Book Seven in the Zaria Fierce Series
Summary in a Nut-Shell: Christoffer Johansen never expected to be anything more than a sidekick in his friends’ confrontations with dragons. That will soon change.
Are heroes born? Or are they made?
Christoffer Johansen is about to find out. When he and his friends–magical and human alike– return to the realm of the giants on a secret mission to restore the Drakeland Sword, he expects it to be a breeze. After all, the attention will be on his buddy Henrik, a born hero. This difficult task is far more than he or Henrik or anyone bargained for, and involves a witch, a raven, a brownie, and a dwarf. There’s a joke in there somewhere, and Christoffer is going to find it– but this hero finds that stopping evil is no joking matter.
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Gazing about at the city around him, Christoffer zeroed in on the unwelcome sight of a tall, lanky figure standing at the far end of the bridge.
“Oh, come on now,” he whined. “I don’t want to be kidnapped again. I’ve got plans this weekend. Good plans. Great plans, even.”
The river-troll cocked his head inquisitively, raising his webbed hands in supplication. “Olaf be not kidnapping you. I be asking for your help.”
Suspicious, Christoffer asked, “If you need help, why are you asking me and not Zaria?”
Olaf scowled. “I be not bothering her with me troubles just yet. I be needing another pair of eyes. You be doing the job nicely.”
“Gee, thanks,” said Christoffer dryly. “You know, I really have to get to school, and I’ve got this thing after with my baby sisters. What about Queen Helena? Is she free?”
“She still be recovering from the last dragon. She not be needing more worries.”
“Queen Helena’s still recovering? Zaria didn’t mention this,” Christoffer said, concerned. “How is she watching over the dragons?”
“She not be watching. She be with me in my river, away from the wretched things,” Olaf said. “Only way to heal.”
“But the Under Realm,” protested Christoffer. “It needs to be protected.”
Olaf waved his hands. “It be protected. King Hector be guarding it.”
“No offense, but Hector’s a tree,” scoffed Christoffer. “I get how he and the Golden Kings keep the dragons from escaping the Under Realm through the barrier of their roots, but Fritjof was able to breach them just a year ago. Who’s to say another dragon can’t do the same?”
“Look, boy,” Olaf growled, causing the hairs to rise on the back of Christoffer’s neck. “It be not for you to decide. Queen Helena be very weak, and she needing to be free of their presence for a time. Somebody need be protecting her like she always be protecting us.”
“Okay, okay, fine,” said Christoffer, giving in. “But I think you should tell this to Zaria. She should know how her mum’s doing.”
“Olaf not be asking her for help unless it be absolutely necessary. Her mother tell me she not be wanting her involved in Under Realm business until there be no other options. Come with me. I must show you this.”
He canted his head. “I’m confused. Didn’t you just say that Queen Helena didn’t know?”
“She not be, but Queen Helena still be wanting Zaria away from the dragons. She wanting her to be a normal girl for as long as possible.”
“I think that ship has sailed,” said Christoffer, wryly.
“It be not for us to decide,” said Olaf, waving his long-fingered hands vaguely.
Despite himself, Christoffer asked, “So, you think you found something related to dragons?”
Instead of answering, the troll half-turned and beckoned, “Come.”
“Oh, all right, I’m coming,” said Christoffer, shrugging his backpack high on his shoulder again. “Let’s go.”
He shook his head at his own folly as he accepted Olaf’s outstretched hand. The cool slick feeling of scales met his warm palm in a disconcerting fashion. Christoffer tried not to grimace as he clambered on top of the wrought-iron railing.
The languid water flowed by in a constant, soft burble as it lapped against the rocky embankment. Looking down at their wavering reflections, he could not imagine he’d willingly be doing something like this, not even in a million years.
“We be jumping on three,” said Olaf, twitching his long, thin fingers.
The water churned, at first sluggishly, and then faster and faster until a whirlpool frothed and foamed. The scene reminded him of another whirlpool and another time four years ago.
E-book ISBN-13: 978-1-942750-13-0
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-942750-14-7