Dark Lord of Kismera (cont’d)


Later, where the northern plains began, an easy walk from the castle, the dragon strolled leisurely along, the human man at his side. Drace’s head did not even reached Nimbus’ shoulder.

Drace inhaled deeply, taking in the smell of clean, fresh air, the slight breeze tugging at his hair. The grass was well over his knees, and he reasoned
that later it would probably be cut for hay. There were few trees in this area, except the immense oak they headed toward. It was the tallest, widest spreading tree Drace had ever seen with the exception of pictures of the West
Coast’s redwoods.

The blooms of a vivid yellow flowering plant showed here and there among the grass, attracting brightly colored butterflies. Small brown birds, like
sparrows, darted by the pair as they walked. If he had to be sent to a strange place against his will, Drace guessed he could do much worse. Enjoying this with a dragon who can speak is an intense dream, he mused, but it wasn’t, now, was it? he mused.

They shared a companionable moment of silence before Nimbus spoke, “I assume you have realized now that this is not a dream? A dragon, that talks
no less.”

“How did you know I was thinking that?” Drace asked, surprised.

“Why would you not? That would be a natural response to what you are experiencing, I would think,” Nimbus stated, matter-of-factly. “Please. Come and sit. Let us talk,” he said as he moved to lie down underneath the huge oak.

Drace found a large exposed root for a seat and leaned back against
the tree’s trunk. Why he felt so relaxed with the dragon now, which could
swallow him in one gulp, he didn’t know, but somehow Nimbus felt like
a friend.

“I’m glad you feel that way, Knight. Now do not look surprised. We dragons
have all sorts of magic, but that was easy to read on your face.” Nimbus snorted.

Drace did as well. He thought Nimbus looked amusing, since only half the dragon was able to fit under the tree.

“There are certain things that I need for you to do.” Nimbus said. “I will have Lady Ki have an Elvin armorer make you some chain mail and armor. What you came with is not strong enough or worthy of you. You will need to go to Ferndale for it. Also, have armor made for your stallion. This afternoon you will start to train with Lady Ki.”

“But my Lord,” Drace interrupted, as he thought, Here we go again, someone telling me what I going to do. To Nimbus, he argued, “I already know how to fight.”

“Has anyone ever fought you with the intention to kill you? Have you ever tried to seriously hurt or kill someone else? This you will need to know how to do, for your own sake; for all our sakes.” Nimbus looked at him squarely. “Your world is not ours. This you must remember.”

Drace felt a cold chill run down his back. He made a motion of confusion with his hand. “I don’t understand why I’m here. Why do you need me? If it’s whipping someone’s butt, I think the Lady Ki can handle it.”

Nimbus snorted again. “Your euphemisms are amusing. Yes, I believe you are right. Lady Ki can whip some…,” he raised an eyebrow, “butt. However, there is a threat from the south brewing. If she goes into it leading her people alone, she will not survive. I know in my heart she must have someone strong to stand beside her. And it must be someone from another plane. The legend insists this.”

“What legend?” Drace questioned.

Read more from Tamara Hartl!


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