With “The Jracon’s Oath”, Book Two of the Odonata Chronicles, almost ready for publishing I figured it was high time I sent out a little teaser to let you know a little of what is in store…so here it is! A single chapter with Dax on the hunt for the Jraconoid and the lost Chama Fogo spellbook.
Dax continued his zigging and zagging northwards, knowing that important clues could be just on the wrong side of that bush, on the far side of that copse, out of sight even for his powerful senses. He was torn between the need to slow down and track more carefully, and the need to speed up in order to catch the Jraconoid before it reached the safety of the borders with Hawker territory.
Ignoring the aching in his wing muscles from the punishing pace he had set himself, and the aching in his mandibles from the tension he felt across his whole body, he continued on; the sun now high in the sky behind him.
It was the combination of the thick strands of Vivo evaporating from the ground and the bright red splattered across the grasses that caught Dax’s attention shortly after Sun’s Peak. Circling down towards the ground, Dax recoiled at the sight of the remains of what looked like a small rodent; maybe a mouse or a vole, splayed across a wide area, the lifeforce still flowing from its corpse – it was not long dead. Vivid memories burst into his mind of the bat that had nearly caught Yslana and him a few days earlier, and which had been caught by the Jraconoid at the last moment, inadvertently saving their lives, before it was torn to shreds by the ravenous creature.
This bloody scene before him now was too similar to be a coincidence. Surely these were the remains of a victim of the creature he was tracking. He was on the right trail!
Opening his senses to the magnetised contours of the land around him, Dax drew a mental line from the direction of the peninsula where they had last fought the creature, to where he now stood. Reaching out to the extremes of his sensory range, Dax was then able to estimate the bearing and approximate distance of the Citadel; his home still so depressingly far.
Smothering homesick thoughts, recognising they would only harm his focus, Dax calculated that the Jraconoid was taking a slightly roundabout route to reach the Basilica, the location of which Dax knew with some confidence from his days poring over dusty maps in the Academy where he worked as an apprentice scrivener. This circuitous route made sense, for Dephronyis could not risk a more direct route for fear of passing too close to the Salix and the many Ranger patrols in the area.
Reassured, for this gave him a little more time before the Enchiridion was lost over the borders, Dax grabbed a passing tiger beetle with a pinch of Mestre Bichou magic. Plucking a wide blade of grass, a crumb of soil, a pine needle, a dandelion petal and some juice from a clover flower, Dax quickly concocted a weak ink suitable for his purposes, finally grateful for all those lessons in the Academy preparing ink from raw ingredients with mortar and pestle.
Using the needle as a makeshift quill, Dax quickly penned a message on the grass blade to Lord Japhryis and the newly appointed High Magister Hydrea, detailing his discovery along with his approximate location. Securing the message to the beetle’s hind leg with a touch of Mestre Planta to ensure the blade remained tightly affixed, Dax then ordered the beetle to find Lords Japhryis and Hydrea at the Citadel with instructions on the bearing to follow, monitoring with a careful eye the direction the beetle flew off in.
Feeling like a weight had lifted now that he was more confident of the direction he must travel in order to find the monster and the Enchiridion, Dax jumped into the air with renewed vigour and surged forward on the new bearing, conjuring a raft of moving Ar to aid his flight.
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