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The Unspeller and the Book of Days


Temptation
The sky overhead was black and lightning lit the clouds. Waves crashed over the deck of the ship.
What was he doing on a ship? His hands were tied behind his back to the mast. It was a large ship, he could
tell that much by the size of the deck that yawned out into the darkness. The sails strained against the winds
of the storm. They should be hoisted up and tied, not pulling the ship with the wind.
Salty water flooded over him and receded as the ship rolled in the storm. He spit the water out of
his mouth and yelled. Only thunder from the sky answered him.
He looked out over the ocean and saw land in the distance. He stared out at it. He suddenly realized
what it was. He was being sent to Morea. No one was on the ship because no one was coming back. The ship
rolled again and a wave rose over the side of the ship. It crashed down over him and his lungs filled with
water. The swirling water sucked the ship down into the sea, and he went with it.
He sank down, his hands twisting at the thick rope that bound him to the mast. He looked up. The
ocean had become the sky, a dark cold heavy sky that pushed him down to blackness. He pulled harder
against the ropes but he could not move. He would not make the journey to Morea after all; he would find
the chambers of the sea realm first. In despair he screamed and let the water in his throat.
He woke from the dream, gasping out loud. Relieved to be in his own bed he drew his knees up and
put his head down, listening to the sound of his rapid heartbeat.
“Bad dream?”
Aesa startled at Jasper's voice. “Sort of.”
“Monsters or something else?”
Aesa sank back into his pillow. He would not confess his relentless fear of exile to Jasper.
“Something else.”
A light sparked and hovered over the beds. “That will last „till morning, if you like.”
He flushed in the darkness. He didn't need to be treated like a baby, but he didn't want to hurt his
brother's feelings. “Thanks.”
Jasper's familiar voice and the gentle light of the dorni made the nightmare seem foolish. Sent on a
ship to Morea with no crew? Bound to the mast? As if just sailing there wasn't bad enough. Aesa closed his
eyes. There were more real, pleasant things to dream about besides the possibility of being exiled. Like the
Arkenian girl…
That afternoon he ran out to the cliffs and called for Laeron.
The dragon didn't think much of the idea of searching out the Arkenian girl, but Aesa didn't care. He
was determined to go back again before he forgot where he had seen her.
Nothing good can come of looking for her. The dragon lay in the meadow, enjoying the sunshine that fought
to warm the spring air. His wings were neatly folded against his sides, his ebony scales soaking in the heat
between clouds.
Aesa fell on the grass, his hands behind his head. She’s not like I expected…as an Arkenian.
A wisp of black smoke blew out from the dragon's mouth. You certainly lear ned a great deal about her.
You’ve nearly mapped her very soul in just a few short moments. Amazing.
Ha. It is possible to make a sound judgment about a person after only a brief time. For instance, I guessed correctly
that you would not eat me.
That was not sound judgment, it was naivete.
 
 
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