FanX was a lot of fun last weekend. I’m tired and now I’ve got to be restocking books and painting for Thousand Springs coming up in a couple weeks, but that’s a good problem to have.
If you are joining here after meeting me at FanX, welcome. We’re in the middle of a novel right now, but the blurb below will get you caught up. Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you know when a new post is released.
And away we go.
Previously: Cirvel heads through a festival on his way to meet up with an old “friend” who has a map that Cirvel needs. The friend, Sapere Imor, isn’t happy to see Cirvel and tries to persuade Cirvel with other temptations. Irritated with not getting his answers, Cirvel seals Imor into a genie lamp. A ninja steps from the shadows and steals away the lamp containing Imor, leaving Cirvel holding only air. He returns to the shrine to discuss the situation with the Grand Sapere, who demands to take it to the Dragon Council. Cirvel knows the Council will take far too long to come to a decision. Cirvel decides to act on his own. Returning to the market, he hopes to see the woman who had taken his lamp. He finds her and but she’s not quite ready to get down to business. At least not the kind he wants to discuss. When she does give him a chance to explain, he tells her that what he has trapped in the lamp is not a genie and that she won’t be able to use the lamp irregardless because she’s not the rightful owner. She bargains with him: help in exchange for the genie lamp. He asks her why she needs a genie. She replies that she needs a powerful trap. Treshauna then takes him to the meeting house for the ninjas to meet their leader, Drelin. Cirvel pulls Imor out of the lamp to prove that Imor is not genie — just a human. But Drelin learns that Cirvel is the genie. Cirvel “convinces” Imor to reveal to him the location of a place known as Alexander’s Den. Now that Cirvel has what he wants, the ninjas are ready to go on their mission. Before traveling the Wells of the Onesong, Cirvel needs to make one stop at the shrine first. Cirvel gets the coordinates for where they are traveling and he heads out. Meeting up with the ninjas, they take to hiding within his shadow. They go through the Wells, but as soon as they come out on the other side, they discover something is waiting for them. Blindsided, Cirvel gets severely injured. He withdraws and takes Treshauna back through the Wells, but is unable to pull Drelin along. Once back, the saperes realize how wounded he is. His world blurs as he’s taken back to be healed. Waking up, Cirvel realizes three things: Treshauna has stayed with him, he’s lost the book about Alexander on a doomed world, and he is still not fully healed. He returns to his lamp where he knows he can take care of himself. After taking to the sands to heal, Cirvel returns with the strange feeling that he has fallen in love with Treshauna and she with him. He knows they must put their feelings aside, hard as it may be, to deal with the Shniktaur. Treshauna begins to ask him questions and he reveals how he had been an experiment which turned him into a unique novihomidrak (a champion born from a dragon). They then begin to make plans to find which dimension Drelin is in and to rescue him. For that, Cirvel needs supplies. Then go to the workshop of a gnome named T’kiel, who grudgingly allows the genie inside and gives them a clean space to work. T’kiel sets Cirvel and Treshauna up with everything they need to complete the spell to find Drelin, but outside forces work against Cirvel. T’kiel takes over helping the novihomidrak when Cirvel proves to be too distracted. Once Cirvel gets his focus back, he completes the spell and discovers Drelin’s location. T’kiel is interested in how Cirvel got tangled up with the ninjas and gives Cirvel a charm made of unicorn horn for protection. Cirvel and Treshauna leave T’kiel’s place and head out to find Drelin. Cirvel opens a portal to another world. They step through and they find Drelin, but are being tracked with attack imminent. Cirvel has Treshauna take Drelin to the shadows while he hunts. The Shniktaur follows Treshauna from the shadows, attacking them. Once again, Treshauna retreats to the shadows, taking Cirvel with her. He feels movement, and strangely even senses the Humline strongly here even as he is surrounded by chaos. Treshauna brings them out of the shadows. They stand before huge gates closing off the city before them and try to gain entrance. The guard demands to be shown that they have magic among them, a strange request, but Cirvel obliges with a simple fire incantation. They are allowed to enter the city, but not very welcomed. They only get the briefest of replies in response to their questions about a healer for Drelin. Cirvel and Treshauna begin to walk the streets of this town they have happened upon. In looking for the healer, Madam Orcee, they discover that they are being followed. A brief encounter with their pursuers threatens to detain them from getting Drelin healed, so Cirvel uses magic to get away, only to be countered at ever spell, almost in a taunting way. At last, Madam Orcee’s shop is ahead of them. Once inside the tea shop, they convince Madam Orcee to help heal Drelin. The guards following them enter the tea shop and capture Cirvel and Treshauna, using some sort of magic which leaves them powerless and transports them to a cell. In the transition, a feeling comes over Cirvel that there is more going on here and that the Shniktaur has no intention of destroying this planet, not yet at least. They are released from the cell to go be presented before the Queen.
by Dawn Blair
“I shall walk on my own, thank you!” Cirvel growled as he tore away from the boy.
“Just move,” he snarled back, not nearly as impressive in his cracking voice.
Cirvel entered the hall of the castle and walked down aisle set between the rows of chairs. People turned to look at them as they entered.
The boy hurried to the front of the group. He stopped short of the stairs to the raised platform where a lady in heavy brocade and several thick pieces of jewelry eyed them suspiciously. Dropping to bent knee, the boy bowed his head. “Queen Marthryn, I have discovered outsiders in our city. They have magic, but do not know our ways.”
Had her face not been covered in pale makeup, Cirvel wondered if he’d see her face go even more sallow. Try as she might to cover her expression at being told this, her eyes didn’t cover the distain.
At seeing him notice, her gaze narrowed even more. “Who are you and where are you from?”
Somehow, she knew that they were not from this world. Not only could he see it in those narrow eyes, but he felt the knowledge coming from the Humline.
Cirvel stepped forward and dashed his cloak back so that it opened down the front and flipped over his shoulder. He brought himself to bent knee behind the boy. Yet he did not bow his head. Rather, he kept his sights on the woman. “Queen Marthryn, I am Cirvel, novihomidrak of the Shil’mak dragon, Salvarae.”
The queen shook her head. “Novihomidrak? I am not familiar with this word.”
Cirvel stood and approached the stairs to the dais. “Milady, it means a new human born of a dragon. We are champions for the dragons. We go to different worlds to help them with their problems.”
Her eyes gave a nervous dart, short-lived, before coming back to him as if she’d remembered herself. “Problems? We have no problems here.”
“Don’t you?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper. “The high walls surrounding your city would suggest otherwise.”
He saw the flicker of fear and dared a step closer. He now stood between the boy, still kneeling, and the queen. “I dare say that there is now something on your world that is far more dangerous than whatever that wall keeps out.”
Her breath quickened. “How do I know that you don’t speak lies to me? What proof have you?”
“About me or about the beast which I seek?”
Marthryn gave a little shake of her head which seemed to embolden her. “Either.”
Cirvel blinked down his dragon lids and the room tinted with yellow. He leaned closer, just to make sure that she got a good look at his eyes. “This beast doesn’t even have to be closer to you in order to devour you. I must be out there searching for it.”
“Why do you travel in the company of a woman?”
“She is my tracker for the beast.”
“She stays. You come.” Queen Marthryn stood, the heavy cloth sliding with a solid thud rather than the soft whisper of most fabrics. As she moved from the dais, it seemed as if she moved stiffly, dress and all.
“I’ll be right back,” he said, leaning into Treshauna for a moment as he made to follow the queen.
At nearly the same moment, Marthryn clapped her hands together. “I have important business to attend. Today’s audience is cancelled.” She then bustled her way out of the room, the dress moving like a funnel around her.
Catacombs, demons, superstitions, betrayal, and ancient texts. Finding the books is just the beginning. It’ll take more than that to save the world.
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Palladium – copyright © 2019 Dawn Blair Published by Morning Sky Studios
Cover and layout copyright © 2019 by Morning Sky Studios
Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios
Cover art copyright © Rodjulian | Dreamstime.com, ©
This excerpt is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.