Can Elias stop the evil spreading across the land? THE DRAGON STONE TRILOGY by Kristian Alva #DSTBlast

Dragon Stones

Sequestered deep in the capital, the tyrannical Emperor Vosper weaves a plan to destroy all the dragons. He succeeds in driving them to the very brink of extinction. Only a handful of dragons and riders remain; living in exile in the desert. When young Elias Dorgumir finds a carved dragon stone in the forest, it brings empire soldiers to his doorstep, and puts Elias on the run with a bounty on his head.

With some help from his friends, Elias must escape the emperor's wrath and try to make it to the safety of the dwarf caverns. Elias holds the key to the salvation of the dragon race. Is Elias strong enough to save himself and halt the evil that is spreading across the land?

Return of the Dragon Riders

The evil emperor Vosper gathers his troops in the east, poised to conquer the entire continent. His target is the rebel city of Parthos, a constant thorn in his side, and the last sanctuary of the Dragon Riders.

Besieged from all sides, the remaining Dragon Riders come out of hiding. Forced to fight for their lives, they leave the safety of the desert, traveling across the land to gather intelligence and shore up forgotten alliances.At the center of it all is Elias Dorgumir, the key to an ancient prophesy, and Vosper will do anything to get his hands on him. Is it too late for the Dragon Riders to save Elias and stop Vosper from destroying the only refuge they have left?

Vosper's Revenge

As the races of Durn stand on the brink of war, the power-hungry emperor plans his conquest of the entire continent.

The dragon riders are fragmented. They have been scattered across the land; weakened by the discovery of a traitor in their own ranks.

Are the riders strong enough to defeat Vosper before he destroys them all?

Publication Date: July 31, 2015
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Young Adult

The air in Morholt’s dungeons was stagnant, thick with the odor of sewage and rotting garbage. The city’s sewer system ran directly beneath the castle. The emperor never bothered to do anything about the smell, because he knew that it made the prisoners more uncomfortable.

Vosper had been forced to use the dungeons for the last few days. The stench was intolerable, but the dungeons went on for leagues under the city, and there were always rooms available.

He needed absolute privacy for the Necromancer’s Oath. While the spell was being cast, his physical body would be vulnerable to attack. He chose a small room deep in the catacombs under his castle for the final step. He had lied to his advisors, saying that he would be traveling through the city.

Outside the door, his two most trusted guards stood watch. Two weeks ago, the emperor and three of his most powerful spellcasters entered this room, and Vosper had sealed the door behind them.

Days later, the spellcasters lay dead, their desiccated bodies arranged in a circular pattern on the floor. The spell had sucked every ounce of life force from the mages. Their bodies dried up like raisins in the sun. And in the center of the room, surrounded by corpses, the undead emperor slumbered while all his vital organs died within him.

On the evening of the fourteenth day, Vosper awoke, his body forever altered. He rose from the floor and stretched. It was the last time he would ever enjoy the pleasure of sleep.

Vosper stared at his hands. His skin was now completely white, the color of chalk. He walked to the door and tapped on it six times.

His guards opened the door, and gasped. All the color drained from their faces. “M-my lord?” said one of the soldiers. The other guard stood still and silent.

Vosper hadn’t revealed the true reason for coming down here to anyone—he had simply ordered his guards to remain at the door until he signaled them to open it.

The emperor exited the room silently, shutting the door behind him and then sealing the room permanently with a spell. The bodies of the dead spellcasters would remain there forever, unburied.

“Yes… it is I,” said Vosper, his voice rasping, like the sound of old leaves. “You are dismissed.” He waved the men off, ignoring their shocked expressions.

The emperor walked toward the throne room and quickly realized that walking was painful. He mouthed a quick spell and his feet lifted from the ground. It was more comfortable to levitate. In fact, touching anything with his hands or feet was uncomfortable.

On his way back, he passed dozens of shocked onlookers. Servants dropped plates. Soldiers stepped back, afraid. Vosper heard their frightened whispers, and he ignored them all. The news spread through the palace, and it was just as well. It saved him the trouble of having to make a formal announcement—that he was now the emperor for all eternity.

On his way back to the throne room, Vosper caught his reflection in an ornate mirror. The face looking back at him was unrecognizable. He touched his cheek. All his wrinkles had disappeared; his milky skin was as hard and smooth as a polished stone. His eyes, once tired and hooded with age, were alert. They were also completely black; no pupil was visible. He opened his mouth, revealing a gray tongue and sharpened red teeth. The overall shape of his face was the same, but his features had been transformed.

A short while later, Vosper reached his throne room. Uldreiyn and Uevareth, his necromancers, floated silently in their favorite corner. They both looked over and observed Vosper without emotion. They had returned from their battle at Ironport just days ago.

Uldreiyn and Uevareth still bore the scars of their encounter with Sela and Islar. Their white skin was mottled with healing sores. The wounds would heal eventually, but scars would remain. Vosper didn’t particularly care about their injuries, but he considered the necromancers his personal property, and an attack on them was an affront.

“When the time comes, I’ll make sure that traitor Islar… and that infernal dragon rider ssssuffer the most horrific deathssss… imaginable,” said Vosper.

Uevareth turned to face the emperor. “My lord. You have become like ussss.”

“Yessss,” said Vosper. “My skin… it itches like it is crawling with insectssss. I hunger… but have no appetite for food.”

“The itching… shall not cease. Instead, you sssshall grow accustomed to the sensation,” said Uevareth. “The hunger is normal… we feed off the life force of otherssss… when you first cross over, the feeling is agonizing, but this, too, shall pass, as you learn to feed off those around you.”

Vosper nodded. He felt tired and incredibly hungry. The emperor floated over to the window and looked down. The city seemed darker somehow, as though he was staring through a dirty screen.

Without turning around, he issued his command: “Go fetch me my generals.”

Uldreiyn and Uevareth left silently. They would return shortly with his military commanders. No one ever questioned his orders, and even less so when the necromancers were involved.

Vosper backed away from the window and tried sitting in his old throne, an ornate seat made from beaten silver and rare wood. He sat for a few seconds and then decided that the sensation was too uncomfortable. Now he knew why necromancers preferred to levitate upright. He decided to have the chair removed from the room. It was doubtful he would use it again.

Vosper heard a cough from the other side of the throne room. He looked over, seeing the guard as if for the first time.

“How long have you been standing there?” said Vosper, floating over to the man.

“S-sire—I have been here since you entered the room.” The soldier was young, stocky, and muscled. As Vosper approached him, the man began trembling violently.

Vosper examined him impassively for a minute and then reached out with one white hand, grabbing the man’s chin. The emperor felt a surge of energy as the soldier’s life force was drained into him. The soldier’s knees buckled and he screamed.

I’ve never felt so powerful! Vosper thought, continuing to feed. Seconds later, the soldier convulsed and collapsed unconscious. Vosper decided to stop before he killed him. He left the soldier lying on the ground and went back to the window to wait.

The sun moved across the horizon slowly—it was the only way that Vosper could tell that time was passing. Otherwise, it seemed to stand still. The seconds felt like minutes, and the minutes like hours.

Eventually Uldreiyn and Uevareth returned with three other men in tow. They were Vosper’s generals, all dressed in their finest clothing for their audience with the emperor.

The men entered the room, and their mouths dropped open. None of them said anything.

“What took so long for you… to respond to my ssssummons?” said Vosper.

There was a pause, and one of the generals responded haltingly. “Your highness, we chose to dress formally for this meeting. I apologize for the delay.”

“In the future, Ajit, do not bother changing your mode of dresssss… those things do not… concern me anymore.”

“As you wish, your highness,” he responded. The infantry general, Ajit, was in his late fifties, with muscular arms and thinning brown hair. Dozens of medals glittered on his breastplate, each one earned in battle.

“Ajit, give me… a complete report on my troopssss,” said Vosper.

The general cleared his throat and looked down at his feet, unable to meet Vosper’s dead-eyed stare. “Sire, we have 12,000 regular infantry in various stages of training. About 7,000 are currently fit for battle. Of those 7,000, approximately 4,000 are trained as horsemen.”

“And the resssst?”

“The others are either too old or too young. Many are untrained farmers, more skilled with a scythe than a sword.”

“I see,” said Vosper. “Place the untrained men on the front lines. They shall act… as human shieldssss for the rest.” He turned to the second general, a tall, younger man with rusty-blond hair.

Vosper licked his lips before speaking again. As his gray tongue swept across his lip, a faint sound like sandpaper was heard.

“Carelo… you lead my archers. How many… are ready for battle?”

“My lord—my archers are ready to serve,” said Carelo. “There are 1,500 males and females, all well trained.”

“I need at least 500 more,” said Vosper.

“By when, your highness?” said Carelo.

“By the next… full moon,” said Vosper.

“B-but sire! It’s impossible—that’s only fifteen days away!” sputtered the young general.

Vosper’s eyes narrowed dangerously, and the young man squirmed under the emperor’s stare. “You dare… question my orders?”

“N-no, sire—please forgive me,” said Carelo. “I spoke out of place. I’ll have the archers ready for you by the next full moon.”

“Good,” said Vosper. “Prepare… my armies for battle. We will sssstrike… Mount Velik at the next full moon.”

All the generals stared, wide-eyed. The third commander, who had remained silent until now, finally spoke. “Mount Velik? We aren’t ready for a protracted war with the dwarves! We haven’t enough men!”

Vosper growled, deep in his throat, and floated over to the man. “Flajut… you have alwayssss…been my most trusted commander. And now you question me?”

The man trembled, his face reflecting a deep inner struggle. Flajut was the eldest of the three—a hardened veteran who had survived many battles. Seconds stretched into minutes, and still the old man did not respond.

“Answer me!” hissed the emperor.

Finally, it seemed that his internal battle was over. Flajut raised his chin, defiant. “I always thought that using necromancers was a mistake, and I told you so. They’re dangerous and unpredictable. But I respected your decision, because you were my emperor. But now—you’ve become one! You aren’t my king—you’re nothing but a corpse! An abomination! Kill me if you must, but I refuse to take orders from a filthy deadrat!”

Vosper paused and then responded without emotion. “Flajut… although it pains me to lose such a valuable military leader… I cannot abide ssssuch disloyalty.”

Flajut clenched his teeth and remained standing. Unlike the others, he did not look away, and his gaze did not falter. The old man stared directly into Vosper’s eyes, meeting the dead emperor’s chilling glare.

Vosper reached out, brushing Flajut’s chest with his index finger. The touch was gentle, and nothing happened at first. But as the seconds passed, Flajut’s breathing became labored. Vosper smiled, savoring the life force as it drained from the old man’s body. Minutes later, Flajut collapsed to the floor, dead.

Ajit and Carelo looked on, their faces stricken. They said nothing.

Vosper looked up, his face flushed from the rush of power. “The two of you… are now in control of all my armies. Divide up Flajut’s duties… as you wish. You are both… dismissssed.” Then he waved them off. The two remaining commanders left the throne room, shaken, but alive.

Vosper turned to his necromancers, floating silently nearby. “Uldreiyn and Uevareth… monitor them both. I cannot risk… any ssssubversion… If you see anything suspicious, report back to me immediately.”

“As you command… my lord,” said the necromancers in unison. They left the throne room to follow the generals.

Vosper looked impassively upon the corpse of his former general. He felt nothing. No anger, no remorse; he felt no emotion at all. The emperor floated back to his window and stared out into the distance. The time for war was almost here.

At the entrance to the throne room, dozens of horrified servants looked on. The servants whispered among themselves. Flajut’s dead body lay crumpled like a blanket on the floor. It was an atrocity to leave a body unburied, laying in the open. But the emperor, now an immortal, cared little for human conventions.

The servants ran off, whispering the horror that they had witnessed. And the gossip spread like wildfire through the city.

Kristian Alva was born into a family of writers and teachers. She worked as a staff writer and a ghostwriter before publishing her own manuscripts. She currently lives in the United States with her family. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading all genres, especially epic fantasy.

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