Book One - The Legend of Vanx Malic - Through the Wildwood
is available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009A0Q5D2
The Legend of Vanx Malic
Book Two -- Dragon Isle
Copyright 2012 © by Michael Robb Mathias Jr.
All rights reserved
Off beside the river
far away from everything
the fishes keep my company
while I close my eyes and dream.
- Parydon Cobbles
Amakra Malic passed away when Vanx was thirty-six years old. She was taken by a merciless wasting disease that was exclusive to those of Zythian blood. It was a sudden thing. One year, she was glowing and full of life; the next she was a withered husk, empty of all but love for her only son. She was young by Zythian standards—barely a hundred years old. Her life had caused a hurricane of emotion to assail the hearts and minds of the Zythian elders, and not just because of her choice of a human mate.
In her life, Amakra challenged ancient customs and pushed the boundaries of the old ways at every chance she had. They warned her that her mixed-blood child would be stillborn, just as dozens of others had been in the past. They said her heart would break when she outlived her lover and was forced to watch him die. They said the Goddess would shun her for breaking so many traditions and that she could be considered Zythian only because of her blood.
Vanx’s birth changed all of that. He wasn’t stillborn, and his father died at sea on a merchant ship taken by pirates off the coast of Harthgar. He never had the chance to grow old before her eyes. The Goddess smiled upon her brightly enough so that she lived to see her son mature.
Some said her death was a punishment for the life she lived, but she told Vanx, from her deathbed, that her life had been a great and wondrous happening. She’d known love; she’d turned heads and raised eyebrows. She had given birth to an impossible child who was touched by the Goddess herself. She said her life had been full of joy and triumph.
“Remember who and what you are, Vanx,” she’d whispered. By then, only her smile and the light shining in her eyes marked her as his mother. The rest of her was shriveled and discolored. “The humans will envy you for being part Zythian, and the Zythians for being part human. You must rise above them, for what other people think of you matters very little. It’s what you think of yourself that matters.”
Those words echoed in Vanx’s ears now as he let his eyes focus back onto the dark sea before him. He took a few moments to blink away the tears brought on by his mother’s memory and evaluate what he truly thought of himself. He’d thought about abandoning Gallarael’s cause, but hadn’t. He was here, and he found himself willing to face the dangers that lay ahead in the hope of saving Gallarael and her unborn child. He felt that he was doing the right thing. It was a dangerous, possibly even foolish, quest they were on, but he wouldn’t be able to think well of himself if he abandoned a girl who was poisoned while trying to help him escape the chains of slavery.
Vanx was glad they decided to land somewhere besides Flotsam Bay. His coming there, especially on a royal Parydonian ship with the prince of the human realm, would cause too much of a stir. Unlike his mother, Vanx didn’t enjoy the attention of turning heads and rising eyebrows.
“Follow your heart,” his mother had told him as she passed away. Now, his heart told him that Zeezle would be at his family’s farmstead outside of Sama, or near there.
The small fishing port of Little Haven was about a half-day’s walk to Sama. Little Haven was also due south of Dragon Isle, making the next leg of their journey an easy one. More than that, though, the Zythian folk there were of the simpler sort: the fishermen, the croppers, and the traders. Vanx’s heart told him that Little Haven would be a safer and less conspicuous place to land the Sea Hawk. As he confirmed those feelings with his mind, he saw a star twinkle in the sky. It oddly reminded him of the twinkle in his mother’s eyes. The warm feeling that came over him then was as welcome as it was reassuring. For the first time in his life he knew that he was exactly where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing.
“Don’t fall over them wings,” a gruff voice said sharply from not too far away and above him. It was Peg, and he was grinning like a child with the frosting spoon in his hand. “If you go overboard in the dark we might not be able to find ya. Besides that, I’m not sure Captain Willie would heave the old Sea Hawk around for a man-eater.”