Staurolite: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Four

Chapter One: Ancient Scribal Magic

Lyra propped her head with an elbow against the low library table and rubbed her eyes, paging through the last chapter. She rearranged her weight on the floor cushion and twisted the end of her long braid.

The Tortoise Guardian’s wide, craggy cheek brushed against her forearm.

She jotted a few lines in a notebook and carefully closed the cover of the ancient copy. Her gaze rested on the faded embossed symbols—The Book of Dragonspeir authored by Elisabeth Walsh, the first Scribe.

“Good work. We’ve previewed two of the lost volumes you recovered. One more remains.” The Tortoise retracted his head halfway into his shell. “Take a break. My neck is aching.”

“I want to keep going and skim Scribe Brigid’s book too.” Lyra flipped through her notes.

The heavy wooden door to the lair library banged open. In two strides, the Imperial Dragon stood before them. “We’re under attack! Cimafa stealth dragons have stolen auras of a high order wizard and souls of three non-magicals. They also killed one of our blue sentry dragons.” His flared nostrils were ringed with fire and seeped smoke. A yellow color of concern flashed in the irises of his eyes.

“How?” Lyra rolled off the plush floor cushion, forced her stiff legs to stand, and grabbed her wizard’s staff. “I thought they only went after higher magicals?”

“Attacks from the Dark Realm?” The Tortoise pushed his front legs against the table edge to lift his shell higher.

The Head Guardian nodded. “They’re attacking in small groups for increased strength. Several pairs and trios have simultaneously flown over our Alliance before retreating to the Steppe of Ora into Silva Nocens. Those four people were taken in different places all over the Alliance during the past thirty-six hours. One cimafa attacks the victim, while the others fight our blues. Several sentries are required to battle one cimafa, and we don’t have enough squadrons. They typically sneak over our borders singly to pursue auras that will boost their power—higher magicals, like you said, Lyra. Never have they purposely attacked non-magicals.”

“Can the Guardians fight the cimafa better than sentries?” Lyra asked.

“Yes. We can do more by using our auras, but I will not ask the other three to fight. I’m on my way out to join a patrol, since I’m the most capable. Losing a Guardian would be a tremendous danger. To break the balance of the four elements would seriously harm the strength of the Alliance.” He clasped his foreclaws against his massive chest. “Even I must use control; the great expenditure of Guardian power required to kill a cimafa would temporarily weaken our governance. The blues primarily fight with physical strength, hurling lightning bolts. Unless injured, they can recoup quicker. I alone have the advantage of using both magical and physical means in battle.”

“Do you want me to help?” Lyra asked.

“No. It’s best for all if you continue your studies to unlock the clues from each Book of Dragonspeir. That will reveal a way for the Alliance to overthrow the Dark Realm. As the Scribe, you are the only one who can read the hidden magical code in those texts.” The leader turned toward the door. “I’ll check with you later, when I return.”

“Head Guardian, are the higher magicals helping?” Lyra’s voice caught in her throat. “Is Cullen safe?”

He stooped to miss the upper arch of the door threshold and glanced over his shoulder. “Most are riding the senior sentries to offer additional strike force. Sire Drake will accompany Yord in my squadron.”

Lyra stepped forward, but the Imperial Dragon gave her no chance for discussion, bolting down the stone corridor with tremendous strides. She stared after him, immobilized by the shock of his news and concern for her love. After all that she and Cullen had risked and accomplished, hoping to reach their goal of living together…this didn’t seem possible. Moments ago, a happy life seemed within their grasp. She stared at the gray stone floor, dumbfounded. Their future together, once again, hung by a thread. Her mind filled with a blur of their hard victories won over the past year.

© Copyright 2013 Marsha A. Moore. All rights reserved.