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Authors: Cheryl Matthynssens

Outcast (The Blue Dragon's Geas)

BOOK: Outcast (The Blue Dragon's Geas)
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The Blue Dragon’s Geas:

Outcast

 

 

Cheryl Matthynssens

 

Copyright © 201
3 Cheryl Matthynssens

All rights reserved.

ISBN:
149227299X

ISBN-13:
978-1492272991

:

 

 

DEDICATION

 

 

This book is dedicated to my son, Devin.   He taught me that one can live on the outside of the norm, and yet still be truly one with those around him.  A valuable lesson for everyone that marches to the beat of their own drum.

.

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

 

 

Acknowledgments

i

1

Chapter
One

1

2

Chapter
Two

2
2

3

Chapter Three

3
8

4

Chapter Four

5
8

5

Chapter Five

6
6

6

Chapter Six

8
0

7

Chapter Seven

9
1

8

Chapter Eight

10
1

9

Chapter Nine

12
7

10

Chapter Ten

14
2

11

Chapter Eleven

16
8

1
2

Chapter
Twelve

18
3

1
3

Chapter
Thirteen

20
2

1
4

Chapter
Fourteen

22
1

1
5

Chapter
Fifteen

23
8

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

 

A special thanks to Alex Hunt who has walked with me as my editor, and though I have cursed him many times, really forced me to bring my best to the table.  I learned a lot in the creation of this book.  Also a special note to my cover illustrator, Heather Scoggins, thank you for taking the time to connect the art to the writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

“Everything has its place...everything but me."  Alador sighed to himself as he sat on the cliff's edge looking down at the valley. His village sat back from the side of the river that meandered through broken rock and the contrasting soft meadows of green. From up here, it looked like a blue snake lazily winding across the landscape. Waves of heat muddled the view slightly as the sun beat down upon the valley floor. The hills that rolled around the edges of the valley looked like one could stroke their soft fuzzy surface. It was an illusion, as most of the vegetation was rough scrub bush. The mountains and highest hill tops in the distance still held caps of winter snow. The smell of sagebrush, dust and early spring flowers drifted on the air. It was a perfect blend below him. He realized that just as he sat up and apart from it now, he did not really fit within it. It had been that way since he was a small one, yet today it seemed so much more pointed looking down at the broken beauty sprawling off into the distance.

He ran a hand through his thick, close cropped hair. It, like his Daezun kin, was almost drab in its mundane shade of brown. Unlike his kin, however, his eyes sparkled with silver that looked as if it had spilled from a million stars. His features were more defined and his skin fair in color. He was also taller and leaner than his kin, sharing a Lerdenian father, something that had made him an outcast in the Daezun village below where he sat. The mixed heritage gave him a somewhat fairer shade of skin, losing some of the ruddy flushed appearance of his brothers.

Alador reached into his canvas pocket and pulled out the small bloodstone he had found that morning. He stroked its slick, glistening sides as he stared at the far off river. Bloodstones were the only way he could help support his mother. An outcast due to his mixed heritage, he had not been chosen as an apprentice to any village trade. He could not even manage in the family forge despite the efforts of his brother, Dorien, to teach him. He was forever ruining the simplest of projects. Perhaps it had more to do with his lack of interest than his abilities. His main use when at home was to keep the fires in the forge burning and to work the bellows.

He gazed down at the little bloodstone. What he wanted, was to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father was a traveling enchanter. He had tested Alador every turn before the mating circle, but he had yet to show any inclination to feel the power in the stones. Alador could not produce the smallest spark to even a ring sized piece. It was soon to be that time again. Two more turns and he would be considered a full adult with all the rights of other village males. He would have already begged his father to take him away despite the failed tests if not for his best friend, Mesiande. As if she had heard his thoughts, her voice washed over him. The cheerful tones were musical despite their jarring interruption to his musings.

“Alador, quit the wool gathering, time to get back to it."  Called Mesiande. One of two he could call friend; she came from a family of miners and had shown him how to find the stones. She was also the only reason he wanted to stay in the valley.

Alador looked back up at the sun. It had moved beyond the high mark. Light would fade fast once it nestled behind the great hill opposite of where they were working today. He gathered up his things and shoved them back into his pack. He rolled up to his feet and then with
purpose, cast a pebble out, breaking the stillness as it clattered its way down the hillside below him. He picked up both bag and pick and turned to head down to where Mesiande waited. She was a beautiful middlin with long hair braided tightly to stay out of her face so that she could mine. Many mining women kept theirs short. He was glad she had chosen to maintain its length. Her eyes always sparkled with a genuine joy of life.

“Always daydreaming. One day, you will fall off, being so deep in thought."
 She teased as he approached. Her face was covered in dust and small stray hairs bristled from her braid.

“Well, would save you the bother of always having to seek me out."
 He quipped back with a crooked grin. He winked as she shook her head at his remark. “Come now, you know you would not miss that."  They had an easy friendship that Alador loved. Her smile always lifted his spirits. It was as if she was a balm that could mend any heartache.

“I would not miss losing daylight and a possible find."
 She pointed out. Her hands were on her hips, and her face took on a scolding firmness.

Her remark brought a tiny bit of guilt, and he lost his smile. “I am sorry, Mesi, I will watch the light better tomorrow."
 He glanced quickly over as they wandered down to the small ledge the team had been working. Seeing that there was no lasting frown upon her face, he smiled once more. “I will make it up to you."  He offered her the small bit of stone he had worked free earlier that day.

“No, I cannot take that. I know that this is the way you earn your keep, Alador."
 She shook her head and stopped to look at him. “Just remember it is how I am making mine as well.”

He nodded and led the way down. He pocketed the crystal as they both skirted the pile of dragon bones that had been slowly growing throughout the day. Bloodstones were only found beneath the body of a long dead dragon. Some said that the magic of the dragon le
eched into the ground, and that is what formed the stones. Others said it was their actual blood that brought about the powerful crystals. Whatever caused it, two things were true:  One, they were indeed empowered with magics, and two, those who used magics for healing, weather calling and even illusions paid well for the stones’ gifts. There were, of course, rumors that they could be used for dark arts. Such magics, however, were forbidden by both the Lerdenian and Daezun kingdoms. There were other lands across the sea said to allow such arts.

Alador returned back to where he had found a
leading wing bone. He had worked a large portion of the bone free already and was now carefully working the dirt beneath it looking for its treasure. It had been here that he had found the small crystal. All day, the team had been finding small jewelry sized pieces. His trowel hit with the familiar sound of metal to glass. Alador looked about. Everyone was busy. He had learned if his pieces were bigger than a small bird’s egg, he had best keep them hidden. More than once he had been forced to trade for a smaller piece. He had always given in for fear of being denied to come along. It had not taken him long to figure out that it was better to give up one large piece willingly than to be searched for all the pieces that he had. To their credit, the other members of the expedition always ensured his trip was worth the effort even if they had ‘traded’ his larger stones into their own pockets. It was just one more way he stood upon the outside looking in at a kinship that barely tolerated him.

He carefully worked the trowel around the stone. His eyes widened as he realized that it was the biggest piece he had ever seen. It was easily the size of a melon. There was no way to hide it. He looked around at the others who were still digging steadily. Certainly a piece this large would cause such uproar that they could not hide that it was he that had pulled it from the ground. He reached over casually and took a drink of water from the canister within his bag. Making a seeming attempt to set the bag closer to him in the shade, he returned to the hole. Perhaps, he could slip it into his rock bag if he timed it right. He began to work the piece free. It was stuck as if glued to the stone beneath it. Fearing that the trowel would damage it, he reached into the hole to work it free. His gloved hands slid off the slick stone, and it barely budged. He pulled off his gloves to get a better grip and carefully placed his hands on either side. He tugged hard, but it would not budge. He placed his feet against the hill to give it leverage. Just as he felt it
begin to come free, a feeling of hot fire shot through his hands and despite the pain, his hands clenched the stone tightly. Screaming in pain, he shoved backwards. The stone popped loose from the dirt that held it. He hit his head as he landed on the bones and rocks behind him. Pain coursed through him and then a sense of fire as if his very blood burned. The world faded away into inky blackness.

 

Struggling to get air beneath its massive wings, the large blue dragon gave another powerful thrust to gain height. The lance deep within its side made it difficult to draw air. It needed to land somewhere out of reach of the hunters. Seeing a small clearing upon the hillside, hidden by an outthrusted ledge, the dragon wheeled about, coasting slowly down to land there. It landed without grace, the ground shaking from the hard landing. His wing was making his rate of descent and path uncertain. Unaware of the large boulder above, shaken from its resting, the dragon reached back with its large maw to grab a hold of the lance and jerk it free. The roar of pain could be heard clear across the vale. The dragon reared back in natural response to its own pain, its tail slamming into the cliff face behind it. The trembling earth, unsteady above it, unleashed a torrent of rock that came slamming down, forcing the dragon to its knees beneath its weight. One of his wings became pinned beneath the giant boulder, the dragon roared out again. Weakened from the blood that flowed freely from the wound left by the lance; its great head landed with a thud on the ground. Its last thought was not that it would die here, but something far nobler...“SAVE THE FLEDGLINGS”

 

“Alador...Alador..."  The feeling of gentle tapping against his cheek was strangely irritating. His eyes fluttered open, light hurt and he squinted as the sea of faces danced above him. He groaned and put a hand to his aching head. He was still somewhat lost in the dream. It was as if he had been the dragon, feeling its pain and anxiety.

“What….happened?"
 He managed to moan more than speak. A strange dull thud seemed to be resounding in his head.

“You made the find of the turn, Alador, that’s what happened. Oh and well, you hit your head pulling it out."
 Mesiande’s excited voice sent his mind sailing back to the memory of the glistening bloodstone. He forced his eyes to focus and looked about frantically. It was cradled in Mesiande’s arms like a baby. It was easily the size of a melon. His eyes met hers with worried concern.

“Such a large find
! I am sure that you will be sharing a drink for all at the inn tomorrow, hey Alador?"  Mesiande’s tone made it clear that she would not be keeping secret whose stone this really was. The disgruntled look on Potre’s face verified that this discussion must have taken place while he was out. Potre was the large man that led the team of miners into the hills to find dragon skeletons. He was almost an elder, but since he still could move like an adult, he had not chosen to move to the inner circle. His face was round and ruddy, a combination of age and weather as well as too much food and drink.

“Oh yes, the drinks will be on me."
 He added swiftly, knowing that it would help soften the mood of the team of miners to know that a good amount of drink awaited them without a coin from their own pockets.

Gradually the smiles spread, and Termet, another miner, leaned over and offered Alador a hand up.
  Termet, to his credit had never asked or demanded his larger stones.  He was a robust man with hardened hands and a miner’s build. He hardly ever spoke but his manner was always kind. Alador accepted and swayed lightly on his feet, dizziness filled him. There was a strange pain in his rib, and he pulled up his shirt, but nothing was there. Mesiande brought his stone to him, and he took it with such gentleness that one would have thought it was indeed a babe. It was easily large enough to keep him in style for a year. He might even be able to afford to put up his own cottage when he entered manhood. When he looked up, he realized the two of them were alone. The others, inspired by his find, were already digging frantically.

Alador stood there
in somewhat of a daze. His head was pounding, and he still felt as if he was on fire inside. “Mesi, I am still not feeling well. If you want to finish my claim, I think I have enough for today."  He smiled at her, for where there was one large stone; usually there was a multitude of smaller ones.  He knew that she would gladly take his dig.

Mesiande flashed him a conspiring grin and nodded. “Here, let me get you some shade first."
 She placed her cloak over some discarded bones and fashioned him a tiny bit of shade. Alador sank into the shadowed space thankfully. The decrease of light helped his head slightly. Only when she saw him safely settled, did Mesiande rush off to get her tools from her own hole.

Alador stared into the bloodstone. It was different from the larger stones he had seen. Usually there was a darkness to them that almost seemed to swirl and move. This one was clear. You could hold it up and see someone through it. Odd, he would have sworn it was dark when he had first uncovered it. Maybe it had just appeared dark in the dirt. He hoped it did not reduce the value to have it not hold that deep murky color. As he stared into it, he slowly recalled the strange vision of the dragon. The dream had seemed so real as if he had stood within the dragon's body itself, to see the events unfold. The very recollection sent a stabbing pain under his ribs as if Alador had taken the
lance wound. He rubbed it, but nothing was there.

He sat holding the stone, leaning back against the large bone and closed his eyes. His head pounded still, and every strike of a miner’s hammer seemed to make it worse.
In addition, he still felt unusually warm, as if the blood pounding in his head and veins was too warm. Slowly, he slipped back into unconsciousness, something pulling him far beyond the realms of his surroundings.

BOOK: Outcast (The Blue Dragon's Geas)
6.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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