Baltron and The Magic Crystal, Chapter Three

Baltron and the Magic Crystal

 

 

Chapter Three

It was well after dark when Baltron awoke from his unconscious state.  As he took in his surroundings, he realized he was in the woods, lying against a tree trunk, and completely naked.  He jumped to his feet cursing, What has happened to me?  He had no memory of what had happened to him.  He remembered walking through the village that morning on his way to his shop, but he could not seem to remember anything else.  He hurried through the woods toward the village, but when he reached the edge of the woods, he was shocked at what he saw.  The village was nearly destroyed.  The dragon must have appeared!  Gaylora, the children!  Baltron quietly made his way around the small creek that separated the village from the woods.  He found a robe lying among the debris and put it on, then he quickly made his way to his hut, praying that he would find his wife and children safely inside.

“Oh, Father!  It was horrible!” cried Narposon.  “I watched many of my friends die today!”

Keith nodded, “Yes, Zalton and I stood together in the center courtyard when the dragon ran Zalton through with its claws, lifted him in the air, and dropped him over the mountain!”

Gaylora drew her children closer, holding their one-year-old son, Ned, in her arms, as she stared at her husband.  “I barely escaped a fiery death, as my sister Lakin was trampled beneath its clawed feet.”

Baltron shivered as he listened to the horrific stories of the carnage, and he was thankful to Felix for keeping them safe.

A knock at the door brought them from their grief.  When Baltron opened the door, he found his father in-law, Boto, standing there.

“The elders have called a meeting.  All able bodied men are required to attend.”

Baltron nodded then turned to Gaylora.  “I want you all to stay here.  I’ll return as soon as I can.”

Once they arrived to the meeting, they saw Ackorton, with Delkon standing next to him, already addressing the group.  “I say that tomorrow we should send the women and children to the royal city.  It is a day’s journey; we’ll send some men to protect them on the trip.”

“I agree,” Delkon nodded.  “Unless someone else here has a better idea.”

No one among the group uttered any opinions, but only nodded their approval.

“Then, let us do this first thing in the morning,” Ackorton said lowly.  “Now, Constable Delkon wishes to speak.”

“I want each man standing guard at his own hut this night to keep watch.  I have placed soldiers in certain locations to keep watch as well.  I must say you all did well this day in battle.  We lost many, but we still have many left to fight, so fight we shall!”

“So shall we fight!” the men cried out in unison.

Suddenly the door burst open.  “My daughter, Ceska, and her new husband, Roth, have come down with a fever and boils have appeared on their bodies! Thea cried.

Delkon, Ackorton, followed by the group of concerned men rushed to the newlywed’s hut.  When they arrived there, they found the couple lying on their bed, their bodies covered in boils.  Ceska’s father, Walter, looked up from the bedside and groaned, “They are dead.”

Everyone gasped at seeing Walter’s face covered in boils.  Thea ran to her husband, and then fell onto the bed of her dead daughter, weeping.

“How long had it been since they first received the fever?” Delkon asked, pulling a handkerchief from his cloak to cover his face.

Ackorton mimicked Delkon’s actions with his own kerchief.  “Everyone outside, let’s give them some privacy!”

“We have a right to know what’s going on!” someone from the back of the group called out.

“And you will!” shouted Ackorton.  “But, I am insisting you exit at once!”

Everyone quieted down as they exited the hut, with Ackorton following them in anger.

Ackorton stepped back inside the doorway, but stayed back away from Walter.  He noticed Thea now had small boils popping up on her.

“It had not been too long ago, it was just after dark.  First Roth succumbed to the fever, then Ceska.”

“I don’t feel so well,” Walter gasped, as he fell to the floor, unconscious.

Thea stretched out her hand to Walter then collapsed on the floor next to him.

Delkon and Ackorton shared concerned looks, and then backed out of the hut.  They closed the door and stood there, unsure of what to say and staring at the night sky.

“What do we do now?”Ackorton asked nervously.

“Pray to our gods, Felix and Andria, and hope help reaches us soon.”

“Do we have a healer here?” Delkon asked.

“He is Sandoh; I saw him at the meeting.”

“Let us get him here.”

“What is happening in there?” someone asked.

“The young couple is dead.  Now, the girl’s mother and father have fallen ill,” Delkon, said with dread in his voice.

The crowd began to murmur, and then someone shouted above the crowd.  “What must we do?”

“Go to your huts and pray to the gods for mercy.  Has anyone seen Sandoh?”

“I am here,” Sandoh stepped forward from the crowd.  “But I’m not going in there.”

“Why not, man?  You are a healer!”

“That is a sickness which can only be stopped by burning everything it has touched. I believe they have been cursed.”

“But, Walter and Thea are still alive!” Delkon exclaimed.

Ackorton took a deep breath and stood his ground alongside Delkon.  “Yes, they are still alive!  No one is going to burn them.”

“Arrgh, they’re already dead!  We must save ourselves!” screamed a woman.

“Yes!  Save ourselves!” the crowd murmured together.  “Burn them!  Burn them!”

Delkon and Ackorton each pulled their swords, waving them in the air.

“Get back!”

“We will not give these people to burn!”

A rock slammed into Delkon’s head as someone hit Ackorton from behind.  The two men fell to the ground, unconscious.  The crowd rushed to the hut with their torches and lit the grass and clay roofs on fire.

From somewhere in the middle of the crowd, a man’s voice screamed, “Another one has been afflicted!  Burn him too!”

“No!  No!” the man cried, as he was pushed toward the fiery hut.  “Please don’t do this,” but his words were drowned out by the chants of the crowd.  The man fought to free himself, but one of the men in the mob thrust a sword into his belly, and then kicked him into the fire.

“They are afflicted!” a woman cried aloud from the right of the hut.  Several men ran and grabbed a man, his wife, and child, slit their throats, and pushed them into the fire.

Screams erupted throughout the village as more people became sick.  The people began to fight and kill one another, as fear gripped the village.

Baltron and Boto ran swiftly through the crowd, as the fighting worsened.  Baltron paused when he heard his father in-law call his name.  He turned to see that Boto now had boils spreading across his face.  Then to Baltron’s horror, two men grabbed Boto, and began to beat him.

Baltron turned away, realizing there was nothing he could do and ran as fast as he could to his hut.  Once inside, he bolted the door behind him and leaned against it, breathing heavily.

“What’s wrong, Father?”

“What is happening out there?”

The children ran to Baltron with tears running down their faces.

Ceska looked him in the eye, “It sounds as if the dragon has returned.”

“It’s worse than that!  There is some sort of affliction now passing through the village.  Everyone is getting a high fever with boils quickly spreading all over their bodies.  It’s horrible how quickly death comes to them! The healer says it’s a curse!”

Ceska gasped, as the children wept.  Baltron wrapped his arms around them, pulling them close, “You are to remain in the hut.  We shall see what the morrow brings.”

***

Baltron opened the door slowly and peeped out.  The fog was still thick in the village, and things seemed calm after the night of carnage the night before.  He covered his face with a rag, stepped outside, and shut the door then waited for Ceska to bolt the door behind him.  As he walked through the village, he saw smoldering huts, and the stench of burning flesh filled his nostrils.  He stumbled, and then looked down to see that he was walking on the bones, flesh, and bodies of the slain villagers, this causing him to vomit repeatedly.  So many dead, he thought to himself, recalling the terror-filled screams that lasted throughout the night.

“What is that?” he pulled his head upright, and listened.  He heard voices coming from the central hut.  He made his way toward the voices, and stepped inside, but nothing could have prepared him for what he saw.

Every person inside the hut was covered in puss festered boils, including Delkon and Ackorton.  He swallowed hard, recalling how thankful he was this morning that his children and wife had escaped the ravages of this horrible curse brought down upon the village.

“I find myself hard pressed to remain with you all after last night’s events.  I understand your fears, but you acted as barbarians.  This will be reported to King Nathaniel when I next see him,” Delkon said with disdain resonating in his voice.

“You won’t see him, you’ll be dead, just like the rest of us!” called a man from the crowd.

Sandoh made his way past Baltron and to the front of the room where Delkon and Ackorton stood.

“It’s a curse, it’s the only explanation.”

“A curse?” Ackorton coughed, as blood poured from his mouth.

“Yes, do you not recall the curse the great god Felix put on the dragons?”

“Yes, yes, of course!” Delkon nodded his head.  “That dragon wasn’t supposed to be here.  For it to be so, only means that someone who recently traveled to Aspella or Eloweena has defiled themselves by either bringing back a magical object from the land…”

“Or slept with a dragon or hellavey while there,” Ackorton interjected.

Sandoh nodded, as he pointed to Delton’s bloody arms.  “And these boils!  I have seen things such as this before, but never has it spread so quickly!  It is a curse I tell you!  A curse!”

Baltron shielded himself in the corner, afraid of what would come next.  Why did I flaunt that damn crystal around the village?  They will surely kill me, and my family, the words burned into his mind, as he thought of the law concerning this matter.  Death was the punishment for anyone responsible for such an atrocity, as well as his or her entire clan!

“How are we to know who has traveled there?  It’s not like we keep records of such things, though maybe it would have been an exceptionally good rule,” Ackorton groaned.

“I know of at least three people who recently returned from those lands!” called a woman from the crowd.  “Titus the mute, with his daughter, Makru, and Makru’s daughter, Basmure.

“They were on the side of the road just the other day, trying to sell the wares they brought back from Eloweena!  They have to be the ones!”

“Yes, that Makru looks like a witch to me!” screamed a man.

“And Titus is always giving me looks that haunt my dreams,” replied a woman.

Delkon and Ackorton shot each other pitiful looks.

“I will not allow you to kill another innocent!”Delkon cursed.

“You all must not turn on one another!” Ackorton warned.

“There is nothing you can do.  They have become mad with fear.  They will murder you if you stand in their way.  The gods must be appeased for our sins.  It is the only way to stop the disease among us.  We who still live, will be healed of the disease the moment the ones guilty are dead,” Sandoh explained.

“And what of the dragons?” Ackorton asked.

Delkon shook his head.  “I’m afraid there is no hope of holding back the hellavey, or the dragons of Eloweena and Aspella.  Someone from our land has broken the sacred law and now the dragons and hellavey  shall have free reign in our country, just as they have in Eloweena and Aspella.”

Ackorton frowned at realizing what this meant.  “We will have to now keep our children close at hand; no more carefree days for any of us.”

“We have them!  Come see, we have the sinners!”

Sandoh placed his hand on Ackorton’s shoulder, “With your permission, I’ll handle this for you.”

“You must. Titus and I were friends,” Ackorton bowed his head.  He knew in his heart that if Titus and Makru had brought back a magical item, that it was done purely by accident, but alas, the gods did not make any exceptions.  Accident or not, it did not matter.  If you had in possession a magic object from the kingdoms of Aspella or Eloweena, you had to pay the ultimate price, you, and your kin.

Legends of Keens; Baltron and the Magic Crystal, Chapter Two

Baltron and the Magic Crystal

Chapter Two

 

Baltron entered his shop for the first time since returning from his trip.  He quickly made his way to the shelf, and cleared the top shelf of its contents.  Once he had cleared the shelf, Baltron placed the magic crystal on the center of it.

Everyone who entered his shop immediately noticed his new possession.  After staring at the beautiful ornament for some time, each customer would then shop and spend every bit of their gold and silver.  This occurred day after day, for an entire week, and Baltron was beside himself with happiness.  He knew it was the crystal creating the good luck for him.  That had to be it; there simply was no other explanation.  It was the only new object brought back with him from Aspella.

On the eighth day after Baltron return, Earl, a man visiting from the village of Maskinim, walked into Baltron’s shop.  He, too, became enamored with the beautiful crystal.  He reached his hand out and touched it as Baltron approached him.  He caressed the crystal softly, running his fingers back and forth over the crystal, mesmerized by the object.  He then turned to Baltron, “I wish to purchase this ornament.  How much do you want for it?”

“It is not for sale, Earl,” Baltron answered with a broad grin.

“But I will pay any price you ask.  I must have this ornament!”

Before Earl could ask again, Beltron grabbed Earl by the throat, and slammed him against the wall, hitting him several times.  He then dragged him to the door, and threw him out, screaming at him, “I told you it was not for sell; now get out and never come back, or I will slice your head off!”

That night, while sitting in his hut, Baltron decided to hide the crystal for fear someone would steal it from him.  He took the crystal behind his hut, and buried it.  After he was done, he looked at his hands and noticed they had begun to transform.  Tiny scales covered his hands and as they formed, his hands began to sting.  Fear gripped Baltron as he pulled at the scales.  He managed to pull one loose from his skin, but as soon as it bled a droplet of blood, another scale appeared in its place.  He cried out from the horrendous pain, yet his voice no longer worked.  He watched in horror as the scales now began covering his entire body.  He collapsed to the ground and began to writhe in pain, as his transformation advanced.  Suddenly, the crystal he had buried appeared to him, and as he stared into the crystal, he lost complete control of his conscious mind, and became subdued.

His body stretched to a bizarre, unnatural length, including the scaly, wide ridges.  His nose now lay flat against his face, with two large holes in the center.  Protruding fangs grew out of the four corners of his mouth while a long, split tongue slithered in and out of the center.  Just above where his shoulders were, large wings appeared, opening in preparation for flight.  The creature that was once human, had transformed into a dragon, standing nearly fifty feet tall.  The dragon huffed pale blue smoke from its nostrils as it breathed heavily.  It lifted its nose in the air and sniffed then with lightening speed, it took flight toward Maskinim.

* * *

Earle stoked the fire in the pit and put several more logs onto it.  His bones screamed to him that there was going to be an early winter this year, and he did not look forward to it.  He had six mouths to feed and it was getting harder each year to store enough during the summer in preparation for the winter.  He could not work the fields as he once had because of an old battle injury.  His children were too young to work the fields, so he would continue to pray to the Great Felix and hope his god would hear him.

“Okay, lads and lasses, sup is ready,” called Sinkoro, Earl’s wife, as she sat down by Earle in front of the fire pit.

Soon, four boys and two girls surrounded them in a fit of hunger.

The meal progressed in the usual manner – in silence.  At mealtime, it was a known fact, that if you talked, you did not eat.  If you did not eat, somebody else chomped down on the food, and you would not get even a crumb, therefore at mealtimes; eat, not talk.

Swish!Swish!Swish! Swish!

Earl and his family heard the noise at the same time and everyone stopped eating.  Earl knew immediately what the “swishing” sound was.  His body shivered and his blood grew cold.  He quickly doused the fire with the dirt.  “Sinkoro, get the children to the corner of the hut, behind the door!  Do not make a sound.  Cover yourselves with a blanket.  Do it now, my dear!”

Sinkoro jumped to her feet and cried, “What is it Earl?”

“It is a dragon!  Now, go!”

The children began to cry as Sinkoro hurried them to the spot where Earl had directed them.

“Hush children!  I need you to be completely quiet!”

Swish, swish, swish, plop.

Earl reached for his sword, but dirt and grass fell in on him as the roof started to collapse from the heavy weight of the dragon that now perched itself there.  Earl gulped as he lifted his sword upward and listened to the screams of those outside his hut who saw the dragon on his roof.  “Dear Felix, be with me now!”

Whoosh!

Fire rain down on Earl, as the dragon breathed from its mouth.  The dragon stared at the man who peered up at it with a sword in his hand.  It tilted its head first to the left, then to the right, ignoring the arrows, which proceeded to strike its scaly skin.  The arrows had no effect on its thick hide, except atop the callused ledges.

The dragon tore at the roof with its huge talons until it had made a hole big enough for it to enter.  Now, nothing stood between it and its prey this night.  With one easy dive, the dragon pinned its screaming prey to the floor and tore at the man’s neck with its sharp fangs, crushing the man’s bones.  Tasting the blood and sinew that now filled its throat urged the dragon on.  It tore the remaining flesh from the neck, and swallowed the delicious meat.  When it had finished, it sliced the head loose from the body and threw it across the hut.  It then ripped open the belly, spilling out the innards with its sharp talons.  The dragon slurped, ate, and drank from the body until it was satisfied.

After the beast had finished its meal, it sniffed the room for more prey, and it did not take long for the beast to find the woman and children.  The dragon moved from Earl’s body, and walked toward the blanket covered humans.  Even if it had not been able to smell their odor, it could have tracked them by their squalling.

When the dragon reached the blanket, it lifted its head and let out a loud, high-pitched growl that shook the foundations of the tiny hut, causing the walls to crack.  It then snarled and with one mighty blow from its mouth, shot red-hot flames, which completely incinerated blanket and everything beneath it.  The great dragon then flapped its massive wings, lifted itself out of the hut, and flew away from the village.

* * *

Baltron blinked his eyes.  Brrr.  His whole body shivered from the cold, as he lifted his head and looked around.  He was behind his hut, completely naked, and holding the crystal in his hand.  How strange, he thought.  He quickly reburied the crystal and made his way into the hut and quietly to his bed to lie down.  He was glad he had not awakened anyone when he slipped in because his mind swirled as he laid there.  What had happened to me and why was I naked?  I must have fallen to sleep as I stared at the crystal.  Yes, that must be it.  He pushed the thoughts from of his mind and fell off to sleep.

The next morning when Baltron left his hut, and began walking through the village, he heard a great commotion at the village’s central hut.  As a man rushed past him,  Baltron asked, “What’s going on, friend?”

“There was a dragon attack on Maskinim last evening.  It killed an entire family!”

“I do business with several families from there, what were their names?”  Baltron could not believe it.  There had not been a dragon attack in the region for several centuries, since the god, Felix cursed the dragons, restricting them only to the regions of Aspella and Eloweena.

“Earl was the name.”

Baltron gasped, “Thank you for the information, friend.”

After the man left, Baltron hurried to the central hut and listened to the conversations.

“They say the dragon ripped Earl’s head clean off and it was found at the feet of his wife and children who were burned to death,” one man said with fear evident in his voice.

The man, who stood next to him, looked to the sky.  “How horrible!  We haven’t had a dragon attack in three centuries!”

“No, it’s been at least ten centuries.  Read your Carasylian history, man!” his friend scolded.

Baltron shook his head.  Neither man evidently knew the history.  It had been fifteen centuries since the dragons attacked this part of the land.  They were forbidden after the dragon Brimstone had slept with a human female, Cassandra, from the royal city of Aspella while he was in human form.  Out of that bond, came a child, Helmur, who became the first hellavey.  He grew into a strong beast, and in his human form was said to be the most handsome in the land.  As a man, Helmer also had sex with a human female, Faye.  In both incidents, the villagers had gravely injured the females.  Both dragons of course sought revenge by attacking the villages, nearly destroying them.  However, it had not stopped there; they had also attacked as many villages as they could in those regions, as well as the region of Liliasat.  Finally, during Helmur’s assaults, Felix, stepped in and intervened.  He cursed the dragons, forbidding them to attack humans except in the summer months and forbid them to attack regions outside Aspella and Eloweena unless someone from the other regions broke the rules, which were, bringing magical objects from Aspella or Eloweena across region lines, or having sex with a hellavey or dragon while in human form.

This attack was my fault!  I brought the magic crystal from Coakin, Baltron groaned.

“Please, folks, calm down!” came the voice of their village head, Ackorton.  He yelled above the maddening crowd.  “It won’t do us any good if everyone panics.  We must gather our men together in preparation to battle the dragon should he come attack us.”

“What good will that do?” asked a man from the crowd.

“Yes, what chance do we have against the breath of a dragon?” cried another man.

The women and children began to wail with fear.

Ackorton held up his hand.  “Enough!  You are frightening the women, the children.  We must remain calm.  Already, I have caused the flames to be lit across the valley and sent horsemen to request help from the royal city.  Help will be on the way, but until King Nathaniel arrives, we must stand against the dragon on our own!  Constable Delkon will be taking control of the village until a high constable, or commander arrives.  We must all adhere to Constable Delkon’s rules.”

As Delkon spoke, Baltron’s skin crawled, literally.  He looked down at his hand and noticed scales appearing on them again.  He cringed, covered his hand, and quickly walked toward his hut.  “I must get to the crystal.”  His voice sounded foreign to him.  “Arrgh!”  The pain he felt was unlike any pain he had ever endured.  His heart raced and he began to sweat.  He could not believe what was happening.  When Beltron reached the area  where he had buried the crystal, he unearthed it, and then held it up to see.  “I must destroy it.  Arrgh!”

Suddenly he heard a booming voice in his head.  “You will not destroy it!

He cupped his hands over his ears, crying aloud, but his voice was gone.  The booming voice commanded him, “Get up, Muse!  Go where I tell you!

Baltron could no longer struggle against the power of the crystal.  He obediently stood then quickly ran into the woods.

* * *

Delkon had just finished giving his directions to the men and turned to walk back into the central hut when screams arose from the crowd.

Swish.  Swoosh.

Delkon turned to see a giant black and green scaly dragon flying around the village blowing smoke and fire from his nose; incinerating anyone in its path.  Chaos took hold of the villagers, as everyone fled in all directions, but some were frozen with fear and quickly taken down.  The dragon flew swiftly into the village, thrusting its powerful claws through men and women then pulled them into the air to drop them to their deaths.  Others, it would swoosh down, ripping their heads from their bodies, while still others, it simply tore their bodies in half.  The arrows and boulders released from bows and trebuchets simply bounced off the hard, crusty body of the dragon, falling to the ground, though some did make contact to the soft skin between the ridges.

Delkon searched his mind for what to do.  He withdrew his sword, striking at the dragon’s tail as it flew past the beast; only managing to slice one piece of the scale off the tip.  The dragon swished its tail toward Delkon, but missed him by mere inches.  However, its tail made contact with the guard tower behind Delkon, and brought it crashing to the ground, with the guards lying beneath the rubble knocked unconscious.  As the dragon made another circle over the village, it ignited the remaining guard tower with its fiery breath causing wales from the soldiers inside, as the flames consumed their bodies.  As the tower fell, it made contact with several huts, and set them on fire as well.  The dragon continued to swish its tail back and forth, trampling the terrified villagers beneath its enormous feet.  With nearly half the village destroyed, the people desperately tried to escape the fierce beast.

Several villagers attempted to put out the fire destroying their homes, but when they stepped into the sight of the dragon, they were cut down.  Finally, a soldier rushed to Delkon’s side, holding a cloth soaked in black tar that was ablaze and wrapped around an arrow.

“Good thinking soldier!  What’s your name?”

“Shaoh, sir.”

Delkon stepped back, as the soldier pulled back on his bow and waited.  “Wait, wait, wait, now!  Release it now, Shaoh!”

The arrow sailed through the air toward the dragon’s mouth, as the dragon blew gas from its nose and fire from its mouth.  The gases, mixed with fire from the dragon met with the flaming arrow, creating an explosion with such force that knocked everyone in the vicinity on the ground.  The dragon, shocked by the sudden explosion, left the village without causing further harm.

After the dragon had left, Delkon stationed several men at key points to keep watch while he and the others worked quickly to put out the fires.

“We need to decide what to do until help arrives.  I want every able bodied man and woman without small children to meet me at the center hut.”  Delkon sent some boys throughout the village to gather them.

 

 

Part three will continue next week. If you enjoyed this story and would like to know more about Lisa, please visit Deadly Reads.

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The Legends of Keens; Story #1- Baltron and the Magic Crystal, Chapter One

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by

Lisa Vandiver

DeadlyReads, LLC

USA

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Copyright © Lisa Vandiver

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

First Edition License Notes

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.  This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people.  If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.  Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents either are the product

of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and

trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without

permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by

the trademark owners.

***

Baltron and the Magic Crystal

By

Lisa Vandiver

 

 

Chapter One

 

The village of Coakin, in the region of Aspella buzzed with energy this evening.  It was the first evening of the region’s harvest celebration, the Celebration of Reaping.  The gods had been good to Coakin this year, and in fact, good to the entire region of Aspella.  The fields were plentiful with healthy vegetables and grains, which would make the coming winter bearable.

There were many travelers in the village this evening.  One such traveler in their midst went by the name of Baltron from the village of Xonnta, from the kingdom of Liliasat, neighboring kingdom east of Aspella. He was a selfish person with the reputation of a swindler however, he was careful to keep that talent well hidden, until, of course, it would be the most beneficial.

Aspella’s reputation was famous in many regions, partly because of the great conflict between Aspella and its neighboring kingdom, Eloweena, where the blue waters sailed into the sky.

Aspella was known at this time as a region of pure evil.  The Celebration of Reaping was one such reason that brought forth the reputation.  In the ceremony, known as Reaping of the gods, two families from each village within the region had to hand over one daughter and one son.  After all, the gods wanted their fair share of the harvest, since they were the ones who provided the bountiful crops each year.  The Reaping of the Gods ceremony would be the last act completed on the first day of harvest celebration, and in the very late hours of the night.

Baltron had heard of this ceremony before, and wanted to see it for himself.  His region participated in human sacrifice to appease their gods, but it was only the offering of one virgin per year.  To him, the sacrificing of so many children at once was just downright bizarre.  What would happen if the region ever ran out of children?  What would they do then? Baltron thought to himself, but his curiosity and excitement only grew as the time drew near for the ceremony.

Baltron stared up at the two half moons, and he estimated the time for the ceremony to be within the next hour.  He finished off the fish, roasted potatoes, and carrots, and then threw the empty platter into a pile of others discarded next to a fire where the food had been prepared.  Baltron turned up his lambskin flask, and gulped his fill then he clipped the flask back onto his belt and stood.  Now that his body was nourished, he decided to try his luck at a game of Chesadona dice before making his way to the ceremonial rings.

* * *

The Chesadona game progressed satisfactorily for Baltron and he was surprised that he had actually won the game without cheating.  He collected his winnings from all the players except one, Leorakin, of Coakin.  Leorakin sat on the ground, with his legs crossed as the others now stood and paid their debts.

Only after all the other opponents left the gaming ring, did Leorakin stand and speak to Baltron.

“I do not have the shiny gold or silver you seek for payment, but I have something better.”

Baltron’s 6’5”, brawny stature towered over Leorakin’s thin, 4’3” small one.  He frowned down at the little man and gruffly huffed, “I want my due, little one or I shall pound you into the ground.”

Leorakin shrieked; stepping backward with fear in his eyes at the scenario Baltron lay before him should he not pay.  “I have something better, my friend; something of more value than mere gold, or silver.”

“Oh, do tell, little one.”

Leorakin pulled a black, round object from his tunic and held it in his hand.

Baltron frowned, as he stared at the object.  This object had no value.  In fact, it was quite unimpressive.  “What is this?  It is not worth anything.  I would be laughed out of every village between here and Liliasat if I were to try to sell this.  You better have something better to offer, little man, or prepare for a pounding.”

“Wait, wait!” Leorakin exclaimed, as he watched Baltron close his hands into a fist then step toward him.  “I swear this is an object more precious than silver or gold!”

“Then, why would you to be so eager to depart with it?”

“Because I don’t relish the idea of a thorough pounding,” Leorakin said, with the fear clearly in his eyes.

“And what exactly makes this ugly thing valuable?”  Baltron looked at the strange object with a new sense of interest.

“It has magical powers beyond your wildest imaginations!”

“Magical?  Okay, you have my attention.  What kinds of magical powers?”

Leorakin looked around to assure that no one was near enough to hear his words, “Follow me to the shadows, and I shall enlighten you, my friend.  Yes?”

Baltron followed Leorakin into a dark alley.  When he stopped, Leorakin pulled the crystal object from his pocket.

As Baltron stared at the round object, streaks of beautifully shaped light appeared inside of it.  As some of the lights disappeared, more appeared.  The lights were now moving so fast around the entire circumference of the crystal object that Baltron could not tell where they began, or where they finished.  Baltron found himself transfixed by the object, so much so that he was oblivious to his surroundings.

An evil smile spread across Leorakin’s face.  He had made sure that his master had fully taken Baltron’s mind, before he finally dared to speak.

  “Lord  Helkodor, we welcome you in our midst, for your pleasure, I have brought you a muse to play with,” Leorakin kept his voice low and clear.

Baltron’s lips trembled, as he answered in the tone of a young boy, “Master, I your servant Baltron stand ready for your bidding.”

The flashing colors ceased and in their place red flames, surrounded by gray smoke escaped from somewhere inside the crystal, mixed with an eerie voice!  “I am most pleased with the muse.  You have done well!  Come closer, Muse, and let me in.”

Once Baltron pushed his face toward the crystal, the gray and blue smoke floated between his parted lips.  After receiving the smoke, Baltron fell to the ground and writhed violently.

* * *

Arriving at his home village of Xonnta in the kingdom of Liliasat, Baltron dismounted his horse and led him into the stables.  Though he looked forward to seeing his wife again, he wished he could return to Coakin.  He had been enthralled with the sacrificial ceremony the first night he was there.  He had planned to go to the royal city, Majesic, dubbed also as Keens Peak, but decided it would be more profitable for him to stay in Coakin.

It was very strange to see the villagers so eagerly giving their children up for sacrifice to the gods.  Not to mention how calm the children appeared as their fathers led them to the pit at the base of Mt. Dred where a fierce dragon, Firedreda awaited its meals.  Even as the dragon belched forth its gray smoke, gaseous fumes, and fire from its mouth, the villagers and their sacrificial lambs remained calm.  Baltron would gladly give his virgin daughter, Narposon, to sacrifice if her lot ever came round, but he would not be happy about it, let alone calm, as he led her to her death.  In fact, he and his wife had many suitors waiting Narposon’s thirteenth cycle; the acceptable age for marriage, so he felt assured he would have his daughter married off before she even had to enter into the sacrificial lottery.  Still, if he had to sacrifice his daughter, he had much rather sacrifice her Liliasat’s way.

However, he liked many things about the region of Aspella that he did not like about his own region.  He enjoyed the games, the food, and the magic.  There was magic in his region too, but only in secrecy.  The gentle king, Nathaniel did not believe in magic, so it was forbidden.

On his journey back home, Baltron toyed with the idea of moving to Aspella, specifically, Coakin because of his great business contacts there.  Leorakin; shop owner of Magic Orbs was one such contact.  Baltron agreed to deliver twenty deerskins a year to Leorakin’s shop.  Aside from their business arrangement, Leorakin had saved Baltron’s life the first night they met!  If Leorakin had not been there when Baltron fell into the hands of the five thieves who dragged him to the dark alley, Baltron felt assured that he would be dead!  However, thanks to Leorakin’s magical abilities, Baltron had been saved from a fate worse than death.  Although Baltron could not fully recall the incident, his lungs still rattled, as did his head, from the beating administered to him.

Leorakin had told Baltron that their gaming circles were close to the other when Baltron won his game.  After retrieving the shiny crystal along with his other winnings, Baltron exited the gaming ring.  That was when he was attacked, and Leorakin had saved him.

Baltron truly liked the strange crystal he had won and did not want to lose it.  He took it out and stared at it repeatedly, realizing that it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.  He was enthralled with it.   He enjoyed staring at it mostly after dark.  That was when the beautiful display of colors from the ball was most vibrant.  It was relaxing to sit by his fire and watch the various colors and shapes from the magic ball dance around.  It lights were calming, which lulled Baltron to sleep.  He had not slept so well before getting this crystal and by the end of his seven-day trip, Baltron had formed a strong bond with the object.  He had even dreamed about it the previous night.  He could not help himself.  It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.  One look at the beautiful object and he was spell bound.

Oh, Baltron, my love, I’m so pleased to see you home!” Gaylora exclaimed when she saw her husband standing in the hut.  However, she was surprised to see him standing there naked.  As her eyes lowered down Baltron’s naked body, she was shocked by what she saw.  He had filled out.  With muscles he did not have before, specifically in his lower extremities.  She swallowed hard as she stared at him.  He is massive!

Baltron glanced up from the crystal at his wife.  A strong lust consumed him as he stared at Gaylora.  With one quick step, he pinned her to the wall, aggressively taking his pleasure of her before either one realized what was occurring.  She screamed with agonizing pain as he took her, but Baltron ignored her cries, covering her mouth with his large hand.

Although he enjoyed the reunion with his wife, it was as though he was not in control of his own movements.  It was as if someone had else possessed his body, controlling him and he was merely the muse they were using to get to Gaylora.

After the reunion was finished, Gaylora turned and stared at him with adoring eyes.  She ran her hands across his muscled body.  “What has happened to you?  You are different, in many ways; you hurt me, yet, it became strangely enjoyable.”

Baltron looked down at his body, and realized she was right.  His body had changed.  His once hairy chest was now as bald as a newborn, and strangely soft, and slick.  He noticed Gaylora, too, was acting suddenly strange.  She was more attentive and aggressive with her own touch to him, which was the exact opposite of her usual calm, shy personality, but as she stood in his arms now, she could not keep her hands off him.

“I’ve received a blessing from the gods; that is all you need to know.”  Baltron picked her up in his arms and carried her to their bed.

Baltron withdrew himself from his bed in the morning and pulled a fresh tunic from the chest, which lay near his bed, pulling the tunic over his head.  When he saw Gaylora leaning over the fire pit, tending to some food, he suddenly had an overwhelming desire to have her once more.  He drew close behind her, took hold of her sides, forced her on her knees, and took his pleasure of her again.

Chapter Two will continue next week.

 

 

If you enjoyed this story, please check out Lisa’s complete set of works here.

November updates

imaginationalley:

Deadly Reads is in action and that is because it’s under good management.

Originally posted on Deadly Reads:

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This has been a busy month for Deadly Reads Author, Linda Barton.  She  presented her books onto the Amazon select program and was very successful in the endeavor. The books were downloaded multiple times and as a result,  became number one in the genres for a significant time period. The downloads equaled to nearly 19,000 and proved to be successful. Linda would like to say thanks to everyone who downloaded and reviewed her books.

Author Lisa Vandiver has just submitted her recent book, Mystic Mist, Book One of the New Breed series, for editing. This exciting sci-fi/horror book should be available soon.

Next Move, You’re Dead by Linda L Barton was  released in audiobook on Nov 1.  Deadly Reads will be holding a contest where 5 lucky winners will receive a copy to enjoy.  If you don’t want to wait until the contest, you can also get a FREE copy…

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Meet Linda Barton

imaginationalley:

Linda is a very smart, attractive woman who is a go-getter! I’m proud to sign my book, Josie’s Thorn with her new publishing company, Deadly Reads!
Deadly Reads is going places, and I want to tag along! Thanks, Linda for the wonderful opportunity!

Originally posted on Deadly Reads:

       Hi, everybody! Welcome to Deadly Reads Monday’s addition. This is going to be an exciting week as we prepare for Sunday’s Emmy Awards. We are super excited about our Founder and CEO, Linda L. Barton being involved with the Emmy Awards show this year! Her book, Next Move, You’re Dead, Trilogy will be one out of one hundred books that will be given as SWAG this year! It’s very exciting and we wanted to start this celebration week off by allowing you, the reader, to get to know Deadly Reads Founder just a little bit better. So, without further delay, let’s start the interview.

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        To contact Linda L. Barton, we’ve listed her contact information for you.

Deadly Reads Official Website: http://www.deadlyreads.com

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Amazon Author page – http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004WGKW9M

Blog –http://lindalbarton.blogspot.com/

Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/LindaBartonBook

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LindaLBarton

Aboutme -http://about.me/LindaLBarton/

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/barton166/boards/

 

           Linda’s Book Trailers:

          

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