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Hope

Hope

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Hope

Length:
267 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 3, 2015
ISBN:
9781311438836
Format:
Book

Description

Deoram Ham is a beautiful little village in the far south of Bind, a peaceful, simple community perfect for dragon riders who miss the dragons and want to live a life far from the wars they fought.

It is not to last, and as new threats emerge, fighting is not now an option; the only solution is to escape to the beautiful island of Hope.

Johnson Farthing, the former general and now farmer, has no choice but to travel north once more to find a boat.

Farthing put his hand up for them to stop.
"What is it?" Silvi whispered. She had started riding next to him in the last hour as she slowly recovered from her embarrassment and fear.
"Over there," he said, pointing. "Those are deer."
"They are very small!"
"Scrubland Deer," Seb said quietly, riding up on the other side of the girl. "Go on, Silvi. I have seen you get a small boar with your bow. You can get one of those. They make great eating."
"You think?" She looked nervously at the two men, both of whom for different reasons she felt she must impress.
"I think you should try," Farthing said. "Get down so you are stable, I will hold your horse."
"What if I miss?"
"Then it is beans again."
Silvi concentrated, trying to ignore her audience of two men and six horses as she notched the hunting arrow and pulled the string back. She took a slow breath as she brushed her cheek with the string. "Come on Silvi," she said to herself. "He is watching, you can do this, you know you can." Feeling her mouth going dry she aimed at the lower chest of the deer standing closest to her and let fly.

Find out more at the A World Called Dirt website
The Dirt Website brings you even more information about this incredible world:

Full Details of all the books
Character Descriptions
Articles on the geography, history and culture
Pronunciation Guide
Maps of the world
The articles are written in-character and any information that might spoil your enjoyment of books you have yet to read are protected with spoiler alerts

Plus, on some articles, C.C. Hogan has added his own sidebar notes about why he has made certain choices

The Abbey will be continuously updated so check back often!

The Dirt Saga
Series One

Dirt
Bloody Dirt
The Fight for Dirt
Hope & Mistry's Tale

Yona - Standalone Short Story

Series Two - Coming winter 2015/16

Girls of Dirt
Dragons of Dirt
People of Dirt

Series Three

TBA

Look out for updates to the Dirt Saga

Publisher:
Released:
Nov 3, 2015
ISBN:
9781311438836
Format:
Book

About the author

CC Hogan is a writer and old muso that loves nothing more than cuddling up with an idea, a glass of wine, a pot of hot coffee and chucking words around happily. Alright, he also just likes cuddling, but that is less interesting.He is a Londoner born and bred but dreams of a tiny cottage by the sea.At the moment he is buried in a world called Dirt, a huge fantasy that spans a thousand years and is a tale of love, war, family and dragons. Unsurprisingly, in the book can be found a cottage by the sea...CC also likes to write poetry and is trying to learn how to draw. He is always happy to answer questions, though the quality of answers may depend on time of day, wine quantity, full stomach, lack of money and so forth...


Book Preview

Hope - CC Hogan

Hope

& Mistry’s Tale

By

C.C. Hogan

Text Copyright © 2018 C.C. Hogan

All Rights Reserved

Fourth Edition

To my dear friend Mistry, who brings joy to my stories.

THE DIRT BOOKS

Series 1

Dirt

Bloody Dirt

The fight for Dirt

Hope & Mistry’s Tale

Yona and the Beast – Short Story

Series 2

Girls of Dirt

Dragons of Dirt

People of Dirt

Series 3

TBA

Check out the website for up to date information about the series, the chronology and free stuff!

www.aworldcalleddirt.com

Contents

Chapter 1 – Guests

Chapter 2 – Time to Think

Chapter 3 – Three’s Company

Chapter 4 – Staying Lost

Chapter 5 – The Boat

Chapter 6 – Fort Deoran

Chapter 7 – Escape

Epilogue – A Small Home on Dirt

Mistry’s Tale

Find out more about Dirt

Books by C. C. Hogan

About the Author

Chapter 1 – Guests

You walk funny.

Eofin rolled his eyes to gods he didn’t believe in and prayed for strength.

Good afternoon, Se-Ini, said the dragon rider, smiling tolerantly at the curly-haired six-year-old.

Hello uncle, you walk funny.

I think you mentioned that, dear one. Have you come to see Denierra? he asked rather hopefully.

No.

Oh. Pity.

Why do you walk funny?

Because a dragon trod on me.

Eofin and Denierra had no children of their own which Eofin did not miss and Denierra compensated for on the very rare occasions she felt the need by borrowing this particular bundle of joy from the girl’s parents. The little girl bit her lip, thoughtfully.

You told me it was because a Wyrm bit you.

Did I? Eofin was one of a group of refugees in this village who could be described as having a violent past, and generally, they all tried to play it down a little. Unfortunately, he sometimes contradicted himself in the process. But that was before the dragon trod on me. It has been a very unlucky leg.

You also told me that it got stuck in a rabbit hole in the Sandy Hills.

Sand Hills, and yes, I probably did that as well. How many of his silly stories was this girl capable of remembering? It wasn’t as if he was old and forgetful, well not old anyway.

You also…

Any other reason you came to visit me today, Se-Ini? The name meant beautiful, and though the girl was, indeed, as pretty as her mother, he felt her misnamed. Something that meant over-talkative-nosy-little-pest would have been far more suitable.

I’m hungry.

You walked all the way up here to tell me you were hungry?

No, I came to say you walked funny. I got hungry just now. Again.

Fine. Would you like an apple?

Yes please! said the girl, and then ran off down the lane before he could fetch her one.

I think you walk funny too! called Denierra through the shutters of the small cottage, killing herself laughing.

Are you sure you want one of those? asked Eofin.

No. I am happy with the gorgeous, former dragon leader with a dodgy leg. She is good for hugs but very tiring! Denierra emerged from their cottage grinning and kissed her husband.

Eofin had spent a year rattling along in an old cart from village to village making sure the dragon riders who had left Ponack in the Sand Hills in the far north of Bind were settled and making new lives. Somewhere along the line, he had found Denierra, Mab-Uten’s rider, and they had eventually settled in the small fishing village of Deoran Ham in the far south of South Homeland. Much to his joy, the warm dry weather of the region had agreed with him, and though he still was in pain frequently, his breathing had improved immensely.

I need to hop off down to see Jonnan and ask him to make me two new wheels for the big cart soon.

Do you really need them? They will cost a few coins from out pot.

The trouble with this bloody leg and my arm, my love, is that if anything goes wrong with the cart on the road, I might not be able to sort it out. In the next couple of months, I will need to haul your main apple crop up to Fallen Hills, and the current wheels are looking battered.

That road is getting worse, isn’t it?

Everything is getting worse. I would hate to be living in the north now.

It’s not your fault, Eofin. The dragons couldn’t stay and without them there was nothing we could do.

I know. We lost enough friends as it was to the epidemic. I hate that I don’t even know who survived. That was no easy journey to Angyn for the dragons, and Eafa warned me that some wouldn’t make it.

But many would have done, Eofin. And that is important too. Come on, the wherry brought down some fresh tea at last, and I want a hot brew!

Se-Ini knew just about everyone in the village, which was not particularly difficult. Deoran Ham was an ancient fishing village that had been in decline for many years, but in more recent times it had seen an unexpected little growth. The population was now around a hundred and sixty or so which included refugees from the north and many dragonless riders with their families. Even so, this was still a manageable number of people for a young, highly intelligent, if rather a short girl, with big brown eyes who had no idea of the meaning of the word stop.

I’m still hungry, said Se-Ini to Bela, who was currently bent double over a large, heavy barrel, trying to fish out the tap she had accidentally dropped inside. Quite how the small girl had recognised the landlady of the Blewen Fuga from that particular unflattering angle, Bela did not want to know.

You were hungry before? Bela’s voice rattled around the inside of the Barrel, and Se-Ini giggled.

I told Uncle Eofin I was hungry so that means I am still hungry.

Yes, I can see how that might work, said Bela, emerging from the barrel with the tap and realising her scarf had fallen off and was now in the bottom of the barrel. She momentarily considered dangling the small girl by the feet into the stinking beer barrel to fetch it, but then thought that would be too cruel, even for her. Why don’t you go home and tell your mummy you are hungry?

I told her first! The girl looked pleased with herself.

And what did she say?

Erm. I can’t remember. Bye! And the girl ran off.

Sebi was fourteen and had just realised that pretty might not be the nicest way to describe herself. Not that there was anything wrong with being pretty, but as words went it seem to be more suited to the annoying little brat currently staring at her from across the narrow lane. Sebi wanted to be beautiful, though she thought she might be pushing her luck a bit there, or good looking or even the cute one down by the harbour rather than just pretty. Pretty seemed to get you married off early and she wanted fun first, a bit like all those rider girls that had moved in over the last few years. It wasn’t hero-worshipping or anything like that, no really it wasn’t, but they were a bit, what was the word she was looking for?

Sebi, I’m hungry.

Se-Ini, you are always hungry, brat.

No I’m not, and you are not allowed to call me brat!

I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em, brat. Weren’t you hungry yesterday? Sebi was pretty sure she had had almost this exact same conversation the previous afternoon.

No, I was thirsty yesterday.

Close enough. Well, I ain’t got nothing.

You’re rotten, Sebi! And you’re pretty! said the girl spitefully, and ran off. Sebi watched her go in total confusion, wondering if being fifteen was going to be any less complicated.

What are you pouting at, Se-Ini? Jonnan, the blacksmith, wheelwright, cooper, and, more recently, the overworked local farrier, peered up from under a large, dozy, Bekon Brown draught horse.

I am not pouting! said Se-Ini petulantly.

Well, suck your cheeks in before they go pop then.

The girl dutifully sucked in and pulled a face.

I am hungry, said the girl, more or less.

I assume you just said you’re hungry, girl. You can stop sucking in now before you turn blue. Jonnan pulled the remaining nail from the old shoe and it went clattering across the flagstones of his yard. Se-Ini grinned hopefully. Sorry, girl, but I need to use that one again. Se-Ini liked collecting things from anyone she could, and her father had put out a general village message saying could people please stop giving her things as the house was near full. Since her father was six foot five, he was happy to oblige. The girl was not so keen on the idea and the pout returned.

Is your mummy here? she asked.

I think you mean Beddini, and she is my wife.

Where is your mummy then?

She went away a long time ago. He wasn't trying to be kind or clever. His mother had up sticks and left when he was ten.

Did she go to get me something to eat?

Er, no, not really.

Oh. Bye!

The small girl decided that she wasn’t hungry for the moment, and went skipping along by the riverside harbour, dancing over the long lines used to tie up the small fishing vessels. She leapt over the last one dramatically, then shot up the winding lane that wriggled between the small houses of the fisherfolk and eventually led up to the Mill Fields.

One gate … two gate … three gate… The girl chanted to herself as she skipped passed the small fields, then wriggled under gate number four and pounced on the small, beautiful woman who was sitting cross-legged on the ground arguing with a little goat with a black and white face.

Hey, baby girl!

Mummy, I’m hungry! Se-Ini had changed her mind again.

You only ate an hour ago.

Daddy says I need to eat lots.

Yes, but not every hour.

Where is daddy?

He’s at Fallen Hills picking up his new horse, as he has been for the last three weeks.

He has a new horse? What’s it called?

I have no idea, baby girl. Probably the same as all his horses.

What were they called?

Horse.

The girl looked utterly perplexed. Then discarded the confusion as unnecessary to her mission. I’m still hungry!

Well, I’m off to see Linena. She’s probably got something you can chew on.

I like Lini!

Yes, she likes you too. Climb up, and you can have a hug on your way down the lane.

The young woman might be a touch on the small side, especially compared to some of the tall riders, but she was unusually strong, and swung the little girl up for a hug and then onwards up to her shoulders like she was nothing but rags. The girl giggled at all the right moments, then settled down, cuddling her mother around her head.

Hello, Lini! called Se-Ini as they unlatched the back gate of the old farmhouse, walked through the small kitchen garden, and put their two heads over the top of the half door.

Hello, Se-Ini, said the rider, pulling the girl from off her mother’s shoulders and in through the door. Are you coming in, Mis? Or just dumping this one off.

I’ll come in for a second, but if I can leave her for a bit, I need to get up to the barns and work on the big wagon. The river wherry brought some grease in, so I want to sort out the axles before Farthing gets back with his new gelding.

Is the horse broken in?

Well, one of them will be by the time they get back from the Hills. It’s a toss-up which.

Farthing is a brilliant, rider, Mistry-girl.

I know, but he doesn’t talk to them right. Or at all, really.

Linena chuckled. You are never going to change, are you, Mistry?

What do you mean? Se-Ini, get your head out of the bread basket!

Linena picked up the wriggling girl and sat her on her lap. When we first met, you were this sort of warrior-girl who took stupid chances in between being a little kid.

And?

And now you are this frustrated warrior-girl, making cheese in between being a little kid, even though you are seven years older. Eofin says it too and he has known you since you were fifteen.

I was nearly sixteen!

See what I mean?

Yeah, all right. By the way, I am not frustrated, trust me! She grinned wickedly.

Linena looked at the six-year-old thoughtfully, and then looked over to Mistry.

I don’t know, in answer to the question you are dying to ask, Linena. We have tried like mad, daily, but this little one seems to be it. I think Farthing was hoping I would provide him with an entire cavalry.

Do you want more? Linena, like a couple of the other riders who had fought in the war, had injuries that had left her unable to have children. Though it was sad, it did give Mistry a copious supply of babysitters.

Sometimes, but at other times no. Farthing is keener than I am, to be honest, but neither of us are worrying about it. This girly is pretty full on, and both of us have trouble sitting still for long. To be honest, I am also getting a bad feeling in my gut about what is happening up north, so maybe it’s not the best time to have more baby dragon riders.

Not affecting us down here.

Most here are not trading like Farthing and me, and we’re really noticing things shutting down.

It’s not like you need the money, Mistry.

Well, no, but Farthing is doing more travelling than me and he says the troubles are definitely working south.

Do you think we’re safe here?

Come on, Linena, you know I am the last person to ask for details. My political feelers have always been next to useless, but both Farthing and Eofin are worried. I really miss my father at times like this.

Mistry had built herself a really complicated family network. When she talked about her dad she meant her real father who had been killed by slavers, but when she talked about her father she meant Weasel, the one-thousand-year-old Ancient who died at the end of the war in the Prelates. In an even more complicated twist, it half explained why Se-Ini called Eofin uncle since he was Weasels half-nephew, allowing for a ridiculous number of generations. It didn’t really work, but the alternative in the hands of a six-year-old would have driven the adults mad.

And without the dragons, Mistry, we can’t even go and poke around.

I suppose I could if I vanished for a couple of years or something. I have spent far more of my life travelling by wagon than by dragon anyway.

Yeah, annoying that. I grew up with dragons and hopped my first ride when I was half the age of this one. Linena adjusted Se-Ini who, slightly unusually, had fallen quiet. Then along comes this right little babe from the Black Hills, jumps up on the one dragon who was being fussy about picking a rider, bags him, and turns into the best rider-dragon pair anyone can remember, including Bren-On, who was ancient.

Little babe?

Of course! When you came waltzing back with a one-legged dragon,

Drumstick.

I still don’t believe you called him that, said Linena, laughing. Anyway, there you were slim, small, bloody strong, and with leathers that were as tatty as anything. If you had stayed much longer, you would have had most of the dragon riders proposing to you, and that includes half the girls!

Oh, shut up, Lini-girl!

Lini, I am hungry!

See what you gone and done? Mistry sighed. No Linena, it wouldn’t have worked with any of them. I have too much history that people wouldn’t want to mess with. Farthing gets it because he was there and was part of it all. He can handle my off days and I can handle his. I don’t think anyone else could with either of us.

Linena looked at her friend warmly. She knew Mistry was right. Enough so that if Pree hadn’t had been tragically killed, she was sure Mistry would have stayed on her own for the rest of her life. It wasn’t that she had been waiting for Farthing, it was that Farthing had stopped her from running away. But it was a foolish argument to work out who had saved who. There was an upside to all the hurt. Both Farthing and Mistry had become heroes and leaders at a time when they should have still been just young and stupid. They were now making up for it like crazy when they could, and it made this village a lot of fun at times.

I forgot to mention that more of the riders are moving down, said Linena.

Really? Mistry laughed. Sounds like when I was living in Het Seborg and we heard that more dragons were turning up. They sort of sneaked up on you when you weren’t looking.

Oh, I wish they would, girl! I miss the dragons so much!

I know. We all do, said Mistry sadly. She would talk about her old friend Mab-Onin happily, but it was a scar that refused to heal. Several of the other riders here were in the same position and had lost dragon friends to the disease. Linena was one of those. So, who are this lot and why are they coming down?

I know a few of them, but I’m not sure whether you do. I have no idea why they are coming, though. Eofin got some message or other.

Eofin is always getting some message about something; drives Denierra spare. Mistry stood up and stretched and wriggled. Right, Linena, if I can leave the baby dragon girl with you, I will head up to the barns. Want to feed her?

Will do. If you would like, she can stay till Bela opens later and I will bring her down to play with the other kids while we taste Bela’s latest brew.

Love you, girl! I will see you later then. Mistry trotted out the door, leapt the gate, and ran up the hill to her and Farthing’s farmhouse.

I’m in the back! shouted Mistry at whoever was knocking at the big barn door. There was a lot of unclaimed, rough land up the coast from Deoran Ham on the east side of the River Sent, but the cottages in the village were small and had tiny gardens at best. Since all the former riders had substituted dragons for large horses, Farthing and Mistry had built barns and stables to be home to all the four-legged residents.

And this old limping Dragon Leader is in the front. Move it rider!

You ain’t so old that I cannot embarrass you, Cousin Eofin, said Mistry, giving her old almost-boss a hug.

I ain’t so old, period!

Where is your horse? Don’t tell me you hobbled up here.

Breathing might be better, but no chance of doing that, I’m afraid, Mistry. He leant on his stick and rubbed his leg. No, I left her around the side of your house in the shade.

You are spoiling her!

You accuse me of that? You would have yours eating at the kitchen table if you could.

Only the pretty ones. Now, even on your horse, you don’t generally come up here quite so close to opening time at the Blewen Fuga.

I am retired; I am allowed to spend many fatuous hours in the Blue Bird.

I think it’s light blue, strictly speaking.

You read too much, Mistry; you will melt your brain.

Mistry laughed. And how many of your old books did you cart around in your wagon for all those years?

Anyway. Eofin changed the subject quickly. I have some visitors that you need to come and meet. The Dragon Leader had lost the smile.

Riders?

No, though more are coming. This is more about you.

Mistry took Eofin by the arm and walked him towards the farmhouse. Who?

Your other family; Seb Dawfoot.

Here?

Mistry pulled up her little two-wheeler outside Eofin’s house which was just on the edge of the village limits next to the river. In front of her was a big wagon and four huge, old horses. That my old wagon and team, she said quietly. I didn’t expect to see that ever again. They look knackered. She didn’t get time to say anything else before Melini ran out of the house, jumped up on the cart, and buried her face in Mistry’s shoulder, bawling her eyes out. Mistry held the woman tightly and looked up at the thin, tired face of Seb Dawfoot as he followed her out.

Oh, Melini! said Mistry. Why are you here? What has happened?

The woman, now in her thirties, just clung on and sobbed.

Seb Dawfoot walked to the cart and took

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