BlowingWind and Ryu expected to be able to get on with living, but Fate has a different idea for the young Shaman in training and her Dragon Protector. Continuing her adventures between the worlds of Spirit and Man, BlowingWind traverses the worlds, and even time itself to regain the Smoky Mirror. Take Ryu, her protective volcano dragon kami and suitor follows her, in a quest of his own that he is not fully aware of. To his dismay, a kitsune and two tengu complicate matters even further, and are responsible for tests of her character and problem solving ability. The root of an ancient curse is revealed and witnessed, possibly giving clues to how to fix it. The question is if she will remember them, and if she can regain what was lost. More important, will she start growing into her preordained multicultural role? Or will she even be able to return at all from this unexpected twist in her life’s plans, and get back on her feet? This second book in the Dragon Shaman series, “The Smoky Mirror” continues from “Dragon Shaman: Taming the Blowing Wind.
Gathering of Spirits
“This running away has to stop!”
Fierce eyes the color of a summer sky, ringed with a desperate yellow, bored into eyes that were the color of an Irish field, as her fiery hair formed a corona around her head. The green of her gown swirled as she swept one slender and pale hand toward the floor, while the butt of the spear in her other hand struck the marble flooring of the meeting hall. The sharp sound echoed in the recesses of the chamber. The owner of the shamrock eyes stirred in her own gown of emerald on the carved granite of the small throne at the oak table.
“I quite agree with you my Priestess, but tell me Maeve, how do we break this particular family cycle that dear Drake’s curse has exploited for so long?”
“I don’t know, M’Lady. I just can’t stand to see what has befallen little Marie from BlowingWind’s mad flight. The child has to face what she has done to her mother, though our plans never worked to heal what Marie did to her own mother Rowena.”
The impassioned ghost sank in her seat once more, a wilting tiger lily where once had been a proud Priestess in a life long ago, before history was written down. She had been one of the favorites of Brigit, a woman of strength and courage selected to tend the Sacred Forge and Well. The weapons that she had forged had been as powerful as her own temper, and just as difficult to wield properly, but worthwhile to master. It was in part because of her skill at the forge that the calamity had befallen her line.
Brown eyes gazed with concern on Maeve, black braids swinging forward as the man in blue denim reached over to touch her shoulder. SoaringHawk’s skin still bore the dark mark of long hours in the sun, but he had been murdered before the lines of age had begun to set in his face. The haunted look in his eyes had broken through its disguise.
The Shaman’s hand tightened slightly, betraying what he felt for both his wife and his only child that still navigated the perils of the living world. Maeve put her slender yet work-roughened hand on that of the man who had married into her family, grateful for the small miracle of touch. Ghosts did not get much contact these days, unless it was with one of their own. The scientific studies that man had done in this modern age all recognized how important it was, although any of the Old Ones could have easily said just as much.
The small dragon that was curled up like a crown upon Brigit’s brow stirred, then slid down from his perch into her lap. Although he was nearly as old as the much-missed Drake, making him well over a thousand years old, this dragon had remained small, and not much larger than a hatchling of his particular breed. The ancient goddess looked down and stroked his emerald scales, watching them glint in the fairy light that illuminated the hall. Finnigan pushed his head into her hand, purring like a cat as she fondled his ears. The other hand rested on his side, and he covered it with one leathery wing. He always knew the small gestures that made the immortal feel better, and had been a much-needed confidant during the time he had become a guardian. He had stepped into Drake’s place after the imposing and sometimes thoughtless red dragon had finally perished of heartbreak.
A soft masculine voice trickled like water, “Gomen nasai, but what is this curse that you speak of? I’m afraid that I don’t know much about the particulars of the woman I am helping to test.”
The deity’s mind went over the first two words of the statement as she turned her gaze to the red fox sitting in the chair across the Council Table from her own. He looked so much like the foxes of her own land, and yet she was forced to remind herself that he was from a country far from her homeland. After a moment, she realized that those words must have meant something akin to “sorry” in his native tongue. The gold eyes rimmed with black were filled with curiosity, and his young voice matched the black tipped ears that pointed straight at her in his interest.
Brigit gestured at the water silently waiting in the silver bowl located precisely in the center of the table, summoning an image of the fateful day that she witnessed the event that had set in motion the separating of the spirit and human worlds of the lands within her influence. The image filled the chamber, putting all of the occupants into the scene, although none could change history. She had already tried calling in favors from those that could control time. Something much greater than she had decreed the happening, although what purpose it would ultimately serve she was still unsure.
The once green grass was now blackened where the flame of the livid dragon had blasted through the air. The village was in ruins, the charcoal skeletons reaching for the sky, while men and women farther away lay where they had been struck down, some lifeless and others merely unconscious. The children had been allowed to flee, as Drake loved children dearly.
Maeve, weak from the drug herbs that her captor had been slipping into the food and drink that she had been provided during her captivity, lay protected between Drake’s great forepaws. Each of his coal colored talons individually was larger than she was. Drake glowered down at the one lone man left before him, his great fangs glinting in the light, every one of his back spikes at attention and slicing the air.
“Those of your line too shall have the one they love stolen from them, just as you have done to me. My sorrow and shame shall be thine, and that of your descendants, until two that carry thy blood shall unite with dragons that care for them as much as I care for Maeve. Only then shall her dishonor be fully avenged, and generations shall pass before it shall happen!”
“If you care for her, then you should let her be with her own kind, Serpent!”
The single man that still held his feet, soot marring his broad features and discoloring once blonde hair, charged at the dragon wielding one of the shining blades that Maeve and the two other Keepers of Brigit’s Forge and Well had smithed. Somewhere on the field Brigit’s past self stood watching, unable and at the time unwilling to intervene in the magic of a dragon, with Finnigan girded about her waist. Drake’s massive wings folded against his sides, and an inferno erupted from his mouth to defend him.
Brigit turned her head; still angry with herself about how she should have known back then that there was a possibility that Maeve was with child, especially with how long she had been captive. Her thoughts echoed in her head, “I should have warned Drake, so in a way, everything was and is my fault.”
Copyright© Teresa Garcia. All rights reserved.