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The Black Egg (E-book)

The Black Egg (E-book)

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Book 1 of The Dragonspire Chronicles

Paperback Version


Yaz loves dragons. Unfortunately, only the greatest warriors in Dragonsipre Village become dragonriders.

A runt like him doesn’t qualify.

Since the village won’t give him a dragon to ride, he’s determined to find an egg to hatch and train the dragon himself. Yaz and his new friend Brigid set out on a dragon hunt. But the wider world holds many dangers, sinister secrets, and mysteries best forgotten.

Can Yaz and Brigid survive long enough to find an egg?

Unknown to Yaz, a dark force is gathering to threaten all he holds dear.

Finding a dragon egg might be the least of his problems.

Look Inside

Yaz stood at the edge of the village training grounds, really just a dirt circle outside the walls and a few yards from the town proper where the boys between thirteen and eighteen met for daily drills. He held his hands clasped behind his back at parade rest. A bright sun shining in the clear sky tempered the morning chill. Summer was still a month away and you knew it on mornings like this. In a few hours it would be warm enough that he wouldn’t need his wolfskin cloak, but for now the heavy garment felt good.

He hunted the beasts himself last year. Yaz made a decent living selling furs, among other things. On the ground at his feet rested a curved, rectangular shield nearly as tall as Yaz himself. Next to that lay a blunt spear. Together they served as training versions of the village militia’s primary equipment.

At seventeen, Yaz was completing his final year of training. Assuming he passed the weapon master’s assessment, the next time bandits attacked the village he would take his place in the shield wall with the other village men. Though assuming he was going to pass would have been a mistake. Master Aaron Hendal, the giant, blond weapon master, had made it clear more than once that he didn’t think Yaz was cut out for the shield wall. He was too short and too skinny. His body just wasn’t designed to absorb the sorts of impacts fighting in the wall required.

Yaz couldn’t argue with his reasoning, but as the son of the village chief, no favoritism could be shown. If anything, Master Hendal pushed him harder than any of the other boys. It paid off in some ways. He might be small, but Yaz was the best archer in the village. He was still using a bow designed for thirteen-year-olds, but he could put an arrow in a man’s eye from forty paces.

A roar and crash split the air as the current group of trainees, two opposing teams of four, came together, shield to shield, pushing for advantage. Dust flew as they scrambled for position. To Yaz’s left and right boys cheered and shouted encouragement to their friends.

Yaz remained silent, focusing on what the boys did. Everything Yaz experienced was permanently imprinted on his memory, ready for perfect recall at any moment. In fact, he remembered everything from the time he was three months old onward. This wasn’t at all normal, according to his mother, but also nothing to worry about. One of the sages had a similar gift, though his perfect memory only extended to what he read, and he taught Yaz how to deal with the ability and the nightmares that came with it.

“Enough!” Hendal bellowed.

The trainees stopped at once, separated, and stood at attention. Hendal walked up one side of the formation and down the other. At last he said, “Good. Clear the circle. Group two get ready.”

The dismissed group broke up, grinning and wiping sweat from their brows. They’d put on a fine performance. Yaz wished he had any hope of matching them. He picked up his heavy shield, sliding his left arm through a rough leather loop until he could reach the grip. Next, he took up the spear in his right and marched out beside his shieldmates. The other boys all towered over him, the next shortest standing just over six feet.

Yaz took his place second from the left and stood at attention, waiting for Hendal’s command. He didn’t have to wait long.

“Group A defend. Group B attack,” Hendal said.

Yaz grimaced, and tried to crouch like the others, digging his feet in for maximum balance. He’d barely bent his knees when the bottom of his shield hit the ground. Lifting it didn’t help. Even a few inches put the rim over his eyes, blinding him.

“Lock shields!” Hendal shouted.

Yaz tried to bring his shield level with the men to his left and right, but he simply couldn’t do it and see what was going on.

“Group B, charge!”

The impact from the initial blow drove Yaz back two steps, breaking their line. The others tried to close even as he rushed to return to his position.

Both efforts were doomed to fail. The boy that hit him kicked Yaz’s shield and sent him sprawling. The rest of group B separated and surrounded Yaz’s teammates. The fight lasted less than a minute.

Why did they continue with this farce? Everyone knew he was never going to fight in the shield wall. Day in and day out he demonstrated his uselessness and here he was five years later still proving the point.


The two teams separated. Yaz scrambled to his feet and returned to his place drawing scowls from his teammates. He didn’t blame them for their anger. In a real fight they’d all be dead right now. Yaz would’ve been angry in their place. He was angry in his place for that matter. Doing the same thing over and over served no one and they all knew it.

“That’s enough for today,” Hendal said. “Yaz, hold back.”

The rest of the boys ran off to return the gear to the equipment shed so they could get home to whatever chores awaited them. Two minutes later Yaz and Master Hendal had the circle to themselves.

“I think we’ve done enough,” Master Hendal said. “No one can claim you didn’t give it your all nor can they claim having you in the shield wall would be to the village’s benefit. Your training is over, Yazgrim.”

Relief and disappointment fought in Yaz. On one hand he was glad to not have to waste his time any further. On the other, all hope of truly joining his peers as an adult in the village was over. Everyone would look at him as less of a man. No matter what else he did or accomplished, if he didn’t stand in the line to defend his home when raiders came, he wouldn’t be a true man of the village.

“Dad’s not going to like it,” Yaz said. “But he’s known this was coming for years. Sorry to let you down, Master.”

Master Hendal’s massive shoulders slumped. “You didn’t let me down, Yaz. The gods made you as you are. No amount of training can make you a good match for the shield wall. In another time and place you’d be among the elite archers, a feared and respected warrior. But here, the ground troops only have one job, to stop the enemy in the pass and hold them so the dragonriders can strafe them with arrows and fire. Bows are for hunters, not warriors, at least in this village. No man can say you didn’t give it your best and if they do, you tell me and I’ll thump them.”

“Thank you, Master.” Yaz offered a respectful nod, gathered his gear, and walked slowly to the equipment shed.

When he opened the door the stink of sweat and leather struck him. He quickly hung his shield on its stand and put the training spear in the rack with the others. Time to go home and wash up. He had an appointment at the tower and the sages wouldn’t thank him if he showed up stinking of the ring.

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