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. After a search, he finds the woman who stole the lamp. Treshauna is a Black Night ninja who needs his help in exchange for the genie lamp. He asks her why she needs a genie. She replies that she and Drelin, the leader of the ninjas, need a powerful trap. Meeting up with the ninjas, they take to hiding within Cirvel’s shadow to travel through the Wells. As soon as they come out on the other side, they discover something is waiting for them. Blindsided, Cirvel gets severely injured by the Shniktaur, an agent of pure chaos. Cirvel 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. Upon meeting the queen, Cirvel shows just how otherworldly he is. Instead of scaring the queen, it intrigues her. Treshauna is left behind while the queen goes on with Cirvel. Queen Marthyrn leads Cirvel through the maze of her castle and shows him the amazing library called the Athenium which lies at the center. Cirvel learns she has read the entire library by magic. Queen Marthryn indicates there is more on this planet for him to protect other than only her city of Gohaldinest and its library, then she leads the way to show him. Marthyrn takes him to the center of the Athenium where there is an enclosed glass room. He hears a weak mewling. She keeps him from rushing ahead. Then he sees it: a small, ill dragon upon a pillow. Cirvel touches the dragon with trepidation, afraid his own power might overwhelm it.The dragon, Leschemal, is terribly sick and weak, but there is no apparent cause. Cirvel learns that this planet measures their time in seasonal cycles rather than by the stars; they have no astronomers here. It is in the last 100 years that Leschemal has gotten sick, so Cirvel questions Marthryn about what happened back then. Cirvel learns about the Plenelians, a group of magicless people who are at war with Gohaldinest. Cirvel demands that she stop the fighting this very day.
by Dawn Blair
Queen Marthryn shook her head. “I can’t. ‘Tis not that easy.”
“Why would you believe that? All you need to do is stop.” Cirvel glanced back at Leschemal. “Especially considering how your battles have angered a dragon. Were he not so weak, he’d tell you. Why do you think he shrieks?”
Marthryn stammered. “I didn’t know. Are we really harming him?”
“You and the peoples of this planet involved in this war have corrupted the Humline so badly that it can only feed ill-will to Leschemal. It may be that the Humline is forever soured.”
“I do not understand this Humline you speak of, but I do not wish it to be making Leschemal sick. Can you stop it?”
“I don’t know. It depends on your actions.”
She dropped down with her knees on the pillow and began to pet Leschemal. “I’m so sorry.”
“Do you see now why your war must be stopped?” Cirvel asked.
“What if the Plenelians won’t stop?”
Cirvel straightened. “I will go talk to the Plenelians. They will cease their attacks. Now tell me of these beasts. Are they trained by your former enemy?”
“Nay. The gaxlor have always existed.”
“There are many of them then?”
“Are there books in your library that would tell me everything I need to know about these gaxlors?”
“I shall deal with the Plenelians tomorrow. I should like to spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening with Leschemal and reading about these gaxlors.”
She looked reluctant. “I cannot leave you alone with Leschemal.”
“I might be able to heal him.”
“Then you will have to do it on my terms. I have been Leschemal’s guardian since I became Queen of Gohaldinest. I will not be remiss in my duty. His protection must be my top priority.”
Cirvel bit back the retort that if Leschemal’s protection meant so much to her, why was she not here with the suffering dragon instead of entertaining an audience? “Then make time, for an imagination dragon needs special care.”
“Imagination dragon? Is that what he is?”
Her head tipped in confusion and Cirvel had to think back over their conversation for a moment until he recalled that some of their words were different than what he was speaking. “Aye,” he corrected himself. “He is an imagination dragon. They are very rare.”
Twisting her hip, she settled down beside Leschemal. As she settled her skirt around her legs, then reached out to continue petting Leschemal, she spoke, “I tried looking him up many times in the books we have on dragons, but I could never find him. I knew he had to be something special.”
Watching her, he began to feel the kinship that Leschemal had with her. While he carried so much anger over the continuous war with the Plenelians, he adored Marthryn very much. She was the one thing that could soothe him.
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Palladium – copyright © 2019 Dawn Blair Published by Morning Sky Studios
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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.