When young Eskandar leaves his ship with the tough broomrider girl Kellani, he has no idea how much his dull life in the navy is about to change.
Being chased by desert robbers, delving through ancient tombs, fighting mighty jinn and liberating Kalbakar Keep makes him aware of his past – and his future.
He is a Wyrmcaller; a person of great magic, a speaker with wyrms, and the defender of Bodrus the Sleeping God. Quite a change for a seventeen-year-old, five-feet-plus, one-handed ship’s boy.
And that’s not all; an ancient lich with an army of mad minions, aided by the jinn and a bunch of pirates, threaten the Sleeping God’s safety. As Bodrus’ defender, Eskandar is the one to foil their plans. But for that he needs an army. An army of kids...
Follow Eskandar and his friends in The Pirates of Brisa, Book 2 of Wyrms of Pasandir, a grand fantasy adventure in a world of wyrms, steamships, magic and mayhem!
CHAPTER 1 – A NEW ENEMY
A flash of poisonous thoughts shocked me out of my abstraction and in a reflex I ducked into the shadows of a tall building. Crouching low, I sent my mind out to see where that hateful burst came from, but the dark streets around me were silent again.
After a few minutes in which nothing happened, I walked on cautiously, trusting in the dagger-sharp iron hook I wore over my lame right hand. Gonna get me? I’ll show that footpad this kid isn’t as defenseless as he looks.
Little Lothi-Mo, my wyrmling companion, stirred inside my tunic. ‘Silly Eskandar,’ she thought drowsily.
I grinned. She was eighteen inches of fearless fighting madness, with teeth, claws and cunning to match. No, I wasn’t defenseless at all.
Around me, the merchants quarter was silent. At this late time most buildings were deserted, safe asleep behind their strong locks and warding spells, and their owners would be home, counting their coins.
That thought made me smile. For the first time in my seventeen years I, too, had money; small change in my pockets and a huge chest of gold back in the wyrmcaller tower my late grandfather had left me.
Much had changed in my life since I roamed these streets as an undersized orphan waif. Clammers, the good citizens called us derisively, after the orphanage in Clam Street. That miserable orphanage with its uncaring keepers and one overcooked meal a day. I’d loathed the place and I blessed the day the navy took me in as an eight years old ship’s boy.
Now for the first time I was back in Seatome, as a man of magic and a wyrmcaller myself. Tonight, a strange mood gripped me and I’d left my friends behind in the guesthouse, to walk the streets, remembering.
Stay alert! I told myself as I crossed a square full of moving shadows.
‘Closer, come closer, kid!’ a mental voice whispered from the dark ahead of me. I froze, and a flaming spell appeared in my hook-hand, ready to use.
‘Danger!’ Lothi-Mo was awake now and wriggled her way onto my shoulder. ‘Bad man lurking. No hunting us... other prey.’ The little wyrmling sounded angry and with a soft wing-clap, she took to the air. ‘Lothi-Mo go look.’
I cast my mind around and this time I caught a mass of loathsome emotions. I shivered as I felt the greed, the fear of a big guy in a brocaded tunic and the glee at the sight of his intended victim almost within grasp. He’s under a compulsion! I thought, noting how all thoughts swirled round in an unnatural mental fog. Someone’s put a spell on his mind. He’ll not be a common footpad then.
I searched for any others in the area. There! Mountain’s Breath, it’s a kid!
I had found a young street kid, the same age as I was when the navy got me, and with a skin as darkly gray as mine. He was on his way home to Clam Street, just tired and hungry as I remembered. Unaware of any danger, his thoughts were on his empty stomach and a little black kitten. I broke into a run.
Skirting an empty grocery stall, I almost missed a step as the child’s panicked cry battered my senses. Then I rounded the corner and stopped as I recognized the place. This was Old Wharf, a long row of high, narrow warehouses facing the Tome River. It was a perfect spot for a trap; a maze of shadows and dark spots, where the gods know what might be hiding.
A second cry broke off, but now I saw them. In the shadow of a boarded-up building, a fellow in bellbottoms was trying to pull a sack over the head of a struggling child. Hot rage exploded inside me as the image of the boy became mixed-up with my memories of my own orphan life, and all at once it was very personal. I screamed as I rushed forward.