Dragon Stone: The Sapphire

“It came from an imaginary dragon that was a carving of an owl on that staff wielded by a madman. He said it was a Dragon Stone.”

“The Sapphire,” Yish knelt to look at it. “Naz, that means….”

“One of his tears fell in my mouth, where it became a blue sapphire, source of strength, source of strength and eternal hope.”

Anita Diament

“I desired dragons with a profound desire. Of course, I in my timid body did not wish to have them in the neighborhood. But the world that contained even the imagination of Fáfnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever the cost of peril.”

J.R.R. Tolkien.

This is another short story for this months

BLOGBATTLE prompt word Merchant

Dragon Stone: The Sapphire

“I’m not touching it again,” Naz glared at the staff he’d cast off after the elder trap.

“And if it chose you?” Yish did her look, the one the dwarf struggled to deal with. No sending necessary.

“Don’t make me laugh,” he stroked his beard contemplating whether his axe might cleave it in two and be done with sorcery. Either that or perhaps discreetly disappear in the next hovel masquerading as a town and pass it off to some nefarious pedlar.

“Don’t you dare.” Yish scowled at him. “If that’s real then the Sapphire is alive and it’s avatar is there. She pointed at the carving of a tiny dragon curled up around a gemstone.

“No privacy in thought,” Naz rolled his eyes. Not getting angry at her intruding into his mind told the strength of their bond. It had saved his life on more than one occasion and, despite his reticence, the staff, he knew, wasn’t for sale. He cleared his throat, “Are you certain it’s genuine? I mean what just happened felt unreal.”

Yish nodded in thought. Explaining the intricacies of thaumaturgical anomalies was not quite the same as talking rocks and minerals. “It’s not easy to align what this all means Naz. We know so little of Elder artefacts. Granted we’ve found many, but understanding them is still beyond me.”

“Aye, but were we not supposed to catalogue them and bring anything small enough to carry back to the Sorcerers Guild?”

Yish pushed her palms into her eyes trying to clear her thinking. Or was that early onset headache induced by the conjurors bubble that somehow this dragon stone had released her from. “That was the reason for this expedition yes.” Except the man had called it a conjurors lock. Was there a difference? They had all known more than her about the mechanisms of elder magic. She could feel frustration adding to what she knew would soon burst out in raw emotion.

Naz sensed a “but.”

“But,” she continued, “things have changed.”

“Such as?”

Yish just looked at him, “Seriously.”

He filled his pipe, a wry grin most would not see behind his beard indicating he was joking to avoid the next move. “I know. But what do we do? Go back and find ruins or worse?”

“That’s the problem with chronomancy. Knowing when you are as well as where.” She looked back up, her eyes now mildly bloodshot. “I,” she paused searching for the right words, “don’t trust my Guild right now.”

There, it was out. A festering thought finally in the open.

Naz watched his friend. He was waiting for her to continue. A trick he’d learnt long ago. Yish never wanted sympathy when trying to out something. Interrupting at this point had once resulted in half his beard smouldering. Instead he used his eyes. They looked deep into hers.

“He sent us, not them.” She swallowed trying to keep her emotions level. “What if that was deliberate? Did he know everything that followed stemmed from my own Guild? Did he do it to ensure we would be safe?”

Unexpected. The dwarf stroked his beard thinking. “Not something I’ve considered. However, that assumes the Amanuensis has powers of foresight. How could they know or are you now using collected experiences since to pollute what was?”

“I don’t know anymore.”

Ok, so she was losing it. Naz anticipated another singing. “You miss him don’t you?” Not really a question.

She nodded, knowing she was going to break down now.

“We could go back and see what remains. Know rather than guess?”

Again she nodded. This time Naz risked more than a singe. He knelt in front of his friend and wrapped his arms round her.

The sobbing took some time to abate.


Naz let her sleep afterwards. How long he didn’t really know except the sun had move round and he was now aimlessly poking embers in a fire that needed more wood.

“Feeling any better?” He saw hir stirring.

“Not really. My head is throbbing.

“Chew on this.” He handed her some willow bark from his gunna.”

“I didn’t know dwarves were famous herbologists.”

“Not as a rule, but I mix with the wrong elves.”

She smiled, “Sense of humour too. Will wonders ever cease.”

He placed another log on the fire, “You’re a bad influence.”

Yish sat up chewing slowly. The taste of willow sour.

“It may take a while to kick in,” he said blowing on the embers trying to re-ignite what he’d neglected far too long.

She nodded. “Thanks for before Naz. Sometimes I hold things in too long and when it breaks I… well, you saw the result.”

“No shame in that Yish. In that we are similar, except my constitution on emotional matters is a shade more sturdy.”

“Neglected you mean.” She spat the bark out. “As friends we should try better.”

He nodded as the flames began to char his log.

“What now?”

“I suggest you pick up the staff and see if anything happens.”

Naz looked from her to the witch-wood stave. Then frowned. Trick of the light or had the dragon opened an eye to return his gaze? He blinked and all was as it should be.

“What is it?”

“Nothing.” He shook his head then reached for the staff. As his hand gripped it there was a shock. The smell of ozone returned. The glade with his fire blinked out and as his eyes now focussed on another world. Unbeknown to him the dragon had uncurled and wrapped its tail around his wrist.

“Naz?” Somewhere in the distance he heard his name.

“Nadir.” Another voice.

He turned his head and thoughts of the frozen wasteland returned. When was that? He could not remember. Just the huddling in a ruined guard tower as words drifted through time to him.



“But how?”

“The Stones, they call out as they claim a host. I know of three now.”

“We need more, Yish no longer trusts her Guild.”

“The Black is taken by a dead man, the Emerald and Sapphire exist, but only Sapphire hunts it’s living counterpart.”

“Fewer riddles Amanuensis.”

“Nadir, the one curled about your wrist wants its dragon.”

Naz snorted, “And that is our road how?”

“Who claimed it? I now believe more stones exist inside Conjurors locks. Both you and the elf seem to have an unusual affinity for the elders.”

Claimed it, Naz went through his memories. He took it yes, the dragon told him what to do to save Yish from the lock. He’d felled at least three of the Sect. One had fled. That much came back.

“No,” he began carefully, “I did not claim it. It spoke to me to save the elf.”

“Word play dwarf, the Sapphire has chosen you. Like or not it is what it is.”

“And what are we supposed to do now?”


Naz sighed. So much for going back now. “And Yish?”

“She must remember what she read inside the lock.”

“Aye, I’ll tell her and find a smoking beard for my trouble.”

During the discourse his eyes had watched the dragons offering. Sand drifts ripping like waves on an ocean. Oases throwing life amid the parched earth. Around one looped a wyvern. As it turned the sun captured its scutes. They were deepest blue.

Naz didn’t know either Wayland or The Black. If he had then he would know what was coming. The eye of the dragon hunting.

“And Nadir…” the Amanuensis interrupted the rabbit caught in terror.


“Tell her I miss her too.”



Her voice sounded louder now.

“Naz, snap out if it.”

Thus spoke Tara to Wayland in another plane. His was backed onto a cliff as The Black swooped down. Without her his doom was sealed in both worlds.

Naz fell back, groggy from the experience. He looked down at the dropped staff. The dragon curled up as if nothing had happened. Reaching for the willow bark he stared up at Yish.

“He was there.”


“The Amanuensis.”

Her eyes grew larger. “What did he say,” her words but a whisper.

“Much, but two you should hear first.” He looked deep into her eyes, “First, he misses you too. He says this at the end to stave off…” he broke off. Dream or reality? “…Stave off the Sapphire. It saw me and I froze.”

“You saw the Sapphire?” Thoughts of his first point were relegated. She knew he missed her. Weakness fell through her own despair at wanting him here.


“A vast desert ocean from which oases spring. From one it emerged and caught the sun. Flanks fluorescing in deepest blue. A magnificent beast, yet full of terror and her eyes. They hold the glam, hypnotic gaze to fell even the stoutest of hearts.” He spat the bark out. “Were it not for the Amanuensis then I may well not have returned.

“But how did he know?” Yish had more questions. The problem was where to start.

“The stones speak to him. As each claims a soul he seems to have a connection.”

“How many?”

“Three now, The Black, Emerald and,” he looked upon the tiny carving huddled round its stone, “mine.” As an after thought he added, “The emerald is not yet awake.”

Yish frowned, “The others mean nothing to me.” She paused letting the last part sink in. “Yours?”

Naz stared at the remaining embers, “His exact words were word play dwarf, the Sapphire has chosen you. Like or not it is what it is.”

The sounds of oncoming night reared up to blend with the cracking of burning wood.

“He also said you must remember what you read inside the lock.”

She didn’t answer. His words alone had sent her mind back. Old parchments put there deliberately. The lock come bubble. They wanted her to read them over and over. To remember and yet she had forgotten. Had everything been a ruse to get them to this point? Was the reach of the elders this long? Were they supposed to release the crow? Destroy the Keep in doing so? If so then why?

“I can’t Naz. It’s all a blur.”

A small hiss distracted her negativity. Eyes were now glaring at her. Naz was leaning back against a fallen tree that crossed the glade and acted as a rest before the fire. His hand was resting on the tiny dragon carving.

She stared back. “What is it you want of us tiny wyvern?”

It shook its head and curled round the dwarfs wrist letting his fingers touch the stone.

Yish too leaned back on the log. She stared at the half moon until her own eyes began to find sleep. Her conscious faded.

It’s inevitable, she thought as the drift of slumber edged forward, tonight the dreams will mean something more.  


Far away in space and time other eyes saw this unfold through the gaze of a carving. He stared long and hard. Remembering a face that once stood in front of him in a life taken for granted.

From his own conjurors bubble he stared out across the snow plane. Feeling the wind cold as it swept up the walls and onto his balcony. He knew it was an illusion. The edge of the bubble creating false environments to propagate the myth of imprisonment. The only reality lay inside his room. And within the two keys that could release him. She had made it sound so simple. Needles and haystacks.

Returning to his desk he thumped the oak out of frustration.

On it parchments dislodged dust. Three stones. Were there more? The Sapphire was found by chance. But it was always those two. The wild dynamic amid the flow of life. Where they trod time pivoted.

The Amanuensis turned a page. Gazing at the notes written an age ago. The emerald. One of ours holds the stone. Who had told him that? It mattered not, the owner was a sorcerer and last he’d heard it was an oracle he sought. Or a girl lost in a mind ruin after the necromage sought to… it was coming back. The paradox man again.


Naz dreamed of a wyvern hunting him. Yish of a conjurors bubble slowly shrinking as she tried to interpret old parchments. Neither slept truly. Both linked into the same dreams. One shouting unheard to the other.

Outside all this a small dragon carving kept vigil. It had not been outside of the portal field in millennia. Not since the genocide. Now it was alert and acting as sentry while the others fought their mind battles.

In a distant dessert the Sapphire entered her lair. Therein she also slept on, hunting a dwarf in another place.

When elf and dwarf encounter a conjurors lock.

A stone of power finds itself in the hands of a Mage searching for an oracle. Watched from the future by the Amanuensis from his prison in a conjurors bubble.
“The Black is taken by a dead man, the Emerald and Sapphire exist, but only Sapphire hunts it’s living counterpart.” The Amanuensis

46 thoughts on “Dragon Stone: The Sapphire

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  1. How do you keep track of all that goes on in this world? Of all the laws and personal customs and character traits? Must not be an easy thing to do.

    Great to see this dynamic duo again. I enjoyed the flow of the dialogue, the humor here and there, but also the emotions of care and worry.

    1. With some difficulty Sam. That said I’ve been with this world for a long time. It bleeds into every story I write.

      I guess its all been absorbed into my psyche now but I really should start making notes properly now. I find old posts or work that I’ve forgotten about with material I really should be incorporating.

      They are about in April too as I’m a bit ahead having done the word list 😯

  2. How nice to see Yish and Naz again! Their bond of friendship is an anchor to these stories, and Naz’s humor is quite fun. Besides his comment about mixing with the wrong elves, I enjoyed his anticipation of the ‘but’ Yish was going to add to her statement. And I presume since Naz popped some willow bark after his conversation with the Amanuensis, he was expecting to get a headache if one wasn’t setting in already. 🙂 One question – a couple of times you made reference to the vast ‘dessert’ ocean – I know we Yanks are notorious for dropping letters from our words that the Brits still use, but doesn’t that spelling mean a sweet dish at the end of a meal? Very interesting how all this is developing and ties together!

    1. Good spot, my excuse is auto incorrect. I have loads of issues with it if I’m stuck in the story and not proofing properly. Mind you a dessert ocean might be entertaining for a hungry wyvern! I’ll change it post haste.

      Naz chews it when he feels the onset looming rather than waiting. Probably keeps his teeth clean too haha.

      Thanks too I’m trying to work up the moment to start writing this book, except BB keeps it heading at back story, which it is now with Mays word 😂

        1. I don’t haha. Its that blasted thing that tries to convince me with words having no bearing on the first two letters I’ve type !!

  3. Hi Gary.
    I was very moved by the deep comradeship between Yish and Naz, coupled with the strong sense of those strains they are under and the shared loss they are experiencing in a journey which is filled with convolutions.
    ‘One shouting unheard to the other’- that is a powerful phrase played out against the backdrop of a tormented dreamscape.
    Still getting used to this amazing and colourful world build of yours. This time though the portrayal of the emotions were the principals elements. Participants in a never ending war across endless battlefields through time and locations.
    Evocative in themes and imagery.
    Keep going.

    1. Thanks Roger. Its a tricky world to keep my own head round never mind the characters. I’m in the process of creating a follow up with the cult they encountered and its slow progress.

      Yish and Naz are currently torn about what to do. Unsure if they are in the right time to go back to the Keep as it was, if they are responsible for releasing the crow, one is terrified of losing the Amanuensis, Naz if now stuck with a dragon that chose him and neither can fully remember what happened in the Elder trap.

      In my mind these battles are across several planes. I’m currently editing the book it all began with. Its done my head in so badly I can’t even remember the title of the one I’ve got sitting scheduled for next months BB 😂

      1. The whole premise sounds most intriguing Gary, bringing out the complexities of a war fought on many levels in many locations, with a cast of colourful characters.
        I like the idea that the narrative moves outside of many of the conventional fantasy works, being far from lineal. There’s certain air of the quantum about it, but without the equations that fill up black / white boards the length of a stage; thus avoiding hard sci-fi.
        Keep up the good work Gary!

        1. So promising I’m procrastinating about starting haha. Well, moving on from chapter 3 at least. Then again I’m editing the very first part of the puzzle now. Revisiting the world of the paradox man so to speak.

          I think you’d chuckle at another one when two brothers are talking about relativity in 1875 during one of their temporal shifts. Discounting it as a problem because its not been discovered yet, then coming back to our time and deciding now it has been then its a huge one.

          I’m also a believer in “trying” to keep it sounding realistic but not overcomplicating things so a reader doesn’t have to see the “proofs” you mentioned. Part of trying to get them to align with the text without all that frowning and google searches to figure out what the heck is going on.

          1. There’s a definite element of crafting in getting a book ready for readership. This can be enjoyable in itself, your world taking on definite form and its own reality.

            I was somewhat influenced by the complications and confusions which arise in our world, particularly in military / political interactions. Thus in my own work this was a conscious element of confusion with differing groups and agencies all getting in each others ways while trying to reach the same objective. I wanted any readers to sense that confusion. Probably an editor would have been extremely vexed with me…Oh well.

            1. Another way to look at it is from a civilisation perspective. Initial phase being close to survival, warmongering and conquest. Then the mutual work together which enhances the growth and then a hedonistic phase where all that gets replaced by indoctrination by media or religious dogma. That part attracts avarice and stagnation. The population gets lazy and more controllable. Its not my job to pick up litter I’ve just chucked next to a bin type of thing

              Businesses suffer the same cycle. Growth, improvement then greed. One person creates the idea, grows it and knows it inside out. The next CEO is not quite as keen and by the third its a numpty that rapes it dry and cocks it up. Around that are politicians that get weaker the further they get from a meta crisis. When one hits look at what we got during covid. Do as I say not as I do. No lead by example which is phase one. If you recognise where in that cycle your world build is then it is easier to blend it together.

              Think Roman. Expansion where armies away from Rome are expanding while back home the phase shift was hedonism. Eventually finance is bled dry and the expansion contracts and implodes on itself.

              The confusion I feel is part of phase two/three transition. Some recognising it, some ignorant and having a good time. Progression the three sees less who are aware and more who don’t care. When it all collapses it goes back to phase one which is brutal.

              If that all makes sense haha.

              As for getting books ready. I’m really knocking out redundant sentences now and over use of words where one will do. I find that hard sometimes as the original draft was sweated over. I’m now a much better writer than back then 😯

              1. You could write a least one volume about historians who write about Rome. Since the contemporary commentators, through to Gibbon, through to the latest revisions through perspectives and research.
                And the same for many other eras! 🙂
                The dynamic is constant what may seem minor now will be viewed as important in years hence and something of great importance now would be seen as only relevant as a feature of ‘those times’.
                There does seem to be a constant cycle of rise, pinnacle and then decline, for one civilisation, but at the same time others are rising.
                The mistake many make is to assume, in ‘this time’, ‘this place’ ‘We’ are the best and with ‘Us’ progress will continue.
                Whereas everything is conditional, and guarding against or mitigating the effects of threats is a vital component of progress or stability.
                Trying to pretend the Past is best is a road to ruin – consider the problems for the ordinary folk of the USA now that MAGA has it’s time in the sun.

                I feel your torment there Gary, for for every ‘redundant sentence’ or word I find, another will replace them in the revision. We strive to progress and improve though.
                (Maybe my tenth attempt at starting anew book will not be another false start 😕)

                1. True indeed, The fall of one as another starts and ends up falling into the same trap. Future proofing seems seriously absent these days… or is that the voice of rational amid and cycle of mucking it up! A very human trait is thinking the present is better than the past and yet think of all the trades that can’t, say, do what a master carpenter did a hundred years ago. Dove tail joints replaced with glue and a screw. I once saw a old staircase where the underside was as elaborate as the top, even though its not seen. Now its “good enough” and what’s fixing something again?

                  One advantage of leaving a WIP alone for ages is when you return its easier to see things a constant edit from writing can’t through too much familiarity. I see King there leaving the Gunslinger in a drawer until it wanted to be written. Maybe my Dragon Stone excuse 🤔

                  1. Oh Gary we are a paradoxical folk. We tear things down while bathing in nostalgia. Whatever we do we can do the opposite in equal measure. Small wonder there are ample inspirations for Fantasy writings.

                    WIPs can be tricky things, sometimes dancing off like mischievous pixies, other times nagging away like a pet who wants to play, and then there is the currently silent, solemn enigmatic.
                    And all the permutations in between. All swirling about and through the imagination and creativity.
                    I’m guessing a work of the measure of Dragon Stone in its scope of complexities, takes time to take on its true form.
                    I tell my wife-the poet; think of the formation of stars- to begin with a collection of dust, debris from other stellar objects, all steady until a cosmic ripple or shock sets in motion the process of movement which gathers items together, until finally the fission begins and a star comes into life.
                    We are all at one with the Cosmos and its processes.
                    Just a thought.

                    1. I like that, tearing things down bathing in nostalgia… sums it up very well. It all creates huge amounts of material to write with. So much I had to stop my political parodies as I couldn’t keep up!!

                      WIP’s sure are tricky. And that’s just the ones I’m doing on linear planes of existence. I’ve created issues by crosslinking almost everything so keeping track is much harder than it could have been with stand alone pieces.

                      Dragon Stone is now mentioned in several pieces. Mostly the Black and the dead but dreaming blacksmith it guards as he carries its stone.

                      Speaking of poets… I might be doing a short bit of that in Aprils. I had some inspiration from Fields of the Nephilm’s Requiem III watching YouTube last night.

                      Your mind seems to work like mine to with the cosmological reference. Maybe we’re timelords 😂

                    2. “dead but dreaming blacksmith it guards as he carries its stone.”
                      Oh I do like that👏👏
                      Right from pre-Saxon Ancestry.

                      Fields of Nephilim do tend to inspire, don’t they? I was not on their wavelength- but they had a distinct ‘something’.

                      Do you think we also did something un-timelordish and were memory wiped and exiled to Earth.
                      What with all those fracases with Darleks and lots of fractious stuff on Gallifrey I reckon we’re well out of it!😀

                    3. They are one of my go too bands even now. Raw vocals with atmospheric lyrics and music. I get tremendous inspiration from them as it happens. Certain pieces I write need that in the background.

                      Ever heard Tic Tock by Rockbitch? That’s another thought inspiring one. Another group that were well ahead of there time but found infamy in nefarious gigging antics.

                      That time Lord assessment would slot right into alien conspiracy theories too. Georgio from Ancient Aliens would love that… although if it were Galifreans maybe they’d go for the John Smith approach with the pocket watch in the family of blood. Or the Prometheus route. Guess we’ll find that one out when the ice caps melt 😳

                    4. Thanks for that insight into Rockbitch Gary. They were in an area when my music awareness was based on whatever tapes my three children made for me on birthdays and father’s day. I suspect my two daughters knew of them, but where not going to let their Dad in on such a band😄.
                      Fascinating song and delivery (scanties don’t do anything for me these days)-I must admit for the first two minutes I thought ‘Kate Bush you opened a door for many a young woman performer’. Impressive delivery, the hypnotic shifting of rhythms, chords and voice would certainly be inspiring.
                      It’s the beauty of music, positive sorts of inspiration can flower will many a type.

                      Ice Caps melting?…..Enough warnings….’Tic Tock’🤨

                    5. My pleasure Roger. Their backstory is quite moving actually. Like the Nephilim vastly ahead of their time and missed by everyone unless you were in the circles that knew of them. Rockbitch lived in a free love commune in France way back. All LBGT. The drummer passed away with cancer. I found out very recently her wife Erin Bennet and a few other members of the original band now live in Scotland with Boudicca records. Try listening to Tension by the Erin Bennet Band. Another unexpected gem.

                      They stopped touring as RockBitch because venues were full of backward thinking. Mayors and such like had old idyls on censorship.

                      Also Carl McCoy of the Fields sings as he does because as a child he ate very hot food that burnt his larynx. I often wonder how they might sound if his vocals were different.

                      You might like Lies by Rockbitch too. Great video given the time period and no scanties haha.

                    6. I read that about Carl McCoy, I think there might not have been a Fields of Nephilim in the form you knew then. Seemed to have a measure more depth that Sisters of Mercy- which is saying something

                      As for Rockbitch
                      Very inventive video there Gary, musically nudging ahead of Girlschool (again- no mean feat!).
                      When I was reading up on the band was intrigued to see they once played for an under teens show; changed their name to Rock Beach, dressed uncontroversially, no ‘usual’ stage act and very toned down songs. I thought that showed a certain sensitivity and astuteness, like sending a message ‘Yeah. We don’t need to be sensational shock-rock if we choose not to be, we can just rock!’
                      One thing you can say about European based bands was they always liked to push limits visually or musically.
                      Amon Duul; Can; Super Sister. Back in the early 1970s I collected quite a few. Never did get a Burnin’ Red Ivanhoe album…. Pity Golden Earring went too commercial.

                    7. I started out with Sisters and The Mission, Wake by the latter still hits a chord as does Afterhours by the former. Fields I think were way ahead lyrically and music wise. Psychonaut, Last Exit For the Lost being immense.

                      The Rockbitch stuff, scanties aside, again were way ahead of anything at the time. There’s some excellent videos of their USA road trip too.

                      Early 70’s again was a powerful era. Sweet Child of Mine by Sabbath, Chronicles of the Black Sword by Hawkwind (I think) and not even mentioning Pink Floyd who are on my playlist every day of the week.

                    8. I have to say the live version of ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’ by Sisters of Mercy is one of the best performances ever.
                      By the time much of what you mention Gary was coming out I was very much involved in family life and missed a lot.
                      What has been tickling me, is when checking for Rockbitch on Youtube, it’s counterpointed by a side bar inviting me to watch Altered Images video of ‘Happy Birthday’…… bit of a contrast there, do you think?

                    9. Indeed it is and Guns N Roses also did a cover of that too. Although one of the best I’ve heard is Sound of Silence by Disturbed.

                      Family does tend to run interference on many things the single carefree youngling doesn’t perceive. I also think we tend to lock onto songs from our late teen zones. Reminders of youth and all that.

                      I think YouTube algorithms work like auto incorrect 🤔

                    10. OK…Like ‘Wow!’ That has to be the best version of Sound of Silence I have heard to date…..On the comments of the YouTube recording I found:

                      I too had goosebumps when it came to ‘Neon god’

                      Quite true Gary, the age we ‘discover music’ is the one which sticks…That said having ‘tuned’ back in in retirements I have discovering wealth styles and artists which are sticking😀(Ya!)

                      Auto correct & incorrect are the tools of dark forces intent on foiling the creative muses of writers. These creatures will not win! Our creativities will prevail!✊

                    11. Tools of the Sith. I did a find and replace and it decided any word with the ones I was chasing needed changing too. Be nice if finding the search settings was obvious and not buried like those damnable T&C’s. Or instructions in every language other than ours.

                      Thought you might like that one. It’s an impressive version.

                      Like you I also touch base with all sorts now. Absolute Radio and Planet Rock are my go to stations now.

                    12. Ahh Worlds End comes to mind… good name for a band, you should write that down.

                      Mind you now you’ve said it I can see that as such a band

                    13. Stop it, you’ll make me paranoid 😂😂

                      Mind you Black Sabbath takes me back. My first thought there associated in Child In Time by Deep Purple

  4. I think I’d like to spend a few days in your mind Gary it must be a fascinating place ! I can’t imagine you are ever bored with so many worlds to escape to. I enjoyed this . I liked ´mixing with the wrong elves’ but amid the story their was so much humanity (elfanity ?) . Neglected emotions, loss , trust , friendship … thoroughly well rounded good read .

    1. It has its moments now and then!! Currently its stuck in the world of the Twins…looses title The Paradox Man. Can’t believe how much I’m editing out.

      WRT this piece again its epic in construct. I did three chapters and that told me to go write more back story 🤣

        1. Well, I finished running through the manuscript yesterday. Bit like reading it for the first time its been so long. Dave I’m familiar with as he crops up loads in DS with the Amanuensis as The Paradox Man…hence the working title. The rest are a bit like the return of old friends. Loads of new info gone in too such as town name change, and additions like the Templar ruin, Derrick as potential magician from Black Marsh and the Shadow Creatures now based on the Assassin from the same book. Quite a bit with Whitaker in now due to Rose. Also the barmaid has been adapted as Dels daughter now too… again due to Black Marsh.

          Back to what to do with its sequel 😯

          1. Ahh Dave…
            It’s amazing how you are working it all together. Sounds fantastic.
            I did have a strange vision though of you in a pair of trainers physically running through your manuscript .
            It would be great to read ‘the book’ and obviously the sequel. 😊

            1. Sounding is one thing, translating it into words another lol. Still, most are now in manuscript format. Working on Black Marsh now converting that from just chapters. Then it’s DS as far as that goes and I should be back up to speed finally. Then finish the Bequest. Mind you with the sci-fi project, gothic horror and DS all vying for attention I might end up sticking things in a hat and drawing lots 😳

    1. Hi Frankie. The theme is Baskerville 2 at the moment. I’m still figuring it out as my old theme got retired and I was having trouble with images. I find this one much smoother to use. Images I get from Pixabay which is license free. Sorry about the delay as this comment got hit by askimet and ended up in the spam folder

  5. The richness of your worlds and universes continues to astound me, Gary!

    You always leave the reader wanting to read more to learn more. There are always questions we demand answered. For example, am I right in understanding that the stone—linked to a dragon—claims a soul? Does this mean the soul in question can command the dragon, or will the dragon hunt them? Or both, and hence why the dragon stalks the soul? Also, how do the dragons and their respective stones come into the world? Are both formed at the same time? And is the tiny carving an actual dragon too, or a representation of its bigger, toothier sister?

    I particularly liked the interaction between the dwarf and the elf after the emotional crumbling. “No shame in that…” and “As friends we should try better.” There’s absolute truth there. Perfect, and I can’t help but agree. As friends, we should always try to do better. Profound in its simple fact.

    Lovely to see you back with the classic dragons and magic. It’s been a while since I read anything about the Amanuensis. (Also, did I detect a romantic note between the elf and the Amanuensis? Ha! Questions, questions, and questions.)

    Great stuff!

    1. Thanks Joshua. This is the big WIP yet to be started apart from three chapters. Last first… Yes re Elf and Amanuensis. Its buried in the back story which is getting bigger with each BB story.

      The stones are Elder Mage artefacts lost in time as their civilisation collapsed. They used Elder portals to move quickly over distances and worlds. Some claimed dragons and crafted stones. Idea being Dragons were too large to use the portals so the Stones were used to bring them through. Each tied a rider to the wyvern creating a bond. If you recall The Black, its stone was found by Wayland who was buried alive, dead but dreaming. The Black guards him waiting for his madness to pass and him to wake. That period is millennia old. Such is the bond between Stone and keeper.

      Most are now lost arising from a genocide. The Black was guardian of their graveyard as his species perished. The rest were taken and scattered in Conjurors bubbles. What you see here is a follow up to when Yish and Naz got caught in one that had snared a sect that hunts them and Elder mages down. The Sapphire chose Naz. That was via the carving. It also gave him its stone. While the carving is linked to its dragon the whereabouts of the Sapphire itself are not known yet.

      Thus far we have black, emerald and sapphires. The Amanuensis is trying to find out their meaning.. i.e. what I say here is OOC so they don’t know any of it in person yet.

      Usually the claim is mutual. A mage earned the right to claim a stone. It does not make you master of the beast though. With Naz its been thrust at him so it suggests in the crisis it decided Naz was true and worthy of it. Trouble there is if he discards it then yes it will hunt him down.

      Any clearer 🤣

      1. Fascinating lore, Gary. I love how I can get lost in it all, the depth of the worldbuilding is remarkable. Like I’ve said—many a time—you need to start putting out these books pronto! Mark my words, readers will lap it up.

        1. You and me both Joshua!! I’ve just finished the follow up ready for April. Its got another unexpected subset added which needs building into a prophecy.

          That piece I was going to send is just about ready now too.

          Unrelated but part of the same world is this bit I’m working on now.

          A man buried alive scrabbling at a coffin lid and a beast licking his mind and taunting him. Fortunately, this one was rare, for which she was grateful. It was a ten on Whitakers scale of mental impact, the rest were eights and nines.

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