A Short Sample from Cold Hearted Son of a Witch - The Dragoneers Saga Book II
©2011 by Michael Robb Mathias Jr. aka M.R. Mathias
A Sample from
Cold Hearted Son of a Witch
The Dragoneers Saga Book II
©2011 by Michael Robb Mathias Jr.
All rights reserved
Jade was winging with all the strength he could summon and Jenka De Swasso was urging him on. They were a half day’s ride by horse outside the wall. They had been chasing stray goblins and trolls away from the road that led from Midwal to Three Forks all day, with Rikky and Silva. For some reason, Rikky and Silva were on the ground, and now Rikky was in trouble. An orc had hold of Silva’s tail, and three trolls were hurling rocks and tree-limbs, trying to pummel Rikky from his seat. Jenka didn’t know what he and Jade were going to do when they entered the fray, but if they didn’t do something, by the looks of it, Rikky was done.
“Yusss,” Jade huffed eagerly as he brought them down into a sharp stall over the small clearing full of trolls.
“The orc, Jenka,” Rikky yelled from Silva’s shoulders. A log came hurling up, end over end, and cracked him across the back. Silva snaked her long neck out and caught the troll’s arm. There was an audible “Chomp!” A terrible scream erupted from the troll as the limb was ripped from its body.
Jenka sent Jade a mental command and the young green dragon whipped his tail out. The hard tip snapped with a powerful crack right across the orc’s neck. It let go of Silva, but when the wyrm instinctively leapt away, Rikky’s unconscious form tumbled from between her spinal plates and thumped awkwardly into the undergrowth.
Jenka saw the area where he went down, but couldn’t see him. He urged Jade to land right on top of where he thought Rikky was. As soon as his dragon’s claws were on the ground, Jenka was sliding off of his mount. He drew the sword Mysterian had given him. The hum of the power contained in the dragon’s tear mounted in its hilt filled Jenka, sharpening his senses. He found Rikky in a crouch trying to string his bow and was amazed that he hadn’t died from the impact of the log. A moment later he realized that Rikky was in a daze. The younger Dragoneer wasn’t able to manage the weapon in his hands, and he was having trouble sitting up due to his missing leg.
Jenka looked up to see a troll holding a chunk of tree high over its head. The limb was big enough to crush him and Rikky both. Without much thought, Jenka thrust his sword at the thing. There was no resistance when the blade punctured the beast’s guts and withdrew, but there was a sharp discharge of Dour magic. The troll died instantly. It started to fall toward them, but the raging orc came shouldering past, knocking it to the side. The orc caught Jenka, pummeling him with a bone-crunching fist to the side of the head.
Not far away, Silva was fighting the remaining two trolls. She wasn’t a large dragon, but she was fast. The trellkin had wisely gotten on each side of her and were trying to use position to their advantage. One of them darted in, but she ignored him. Instead, the pewter-colored wyrm spun on the other troll and bathed it in a swath of molten liquid spray. The troll writhed as it crumbled into the brush, its bristly skin stiffening and burning as it went.
Jenka looked up to see the bottom of a claw-toed foot coming down at his face. Above the foot was the snarling visage of the gruesome orc. The flash of memory that passed before his eyes made him think this was the end, but then Jade’s thin attempt at a ferocious roar filled his ears.
As the orc’s huge foot crunched his nose, Jenka felt the creature’s weight come off of his head. He rolled up to see that Rikky finally had his bow strung and Jade was floundering at the edge of the trees. Jade’s claws were latched onto the orc’s shoulders. Jenka would have laughed, but his dragon looked injured. Jade had snatched the orc from the ground like a hawk grabbing a mouse. Only Jade wasn’t strong enough to carry such a load.
Rikky loosed an arrow at the orc. The creature was struggling to break free of Jade’s determined claws and somehow managed to deflect the missile.
“Arghh,” Rikky growled as he pulled another shaft. With a determined snarl on his face, he rolled across the ground sideways until he was at the orc’s side. He loosed the next arrow into its ribs. Then he loosed another that hit it in the neck. The foul-smelling beast continued to struggle, but not for long.
Slowly the orc’s strength faded and eventually Jade let go of its shoulders. Jade was wounded, but not terribly so. Silva and the remaining troll were nowhere to be seen.
“Why’d you land?” Jenka asked as he inspected the small rips in his dragon’s wing skin. “This will be sore for a while Jade, especially after we fly back to Mainsted.”
“Ssores nows,” Jade hissed.
“I had to piss,” Rikky shrugged. “Prop me against a tree, Jenk. I still gotta go.”
Just then Silva came back, flapping down among them. The smears of dark blood at the edges of her maw left no reason to question where the other troll had ended up.
Rikky let Jenka pull him up to a standing position, then hung from his neck and hopped over to the edge of the tree line. “I can’t just jump down and take a piss like you can,” Rikky told him. “It’s nearly impossible for me to climb back on Silva out here.”
In Mainsted, Port, and Outwal, Rikky had wheeled chairs waiting, and long ramps to help him get mounted. King Blanchard himself had ordered them to be built.
Jenka looked away while Rikky relieved himself, but continued the conversation. “What are you going to do if you have to go while you’re flying over the sea with Zah?”
“What’s she gonna do if she has to go?” Rikky chuckled, but Jenka heard little mirth in the laugh. Rikky and Zahrellion were about to take a long flight over the sea to a little-known island where they could find the mushrooms Mysterian needed to save Prince Richard from Gravelbone’s poison. Jenka wanted to lead the quest, but Jade was too young and small to carry him that far over water, and now the young green wyrm was wing-wounded. Jenka wasn’t sure Jade would be able to carry him back to Mainsted, where the Dragoneers were all soon expected.
“It’s something to think about,” Jenka observed as he waited for his friend to finish his business. “You’ll not be landing anywhere for three or four days.”
“Three days flight to the encampment out on Fisherman’s Island, then two more to the Island that Mysterian swears is there.”
“If she says it’s there, it is,” Jenka said.
“Then why isn’t it on any of the kingdom maps?”
After lacing his pants Rikky hopped back up to Jenka’s side. Jenka helped him over to where Silva was inspecting Jade’s wounded wings.
“If it were, then it wouldn’t be a secret, would it?” Jenka joked. He was pleased to see that Silva had used her natural Dour to somewhat heal Jade’s injuries. He helped Rikky climb back onto Silva’s shoulders, and then mounted his own wyrm.
“Herald’s going to skin us,” Rikky said as he urged Silva to leap into the sky.
Jade took two bounding steps before lifting off after them. If we keep King Blanchard and Linux waiting, we won’t have to worry about Herald’s knife, Jenka said into the ethereal.
I wonder if Zah will be there, Rikky mused.
Jenka almost replied, I hope so, but caught himself. He’d promised Zah that he would keep their moonlit walks a private matter, but nevertheless he hoped she was back from Kingston.
As they passed low over the Midwal gate reconstruction, a few of the men cheered and waved. The two Dragoneers waved back, but kept a steady pace south toward Mainsted. When they passed over Midwal City, the towers sounded the alarm bells, but only until they saw the color of the wyrms and knew they weren’t a pair of attacking mudged.
When the city was behind them, Jenka spoke to Rikky through the ethereal again. You should go on ahead and get ready. That way, only one of us gets in trouble.
Nah, nah, Rikky responded. I’ll stay with you. It’s my fault Jade’s wing was torn. Besides, I’ll not let you take the blame, not when we’re late because you turned back to save my skin.
Master Kember would have been proud, Jenka said, knowing it to be true .
End of sample.
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