Every time I see a picture of a dragon, I wonder whether they really existed. They are a fascinating subject, and so it seemed natural that when I began a series of allegorical/fantasy based novels, I would start with the subject of dragons. I mean, why don’t we ever see a baby dragon? Where do they come from?
The Trouble with Dragons is my second attempt at fiction; this time in paranormal subject and allegory. The story is set in the Kingdom of Hausse, which is ruled by an evil queen, Souhaites. She outwardly shows allegiance to the king, whose name is Suzerain. That word was new to me when I began writing — it is a description of a chief ruler, or emperor, who, although they are in complete control of an empire, allow their sub-states and subjects the luxury of ruling their own inner realm.
The story is filled with Light-Bearers, and fallen Light-Bearers, known as Pythons, Shades, Weavers and Muddlers (depending on their strength). In Hausse, the invisible is visible, and interaction takes place between mortals and those entities. The Dark Prince, Sausmas, who used to be a Light-Bearer, has dominion over the BorderLands and the DarkLands.
In the story, it is the mission of a gypsy family (who are actually the king’s agents in disguise), to rescue a princess. The agents range in age from five to beyond ancient, with introduction of allegory and symbolism to help the reader understand the reality of the spiritual realm. What began as a short story has now become a series. I am now working on book two, “The Trouble with Tyrants.”
Particularly satisfying in regard to this particular book, is that I have had readers in my “test market” tell me they “couldn’t put it down.” One was 18 years old, and one was over 65!! I would love to getyouropinion!
Writing this stuff is just too much fun….. Please order it and read it, and then give me your feedback! Here is the link:
And Here is a preview of the first section of the first chapter:
“Five Years before It All Began”
“There’s the signal!”
Startled by the hand shaking his arm, as well as by his friend’s loud whisper, Peyton looked up quickly.
“Are you sure it wasn’t more lightning?” he asked.
“No, look!” Jaret pointed towards the castle window. “The lantern went back and forth three times. You’d better get a move on.”
Jaret let out a low whistle. In response, a horse’s snort was heard from further in, behind the trees.
Stepping out from under the cover of branches, Peyton grimly assessed the rain which continued to fall. “Hope I can get there through the mud,” he muttered.
“You cannot fail,” Jaret spoke with determination, handing his partner a bow and quiver of arrows. “Here; just in case.”
Peyton stroked his horse before he took the reins, swinging up into the mount. After checking to be sure his rapier was still in its sheath at his belt, he took the additional weapons. “Thank you,” he said. “Now, remember, if I’m not back before daybreak….”
“I know what to do. Don’t worry.” Jaret gave the hind quarters of his friend’s horse an encouraging whack. “Good speed. Be careful.”
Lurching just a little in the saddle as he began to move forward, Peyton looked back over his shoulder. “You as well,” he replied.
Watching his friend ride away, Jaret spoke quietly, more to himself than to anyone. “Without help, we will all be dead by morning.”
Slipping quiver and bow over his shoulder, Peyton put his attention forward. He pulled the thick black hood of his cloak over his head, to further hide himself in the darkness. Perhaps the rain was a good thing, he considered. No one would be walking the castle walls tonight. More likely, they would be inside warming by a fire.
Nearing the castle, he noticed the drawbridge had not yet been drawn up for the evening, and the gate was still open. He breathed a sigh of relief. The informer had been genuine after all; they had kept their side of the bargain.
Just before reaching the drawbridge, Peyton dismounted and tied his horse loosely to a nearby tree. He took off his cloak. As he wrapped up his sword and quiver in the cloak, he spoke gently into his horse’s ear.
“Stay here, Goliath. Wait. I’ll be back, and I’ll need you.”
He then made his way into the cold water of the moat, holding his cloak and weapons over his head, to keep them from soaking. Arriving at the gate, he silently slipped through, staying against the walls and in the shadows.
Once through the gate, he looked for the…. What had the informant said? Oh yes, the second door to the left. Look for the burning torch mounted on the wall. He was to go through that door, and wait in the darkness for his contact to come. Strange, he reasoned. He still had no idea what the purpose of his mission was. It was better that way, he decided. If he was caught, there would be nothing to deny. He could not endanger the rest of the – or, as the Queen referred to them, “The Rebels.”
Shutting the door of the little room, Peyton took a quick breath, double-checking his movements. Was this mission going too easily? Could a trap be waiting for him? Well, it was too late to worry about it now. Hurriedly, he stepped away from the grate-covered window opening in the door, and leaned against the cold stone of the castle wall. Just as he did so, two of the Queen’s Guard walked by on patrol.
Had they seen him? No, apparently not. He was safe for now.
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, Peyton slid down against the wall, into a sitting position. After a few moments more, he caught himself nodding off into sleep. He shook himself awake. No, this would not be the time or place to take a nap, he thought.
Suddenly, there was a noise at the door. Peyton reached for his rapier, and slid up the wall to stand on his feet once more. As the door opened, he readied himself to run the intruder through.
A girl’s voice spoke softly and carefully. “Is anyone in here?”
Startled, Peyton remained silent, not sure whether this was his contact.
The girl spoke again into the inky darkness. “If you are here, the Prince will come.”
Relieved to hear the code words he had been waiting for, Peyton replied. “And the King will rule forever.”
“Oh good,” the girl replied. “This is my second time to come since the signal was sent, and I wasn’t sure how I would explain another absence to my mistress.”
“What is my mission?” Peyton asked her.
“Here,” she whispered in reply, lifting the rather large bundle she had been holding close to her chest. “You must take special care of this package. Don’t let anything happen to it. Strap it to yourself if you must. But hold it lightly. It can be easily broken. Don’t undo the wrappings until you are sure you are back in a place of safety.”
“What is the package?” Peyton’s curiosity posed the inquiry before he realized his question placed both the girl and himself in grave danger.
“I cannot tell you,” she replied. “But you will find out soon enough. Seeing that you were the one trusted for this task, you must know that to succeed you will have to move with great speed and speak to no one. The Sausmas has his spies everywhere. The entire future of the Protectorate Cause might rest on what you do tonight.”
Peyton stuttered. “I –I wasn’t told. I’m sorry.”
The girl lowered the shawl she had pulled up over her head, smiling. “Don’t worry. I am sure there are Light-Bearers all around us. Do you know the way out?”
“I came by way of the moat and inner gate.”
“Oh, no,” she whispered. “You cannot go out that way. We met in this room, because there is a tunnel entrance which begins here and lets you out in the trees. There is a small cottage there, where you will find provisions to accompany your package. Here; let me get a little light to show you. Hide behind the door. Crouch under the window.”
From her cloak, the girl drew a candle. Opening the door, she looked carefully to and fro to be sure she wasn’t observed. Then, she reached up to the burning torch and lit her candle. Cupping her hand around the flame, she pulled carefully back into the dark room. From there, she moved to the corner of the room and lifted an escape hatch hinged in the floor boards.
“Come!” she urged. “Quickly!”
Peyton clutched the package tightly, and prepared to go down the short stairs into the tunnel.
“Here,” the girl said, “take the candle. You will need it down there.”
As the candle passed between them, Peyton caught a glimpse of the girl’s face. She couldn’t be much older than I am, he thought. “What is your name?” he asked as he took the candle from her.
“Elda,” she replied. “Yours?”
“Peyton.” He paused. “How old are you?”
“I am the Queen’s third handmaid. I am nine years,” she whispered, motioning for him to hurry.
“I’m ten years a week last,” he whispered back.
“Good to meet you,” she said. “Now get out of here before you get us all killed. Remember the instructions I gave you about the package. Don’t open it until you are sure you are in a place of safety.”
Waiting until she saw the candle’s glimmer fade into the tunnel, Elda lowered the escape hatch door once again, and stepped back into the center of the room. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath.
“Please, please surround him with safety,” she whispered.
Then, pulling her shawl back over her head, she stepped out of the room into the castle courtyard, and pulled the door shut behind her. Hastily, she made her way back to the Queen’s bedchambers, hoping her absence had not been noticed. Even one hint of a doubt, or shadow of a question would endanger the plan they had all worked towards for months now.
Exiting the tunnel in the woods, Peyton was thankful for the candle Elda had given him. He blew it out and decided it would be wiser to place it in his pocket and take it with him, than it would be to leave a trace of his presence behind. Taking in his surroundings, he discovered Goliath no more than ten feet away.
Now, where was the cottage she had mentioned? Looking around, he saw an abandoned guard house. It probably hadn’t been used since the drawbridge was built, he supposed. No need for a guard or a guard house when one added a moat to a castle.
Stepping into the guard house, Peyton saw a rather large basket on a table. Next to the basket was a wooden crate, filled with various containers and scrolls.
How would he get all of this onto the back of his horse, he wondered? After some consideration, the boy decided to place the package inside the basket and then surround and cover the package with as much as would fit from what was in the crate. Then, he realized, it would be easy to , with the basket held in front of him as he rode Goliath back to the Protectorate Encampment.
As he completed the task at hand, Peyton’s thoughts turned philosophical. Funny how even what they called themselves came down to the side someone was on. The King, Suzerain, (Soo- zee- rayn) had decreed that those who stood against the Queen and Sausmas (Sawz-mahs) were to be given honor and respect. He had even issued orders to his Light-Bearers and all those in His Realm were to offer assistance to the Cause in any method necessary. In fact, the title “Protectorate” had been his creation. But to Queen Souhaites (Soo-hay-teez), and to everyone else under Sausmas’ controlling influence, they were considered Rebels.
Preparing to mount his horse again, Peyton remembered Elda’s words. “Hold the package lightly. It can be easily broken.” Sighing, he readjusted the items in the basket, placing the package on top.
Riding stealthfully back to meet Jaret and the others, and then to the Encampment, Peyton once more found himself thankful for the rain. He wondered just why the mission had gone so easily. Upon his arrival, the sentries wasted no time ushering him to Commander Carel’s Pavilion.
The Commander was pacing back and forth, anxious for news of Peyton’s mission. “How did it go, boy? Were you discovered?”
Here is the link to lulu.com for purchase. The book is also availabe in epub format.
(c) ATG 2012 Duplication without permission prohibited. All rights reserved.