Read Scourge of the Dragons Online

Authors: Cody J. Sherer

Tags: #adventure, #action, #fantasy, #magic, #dragons, #elves, #knights, #dwarves

Scourge of the Dragons

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Scourge of the Dragons

By Cody J. Sherer

This is a work of fiction. All the characters
and events portrayed in this book are fictitious, and any
resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

 

 

Scourge of the Dragons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright ©2015 by Cody J. Sherer

All Rights Reserved.

 

Tales of Canai Series

Book 1: The Wizard’s Council

Book 2: The Tomes of Magic

Book 3: Fall of a Guardian

Other Works

Legends of Canai Short Story Compilation

Sanctuary

Chronicles of George Jackson

Book 1: Pioneers of the Stars

Map of Palemedor

Contents

Scourged Lands

Prince Hadrin gazed out over the evening
realms. The lands he stood to inherit had become infested with a
scourge that even the Prince couldn’t escape. Violet branches
stretched out over the land like the shadow of a massive tree. He
looked down at his hand and saw the deep-blue tendrils stretching
forth on his forearm. The spread had quickened its pace in the
recent years, causing Hadrin to wonder if there would be a kingdom
left to inherit. He pulled his sleeves back down over his forearms
and spun back away from the balcony. His father, King Obrin, had
taken the worst of the scourge. The Prince was still able to hide
the deep blues with long sleeves and cloaks. Small wisps of purple
and blue lined the King’s chin and neck like a beard under his
skin. Even his old scar on his left cheek had succumbed to the
unknown curse.

“Why did this foulness befall us, father?”
Hadrin asked as he approached the King.

“Through no fault of our own, my son. We
formed a pact with the night dragons. They gave us long life in
exchange for being their caretakers. The evils of the world have
finally dealt a fatal blow to dragonkind and so we must pass on
with them,” Obrin replied.

“Is there no way to reverse it?”

“Our greatest mages have attempted to
reverse the effects, but it was for naught. The great night elf
army vanquished several possible culprits. Whoever struck us down
did so from the shadows. We are a dying race now, my boy.”

The Prince turned away from his father,
heartbroken at seeing the once thriving elf in such a state. There
had been a time when the legendary King Obrin would have died
before giving up. He looked out over the evening realms again, this
time in an attempt to remember their glorious past. His eyes
spotted something shimmering in the distance. A great host moved
across the lands with a purpose unknown to Hadrin. He grabbed hold
of the Wizard’s Orb and stepped out onto the balcony. The inside of
the sphere showed the leader of the sun elves, King Erlkan.

“Look father, our brethren from the sun
realms have come to help us,” he said as the King joined him on the
balcony.

“Not to help us, son. Erlkan is here to
ensure that the scourge dies with us,” Obrin said.

“Why would you ask him to do such a
thing?”

“I did no such thing. The sun King is an
arrogant elf that only has time for the solutions of his
Empress.”

Hadrin grimaced at his father’s words. There
had been a time when Obrin only had positive words for his cousin.
The Prince had once mistakenly thought they were brothers. Before
the scourge had taken hold, Obrin looked like a silver haired
version of Erlkan. They were both tall and thin with faces like
stone. Unlike his cousin, the sun King’s appearance matched that
which was inside his heart. The Prince was able to spot the air of
haughtiness that the man exuded. Though the cousins were tall,
Hadrin towered over both of them. His softer features belying the
strength and determination within. Though tall for an elf, the
Prince was short by the world’s standards. Among the so-called
civilized races, only the dwarves were shorter than the elves.
Hadrin’s stocky build and above average height often had the other
elves wondering at his ancestry.

The young Prince looked from the night elf
King to the Wizard’s Orb and back. His father’s transformation had
been so slow that he hadn’t realized just how drastic it had
become. Everyone saw the strange tendrils plaguing his body, but
few had noticed the changes in posture, skin tone, and mass. King
Obrin looked pale, thin, and sickly. His cousin, on the other hand,
looked as though he had escaped the ravages of time altogether.
Though elves lived longer than the other races, time still had a
negative effect on their bodies. King Erlkan looked closer to three
hundred than over six hundred. Obrin looked more like Hadrin’s
grandfather than his father. The scourge was stealing more than
just the Prince’s future kingdom, it was slowly killing his father.
Hadrin knew that it wouldn’t stop there either.

“Come, my son, let us greet our guest and
see if we can stay his hand,” King Obrin said.

“Is there any chance he will give us more
time?” Hadrin asked.

“We are still cousins, that may help our
cause.

*

Erlkan motioned for his army to stop as soon
as he spotted the two riders. His task was a difficult one. He had
attempted to get the others to send someone else, but they chose
him on purpose. King Obrin might see reason coming from his own
cousin, or so they had told him. There had been a time when the
elves had seen his actions as noble. The night dragons needed
caretakers, even if they were the most notorious of dragons. Erlkan
felt that his cousin’s bravery had only increased since taking on
the task. His sacrifices ensured that the most dangerous of dragons
had been kept in check. The sun King cleared his throat as the
whispers reached his ears. He would not abide his elves talking bad
about their kin.

“King Erlkan, my cousin, it has been too
long,” King Obrin said as he dismounted.

“I could not agree more, old friend. We were
unsure if you would receive us favorably,” the sun King said.

“Truth be told, we receive you warily.
Everyone knows you are here for the night dragons. They are our
lifeblood now, much like you and the sun dragons. Can we persuade
you to give us more time?”

“They are no longer your lifeblood, cousin.
They’ve become your noose. Let us rid you of their scourge. There
is still the possibility of salvaging your kingdom.”

“The night dragons are not behind the
scourge. They’ve been infected just as horribly as the rest of us,”
Hadrin said.

“It cannot be. Has it been so long that your
son is all grown?” Erlkan turned to his cousin, his face full of
shame.

“My son had his fifty-second celebration no
more than a month ago,” Obrin said, placing his hand on Hadrin’s
shoulder.

“I’ve failed you as a cousin. I should have
been here twelve years ago for his rituals. At the very least I
should have brought a family gift within the ten year window. Where
have the years gone, Obrin?” Erlkan asked.

“We’ve lost much more than just the past
several years.”

“Mostly because of me, I know. What choice
did I have? It matters not, we must focus on the now. The dragons
can wait, my kin completed the ceremony. I must know all about
it.”

*

Hadrin pulled the leather jerkin over his
head. It was a little tight, but he was close to the same size as
he had been twelve years ago. He strapped the breastplate on over
the leather. His image in the mirror was far more regal than he
ever felt. Servants and advisers alike had always told him he would
make a good King one day. He strapped on the rest of his armor and
then pulled the helmet down over his head. Every member of the
elven royal line received custom ceremonial armor when they came of
age. It usually was a combination of the styles of their combat
armor and their family crest. For Hadrin, the combination was
lighter armor with silver and blue highlights. He made his way out
into the hall and was surprised to see both of the Kings wearing
their armor. His father’s ceremonial armor was heavy with silver
and orange and Erlkan wore heavy armor with gold and green.

“You do not know how fortunate you have
been, cousin,” Erlkan said.

“My position is much less envious than your
own,” Obrin said.

“I would give it all up for a true family.
You have a son to share everything with. It makes you wonder.”

“What are saying, your highness?” Corin, one
of the sun King’s Captains, asked.

“The Empress is a woman to be served, not a
woman to love,” Erlkan replied.

“How can you say that about her majesty? The
Empress means everything to elvenkind.”

“Enough, you insult our hosts with your
ignorance.”

Silence filled the banquet hall as Corin
glared at the sun King. The elven Captain’s hand slid down to his
sword as he stood. Erlkan sighed as he scooted his chair back. He
stood up and drew his own sword. The two stepped out into the
center of the hall and faced each other. Several other elves lined
up alongside Corin. Obrin stood up and drew his sword. He staggered
over to his cousin and stood at his side. Hadrin could tell that
the two of them were severely outmatched, but his father had
forbidden the blacksmith from making him a sword. He stood up from
his chair and joined the two despite being unarmed. Dozens of elves
joined each side of the fight. Ultimately, more sided with Corin.
Erlkan held up his hand.

“I had heard the rumors, but I had never
thought it would be you,” he said.

“How did you find out?” Corin asked.

“The necklace. It belonged to her father.
That is her most prized possession. The fact that she gave it to
you tells me everything.”

“She never loved you.”

“There was very short period where she did,
but our marriage was political. We both knew it would not last.
Corin, this is between you and me. Let the others leave.”

“You are so very mistaken. She wants all
three of imprisoned for spreading the scourge to the sun
dragons.”

The entire room gasped at the revelation and
some of the elves that had sided with the two Kings switched to the
Captain’s side. Erlkan began to protest the claim, but the warriors
on both sides were already prepared for a fight. The fight was
short and bloody, with many elves on both sides falling. Both Kings
had stayed near the Prince to ensure his safety, but in the end it
didn’t matter. Their opponents had managed to disarm both of them
and take all three into captivity. They led the three down to the
dungeons to keep them safe while they formulated a plan for how to
get the three out of the night elf kingdom without alerting the
populace.

*

Wrotan eyed the two elves warily as he
approached the massive door. Neither of them moved as he pushed the
door open. The audience chamber much smaller than what he would
have expected for an elven King. It lined up well with what his
father had told him, but it still felt strange to see a King that
cared so little about making his surroundings seem overly grand.
The elves in the audience chamber looked different from those
outside. There was a certain strength about them that the two
outside were missing. He cleared his throat as he approached the
throne. The two elves looked at him without saying a word and then
turned back to their conversation.

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