As ebook version of The Stones of Fire and Water is FREE at the moment (for 3 more days, until 8th October) I thought you might like to have a read of part of one of the chapters.
Here is a bit about what has happened already.
Pettic is the best friend of the vanished Crown Prince of Ponderia. He has resolved to enter the 4 planes of existence relating to the 4 elements in order to find the gems that will release his friend.
In Book 1, The Stones of Earth and Air, Pettic found an emerald, the stone of Terra, corresponding to the element of earth, and a diamond, the stone of Aeris, corresponding to air.Now he must enter the worlds of fire and water to find a ruby and a sapphire. Here he enters the world of air and meets one of its denizens
ELEMENTAL WORLDS BOOK 2
As before, a mist rose in front of Pettic and he walked into it with a little more confidence than he had the first time. The mist soon gave way to a view halfway up a mountain. It was night here too.
He looked back but could only see the cliff that he had exited. This was more difficult than the previous journey. There, he exited in a cave and there could be no mistake in the place to return through. Here there was the whole side of a cliff.
He looked around for some landmarks to indicate where he had come out. He spotted a rock just ahead that looked like a dog’s head. That he committed to memory and began to walk down the mountainside.
This was a range of large mountains from what he could see. The moon was full here, too, and lending a silvery light to the scene. He could see a valley below, but not any details. Whether there was a village or town he could not make out. He tripped on a rock he had not noticed. Perhaps he should stay here on the mountain until daylight when he could see better where he was going.
It was not cold here, but there was an unpleasant smell. It was a bit like rotten eggs, he thought. He sat down and Cledo lay down next to him. The smell was not good, but a broken leg would be worse, so he lay down next to his dog to sleep.
He woke to hear the sound of creaking leather. He sat up rubbing his eyes and coughing against the smell. He thought perhaps some people had come up in leather armour and slowly opened his eyes.
What he saw astounded him. In front of him, black scales gleaming in the sun, was an enormous beast. It had two black horns protruding from its head and a mane of leathery fronds around its long neck. Its eyes were green and slit vertically, and on its back, now neatly folded, was a pair of leathery wings. It had been the sound of these wings that had woken him.
All the way from its head to the tip of its tail was a double row of spines of varying length, longer on its thorax tapering to small ones at the tip of its tail. The sound of the wings folding away had woken him.
Then the beast spoke. ‘What have we here on my mountain? A little human it would seem.’
‘Yes, I’m a human,’ said Pettic, his voice trembling, but he felt he should say something, ‘but not small by human standards.’
The beast looked startled. ‘You speak dragonish? How come you speak dragonish. Humans have never been able to speak our language before.’
‘Actually, I’m speaking my own language and we can understand each other because of this magic amulet I’m wearing.’
‘How intriguing. We dragons have magic, but no magic that can do such a thing. What kind of magician are you that can make such a thing?’
‘Actually, I’m not a magician. This was given to me by a magician on my home world.’
‘What do you mean, “your home world”?’
Pettic wondered if he should be talking to this creature. Dragons were mythological creatures on his world, like unicorns and griffins but did not actually exist. There people considered them to be evil beasts. Were these myths based on fact and were dragons evil? If so, perhaps he should not be telling this creature too much.
‘I think I may have fallen and taken a blow to the head. I really don’t know where I am,’ Pettic told the dragon. ‘Please tell me.’
‘You are on the side of my volcano, near the sacrifice stone.’ replied the dragon. ‘This valley and the one beyond are my territory. No one comes here except to sacrifice. Perhaps that’s why you’re here. Are you the sacrifice, or is it this beast with you?’
Pettic gulped. Sacrifice? This creature wanted a sacrifice and thought that he or Cledo were it. How was he going to talk his way out of this one? It would have to be talk because there was no way he and Cledo could fight this creature and win.
‘When I fell,’ he began, ‘the sacrifice must have escaped. I apologise and will go and find it.’
He turned, but the dragon said, ‘Not so fast, human. Do you think I’m stupid? As soon as you get away from the range of my fire, you’ll run and try to return to your people. It will do you no avail, though, because I can fly and toast you from the air. If the other sacrifice has escaped, then you and your dog will have to do instead.’
He reared up on his hind legs and took Pettic in one claw and Cledo in the other, then with a powerful thrust of his hind legs he leaped in the air and flew towards the summit of the mountain.
The air rushed around Pettic as the dragon flew to its lair. Its claws dug into him and he felt he could scarcely breathe. As they flew higher, the sulphurous air grew thicker and that added to his problems. By the time the dragon settled down before a cave high on the side of the volcano, Pettic was coughing and so was Cledo. He could scarcely breathe. The dragon, however, seemed quite at ease.
‘You seem to be having some difficulty,’ the dragon said, making a sound a bit like laughing. ‘It seems your kind can’t tolerate the volcanic gases. Never mind. You won’t be alive for long enough to worry about it. Usually the people kill the sacrifice before I bring them up here. They seem to like to do the blood shedding themselves.’
The huge creature shook its head before continuing. ‘Their priests, or whatever they are, come up here and make a big ceremony of it. They think it will keep me from killing their cattle and sometimes them. It doesn’t, of course. I do what I like.’
Pettic could believe that easily.
The creature continued talking. ‘What they don’t realise is that I don’t need to eat like they do. One large meal will suffice me for quite some time. So I go and steal a few cows, or some of them, they come up here and sacrifice. I take the sacrifice and eat it when I need to, thus I don’t need to raid their cattle. Sometimes I eat the wild animals too. Then they think their sacrifice has appeased me. When I need more food I start again.’
He laughed at the thought of the ease with which he fooled the people.
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