The Dragon's Graveyard (Paperback)
The Dragon's Graveyard (Paperback)
Book 3 of The Dragonspire Chronicles
The slaver capital of Carttoom.
Yaz learns from his rescued friend that the villagers were sold at the Steel City slave market. And if he wants to learn to whom, he’ll need to infiltrate the headquarters of the notorious Slavers Guild and copy their records.
If that wasn’t hard enough, there are still bounty hunters on the group’s trail. Staying free themselves might prove an even greater challenge than saving the villagers.
While Yaz and his friends struggle to rescue the captured people of Dragonspire Village, the sinister Dark Sages are still had at work bring their evil plans to fruition.
Yaz yawned and twisted his neck to work out a kink. A saddlebag didn’t make the best pillow, but it was the only one he had. Ten days on a barge with nothing to do and camping on the riverbank in lean-tos left everyone in a miserable mood. The passengers were all ready for a night in civilization.
On the left side of the barge, a brawny man with a twenty-foot-long pole shoved them forward in time with his partner on the right. The Wallowing River lived up to its name. If the bargemen had relied on the current to carry them to Roval and the villages beyond, they’d be ancient before they arrived. As it was, tonight they’d reach their first town after leaving Fort Kane.
To kill time, Yaz spent most of his days exploring his mental library, rereading books he’d memorized. Not exciting, but better than nothing. At least the nightly ordering of his memories didn’t take long. And without the chaos and violence they’d been dealing with, his sleep had been untroubled by nightmares. It was the sole benefit he’d found to traveling by barge. His companions, on the other hand, seemed to be having a ball.
Silas played cards for hours with some of the other guys on board. They only bet with copper scales so there was no real risk and anyone that pulled a knife on Silas would regret it immediately. As a skilled lightning wizard, Silas could take care of himself. Yaz sat in on a couple games, but after fifteen minutes had everyone’s tells memorized and got bored.
Brigid surprised him the most. She struck up a friendship with the older woman they’d spoken to on the Fort Kane docks. Her name was Dorthy and when she was a girl, she tended a flock of sheep just like Brigid. Yaz didn’t listen in on their conversations, but every night when they made camp, Brigid had a big smile. Whatever they discussed made her happy and nothing else mattered to Yaz.
He got to his feet and walked to the front of the barge. A few of the other passengers glanced his way as he passed, but no one spoke. There was no hostility in the gazes that tracked him, just indifference. Considering all the unwelcome attention they’d received over the last couple months, indifference suited Yaz fine.
Though slow, at least the river was smooth. There were few rocks and no rapids, just a gentle, steady current. No wonder so much merchandise went by river. Even in the spring he doubted there would be any danger.
A hint of smoke rose in the distance and when they rounded the next bend Roval appeared on the bank and with it the stink of sewage. It seemed everyone used the river like an outhouse. From this distance the buildings were little more than specks and the wall appeared six inches high. Docks jutted a third of the way out into the river. It was a welcome sight. Yaz dearly hoped they had a large, comfortable inn.
Steps on the deck alerted him to someone’s approach and when he turned, he found Brigid a few feet behind him. She smiled and sidled up beside him. “Dorthy invited us to dinner at her daughter’s farm. I don’t know about you, but a home-cooked meal sounds good to me.”
“Sure, but will her family complain if she shows up with three total strangers?”
“She says not. Apparently, they always cook a large evening meal, so a few extra mouths won’t be a problem. Anyway, Tom, he’s the son-in-law, enjoys company. Likes to brag about how well his farm is doing from the sounds of it. Seems a small price for a free meal.”
Yaz suspected that spending one last evening chatting with her friend interested Brigid at least as much as the food. “Did you talk to Silas yet?”
“No.” She cleared her throat. “I already accepted on our behalf. You don’t think he’ll be mad?”
“Nah, but he might not feel like going either.” Yaz shrugged. “I’ll talk to him. Even if he prefers to stay at the inn, I’ll be happy to join you.”
She gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Thanks.”
Yaz smiled and watched her hurry back to Dorthy and start chatting again. Looked like she’d gotten over being mad at him for killing his former master. That came as a relief since it felt weird having her angry. Hopefully the food would be good.
They were a hundred yards out from the dock when Silas’s game finally broke up. The wizard scooped up his winnings and joined Yaz in the front of the barge. A group of locals stood waiting for them to tie up. Probably people picking up family from upstream.
“How’d you make out?” Yaz asked.
“I finished the trip up ten scales. Hardly earth-shaking money, but better than being down. I wasn’t even the big winner. One of the other guys won twenty. What’s the plan for our one day in port?”
“Funny you should ask. Brigid accepted a dinner invitation from her new best friend at her daughter’s farm. You in?”
Silas shrugged. “Why not? We’ll need to get rooms first though. With this many people arriving in town all at once, the inns will fill up fast.”
“You’d think a town built on barge trade would have plenty of rooms for rent,” Yaz said.
“No, build too many inns and you can’t charge as much for the rooms. Supply and demand, you know.”
And Yaz thought he was cynical. Silas put him to shame. Either way, it wouldn’t take long to find lodging. As the barge pulled up to the docks, he could already see three inns waiting for them.