Dragons Rising

Dragons Rising by Daniel Arenson Page B

Book: Dragons Rising by Daniel Arenson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Daniel Arenson
glimmering city in the distance.
    "New
Confutatis," Fidelity whispered in awe. She turned toward her
father. "This was once the capital of Osanna, a nation destroyed
and scattered. They say the ghosts of Osannans still dwell here,
millions of them crying out from the ground, tormenting the priests
of the Cured Temple who now live here." She sighed wistfully.
"I've read so many books about this place."
    Korvin
began descending toward the fields. "I hope you enjoyed the
little view, because we're landing and walking from here. Daylight is
coming. We'll skirt around the city and keep making north to the
mountains."
    Fidelity
looked at her father--a gruff charcoal dragon puffing out smoke like
a chimney--and back at the distant white city. New Confutatis was
famous not only for its sordid history and ghosts, but for the most
wonderful place Fidelity had ever heard of: the White Library. She
sighed again, trying to catch a glimpse of that silvery dome and pale
towers, the building that housed the world's largest collection of
books. But she could see only smudges from here, not even individual
buildings. As a dragon, she wore no spectacles, and even as a human,
her spectacles were now broken.
    I
suppose I'll never see this city of wonder, she thought, never
visit the fabled library, never read those books. I'll probably never
see much of anything again, what with one lens of my spectacles
smashed, the other cracked. I--
    "Fidelity!"
Korvin rumbled from below. "Land with me!"
    She
nodded briskly and dived down with her father. As the sun rose above
the horizon, the gray dragon and the blue dragon landed in a field of
wild grass and released their magic.
    Fidelity
stared at her father. He looked more haggard than she'd ever seen
him. His stubble was still white as snow, thickening into a beard,
and now his hair--a wild mane that flowed down to his waist--was
turning white too, at least half its black hairs gone pale. Only his
thick, bushy eyebrows remained jet black, but they shaded weary eyes
set into a gaunt face. He wore one of the green cloaks they had
bought on the southern coast, and beneath he wore his armor, but even
so he seemed thin to Fidelity, no longer the bluff, gruff soldier she
had known but a haggard refugee. She embraced him.
    "We're
halfway to the mountains," she said. "We'll be there before
long, and we'll find the others. I know we will."
    He
nodded and they began walking through the field. They had been flying
most of the night, but Fidelity wasn't weary yet, not enough to
sleep. She needed to keep going, to cross the land, to reach the
mountains of Dair Ranin; she would find no rest until she did. It was
a cold day, and patches of snow covered the land. She shivered and
tightened her cloak around herself. A coyote stared from between
distant blades of grass, then fled. Crows circled and cawed above.
Soon they reached a dirt road and walked between swaying fields of
rye, wheat, and barley.
    They
walked, moving closer to the city. The road would take them by its
walls before leading them farther north. Fidelity stared at New
Confutatis with longing. Her left eye saw only smudges, and while her
right spectacle lens still filled its frame, the crack in its center
split the world. Still, she was able to make out pale walls topped
with soldiers, perched firedrakes, and tillvine blossom banners.
Behind the walls, she saw soaring towers and domes. She wondered if
one of them was the library.
    "We
should go into the city," she said suddenly.
    Korvin
frowned. "Fidelity, you know we can't do that. It's too
dangerous in there. Cities are swarming with priests, soldiers,
paladins, and firedrakes."
    She
nodded. "And the wilderness is swarming with bonedrakes."
She shuddered. "We've seen . . . ten bonedrakes since the two we
killed? Eleven? More? More of the creatures fill the sky every day.
We can't keep hiding in burrows and storm clouds. Sooner or later
we'll have to fight the bonedrakes again, maybe many of them."
She

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