I apologize for not blogging as much as I normally do. My work is taking over my life right now as I learn a new skill set. I still plan to publish Dragon Gods Rising very soon. I need to finish my third edit and then set up the Lulu account. I believe a lot of you will love the story.
So I am going to share part of Chapter 1 here. I did finish a third edit and well I have neglected you.
Her claws worked delicately setting up miraculous dragon trees made of peppermint herbs mixed with forest pine and birch wood. Each plant grew to a height well over ten meters tall and three meters wide with smooth, peeling bark protecting its meaty interior and sap. Long, grasping, widespread branches held peppermint leaves close to its trunk and pine needles at the ends. Slowly Draax cultivated and shaped each one to support the weight of a full grown dragon.
Nine total ringed a large clearing, with other, more normal trees protecting its location. A carpet of lush blue grass over ten centimeters tall decorated the setting. The Seeing Pond lay due south of their meeting ground with waters from the pool siphoned to this small meeting place. A small pool with vapors floating up from its surface lounged near the center of the gathering spot. Perpetual sunset ruled in the Herbal Gardens of Hate, Revenge and Trust, giving strange tints and qualities, sharp and stunning to each plant growing. A ring of nine hills with peppermint herbs growing on it ringed the Seeing Pond, dotted by more pine and birch trees. The Dragon God of the Boiling Seas worked her fingers, cultivating the earth, making sure her small meeting place was ready for her pantheon of disagreeable deities. Several chosen souls from her heavenly realm guard the outer hills which ringed the trees, keeping straying wraiths and hate-filled souls at bay. Two of her chosen dead council, vision priests, sat near the private seeing pool at the center, ready to show places and people in the steam rising up from the water.
Careful work and planning went into this meeting. It was not often all nine dragon gods gathered. It would be a first for them all to gather at her request since the War of Elementals. She wanted everything perfect. Draax went up in her serpentine form to one of her salamander vision priests. “Show me a true current reflection of my incarnation. I need to make sure I am properly groomed.”
“As you wish my goddess.”
The steam slowly showed her form incarnate within the Celestial Garden. A serpentine dragon, with folded wings and long sinuous arms and legs looked back at her. Beautiful, iridescent aquamarine scales covered her body, capturing the sunset’s eternal light here. Dark, electric plum eyes stared back at her with yellow slits, brimming with fire. Delicate fronds covered her long neck made of silver blue. Her long snout held a perfect symmetry and her two prominent fangs rested on her lower jaw slightly. Deep blue claws covered in an iridescent coating retracted and expanded. Draax knew her beauty for this meeting could not be matched. She worked hard preparing for each god and their personality. Her quips and barbs matched the temperament and mood of each dragon. She had spent seasons having internal arguments, playing Fate, playing the role of one of her rivals, twisting logic, making sure everything, every thought was covered.
Draax had nothing to lose and everything to gain at this meeting.
A puff of ink black smoke circled around a miracle tree, spiraling along the slender trunk. A dragon, slender and long, with obsidian black iridescent scales and shadow black eyes formed from the smoke and curled along the supple branches. Star-like lights twinkled in and out along her body, giving the impression part of the skies above came down to rest in a dragon’s body. A small sigh escaped her snout with a puff of smoke. “Ah Draax, you created the miracle dragon trees again. A wonderful choice. The mix of plants soothes me, yet fills my thoughts with passions. Do not think for a moment I am ignorant of your motivations and plots. I can see your plans. I know things even Fate can only speculate about.”
“Kanos, Dragon God of the Fires above, I would not presume to tell you anything. If you see my plans and you are here, then obviously you approve. Your presence honors me and confirms my beliefs that you will stand by my side. I need your support.”
“Oh and support you shall have. We all came into existence when the invaders began to destroy this world. United we drove those parasites from our home. We are all brothers and sisters, united in creation. Yet we fight. For we are passionate people.”
“Salamander passion and desire is what this world needs. The Undines can only muster enough will to defend what is theirs or kill for food. We consume, we devour, we exploit and we grow. Salamanders are not content with the status quo. My plans match the will of our people. You must see that.”
“Draax, I see your ambition as well. The seas will belong to you. Yet this serves the greater good. For too long we have settled for a stasis. Some will call the years golden but I will call them static, a pause in our unification of the world. The war between husband and wife, Celundynn and Plthunlos will serve to be a great catalyst.”
“Indeed great goddess of the stars.”
“Oh your words are so much honey laced with poison.”
“Why thank you lady.”
Another dragon god arrived, shaking the ground on impact, grinding claws into the rich soil, shredding the grass. A mighty serpent, covered in bright reddish bronze scales and gold trimmed claws roared into the skies above. Muscles underneath the scales rippled in a pure flexing show of masculinity and prowess. Xenthi, Dragon God of the Flaming sky quickly dashed to where Draax chatted with Kanos. An oversized golden claw gripped her body in one swift, violent motion, talons pressing into the scales of the female dragon’s neck.
Draax already mentally prepared for this reaction. She remained calm and composed even with his hot breath in her face. Xenthi was so much fun to provoke and make up with. She started fights with him just for the make-up sessions of hot steamy sex. Xenthi boiled over like hot water and soon calmed down when the winds changed. All smoke and fuss. He played right into her hands every time. She smiled as his grip threatened to rip her head off.
“You dare summon me! After the quick departure and hiding. We are supposed to marry and create offspring! Instead of exchanging vows you went into some despicable pit, running from our love.”
“Lust my dear, lust. Never confuse love with lust!”
“It is the same! We have urges and we both want to see new gods for our people.”
“I believe the operative term is ‘you’ not ‘we’.”
“Insolent and beautiful. Cunning and desirable. Why did you leave my side?”
“I needed time to think.” She licked at one of her claws, grooming her hands in a delicate way.
Xenthi removed his large claw from her neck. A golden eye surveyed her form. His tongue flickered looking for scents. “One should not think as much as you do. But you are a complicated creature. It might be why I desire you so much.”
“It could be.”
“Be wary of what you say today. I will find a good tree and curl around it, waiting for the others. I need to commune with my chosen on the mortal realm. I shall leave my form on this tree and come back to it when the meeting starts. Summon my attention then.” Xenthi curled his muscular form around a tree and closed his eyes. He turned his eyes back towards the mortal realm, leaving the conjured form only partially aware of what was going on.
A moment passed after Xenthi curled around his tree. From nowhere the presence of a mountainous dragon, earthy dark brown scales with lumps of black volcanic rock stuck on his form, appeared. Red lava eyes peered out from a rectangular head. Huge claws with black, dull talons dug deep into the earth. The dragon sniffed the air.
“Ah, miracle dragon trees, my favorite smell. Fresh and full of vigor, much like our people. Too bad it lacks common sense.”
“Xethalchoate, my favorite debate sparring partner. How good to see your huge, hulking form.”
Draax relied on his calculating, yet generous mind. Xethalchoate had heart, but his goals remained selfish as ever. He would only cooperate if he saw an advantage. But sometimes his help could be won if she played the sympathy card.
The dragon moved up to the tallest of the trees, which was obviously meant for him. The giant dragon boomed, “My bulk is about as thick as Xenthi’s wit. I reflect the thick headedness of my brother in form.”
Xenthi opened one glaring golden eye, “I hear your ill words Brother.”
“Yes and you still have no clue on how to respond except by violence.”
“I will refrain until this meeting is at end. Then you will face my wrath.”
“Why can’t I face your intelligent banter or ingenious ideas? Maybe because you have the brain of a forest giant, filled with sticks and always in pain about something.”
Draax looked over at Xethalchoate, “Now is not the time to exchange words. Rest your frame on the tree I made for you. The meeting will start soon.”
“If this will benefit our people I am all ears, Lady of Storms.”
“Indeed it will, Dragon God of the Fires Below.”
Gleaming armor flashed into existence, bright steel glowing with the eternal dying sun, giving off red and orange colors mixed with the bright steel color of the forge dragon Moorhanos. The salamander god, smaller than even Kanos, looked impenetrable in her suit of scaled armor made from her forges. Unlike her counterparts she stood on her hind legs. Her tail she used for balance and twin fang-like swords hung from her belt around her waist. Slender arms, long with delicate fingers reached out and held the pommels of her resting swords. Swirling flame patterns danced on steel armor. Moorhanos looked the part of a might salamander warrior except for the dragon head and golden cloak on her back. On top of her head rested a single gold band with a glass monocle attached to it. The monocle fell down across her left eye. She defied her kindred’s desire to transform into a dragon. Moorhanos enjoyed the scientific advancement of her priests as well as the might of her finest warriors.
Draax decided to belittle the forge goddess’s ego, keeping her in check but giving her a sense of worth at the same time. “The paladin returns to us. Oh mighty paladin of the forge, what wonders will you create today? Will you create for us a mechanical back scratcher?”
“Save you pandering for someone who cares Draax. I am here at the request of our most respected sister Kanos. My steel and inventions ride on your ships, but I also know you are not to be trusted. Only my weapons and constructs can be fully trusted.”
“But came you did. Are you still mad about the gnomes stealing your secret to folding steel over 100 times?” Draax eyed her sister.
“Do not think for a moment I have forgotten. I believe one of your spies gave up the information before death, is that not right? Somehow you stole the secret, wrote it down and traveled to the Crater of Lugos only to be ambushed…”
“By the Khoro Dhonil.”
“Yes those insufferable assassins the gnomes use. They bury like moles and pop out at the most inconvenient time. I will kill every gnome in existence if I have to in order to get my secrets back.”
“And I will gladly help you do this, but first we have more immediate aims.”
“Yes Moorhanos, Dragon God of the Melting Ore. We will have our revenge but we must wait for everyone else to appear. I set aside a tree especially for you.”
“I see you set up our favorite trees with a carved seat. Very thoughtful sister. You have my attention. For now.”
“Thank you dear sister. I promise not to waste anyone’s time. This is my word and my people’s word.”
Sounds of old leather wings flapped in the air. Several books fluttered downward, landing with a small thud. Scrolls appeared from nowhere in an empty miracle dragon tree next to where Tukono’s books landed.
A smaller dragon god arrived following the books dropped to the group. Her thick wrinkly hide covered her frame with scales brittle and frail. Moldy large black and green wings flapped twice and landed near the tree she marked with her scrolls. White tufts of long hair stuck out on her large neck and wizened head danced in the celestial breeze. Yellow, ancient claws dug slowly into the ground. The old dragon rose and curled around her marked tree slowly. Green eyes with yellow slits, full of intelligence, glared at Draax.
Draax knew her old form was an act. She hid her true powers behind her frailty. Tukonos desired knowledge in all of its sacred and profane forms. She would only give her so much, less she become gluttonous. Just enough would she feed her to keep her interests.
“Am I in the right area for this auspicious gathering?”
“Yes sister. Your books and reading are making you old. I know you wish to record this event for our people. But I have yet to understand where you stand, Tukonos, Dragon God of the Searing Thought.”
“I stand as always, for tradition and rule of law. I stand for our people and for our ways when we first strode the earth, cleansing the filthy invaders from our soil, destroying them. Rumor has it the invaders have been recreated once more! This will not stand!”
“I have heard the rumors as well. I will speak of this during our meeting. Please be patient Tukonos, my dear sister. I have much to speak on besides this new creation.”
“Undines will be our focus?”
“Yes sister they are. You will understand more once my speech is complete.”
A loud clash of symbols echoed through the meeting area. Everyone looked to see who appeared. Standing near the small seeing pool, a large salamander warrior with a dragon’s head stood in fully detailed brass armor, form fitted and molded in flames. A huge double edged sword clung to her back, with a large cross guard, well over two men tall. Dragon runes covered the sword and everyone felt its power.
“Good to see you again Draax,” spoke the armored warrior.
“Our houses remain allies and all is well, Thaminx Dragon God of the Burning Earth.”
“So why have I been summoned here? Do we wish to discuss some strategy to destroy our hated enemies? Undines? Gnomes?”
“Yes sister. Your strategies and tactics are always needed. I will share the news first with everyone, then we can convene to plot and strategies with those willing to offer suggestions.”
“If it involves rending flesh and ripping off Undine heads I will be there, Thaminx,” Xenthi interjected.
“You have no tact as always brother. But we can always use you and your followers at the front lines.”
“Where else would I be? Hiding in some cave, planning, not doing anything?”
“I strike with my sword Kelhandros and my mind. I choose when and where. You have no such discretion and no clue how to win a war! You can only win battles with brute strength. You have no strategy and your tactics consist of brute force. You still remain the ignorant oaf.”
“Sister, brother, please! We will all find a way to fit in and vanquish our enemies.” Draax groomed her claw nervously. “We must maintain order her until I am finished announcing the news.”
“You have delayed long enough Lady of Storms. Speak the news NOW! So I may leave.” Xenthi puffed a large flame into the sky.
“WE MUST WAIT FOR TWO MORE, LOVER.”
Xenthi eyed her questionably, the last statement struck home.
She played him like an old reed flute. With ease.
Draax smiled her sweetest grin just for Xenthi.
“Very well we shall wait my sweets.” He curled up on the tree once more with his muscular form.
An empty miracle dragon tree filled with a smoky serpent form. Slowly the shape wrapped around the tree, quietly. Only Draax and her keen senses spotted her first. Draax projected a thought instead of speaking for the group to hear.
It is good to see you sister. I see you have chosen another form.
“I wish to only stay for the announcement sister. I have other things to take care of. Missions of mercy and deceit.”
“Mercy and deceit often do not go hand in hand.”
“Oh yes they do Lady of Storms. You can take what you are doing to poor Xenthi now. I have done as much before. I just know how to really get in and out of his embrace. I love the feel of his muscles bulging against me. But I am sure you know this as well.”
“Sharing the same Dragon has never been my intent. But I have other aims Maathenos.”
“So I see. I would like to meet with you after your second meeting with the Lady of Battle is over.”
“I can arrange that, Dragon God of the Burning Moon.”
“Yes I would like that.”
A savage roar announced the last Dragon God’s arrival, shaking trees and moving the very bodies of each dragon present. A huge, mottled dust brown dragon appeared in the center. Oversized claws and fangs gleaming white grasped at the green earth. She roared again and everyone saw her. Wild reddish orange eyes glared at everyone challengingly. No one ever took up the challenge. Even Xenthi with several battles under his belt against her did not feel up to her willingness to bring war into this garden area.
“Sister, it is good you arrived.”
“I would rather be roaming out desert home of Arablis.”
“I thank you for your presence. Kalamandi Dragon God of the Flaming Spirit. I will not take long.”
Draax addressed everyone from her own tree which she now curled around. Everyone had a tree. Kalamandi found the last tree and scratched at the trunk with her claws, waiting in frustration.
“This meeting is a unique one. Not since the days of the War of the Elementals have we gathered. Our personalities have evolved. Our people have grown. But we have a hunger. For we are Dragons and we are ever hungry.
“We want to bring an order to this world. Something we have lacked. This order would be ruled by us. We will bring our values and our way of life to every place, every corner of this planet. Dragon values and Salamander ways. Our heaven right here on earth. The fittest will survive of each and every species. There will be no weak link.
“The two remaining gods of the Undines, Celundynn and Plthunlos, fight with each other. We have all witnessed their fighting. But like myself we wondered why?
“I know this answer. And it come from our original enemy. The Invaders.
“After we destroyed the floating city of Ar-Indurr for their violation of our sea treaty, it started a chain of events even we could not predict.
“Plthunlos went mad with grief from this battle. He brought the Invaders back to our world in a similar, yet new form. They are called Humans.”
Several Dragons gasped. A few stared intently at Draax.
“We know Fate intervened in this and fooled Celundynn. This started the war between the two. She killed his physical form twice. He hunted down her followers while losing his followers in droves. Plthunlos turned into a creature Fate called a Leviathan. Even after his physical defeats he came back stronger than before. Plthunlos feasted on other Undines’ fears. Plus he used these new humans to lead raids on his wife’s ships and ours.
“Our secret enemy are these humans, created by Plthunlos who sabotage our ships and interrupt our trade. This is why House Draax cannot deliver on time.
“We must turn the tables on this.
“I propose we find all humans, bring them to our cities and make them into our servants, our slaves to sabotage for us.
“We must hunt down all humans.
“Now the second part of this will be simple. We will gather our armies and march against the strongest city the Undines have. We will crush Celundynn and her followers at the city of Jaash. We will conquer Jaash and subjugate all to our rule. The world of Naalrinnon will belong to us, the Dragon Gods and their humble follower the Salamanders. Humans will be to the Salamanders what they are to us, the children of fire. Salamanders will lord over all this world and destroy all those who stand in our way. Even the gnomes will have to bend a knee to our might. These two first steps will lead us down a path of glory. For all of us.”
Draax looked across the pool to each and every god. They silently waited for more words. She had their undivided attention.
“With you, my brothers and sisters we will rise up and bring our order to this world. United as one pantheon!”
Every dragon roared into the sky of the Celestial Garden. The whole celestial garden shook with their mighty, collective roar.
This book will see the light of day by end of summer.