of the long, blood red thorns. As he remov ed them bunches of crimson berries were exposed. The young women pulled the clusters a nd dropped them in baskets. At day’s end, Drakon stared at the sacks of thorns and berries he helped carry to the storeroom. A bountiful harvest, indeed. He walk ed to where Radlan and the headman stood. “We’ll need more than two carts to c arry all the fyrethorn products to the tower. The older men laughed. Radlan clasped Drakon’s shou lder. “We’ll take just one load of thorns and berries. The other cart will car ry grain and vegetables for the winter. Before the storms, we’ll return for the rest and fo r flour ground from the grain. Radlan led the way to the harvest feast. “Do you think the other villages will be rebuilt? Drakon asked. Radlan nodded. “There’s talk of a division in a yea r or two. The people sworn to High Peaks Tower are still recovering from the inva sion. Forget your questions and enjoy yourself. The older man winked. “I’ve notice d several of the young women watching you. Drakon stiffened. If they knew what had happened to him ten years ago, they would avoid him. He crammed those memories away. Radlan h ad suggested keeping the days he’d spent as a slave a secret. Drakon wished he could talk to someone about his treatment in the Temple of Fyre. He glanced at the gathered people. Though most of the older men and women wore what they had for the harvest, some of the younger women had changed into bright colored skirts and blouses. Aromas of cooking meats rose from a pot where a ste er had cooked all day. Other meats hung on hooks over the coals. Drakon lifted a large wooden trencher and took some of the steer and a chicken leg. His stomach ru mbled as he moved to a long table where kettles of cooked vegetables, grains, and bow ls of greens, and fruit, were displayed. He grabbed a mug of ale and looked for a place to s it. Beneath a large oak tree, he noticed a group of young people. One of them waved. “Lord Drakon, come and eat with us. We’re glad you returned to the tower. As Drakon started toward the group the young woman he’d noticed earlier stepped in front of him. “Tiron, leave him alone. I’m claim ing him.
Drakon swallowed. One side of her blouse had slid fr om her shoulder and nearly exposed her breast. Would she issue commands he wou ld have to obey? The sweet scent of her perfume brought memories of the priest esses at the temple. He was torn between following her and joining the larger group. She touched his arm. “Come with me. There is much I want from you. Her voice held a demanding tone that seemed familia r. He walked beside her. “Lord Drakon, when will there be dragons at the tower? someone called. Drakon couldn’t spot who had shouted. “There is one in the cavern now. The Old One said there soon would be more. “We heard you couldn’t speak to them. “True in part. Drakon smiled. “I do not need the tea when I speak to the Old One. The young woman tugged on Drakon’s arm. “Forget tho se fools. Come with me. She stepped closer. “Our kin ties are the most dist ant of any girl’s in the village. I’m destined to be your wife. Drakon gulped a breath. Like a vise, uneasiness gri pped his chest. Her cloying perfume brought flashes from the past he struggled to forget. She reeked of desire the way the priestesses had. “Just who are you? “Bekla. She led him to a sheltered place in the grove of ha rdwoods on the outskirts of the village. The leaves rioted with colors from pale ye llow to russet. Drakon halted and nearly spilled the ale when the young man who had g lared at him during the harvest appeared. “Bejan, I’ve brought Drakon so you could speak to h im about the dragons. “I have nothing to say to someone who was a slave. Bejan turned and walked away. How had he known? Drakon had told no one. Had Radla n let the secret slip? Or had Lagon spread the story of how he had sold Drakon? “You’ll lose out on a chance to be a speaker, but I won’t. Bekla sat on the ground and arranged her skirts so one of her thighs was pa rtly bared. “Drakon, come closer. Though he’s my brother, he’s a boor. Drakon sat on a log at arms distance from her. He g ulped some ale and began to eat. “What do you want to know? She leaned forward and her blouse gaped to expose h er full breasts. “I want to be the wife of a dragon speaker. You are the only one at High Peaks. I want to ride with you when the dragons rise to mate. Drakon put the trencher on the ground. “The yellow does not mate. There are no reds or blues in the cavern. She edged closer and brushed her hand over his thig h. “A dragon rises here. She licked her lower lip. “Come to my aunt’s house at m oonrise. His stomach clenched. She commanded just as the pri estesses had. This time there was a choice. He had escaped from the harras. He didn’t have to obey her. Though he felt ill, he rose. “Don’t wait for me. A s he strode away he realized he had
taken the first step toward freedom from the condit ioning. Never again would he be trapped by a woman’s demands. A dull headache began . When he reached the commons, he looked for Radlan b ut didn’t see the older man. Drakon stopped and talked to several of the village rs. Though he searched for Tiron and the other young people they seemed to have vani shed. Finally, Drakon slipped into the headman’s house. He sat on one of the beds in t he guest room and rubbed his aching head. At least the pain wasn’t as acute as w hen he’d drunk the berry tea, or when the priestesses had used thorns as a punishmen t. Strains of music and the buzz of voices filtered through the shuttered windows. H e had no desire to tale part in the merriment. When Drakon woke the sun had just risen. He broke h is fast with food left from the feast and then joined the villagers in loading the wagons. After he and Radlan mounted their horses, they led the men who drove the wagons up the slope to the trail leading to the tower. During the two day trip, Drakon’s thoughts drifted to his escape from the priestesses. How fortunate he’d been to have been c hosen as one of the studs to travel with the women who sought a rebellions acolyte and the stone seeker who had aided her escape. The man had provided a waterskin and to rches to light the way through the dark passage. As Drakon had hurried along the tunne l, earthquakes caused rocks to fall. He had burst into the open moments before the tunnel collapsed. What caused the quakes? Perhaps he would never know. “You are finally home. The voice of the Old One broke into Drakon’s reveri e. “I am, and we have brought a cart full of thorns and berries and left as much, o r more, behind. He smiled. Each time he spoke with the yellow, pride filled his chest. H e wasn’t the misfit he’d been named by his father and brothers. Unlike them, he needed non e of the berry tea for the speaker’s path to open. “As was in the old days. When the carts are unloade d, come to the cavern. Drakon joined the men unloading the wagons. Once th is chore was finished, Radlan, Sophronia’s husband helped prepare the Old One’s meal and wheeled the barrow across the forecourt to the cavern. As he entered the vast hollowed space, he wondered how the area had been made. Was it a natural phenomena, or had magic been emplo yed? “Part of each. The wizard friend of the dragons aid ed their escape and carved the mountain to make a refuge for them. The crystal pillars set about the cavern rose from floor to dome. The bright light momentarily blinded Drakon. The colors reminded him of the fyrestones the priestesses had used in their rituals. Side chambers, some dark , and one cold enough to store meat, lined the left hand wall. Soft sand covered a reas of the floor. Near the feeding trough and the area around the warm pool was rock. A pair of streams, one hot and the other cold, united to flow over a waterfall. Beside the waterfall was a wide ledge. The water left the pool through a drainage hole on the far side.
Drakon put the meat, mixed with thorns and berries, into one of the stone troughs. He sat on the sand beside the Old One’s wallow. The yellow dragon lowered his head so Drakon could scratch the leathery skin between his eyes. “Was the trip a pleasant one? Drakon wrapped his arms around his bent knees. “The harvest was plentiful and the food at the feast delicious. “I sense worry in your thoughts. “There was a young woman named Bekla. She tried to seduce me. He closed his eyes. “I can’t do what she wants. My memories of th e temple are too strong and she made me think of the priestesses. “Those memories will fade. “It’s been a year and they’re still strong. “And longer was needed to set the conditioning. Th e Old One moved to the trough and ate. “Go to your dinner. Sofona cooked all day preparing for your homecoming. The men from the village will leave soon. Drakon patted the dragon’s side. “I’ll come tomorro w. He left the cavern and walked to the tower. Inside the large kitchen the men from the village lifted packs of food Sofona had prepared for their journey. When they were gone, Sofona sank on a bench. A few strands of gray wove through her brown hair. “I’m glad I don’t have to feed a la rge crew every day. There’s a plate for you in the warming oven. Where have you been? “With the Old One. He wanted to know about the harv est. I also took him a feeding. Sofona laughed. “I doubt he needed one. He went out this morning and returned with a wild boar. I took a ham and some of the meat for us. He devoured the rest. Drakon ate a bite of the pork and savored the flavo r. He smiled fondly at the Radlan man and Sofona who had become his family. * * * Arana shielded her eyes against the glare of the su n. Four blue dragons circled a single combatant. She stared at the changing patter n of the battle. There could be but one ending. How could the lone dragon from High Pea ks Tower survive when he fought with no speaker? She closed her mind to the multipl e voices she heard. One of the creatures dove. The embattled one turned and raked his claws along his opponent’s side. A second blue attempted to swoop f rom above. The besieged dragon whirled and caught the edge of the attacker’s wing with his foreclaws and pulled free. The injured dragon joined the first in retreat. Arana began to hope. She knew nothing of battle str ategy. Though she could have spoken to the High Peaks blue she couldn’t distract him, for she had no advice to give. Her hopes plummeted. The remaining opposing pair do ve toward the High Peaks blue. Though her favorite twisted, he was too slow to prevent the largest of the others from clamping teeth-filled jaws on his neck. Arana’ s scream was echoed by a piercing roar from the pens. She watched as the embattled dragon tumbled to the rocks. She ran
to the far side of the landing field. The blue’s broken body lay on the rocks where Arana had witnessed the death of her foster mother. Gone, she thought. Now all that remained of the Hig h Peaks’ lineage was one red, and one green dragon. And her, but she was only a foster child. Arana leaned against the wall and fought to stem he r tears. The cool autumn breeze carried the briny scent of the sea. In the d istance she saw the sails of an approaching ship. Did it carry traders or wizards? If the ship belonged to either group, Lagon would leave the tower to bargain with them. T he wizards welcomed any chance to obtain the hide of a dragon. She rubbed her arms. Since the battle had ended, he r services would be needed by the dragons and the speakers. She was the only one of the slaves who had no fear of the huge beasts. Her ability to hear and speak to t he creatures allowed her to move freely in the pens. She was also one of the few slaves who knew the ing redients of the antidote for the tea made from fyrethorn berries. Most of the men su ffered from headaches after a speaking session. None of the four who had controll ed the battle were like her, for she spoke to the dragons without requiring the tea. One after another, the blues landed. Hisses and pai n-filled cries filled the air. Arana was torn between going to the beasts or the men. A keening cry rose to a piercing shriek and vibrated through Arana’s bones. A red dr agon emerged from the doorway to the pens. Arana ran across the landing field dodgin g the hissing beasts to reach the surviving red of High Peaks Tower. A smaller green dragon scurried after the red. “Soo the her. She will not heed me. Arana blocked the other voices and send words of co mfort to the red. As the beast’s cries softened, Arana stroked the leathery hide. He r mouth flew open. She sensed the presence of eggs. When had the pair mated? Somehow they had managed to slip free from the pens for a mating flight. “I hid them. Verde’s voice held laughter. “I am of their lineage, and do not want to be the last of the High Peaks dragons. Arana stood on tip-toe and stroked his neck. “When will she lay the eggs? She couldn’t hide the fear rippling through her thoughts. Lagon, lord of Sea Cliff Tower would surely destroy the eggs before they hatched. “Soon. “How can we keep Lagon from learning? “I will mask her so the evil one will not know. Though Arana had no idea how she could hide two dra gonets or care for them, the news brought hips. “Return to your pen. The blues a re settling. I must deliver the potion to the men and tend to the wounds of the dragons. Arana crossed the landing field and strode past the entrance to the tower. She opened the door of the stillroom. Unlike High Peaks , the tower here was surrounded by a wall. Halls connected the various buildings that abutted the walls. She filled a basket with linen, needles, and ointme nts, needed to care for the dragons. She took a flask of water and added herbs for the antidote. Arana carried both
through the halls to the room where the speakers la y on padded lounges. Arana poured the contents of the flask into a pot o f hot tea. One of the slaves filled cups and gave the liquid to the men. One by one, th ey roused. Arana turned toward the door. “Dragon slave. She stiffened, but turned to face the lord of Sea C liff Tower. The man had taken away the freedom she earned at High Peaks for her a bility to speak to the dragons. When he had killed the lord and his sons, Lagon had made the women of that tower into slaves. She bowed her head to hide the hatred in he r eyes. “What is your command, my lord? He lifted her chin. His ice blue eyes glittered wit h remnants of pain. “After you treat the beasts, you will seek me. A cruel smile curled his thin lips. She nodded. “I hear and will obey, my lord. He grasped her arm. “Soon you will do more. “As you command. The words nearly choked her. She pushed the door open and entered the central hall. From there she left the t ower and crossed the landing field to the massive stone building that housed the dragons. The hisses and growls of the four blues reached her. Where should she begin? “I will tell you, Verde said. He directed her to the dragon with a long row of ta lon slashes along one flank. She cleaned the ichor away and slathered a numbing oint ment around the edge of the wound. When she finished the creature’s roars cease d. She daubed healing salve on the open areas and spread strips of linen over the anointed places. She left the first pen and entered a second and set about mending the tear on the dragon’s wing. A finely woven cloth was placed bene ath the tatters. By the time the wing healed, the stitches would disintegrate and th e cloth would drop away. Once the minor injuries of the other dragons had be en treated, Arana left the pens. “Verde, thank you. “When they are hurt they listen to me. Verde sighe d. “Maybe that’s why I was born green. “Could be. As you mature you will learn more. Aran a repacked the basket. She wished Verde could persuade the blues to defy their speakers. “Arana, no. The evil one would kill the speakers an d find new ones. Or, he could destroy the dragons and sell their pelts to the wiz ards. As long as he lives I will not do this. “I know, but I wish we could free them. As she cro ssed the landing field and walked toward the still room, a prickling moved along her spine. Her hands formed fists. She steeled herself to face Lagon. “Arana. His hand clamped on her arm. The basket thudded on the ground. “My lord. “How fare the beasts? He turned her to face him. “The wounds will heal. Two will need several weeks of rest before they can fly. “The High Peaks blue was a mighty fighter. Does the red of that lineage grieve?
Arana nodded. “In the confusion after the flight sh e would have flown away, but I calmed her. “Don’t dampen her spirits too greatly. I want her t o rise to mate. His gaze drilled her. “When she does, my blue will follow. With eggs of her get my dragon stock will improve. He shoved Arana against the wall. “On tha t day you will drink the tea and fly with her. Arana bit her lower lip. She couldn’t let him see h ow her fear verged on the edge of terror. “What if she won’t rise? She couldn’t let Lagon know the red was with egg. His thin lips curved into a smile that held no hint of humor. “When you speak to her she will have no choice. He scraped a fingernail a long her cheek. “You are as ripe as the dragon. You will bear my son. He clamped his teeth on her lower lip. She winced. A sullen anger built inside. She sought to hide her repugnance toward him. He liked his women to cower and obey his comma nds. In the ten years and one of her captivity here, she’d seen ten women ordered to his bed. She’d seen the bruises and witnessed the lashings as each one failed to pr oduce the son he desperately wanted. He caught a lock of her hair and wound it around hi s finger. “Hair the color of flames. Fire is what I demand from you. He pressed his mouth over hers. His body touched hers and his phala remained flaccid. Once a gain she was spared a mauling. Lagon laughed. “Soon. He held one hand against her throat. “Let your fears grow so I can feast on them when the dragons rise. He released her. Though relief threatened to bring her to her knees, she pressed against the wall for support. She thought of her fellow slaves. Most fea red him, but one or two lusted to be in his bed. She didn’t understand their fascination . Though handsome, his icy blue eyes and thin lips spoke of his cruel nature. The blue gem in his ear was said to be a payment fo r the youth he’d sold to the slavers. The boy had been from High Peaks Tower. Ha d he been the youngest son of the lord, the boy who had been her friend? Lagon ha d announced Drakon’s death when the women from High Peaks had reached Sea Cliff. Her eyes closed. Though she tried to form a picture of her friend, she failed. For several years after her captivity, she had dreamed of the young man and of being rescued. The sound of boots against the stone floor announce d Lagon’s departure. Arana released her held breath. She returned the basket t o the still room, and then ran down the inner hall to the bathing room. There she scrub bed away the odors of her labor and the stench of fear. She dressed. Instead of going t o the rooms where the slaves were housed she walked to the landing court. At the edge , she stared at the sea. Waves crashed against the rocks. Far below servants remov ed the dragon’s hide. The ship she’d seen earlier had docked at the wharf in the nearby village. She noted the green flag and knew the ship belonged to the wizards. She breathed a sigh of relief. Their arrival meant Lagon would leave the t ower once the hide had been scraped and the curing begun. He would eagerly negotiate a sale. * * *