The Tale of Ander Collins: Chapter Seven

Fiction By LoriAnn // 4/20/2009

((Just a little comment here - somehow, I messed up and posted chapter six twice. So I'm editing this and turning it in to chapter seven. Sorry for any confusion.))

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“I don’t know if you are aware of this, Ander, but younger dragons can shift into human form for short periods of time. It is a lesser-told piece of dragon lore, and it’s not surprising that you would have never heard of it. At any rate, I’m too old to do it now.
“But on one particularly fine summer’s day, I was masquerading as a young man and attending a local country fair. Over in Mor, as a matter of fact. I met a lovely woman there, who could somehow see through my disguise. She begged a boon of me, and I agreed, not knowing the trouble it would cause.”

“What did she ask?” Ander pried a pebble out of his shoe and twiddled it in his fingers.

“She asked me to retrieve something that had been stolen from her – a family heirloom, she called it. She said that a strange young knight had robbed her one day as she was riding, and that the object he took was of great value to her.” Thraluic shook his head slowly, as though embarrassed by his lack of wisdom. “She was very beautiful and cunning; and I swallowed the tale. So I set off to wreak vengeance on this thieving knight.”

Ander cocked his head. “So…did you find him?”
The dragon shifted impatiently. “Lad, if you want to hear this tale, kindly close your mouth and open your ears.”

Ander flushed slightly. “Sorry.”

“But yes, I did find him, eventually. I left the fair and shifted back to my draconic form, and flew over the countryside looking for a knight meeting the lady’s description. She said that he was tall and dark featured, with a tiger emblazoned on his shield. I figured that a tiger couldn’t be too common a heraldic device, and that it would be a simple matter to find the thief, retrieve the treasure, and return triumphantly to my lady. And it was simple – though not as I had expected.”

Thraluic paused for a moment, and blew out a bit of smoke. Ander was suddenly struck by an image of the huge dragon puffing away on a pipe. He smothered his laughter and looked solemnly at Thraluic as the dragon continued.

“He was camping on a small hilltop when I found him,” The dragon said. “I took human form again and approached him peacefully, hoping to catch him off his guard. Dishonorable, I know, but I thought he was a reprobate knight and did not deserve honor.” Thraluic squinted at Ander. “Little side lesson, lad. Even if your opponent is the worst villain on the face of the earth, you must still act honorably, or you are no better than he.”

Ander nodded. “But the knight?” he pressed.

“Yes, the knight. Well, he welcomed me to his camp and I asked enough discreet questions to be sure that he was the one I sought. Then I…it pains me to say this, lad, but please remember that I was still rather young and hardheaded.” Thraluic’s sides thrummed in discomfiture. “I shifted back to my dragon shape and captured him. I brought him here – he slept in the same nook that you do. But he did not have the vial with him.”

“Where was it?”

“That’s what I needed to know. But though I questioned him and threatened him, he would not tell me. This went on for several months, during which I regularly met with the lady in the Mor village square. She was not happy with my lack of results and began trying to pry the location of my cave from me. I wouldn’t tell her, and she at last gave up – or so I thought.
“During all of this, though, I grew to respect the knight – one of the few humans who has ever earned that from me. He was so brave and unafraid – it’s not easy to refuse a dragon, as I’m sure you know by now.”

Ander laughed a bit. “It’s a lesson learned early around here, I guess.”

Thraluic nodded, amused. “His name was Ravin,” he continued. “It is his face you see here in the picture.” Delicately, the dragon twisted open the orb Ander had found and withdrew the small frame. He held it gently and was quiet for a long moment.

“What happened then?” Ander asked; his voice somewhat jarring in the large silence.

Thraluic started slightly. “Oh, I apologize, Ander. I was lost in thought for a moment. To be honest, that was about it. I came home one day – I had been out hunting, you understand – and I found Sir Ravin gone. There was the smell of the lady about though, and I surmised that she must have sniffed out my lair and taken Ravin herself.”

Ander shook his head. “Let me guess – that “lady” was Celzara.”

“Yes. I wondered if you would reason that out for yourself. After she took Ravin, I started doing a little poking around of my own, and discovered a story with many more players than I had realized, and much larger implications than I could have suspected.”

“I’m listening.”

“You should be. This involves you.” The dragon sighed. “Now…where to begin? I suppose it actually started about forty years ago, when the last Wood Queen had her first child. She – Queen Alathia – was much different than Celzara. Much more…benevolent, to say the least. She realized from the time Celzara was a young child that the girl wouldn’t make a very good queen – a hard observation for a mother to make, I’m sure.” Thraluic paused. “Do you know much about the People of the Wood, Ander?”

Ander thought a moment. “Other than the tales we told back home, no.”

“And I doubt that many of those tales were true.” The dragon shook his wings. “The People are fey, and they live by rules unlike those of humans or dragons. The leadership is not passed from parent to the eldest child, but rather is chosen by the previous leader. Often this is their eldest child, but in the case of our lady out there,” he motioned with his scaly nose toward the door, “Her mother saw that this wouldn’t be best for her people.”

Ander nodded. “So I can see why Celzara would be mad about it, but what does that have to do with Ravin and the Vial?”

Raising a single claw, Thraluic scratched his cheek thoughtfully. “Queen Alathia used very strong…not magic really, but I suppose that’s what we have to call it. She created the Vial of Right as a test of a potential ruler’s aptitude. The Vial was given the ability to determine a person’s heart – those who where not worthy or able to hold the Royal position would be subjected discomfort; which would eventually turn to injury if they insisted on keeping the Vial. That’s why it poisoned you, lad.”

Ander rubbed his hand. “Ah. Nice to know that I’m not king material.”

“Not yet anyway,” The dragon said with a toothy smile. “Though the Vial only determines whether you are ready or not now. In a few years, who knows?” He shrugged his scaly shoulders. “At any rate, Queen Alathia knew that she was not wise enough to choose a successor herself, hence, the Vial.”

“And Celzara failed?” Ander ventured.

Thraluic nodded. “Indeed. As her mother knew she would. But Celzara was not content to let things be, and she usurped the chosen ruler at the first opportunity. The People knew that she was a fraud, but what could they do? Celzara has great power, and besides that has recruited herself a veritable army of assassins and weak-minded minions. All the People could do was help the true king escape and send him on his way with the Vial, his symbol of kingship.”

Understanding dawned on Ander. “Oh – Ravin! He was the chosen king, wasn’t he?”

“Yes.” The dragon sounded pleased. “You pick these things up quickly, lad.”

Ander shook his head. “Not really. I still don’t understand what this has to do with me.”

Thraluic cleared his throat. “That part is a bit more guesswork on my side,” he admitted. “But I think I have all the facts in place. It’s something like this: Celzara was the eldest of three children, herself, Ravin, and Lylwint.”

“Ravin is Celzara’s brother?”

“Yes. And Lylwint was her sister, the youngest child. Lylwint married a man – a human man – named Trent. He was actually a minor lord over Drimoin way.”

“Drimoin?” Ander’s head was starting to spin from all this new information.

“It’s a large city in the north. Anyway, Lylwint married this Lord Trent and had a child by him, a girl they named Robyn. She, being half-fey, returned to her mother’s people here in the Denwold. On the way here, she met a minstrel named Percival. Percival Collins.”

Ander blinked. “Wait a second. Let me work this out. Celzara has a brother named Ravin, who is the actual heir to the throne, but she stole it from him, and her sister Lylwint went off and married a guy up north named Trent, they had a baby girl, who grew up to marry a singer named Percival who just happens to have my last name. Do I have that all?”

Now it was Thraluic’s turn to blink. “Yes, I think so.”

“Alright.” Ander looked satisfied for a moment. Then his eyes went wide and he jerked up as if an invisible puppet master had yanked on his strings. “Percival Collins? It that the connection you’re talking about?”

The dragon nodded slowly. “I think so, lad. Collins is not a common name around here.”

Ander sank back and groaned. “This means that Old Cellie is my great-aunt!”

Thraluic chuckled. “So it would seem.”

“So what about my mother and father?” Ander felt the familiar tang of bitterness that always came when he thought of his missing parents, but there was eagerness too. Might they still be alive?

The dragon dashed that small hope. “I’m sorry lad. Celzara sent her assassins after her them before you were even a month old.” Ander pushed away his disappointment. If his parents had been alive, doubtless they would have returned for him years ago. He should have known better.

“Ravin took you in for a bit – this was before I met him,” Thraluic continued. “But he realized that a man on the run is no fit caretaker for an infant. I think he had met your Cook before – possibly had even courted her for a short time. He later told me about the baby he had left in the royal kitchens in Kelner for Mandy to care for.”

“Who’s Mandy?” Ander asked, confused again. Then he realized. “Oh, you mean Cook. I guess I had never thought of her having a real name.”

The dragon shook his head. “Boys.”

“What happened to Ravin?” Ander asked, trying to nudge the story along.

“Celzara took him from my cave, as I said. She couldn’t kill him, not without inciting a rebellion among the People, so she sent him into exile.”

“Where?”

“The Scyth Islands. At least – that’s what I was told by one of Celzara’s less…loyal minions. I suppose it’s possible by this time that he could have escaped or been taken elsewhere.”

Nodding, Ander asked one more question. “So, how did you get the Vial?”

Thraluic smiled cryptically. “That, my boy, I don’t actually know. About four months after Celzara had taken Ravin; I was organizing a few things and found the Vial in a stack of other vases and jars. I don’t know if Ravin put it there after all, or if someone else slipped it in while I was away. It’s a mystery to me as well.”

Ander sighed. “Hmm. That’s all as clear as pudding. What are we supposed to do now?”

“Now?” The dragon looked thoughtful. “I suppose now I call in the reinforcements, and get you ready.”

“Wait – ready for what?”

“Ready to go after your uncle – naturally.” Thraluic’s voice was both surprised an amused. “For one thing, it’s too dangerous for you to stay here much longer. Celzara is bound to come back panting for revenge. For another thing, I’ve wanted to do this for years, but I kept putting it off. Your arrival has been just the thing to me blood steaming again.” He took a deep breath, expanding his massive chest like a bellows. He blew out the air slowly, and Ander smelled sulfur on his breath. “But you can’t set off on a quest like this without the proper training.” Thraluic added.

Ander groaned. “Who do you suggest?”

The black dragon winked one green eye at him. “I have a friend who might be willing to help. I’ll send word this afternoon.”

“Who is it?”

“You’ll see soon enough, lad. Now why don’t you work on organizing that pile of crowns over there? None of them will hurt you, and I’d really like them to be sorted by age, weight and value. You can see that this one here, for example…”

Ander sighed. No one ever told him anything important.

Comments

I wish this were a published

I wish this were a published book so I could turn the page and go on.
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I'm lost. I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please tell me to wait.

Anna | Mon, 04/20/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Same here! Post the next

Same here! Post the next chapter soon please!!
Heather

Anonymous | Tue, 04/21/2009

Well, I'm repeating my

Well, I'm repeating my comment.
I still wish I could turn the page and go on!
But this, this is quite something. So Ander is part fey? And why wasn't Ravin assassinated?

I really, really, really adore Thraluic. Now I really want to write about dragons, but that would be at the risk of plagiarizing you tremendously!
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I'm lost. I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please tell me to wait.

Anna | Tue, 04/21/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Once again I bow to your

Once again I bow to your abilities
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"There's a differnce between food and a meal."
-My bro and I have no idea what it means either

Keri | Tue, 04/21/2009

I love it. I was expecting

I love it. I was expecting something, but not this. Wonderful, absolutely marvelous. Post more soon.

"Here are the beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." C.S.Lewis

airlia | Tue, 04/21/2009

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."
General George S. Patton

Part fay? Who originally

Part fay? Who originally posted that part? It sounds cool
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The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Tue, 04/21/2009

Formerly Kestrel

Whoa. The twists this is

Whoa. The twists this is taking! I had trouble following it for a second. :P
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"I wish I could fly, like dandelion seeds
Following currents, floating in the wind
Leaving behind the old and tormented
Seeking a place to start anew
I wish I could fly like dandelion seeds..."
~Unknown

Sarah | Tue, 04/21/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

I really should sign in, but...

I didn't want to, hehe! AAAANYWAYYYYY...awsome chapter! I was totally not expecting the whole shap-shifting thing with the dragon:) I had a feeling there was more to Ander, but I didn't quite expect this.
--Old Fashioned Girl

Anonymous | Tue, 04/21/2009

I love this story! It isn't

I love this story! It isn't getting completely outrageous, which is always a danger in the fiction. It reminds me of The Great and Terrible Quest. I'm not sure why, but it comes to mind every time I read this. It was a good book so don't worry. Great chapter, can't wait to read more.

"...And I'm Lukas, his evil spawn." my brother introducing himself, after my dad.

The Brit | Wed, 04/22/2009

Cool about the younger

Cool about the younger dragons being able to shape shift! I like that!
And I agree with Anna, I love dragons, especially good-hearted ones. Thraluic is the best...hey Anna, we need "I <3 Thraluic" t-shirts! :0)
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And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Heather | Wed, 04/22/2009

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And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

WOW

Once again... nice, nice, nice! I like this chapter a lot. All the things about Ander's "ancestors" and everything is really neat.
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"Their most active years are the first six months"--Old Fashioned Girl, referring to cats.

Kendra | Mon, 04/27/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

I'm Lovin it!

Awesome chapters LoriAnn.Thraluic's cool.Super chapter.
Post more!!!!!!
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"He's not a TAME Lion"-Mr. Beaver C.S. Lewis

Kay J Fields | Tue, 04/28/2009

Visit my writing/book review blog at http://transcribingthesedreams.blogspot.com/

Generating Replies...

OK, to respond to your comments:

Anna said:
"So Ander is part fey? And why wasn't Ravin assassinated?"

Yes, Ander is one-forth feielve. His mother was half, his grandmother was fullblooded. And Ravin wasn't assasinated, because Celzara had only a partial grip on the People. If she had outright killed the rightful heir, she could be ensured of a rebellion. Plus, she probably thought he might be useful sometime in the future.

Kestral said:
Part fay? Who originally posted that part? It sounds cool

Um...I did. :} Though I've changed the facts a bit since then. You can find the original post here: http://www.bindingoftheblade.com/forum/read.php?7,165583,page=10

Sarah said:
Whoa. The twists this is taking! I had trouble following it for a second. :P

Oops. Please, folks, tell me if this gets too complicated. I don't want to go all "Lost Tales of Middle Earth" on you.

The Brit said:
It reminds me of The Great and Terrible Quest.

Ah! You've read that? I thought I was the only one who had ever heard of it!!! I love that book!
Sorry to get all excited there...lol

And finally, Heather said:
hey, we need "I <3 Thraluic" t-shirts!

I want one!

Chapter nine is in construction. Perhaps by Friday? Just a note for my readers (ooo, how I love saying that...) I'm almost always here on Fridays.

~LoriAnn

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"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Tue, 04/28/2009

This is definitly an

This is definitly an involving tail - you've figured out how to tell a story well without including unnecessary details.

Ezra | Tue, 04/28/2009

"There are no great men of God. There are only pitiful, sorry men whose God is great beyond measure." - Paul Washer [originally Jonathan Edwards]

:)

Chapter eight coming tomorrow! (I hope)
~L

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"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Thu, 04/30/2009

Yay! What a good reason for

Yay! What a good reason for living 'til tomorrow (well that sounded depressing...).

"Now you've heard of the French Nation, and the British Nation....Well this, is the Imagin Nation." Kris Kringle (Miracle on 34th Street)

The Brit | Thu, 04/30/2009

Keep it up

I have the same problem...amplified by public school. Anything exciting is good news!
As for "Lost Tales" comparisions, I like them!
---
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Fri, 05/01/2009

Formerly Kestrel

Keep it up

I have the same problem...amplified by public school. Anything exciting is good news!
As for "Lost Tales" comparisions, I like them!
---
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Fri, 05/01/2009

Formerly Kestrel

Lost Tales

I love them - but you have to admit that they can be hard to follow at times. I don't want to do that - so warn me if I get that way!
i just submitted chapter eight, so it should be up soon; it's the longest chapter yet - and yet very little happens! lol

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"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Fri, 05/01/2009

'Ander sighed. No one ever

'Ander sighed. No one ever told him anything important.' Hehe!
This is getting really good. You are going to publish it, right?

"California", he said, "is a beautiful wild kid on heroin, high as a kite and thinking she's on top of the world, not knowing that she's dying, not believing it even when you show her the marks." - Motorcycle Boy, from S.E. Hinton's 'Rumble Fish"

Bridget | Sun, 05/31/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya