I don’t recall if I’ve shared a sampling of my one published fantasy book, Kismet and Tell, or not. If I have, it’s been a good long while and I’ve gained a lot more followers since then. So I thought I’d share a sample with you all. In the meantime, I’m still working on getting the “prequel” short story collection out. Hopefully I’ll have it ready for you all soon.
I awoke with a groan. My head felt as if someone had lodged a battleaxe in it, it hurt so much. I decided to try a Healing spell to get rid of the headache, but my hands wouldn’t move up to my head. Why? Belatedly, I realized my predicament. Someone had tied me to a stake on the shore of the clearing’s lake. What the…? I struggled against the ropes tying my hands behind the stake. Nope, too tight. I couldn’t budge them. I could barely move my numb fingers and feel the tingling sensation of circulation loss.
I craned my head around the sides of the stake, looking for Fiore. I found him to my left, tied to a stake as well and unconscious. His shirtsleeves were torn, and he had some cuts and bruises on his face and arms. On what I could see of them, anyway. His head drooped, his chin lying against his chest, and his ponytail of flame-red hair hung down his right side. And his sword was back in its sheath on his back.
I called out to him, trying to wake him up. After my fifth call of his name, he finally came around with a groan. The first thing he did, once he realized his dilemma, was to try to free his hands – which he couldn’t do, to my great disappointment.
“Riss?” he called out. I heard worry and helplessness in his voice, along with a tinge of hope.
He turned his head to look at me, and the expression of hope on his face disappeared. “Oh, great. He tied you up, too.”
“He? Fiore, what happened?”
He started to tell me, but at that moment the person responsible for our being trussed up materialized before us. Actually, I shouldn’t say person, because it was in fact a Demon, and a really ugly one at that. It towered over us, as tall as the surrounding trees. Its brown skin looked like tree bark. The afternoon sun glinted off the row of bony spikes growing from its spine.
“That explains the sneak attack,” I observed wryly. Demons have the ability to attack this realm from the Spirit Realm, before they’ve taken on a full physical presence here. “But what do you want with us? Why attack us? We have no quarrel with you.”
Its three ruby red eyes stared at us, unblinking. It spoke in a deep voice that resonated in the clearing, but its fanged mouth did not move. “Lord Yangul ordered it. I’m glad you finally woke up. It wouldn’t be any fun to kill you in your sleep.”
“Kill us? Why would Yangul want us dead?”
“Actually, Marissa Cobalt, he only wants you dead.” It pointed at me with one of its sharp claws. “Your friend there is just an added bonus.”
“Ok, so why would Yangul want me dead?”
“Does it matter? You’ll be dead as soon as the lake dragon wakes up for dinner.”
“If I’m going to be dead soon, why don’t you tell me anyway? Consider it my last request.”
“Well, if you must know, Lord Yangul doesn’t want the prophecy to be fulfilled. Now shut up and die like a good girl.”
Whoa! Hold on! Wait just a minute! Prophecy? What prophecy? And what do I have to do with it? I opened my mouth to ask the Demon to explain what it meant, but Fiore chimed in with his own question.
“You’re going to feed us to a lake dragon?” he asked. “Why not use your Demon powers and kill us quickly?”
I closed my eyes and shook my head. If my hands had been free, I would have covered my face in them. Sheez, I thought. Could he be any more naïve? He seemed to have totally missed the important point. But then again, his question was valid. Why wouldn’t the Demon use its powers to get rid of me quickly?
“Because watching you being eaten by a lake dragon would be much more entertaining,” the Demon answered. “Dragon, awaken!” Then it vanished.
The lake began to churn, and a whirlpool formed in the center of it. We struggled to loosen our bonds, but to no avail. After a couple of moments, a blue dragon’s head and neck appeared above the surface of the whirlpool. Slowly, the huge reptilian head moved towards us, and as it did, more of the dragon’s blue body surfaced. We watched in terrified silence for a moment. Then Fiore spoke.
“Riss, what are we going to do? We can’t fight a dragon like this.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll get us out of here. I’ve got a plan.”
“Good. At least one of us does.” He looked at the dragon again. “Well, whatever you’re going to do, Riss, do it now. That dragon’s getting closer and it looks very hungry. And I really don’t want to be dragon food.”
In total agreement with that idea, I closed my eyes and mentally activated the amplification magic of the emerald on my gold circlet. I pictured the runes for a Teleportation spell, modified slightly to allow me to take Fiore along with me. Thankfully, we were close to each other and only our arms were tied up. I stuck my left leg out towards Fiore. “Fiore,” I called out, “stick out your leg and touch mine. Hurry!” He did so, then I quickly chanted the incantation and activated the spell with a cry of “Teleport!”
A blinding white light surrounded us. When it faded away, we found ourselves standing, unbound, on the street outside the inn we had stayed at the night before.