Monday, January 23, 2012

Excerpt From The Dragon Tamer

I'm counting down the days until the release of my first published work, The Dragon Tamer. It'll be out on February 1, which is just over a week away. The day before the release, I plan to post a "behind the scenes" blog entry on the development of the story's cover art. Until then, enjoy the following excerpt from the story!


"Hurry, Aedan, bring me the sunstone petals. We have to add them to the pot before it reaches a boil.”

Aedan stood at the opposite end of the potions workshop, nearly invisible amongst the tubes and flasks and bottles shelved around him. A warm yellow-orange glow washed over the oak counters and chests from a row of torches set in the wall. The flames cast flickering shadows that wavered across the room as if they were dancing. Destan craned his neck, unable to spot the young man who was now kneeling as he explored the bottom drawers and cabinets. “Aedan! I said hurry!”

“The bottle’s not where I left it,” Aedan barked back. “You must have moved it.” His fingers finally stumbled upon the thin-necked flask, and he rushed back to Destan’s side, uncorking the bottle and shaking the petals into the pot.

“Gently!” Destan scolded.

“They’re supposed to be shaken forcefully into the mix, not poured gently,” Aedan said. “And don’t speak to me like I’m a child. I’m grown now; you know that very well.”

Destan examined Aedan for a moment, eyes slightly narrowed. The slender young man stood stubbornly before him, clad in his usual long black coat, raven hair nearly concealing his defiant amber eyes. “I’ll take your word for it,” Destan said at last. “You’re the prodigy.”

Truly, Destan had no choice but to take Aedan at his word. Although they’d worked on the potion together for months, it was Aedan’s expertise that brought out the rainbow sheen atop the surface of the brew, proof that the potion was properly mixed. And it had been Aedan’s idea in the first place to create a potion that would give a mage the ability to cast a spell without the need for chanting or conjuring.
One sip of this potion, and the drinker would be powerful enough to rightly claim the position of mage clan master. Astraeus had died just the day before, and now it was a race to complete the potion before anyone else could claim his seat.

“I’ll leave this to simmer overnight,” Destan said. “Of course, I’ll lock the door to the workshop so no one can access it while it’s setting.” He turned to Aedan, a wry smile on his face. “I suppose I should thank you for helping me with this potion. You know how badly I’ve wanted to be clan master. And to show my thanks, I’ll let you have a taste of it after I drink my share. I may even name you my second in command.”

“All right,” Aedan said.

“You know,” Destan whispered, “this potion could very well kill us.”

“It’s a volatile mix.”

Despite his mild tone of voice, Destan could see the fire in Aedan’s eyes. He’d always been drawn to that fire. That heat. He himself was a water mage, seven years Aedan’s senior, and he’d watched with bated breath as the boy came into manhood. Over the past year his wait was over at last, and he’d finally been able to form the union with Aedan that he’d always wanted. He’d seen Aedan in the throes of passion, in his most helpless state, begging Destan for release. Now, seeing that fire bright in his eyes, Destan couldn’t help but sweep him forward, pressing his mouth against his apprentice’s, fingers laced through his silky black hair.

When their lips parted, Aedan let out a shaky sigh. His cheeks were flushed as he looked up at the tanned, husky man, brushing golden strands out of his eyes. “When I’m second in command,” he began, “what would you have me do?”

“What do you think?” Destan replied slyly, his fingers sliding into Aedan’s belt and yanking it open.

Shoving his hand away, Aedan said, “I’m serious! I want to know what responsibilities you’ll give me. Astraeus had you handling all kinds of fascinating tasks.”

“Come now, doll,” Destan breathed in his ear, “you don’t need to worry about any of that. With this potion, I’ll be strong enough for the both of us.”

“You have no want for my own strength?”

When Destan didn’t reply, Aedan pulled roughly away from him, his breath coming out in a furious huff. Then, quietly, he said, “It’s never going to change with you, is it?”

“Aedan, Aedan,” Destan coaxed, rubbing his apprentice’s shoulders. “Don’t get all fired up. We’re partners, all right? You and I, partners.” He wrapped Aedan in a warm embrace, and finally the young mage turned around, allowing their lips to meet again.

In a daring move, Aedan suddenly pushed forward, delivering a soft bite to the nape of Destan’s neck. As the water mage gasped, Aedan let his tongue dance lightly over his skin, trailing from the nape up to the ear.

“Ohh, Aedan,” Destan moaned. He ran his hands down the young man’s back in a manner wholly unlike that of a teacher to his apprentice. “Now you’re bringing meup to a simmer.”

“Fire and water,” Aedan chuckled into the man’s neck.

“And partners forever.”

He closed his eyes, reveling in the exquisite sensation of Aedan’s tongue against his skin.

He did not notice as Aedan lifted a vial off the table behind him, dipping it into the cauldron, corking it, and shoving it into the pocket of his coat.