The Chadwick Chronicles, Chapter 4

This week it’s my turn to contribute to the serial fantasy story I’m writing with three other authors!  If you haven’t been following the Chadwick Chronicles or missed an installment, here is a quick roundup of all the links.  If you’ve read them all, scroll right past to Chapter 4!

Character Intros

Bea Brightbolt the sneaky gnome

Princess Y’manya the dragon egg guardian

Thrush Vonsel the traveling dwarf

Rheban the very philosophical dragon

Chapters

Chapter 1 by H.L. Burke

Chapter 2 by Parker J. Cole

Chapter 3 by Nat Davis

*

Chapter 4: Rheban the Dragon

Rheban stretched across the rocks on the top of Cyan Mountain, enjoying the late afternoon sun on his silvery scales.  His massive tail coiled and trickled across loose stones, idly twitching the loosest ones down the slope.

They rattled past the peasant man who stood before him.  The man jumped.  He had removed his hat in Rheban’s presence, and kept twisting it around in his hands – the straw edge was getting frayed.  His voice sounded a pitch too high for his build and stature.  “I came to speak to your magnificence about a missing donkey.”

Rheban eyed him in silence for a moment before asking,  “And you want me to help you find it?”

“They say you see all things from the top of this mountain – and know things other people don’t – even the future, your magnificence.”

Rheban lifted his nose.  “You did not think it would be dangerous to consult me?”

“They say you are cunning, but wise, not a harm but a benefactor to the land.”  The man’s voice rose in pitch again and he twisted his hat at a faster pace in his hands.  “I was told you will answer any question for a price, and are friendly toward humans.”

“Well, what is your price, little snack?”  Rheban lay his great head down on the moss and watched the peasant like a cat.

“I have eight silver coins – ”

“I do not trade in money.  I am not that sort of dragon,” Rheban said with a sniff.  “I trade in information.  You tell me three things I do not know, and I will tell you one thing you need to know.”

The man blinked.  “I thought you knew everything.”

Rheban blew a huff of smoke from his nostrils.  “I divine things, Master Morsel.  To do that requires seeds of information.  The more I know…the more I will know.  So what can you tell me?”

The peasant shifted from foot to foot on the gravel.  “Um…the king just sent out a proclamation promising a handsome reward to anyone who can find – ”

Rheban rolled his eyes.  “Tell me something I don’t know.  You will find most big news has reached my ears long before.  I want the details…the little things…things that, to you, perhaps seem inconsequential.”

The peasant pondered for a moment.  “The mayor in Ellestown got four new hunting dogs?”

Rheban nodded.  “Go on.”

“They run rampant and eat other people’s food stores,” the peasant grumbled.

“Two more things, if you please.”  Rheban flicked his tail, dislodging more rocks.

“My mother pruned her garden yesterday.  And oh, some gnome called Bea Brightbolt was seen near town!”  The peasant smiled in relief that his interrogation was over.  “Now, you must tell me where my donkey is.”

“No, no, small morsel.  That is not how I operate,” Rheban corrected him, rising to his clawed feet on the rocks.  “I will tell you something you need to know.  That is how the deal works.”

“But will it help me find my donkey?”  The man’s face fell in a wounded pout.

“For most,” Rheban admitted, “my information helps them find what they need.  But not in your case.”

The peasant glared.  “Why not?”

“Because, my snack – you beat your donkey.”  Rheban let a flicker of fire escape his lips as he licked them.  “I help good people, not those who hurt and harm.  Your donkey ran away because you whipped him mercilessly when he could not move fast enough for you…because you never fed him enough.”

The peasant dropped his hat, face blanching.  “I – No!  No!  Please!”

Rheban blew out a blast of breath that engulfed the man in a fountain of fire.  He fastidiously brushed off the rock where the man had been standing, and tossed the carcass into a nearby valley for the roving pack of wolves he knew would find it.  There.  All clean.

Now…  Rheban sniffed the darkening air.  It had been far too long since he left the mountainside.  It was time to visit the village, he thought with a smirk.  Time to see what Miss Bea Brightbolt was up to…

*

Find Chapter 5 next week on H.L. Burke’s blog!

Don’t forget to follow the hashtags #chadwickchronicles and #hotpotatostory on Twitter to keep up with Chadwick’s misadventures.

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3 Comments

  1. -STJ dragon. I love it. Wisdom built on meticulous observation. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
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