The Dracontias, dra-con-ti-as, emphasis on the second syllable, is the most powerful gem in all the Five Kingdoms, and more powerful than all the other so-called Kingdom Stones. This one and only Dragon Stone unifies the kingdoms and empowers its user. But beware its one fatal flaw.
—from the Fire Wizards Compendium
The early morning dawn hovered as fog wrapped around the ancient castle. Henrietta hoofed it up a staircase to meet with the new king. She was impatient to set sail on the mid-morning tide.
Henrietta knocked and slipped into the room on the command to enter. She greeted Jaxter with a firm quick hug, then stepped back, waiting for him to speak. In the castle turret room, her good friend, Jaxter, now the new King Renaldo of the Oro Islands, sat in his raised chair, regarding her with a straight face.
She wanted to shift from foot to foot, but schooled her nervous energy. That wouldn’t do for her new role as Ambassador for King Renaldo’s kingdom. Even if, she guessed, it was only an honorary title to thank her for all she’d done.
A merchant class junk would sail in a few hours, and she’d be on it, heading home to the Kingdom of Bleuve—her home. The gyrating tide in Plumaria’s large harbor beckoned her. Plumaria was the colorful, bustling capital and only large city on the main island of this nation of one hundred-plus islands. She’d miss the place. Another time she’d have to come back to explore the islands, now that she wasn’t afraid anymore of water or boats.
Jaxter smiled, his expression tinged at the edges with sadness. He was hiding something from her.
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