ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 27 – SEARCH (SERIALISATION)

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

Welcome to the serialisation of Accidental Immortal. Chapters will be published four times a week so the serialisation will be completed at (roughly) the same time as on Wattpad, if not a little sooner!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 27 – sEARCH

Arkan reached the Contee ball to find Lynsey had already gone. He scanned the crowd for her unusual blond hair. Where was she? He spotted the king in the distance with his attendants but didn’t cross the floor to join him. One of the King’s guards was handing him his cape. Good, he was planning to leave.

Arkan kept to the opposite side of the room, making sure there were dancers between him and the king’s entourage at all times. He had a feeling that something wasn’t right when he first stepped into the ballroom and he trusted his gut instinct enough to not risk talking to the king until he knew why he felt like he did. Usually, men flocked around Lynsey and her companion like flies to a yelk but there were no clusters of men and nearby disgruntled ladies. She was notable by their absence.

He moved from room to room, chatting to a lady here and a gentleman there. If the king didn’t suspect anything he had to keep up pretences. He fared no better upstairs. The muscles in his face and belly tightened. He was beginning to feel jumpy. No one was willing to tell him what happened. He knew she was coming tonight and not even Luna would arrive this late. He couldn’t even find the servants he kept on his payroll. A shiver of uncertainty swept through him. The king couldn’t know about all his informants. They were either avoiding him or worse. He didn’t want to think about that fate. Spying on the king was treason.

Then he spied Jarek hovering near a doorway. He beckoned the man with his finger. The man blinked and hurried forward, picking up a jug and a glass from a nearby table as he bypassed courtiers with ease.

“Do you know where Lady Walker is?” Arkan was careful to keep his voice light. The man’s bearing showed he was nervous.

Jarek began to pour into the glass. “She was taken by the King’s guards, Sir.”

“How long ago?”

“More than a half hour. Is there anything else?” He offered the glass.

Arkan burned to ask more questions but he didn’t want to delay the man any more than he should. There were already a few curious glances directed their way.

“Do you know where they took her?”

“I’m sorry Sir, I heard nothing from them that would give her location away.” Arkan inwardly seethed but he knew Jarek would tell him if he knew anything. He took the glass and waved the back of his other hand as if the man was of no consequence to him. Jarek nodded, relaxing his shoulders as he walked backwards a couple of feet before turning to take his place again.

Arkan took a draught from the glass and sauntered to the window. He leant against the ledge, letting the cool breeze ruffle his fringe. The sound of shorn hooves on pebbles drew his attention down and he gripped the stone hard as he recognised who was there. In the courtyard, the king was stepping into a small carriage. It was only large enough to carry one occupant. There were a couple  of shouts and the horses began to trot away from the house with the guards running alongside. These were the elite guards he noted. Their black uniforms resembled his own. He shivered and took another sip of his wine. They were the only men that Arkan was wary of. He had been bested many times in mock combat by one of their guard when training. In the darkness, when wearing black, they were practically invisible. The only warning of their arrival were the whites of their eyes.

Arkan tore his gaze from the empty courtyard. Lynsey wasn’t here and she wasn’t with the king.

Arkan put his glass down with regret. It was a good vintage but he needed to clear his thoughts. He ran down and around to the back of the building where his horse was waiting, still saddled from his arrival. He stopped between the horse and the wall and pounded his fists on the stone in frustration. They must have taken her to the Temple. It was the only place they would go but there were far too many guards to deal with on his own. He hissed and threw back his head as his knuckles sent shooting pain to his brain in revenge for their beating. He gritted his teeth and sucked his hand. He needed to find Luna.

He re-entered the palace but again no one knew or would admit where she was. Jarek was nowhere to be found either. Probably the wisest course of action mused Arkan. Lady Khaen gave him a small wave  by the buffet table and he smiled back.

“My lady, you look beautiful as always.” She giggled as he knew she would.

“Thank you Arkan. Are you looking for Luna? She left moments after the king. But,” She moved closer letting him get a good look down her low cut bodice. “I am still here.”

If he had not met Lynsey, he would have been tempted. Her skin reminded him of the best dark chocolate. Her hazel eyes promised him anything he wanted – all he had to do was ask. But she was of the Contee family and if he had learnt anything from his youth, it was not to mess with one of the most powerful families in the land.

He bowed to thank her and kissed her hand lingering for a moment. Her perfume was heady.

“My lady, I am on the King’s business this night. I would give a ransom to spend time with you, but I must go.”

She narrowed her eyes. Had she noticed him avoiding the king earlier? Arkan straightened letting her hand fall from his.

“Another time, my lady?”

She nodded and he relaxed. That was close. That would be all he needed, to insult a Contee. He bowed again and rushed off.

An uncomfortable idea crept into his thoughts as he rounded a corner. Had Luna had something to do with Lynsey’s kidnapping as well? He ran back to his horse and jumped on her, wheeling her around in the direction of Luna’s house, He sped down the road as if a horde of devils were after him.

He pulled on the reins at the entrance to Luna’s driveway. His horse whinnied but acquiesced, bending down to eat some fresh grass growing against the gate.

The moonlight was bright and he could see the house clearly from his vantage point but there were no lights in the house. He sat on the horse and contemplated the dark building. It wasn’t just that there were no lights in the reception or bedrooms but there wasn’t illumination in any of the rooms. Not even the servants’ quarters. The uncomfortable thought resurfaced. Was she part of the new alliance? Who else was? Could he trust anyone? One man could not go against the King, Baserius and the closed ranks of the nobility. He thought he could count her as his friend. He felt betrayed. Still, he knew it wasn’t her fault – that she couldn’t have done anything else if asked by the king. She had taken a risk helping as much as she had. She held her power at the aegis of the king. If she went against him then she would lose her position and possibly money judging by her husband’s business. He berated himself, he had been foolish to trust her. He knew her circumstances, her capabilities. He had known them before he had contrived to meet her. She was one of the strongest women in all of Ghinari but even she had to bend her principles in the face of survival. She was gone, there was nothing he could do about that now. He needed a drink.

Arkan made his way to the Dragon Arms. It was a small inn with a clientele that didn’t ask questions as long as you didn’t ask them first. Turning his jacket inside out to look scruffier and kicking loose mud off his shoes on the front step he regarded the tap room with caution. It was full of the usual suspects. Perfect, he thought with an inward smile. No one would bother him here. He slunk down, altering his posture to bend into a stoop and drew his hood over his head. He moved through the crowd, affecting the clumsy walk of someone who had already imbibed too much. He strode with an aggression he didn’t feel but needed to display. The music was loud and jarring but strangely soothed his nerves. Seeing a target, he barged into the arm of a young man he judged to be about twenty, half-way between a boy and a man. He fingered the tip of a knife up his sleeve even though he knew he would not need it. The youth dropped his drink on his companion who squealed as the red liquid ran down her pale yellow skirts. A woman of substance, Arkan thought, surprised to see the quality of her dress and nobility of the woman’s accent as she yelled at the boy. He must be trying to impress his new girl. Was it a bet? Arkan looked again at the rich cut of the young man’s cloth. He should not have brought her here. No matter how much he wagered. A cleaning bill was he least of his worries if he interacted with the wrong people here. He was doing the idiot a favour. The boy turned ready to throw a punch but Arkan was ready with a snarl, using all the pent up emotions he had been holding back over the last few days. The boy pulled back his arm. Just try, Arkan thought, daring him with his eyes. The youth hesitated, looked from him to his companions for moment and then apologised. Maybe the boy would reach twenty one after all. Arkan growled at his circle of friends daring anyone else to intervene. There must have been something in his expression because they didn’t.

He moved past and selected a table where he could sit with his back to the wall. He leant against the cool stone letting the open fire heat his bones from the front. He half opened an eye-lid.

“Ale!” He shouted at a passing wench, closing his eye again. Wench. What a horrible word. Before tonight he would have thought nothing of using it, he mused darkly. One chit of a girl and he was questioning everything. Nothing seemed solid. The ancient rivalry between king and brotherhood was over. Luna had disappeared and the woman he loved captured and maybe killed. He jerked cutting his fingertip on the blade he was playing with. Did he love her? He sucked his finger out of habit. He rolled the idea around in his brain. Could he love someone he had only known for a few days? She was attractive but so had so many women he had bedded over the years and he had never even remotely felt the emotion he did for this girl.

The serving woman came over and planted a flagon on the table with a bang and waited patiently for him to notice. He let her wait for a moment, savouring her annoyance, knowing she was waiting for a tip. He opened an eye and looked blearily at her before handed over a coin. She sneered at it but took it anyway sashaying over to a man with richer clothes and a looser purse.

Arkan took a swig and pictured Lynsey as he had last seen her. Her long blond hair flowing down her back. Her dress hinting at the delights under it. His pleasure at her touch still taunted him and the pain when she broke away. Gods, he wanted to protect her.

Three flagons later and he was slowly falling into the numb state he craved. He barely registered when some brothers walked in but the level of sound in the room dropped. Arkan raised his head from his arms looking for the source. He noted one of the brothers was talking to the man he barged into earlier. He was offering work for an expedition. Did they not see the boy’s clothing? He had no need for money and while an adventure would impress the girl, if he left, another would take his place over the months when he was gone.

Why not? He thought in a drunken stupor. Maybe he needed a career change. It’s not like he changed anything when he did kill anyone. If he removed a criminal another took his place and that was if the man or woman was bad. The soft hand of guilt was massaging his conscience. How many of those he had killed were just obstacles in the king’s path?

He’d never thought about it before. Training will do that for you, he thought darkly. When had he ever had the time to think it through? You like the luxury of the job the small voice of his conscience informed him. It wasn’t that but no one had ever told him to think differently before Lynsey. He’d always taken what he wanted when he wanted. That is what everyone did if they could. It wasn’t wrong. Then why did he want to protect her so badly?

The brothers had also come to the wrong place, Arkan thought with humour. No one here would lift a finger for an honest day’s wage and less than that was what they were offering. The honour of Sekhmet was worth Jack shit here.

About to ask for another flagon of ale, Arkan paused. Lynsey was gone, the king had to know he was the one that rescued her the other night and if he didn’t Luna would probably tell him. He needed to get out of town. Maybe this was the answer. Get a guard’s job for a couple of months and then come back when everything had blown over. He had enough money that he could buy a parcel of land out in the country and no one would come looking for him. Lynsey was gone and there was nothing he could do about it but make sure he didn’t suffer the same fate but he did need to disappear for a while just in case. He put his flagon down and stood up almost toppling as the waves of drink rose to his head.

He stumbled out of the inn with the door slamming behind him. A brother straggling behind the others ahead turned at the noise. Arkan raised his hand in a half salute.

“I’ll take your money.” He slurred.

The other brothers turned, looking disgusted at his state but the closest, moved nearer wincing at the smell of ale on Arkan’s breath.

“He’s a drunk.” One of the brothers whispered.

I can hear you, Arkan thought, thinking better of saying it out loud.

“We don’t have a choice.”  Another hissed. “We have hardly any volunteers. Do you want to tell Baserius?”

The man curled his lip at the picture Arkan made before him. Arkan held his breath. Would they take him? Did he really care? Before he had a chance to think any more on the subject, the first replied to him.

“Sekhmet thanks you.” He said striding forward and placing a pin on Arkan’s shirt “Be at the city gates by dawn. We leave at sunrise.”

“Absolutely, count me in.” He saluted again.

Arkan looked down at the pin on his front. It bore the figure of a woman with a lion’s face. He heard the brother walk away in the direction of another tavern.

He traced the lion’s mane surrounding the face with his finger. He may as well make his way there now. There was nowhere for him to go here. Home was not safe and he had everything he needed to survive. A blade or two and his wits. Arkan followed the brothers from a distance, keeping to the shadows out of habit. They went from inn to inn but only seemed to manage to get one maybe two recruits at each place. It was a poor showing and it showed how the Temple’s influence had deteriorated over the years.

Once they had enough men, they returned to the temple and he saw the recruiters help their brethren to put together the caravan for the trip ahead. He lounged in the doorway of the inn down the street. His hood was still up and he played with his blade in his hand as he watched. He was beginning to sober up and was starting to feel the shadow of a headache forming.

When they left the building he followed them to the city gates where they began loading the yelks with the provisions they brought from the temple.

There were about fifteen yelks and a few were already loaded up. He could offer to help with the rest he thought, but no, he hadn’t been hired for that. Between two yelks he spied a cloth hammock which was strapped around each yelk’s belly. It was filled with cloth and looked very inviting, the luxuries that some in the brotherhood could not do without. Stifling a yawn Arkan climbed up and snuggled between bags of bedding. Perfect and he wouldn’t even be forgotten. Thrilled with his cleverness he fell asleep with a smile on his lips.

Contents

Chapter 1 - Duat
Chapter 2 - London - Present Day
Chapter 3 – Lynsey on Duat
Chapter 4 - Nomads
Chapter 5 - Scorpion
Chapter 6 - The Dragon Temple
Chapter 7 - Assassin
Chapter 8 - The Luscious Luna
Chapter 9 - Arkan Blade
Chapter 10 - Kidnapped
Chapter 11 - Rescue
Chapter 12 - Modesty
Chapter 13 - Banquet
Chapter 14 - Arkan
Chapter 15 - Dancing with the King
Chapter 16 - Dragon Brotherhood
Chapter 17 - Pico
Chapter 18 – The Dragon
Chapter 19 – Settling Down
Chapter 20 – Danger Revealed
Chapter 21 – Betrayal
Chapter 22 - A Meeting of Minds
Chapter 23 = Invisibility
Chapter 24 - Desert
Chapter 25 - Escape
Chapter 26 - Gathering

ACCIDENTAL IMMORTAL CHAPTER 26 – GATHERING (SERIALISATION)

There are fates worse than death…

#amwriting #books

Welcome to the serialisation of Accidental Immortal. Chapters will be published four times a week so the serialisation will be completed at (roughly) the same time as on Wattpad, if not a little sooner!

If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.

–Ceri Clark

Chapter 26 – GATHERING

As the orange fingers of dawn crawled along the desert landscape, the tribe broke camp. Lynsey had already swapped the garish dress the Brothers had given her for one of Illyara’s. It was definitely more suited to walking distances but then sitting on a yelk meant the long dress hadn’t been a trip issue with the Brothers. She rubbed her face as she trudged on. They had talked with Illyara’s father for hours last night and she was exhausted. Her bones felt as if they had been filled with heavy metal. Each step was a struggle.

“Pico? Could you take over for a while?” It was worth a try, she’d give anything for a sleep.

I do not think that would be a good idea Lynsey. I understand you need sleep but it would be a slippery slope for me to take over when things get too hard. Your body needs sleep as well as your mind. If I did this I suspect I would be doing it more and more.”

Great, she thought, stifling a yawn. It had been worth a try though. No harm no foul as the Americans would say. She straightened her back and copied Illyara’s gait as they climbed yet another dune.

They were miles away before they felt safe enough to make camp again. The call had gone out to the rest of the tribe that there was a meeting and the tent was again packed. Full of young and old jostling for position to hear their leaders and Lynsey speak. They sat on bright cushions brought in from the other tents. The floor was an enormous patterned mosaic as if put together by a colour-blind designer. As she thought this, she realised that she could see colours properly for the first time. Reds and greens popped out next to blues and purples. Her jaw dropped at the beauty. “I didn’t realise what I’ve been missing!

“Pardon?” Illyara replied sitting beside her.

“I can see colours!”

“Couldn’t you before?”

“Yes, but not like this.” Her voice was filled with wonder.

I’ve been working on changing your core code. I noticed there were bits missing and corrupted. That is why I have been so silent for so long. It’s hard work working through DNA sequences. I have to work small. A lot of what I have tried gets reversed, before I have finished changing it.” Pico’s voice sounded hurt.

“I thought I was stuck with how I arrived here.”

Technically that is true, but I’ve found I can make small changes at the molecular level and it sticks but too much and all the changes I make disappear and I have to start again.”

“Really? This is amazing.” She could see the colour of people’s eyes from across the room. “What else have you done?” She whispered.

Well as you asked, you should notice a marked improvement in your hearing and you might find that your sense of smell is better, although I’m still working on that one.”

“I don’t really want to smell any better. That happens during the,” She went cross-eyed for a moment, trying to think of a better way to say it. Oh, hell. There was no need to censor for Pico, she smiled at the thought. “time of the month. The amount of times I’ve nearly prayed to the porcelain god because someone was eating something stinky in front of me. If that happened all the time I would just be throwing up all over the place.”

Noted, I won’t mess with that sense anymore.”

“Could you not mess with any more of my senses, please?”

Why not?

“Because there is a reason that humans developed their sense in a certain way and messing about with that could have uncertain consequences. Surely you can see that? My chucking up example should give you a clue!”

I concede.”

That was easy. “Good.”

“Sekhmet has come back to us.” Shouted a voice. Lynsey twisted and identified it as Illyara’s father, Darun. Everyone clapped around her.

“What? Who is Sekhmet?”

The lion headed Goddess of fire, war and healing. Interesting I can see where they get that from.”

“You are.” Illyara replied, her eyes shining in the candlelight. “We have waited years for you to come. There was a prophecy that you would arrive. We need you to help us rescue a dragon. You can lead us and the other tribes against the brotherhood and the king and take back what is rightfully ours.”

“What is rightfully yours?”

“Freedom. We are trapped in the desert, moving from one place to another so that we cannot be forced to fight for the king in distant wars. We have to hide what we can do. Our people have lived in the desert for centuries. They have been here so long that they have no concept that there is another way to live. Water and food should not be rationed as the city would have us believe. War and power makes it so and it is time to change.

Lynsey stood up, nervous to be standing in front of so many people. Illyara nodded at her, still seated on the royal blue cushion besider her. “I’m not Sekhmet, I’m just Lynsey.” She coughed, clearing her throat. “I am from another world but I am not a Goddess. I arrived here by accident not by design. I’ve just stumbled from one thing to another. I really don’t belong here, all I want to do is go home.”

Do you know, I wouldn’t mind that either.” Pico whispered in her consciousness. “We will do that but we have to help these people.”

“Why are you on their side?” Whispered Lynsey.

We may be on this world for a very long time. Do you want it to be a heaven or a hell?”

They think I am Sekhmet. What if they want me to do a miracle or something?” She switched to thought at some curious glances.

They don’t seem to be that kind of people. They haven’t really said what they want you to do yet.”

Lynsey pondered for a moment. What was a god anyway? It was just a label. If she was honest from the beginning, then what could go wrong?

“I am not Sekhmet, but I will help you.”

The nomads looked from one to the other and they grinned, she would help them.

****

“Where are we going now? Asked Lynsey struggling to climb up the steep sandy bank after Illyara.

“Back to the Oasis where you first met us. Messengers have been sent far and wide for all the tribes to meet there.”

“Why there?”

“It is holy and more practical. It is the biggest oasis this side of the desert. Our yelks will need to drink and stock up on water and we will need to be somewhere safe to talk that won’t draw attention to our numbers.”

They walked for two more days at a faster pace than with the temple but water still had to be rationed and everyone had a skin which contained enough water for the day. Lynsey pushed the container on to her belt. She was still thirsty but Illyara had warned her to take sips now and again rather than gulps. Her thoughts were fuzzy under the heat and thirst and she could see the others were feeling it too. The sun was relentless. It was with tremendous relief when they arrived at the oasis at night fall the next day. The smell of camp fires burning throughout the oasis reached them as they approached and they could hear people singing.

“We won’t bother with making the tents up here. We don’t need to put up walls during a Gathering.”

“How did everyone get here before us?”

“We sent messengers on wedasi. It is the fastest way to travel in the desert.”

“Why don’t you ride them all the time?”

Illyara looked horrified. “That would be dangerous. The wedasi would eat anyone that dared to ride them without training.”

“What are the Wedasi again?”

“Two headed serpent like creatures.”

Lynsey paused skin half-way to her mouth. I met one of those when I first arrived here. Why didn’t I see any of them while we were travelling to Ghinari?” They passed a family of nomads unrolling some fur on the floor for beds.

“They always travel a distance behind with their trainers.” A woman to their side offered a fresh skein of water. Illyara took it with a bow and a whispered thanks.

“I can understand why.” Replied Lynsey with feeling. Illyara gave her a strange look but carried on, dodging some children running past.

As they made their way through the camp, Lynsey noticed people were roaming to and from different fires with skins full of drink. From the gait of some of the revellers, Lynsey was pretty sure that not all, if any, of the skins contained water.

“I thought you didn’t drink?”

“What gave you that idea?”

“At the house, you didn’t drink the brandy?”

“I didn’t feel comfortable drinking in that company.” Illyara winked and drank deeply from the skin. “Would you like some?”

Lynsey took it. As long as it wasn’t vodka, she knew she would like it. She raised it to her lips and chugged it down. Her eyes watered and she stopped breathing for a moment. She coughed once and then couldn’t stop. The men nearest started laughing.

“What is that?”

“Reasse.”

Lynsey glared at her and Illyara replied laughing.

“It’s fermented yelk milk. The taste takes a little getting used to.”

The other tribes had left a space beside the river. There were several curious glances at her blond hair but no one approached her and she was able to move freely through the crowds. There were hundreds of tribesman already there and more were arriving every hour.

Darun and his wife were organising the gathering area. To the right of Illyara’s tribe’s area, there was a clearing in between the desert and the water. It was filled with stones styled in a half-moon pattern. Illyara caught Lynsey looking at the stones.

“The Elders will sit on the stones and everyone else will stand in a semi-circle around them.” Illyara’s arm swept out towards the stones.

“If someone from the crowd needs to speak, they stand and face the semi-circle.”

“Do the elders need to stand as well?” Lynsey watched as an elderly lady hobbled towards them.

“Oh no, they raise their arm and we listen.”

Young men were working among the stones, clearing the ground of roots, weeds and loose vegetation. In front of the stones. They laid tent material inside the half-circle. On the stones themselves they placed cushions made from a deep blue material. They appeared to be made for the seating as they were the exact size of the stone they were placed on. As each stone was covered, an elder would take their place from the crowd which was beginning to form.

Others prepared lamps and hung them from trees and placed them on the ground between brightly coloured cushions. The effect was surprisingly intimate for the number of people there. A young man, skin in one hand and a sweet treat in the other stumbled through some already seated tribespeople. He stood on a hand but the woman, just smiled and pulled him down to sit beside her.

“There is a lot of drunk people here. How are you going to have a meeting like that?”

“No one is seriously drunk and those that are, are only stopping their voices from being heard. That is their choice and their right.”

As the moons moved through the sky, Darun blew on a horn. The long low sound echoed soulfully in the stillness, sending chills down Lynsey’s back.

“That’s beautiful.” whispered Lynsey. Illyara smiled back at her.

Darun handed the horn to his wife and took a burning branch from Mewlli waiting nearby. He lit the first lamp and then a team of what Lynsey guessed were teenagers, took small branches and lit them from Darun’s to fan out and light all the lamps.

Lynsey moved to sit on the outside, next to the nomads surrounding the circle but Illyara gently took her hand and drew her to one of the stones near the front.

“Your place is here.”

Lynsey sat sheepishly looking at her satin slippers compared to the coarse leather of those around her. She had changed in to nomad robes but she hadn’t been ready to lose the shoes.  She realised how silly that was now.

They thought she was some ancient Egyptian God! How was she going to live up to that? She felt Pico sending soothing thoughts to her but she shook her head irritated and she stopped. Lynsey cocked her head to the side. She still hadn’t made up her mind whether Pico was a girl or a boy. He felt like a boy but that didn’t really make any sense.

Why is this so important to you Lynsey?”

“I don’t know, I just need to know whether to think of you as a he or she. It is doing my head in.”

How about a he then?”

“You want to be a he?”

Lynsey, it really doesn’t matter to me. There is no biological reason for me to be one way or another. From your memories you have historically got on well with males so I am happy to be a ‘he’ for you if that makes you feel better.

Shh. They are starting.” She thought back.

“We are gathered here today to fight for what has been taken from us all those centuries ago. They took our land, they took our lives and they took our dragon. We must fight now while the King and the brotherhood are fighting between themselves and the others. They are losing the war against the islands. They need men and money. The king will not be able to effectively fight on two fronts. If we join the fight then his empire will collapse. We have stopped the Temple from gaining the money from the pyramids by rescuing Lynsey Walker. If we unite and push on now we can win. This opportunity may not present itself again for centuries. We are the enemy within that they have forgotten about. But we still remember.” The crowd roared, stamping their feet into the ground.

“We need a leader, someone to show the way. We must rescue the dragon. He helped to defeat the priests in the beginning and protected us for years. Now it our turn to rescue him.”

Lynsey held her head up and gulped. How many times had she taken a sick day at university so she would miss the kind of lessons where she had to talk in front of class? This was the ultimate presentation. She scanned the seated crowd. There were so many of them. Hundreds of people were looking at her from the clearing and they went far back as the water in the oasis and into the desert to the side. These people needed someone brave enough to talk in front of them at least. She stood up and strode to stand in front of Darun.

“My name is Lynsey. I am from another world and I have met your dragon.” There was a gasp. She saw surprise on Darun’s face.

“He has been trapped in the bowels of the Temple for two centuries. He has been tortured, and treated like a simple beast.” She searched for an example that would be relevant for them.” Worse than a yelk. He is no animal. He is as clever as you or me and he deserves better. I don’t know what he did for your people beyond what has been said today but he was brought here accidentally as I was. He wasn’t meant for the life he has and he should be free. I pledge that I will do everything that I can to help you and him to make a fairer society.” The crowd stamped their feet.

Bravo, Lynsey.”

“Shut up Pico.” But she inwardly smiled.

Contents

Chapter 1 - Duat
Chapter 2 - London - Present Day
Chapter 3 – Lynsey on Duat
Chapter 4 - Nomads
Chapter 5 - Scorpion
Chapter 6 - The Dragon Temple
Chapter 7 - Assassin
Chapter 8 - The Luscious Luna
Chapter 9 - Arkan Blade
Chapter 10 - Kidnapped
Chapter 11 - Rescue
Chapter 12 - Modesty
Chapter 13 - Banquet
Chapter 14 - Arkan
Chapter 15 - Dancing with the King
Chapter 16 - Dragon Brotherhood
Chapter 17 - Pico
Chapter 18 – The Dragon
Chapter 19 – Settling Down
Chapter 20 – Danger Revealed
Chapter 21 – Betrayal
Chapter 22 - A Meeting of Minds
Chapter 23 = Invisibility
Chapter 24 - Desert
Chapter 25 - Escape