Tag Archive: Denair


Between Denair and Panre the plan to move the yeteans from the demon world was well underway. Denair had warned that they would not transfer to the world of the dragens, however. The gates between those worlds had been closed and could only be opened at great peril to all involved.

So now the dragen mage stood deep in a forest, in a clearing, on another world. Panre paced nearby. The little being seemed nervous; even almost frightened. “The world gate that I’m making here will bring your people through but not the demons. They’ll be too big to pass through,” he assured the little being.

Panre nodded and settled back on a low stump as he watched the dragen set to work. The dragen’s magic was unlike anything Panre had ever seen. It was at once beautiful and terrifying to watch. As Denair sang, a small whirling mist formed in front of him. The mist became more and more solid until it seemed a physical thing.

“That’s done,” Denair said. “Can you get your people through quickly?”

“Yes,” Panre said. He hopped to his feet and bounded to the portal. He paused and paced for a moment before continuing the journey through. The portal had opened, just as Denair had planned it, not far from the yetean village.

Panre bounded to a hollowed out stone and tossed a stone inside. Another stone followed the first, and then another. The sound echoed over the rocky world that he had wanted so much to flee.

At the sound of the stones, more and more yeteans gathered around. Some bounded away, to gather their families. Others he sent through the portal. Soon only the oldest of the yeteans were moving toward the portal. So far, no abominables had shown up. It was night and most were sleeping. Panre hoped they remained that way until the last of their slaves escaped.

He bounded over to the portal as the last of the old ones filed through. A shrill cry made him turn. He saw an abominable baring down on him, then a hand grasped his and he was tumbling through the mist. He opened his eyes to strange stars above a tree line. All around his people were rejoicing. They were finally free. Panre smiled his thanks at Denair and grinned as he saw that the dragen still held his hand.

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Chapter Sixteen Excerpt

Before I Doubt my Memories, My Memories Doubt Me

“I know you,” the wind dragen said. “We met… when you first arrived.” He set a hand on his chest and said, “Denair, remember?”

Aram blinked and shook his head, not wanting to bring those memories to the surface. They came anyway, of course. He did remember the other dragen. “You… saved me,” Aram whispered.

“I don’t know about that. I just gave you the same advice I got when I arrived,” Denair replied. He looked up at Poppy and explained, “The demons would use those who had particular gifts for entertainment or other such things. Those who had… no useful skills…” he trailed off, uncertain about how to finish.

“They killed them,” Aram said softly. “They made them lay so many eggs… so very many… that – that they died and them they ate them. Sometimes they ate them while they were still alive. They screamed a lot then.” Aram put a hand to his ear, as if to block out the cries he’d heard from the demon’s victims.

Suddenly strong arms were around them. “It does get better,” a soft voice said into his ear. “It takes a long time, but it does get better. You’re safe now. You’re home and you’re safe.”

Aram realized he was shaking now. “Thanks,” he said, his voice hardly audible.

Denair nodded, stepping back. “If you ever want to talk. I’m at the Icewind Caverns. You have only to call. We can talk over the summoning stone or I can come here.”

“Thanks,” Aram repeated. His single wing flapped and he tilted his head curiously. “Why are you living with ice dragens?”

Denair shrugged. “When I called my family to tell them that I’d survived, they… didn’t want me back. Too many bad memories, I guess.” He looked ready to say more but stopped himself. “Anyway, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who got out of there. That seems to be the one good thing that comes of this rogue earth dragen. Even if he doesn’t mean to every time he goes to the demon realm, the dragens held there as slaves see him. They gain the hope of escape.”

“That would be one reason not to just go ahead and seal the gate completely with a revised spell,” Jesin said softly. “How many dragens are they holding?”

“I don’t know,” Aram whispered. “There were a lot. More when we first got there. When they… grew tired of a particular slave…” he trailed off, shaking the dark thoughts away.

“There were a lot,” Denair repeated. “Some… almost happy with their fate. Others… hopeless, not seeing a way out.”

“Not happy,” Aram corrected. “Comfortable. They made do. They didn’t want to be there but… it was better than the alternative. If you pleased the masters, they’d let you live a little longer.”

“Some never got comfortable,” Denair said. “They constantly tried to escape – whatever the punishment.”

“We all had to watch the punishment too. We didn’t understand a word the demons were saying but we knew what the dragen had done to earn their ire. A lot of dragens lost hope, just seeing the price for a failed escape attempt,” Aram added softly.

“How could you… survive that?” Elder Bricen asked. “I would think you’d start… wishing for death.”

“Some did,” Denair replied. “That’s what my folks expected of me. That… They thought I should have killed myself rather than serve the demons. But I couldn’t give up hope. I just couldn’t. I had to keep on believing that there was a way out. They’d brought us there; there had to be a way back.”

Aram nodded. He understood the feeling. He’d had it too. The stubborn will to gain his freedom. No matter how many times he was punished for insolence or trying to sneak away into the strange world that the demons called home. He couldn’t simply give in. He toed the line when necessary but he never gave up.

“That’s so horrible,” Elder Paesha murmured. “Your own family.”

Denair shook his head decisively and said, “Myro’s my family now. Myro, Grandfather Ryden and Saira… and the little one on the way. They’re my family. It’s a strange family… but it works. It’s a different home, but I’ve made it my own now. I’m glad my parents and brother and sister made it through the war relatively unscathed. But they’ve severed all ties with me. There’s no point in fretting it.”

Aram smiled suddenly. He realized how very lucky he was. His parents and brother and sister had not only accepted him back into the family with open arms, they’d gone to great lengths to make him comfortable. Mommy hadn’t even returned to her home caverns yet, allowing her sub-elder to handle the reigns of leadership. If his family had been changed by his disappearance, it had been for the better. The loss had drawn them closer together. Denair’s family seemed to have gone in the opposite direction.

Chapter Fifteen Excerpt

Ride on the Wind and Ring Daybreak’s Bell

Myro rubbed the sleep out of his eyes as he heard the summoning stone chirping from the communications room that was across the corridor from his nest. Denair met him in the hallway and followed him into the room.

“Hello, Icewind Caverns,” he greeted. He smiled wanly as he recognized Elder Jesin from when he’d lost his father. “Elder Jesin. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“I have something of great importance to discuss with you but I’d rather do it in person. Would you be able to come here to Softwind Caves?” the wind dragen elder said. He looked serious but in good enough spirits.

“I’m afraid that the summer air has grown too hot for me to travel in,” Myro said with genuine regret. “I do have a trusted friend that I can send in my place, if you would allow it. He isn’t an ice dragen and not so affected by the heat.” He looked up at Denair and was rewarded by the other sire’s nod.

“That sounds like a satisfactory compromise,” Jesin agreed. “I assume he know where the Softwind Caves are?”

“He’s a wind dragen so I would tend to assume,” Myro replied with a grin.

“A valid assumption if I ever heard one,” Jesin returned. He looked ready to sign off when he paused and added, “I can tell you some good news that the eldest might also want to pass along. The son that Shyrala and I had lost to the demons during the war has found his way home.”

“Congratulations,” Myro said. He quirked an eyebrow at Denair and the other sire nodded. “My representative will be there by midday.”

“Thank you,” Jesin replied. The stone went blank and Myro looked seriously at Denair.

“You think this is about the dragen I saw in the demon’s realm?” Denair asked.

“I think it’s a very good thing I’m sending you if it is,” Myro replied. “Maybe you can add something to their son’s report. I’m sure they two are connected. Be careful. Good flight.”

“Fair winds,” Denair returned before he headed out. It would be strange to fly back into the wind dragen’s territory. He hadn’t returned to the region since his escape from the demons. A part of him was afraid to. What would the elder say when confronted with a simple half-breed like him as Myro’s representative?

I Dream

 Elder Synaera shifted in her sleep, rumpling the blankets that lined her nest.  She was in the midst of a horrendous dream.  It started with what appeared to be a convocation, except a young dragen stood where Paesha had always stood and two of the elders were blocked from her sight by swirling dark clouds.

 Suddenly a huge rent appeared in the wall as a horde of demons flew by carrying a young dragen.  He might have been a wind dragen but fur could almost be seen along his ears, marking him as one of her own clan.  He screamed in such terror that she tried to intervene.  But he was suddenly by her side, smiling wanly.

 “I’m alright,” he said in a soft voice.  “You need to listen.  We’re very young but we know more than some venerable ones.”

 Then he disappeared and the sky that she could see through the jagged hole across from her turned black, blood red streaks darted through it.  Thousands of people were screaming then, some in anger, some in terror.  Over it all she heard a young voice say, “You thought you could control them?”

 “I didn’t mean for this to happen,” another, almost familiar voice called back. 

 A startled cry not far away drew her attention.  She immediately recognized the person who’d cried out as Elder Gynro.  He struggled, naked, in the grasp of an unfamiliar water dragen.  “No, please, stop,” he moaned as his struggles continued.

 A soft voice, terrified and deeply upset said from beside her, “But… why?  Why would he do this?”  She turned to see a pretty young earth dragen standing beside her.  Tears streamed down her face as she asked, “What should I do?  How can I fight him?”

 Synaera sat up, finally awake.  Tears streamed down her face.  “Paesha,” she whispered.  “Gynro.”  She stood and crossed to the summoning stone.  Her energies swirled around the stone for a moment before the face of her dear friend appeared. 

Soon a Downpour Will be Coming

He’d been hurt by the rejection and pleasantly surprised at the welcome the ice dragens had given him.  He was as different from them as he could be.  He had furry ears and soft feathery wings.  They all had long prehensile tails tipped in a soft tuft of fur.  He ate fruits and vegetables practically in their pure states.  The ice dragens ate nearly all their fruits in the form of preserves and their vegetables mixed into hearty stews.  He had to bundle up warm when it was cold but could happily fly about in weather as warm as the high eighties.  The ice dragens had no real need of coats in the winter months but couldn’t stand the heat of summer.

 However different they were, the ice dragens hadn’t mind.  If anything their differences made him all the more interesting for them.  They were a curious, questioning clan.  They tested the limits of magic and science.  They were the fiercest warriors Denair had ever seen.  He hadn’t been all that surprised to learn of the numbers killed in the catastrophic final battle of the war.  Small as they were, the ice dragens didn’t have an ounce of submission in them.

 “I’ve been researching the sealing spell,” he said finally, changing the subject.  Myro nodded, he’d known as much.  He’d in fact gotten the working notes of the spell from the elder of the light dragens for Denair’s use.  “Something seems to be missing.”  He opened the notebook he always carried and showed it to Myro.  “See how it seems to change gears halfway through a sentence?  I don’t think that the master mage being odd.  I think there’s a page missing.  Perhaps a diagram as well.”

 “I think you’re the first person to notice that in ten years,” Myro said softly.  “You really are remarkable, Denair.  It’s no wonder that my grandfather is so keen to teach you.”

 “Thanks,” Denair said as he pushed hair out of his eyes.  He looked out and smiled.  “I suppose I will stay… for a while longer.  But… since the heat doesn’t bother me and the healers have said I’m well enough.  I think I’ll go for a fly.”

 “Fair winds,” Myro said.  Denair smiled over his shoulder as he spread his broad wings and jumped off the overlook.  Myro watched him soar until he’d rode the winds out of sight.  “He’ll be back.  I hope he’s found a place here.”

 “Me too,” Saira said softly.

Busy weekend… what can I say?

Those Days That Will Pass us by are Already a Distant Dream

Dalia nodded and set the wind to swirling on the communicator.  She left quickly, not wanting to intrude on the fussy old dragen’s conversation with her parents.  “Elder Shyrala, Elder Jesin, I’m afraid there is bad news,” the old dragen said as soon as the line opened.

 “That would be?” Shyrala said softly.

 “The sub-elder of the earth dragens has been killed.  It appears that it was done by demons.  It was… like a raid on a much smaller scale,” he said.  He looked anxious and tense.

 “Are we dealing with another incursion?  Is there any sign from the world gate?” Jesin asked.

 “No, none, but it’s possible that the demons have slipped through a smaller rift,” he said.

 “Are you calling a convocation?” Shyrala asked.

 “Not yet,” Eldest Yantalin said softly.  “I’ll tell everyone this way and leave it at that.  In other news, young Elder Myro has set his cup for his sub-elder.”

 “Good for him,” Jesin said softly.  “Are you going to intercede?”

 “Why should I?” The old dragen looked baffled and then turned off the communicator.

 Shyrala snorted and pecked Jesin on the cheek.  “Some day you’ll be able to set your cup for me officially, dearest,” she promised.  “It isn’t nice to tease the eldest.”

 “I know… it just, to this day it aggravates me,” he said as he settled down beside her.  “What were you saying about the demons coming back?”

 “I need to not say these things,” Shyrala murmured.  “Where were we before our daughter came in with a message from the eldest?”  Soon they were distracted from the demons by something else altogether.

**

The Proof of Living that You Gave Me

What was probably the worst thing was the whole idea of not knowing.  He didn’t know if the demons had won the war.  He didn’t know if his family and friends had lived through the war.  He didn’t know what to expect from his demon master.  If what was happening now was any indication, he didn’t know anything anymore.

He watched from his cage as his master entertained, that was the only word he had for what was going on, a dragen.  He sat amongst them, chatting and eating.  He wore a voluminous hooded cloak, but there was no doubt that he wasn’t a demon.  He spoke the demon language with a softer, more lilting voice than any of the demons used.  What features showed marked him as completely different from the demons he supped with.

Denair leaned back on the bars of the cage to try and listen in.  Then he sighed and gave up.  He couldn’t understand the guttural language the demons spoke.  One thing was obvious.  This dragen was no slave or possession; he was an equal.  He might even be more than an equal.  The demons seemed to defer to him.  When he spoke they were silent, a courtesy that they never showed their own kind.  It was obvious that he was working with the demons on something, even if Denair couldn’t be sure what it was.

Finally he stood and left.  Denair sat up a little straighter, wondering if the dragen was returning to their world.  He’d always figured that he was trapped in this alternate realm but perhaps he wasn’t.  The stranger was leaving and he’d come from somewhere.  Perhaps he’d come from their homeland.  For the first time in ten years, Denair had hope of a better life.  He was trapped in the cage though. 

I wrote Chapter 2 yesterday but was too busy to upload.

I Won’t Forget Your Kind Smile or Your Eyes Hidden with Sorrow

 Denair settled back in his cage and watched his master trudge around looking for something.  In the years since his capture he’d learned only a few words in the language of his demon captor.  He’d learned the words for “sing” and “eat” and “sleep” but little else.  He wasn’t spoken to except by commands.  More often than not, the demon merely bounded on the base of his cage and screamed at him.

 When his master left him alone, as he was now, Denair’s mind flew back to how he’d come to be in this situation.  He wondered if any other dragens even realized how many of their people had been taken as slaves to the demons.  He certainly hadn’t heard anything of the sort.

 Denair let his eyes drift shut as his mind wandered back to that fateful day ten years ago.  A day that had changed his life.

Denair sighed as he looked up.  His master had found what he’d been looking for.  Denair had followed the other dragen’s advice and sung the moment the door had opened.  He’d been taken as a songbird for this demon almost immediately afterwards.

 He would never forget Tifferin though.  He hoped the other boy, with his soft, gentle smile and sad eyes had made it through safely.

**

We Are But Weaklings Pretending to be Tough

Of all the dragen clans, the stone dragens were the worst hit by raids during the demon war.  Martel had heard this since the time he was a fledgling.  His clan had been among the worst hit by the war.  The light dragens had been among the least impacted.  The ice dragens had taken the bulk of the casualties from the final battle.  The other clans had various similar claims but the stone dragens had been a favorite target of the demons for their raids.

 The elders had discussed the reasons during the war and had come to the conclusion that it was because the stone dragens could clutch from such an early age.  Martel only knew all this because his mother was the stone clan elder and he’d overheard her speaking about it late one night with his father.  Stone dragen dams could clutch from the time they were fledged.  The other clans couldn’t until about a decade later.

 He hadn’t known until then just what the demons did during the raids.  His parents had always hidden his sister and him in the root cellar during the raids.  They were barely fledged so their parents were very protective.  He’d asked his father about it the next day.

 After initial shock at the discussion being overheard, his father had told him that demons fed on energy.  Dragens, since all were magic in one form or other, had that energy.  The demons could get it in various ways.  They could leech it out of certain spells.  They could devour young dragens, or even older ones.  Finally they could eat the eggs of the dragens.  Apparently the demons got the most energy from dragen eggs so they never missed a chance to eat them.  They would even force production if there were none to be had.

 As young as he was, his father didn’t explain how the demons could force production of eggs.  He hoped to spare his son the gory details of the process that often left young dragens crippled or dead.  Unfortunately it was not to be.

 Now, armed with the knowledge of just what went on during a demon raid, Martel had been chosen as a sentinel of the worldgate.  He would be among the mages that watched for rifts that meant the demons would be returning.  The thought of being so close to the gate terrified him.

 Martel should be honored, he knew.  He was the son of the elder and would be elder when she died.  However he couldn’t help but be terrified.  If the demons came through the gate, those watching it would be among their first victims.  He knew there were warning systems set in place now but a part of him worried that they wouldn’t have time to flee before the demons arrived.

 He didn’t want to go.  He wanted to stay close to home, safe from harm.  But such wasn’t the place of a prospective elder.  It was bad enough that he had chosen the path of a mage; a scholar, and not a warrior like his parents.  Now he wanted to shirk the very duty to which he’d been trained out of nothing more than fear.

Now he was going to be living out on the edge of the territories, near the base of the Winter Mountains.  Mages from all the dragen clans took shifts watching the worldgate.  It was his turn.  He would only be there for three years.  In all likelihood his mother was right.  The demons were still securely sealed in their dark world.  He couldn’t keep back the fear, or the loneliness.

 Since his sister’s death, he’d only sought the company of his parents.  Now he would be far away from them.  He would have to talk to, to interact with strangers who weren’t even from the same clan.  He dreaded that thought most of all.  They couldn’t learn what a coward he was.  Somehow, he would have to hide his fear from them and appear normal.

 “Thanks, Mother,” he said softly as he stepped back.  “I’ll write… often.”

 “You’ll be so busy, you’ll hardly notice the time pass, dear,” she said.  With a gentle smile, she handed him a carry-sack and hugged him goodbye.

Ask Tearfully, Truly

Denair landed, exhausted from his flight.  He was high in the mountains.  That was all he knew.  Had the dragens won the war?  Was it over?  Were they still fighting?  Where would he go now?

 His mother had been a light dragen; his father a wind dragen.  He had gifts from both but had been raised in his father’s homeland.  Did that mean his mother’s family hated him?  There were some that didn’t like mixing the races.  With his parents gone who’s family would he go to?

 He’d seen dragens in the caverns.  Most were slaves like he was.  Some had gotten to the point where they were practically pets to their masters.  Following almost eagerly, like a dog.  Some were like him, caged and forced to submit.  There was the occasional dragen the demons treated as equals, selling them slaves or eggs to feed on.  That worried him the most.  Did that mean that the dragens had lost the war?  Were all dragens slaves or complicit in enslaving others?

 He felt hot tears prick his eyes as he gazed down at the caverns.  It was obvious, even from this distance that it was the caverns of a band of dragens.  The only way he could get the answers to his questions was to ask directly.  His wings flexed and he lifted off once more.  Tears ran down his face as he flew onward, hoping… though he couldn’t say what for.

Denair looked up at the enormous being that had held him captive for so many years.  The demon was fighting with others of his kind.  In his years as a captive, Denair had seen this many times.  He didn’t understand the monstrous beings but he could understand their tone.  There was some kind of disagreement.  His owner didn’t like something the others were doing.

 The fight, as most did between the beings, quickly came to blows.  The small wind dragen closed his eyes and covered his ears as roars and bellows thundered through the air.  Then his cage was knocked from its perch.  With a soft cry, Denair pulled up wind to soften the fall.  Still the wooden structure shattered.

 Shaking, he climbed out of the wreckage.  The demons had moved further away now.  His master and several others rolled and wrestled on the floor.  Denair, expecting to be plucked up at any second, quietly made his way to the doorway.  Not believing his luck he darted out the door.

 Again he summoned up his wind magic and vanished from sight.  Invisible he made his way down the hillside toward the crest of the Winter Mountains.  He doubted that he would make it over the mountains in the dead of winter, but anything was better than life as a slave to the demons.

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

A Land of Curiosity

From the files of Shynian Intelligence

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