My joyful thanks to the readership following this series, I'm proud to present a first preview from Song of the Mysteries. Please note: this material is uncorrected draft, and is copyright by the author. You are encouraged to share the LINK to this post, but not to copy the material/or repost it anywhere else. Thank you for respecting my work.
Now - have fun and speculate!
Two dragons dueled in the night sky on the far side of Northgate. Asandir witnessed their titanic battle at safe remove, lent the shared stream of Sethvir’s earth linked awareness. Even viewed through the mind’s eye with shut lids, the mighty contest evoked the raw power to intimidate. The murderous arcs carved by gleaming, armored hides sliced the turbulent air like the dart and riposte of matched scimitars as the agile wyrms wheeled and dived. Flame plumed from their fanged maws in scorching blasts fit to sear granite to magma.
Within moments, or hours, one or both of the great drakes would perish. The silver scaled elder, Chaimistarizog, fought yet another upstart claimant, the bronze shimmer of pre sexual adolescence changed at mated maturity to deep, banded gold. From head to spiked tail vane, the youngster’s length measured beyond fifty spans: a sinuous package of muscle hellbent to break two Ages of established order, and upset the authority guarding the access to the Worldsend Gate to Athera.
Arrived as a lone sentinel to guard the breach, his black stallion stabled for safety inside the ruin at Penstair, the Fellowship’s field Sorcerer stood vigil at Rathain’s north coast, while the joined conflict on the splinter world raged, past the pale of human imagining. Gusts off the ice ridden Stormwell Sea lashed his face, and shredded the bank of storm clouds above to indigo rents, sequinned with constellations. Before him, the weathered pillars of the Gate reared upward, cast into fitful silhouette by jetted spume as the combers smashed into the desolate rock shingle.
The rough play of the elements voiced the ominous thrum of the excited flux. Even the silvered span of the interface that enabled the passage between worlds shivered like disturbed mercury, impacted by the violent contest on the other side.
Asandir waited, prepared for the worst. The last bid to upset the conclave’s ancient Accord had left Chaimistarizog near to mortally wounded. The drake war that followed that narrow margin of victory had forced Fellowship resource to hold the drawn line, while the scarred gate keeper laired up to recover hale fitness. Although the flux currents’ aberrant whiplash had been contained, then restored in the aftermath, the surrounding shoreline still wore the hellscape of scars.
The peninsula from Northgate to Anglefen lay cratered and pocked with iced tide pools, lined at the rims with the glassine slag seared by drake fire. Chaimistarizog had not retreated to heal before rising to reclaim his duty. Although Sethvir’s record had not archived his retreat into restorative hibernation for over five millennia, the supreme wyrm’s might appeared undiminished. The power of Chaimistarizog’s roar stupefied even a Fellowship Sorcerer’s wits.
Even the distance afforded by Sethvir’s linked channel threatened to paralyze thought, as on the far side of the Worldsend Gate’s span, the consuccive blast of stress heated air boomed into deafening thunder. The bass echoes rolled through the shriek of recoil, where the shifted waves of altered realities clashed and sheared in chaotic collision. Drake battles fought over ocean hammered ripples that raced outward, wracking the off world terrain. Mountains erupted from once verdant plains. The raised peaks of new ranges belted into red lava, carved and recarved as they ran molten, summits flattened or ripped into chasms, then flooded under frothing tsunamis that shredded into titanic tatters of steam.
Asandir tracked the broadscale display at remove, not oblivious to the danger. Historic battles between great drakes had remade the features of entire continents on Athera. Kathtairr was laid to waste by two warring flights, bringing ruin that ended an era. The rule of the dragons closed at First Age Year One, when Ath’s gift to the world, the Paravian races brought the first tempered stay of restraint.
The outbreaks of damage inflicted since the Centaur Guardians’ stewardship transferred to the Fellowship of Seven most often burdened the taxed shoulders of the embodied Sorcerer tasked in the field. Faced by the cataclysmic threat of another drake war, Asandir trod the gamut of thorny concerns he had scant resource remedy.
Sethvir sensed his dammed turmoil. ‘Traithe’s report, and my vision, shows small cause for concern. Seshkrozchiel’s heart rate beats at nadir, still in the depths of comatose hibernation.’
Asandir’s mouth flexed with grim acknowledgment: today’s reprieve was sure to frame tomorrow’s frustration, with Luhaine’s entwined consciousness held hostage by the dragon, and their Fellowship critically short handed.
‘All news is not dreadful in that regard,’ Althain’s Warden temporized with his perpetual spark of optimism. ‘Arithon managed the lane transfer to Ithamon. He’s supping with Tarens in Alathwyr Tower, which not only was stocked in advance, but lies under the eagle eye of Davien.’
Asandir’s expansive surprise cracked his taciturn poise to wry comment. “For what guarded intent? We might come to rue the redoubled influx of mischief from that quarter.” But the prospect pleased him. Davien’s brazen meddling, even on the grand scale, trumped the latent shadow of horrendous threat. Dread defied words at the prospect of a drake’s acquisitive nature baited into a fascinated entanglement with the rogue offshoot of Dari’s descent.
“Sufficient potential for mayhem to gripe the crone in Sanpashir,” Sethvir grumbled, then launched into a tangential account of the riot sparked by a shoreleave tax imposed on the waterfront dives in Southshire. Asandir took sharp stock, never fooled when his colleague’s breezy gossip crossed the line into obfuscation. Eyes closed, the field Sorcerer assessed the drake duel’s progress beyond the Worldsend Gate.
A bolt silver streak, Chaimistarizog rose. Glimmering speck above the heaving surface of a violet sea, the wyrm darted into a wingover and arrowed into a corkscrew stoop. The crack of opened wings leveled him with his rival and whiplashed his serpentine length into a coil. Yet the fanged riposte of his lightning-swift strike lagged by a millesecond. The flicker of the banded gold challenger’s dive evaded with flaunting, effortless grace.
Chaimistarizog was tiring.
The span of Sethvir’s vision grasped the tide’s turn, already foreshadowed by the ranging severity of probable outcomes.
“How long have you known?” Asandir interrupted the Warden’s smokescreen of chatter point blank.
‘The question’s moot,’ Althain’s Warden admitted. ‘The end will reach closure in moments.’
The advantage of altitude sacrificed, the elder dragon twisted in mid flight and banked. The gust clapped off his stressed wingleather blasted spray off the face of the deep as he climbed. Above, the young challenger flipped end for end. His gout of streamed flame hissed downward, just as Chaimistarizog side-swiped the slip-stream of a thermal and snaked into a spin. Too late: the recoiling avoidance sliced through the plume, Blind on one side, raked by showering sparks, the Gatekeeper roared with earth shaking fury and death rolled. The barbed whip of his tail sliced an arc in the glare and clouted his cocksure opponent. Spines bristled like a star mace snapped through wing vanes, slashed the webbed flesh of the young dragon’s undersail, and thudded into the scaled flank beneath. Ribs caved under the bone crushing blow.
Both combatants drifted in the black air for one moment the rush of their striving suspended. Then crippling injury claimed its due. The vanquished wyrm kited out of balance and tumbled. The trumpeting cry of the victor resounded over his defeated adversary.
Chaimistarizog soared into an ascending glide, while the fatally fallen burned and blazed, immolated as crushed lungs ignited. The meteoric rush of descent scored across the black heavens and plunged headlong into the sea. Impact spewed up a geyser, the diamond glitter of backfallen spray wisped through tatters of steam and spent smoke.
The flux ripple of the wyrm’s final agony quenched in salt water, and cleared the aftershock. Battle fury and death trauma released in requital and left behind no raging remnant. Another great dragon was lost to the world. That absence spread over the face of the deep, profound as the silence before the dawn of creation.
Chaimistarizog had prevailed by a whisker again. Asandir awaited the Warden’s linked summary to measure the cost of the reckoning.
Yet the summons Sethvir relayed instead committed the Fellowship’s field Sorcerer to cross through the Worldsend Gate for an audience.
The unexpected command lifted Asandir’s eyebrows. Weathered face to the wind, hair like white iron whipped in the gusts against his squared shoulders, he accepted without protest, “Hold Athera secure at my back.”
Three resolute strides brought him to the shimmering film that spanned the stone pillars, rimed in winter’s opaline mantle of ice. Another step carried him through.
That is interesting.
I am curious about what's happening behind the scenes.
I'll reread it later after letting it rest a bit, kind of like a turkey from the oven
Thanks Janny, the thought concerning the "rogue offshoot of Dari’s descent"was real interesting.
Was "Asandir trod the gamut of thorny concerns he had scant resource remedy" Meant to end in, scant resources to remedy?
I assumed it was 'to remedy'
An audience... can't wait to read it! Thanks for sharing.
Delurker here. Amazing snippet Janny. Thank you.
I love dragons and Atheras dragons are my all time favourite dragons in fiction.
This may top the Seshcroschiel/Davien debate scene in Stormed Fortress.
Mankind are in deep trouble. I'd love to see a arrogant temple preist realise he's in good company in rejecting the compact. The dragons dont acknowledge mankinds right to settle Athera either. And then he can pee his breaks. Right before going down the dragons gullet. Though I suspect it's going to be the long suffering fellowship and masterbard that make all the sacrifice to secure Athera against dragons.
Kathtair is mentioned here again. I think that continent is going to be a major player in the series final. As either mankinds new homeland or the paravian.
I think the Gatekeeper will issue Asandir an ultimatum of some nature that places a deadline on salvaging the compact.
Chamistorizog is going to fail. Dragons will fly through the north gate and on the other side will be Arithon waiting to advocate on mankind's behalf as the High Kings once did with the paravians.
I think the compact will fail before Chaimistarizog will.
I was actually wondering, since Lysaer did promise to protect his townborn from Darkness, and it will the the townborn out in the open, unprotected that will be the first in line for a roasting,if a curse free Lysaer is going to be doing the negotiating with the dragons? He was expelled from the compact, who better to negotiate an agreement with the dragons for mankinds future on Athera? Lysaer always seemed the more tactful of the 2 brothers, he certainly has a way with words, able to talk people into doing what he wants, maybe he would be the better one to talk to the dragons, if his nerves are up to it.
Or Arithon could just serenade them into an agreeable mood, but he would not do that would he, never uses his gifts to advantage that way, but respects free will. Arithon I think would more likely be the one to negotiate a new agreement with the Paravians. One that would free the Fellowship from the compact and enable them to go repair the damage they felt responsible for back home. Or just retire, or cross the wheel, free the Fellowship to do what ever they want to.
The Fellowship seem determined to keep Arithon and dragons separate, although the dragons could do with some compassion and inventiveness before they go creating anything else. I not see how having one entranced with Arithon would be a bad thing, although Arithon might not want one following him around protecting him. Could not get much done on Athera with a mummy dragon watching over him, or keeping him leashed like Luhaine currently is. Arithon might agree to such a binding to protect others.
Welcome to DeLurk Saffy! And thanks for waking up the thread with some lively speculation. I'd thought this the 'quietest' preview ever....though admittedly I had to cut it off just a whisker shy of the explosive bits.
Thanks Janny. I dont know if others are having trouble but carefully written comments are failing to send and it's impossible to open new threads. I've sent an email about it. That failed to go through as well
Replying to Annette
It's an interesting parallel to make Lysaer outside the compact negotiating with the dragons and Arithon with Paravians.
However I just dont see a dragon being impressed by Lysaer's charisma in the same way all humans even the Fellowship sorcerers are on some level. Dragon language doesnt really encompass words but images is the impression I get. Dragons are above Lysaers pay grade. Who will hopefully end up as humankinds leader,restored to his natural gift for justice.
I believe your right about the compact failing before Chamistarizog. I cant predict the order of it going dont with so many powerful factions at play but I think the threat of dragons may speed up the fellowship to evacuate/evict humans from the planet or continent. Or to bring back paravians to intercede on the behalf of humans. The Paravians once redeemed the dragons ( it is the era of Redemption after all) why not the humans.
I think Asandir is about to receive an ultimatum.
I think it was after kevor committed to Ath Adepts the feeling really crystallised . This isn't going to be one of those series where it ends with a restored kingship. Tolkien did that ending amazingly but I think Janny has more change in mind.
Saffy -- which threads? I will see what can be done with it....you could comment here, too - as anyone who's read this far won't be spoiled.
The software on this chat is very old and we are looking to update it.
I also had some comments on this and That Way Lies Camelot threads. get lost somewhere in the ether.
I thought Lysaer's fate lies with the Paravians since he was cast out of the compact. He is strong enough to withstand their prescence and I fantasize he will find his way to a King's grove the way Arithon did.
The "Book Nook" thread is one of the broken ones. I was going to post about Cate Glass / Carol Berg's new release (Conjuring of Assassins) today and encountered an error:
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Please contact Jeff Watson if this problem persists.
Clearing www.paravia.com cookies did not help. I think it's related to the HTTP_REFERER field in the form code, but haven't debugged any deeper.