KJ Rollinson is something of an enigma in WordPlay circles. click to tweet
Her output is nothing short of phenomenal. Short stories, poetry, novels… you name it, she writes it. In fact, she’s non-stop from the minute she wakes to the moment she rests her head on her pillow last thing at night. You’re just as likely to see her out walking, playing bowls, or golf, as you are sitting at her computer tapping the keyboard.
Here’s the first chapter of her second novel, Fallyn in the Forbidden Land, in the ‘Fallyn and the Dragons’ series.
‘Please Kalla, change back, I have had enough cuddling you as a cat. Please stop your shape shifting pranks.’
Fallyn heard a chuckle from the doorway, which he recognised as Kalla’s. He stood up and the startled cat scampered away.
Kalla laughed, ‘I’m here Fallyn. Have you been talking to that cat thinking it was me?’
Fallyn wagged an admonishing finger at Kalla, ‘You little minx, if you will copy Sandy every time you shape shift into a cat it is no wonder I get you mixed up. When she jumped into my lap demanding a cuddle I thought it was you.’
Kalla ruffled Fallyn’s blond hair and giggled. ‘I’m sorry beloved – I will try to remember and the next time I will change into that mangy one-eared scraggy cat which scrounges food around the stables at King Rudri’s castle.’
A worried look entered Kalla’s dark eyes. ‘I have come to tell you a rider from Orla has arrived requesting an urgent audience with all of us. I have already told Eila and Merin, and they should be here at any moment.’
Voices outside the door announced the arrival of Fallyn’s twin sister, and their friend Merin. Within a few moments, there came a knock on the door and when told to enter, a servant ushered a dishevelled tall man into the room who bowed to Fallyn and the others.
‘My Lords, Ladies, I bid you a good day. My name is Smethro, a messenger from Lords Davro and Kadro.’
Kalla led the man to a chair. ‘Please sit down my good man you look exhausted.’
‘I thank you my Lady. The journey from the province of Orla is a long one without a rest.’
Fallyn gasped, ‘You mean to say you have flown from Dragons’ Keep to here without a stop. You must have ridden a very strong dragon to do that.’
‘Yes my lord, I rode Solo your biggest and strongest dragon.’
Solo, and his brother, a dragon called Draco, had been taken a few months ago from Dragons’ Cave in the province of Outha to Dragons’ Keep in the province of Orla, in order that the blind dragon, Draza could choose one of them as a mate.
‘Solo! You rode Solo back. I must go and see him after our meeting,’Fallyn said. ‘Tell me was he or Draco successful in mating with Draza?’
‘Draza was reluctant to accept any mate other than Draggro, but as he was banished with Prince Bato and Andralo when they were exiled to the Forbidden Land, she seems resigned that he will not return and has accepted Draco.’
‘I would have preferred her to mate with Solo but presumably she has not forgiven him for accidentally blinding her in battle,’ Fallyn answered.
‘What is your urgent news?’ Eila enquired.
‘I am a dragon rider for my Lords Kadro and Davro. They sent me to King Rudri’s castle to inform him of the attacks on Port Orla. His Majesty bid me to fly to you immediately and advise you.’
‘You poor man,’ Kalla murmured, ‘I know the distance from the King’s castle is only a few miles from here, but you cannot have had much rest since you flew from Orla.’
Eila clutched her throat, ‘I hope it is not Prince Bato and his henchman Andralo again. I thought because they were exiled it would put an end to their mischief. Sometimes I think the old king did not know the problems he would cause when he decided to give the crown of Nashta to the younger brother, Rudri.’
Merin snorted, ‘He did it because he knew Rudri would make a better king. Despite King Rudri’s generosity in having granted half of the Island of Nashta to his brother – the province of Orla and the palace there were never enough for Bato. I would not be at all surprised if he is behind whatever problems Orla now faces. What say you, Smethro?’
‘We are not sure. There is no evidence Prince Bato is behind the attacks, although the small dragons do head towards the Forbidden Land,’ Smethro replied.
‘Small dragons! Attacks!’ Eila and Fallyn exclaimed together.
‘We should allow you to start at the beginning,’ Fallyn said, placing a carafe of water and cup on a small table beside Smethro.
‘Thank you my Lord.’ Smethro took a long draught from the cup, wiping his mouth before he spoke.
‘For two years peace has reigned. Since King Rudri appointed Lord Kadro and Lord Davro to oversee the province of Orla, we have been able to relax and enjoy life, free from the tyranny of Prince Bato. However, for the last few weeks Port Orla has been attacked twice a week by small dragons, led by a red female dragon, and they seemed intent on stealing a ship from the harbour. This they succeeded in doing three nights ago and towed it towards the north.’
‘Small dragons have stolen a ship! Why? Who? Where did it go?’ Merin bombarded the exhausted looking Smethro with his questions.
Smethro held up his hands and shrugged, ‘I do not know my Lord. When we finally discovered the theft the ship was a considerable distance away. We followed it as quickly as we could but when we rounded a headland the ship had completely disappeared.’
‘How can a ship completely disappear?’ Merin exclaimed in disbelief.
Smethro shrugged again and gave a placatory smile, ‘I know not my Lord. That is not all that has gone missing…’ He hesitated. ‘Perhaps I should not bother mentioning the other objects; they might mean nothing in isolation but added together all the small items that have been stolen have been of metal.’
‘Metal!’ Merin exclaimed.
Smethro nodded. ‘Yes, my Lord. Children’s tin soldiers, hoops, buckets, to name a few.’
‘How small are these dragons? Are you sure they come from the Forbidden Land?’ Fallyn asked.
‘They are about the size of a very large dog, like a Great Dane. They come in all shades of red and orange to almost an apricot colour, and spit flames like sparklers. As I said, a female red dragon leads them, which is bigger than the rest. They make a very pretty sight, if it were not for the fact that they can hurt you or a dragon if they get too near; fortunately the range of their flames is only a couple of feet. We cannot be sure they come from the Forbidden Land but they definitely make their way back there.
Lord Kadro and Lord Davro have flown to the port of Orla to investigate, and the King has instructed me to inform you that he will make his way with his troops to the border and wait at Dracito’s Place on the east coast until he receives word from you.’
At the mention of Dracito’s name Fallyn raised his eyes to the painting on the wall, which showed Dracito disappearing into the mist. Dracito had been only one year old when he died in battle. He had been a plucky, quick little dragon, whose willing spirit had made him a firm favourite amongst dragons and riders. Fallyn gave a small ironic smile as he thought Dracito would have been a giant amongst the dragons that Smethro mentioned.
‘Kalla, Eila, I do not want to leave you here alone. It would be advantageous to us all if you are both based at the palace in Orla. I was thinking if you were both near to the border of the Forbidden Land this would assist Kalla if we need her to shape shift and carry messages as a bird, and Eila, you and I would be able to communicate through thought transfer. It may be easier for us to get through to each other there.’ Fallyn looked at the two girls who nodded their agreement at his suggestion.
‘I hope we don’t have the same problems contacting each other as we had when I was captured by Bato, two years ago,’ Eila remarked and shuddered at the thought of her captivity before Fallyn and Merin had rescued her.
Merin frowned, ‘I wonder whether Kadro and Davro will be back from Port Orla by the time we arrive at their palace?’
‘If they are not back we will fly on to the port. We will take ten dragons with us on our journey; this will provide us with a change of mounts, and some to carry supplies. I intend leaving Solo behind to recover from his journey from Orla.’ Fallyn paced the room, his hand on his dagger as if prepared for immediate action.
‘I have a feeling Solo will make his feelings known about that,’ Merin replied. ‘Why not take all our dragons and riders with us, we may find we can put these annoying little dragons to flight once and for all?’
‘I had thought of that Merin, but we do not want to leave Outha completely unprotected, particularly when the King and his troops will be at the border.’
Kalla escorted an exhausted Smethro to a guest room where the poor man collapsed on to the bed, without removing his clothes, and immediately fell asleep.
Fallyn in the meantime eagerly went to Dragons’ Cave to visit Solo, only to find him sprawled in the hay fast asleep while golden Drartica, his adopted mother, licked his nose gently.
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