Land of the Silver Dragon

Land of the Silver Dragon by Alys Clare

Book: Land of the Silver Dragon by Alys Clare Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alys Clare
you want with me?’ I paused for breath. ‘
Where are you taking me?
’
    His lips spread in a grin, revealing white, even teeth. ‘You will find out,’ he said. His voice was rich and deep, and he spoke with a heavy accent. I knew that my language was not his mother tongue.
    He leaned towards me and I shrank from him, terrified. Instantly he put up his hands in the universal gesture of peace, pulling back again. He began to speak, in words I didn’t understand, then stopped, frowning in thought. He tried again. ‘I will untie,’ he said, indicating with a nod of his head the ropes still wound around my upper arms. ‘Yes?’
    â€˜Yes,’ I agreed. I was totally bemused. He had clearly seen that I was frightened, and he seemed to be asking my permission to approach me. Yet he and his crew had abducted me! It made no sense.
    Unless – I shivered as the ghastly thought took hold and became the truth – unless they needed me alive and well. Because this red-bearded giant who had come among my kin to search and to kill had not given up at all. Instead, having failed to find whatever he was after by direct means, he now intended to force the location of the thing he sought out of a family member.
    That family member being me, and I had absolutely no idea how I was going to answer him.
    He was close to me now, reaching his long, powerfully muscled arms around me to untie the knot that secured the rope. His hair brushed my face, and the dying sun set alight the thick red highlights among the blond. I could see individual strands of hair, like fine, bright copper wires.
    My mind appeared to have collapsed beneath the strain. Here I was, alone on a speeding ship heading the good Lord above knew where, with four – no, five,
six
– big, burly men. One or more of whom was about to inflict some awful sort of pain on me in order to make me tell them something I didn’t even know, and all I could think about was
hair
.
    He had unwound the rope and now he sat back on his heels, coiling it neatly. He was staring at me, and I felt he was concentrating as hard on me as I was on him.
    I took a quick look at the darkening water stretching out on either side of us. The black line of the land seemed further away now. Then I returned my eyes to him. ‘Where are we going?’ I repeated, this time in a whisper.
    Something was happening to me. I was feeling dizzy, and the first stirrings of nausea were beginning, as if I’d eaten a bad piece of fish. I swallowed, and that made it worse.
    â€˜Look at the horizon,’ he said.
    I must have appeared confused. He pointed one huge arm out over the vast, empty sea to the east. ‘Set – put your eyes to a – a steady point that does not move,’ he said, halting here and there as if searching for words that I would understand.
    I twisted my head to look out beyond the tall figure of the man at the steering oar. Too fast: vertigo hit me hard, and it seemed as if the whole world was spinning around me. I felt the first rush of vomit come burning up my throat and into my mouth.
    Perhaps he guessed it would happen. Perhaps it always did, when people were out on the open sea for the first time. Anyway, he was ready. Even as I retched, he had a leather bucket held ready under my mouth. As the convulsions continued, I felt a strong, warm hand placed firmly on my forehead. With the other hand, he pulled my hair back and out of the way.
    Presumably, I thought, before the suicidal misery of seasickness drove everything else out of my head, he preferred his prisoners not to stink of vomit when he interrogated and tortured them ...
    Someone gave me a cup of cool, refreshing water when I’d finished. I batted away the big hand that held it – I could not tolerate the thought of swallowing even a drop of water, since I knew I’d bring it straight up again – but the hand was insistent.
    â€˜Drink,’ a deep

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