Dragon's Heir by Kandi J. Wyatt - Read Online
Dragon's Heir
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Summary

In the ten winters since Kyanos was defeated, Rider Braidyn and his dragon, Turqueso, have made a place for themselves in the sleepy Boeskay colony. But when two nestlings are stolen from the hatchling cave, Braidyn’s sense of justice leads him on a quest to find the person responsible.

After recovering one nestling, Braidyn recruits his old friends Ruskya and Carryl to help. The friends travel to a faraway desert colony where they find a group of riders with different customs, and meet a beautiful young woman who could be the key to finding the missing nestling. Can Braidyn learn to temper justice with mercy, or will he risk losing everything?

Journey along in this exciting fantasy world in the spellbinding second installment of the Dragon Courage series, Dragon’s Heir, by Kandi J Wyatt.

Published: Kandi J Wyatt on
ISBN: 9781533709295
List price: $2.99
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Dragon's Heir - Kandi J. Wyatt

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One

Acknowledgments

Where do I begin? I am so blessed and amazed to have another book being published. It could never have happened if it wasn’t for the support from my family and friends. For David, who kept asking, What happens next? I say thank you. You have it in your hands.

My Booktrope team deserves special credit. Pam was always there when I needed encouragement through the ins and outs of social media and simultaneous book releases. Christina, my editor, put up with a lot of flack this time around as we decided what the word Agamid should refer to. Thanks for putting up with my obstinance. Vicki, thanks for dealing with all those crazy formatting errors. Computers can drive us insane. I think I prefer dealing with dragons over Windows! Amy, you’ve done it again—you’ve created a sensation with the cover. Thanks so very much.

Thank you to my readers. I would not have continued with a second edition without you. I was awed every time I heard, I can’t wait for book two! Here it is, and I hope you enjoy it just as much as book one. I know the sandhills call to me every time I read Dragon’s Heir.

For Jasmine, because it’s your fault.

Contents

Chapter 1: A Contented Rider  9

Chapter 2: A Disgruntled Vendor    16

Chapter 3: The Nestlings  20

Chapter 4: Dragon-Napping    25

Chapter 5: Peri Goes East  32

Chapter 6: Finding Information  35

Chapter 7: Calling for Help    45

Chapter 8: Joining Forces  53

Chapter 9: A Return Home    60

Chapter 10: The Search Begins  66

Chapter 11: The Agamid  73

Chapter 12: Night Attack  84

Chapter 13: Painful Memories  97

Chapter 14: Renewing the Search    109

Chapter 15: The Heir of Kyanos  113

Chapter 16: Ben’hyamene’s Decision    124

Chapter 17: Braidyn’s Search  129

Chapter 18: The Battle with Ya’cove    134

Chapter 19: The Ah’doneye of the El’shad’n    137

Chapter 20: Sarai Chooses a Future    144

Chapter 21: The El’shad’n Celebrate    152

Chapter 22: Heading South    159

Chapter 23: Return to Boeskay  169

Chapter 24: Ah’doneye of El’shad’n Returns    179

Preview192

More Great Reads  200

Chapter 1

A Contented Rider

The warm summer sun beat down on Braidyn as he leaned against Turqueso’s flank. It was days like this that he enjoyed best: no worries, a dragon at his side, and the heat of the day to relax in.

He turned and gave the dragon a hug. Thank you, Turqueso.

For what? The dragon’s sleepy voice replied.

For choosing me ten winters ago.

What else could I do? I needed a rider, and you needed a friend.

But, there were others you could have chosen.

True, but none were exactly like you.

Braidyn thought back to his old home. He really didn’t miss it. Yes, at times he still missed his parents, but it had been ten winters since they had been killed by the aqua dragon.

He reflected on how encounters with three dragons had changed his life and thrown him into circumstances that had led him to this bluff overlooking the Sur River. The aqua dragon had sent fear coursing through him for the first time, and Braidyn had been happy to hear of his death. After the aqua dragon had killed his parents, Braidyn had hid in fear while the merchant had told him of the icy blue dragon called Wyeth. This dragon had brought courage to his heart, and hope that there were good dragons in the world. Later, he had learned that the merchant told those stories under the influence of both his intense pain and the dragon courage Meredyth had shared with him. Most significantly, Turqueso had changed Braidyn’s life, and his physical appearance, forever. Braidyn was now a man of twenty-four winters. His sun-bronzed skin made his turquoise eyes stand out, and he had let his dark hair grow to shoulder length, as was customary for several of the riders in his colony.

Braidyn sighed contentedly. I wish afternoons like this could go on forever.

I know, but if they did, we wouldn’t enjoy them so much.

The young man nodded. I suppose we should head home and see if Cerulean needs any help.

Braidyn stood, stretching to his full six feet. His tunic fell open to reveal a chest accustomed to physical labor. Drawing his tunic back around, he tied his belt tighter at his waist. It was a dark leather belt, which signified that he was no longer a youngling. He liked the freedom of being a mature rider. One day he would probably train a youngling, but he didn’t have any aspirations to do so anytime soon. He bent down and shook out his knee-length leather boots before tugging them up over his shins.

Let’s go, Turqueso. I need to stop at the market to pick up supper supplies.

The dragon stretched, allowing the rays of sun to soak into all the places that had been in shadow. Braidyn paused to admire him. He was a beautiful turquoise color with veins of darker greenish hues trailing along his belly and showing through his wings. The dragon was also large, since he had seen one hundred sixty winters. Normally, a dragon and rider were closer in age, but since Turqueso had chosen Braidyn after his former rider, Kyanos, had died, Turqueso was much older than Braidyn.

***

Arriving on the plain outside Boeskay, Braidyn dismounted and sent Turqueso back to the bluffs where he had his nest. Braidyn continued on to the town that sprawled over the top of the bluffs overlooking the Sur River. Even after ten winters, Braidyn couldn’t get used to the houses spread out over multiple dragon spans. He had grown up around Woolpren, a village where houses were practically stacked on top of each other in the canyon wall.

The center of town was reserved for the marketplace. Braidyn loved it there. He enjoyed the colors, smells, and sounds of the bazaar. He didn’t like to be in the middle of the noise, but would rather sit back and let it all swirl around him. He came here each day to pick up his food. As he walked through the market, he tried to hold in check the disgust he felt toward the vendors who tried to pretend they were his friends just to get the sale.

My friend, I have a deal just for you!

A discount today, just for you!

He didn’t mind those who were honestly trying to sell their wares.

Melons, fresh melons, the singsong voices called.

Red, ripe tomatoes. The best this season!

Strawberries, two weights for three coppers.

The marketplace had both types of vendors; some took money while others accepted trades, but Braidyn had never gotten used to the idea of bartering. He approached a vendor toward the back of the square.

Good day, my northern friend, the sturdy, graying man greeted Braidyn. What will it be today? Some plump red peppers, or maybe some ripe, juicy tomatoes?

Greetings, Carvall. Those tomatoes look good, but I’ll have to take a closer look.

You always do, rider. How you can figure out what is on the inside of the produce by looking at the outside, I will never know. Must be some dragon ability.

Braidyn let the man think what he would. He hadn’t told anyone down here that he had grown up on a farm. Most of his knowledge was the kind he couldn’t verbalize, but just knew from instinct.

He considered the farmer’s display. The red tomatoes contrasted with the greens of the peppers, lettuce, and cucumbers. The orange carrots brought a bright spot to the earth tones of potatoes, ginger, onions, and garlic. The reds of the strawberries were surrounded by the pale yellows and greens of melons. He had always thought this vendor had more of an artistic arrangement than the others. That was what had caught his eye four winters ago, when he had first begun to prepare his own meals. Before that he had lived with his trainers, Cerulean and Duskya.

The potatoes called to him, but so did the strawberries. Maybe a salad with nuts and strawberries complimented by fried fish and potatoes? That sounded good.

Carvall, I’ll take one—no, make that two, tomatoes; one carrot; a head of lettuce; three potatoes; two onions; and a measure of your chopped nuts. Do you have any bread today, my friend?

Sorry, I don’t have any left. Had some this morning, but it goes awful fast these days. I can’t keep it in stock. Besides, it’s better when it’s fresh and hot.

Three measures of your flour, then, so that I can make my own bread. Now, wait a minute, Braidyn stopped the vendor. Not that flour, the other one. It’s better quality.

Was that our deal? the farmer inquired, hesitating as he turned to the bag indicated by the rider. This is the best I have.

Yes, and it wouldn’t be worth anything if it wasn’t for Turqueso and me.

The farmer hung his head. You drive a hard bargain, rider, but you are right. All right, I’ll give you the better flour, even though I could get two silvers for it.

You wouldn’t get those silvers if Turqueso hadn’t come by this fall to burn the stubble off your land and fertilize the ground.

I will gladly give it to you! I had to try bargaining at least a little.

Braidyn laughed and thanked the man. He took his produce basket and started to weave his way back through the marketplace. Strident voices caught his attention. He paused and pretended to look at some produce while listening in on the conversation.

But, sir, I didn’t pay for rotten produce. I paid for the ones like those, the woman said, pointing to the bright vegetables in the vendor’s display.

Ma’am, I don’t know what you are up to, but what you have in your basket couldn’t have come from my booth. You can see I have nothing that resembles the garbage you have there.

What am I to do? I can’t serve these to my family!

The woman was close to tears, Braidyn could tell. He had meandered to the booth where she was arguing with the vendor. The stench reaching his nostrils was overwhelming. He wasn’t sure how no one else had noticed it, but then, he had always been able to tell when produce was going bad. His Da had always relied on him to say when to harvest the potatoes before they turned rotten. Trips to the root cellar at the farm were not only for Braidyn to pull out the needed produce, but also to inspect for any possible rot. His nose told him that this vendor had rotten produce.

Honored lady, he stopped the woman from walking away defeated, what seems to be the problem?

This man claims that I did not purchase this basket from him. I did! He won’t give me my money back or replace these rotting items with good produce.

I see, Braidyn said calmly. He turned to the vendor. Is this true?

She didn’t get that garbage from me. You can see I only have fresh produce here.

Braidyn didn’t comment, but started to remove the top layer of potatoes from the display in front of him.

What do you think you are doing? the man huffed.

Braidyn didn’t answer. With great care, he picked up a potato from the second layer and broke it in half. He almost gagged. He held the potato out for the vendor, the woman, and the gathering crowd. The potato was black and putrid.

This is what you call fresh produce? I don’t think so.

I-I, the vendor stammered. I don’t know how that got there.

Then you don’t know how this carrot got here, either? Braidyn asked as he reached into the stack of carrots, took one from underneath the first layer, and proceeded to bend it in half. Instead of breaking crisply in two, it formed a limp, perfect arch.

I am sure, honored sir, Braidyn continued, turning to another customer, that if you look under that stack of lettuce you will find that it is almost a soup.

The man hesitated and then looked. He brought up a head of soggy lettuce. The crowd gasped.

For the finale, Braidyn reached for a tomato. He picked it up with care, but his fingers still sunk through the grayish-red skin. Placing the tomato on the table, he reached for the vendor’s towel and slowly wiped his hands without a word.

The crowd was spellbound. Braidyn felt a deep satisfaction. Since the aqua dragon had burned his farm and killed his family, he had vowed to defend the helpless at all costs. Now that he was a dragon rider, he could handle a bully, and he had the means to make sure his vow was kept.

Honored lady, take your pick of his produce. Replace what is in your basket and take what your family will use—as much as you need.

The woman looked questioningly at Braidyn, but seeing that the vendors and farmers agreed, she started to empty her basket and fill it with the good produce from the top layers of the vendor’s display.

But, the vendor started to protest.

Braidyn raised a warning hand and stared at the man. One look at the rider’s turquoise eyes was enough to stop any complaint.

Murmurs ran through the crowd, and Braidyn heard speculation about how he knew about the rotten produce; they connected it to his being a rider. Let them think what they will, Braidyn thought. It will give them greater respect for the next rider they meet.

Braidyn stayed to make sure the vendor didn’t go back on his word. He debated finding out the man’s name and banning him from the riders’ list of farms to fertilize each year, but decided against it. Public humiliation was enough for now. If the man continued to sell rotten produce, then Braidyn would reconsider. The young rider decided to keep an eye on the man and a nose in the air each time he passed this booth.

When the woman had filled her basket with fresh produce, she turned to him. Thank you, rider. May blessings be upon you for looking out for my family.

And may fortune shine on you and your family, he returned. It was my duty and my privilege to help.

He bowed to her, and she inclined her head and left, leaving murmurs behind her. Braidyn wandered away, and then doubled back to watch. One of his favorite pastimes was to find a nook out of the way and watch the market activity. He kept his eye on the offending vendor, but saw no more trouble. Word seemed to have spread to avoid him, for no one else stopped and purchased anything from his booth.

Braidyn finally made his way to the fish market. Here, too, he had a specific vendor that he visited. He selected a few fish to receive in exchange for cleaning the fishmonger’s nets each morning. It was a pleasure to clean the nets, since the man let Turqueso keep any extra fish that had gotten caught. Turqueso also liked the smell of the net and the river in early morning.

At last, Braidyn made his way back to his own little dwelling in Boeskay. There he started a fire and fried the fish with the potatoes and created a salad just the right size to finish off his meal. Duskya had instilled in him a love for tea; so while the fish and potatoes fried, he boiled water. When it was finished, he sat down to his small but satisfying meal and relaxed. He would finish the evening with a book and then watch the sunset. In the morning, he would go clean the fishing nets and take care of his other business in the colony. Perhaps he would go for a flight with Cerulean or Duskya tomorrow, or even offer to watch the children for them. But that was tomorrow. For now, he had a sunset to enjoy with his dragon.

Chapter 2

A Disgruntled Vendor

The market became a ghost town after everyone had left. Shells of booths lay dormant, waiting for the return to life in the morning. A stillness hung in the air. There were no more calling of wares, or harassing of customers; it was silent.

Triden surveyed what was left and placed his merchandise into an undersized cart. He had sold some, but not as much as most days, and none after that rider had interfered with his sale to the woman. He hated riders. They were too proud, thought they owned everything. In Boeskay, whatever a rider said went.

Farmers were dependent on the riders to treat their fields each fall. The dragon fire not only cleared the ground, but also fertilized it like nothing else could. A farmer would pay good money, or give a percentage of his crops to the rider. Triden didn’t have the money to pay and couldn’t stand being in slavery to the riders. That’s what the compromise of giving part of your produce each day to feed the rider gets you, he thought to himself. Who is the farmer that feeds this particular rider? I want a few words with him. There’s really nothing I can do to a rider. They’re more powerful than me and have too much prestige in the community.

Triden shook his head and continued to fill his cart. A stray strand of greasy hair fell over his round face. Taking the time to wipe a grubby hand over his face, he moved the hair away with a flick of his wrist. He repositioned the wide brimmed hat that was common among the people of Boeskay, and pushed up the sleeves of his brightly woven shirt. Bending over, he heard a tear in his cotton trousers, once white, but now so dirty they were almost black.

A voice stopped him in his work. It was a voice of a young man just entering manhood. At first Triden thought to ignore it, but the voice continued.

Excuse me, sir, I couldn’t help but see what happened this afternoon.

Triden looked up to see a man in a tan cloak with the hood pulled up to cover his face. If the man was larger, he could have been mistaken for a thief, but his small frame threw that thought down the river. Triden wondered what the young man was up to.

It is deplorable how riders treat people. They think they own the world and everyone else must bow to their wishes. Wouldn’t you like to take them down a notch or two? I know I would.

It was as if the man had read Triden’s thoughts.

Oh, take away their dragons and their special abilities, and I’d love to get a shot at one of them, Triden agreed. But it’s hopeless. How can you make a rider powerless?

You can’t! The other man interjected. What you can do, though, is hurt him where it counts—his dragon. They value those as if they were gold—more than gold! If you could steal a dragon, that would speak volumes.

Steal a dragon? the vendor scoffed. There’s no way. The dragon would fry me in a heartbeat!

Not if it can’t breathe fire.

Triden was confused. He glanced at the young man weighing what he had said. But what do you give the dragon to make him not breathe fire? And how do you give it to him?

You don’t, the man replied. You get an egg.

A dragon egg? Triden had never thought of that before.

How would I find these eggs?

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