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Returner's Wealth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell [Excerpt]

Returner's Wealth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell [Excerpt]

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
From the creators of the internationally bestselling Edge Chronicles comes an epic story of dragons!

The wyrmeweald is a hostile place, an arid wasteland where man is both hunter and hunted, and where the dragon-like wyrmes reign supreme. Seventeen-year-old Micah enters the wyrmeweald intent on stealing a wyrme egg to sell for a bounty. With the riches such an egg will bring—returner’s wealth—Micah can go home to a life of luxury, and win the hand of the girl he loves. But the wyrmeweald is a treacherous place, and Micah quickly finds himself in mortal danger. When a tracker named Eli rescues him, Micah is forced to prove his worth, and together he and Eli defend a rare wyrme hatchling from kith bandits intent on stealing and selling wyrme eggs.

As Micah soon discovers, this hatchling has a guardian already—the beautiful, brave, and dangerous Thrace. Micah and Thrace make the worst possible match: Micah is a would-be bandit, and Thrace is a wyrme rider-assassin, devoted protector of the wyrmeweald. Yet their chemistry is undeniable, and soon Micah and Thrace join forces to protect the rare wyrme and battle the evil forces that encroach on their native habitat. But is there anything left in the devastated wyrmeweald to be saved?

Learn more: http://www.openroadmedia.com/returners-wealth
From the creators of the internationally bestselling Edge Chronicles comes an epic story of dragons!

The wyrmeweald is a hostile place, an arid wasteland where man is both hunter and hunted, and where the dragon-like wyrmes reign supreme. Seventeen-year-old Micah enters the wyrmeweald intent on stealing a wyrme egg to sell for a bounty. With the riches such an egg will bring—returner’s wealth—Micah can go home to a life of luxury, and win the hand of the girl he loves. But the wyrmeweald is a treacherous place, and Micah quickly finds himself in mortal danger. When a tracker named Eli rescues him, Micah is forced to prove his worth, and together he and Eli defend a rare wyrme hatchling from kith bandits intent on stealing and selling wyrme eggs.

As Micah soon discovers, this hatchling has a guardian already—the beautiful, brave, and dangerous Thrace. Micah and Thrace make the worst possible match: Micah is a would-be bandit, and Thrace is a wyrme rider-assassin, devoted protector of the wyrmeweald. Yet their chemistry is undeniable, and soon Micah and Thrace join forces to protect the rare wyrme and battle the evil forces that encroach on their native habitat. But is there anything left in the devastated wyrmeweald to be saved?

Learn more: http://www.openroadmedia.com/returners-wealth

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on Jul 16, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/20/2013

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he eyes would be the first to go once the scavengers landed. Already, sharp-eyed, keen-nosed carrionwyrmes with cropscytheclaws and teeth like hackdaggers were circling overhead.Micah stared down at the corpse. It was lying on its front, facedown on the blistered rock. One hand was reaching out, its graspingfingers dustblown and stiff.The youth prodded the body tentatively with the tip of his boot.His toes, poking up through split bootleather, grazed the hardnubbed ribs of the dead man’s side. He shoved a boot-toe into theshadowed hollow of the stomach, braced his legs and rolled the body over. A cluster of broken teeth remained on the rock where the facehad lain. They were pitted and smokeweed-yellow, their roots set now in a small patch of red stained sand. The head whiplashed back thenforward again, and the body came to rest on its back with a softthump and a puff of dust.Micah crouched down beside the body, his hands on his hips.There was congealed blood around the crushed nose and at the
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell RETURNER’S WEALTH
 
 corners of the dust-encrusted mouth. The face was hollow, puckered with lack of water, and dark desperate eyes stared blindly up at him.The dead man wore the clothes of a seasoned traveller.Birdhooks and arrowheads were carefully tucked into the band of aleather hat which was creased and worn and sweat-stained at the brim. His jacket, a sturdy hacketon of buckhide, was worn thin at theelbows and frayed at the cuffs, while his breeches bore the evidence of  years of patching and mending. His backpack lay beside him, turnedhalf inside out and empty of supplies, while the watergourd next to it was unstoppered and bone-dry. But the boots – they were mighty fine. Tooled leather, soft and well-oiled, with sturdy hobnailed solesand iron-tipped toes. But fine as the dead traveller’s boots were, they hadn’t helped him when his water ran out.Micah reached out and pulled off the right boot. The footappeared from inside, blue-grey like moulded metal, puffy round thetoes, as though it had been wading through water, and the skin assmooth and blister-free as Micah had known it would be. The smell,though, sour and acrid like rancid curds, he had not foreseen.Suddenly, from far above his head, he heard keening cries, andhe squinted up to see the black shapes against the high sun, wheelinground in the sky. He turned his attention to the second boot,awkward fingers fumbling with the lace, and tugging hard. Glancingup as it came free, he could make out the jagged wings of thecarrionwyrmes now as they wheeled round lower, their rapier clawsand hackdagger teeth glinting. Kicking his own boots hurriedly aside,he pulled the new ones onto his feet, first one, then the other, andknotted them tightly, then jumped to his feet – just as the first of thecarrionwyrmes landed, head cocked and screeching with indignation.Micah backed away. He reached down for his heavy walking
RETURNER’S WEALTHPaul Stewart and Chris Riddell

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