Dragon Mage

Buy Dragon Mage on Amazon
Introducing the fourth book in the Blacklight Chronicles fantasy series, DRAGON MAGE! The book is available right now on Amazon Kindle. 

Here is a short overview of the book:

In a world where dragons rule the sky, magic offers little resistance against the ancient King Valeron, Lord of the Dragons. Talis and Mara find themselves on the world of Vellia, home of Aurellia, the dark lord Talis is sworn to serve. Caught in a battle to overthrow the ancients of Vellia, Talis believes Aurellia and his forces are no match against their power.

Aurellia and Talis fly out to the mountains of Ghaelstrom in search of an alliance with the dragons. Talis is separated from Mara, who is trained by Elder Relech in the art of assassination and magical stealth. 

Nikulo and Mara meet Goleth the Builder, who conjures the elements to form an armada of ships needed to carry Aurellia's army to assault the ancients of Vellia. But soon Mara realizes that she may never again see Talis, since her fate lies with the burden of killing a king.

Chapter 1
The emerald and gold skies of Vellia rained down fire and ash and pieces of charred flesh, remains of villagers tossed up as sacrifices in the hope of appeasing the wrath of the dragons circling overhead. Talis studied the carnage from a safe distance behind a palm tree, cradling his pet lynx Charna in his arms. Mara clung to him, and Nikulo hid behind a rock covered in seaweed and barnacles. His meaty hands were folded in prayer, as if begging to the gods for the dragons to focus their fury on Aurellia and his Elders. 

All around them the landscape cringed from the attacks: the white sand laced with ashes, falling embers sizzling on cobalt waves lapping the shore, huts aflame, smoke rising like sweet incense to the gods. Although the three dragons at first appeared insignificant next to the vast horizon, mere black specks, soon the flash of lightning and shadow magic from Aurellia’s Elders attracted the dragons like the stink of rotting flesh to hellhounds.

An entire tribe of shamans and pathetic spear-wielding villagers had risen up to defend against the overwhelming force of magic brought upon them by Aurellia and his Elders. At first Talis thought Aurellia intended only to toy with them, meager as the villagers’ attacks were, but rage ignited Talis’s heart at the violence and ruthlessness that the Elders showed against those primitive men. Elder Relech, hatred and insanity in his black eyes, cast a shadow net spell that scooped up a mob of spearmen and swung them around in a vicious circle that soon sprayed vomit in a wide arc.

When the dragons descended, fire and acid issued from their snouts and Relech, Rolovian, Rikar, and Aurellia turned their attention towards this new threat. Rolovian reacted first, listening to Aurellia’s cries of appeasing the dragon gods with a human sacrifice, and tossed up thirty spearmen from his shadow net into the wave of fire and acid. The incineration of flesh made Talis’s stomach churn into twisted knots, and he had to choke down the bile rising up his throat. Mara whimpered and hid her eyes from the sight, an expression of terror and revulsion on her face. Talis wished he’d never made the blood vow of loyalty to Aurellia in the first place.

The Zacrane Dagger. The lightning and the rain. Laughter from the dark lord. The poison wracking Talis’s body in pain. The twin guardians at the entrance to the Underworld. The quickening pulse of immortality hammered through his veins like the ceaseless ebb and flow of the ocean. Did the gift of immortality also grant power and dominion over others? Seeing the ease with which Aurellia and the old sorcerer Palarian had mastered so many schools of magic, Talis suspected it was true. Immortality bestowed by the ancient dagger had enormous advantages. 

Despite the power and knowledge that Aurellia and his Elders possessed, they were having an extremely difficult time battling the three dragons. Especially the largest, a massive black dragon with mirror-like scales that shimmered in the fading light of day. After the spearmen had been incinerated by the fire and acid wave, the black dragon sniffed momentarily, closing his scaly-rimmed golden eyes, and appeared to float in a euphoric trance at the smell. 

But that didn’t last long. A blast of shadow magic from Rolovian roused the dragon, and it fixed those terrifying eyes on the sorcerer, causing the Elder to stumble around in a drunken stupor as if the dragon’s mind exerted some terrific mental force on his brain. Elder Relech cast a shadow shield over his fellow just in time to absorb a hideous wave of acid from the black dragon’s mouth. The force of the wind stirred as part of the dragon’s attack knocked both Relech and Rolovian back a hundred feet across the white sand beach. 

Talis dared a closer look of the battle, sneaking his way along the palm trees, Mara clutching his arm as she followed. Shadows erupted across the forest from gigantic bolts of lightning aimed at the bone-white dragon flapping its titanic wings over Rikar. Talis’s old friend and traitor stood his ground bravely (or perhaps stupidly), his hair billowing back from the wing beats, hands stretched towards the dragon. The noise from the thunder and blinding light of the magic seemed to incense the dragon into a furious dive, and it raked its dagger-like claws across the sand, barely missing Rikar as he leapt out of the way. 

Aurellia faced a dragon formed of crystal, or perhaps of diamond? Although smaller than the other two dragons, Talis suspected this one the most powerful. The diamond dragon’s ruby eyes studied Aurellia, as if remembering an old memory, an old nightmare. Aurellia offered no offense, instead his wrinkled, arrogant face stared placidly at the dragon, a sly smile playing at his thin, grey lips. 

A shriek from the dragon, like the wail of a banshee, caused Talis to cringe down behind the palm trunk and cover his ears in despair. When the noise ceased, he lifted his eyes back to the battle, but the dragons were now fading fast over the horizon, wing beats kissing the azure sea.

Charna seemed to relax in his arms and wriggled away, sniffing the ground suspiciously. The lynx’s golden fur caught the fading beams of sunlight as she padded off into the forest, no doubt in search of prey.

Mara raised her frightened eyes to Talis. “What just happened? Why did the dragons fly away?”
Talis shrugged and stared at Aurellia and his Elders, hoping to discover some reason in all the madness. The battle with the dragons now brought an air of sobriety over Rikar, Rolovian, and Relech, especially Rikar, who seemed terrified at the idea of leaving the comfort of being curled up protectively on the sand. Relech and Rolovian lumbered towards Aurellia, glancing warily around as if expecting some new threat to waylay them. Only Aurellia remained unaffected, gazing at the horizon where the dragons had disappeared, the same pleased-with-himself expression on his face.

He clapped his hands in a gesture of closure and twirled around to stare at Talis, as if knowing all along he was cringing behind the tree. His mouth released a deep chuckle. A cloud of shadows bubbled around the immortal sorcerer and instantly he appeared not ten feet in front of Talis.

“Scared of a few dragons?” Aurellia’s eyes held a mocking expression. “We’ll have to cure you of such petty fears if you are to be of any use to me in the coming days. On this world, on Vellia, I’m afraid you’ll encounter many dragons, and many other hideous creatures and powerful wizards. I can feel the world of Vellia itself, the living, breathing Vellia—she resists my presence herself.”

Aurellia cackled a long, spittle-infested cackle as he scanned the world around him with a challenging expression on his face, as if daring the world to oppose him. 

“My home is tainted with an excess of light, she’s been burned and corrupted by the harsh rays… I will cool and sooth her wounds with shadows and darkness, temper her fire and keep her safe from the risk of burning up. The heat has maddened the creatures on this planet. The dragons are crazed! And yet the diamond one, she remembers, she who is ancient and remembers my eyes. There will be a stir in the kingdom of dragons… A few of the oldest ones will rouse to meet me.”

As Aurellia droned on, Talis wondered if this “meeting” with the oldest dragons would be a friendly one, or if it would mean Aurellia being reduced to a burst of ashes flittering away in the wind. Hopefully the ashes. If the battle with three dragons had been that fierce, Talis had to believe Aurellia and his Elders would be unfit to face an entire kingdom of dragons, let alone the ancients of the world of Vellia. But then he glanced over at the shadow portal and remembered the twins portals being held open by poor Palarian and the power of the twin crystal eyes of the legendary turtle. Elder Raelles had returned to Talis’s world to summon Aurellia’s army of sorcerers and necromancers and undead. When would they arrive?

Such an epic army would surely rock Vellia into a catastrophic war. And who else would be forced into the war? Perhaps armies of other nations and even Naru’s army and those in the Order of the Dawn would be compelled to fight. The shadow portal that Talis had created to his world opened at the outskirts of Naru. The devil’s whorl would draw Naru and it’s citizens into the battle. And with Ralakh Lei ruling Naru, they would go willingly into the fray, especially knowing that Mara was in the middle of it. 

Talis shuddered at the thought, hatred filling his heart as he glowered at Aurellia. Why had he ever sworn blood loyalty to this monster? He should have chosen death instead. Better to remain tortured in the land of the dead than to have contributed to the destruction of two entire worlds. 

“…and we will win this prize, my home, my birthplace.” Aurellia ceased talking and stared at Talis a long time, as if trying to determine the worth of what he saw. When a look of disgust and distrust crossed his face, the dark sorcerer exhaled forcefully, barked a command for them to follow, and they trekked across the beach towards the smoldering remains of the village.

Mara lifted herself up and held Talis’s hand, and with Nikulo traipsing along, they kept to the back of the group, glancing warily at the shadows coming to life in the forest under a rising wind attacking the palm branches above. Unlike Naru, darkness came with a disturbingly fast speed on the world of Vellia. Soon, in a matter of a few minutes, stars flooded the blackness, with milky washes painted in a three long arcs across the sky. Talis craned his neck to inspect the unknown territories of the new sky, and he caught Mara following his gaze, her eyes catching the starlight. 

There was something wrong with the stars, something strange about the night here in Vellia, something terrifying about the wind blustering up stronger into gale force winds. Talis felt Mara squeezing his hand as if urging him to seek shelter. He could feel a chill prickle the hairs along his skin, the cold wind striking the back of his neck. 

The coal black eyes of Aurellia stabbed into Talis, and the sorcerer opened his mouth in a snarl, as if displeased by what he saw.

“Night in Vellia… Even four thousand years ago, when I was exiled from my home, even then the light-crazed wizards worked their magic on the revolutions of the world. They sped up the planet’s rotation at night, and slowed it down in the daytime, minimizing the night and maximizing the day. The wind you feel is the natural effect, and it gets worse at midnight.”

Talis marveled at the idea of having enough magical power to alter the planet’s rotation, not just once, but twice a day! Then he remembered back to the battle of Naru, when Master Jai had guided him to bring the sun back after night had fallen. The immense feeling of power that had passed through him, channeled through him and the black crystal. Such a staggering weight. How could wizards here on Vellia do that twice daily? And what kind of immense control over the flow of magic could allow them the precision to keep the planet from spinning too slow or too fast?

Soon they left the beach and passed burning huts and fearful eyes that hid behind palm trees. Aurellia and his Elders strode towards a large, unburned hut like kings reclaiming their thrones, ignoring the villager’s screams and wails along the way. In the magical light pulsing from the hands of two village shamans guarding the entrance to the hut, Talis could see the fear and hopelessness in the eyes of the remaining villagers swarming around outside. One obese villager, apparently the chieftain, had a long, jagged scar running along his bare chest. He held in his hands a totem with what looked like a baby dragon’s skull mounted on the top. Rubies adorned the eye sockets. But his expression remained placid, as smooth and untouched as a frozen lake.

“Why have you come to harm my people?” The chieftain fixed his gaze on Aurellia, and a surge of pain in his eyes made it appear as if he wished he’d never looked at the dark lord. The heavy man sunk to his knees, hands clutching his temples, face twisted in fury and excruciating pain. 

Aurellia seemed amused and concerned as he glided over and bent down to touch the man’s shoulder. “Is something the matter? Why, this man is in pain!” He glanced around, a comical expression of alarm on his face. “Can’t someone help him? How about you”—he pointed at a shaman cringing behind a painted drum—“help him quickly! I fear something might be affecting his heart.”

At the words help him the shaman rose up like a zombie, and walked stiltedly towards the chieftain, his face screaming terror like his body was under someone else’s control. Mara lurched forward to stop the man, but Talis held her back and whispered in her ear to stay out of it. The chieftain looked perplexed at this sudden change in events, and stared at the approaching shaman with fear and confusion in his eyes.

The shaman’s hands automatically lunged out for the dagger dangling around the chieftain’s neck. The obese village leader offered no struggle, his head and neck slumping forward as the shaman yanked the dagger from its sheath. Mara gave out a stifled scream as the shaman, tears bubbling from his eyes, arm trembling, sliced the dagger from the chieftain’s neck down to his heart. Dribbles of blood ran down the man’s chest and pooled at the line of fat at his rotund stomach.

“His poor, old heart is broken…he’s in need. Of. Repair.” Aurellia’s voice lowered, saying each word slowly, almost a whisper to the shaman’s ear. “The overabundance of light is to blame. Elder Rolovian, you have experienced this before, no?”

At his words, gaunt Rolovian lumbered forward, leaned in to inspect the fading chieftain, and nodded, a maniacal craze in his eyes. Aurellia then fixed an unflinching gaze on the shaman, and observed the man as he carved a square hole of skin over the chieftain’s heart. Mara shrieked and clasped her hands over her eyes, turning away, fuming and crying, a mournful sound that was louder than the chieftain’s screams of agony.

No comments:

Post a Comment