Authors: J.J. Thompson
from the New Earth: Book 3
Dragons of Ice and Snow
2015 J. J. Thompson
not in the word of dragons,
they are sly and know only treachery.
Table of Contents
Have I mentioned lately
how much I hate the cold?”
master, you have.”
two minutes ago, actually. Now would you please stop talking and save
your breath for running?”
O'Toole, former middle-aged I.T. specialist and now young wizard, was
pelting across a barren, frozen lake, his feet slipping and sliding
under him as he tried to move with as much speed as he could and not
land flat on his face.
side of him ran his two companions, neither more than a foot tall; an
earth elemental named Kronk and an air elemental called Aeris.
actually floating at shoulder height while Kronk's little legs were
moving so quickly that they were only a blur. His rocky feet on the
ice sounded like a tap dancer in a foot race.
stretched out for miles in all directions under an icy blue sky, and
a bitter wind blew across it from the west, to the left of the little
bundled up in a heavy, ankle-length coat lined with fur, but he had
it opened to the waist as sweat rolled down his face, stinging his
eyes even in the sub-zero temperatures.
gasping for breath, the air so cold that it burned his lungs, and his
run had turned into a stagger.
wizard finally slid to a stop and bent over, grasping his knees and
sucking in great lungfuls of air. Sweat dripped from his face and
pattered to the blue-black ice.
skittered and tripped and then ran back to look up at the wizard.
we must keep moving! There is no cover here. If the dragons return,
you will be exposed.”
floated back to them and stared at Simon with a deep frown.
right, you know. Without your staff, your spells aren't powerful
enough to do much harm to even a lesser dragon, especially not the
whites in their natural environment.”
began to speak and then just held up a hand weakly as he tried to
catch his breath and slow his racing heart.
I know that,” he finally managed to gasp. “But you two
don't need to breathe. I do. Running won't do me any good if I have a
frigging heart attack, now will it?”
his breathing slowed down enough for him to begin moving again,
we still heading in the right direction?”
master. The closest shore is that way. I can feel it. Beyond, the
land rises and twists into hills and low mountains. There is a cave
there that runs deep.”
picked up the pace a bit at these encouraging words.
you're sure that there's a connection from that cave to a dwarven
can feel it, master,” Kronk repeated patiently.
wizard glanced at Aeris, who shrugged.
our earthen friend says he can feel it, then he can. That is his
power, after all.”
gave the air elemental a little smile of appreciation and Simon
he said. “Good. Now we just have to get there in one piece.”
Kronk take the lead and Simon and Aeris followed closely behind him.
much as I disliked the thing, I'd feel better if you still had that
cursed staff,” the air elemental said. “I told you not to
depend on that weapon too much, but you didn't listen. Now see where
saying 'I told you so' isn't exactly helpful, you know. Bene-Dunn-Gal
was a useful tool. Besides, aren't you the one who told me that all
of the best wizards used staves back in the old days?”
over at Aeris who was frowning. The elemental nodded reluctantly.
true. But their weapons weren't semi-intelligent the way yours is.
Was. And I don't remember them storing spells on their staves either.
That was both the blessing and the curse of that staff, I suppose.”
wizard moved forward slowly but steadily and watched the icy surface
under his feet.
bought us the time we needed to get away,” he said with a touch
of sadness. “I know that it was just a staff, but I almost feel
like I've lost a friend today.”
that isn't very healthy, my dear wizard,” Aeris said with a
sideways look at Simon.
answer, just thought about the ill-timed meeting with the white
dragon with regret.
no choice but to use Bene-Dunn-Gal the way he had. And, as always,
the staff had not let him down.
he had only himself, his spell-book and his wits left to defeat
untold numbers of dragons. Simon looked at his companions and smiled
a bit. And the elementals, of course.
pace the wizard could manage after his extended head-long run was a
jog and he kept it up as well as he was could as they made their way
across the bleak landscape.
them, there was still no sign of pursuit, but he listened closely for
the sound of flapping wings or roars of rage. As the three of them
retreated from danger, Simon bitterly recalled the circumstances that
had brought them to this desperate situation.
been six months, give or take, since he had defeated the primal green
dragon. Tricked was actually the more accurate term.
didn't sit well with Simon that he'd had to lure the dragon into a
trap and use its own weapons against it. But he had been desperate.
The green dragon's chlorine breath was deadly and he simply could not
be sure that his own magical shield would completely block that foul
gas in battle.
So he had
baited the great wyrm into attacking him at his tower and then had
closed the tower's defensive wards with the dragon inside, cutting
off all air and making the beast breathe its own chlorine breath, gas
that was deadly even to itself.
been last summer. Since then, Simon had been working hard; doing
research on the last three primal dragons, trying to increase his own
magical skills and seeking allies out in the world.
had found them. Using his Magic Mirror spell, the wizard had
discovered Changed humans like himself in and around several of the
former major cities of the world.
London, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Moscow, there were small groups of
Changlings who could directly use the magic that now permeated the
and sister who had Changed into mages lived in London, along with a
dozen or so warriors. In Hong Kong, two women, enchanters, were
trying to protect a colony of survivors. They were quite powerful and
it had taken weeks to convince them to meet with Simon face to face.
of about twenty Changlings, some from Australia, some from New
Zealand, were living on the shores of the sea near the ruins of
Sydney. No wizards, but a mage, a witch and a cleric led the group.
They were all in good spirits and optimistic, and very pleased when
Simon reached out to them to tell them that he was on the trail of
the primal dragons.
finally, there were the survivors in Moscow.
slipped on the ice of the lake and slowed his pace, moving more
carefully as he recalled the events of the last few days. Kronk
looked back over his shoulder and the wizard gave him a reassuring
smile and motioned for him to continue. The little guy nodded and
Simon went back to his bitter thoughts.
What had he been thinking when he decided to meet the woman in
desperate, Simon, his inner voice told him. You were offered aid
against the primal white dragon and you jumped at the chance.
the wizard thought darkly. I
desperate. But also arrogant.
in his own powers and magical strength, he'd gotten careless. And now
Simon might have to pay the price for that with his life.