The Rose Cord

by

James Oswald

 

An unreckoned jewel is a terrible thing. Quite apart from the tragedy of any dragon dying alone and so far from others of his kind that no healer can be informed of his demise, a dragon’s jewel not cleansed and set by the living flame will slowly melt away as its essence leaches back into the grym. Jewels thus left still hunger for experience, but with time the good nature of the dragon is gone; only his base desires are left, and with them a desperate, mad craving for survival. Unreckoned jewels glow red with a thirst to know everything and should you inadvertently touch one that has lain for more than a few years, it will latch itself onto you with a power few know how to break. Unchecked, such a jewel will slowly inveigle the corrupted character and personality of its dead owner into your self. This process is insidious and often unnoticeable until it is too late to rectify. In time you will cease to be and an evil shadow of the dragon whose jewel you have touched will live again in you.

The only sure way to reverse this process, or at least halt it, is to conjure up the living flame and reckon the jewel. Such should as a matter of course be done with all haste when a fallen dragon is found, but in those rare cases where there is nothing left of the body, or where the jewels have been removed to a distance and the remains left unmapped to rot, then reckoning will not work. For the living flame must have both body and jewel to set the two together. There are mages who profess a knowledge of how to untie the binding between an unreckoned jewel and the dragon it is trying to usurp, but they are few and spread far in all the kingdoms of the world. Healer Trefnog’s The Apothecarium

 


 

His mother dead at the hands of Inquisitor Melyn, his village betrayed by the vain Frecknock, young kitling Sir Benfro flees all that he has known, heading deep into the ancient forest. Stumbling upon the last resting place of the great dragon of legend, Magog, Son of the Summer Moon, Benfro rescues the last remaining jewel, nestling inside the long-dead mage's bleached, empty skull, unaware that to do so will bind him forever to the ancient gem. Great Magog will teach him everything he could wish to know about the subtle arts, and help him gain his revenge over the men who killed his mother. But will the price be too high?

Be careful what you wish for; it might just come to pass. Errol Ramsbottom once yearned to be a Warrior Priest of the Order of the High Ffrydd, but his dreams were of brave acts against an evil foe. They died when he uncovered the truth behind the order. As the Twin Kingdoms prepare for war against Llanwennog, Queen Beulah needs to infiltrate the highest levels of the enemy command. Errol, with his northern looks, will make the perfect spy. If the Inquisitor can only bend the boy to his will.

The second instalment of the acclaimed series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro, The Rose Cord continues this epic tale, as the forces of magic muster on either side, ready to do battle.

In ancient times Gwlad was done a terrible wrong. Now is come the time to set it right.

 


 

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