The Legend of Vanx Malic: Book 02 - Dragon Isle

BOOK: The Legend of Vanx Malic: Book 02 - Dragon Isle
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Copyright 2012 © by Michael Robb Mathias Jr.

All rights reserved

I’d like to thank
MrLasers
for the excellent formatting,

Anton Kokarev (
kanartist.deviantart.com
) for the amazing cover art,

D. P. Prior for the edit,

Kristi for the proof read,

And last but not least,

This one is for Khara, Kahne, and Bo (When you get older.)

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

The Legend of Vanx Malic - Book 3 Preview

Also by M.R. Mathias

Off beside the river

far away from everything

the fishes keep my company

while I close my eyes and dream.

– Parydon Cobbles

A
makra Malic passed away when Vanx was thirty-six years old. She was taken by a merciless wasting disease that was exclusive to those of Zythian blood. It was a sudden thing. One year, she was glowing and full of life; the next she was a withered husk, empty of all but love for her only son. She was young by Zythian standards—barely a hundred years old. Her life had caused a hurricane of emotion to assail the hearts and minds of the Zythian elders, and not just because of her choice of a human mate.

In her life, Amakra challenged ancient customs and pushed the boundaries of the old ways at every chance she had. They warned her that her mixed-blood child would be stillborn, just as dozens of others had been in the past. They said her heart would break when she outlived her lover and was forced to watch him die. They said the Goddess would shun her for breaking so many traditions and that she could be considered Zythian only because of her blood.

Vanx’s birth changed all of that. He wasn’t stillborn, and his father died at sea on a merchant ship taken by pirates off the coast of Harthgar. He never had the chance to grow old before her eyes. The Goddess smiled upon her brightly enough so that she lived to see her son mature.

Some said her death was a punishment for the life she lived, but she told Vanx, from her deathbed, that her life had been a great and wondrous happening. She’d known love; she’d turned heads and raised eyebrows. She had given birth to an impossible child who was touched by the Goddess herself. She said her life had been full of joy and triumph.

“Remember who and what you are, Vanx,” she’d whispered. By then, only her smile and the light shining in her eyes marked her as his mother. The rest of her was shriveled and discolored. “The humans will envy you for being part Zythian, and the Zythians for being part human. You must rise above them, for what other people think of you matters very little. It’s what you think of yourself that matters.”

Those words echoed in Vanx’s ears now as he let his eyes focus back onto the dark sea before him. He took a few moments to blink away the tears brought on by his mother’s memory and evaluate what he truly thought of himself. He’d thought about abandoning Gallarael’s cause, but hadn’t. He was here, and he found himself willing to face the dangers that lay ahead in the hope of saving Gallarael and her unborn child. He felt that he was doing the right thing. It was a dangerous, possibly even foolish, quest they were on, but he wouldn’t be able to think well of himself if he abandoned a girl who was poisoned while trying to help him escape the chains of slavery.

Vanx was glad they decided to land somewhere besides Flotsam Bay. His coming there, especially on a royal Parydonian ship with the prince of the human realm, would cause too much of a stir. Unlike his mother, Vanx didn’t enjoy the attention of turning heads and rising eyebrows.

“Follow your heart,” his mother had told him as she passed away. Now, his heart told him that Zeezle would be at his family’s farmstead outside of Sama, or near there.

The small fishing port of Little Haven was about a half-day’s walk to Sama. Little Haven was also due south of Dragon Isle, making the next leg of their journey an easy one. More than that, though, the Zythian folk there were of the simpler sort: the fishermen, the croppers, and the traders. Vanx’s heart told him that Little Haven would be a safer and less conspicuous place to land the
Sea Hawk
. As he confirmed those feelings with his mind, he saw a star twinkle in the sky. It oddly reminded him of the twinkle in his mother’s eyes. The warm feeling that came over him then was as welcome as it was reassuring. For the first time in his life he knew that he was exactly where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing.

“Don’t fall over them wings,” a gruff voice said sharply from not too far away and above him. It was Peg, and he was grinning like a child with the frosting spoon in his hand. “If you go overboard in the dark we might not be able to find ya. Besides that, I’m not sure Captain Willie would heave the old
Sea Hawk
around for a man-eater.”

Vanx started to respond, but the look in the seaman’s eyes showed that he wasn’t trying to be offensive. He said, “If I fell overboard I might make it to Little Haven before you and your mates.”

Peg laughed. “Well, well,” he said. “At least one of you has some spunk about you. The others couldn’t keep their guts down.”

“I don’t think either of them has been out into the deep sea before,” Vanx replied. He pulled himself from the wing-formed rail of the bow and strode to a place under where Peg was hanging in the rigging like a three-legged spider. “Probably not even in a bay.”

“Aye,” Peg agreed. “I could take off my stub and hop this deck in a tempest better than either of them could walk it in this calm.”

“How’d you lose the leg?” Vanx asked.

“That’s not a question you ask a man,” Peg snapped, and even as the words came out of him his demeanor softened. “Since you’re a half-blooded heathen, I’ll let it pass.”

Vanx narrowed his brows and rolled his eyes. He wasn’t going to let the old stubble-faced sea dog intimidate him. “Tell me or not, what do I care?”

Peg chuckled at that too. “You have really got some spunk about you, there’s no doubt.” He swung down through the rigging on arms as thick as tree limbs and landed before Vanx with a hard thump on the deck.

“Call me Vanx.”

“It’s Peg, then, if you didn’t already guess. Though my name is Leory.” He offered his hand for Vanx to shake. Vanx took it and winced at the strength of his grip. Peg clanked over to the rail. “Shark,” he said softly.

Vanx hurried over and looked down into the glossy black water. “Where?”

“No, man!” Peg barked out a laugh. “A shark took my leg. Well, not really took it off or nothing, but it could have.” He held his arms out in a big empty bear hug. “Its mouth was this big, and it clamped down on me and pulled me. It held me under ‘til I nearly drowned, but then, just like that, it let me go. Them teeth ripped the meat to the bone, and poisoned my blood with the green rot. They ought to call me Lucky, not Peg.” He grinned, and in the orange light of the deck lantern, Vanx realized the man’s teeth weren’t teeth at all, but painted wood.

“I was nearly eaten, then drowned, then bled out by that cursed sea beast. Old Nepton himself was on my side, though, and Cap’n Willie pulled me out, tied me off, and rowed me to Hellton with his own arms.”

“How did you end up in the water in the first place?” Vanx asked.

Peg licked his lips at that and gave a nervous glance around.

“Go on, tell him, Peg.” Yandi showed two of his three teeth as he walked up. “Tell him about the
Mother Earl
.”

“Yes, Peg, tell him.” Prince Russet’s wild-haired silhouette blocked most of the lighted rectangle of the portal that led below deck. “I love the story, even though I’ve heard it told a dozen times.” The prince gave Vanx a nod of respect and then clasped Peg on the shoulder. “The only thing is, the way you and our over-esteemed captain tell it, you two weren’t trying to take the
Mother Earl
, you were trying to save her from pirates.”

“We weren’t trying to take her,” Peg insisted.

“Captain Willington and Leory here used to be pirates,” the prince told Vanx. “Go on back to your work Leory, I’d hate to have to pike your head on the mast pole for lying to me.”

Peg’s roughspun demeanor vanished as he nodded several times, and then darted back up into the rigging. Yandi crept away before the prince had the chance to notice his presence. “The captain of
Mother Earl
sank their ship, and only two longboats made it to shore; one with four men, the other with only our Captain Willie and about three-fourths of Leory.”

“Isn’t it a human tradition that a ship’s captain goes down with his vessel?” Vanx asked.

“I wasn’t a captain then,” Captain Willie boomed jovially.

Another lantern was lit and Vanx saw that not only had the captain been in earshot, but at least half a dozen other men were hanging from the rigging or lingering around. It occurred to him then that his keener sense of hearing and vision were somehow dulled out here at sea. Before he could think about it further, Captain Willie continued speaking.

“I was High Picaroon.” The captain must have seen Vanx’s look of confusion at the term. “That’s what the leader of the boarding marauders is called. We was trying to take that fat-bellied merchant ship for a prize, and I’m proud to say it.”

“Had she been a Parydon ship, you’d have been beheaded,” Prince Russet said with a boyish grin. “But she was out of Harthgar and you managed to cripple her so that she drifted all the way to Oradyn.”

BOOK: The Legend of Vanx Malic: Book 02 - Dragon Isle
4.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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