Drakar has been forced from the Sentralian Military Academy because of his half-demon heritage. However, angels of the goddess Nyx visited him in a dream, commanding him to seek out Fortress Abbadabas and the fabled Order of the Blackened Glaive. Drakar traveled south to the city of Jakara, where he met a girl--a young wizard named Elaina Emboo.
Having saved Elain from certain death, she and her ship, the Trident sail with Drakar towards Fortress Abbadabas and his destiny.
A full day passes before the Trident finally sets sail. It has taken time and more than a little explanation and cajoling, but eventually Ferdinando agrees to help Drakar find his destination, Fortress Abbadabas. Unfortunately, no one in Jakara seems to have heard of the place. Still, Drakar is sure that it is close, and by now he’s learned to trust his feelings on such matters. The Trident’s sailors look at him like he is a madman, however, and none more than Ferdinando. Without Elaina’s good offices, Drakar is sure that he would have been hurled from the Trident’s deck forcibly and left to drown. As it is, the ship sails slowly up the Jakaran coast on his behalf. No one will speak to him, however, not even Elaina.
Drakar has been lonely before, but it stings more now following the closeness of rapport that he and Elaina once shared. He finds himself looking at her in odd moments, but whenever he catches her eye, she pointedly looks away. He cannot help hoping that she will eventually come around, but a small part of him recognizes that his hope is in vain. What has he to offer to woman like Elaina? He is a half-demon on a quest on behalf of Orcus, the dread lord of Tartarus. Drakar himself barely understands what he’s doing or why he’s here, and he has nothing in the way of proof for his claims. Instead, he has a collection of half-forgotten nightmares and vague feelings, and even these feel ephemeral under the light of Apollo’s chariot. Elaina is a wizard and a merchant queen sailing her own ship across whatever seas she chooses. Perhaps she owes Drakar a debt because he saved her life, but a blind man could see that she would be well-served to see that debt discharged as quickly as possible. In the long run, Drakar can bring her nothing but misery.
The refrain keeps echoing in his mind, but Drakar scowls and pushes it away. He did not ask for this, and he can see already that it will cost him his only friend. When finding Fortress Abbadabas was simply a matter of leaving Sentralia, Drakar thought the price reasonable. Now, though, he can see what his power--his obligation--will truly cost.
And yet, Drakar knows that he will pay it. After all, it’s not like his mother asked for his service. Drakar is not here as some mere volunteer.
The Trident makes good time up the coastline. For all his misgivings about their mission, Ferdinando is without question a skilled sailor and ship’s captain. His crew is disciplined and his sails tied taut, keeping the caravel running hard before a stiff following breeze. The Trident practically gallops through the water, passing rocky cliffs and low sandy hills at a clip that Drakar can scarcely believe. The sun is again fierce and hot, but the sea breeze is cooling, and Drakar finds that he is enjoying himself despite his misgivings about his future.
As he considers it, Drakar realizes that he is in no hurry for this journey to end. Whatever comes next, it will be far more challenging than anything that has gone before. What’s worse is that Drakar fears that he will have to face it alone.
He turns back towards the sea, and that’s when he sees it. A great black mass rising at the edge of his vision. It is a mountain, incongruously standing alone among the low dunes and windswept hills of the desert.Like this story? The original adventures of Elaina Emboo (and her best friend Sneax) are available in my book, Sneakatara Boatman & the Priest of Loki.