Friday, January 25, 2013

Dralin, Kobo and is promoting Dralin as the special of the day.
This is a site I recently discovered that finds and promotes books, including many free books, in the Kobo Bookstore.  Trindiebooks got their name by combining the words traditional + indie = Trindie

You can follow them on facebook and twitter. Facebook Twitter


Kobo is probably the most exciting ebook company out there.  They are expanding internationally at a phenomenal rate.  I see them gradually taking market share from Amazon over the coming years.


The book Trindiebooks is promoting today is Dralin,  Book 1in the Dralin Trilogy and the first book in my Ryallon series.  (The Willden Trilogy was written first, but it occurs in time after the Dralin Trilogy) 

Back in 2001, I began a story in the world of Ryallon that started with a man named Calren.  As he was beginning his adventure, he met a woman named Pelya who had black hair, blue eyes and a sword at her hip.  Pelya was so fascinating to me that I began to explore her story.  Next thing I knew, I was writing a book called "The Liquid Wyvern".

Here's the thing about writing:  It's a lot of hard work and it takes practice to do it well.  After 40,000 words, I realized that I was making countless mistakes and needed to reevaluate.  It was another 8 years before I finally began writing again, but I had lost that original book, so I started with the Willden Trilogy instead.

Then I found the Liquid Wyvern on an old disc.  Having written three books by then, I realized how bad that original writing was.  However, the story of Pelya still fascinated me.  So I took the first chapter and turned it into the Dralin Trilogy . . . that's right.  There was an entire trilogy in that first chapter.  The original chapters 2 and 3 are going to make up the Wyvern Trilogy, which I'm writing now.  What's really bad is I had an outline for 30 chapters, each of which could be a book. *sigh*  The story deviates from them though, so it won't happen.

Anyway, Dralin begins by introducing the city of Dralin, a character in an of itself . . . a very sinister and dangerous character.  It begins with a young runaway woman meeting a handsome and kind Guardsman with a heavy soul.


There are many cities in the world of Ryallon that know the touch of despair and evil, but none like Dralin. Towers of wizards rise high into the air, shrouded in the mists of magical smog. Poor sleep in the alleyways, becoming deformed by pollution. Life is short for many.

Throughout all of it, the cunning and dangerous members of the City Guard do their best to keep evil and crime from destroying the citizens of Dralin. Trained to fight in streets that make no sense, they keep wickedness from taking over completely.

A young woman fleeing her past makes Dralin her destination. A young Guardsman with his own dark history hopes to make a difference in a city that is without hope. Are sorrow and despair their only destiny, or can love redeem them? Two young girls raised in this city learn life's hard lessons early. Will they be defeated by its evil?

Underneath the city lie hidden dangers even more terrible than those that lurk in its dark streets. Ancient ruins of civilizations past still hold onto the memories of how grand they once were, while menacing creatures hope for a tasty meal to venture into their domain.

The Dralin Trilogy is a dark, swords-and-sorcery fantasy series following the lives of a few unusual individuals as they desperately try to survive in the sinister city of Dralin.

Dralin is free in all stores, but I highly recommend Kobo :)

All my best,

John H. Carroll

P.S.  Oh, and that original story about a guy named Calren? . . . He's still there, waiting impatiently for me to get to his story. ;)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Guest post: Kindle Fire HD Giveaway

Note:  This event is now over.


Guest Post

I have a guest post today from Jerry Hanel, author of the Brodie Wade Series.  He is giving away a Kindle Fire HD predownloaded with books by popular Indie Authors to one lucky winner in the U.S..  I was fortunate enough to be asked to contribute my Dralin Trilogy to it.  Here is his post explaining the giveaway.

Kindle Fire HD Giveaway

That’s right. You could win a brand new, fresh out of the box, Kindle Fire HD. And I know what you’re thinking: “WOW! Hey, how can I win this lovely item?”
See? I’m a mind reader.

The Kindle Fire HD!

To win the Kindle Fire HD, simply sign up for my newsletter. You will get emails from me on advance copies of my books, free ebooks from other authors and much more. I don’t send many newsletters (maybe four or five a year), so I promise not to flood your inbox with junk.
When you sign up, make SURE that you check the “Giveaway” box. That’s how I’ll know that you want to sign up for the giveaway promotion (and future giveaways, too!)
That’s it! If you have already signed up for the newsletter in the past, check to make sure that you have entered yourself in the “Giveaway” list. If so, you are ALREADY in this drawing!! If you’re not sure, just sign-up again. It will say “Error: This email already exists” if you’ve signed up before under any other newsletter list, but that’s okay. It will still take your entry. I’ve tested it to make sure.

Alternate Entries

If you want extra chances to win, then you can use any (or all) of the the alternate methods. I will count each item as one entry in the give-away. (NOTE: These are EXTRA entries, but the primary entry above is required to start the ball rolling.)
  1. post “I would like to enter to win the Kindle Fire HD.” on my facebook author page (not my personal page). I will accept that as one entry. You can post this ONCE per day as an additional entry each day!
  2. Become a fan of my facebook author page,
  3. Several authors have signed up to help support me in this give-away, and I would like to honor them by adding your name to THEIR newsletter systems. If you ALSO check the “Other Author Mailing Lists”, you will be added into some of the other authors’ (see below) mailing lists, and earn 5 entries just for checking that box when you submit your name!! You get 5 extra chances to win. These people are awesome folks, and I can personally assure you that they will not enter your name into any spam engines. Your privacy is a high concern to all of us.
On February 1, 2013, I will draw one entry from the pool of entries to determine the winner. The winner will be announced via the Newsletter system and must be claimed within 7 days.

But wait… there’s more!

I wouldn’t just give you such fancy gifts and leave you hanging. Nope. I took the time to write my favorite indie authors, and to my surprise, almost every one of them responded. Not only are you going to get sparkling new a Kindle Fire HD, these amazing authors are joining me in giving you copies of their ebooks, already installed on the device for FREE. That’s right, you get a brand new Kindle Fire HD AND plenty of brand new books already loaded on it to keep you reading for several days.
Remember those “Other Authors” I told you about above? Yeah, here they are.
You’ll start off with your own veritable library of great reading in the palm of your hand! From epic fantasy to paranormal mysteries, outer-space dramas and tales of the wicked to modern nostalgic mysteries with a splash of romance. I think we pretty much cover all of the bases, and there will be at least two or three books that will please every book reader out there.

The Authors and eBooks

Let me tell you about these wonderfully talented authors. I have come to know most of them through several online venues, and I can attest to the quality of the writing and their over-all nice-person status. I’ve read almost all of these books, and the ones I haven’t are already purchased and are in my to-read pile. I can promise that you won’t be disappointed! I have a wide range in books I like to read, so I hope you’ll be as enthralled with these novels and novellas as I have been. The authors really are great people, and I’m a huge fan of all of their works (hey, authors can be fans, too). I’m nearly beside myself with happiness that some of my favorite authors are joining with me to do this give-away.
If you win, you get all of these great reads pre-loaded on your Kindle Fire HD! All I ask is that if you read a book and like it, please share your joy as a kind review on Amazon for these great folks. A great review puts a huge smile in our hearts. It really is why we do this crazy thing called writing.

Victorine E. Lieske

Not What She SeemsA NY Times Best-Seller!
Steven Ashton, a billionaire from New York, and Emily Grant, on the run from the law…and when they meet he can’t help falling for her. What he doesn’t know is that interfering in her life will put his own life in danger.When billionaire Steven Ashton couldn’t stand his high society social life anymore, he left the stress of New York on a vacation for his soul. The need to meet real down to earth people led him to a small Nebraska town. He didn’t want to lie about who he was, but he couldn’t exactly tell them the truth.Emily could have easily fallen in love with Steven, under different circumstances, but her past was catching up with her and she needed a new life. If the authorities found out about her, she could lose the one thing that meant everything, her four year old son.
The Overtaking
Shayne Barlet has been kidnapped, his powers disabled and his memory altered. He’s having a bad day…and he doesn’t even know it. Shayne believes he’s living the ideal life. He attends a great school in the Midwest, gets along with his roommate, and has even met a girl who seems perfect for him.But it’s all a lie. His girlfriend is deceiving him, his roommate is in on it, and perhaps most unbelievably of all: he’s not from Earth. He’s not even human…and neither are they.As he discovers his own buried psychic abilities, Shayne realizes the only truth he’s been told is perhaps the most improbable one: his girlfriend, a member of the invasion force, seems to truly love him, even though her actions are rife with deceit.Shayne soon uncovers a vast conspiracy involving planetary conquest, erased memories, holographic worlds, and dark agendas. He vows to expose the truth, set his people free, and stop The Overtaking…once, and for all.
The Practice Date
Jane’s been in love with her best friend Lance since they were kids. Best friend, that is, until he ditched her for the more popular crowd. What’s a computer nerd doing spending time with jocks anyway?When he asks her for help getting a date to the prom with the most popular girl in school she almost tells him to take a flying leap. But she’d be spending time with him, teaching him to dance and he’d be holding her…that sounded like heaven.So she says yes.But how much practice can her heart take?

K.C. May

The Kinshield Legacy
Book 1 of The Kinshield Saga. A mysterious stone tablet with five magical gems has sat abandoned in a cave for two hundred years. The kingdom is in ruins, with only warrant knights to keep the peace. But then, the gems in the tablet, one by one, disappear. Warrant knight Gavin Kinshield is a man of many secrets. He’s the one deciphering the runes in the tablet. Unless he can find a suitable replacement, he’ll be Thendylath’s next king. All he really wants is the letter written by his ancestor Ronor Kinshield, the last man to see King Arek alive… a letter he must earn by tracking down a common thief. But when Gavin saves a woman’s life, what should have been a simple task draws him face-to-face with his nightmarish past… and the truth of King Arek’s demise.
The Wayfarer King
Book 2 of The Kinshield Saga. Beyonders, evil beings that materialize without warning from the realm of chaos, continue to invade the world of men, destroying everything — and everyone — in their path. The most powerful of them all, Ritol, has been confined for two hundred years inside the palace in Thendylath, trapped by King Arek’s magic. Having newly claimed the right to rule Thendylath as king, Gavin Kinshield has no money or army, but he’s determined to protect his people from the beyonder attacks. With his new power of Wayfarer, Gavin has the ability to journey to all seven realms. To end the invasion, he must travel to the realm of chaos and summon Ritol.

Larry Enright

A Cape May Diamond
Set in 1975 in historic Cape May, “A Cape May Diamond” is a story of life, love and a journey of a thousand years. 1975 was not a good time for anyone: the Vietnam War had just ended with the fall of Saigon, the world was mired in one of its worst recessions, and the crown jewel of the New Jersey shore was awash in neglect and disrepair and dying a slow death. Once the elegant summer home to presidents and kings, it had become the last refuge of the deposed and the final stop for Tom Ryan, a convicted draft dodger, a man whose journey down life’s crooked path was as inevitable as the stones that wash up on Sunset Beach. Tom went there to be forgotten, not forgiven. What he found among the things that even the ocean no longer wanted was a gem of a different sort.

Kevin Domenic

Key to the Stars
For nearly a decade, the race of sorcerers known as the Kyrosen lived in seclusion beneath the sands of the Mayahol Desert. After the death of his father during the Vermillion War, Sartan Truce rose to power as the rightful heir to take the reigns of his battered warriors. Although the planet’s natives did their best to drive the Kyrosen to extinction, Truce’s technological advancements served to both sustain his people and aid them in their fight for survival.And now his greatest weapon is a fourteen year old boy.
Alliance of Serpents
The Aeden Alliance served the galaxy for generations. A private military composed of a wide variety of races and species, the Alliance extended their offer of security and protection to any individual, nation, or world in need. But when a startling intelligence report uncovered evidence of a frightening new weapon, the Aeden Alliance had no choice but to intervene in order to keep such dangerous technology from falling into the wrong hands.And now the greatest danger to the universe is a fourteen year old boy.
Eye of the Tornado
Kindel Thorus hailed from the remote planet of Zo’rhan, a planet populated by a space-faring warrior race of the same name. Unmatched in combat and skilled in even the most advanced sorcery, Kindel led an armada of battle-hardened soldiers against those who sought to impose their might upon the weak and defenseless. Many feared him. Others revered him.And now his biggest threat is a fourteen year old boy.

John Carroll

Book 1 of the Dralin Trilogy: Many cities know the touch of evil and despair, but none are as bleak as Dralin. A young woman flees her past, making Dralin her destination. A young Guardsman with his own dark history hopes to make a difference in a city without hope. Is sorrow their only destiny, or can love redeem them? Two young girls raised in this city learn life’s hard lessons early. Will they be defeated by its evil?
Book 2 of the Dralin Trilogy: On Ebudae Pallon’s sixteenth birthday, she and her best friend Pelya are allowed into the city without escort. They visit the wonders of Carnival and make new friends. However, life in the city of Dralin is never simple . . . or safe.
Book 3 of the Dralin Trilogy: Sir Imbra has told Pelya that he would one day need her help. Will Pelya’s sword arm be enough to battle a power beyond anything she’s seen? Will Ebudae’s power overcome the might of potent magic? In a city filled with despair, can the hopes and efforts of such talented individuals win the day?

Glenn Bullion

My name’s Alex. I used to think I was normal. I have a job, an apartment, good friends. I have a sister I adore, and the most beautiful woman in the world happens to be my best friend. I see ghosts. So what, right? It’s on television all the time. All kinds of people see ghosts. But seeing ghosts turns into seeing demons. Seeing demons turns into walking through walls. It only keeps getting better. It just so happens I’m half demon, the only one of my kind.
Mind Slide
A random act of nature changed Mason’s life forever. He lost his parents on that fateful day, even his memories of them. But he gained something in return. Mason has the ability to “mind slide”, the ability to project his consciousness. He can be anywhere in the world. Watching. Listening.
A Witch to Live
Kevin always had one ability that set him apart from everyone else. Healing. He healed his classmate Rachel when they were six years old, even though it almost exposed him. He lost his parents after starting high school. Now a senior, he struggles to stay out of his sister’s way as she takes care of both of them. He sleeps on the couch in their one-bedroom apartment and walks to school. His sister is the only person he calls a friend. As if that weren’t enough, he discovers his power goes far beyond simple healing.Kevin is a witch.
Jack Kursed
The victim of a witch’s curse, Jack has been awake for two hundred years. Unable to die, unable to sleep, he’s trapped in a state of existence that no one can relate to, not even his vampire best friend Victoria. Using his unique condition, he has helped Victoria in keeping the supernatural world at bay. Evil vampires, werewolves, and monsters have all died at their hand. But he’s about to face his biggest challenge, eight-year-old orphan Tiffany.

Brent Nichols

Bert The Barbarian
It all started when he tried to end it all. Bert Hoover jumped from a bridge, only to be rudely rescued by a flying saucer. Now he’s on the backward planet of Mardalu, enslaved by the brutal Morans. His only friend is Janice, but she’s been sold into slavery as well.Escape won’t be easy, especially for a chronic under-achiever. After that, all Bert has to do is the impossible: find Janice, rescue her, and somehow find a way back to Earth.
Cinderellas Blues
A novella.Fancy shoes are the least of Cinderella’s problems. She’s met a boy she likes, but he’s got baggage – a murderous regent with armed henchmen. If she wants to dance with her prince, she’ll have to rescue him first. It’s time to take off the glass slippers and kick a little butt, or Cinderella will never survive until midnight.
Gears of a Mad God
Book 1 of the Gears of a Mad God series. Proper young ladies in the 1920s don’t get dirty, and they certainly don’t get into fights. But Colleen’s favorite uncle has died under mysterious circumstances, and she wants answers. When a sinister cult comes after her, she pushes back – hard. Soon she’s running for her life, hunted by the cult of Katharis and aided by a secret government agency. It will take all of her courage, all of her strength, and every steam-powered weapon she can devise to keep her alive long enough to unravel the mystery of her uncle’s death.
And of course, my own books!

Jerry Hanel

The Truth Has Teeth
A prequel and a novella to the Brodie Wade Series.A collegiate-aged Brodie Wade takes on his first cold case with Phil Dawson, who has finally risen to the rank of Detective. In this case, Brodie encounters a Truth manifestation like he’s never seen before–a werewolf. He must decipher the latest riddle before the werewolf hunts him down and tears him apart.
Death Has a Name
Book 1 of the Brodie Wade Series. There is a Truth that exists. It is active. Alive. It fights the bounds of reality to make itself known. It’s not my truth. It’s not anyone’s truth. It is The Truth. Psychic Detective Brodie Wade has been able to interact with The Truth since he was a child. It has scarred his mind and body, but it also gives him the ability to know things that he shouldn’t know. When Brodie encounters The Truth in its freshest forms, he has to struggle for his life and for his sanity. When The Truth confronts Brodie and tells him that he must protect the Third Key, Brodie must discover what – or who – The Third Key is before Death can regain his physical form.
Thaloc Has a Body
Book 2 of the Brodie Wade Series. The Truth returns to torment Psychic Detective Brodie Wade, and he is caught off-guard with three bizarre statements from the most unusual of sources. The Truth warns him – in its usual cryptic fashion – of his own death: in three days he will be married, then he dies. Detective Phil Dawson brings Brodie a set of three impossible cases. And Officer Jamie Stanford blindsides Brodie with a date… the first in his life. At every turn, The Truth seems intent on derailing everything, rambling about the existence of a creature named Thaloc. Can he solve the riddles before his own clock runs out?

Quick Recap!

Make sure you are listed under the “Giveaway” newsletter. And for additional entries, you can post (once per day) ”I would like to enter to win the Kindle Fire HD.” on my facebook author page and become a fan of my facebook author page. Earn 5 extra entries for checking the “Other Author Mailing Lists” box when you sign up.
Please spread the word, share the love, and let everyone know.
Good luck, and I can’t wait to see who wins!

Official Rules
Now, to be legal, I have to lay out the rules and deadlines for this giveaway. The contest for this prize begins as of 1/1/2013, and will end at midnight on 2/1/2013 (Central USA Time). Signing up for the newsletter list labled “Giveaway” qualifies as one entry, and is required for all alternate entries. Leaving an “alternate entry” post on my facebook author page (maximum of once per day) qualifies as one entry. For an additional alternate entry,
a person must click “Like” at
One entry will be drawn at random from the pool of qualified entries to determine the winner. If prizes are not claimed within one week of their name being announced, an alternate name will be drawn in their place. The winners will be notified via the Giveaway Newsletter option, and the user is responsible for making sure that the email is deliverable through their spam filters.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pelya meets a Purple Dragon

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, "Wyvern", which will be book 1 of the Wyvern Trilogy.  It is probably one of the best examples of my writing that I can show you.  It has the playfulness inherent in most of my writing.

Pelya meets a Purple Dragon

Warmth flooded the left side of Pelya’s back and chest.  She spun on her heel, sword out before the motion was finished.  There was nothing to the left or on the road behind, but the warmth was still there.  She looked under the collar of her chain shirt and saw intricate lines glowing orange on her skin.
The dragon mark.  At the age of eleven, she and Ebudae had saved a baby dragon.  Its mother, Hezzena, had given them dragon marks as a reward even though neither girl knew what they meant.  Something about the magic prevented the girls from thinking about them.
She checked herself for injury.  The mark only activated when she was hurt or used too much magic, although the latter was something that happened to Ebudae far more often than Pelya.  There was no injury anywhere on her body, so she began a scan of her surroundings.  Nothing lurked around the hills, grasslands and scattered groves of trees.  The sun shone from above with complete disinterest while a breeze gently caressed the grass on the sides of the road.
Then Pelya saw a large shadow on the grass a distance away, so she looked up to see a dragon descending in a lazy circle toward her.  Every hair on her neck and arms stood straight up and she froze.  Most people didn’t see one dragon in their lives, let alone two.
With incredible self-discipline, Pelya gained control of her muscles and drew her secondary sword.  It would cut through anything, possibly even dragon scales.  However, she knew enough about dragons to know that even a magically keen sword would probably be useless.
The dragon had nearly finished its descent.  The previously disinterested sun took a notice of the creature, glinting its rays off the polished purple scales on the creature’s head.  The leathery wings were laced with lighter colored veins while the shadowed underbelly was a vibrant lavender color, similar to the combined light of Ryallon’s two moons.
As the dragon gracefully flapped its wings to land a short distance away, Pelya looked around for a place to hide.  There was nothing in reach, so she took a deep breath and let it out slowly, praying that death would be quick.
She remembered something Hezzena had said.  Dragons were forbidden from killing humans with the exception of self-defense or thieves.  Pelya desperately hoped it was true, because the one coming towards her was larger than the last three inns she had stayed at combined.
“Please put away those silly blades, human,” it said in a tenor, male voice.  “They won’t help you even if one is made of siahthite.  I must admit to curiosity as to how you came into possession of it.”  The words it spoke were delivered with magic, requiring no movement of its mouth.  The dragon sat on its haunches and folded its wings back.
Pelya had to crane her neck to look up at it.  She didn’t respond to the order to put away the blades, largely because she overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the magnificent creature.
“I was afraid this was going to be difficult.”  The magnificent creature in question sighed heavily, gusting Pelya’s braided hair about her shoulders.  Surprisingly, its breath was rather pleasant, smelling of smoked bacon and cinnamon.  “I don’t suppose you’ll just put away those swords and behave reasonably?  Hmm?”  He leaned forward to look at her with a swirling, liquid-silver eye that was as big as Pelya.
They probably wouldn’t do much good anyway and the dragon wasn’t showing any hostility to her.  Pelya slid them both back into their sheaths.  Meanwhile she took hold of her senses and forced them back into her control in spite of the fact that they wanted to run screaming in every direction.  One thought stayed at the forefront of her mind and she asked about it.  “What is siahthite?”
It raised a scaly eyebrow in a surprisingly human gesture.  “You have a sword made of one and you don’t know what it is?  How extraordinary.”  Then the dragon reached forward with its right claw and squished Pelya’s cheeks between a thumb talon and finger talon.  “You humans have such fascinating, squishy skin.”  He squeezed very gently, careful not to hurt Pelya.  “Squishy, squishy.”  Then it stopped and removed the claw, having the good grace to look embarrassed.  “My apologies.  I don’t have many opportunities to squish humans.”
Throughout the experience, Pelya stood dumbfounded.  “Uh huh,” was the only thing she could think to say.
“Would you mind giving me some of your urine, fingernail trimmings and hair, perhaps?”  The dragon asked hopefully.
Pelya tried desperately to think of a response; something, anything.  It was futile.  The absurdity of a dragon landing in front of her on a lonely road and asking her for such things allowed her senses to escape again.
The dragon squeezed her cheeks again.  “Squishy, squishy, squishy.  It’s just so much fun!  When Pelya didn’t respond, the dragon gave another heaving sigh.  “Please may I have them?  I’ll pay you a pretty gem.”  He flicked its wrist and an amethyst appeared in the center of a claw.  The dragon held it close so Pelya could see.
“I don’t really need any money or gems,” Pelya said.  It was a pretty amethyst though.
The dragon jerked back, startled by the statement.  “Don’t need?  What in the world does needing have to do with it?  Money, wealth, treasure are wonderful things!  One must have them.  Need is irrelevant.  You silly human, you.”
Pelya held her arms out to the side and shrugged.  “I have more money than I need and no home to keep treasure in right now.”
“Well that’s just offensive,” the dragon declared.  It squeezed Pelya’s cheeks again with its other claw, a bit more roughly than before.  “Squishy, squishy.”  Then he made the gem disappear.  “Will you please give me the ingredients anyway?”
“What do you need them for?”  Pelya was suspicious of the reasons.  It seemed odd that a dragon would ask for them.  It was odd that anyone would ask for such things.
“They are ingredients for spells and also used in the creation of certain magical items or potions.  I could just kill you for them, you know.  I’m trying to be polite though.”  He studied a sharp talon with interest, turning it back and forth.
“No you can’t.”  Pelya took a chance that Hezzena was telling the truth about dragons not being allowed to kill humans.  She reflected on the fact that she almost never thought about that incident and realized the dragon mark prevented her from remembering.  The mark was still warm and she realized it was because of the proximity of the dragon.  “Dragons aren’t allowed to kill humans unless threatened or if the human is a thief.”
The dragon’s eye was back in front of Pelya, gazing into her soul.  “Where, exactly did you hear that, you little snack?”
She couldn’t help but take a step back.  “From . . .”  her jaw froze and the mark warmed again.  “I can’t tell you . . . I’m physically unable.”
The dragon sniffed and then put a talon in Pelya’s collar and looked down her shirt.  It was extremely awkward to have a giant eye examine her so intimately.  The dragon sat back on its haunches again and stared at her incredulously.  “Wherever did you get a dragon mark?  And an orange one at that?”  He said the last with its snout twisted up as though tasting something rotten.
Pelya opened her mouth to answer, but it snapped shut involuntarily as the dragon mark took control.
The purple dragon saw.  “Of course.  You can’t tell me.  Sometimes even Oranges have brains I suppose.  They’re not known for it, you know.”  He tapped her on the nose with a talon.  “Oranges grow muscles, not brains.  Wouldn’t want to be hit by one, but they’re too stupid to handle my vast intelligence.”  He used the talon to tap its own nose for a moment while thinking.  Then it squeezed Pelya’s cheeks again.  “Squishy, squishy.”
Pelya ignored the odd behavior.  She decided on a deal.  “I’ll trade you for information about the metal my sword is made of, sia . . . siathi . . .”
“Siahthite.  I shouldn’t have even said the word.”  He squeezed Pelya’s cheeks some more.  “There are a great number of things humans aren’t allowed to know about dragons, like siahthite and dragon marks.  Squishy, squishy.  Can I keep you and call you my little squishy?”
“No!”  Pelya wasn’t about to allow a dragon keep her as a pet, especially if they were going to name her Squishy.  “You may not keep me.”
“Well you’re no fun.”  It tapped its nose in thought again.  “Very well.  I will tell you about siahthite in exchange for urine, fingernails and hair.”
“Alright.  It’s a deal.”  Pelya held her hand out to shake.  Instead of shaking, the dragon held Pelya’s index finger in between two talons and began to trim them.  A porcelain jar appeared underneath and the nail fell into it.  The dragon proceeded to trim each of the nails, cutting them extremely short.
“They’re not very long, but it’ll do.  Now for the hair.”  He wrapped a claw around her body to turn her around and Pelya felt a tug as it cut the hair just at the neck with a talon.
The sound of her hair being cut and the loss of its weight shocked Pelya.  “Hey!  You said some hair, not all of it!”  She reached behind her and desperately patted the shorn locks.  “Nooooo . . .”
“I left you the stuff on the top.  It looks very nice,” he said.  “Now please put some urine in this jar.  I’m afraid that’s something I can’t do for you.”
“You cut my hair!”  Pelya was furious.  She loved her braid and couldn’t bear the thought of losing it.  “I need it.”
“How odd.  You need hair, but not treasure.  I’ve never heard of anything so silly.”  He squeezed her cheeks, which had reddened in anger.  “Squishy, squishy.  Please fill this jar with urine now and then I’ll tell you about siahthite.”  He held out another porcelain jar.
Pelya looked at her beautiful braid sitting in a small basket.  It hurt to see it there, but she couldn’t think of how to reattach it and void the deal.  She snatched the jar out of his claw and looked around for a bush or tree to hide behind.  There was nothing.  Pelya looked up at the dragon.  “Well?”
It raised an eyebrow.  “Well what?  I told you I can’t do it for you.”
“Turn around!”  Pelya made a circling motion with her finger.
“Why in the world do you want me to turn around?  It sounds like a very odd thing to do just so you can fill a jar with urine.”
“You’re a boy dragon and boys aren’t allowed to watch girls pee, so turn around.”  Pelya made the circling motion more vigorously.
“Humans are so weird.”  The dragon did as asked though.  When he sat back down, his tail lay in a circle around Pelya and the collected ingredients.
Pelya felt the back of her hair again and mourned the loss.  Dropping her trousers to fill the jar with urine was uncomfortable at best.  “I’m done.  You can turn around again,” Pelya said as she set the jar next to the one with nail clippings.  “How do I know you’re not going to use this against me?”
“Because I promise not to.  That seems like a reasonable request.”  He finished turning around and instantly squeezed her cheeks again.  “Squishy, squishy, squishy.
Pelya narrowed her eyes.  “That’s becoming very irritating.”
“I can’t help it.”  He released her cheeks and began putting lids on the jars and basket.  As he closed each one, it disappeared.  “Now, about the siahthite.  It’s very rare here on Ryallon.  The reason it’s rare is because it’s a metal only found on Siahray.”
“The moon?” Pelya asked in surprise.  “There’s metal on the moon?”
“Yes, but humans aren’t allowed to know that and I’ll thank you not to share the information.”  The ingredients were gone, including Pelya’s braid, and he stretched his wings before folding them and sitting back.  “Do you know anything about the energies of chaos swirling around Ryallon and the moons?”
Pelya folded her arms and tried to remember the details.  “Yes.  They’re the source of magic.  They also exist in other parts of the universe and if normal people or creatures drink too deeply of them, they can become gods or burn out completely.”
“How extraordinary!”  The dragon’s increased volume scared the birds out of a distant copse of trees.  “Not many humans know anything outside of their own brief lives.  I like you, my little squishy.”
“I’m not your little squishy.”  Pelya was beginning to worry that the dragon would keep her.
He sighed.  “Pity.  Oh well.  When Siahray and Piohray came to be, long ago before humans existed, chaotic energies swirled around them and corrupted some of the mass within.  Siahthite and piohrite are two metals that were affected.”
“Piohrite would be metal from the moon Piohray then?” Pelya asked.
“Yes, very good.  I’m not supposed to tell you that either, but I like you.”  He squeezed her cheeks yet again.  “Squishy, squishy.  Anyway, both metals have extraordinary properties and can only be made into a blade using special forges that allow magic to combine with heat.  I won’t explain the process, but your sword was created that way.”
Pelya pulled it out.  “It never dulls and it cuts through anything.”
“Yes.  There are probably other qualities, but I won’t speculate.”
“There aren’t any runes to hold the magic, at least not that I can see.”  That fact had driven Ebudae to frustration.
“I agreed to tell you of the metal and I’ve done so.  My obligation is fulfilled.”  He stood on all four legs and stretched his wings out again.
“Wait, how did it get to Ryallon from the moon?”  Pelya asked, holding out a hand for him to stay.
“Our agreement did not require me to tell you that, and I would never have made the agreement if it did.”  Goodbye, my little squishy.  I wish you good fortune on your journeys and much treasure even if you don’t need it.”  He turned and jogged a few steps before launching himself into the air with a great thrust of the wings.
Pelya sheathed the sword and watched as the magnificent creature rose into the air.  She was surprised when he suddenly turned and came back to her.  He landed in front of her and reached out to squeeze her cheeks.  “Squishy, squishy.”  I just had to do it one more time!”
The dragon turned and leaped into the air again.  Pelya was buffeted by the gusts created by his powerful wings.  She shielded her face with an arm until he was well into the air.  It didn’t take long for the dragon to become a speck in the sky and for her dragon mark to cool.
Once again, the gentle breeze and buzzing insects were Pelya’s only company.  Even the sun had resumed its disinterest.

I hope you enjoyed that sample.

All my best,

John H. Carroll