Realm Wardens, Book 5
Seeking answers from her past may result in a future Enya doesn't want.
In the Lost Dragoon we are reunited with Dufin, Enya, and Jardeth. They have left the High Kingdom and headed for the Dragon Clan Lands in search of Enya’s people.
However they have gotten more than they bargained for. Magic no longer worked, and a violent group of robed strangers were making their way across the land. An enemy all too familiar to Enya and the others. A distant race determined to destroy their world. Dufin, Enya, and Jardeth fight to catch up with them. As the robed strangers drain each veil, Totriga is brought closer to destruction. The veils balance the magic in the Realm, but also keeps the sixteen Realms from colliding.
Will they succeed and stop the robed strangers? How many veils will be drained? How many will die if Enya, Dufin, and Jardeth can’t stop them? In this epic high fantasy we continue the exciting journey into Enya’s past and future.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE REALM WARDENS SERIES
Book 4 - Novella
READ AN EXCERPT
Enya shifted in her saddle. “Do you think we can take a break, maybe walk a bit? I think my saddle sores are getting saddle sores.”
Jardeth glanced back. “I’m sure the horses could use a break as well. What do you think, Master Warrior?”
“Aye, Ah could use a bit o’ food, tae.”
The three stopped and jumped off their horses. Enya looked back over the road they had traveled. The High Kingdom was nowhere in sight and the dark clouds that seemed to just hang in the sky were all but gone.
Several months ago one of the biggest thunder and lightning strikes happened. The air pressure dropped and caused their ears to pop and Enya’s entire body to ached. After that the static began to dissipate and the dark clouds began to fade. She didn’t know what had happened, none of them did, of course, but the darkest clouds that had hung over the High Kingdom for months were the first to disappear.
Jardeth gathered several large stones and placed them in a circle while Dufin gathered wood. She watched the men work together in silence. Her eyes drifted to the forest only a few kilometers away and the large mountain peaks looming above the tops of the trees.
“How far do you think we are from the Tilinrich Mountains?” she asked.
Jardeth straightened and followed her gaze. “At least another two days. There’s a road through the forest that’ll take us right to the mountain pass. The last time I came this way there was a small village called Pearmaw. We can sell our horses there. We won’t be able to take them through the mountains.”
“When was th’ last time ye been this way?” Dufin asked dropping the wood next to the rock circle.
Jardeth shrugged. “I left when I was around fifteen.”
Enya stepped next to him. “Why so young?”
“My mother passed away. She was the only one keeping me there.” Jardeth stepped away and started unpacking his horse. “I think we should rest here for the night. It’s better to travel through the forest during the day, more light. Since the storms are all but gone now, I think we should be safe.”
“Ah could use some rest.”
Enya didn’t say anything. Her body still ached from her crushing injuries at the altar. When they lost Pac. She unfastened her saddle bags and packs, then removed the saddle from the horse. She removed the harness and bit and tied a soft rope into a partial harness and hitched the horse to a nearby tree. Jardeth and Dufin did the same.
As the men prepared the fire and meal, Enya rubbed down the three horses, her mind constantly drifting to Pac and how she had failed the girl. She had been foolish to trust the king and Pac paid the ultimate price.
Enya joined the others once the horses were rubbed down. She pulled out the small pouch that Seafra the alder tree dryad healer had given her.
“You have anything left in there?” Jardeth asked.
“Not much. Maybe one or two more doses.”
“We have some water; we can boil some.”
“No, I’m okay for now. I’ll save it for when it’s really bad.” Enya glanced back over the road again.
Dufin shoved a piece of meat in his mouth. “What aire ye lookin’ fer? Ye been watchin’ th’ road behind us fer months now.”
Enya sighed and she turned back to take the bowl of weak broth and meat Jardeth was trying to pass off as stew. “I just keeping thinking about this elf blood feud thing. Why is this elf clan and my clan in a feud? Are they following us? I guess I keep expecting to get an arrow between my shoulders one day.”
“Naw,” Jardeth said, “elves are a personable folk. They like to look you in the eye before stabbing you to death.”
“Know many elves, do you?”
“I’ve come across a few, but one of my dearest friends is an elf.”
Dufin chuckled. “He a thief, tae?”
Jardeth stared in his stew. “No, assassin.”
Enya stopped, her spoon midway to her mouth and looked at Dufin. “Did he try to kill you? How did you survive?”
Jardeth smiled, it was smooth and slick. “I am more than just an amazing lover”—he winked at her—“I have many layers. There is much more to me than you know.”
Enya laughed. “Really? Do tell. How did you survive an assassin from the Agency? As I understand it, they are highly trained and even more dangerous.”
Jardeth put his soupy stew down and sighed. “I suppose since we were intimate more than once and I’ve known you both for nearly a whole year now, I can tell you.”
“Tell us what?” Dufin asked as he slurped his meal.
“After my mother died, I travelled to the Academy of Assassins. I trained there for several years. It’s where I met, Niviel, the elf assassin.”
“Wait”—Enya put her bowl down—“you’re an assassin?”
“Was. I’m not anymore. I got out in my early twenties.”
“How many did you…”
“Kill? Enough to know that I didn’t want that life. So, I left. I was disgraced and am no longer welcome in any of the Inns.” He picked up his bowl. “Can we talk about something else?”
“Sae, ye turned to thievin tae make a livin’?”
“I was a thief long before I was an assassin. Puk Dragon Clan is known to be light with their fingers. I didn’t want to live on the street like a rat, so I fell upon my other talents.”
“Being a whore?” Enya smiled as she spooned the last of her soup-stew into her mouth.
Jardeth smiled at her. “You didn’t complain. Besides, I’m not a whore, I’m more of a… companion. Very rich women asked me to accompany them to their gala’s, rub elbows with the rich. How could I pass that up? Plus, those women always took care of me. I was a kept man and happy.”
“Who picked every pocket at those balls and galas.” Dufin tossed the bones from the rabbit they had eaten into the fire.
Jardeth frowned, gave a small nod, and shrugged. “Sometimes I had to supplement my income.”
Enya snorted as she stood. “Supplement your income.” She nudged him with her knee as she walked past.
“Where are you going?”
“To check on the horses. Do you think there’s a stream or something close by? Maybe in the woods? They need water.”
Jardeth looked at the sky. “You don’t want to get caught in the forest once it’s dark.”
“Ye think there be shadow creatures lurkin’?”
“I never thought of that, but no, that’s not what I meant. The forest can turn into a bit of a maze in the dark. You could get lost.”
Enya glanced up at the sky. “I think I have enough time; I won’t go far. We should at least try, they’ve gone a few days already. Much longer and they won’t survive.”
Jardeth stood. “Do you want company?”
“No, I’m good.” She really just wanted to be alone with her thoughts.
“Here, lass.” Dufin handed her several canteens and three bladders. “Fill these if ye dae find any.”
She took them and slung them over the back of one of the horses, untied the three horses and gently guided them towards the woods. Jardeth never did say if there was water or not, but what forest didn’t have streams, especially one so close to mountains.
It took fifteen minutes to reach the edge of the forest. Enya checked the sky one more time and estimated she had at least an hour before she had to return to their camp. She stepped into the woods and the temperature and the light dropped drastically.
The horses nickered and tugged on their leads but didn’t bolt. Enya took a moment to calm them and herself as an uneasy feeling washed over her. She had come completely unprepared, no coat, no weapons, nothing. She debated turning back but the horses really needed water.
She followed the very narrow path that Jardeth had mentioned and her eyes darted about. She had a nagging feeling she was being watched and it made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. There was no way that the elf who wanted to kill her was there. He would have had to pass them on the road but they had seen no one, not even a merchant coming the opposite direction.
She watched the horses closely. They had much better senses than she and they would alert her long before she noticed anything coming. Their ears twitched and they turned their heads from side to side to see in all directions. Outside of that they gave no indication there was anyone else around.
Enya stopped in the center of the path. She stilled herself to listen. She thought she heard rushing water, but the horses breathing in her ear made it difficult to know for sure. She tied their leads to nearby trees and stepped several feet away. She was certain of it now, there was rushing water, a river or perhaps a waterfall, nearby.
Enya rushed back to the horses and led them toward where the sound was coming from. Before long they stepped out of the trees and onto a beach made up of tiny black stones. To the right, cascading down a slope was a waterfall. She could see where it came out of the mountains into the forest; the snow-capped peaks were melting and feeding the river.
Enya didn’t need to lead the horses any further, they moved quickly to the edge of the water. She dropped their reins so as not to impede them and all three drank deeply. Enya’s mouth suddenly felt dry and pasty. Maybe she was thirstier than she thought. She filled the canteens and water bladders and then sat on the edge of the water until the horses drank their fill.
Her mind wandered to Pac, she might have been a shadow creature by birth but she had been changing, Enya was certain of it. Not only had she looked more human, but something else had changed in her. Enya wasn’t a magic user, but when they first picked Pac up, a static had surrounded her. It had been strong. Enya believed it was because Pac had blood magic and was a natural magic user.
As time passed, and when they finally reached the castle, the static surrounding Pac was different. At the time Enya didn’t think much about it, there had been more pressing matters at hand. Enya often wondered if that was why the king’s ceremony hadn’t worked, because somehow Pac’s blood magic had changed. But how?
The horses let Enya know when they were done. She was happy when they did because the sun was quickly making it’s decent. She led them back to the trail and moved as fast as she could along the narrow path. On their way back to the camp her mind drifted to their destination: the Dragon Clan lands. She knew of them, Drakeonem Realm was well known. Many talked about how large flying creatures lived in that Realm. Dragons they called them. They would never enter Totriga.
The clans that lived just outside the Realm were their protectors. They were known as Dragoons, and the clans didn’t allow others to enter Drakeonem Realm.
Until recently, Enya had no idea that she was from the Dragon Clan lands, that she might be a Dragoon. Seafra had called her a Wyvern Wilding, a clan of warriors who were feared. But why would her mother have been in hiding if they were a feared warrior clan? What was this blood feud? There was also the possibility that she was the last of her people. Jardeth had told her he had never heard of the Wyvern Clan. Was it because they didn’t exist anymore?
She and the horses stepped out of the woods, the air was warmer and she was relieved they hadn’t gotten lost. Jardeth and Dufin stood as she came into view.
Jardeth moved to take the horses. “We were getting a little worried.”
Enya smiled. “We found water. Nice crisp, cold water.” She grabbed the canteens and bladders off the horses before Jardeth led them away.
“Was it far?” Dufin asked taking a canteen.
“Uh, a little. We had to go off the path, but there’s a waterfall and river. The shore was this black rock. I’d never seen anything like it before. It was quite pretty. Maybe we should go back tomorrow. You two could have a bath.”
“Yer no pile o’ roses either, lass.”
Enya smiled as she laid out next to the fire and sipped her water.
“It sounds like you were pretty close to the mountain pass we have to take. I thought it was further in. Mind you the last time I came through this area I was fifteen. Everything seemed farther then.”
Dufin laid back, pulled his horse’s blanket over him, and used his saddle as a pillow. “Aye, we’ll check out th’ lass’s waterfall in the morn.”
Enya capped her canteen and stared at the sky. The sun was just starting to set and turning everything pink and red. “With those dark clouds moving away we can finally see the sky.”
“I don’t think they’re moving. I think they’re disappearing. Whatever that last explosion was I think it fixed the dark magic that was used.”
“Maybe. Who do you think had the power to do that?”
“I don’t know, but I hope they’re good guys. I’d hate to think that we have to deal with another nasty race.”
“So, did you notice anything in the woods?”
Enya paused. “In what sense?”
Jardeth cleared his throat. “Like, I don’t know, gnomes maybe?”
“Uh, no. Though I have to admit I did feel like I was being watched.”
“Yeah, gnomes can be pretty territorial. They tend to bite.”
Enya propped herself on her elbow. “Wait, you sent me in there with biting gnomes?”
“If you’ll recall I suggested you wait. Besides, it would have been quick. They tend to attack in hordes.”
Dufin bolted upright. “Ye didn’ say anythin’ about nae biting gnomes!”