Secret of the Dragon (Dragonships of the Vindras #2)

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9780765359254: Secret of the Dragon (Dragonships of the Vindras #2)

The gods that once held control over human existence are in trouble. New gods are challenging the power of the high god, Torval, for rule of the world. New religions are giving power to these brash interloping young gods, and the only way to stop them lies with the five bones of the Vektia Dragons―for these bones hold the primordial power of creation and destruction. The hope of the Vindrasi lies in finding the dragon bones before the followers of the new god Aelon can use them to redefine existence. But the Vindrasi gods have a traitor in their midst...

In the land of mortals, Raegar, a Vindraisi turned Aelon warrior-priest, searches for the spirit bones. Torval has a champion as well―Skylan Ivorson, sea-raider and high chief of the Vindrasi clans, cousin and sworn enemy to Raegar. But Skylan and his people are captives in Sinaria, where they must fight for survival. The fates of men and gods and are rushing headlong to destruction. Skylan can stop the calamity, but only if he discovers the secret of the dragon.

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About the Author:

MARGARET WEIS and TRACY HICKMAN published their first novel in the Dragonlance™ Chronicles, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, in 1984. Over twenty years later they are going strong, collaborating on more than thirty novels. Alone or together with other co-authors, Weis and Hickman have published more than one hundred books, including novels, collections of short stories, role-playing games, and other gaming products. Margaret Weis lives in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Tracy Hickman lives in Utah.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter1

BOOK ONE

The Vindrasi believe that every person has his own wyrd, as does every god. The wyrds of men and gods are intertwined, often to the detriment of man, for the gods are all-seeing, whereas man is blind. But sometimes the gods discover that foresight is a curse, not a blessing. For though a god may believe he is sure of the future of creation, no god can ever be truly confident that what he sees will come to pass, for no god can dictate the actions of men.

For men are free to choose. And thus men may unwittingly unravel the plans of the gods....

Skylan Ivorson, Chief of Chiefs of the Vindrasi nation, sat in the sand and watched half-naked men with hammers crawl over the side of his ship. He was reminded of flies swarming over a carcass.

The damage the Venjekar had suffered when the ship ran aground on a sandbar was greater than Acronis, the Legate of Oran, had first thought. After capturing the ship, the Legate had ordered his men to make some cursory repairs to the hull and then sail with the tide. The Venjekar had taken on so much water so rapidly that Tribune Zahakis, chosen by the Legate to captain the ship, had barely made it back to shore.

Skylan had felt a grim sort of satisfaction in the failure. It was as if the Venjekar knew she had been taken captive and had chosen to sink to the bottom of the sea rather than submit to her captors. Skylan prayed to Torval that the foul Southlanders would not be able to repair the Venjekar. Let them take away his sword, haul him off in chains; he would find some comfort in the fact that his ship had steadfastly defied her foes.

The Venjekar had not been given the choice. The Legate carried carpenters on board his ship, a war galley which the soldiers called a “trireme†because it had three banks of oars. Acronis sent the carpenters to make repairs. Zahakis ordered the Torgun prisoners to be removed from the ship. They now sat in the sand, their hands and feet shackled, bound to each other by chains, and watched over the soldiers of the Legate in their glistening segmented armor and leather skirts.

The Torgun warriors, bereft of their armor, were now only seven in number. Almost thirty had set sail on the Venjekar when Skylan had begun this god-cursed voyage. Some had died fighting the giants on the Dragon Isles. Some had been wounded in the battle against the Southlanders. They had survived their wounds only to die later with the others, victims of a strange sickness, the likes of which the Torgun had never known before.

The sickness came on suddenly, beginning with fever and chills, stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea, and ending in death for many. Others, like Aylaen and Treia, Erdmun and the youngster, Farinn, had caught the sickness, but recovered. Skylan had not been affected by it at all, possibly because he had remained isolated from the others, a prisoner in the hold. The sickness had not struck Wulfe either, possibly because the boy had run away. Terrified of the strange soldiers, Wulfe had stayed away from the camp for days. He was gone so long Skylan had thought the boy had run off for good this time. But then Wulfe had returned, showing up unexpectedly, saying he was hungry.

Skylan had feared the soldiers of Oran would try to shackle Wulfe. The boy had a marked aversion to iron, swearing he could not touch it or it would hurt him. Wulfe could not even bear to smell it.

The Southlanders did not shackle Wulfe. They had no manacles that would fit over the boy’s scrawny wrists, and no one considered the eleven-year-old boy a danger. They didn’t particularly care if he ran away again, and so the soldiers left him alone. If Raegar had been on shore, he could have told them that Wulfe was extremely dangerous. He would have urged the soldiers to bind him hand and foot and lock him in the hold. Raegar was not there, however. Skylan had not seen his traitor cousin for days. Wulfe crouched by Skylan’s side, keeping his distance, for fear he might accidentally touch one of the iron shackles.

The prisoners were not chained up to keep them from running away, but rather to discourage the “savages†from attacking their guards. The Torgun warriors had already tried twice to fight their captors, not with any hope of escape, for they had no weapons, but simply with the intent of killing as many as they could before they themselves were killed.

The Torgun blamed Skylan for everything—the storm that had blown them off course, the disastrous encounter with giants, their enslavement. They even blamed him for the sickness. The Torgun could not blame Skylan more than he blamed himself. Nor could they hate Skylan more than he hated himself.

Skylan had often dreamt that his soul went to Torval’s Hall of Heroes. As he stood among the valiant warriors who had died with swords in their hands, his hands and feet were bound by chains. Torval and the other heroic warriors had roared with laughter, driving him from the Hall. He would constantly awake from that terrible dream in a cold sweat.

Skylan now watched the carpenters. He had to admit, grudgingly, that they knew their business. He turned to Wulfe, who was digging holes in the sand.

“I asked you a question. Where has Raeger been keeping himself?†Skylan said. “I would think he would be hanging around like he did at first, gloating and jeering at us.â€

Wulfe shrugged. “He is probably somewhere rutting with Treia.â€

Skylan stared at the boy, incredulous. “Treia? And Raegar? Treia may be a venemous snake, but she is Vindrasi. She is loyal to her people and to her gods. Raegar betrayed her as he betrayed the rest of us. She would scratch out his eyes if he came near her.â€

“I saw them,†said Wulfe. “In the temple. Rutting.â€

“What do you mean, you saw them in the temple? What temple? Where?†Skylan demanded.

“The temple here,†said Wulfe. “The temple with the big statue of a dragon inside it.â€

Skylan frowned. “This isn’t another of your stories, is it? Like claiming you can talk to satyrs and dryads.â€

“I do talk to satyrs and dryads,†said Wulfe. “And I did see Raegar and Treia.â€

Skylan was dubious. He believed the boy lied, but his lies had the value of being entertaining. “Tell me what they said. And keep your voice down.â€

An armed guard, looking hot and bored, paced about the sandy shoreline.

Wulfe leaned a little nearer, keeping a wary eye on the iron clamped around Skylan’s wrists and ankles, as though he expected it to leap up and bite him.

“You remember when the dragon goddess came to you?†Wulfe asked. “Right before you fought the giants?â€

Skylan remembered that encounter only too well. He gave a brief nod; his lips tightened. “I remember. Go on.â€

Wulfe continued. “The dragon goddess scared me and I ran away. I found Garn, but he was holding a sword and there were more men with him holding swords, and that scared me more than the dragon, and I ran away from them, too. That’s when I saw Treia. She was tearing her hair and wringing her hands and talking crazy to herself, all about how Raegar was dead and no man would ever love her.â€

Skylan nodded. Wulfe’s story fit with what Garn had told him, about how the distraught Treia, grieving over the supposedly drowned Raegar, had gone off by herself. No one knew where. The Torgun had been going to search for her, but then the giants had attacked them and they were fighting for their lives.

“I didn’t know where you were or how to get back to camp,†Wulfe said. “I thought Treia would know the way so I followed her. But she didn’t go back to camp. She went into the temple with the dragon. And there was Raegar, alive, lying on the floor. His clothes were all wet.â€

“Of course they were,†said Skylan. “He didn’t fall off the ship. He jumped overboard and swam ashore.â€

“Maybe.†Wulfe shrugged. “Raegar told Treia a god had punished him. Treia was so glad to see him she began to rut with him then and there. Afterward she asked why he was being punished. He said it was because he was keeping your secret. And then he told her your secret, about how you and Draya murdered someone named Horg. Did you murder someone named Horg?â€

Skylan sighed and was silent for long moments, gazing out over the clear, waveless sea. At length, he shook his head.

“But someone named Horg was murdered?†Wulfe asked.

“Yes,†said Skylan.

“But you didn’t murder him?â€

“No. I fought cleanly. As Torval is my witness!†Skylan said vehemently. “I did what I believed to be right. Why is it,†he asked in frustration, “that every time I think I am doing right, it turns out to be wrong?â€

“Maybe you should do something wrong and then it will turn out right,†Wulfe suggested.

Skylan smiled bleakly. “Maybe I should. Garn knew. Garn always knew what was right. He tried to tell me and I wouldn’t listen. And now Garn is dead and I am a slave and my people are slaves.â€

“All because of Treia.†Wulfe growled, sounding so much like a dog that the soldier whistled and looked around in search of an animal.

“I can’t blame her,†said Skylan. “She trusted Raegar. We all did.â€

Wulfe snorted. “She likes rutting with him.â€

“How do you know Raegar was lying? Maybe it was a miracle. Maybe Vindrash did save him.â€

Wulfe snorted. “Vindrash wears boots then. The floor was dusty and I saw the footprints. I saw Raegar’s footprints. His feet were bare and wet. I saw two pairs of prints of men who had been wearing boots and they were dry. They ...

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Descripción Tor Books, United States, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. New gods are challenging the old high god, Torval, for ruler ship of the world. The only way to stop these brash interlopers lies with the five bones of the Vektia Dragons - hidden away by the Dragon Goddess, Vindrash during the creation of the world. Without these bones, Aelon, one of the new gods, cannot seize power. The only hope of the Vindrasi lies in finding the dragon bones before the followers of Aelon can use them to destroy the old gods. But the Vindrasi gods have a traitor in their midst.In the land of mortals, Raegar, a Vindraisi turned Aelon warrior-priest, searches for the spirit bones. The gods have a champion of their own - Skylan Ivorson, sea-raider and high chief of the Vindrasi clans and sworn enemy to Raegar. But Skylan is a prisoner on his own ship. The ship s dragon, Kahg, has vanished and some believe he is dead. Skylan and his people are taken as captives to Sinaria, where they must fight in a game known as the Para Dix. The fates of men and gods and dragons are rushing headlong to destruction. Skylan can stop the calamity, but only if he discovers the secret of the dragon. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780765359254

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