The Black Egg (Paperback)
The Black Egg (Paperback)
Book 1 of The Dragonspire Chronicles
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.
Leonidas smiled as his flying ship soared towards the center of the ruined imperial capital. He stood beside Domina at the helm and let his gaze wander over to the master tower. Four powerful energy flows now converged on the central spire, confirming what he already knew: the four satellite towers were all up and functioning like they were supposed to.
The crackling white lightning lit up the daytime sky in a stunning display of power. He couldn’t wait to see it at night. It must have made midnight feel like noon to the men and women living in the city. Did those ancient people look upon their emperor’s power with pride or fear? Probably a little of both.
Domina reached out and touched his arm. “We’ve done it at last.”
He took her hand in his. For the first time in a long time, Leonidas was feeling satisfied with his situation. Decades of effort had all culminated in this moment. Despite her many failures, he couldn’t have done it without Domina. She’d earned her place at his side.
“We have indeed, my dear. The hard part is over. Now we need only bring the nations to heel. With dragons at our beck and call, I doubt we’ll have much difficulty. A year at most should see the empire secured. Then we can move on to making our rule eternal.”
She sighed and brought the ship down into its spot in front of the tower. Shade, Jax, Rondo, and Polymus emerged from below deck with Ariel in tow. The immortal prince appeared to have his new body fully under control. It was quite an astonishing feat when you considered only days ago he’d been nothing but a head.
“I doubted that I’d ever see the master tower crackling with life again,” Polymus said. “The many years had dulled my memory of its brilliance.”
“It is a wonder.” Leonidas grabbed everyone and lowered them to the ground.
Together, the group strode over to the door, where Leonidas touched the runes to unlock the tower. The moment they stepped inside, he noticed something different. There was a hole in the ceiling about eight feet in diameter. He looked up but couldn’t see where the passage ended.
“That leads to the throne room,” Polymus said. “At the top of the tower you will witness the true seat of imperial power.”
Leonidas could hardly wait. He marched to the center of the room and an invisible force tried to lift him. His ring absorbed the energy until he willed it to cease. The moment he did, he found himself flying upward at a slow, steady pace. At the top, a chamber with a single golden throne situated ten feet from the entrance waited. It was surrounded by a circle of runes colored a dull gold. Somehow Leonidas had expected more flair.
He stepped aside and soon enough Polymus appeared, followed by the others. When Shade arrived leading Ariel by the hand the throne began to pulse with faint energy.
“It’s reacting to the girl,” Polymus said in answer to his unspoken question. “You need to sit her on the throne. From there you can use her to control the tower’s various magical functions.”
“It allows for more than controlling dragons?” Leonidas asked.
Polymus nodded. “Much more. The runes can generate an impenetrable shield. You can also link the tower to a dragon’s vision so you can see what they see. Quite useful when you need more precise control. You can also seal this chamber and deactivate all the towers remotely should you wish to, though I can’t imagine why you would.”
Leonidas couldn’t either, not after all the trouble he went through to get them operational.
“What now, Boss?” Shade asked.
There was still a day before his ultimatum was up. Perhaps a little practice using the tower and seeing the limits to Ariel’s power would be prudent.
“Now we see what our little empress is capable of. Ariel, sit in the throne and contact the nearest dragon. When you’ve done so, will the tower to show you what it sees.”
Like a little zombie, she shuffled to the oversized chair and sat. Her brow furrowed. Ten seconds later a rectangular window appeared in the air. Leonidas walked around so he was behind the throne. In the window was an image of blue sky and clouds rushing by. Not surprising given the sort of creature whose sight they shared.
The rest of his cadre had joined him to get a better look, not that there was much to see at the moment.
“Link to a second dragon, the next closest,” Leonidas said.
“Can’t,” Ariel said.
He looked down at the top of her head. The circlet was still in place, so she had to be telling the truth. If she could only control a single dragon at a time, that would limit his options more than he liked. Surely the emperors of old hadn’t been so constrained.
Leonidas turned to Polymus. “Could your father only control a single dragon at a time?”
“When he was a child, certainly,” Polymus said. “Even as an adult I don’t believe he could manage more than three. Grandfather only ever controlled two at a time and even then, only when he had them performing the same task. Flying side by side when strafing a village that had defied him for example.”
“That seems very inconvenient. How did your father get around it?”
“We didn’t speak a great deal after it became clear that I wasn’t to be his heir. I believe he instructed the dragons to perform various duties then severed his direct connection and moved on to the next.”
That made sense. If the dragons obeyed the emperor’s commands even when he wasn’t directly linked to them, it would be simple to order them to guard a location or kill anyone that entered a particular place. Unless an enemy force gathered, there would seldom be a need to control more than a single dragon. Certainly one dragon would be enough to raze either of the capital cities should Rend or Carttoom prove stubborn.
“Send two large dragons to circle Carttoom City and Rend City. That will give them something to focus their thinking.”
With any luck, the sight of their doom flying overhead would help the kings make the correct choice. If it didn’t, well, no doubt whoever replaced them as rulers of their respective kingdoms would find the instruction valuable.