Dragons' Trust Book 3: Stolen

Deleted Scene: The Original First Chapter

Chapter 1: Arrival

Renick ran the brush across Dron's gray hide and a cloud of dried scales filled the air. The massive dragon shook his body in annoyance.

"All right, all right," Renick said, returning the brush to the dragon's scales and rubbing as fast and as hard as he could. Dron started to [croon] happily, his wings twitching with pleasure.

Renick growled. "Stop, you big oaf, you're making it harder." He still had to do Dron's tail, clean out the stall the young blue had just vacated. Azurisaleth's owner had moved him to a stable in a different city. Uncle Loren was not too disappointed at the loss of a customer since the man was never timely with paying his bill.

Dron's tail done, Renick dashed to the empty stall and grabbed a pitch fork. The gray dragon stuck his long neck over his stall door and bent his head towards Renick. A plaintive plea that could wake the whole neighborhood startled Renick. "Sorry, boy. I've got get this done or I'm going to be late."

Usually Renick liked to linger while doing his morning chores. He would spend time with each dragon giving as much attention as he could. But today was different. His father was arriving today and Renick wanted to meet him at the dragon flyer landing field.

With the stall finally cleaned out, Renick stashed the pitch fork in its place and darted out of the stables. Uncle Loren caught him just as his foot touched the ground outside.

"Renick, I need you to deliver this message to the dragon knight barracks for me," his uncle said holding out a folded piece of paper.

"But ..."

"You've got time." His uncle smiled.

Renick groaned and grabbed the message. The dragon knight barracks were in the opposite direction of the east gate which was closest to the landing field. But, if he left Trevinni through the north gate and circled around he might still be able to make it on time. He took off on at a run.

The porter at the dragon knight barracks gave him an odd look when he reached the window panting--but Renick ignored him. He shoved the note through the window and wheezed, "From Loren at the dragon stables." As soon as the porters fingers closed on the note, Renick took off again.

Three steps later he collided with Thane sending them both sprawling onto the ground.

Dazed, Renick looked up to see Lainey with her arms wrapped around her waist, a barely contained laugh dancing in her eyes.

"Watch where you're going," Thane grumbled as he pushed himself to his feet.

"Sorry. In a hurry." Renick rubbed at a sore spot on his forehead.

Thane reached out a hand to help Renick up. "We know. We've been trying to track you down all morning."

"We want to ..." Lainey giggled. "We're just ..." She apparently could not hold it in any longer. Bending over she let out a long, very loud, stream of laughter. When she was finished she sighed heavily and wiped tears from her eyes.

"Anyway, as she was trying to say," Thane said with a roll of his eyes. "We thought we'd tag along to welcome your father."

"Really!" Three days ago--when Renick had announced that his father was coming to visit--he wanted to ask Thane and Lainey to be there but he had lost his nerve. "That's great. Come on, we're already late."

The streets were crowded with people rushing past them towards the market. Fighting against the flow of people slowed them down until they finally managed to make it through the north gate. Once in the open field Renick pushed his already ache muscles a little harder and covered the remaining distance to the dragon flyer landing field. Glancing over his shoulder to make sure his friends were following.

When they reached the landing field, Lainey collapsed to the ground and Thane leaned over--breathing hard. "Thanks ... Renick," Thane said with a sarcastic sneer.

Renick waved his hand at him and responded, "Yeah, whatever."

The flyer was already making its descent. The blue and green flecked dragon that was pulling it had a wingspan to rival one of the Dragon Kind. It might have even been as wide as Wrytha's which was uncommon for a domestic dragon. Renick felt a little thrill of excitement when he caught a glimpse of his father's face among the passengers.

Then he had to remind himself that the existence of the Dragon Kind, dragons who could speak and were intelligent, was a secret that he could not share even with his father. Only he, Lainey, Thane, and Thane's steward, knew the truth. It would be hard, having his father right there and wanting to tell him that all the legends were true that there were talking dragons.

But his friends, Wrytha, Plyth, Derth, Grane and the others would be in danger and so he would keep his oath.

Renick stood on his toes and looked over the small crowd of people gathering to welcome the flyer's passengers. He tried to keep sight of his father but kept getting blocked by taller people.

""Can you see him?" Lainey asked, coming up beside him.

He shrugged. "I did but now I can't ... wait ... no."

"Renick, you look like a little kid on sweets day," Lainey said, amusement clear in her force.

"I do not," he insisted.

"What's sweets day?" Thane, the nobleman's son asked.

Lainey gave him an overly exaggerated expression of frustration. "Those of us who didn't grow up in a mansion only got to buy sweets once a year--on sweets day."

Renick looks over at Lainey, she was an orphan and had been passed around to different family members until finally her Aunt Melatheen had taken her to train as a healer. Growing up his family had been allowed to purchase sweets once a month. They still called it sweets day, but he did not know some people only had it once a year.

"What?" Lainey asked, the levity gone from her face.

"Nothing." Renick went back to watching for his father. The flyer had landed and the passenger basket was empty. "Do you see him?"

"Uh, we don't know what he looks like, Renick," Thane pointed out.

"There!" He started moving toward his father as soon as he spotted him moving through the crowd. Renick navigated around the some of the people that were waiting until he reached his father. Roan was only two heads taller than Renick but almost twice as broad. Years of working with and raising dragons had given the man impressive muscles.

Renick squared his shoulders and tried to stand a little taller. He heard a snort from Thane and then an expression of pain followed by Lainey shushing the older boy. Renick did not look over his should at them instead he greeted his father. "Hi--"

His father interrupted him by wrapping his arms around Renick's shoulders and lifted him in a bear hug. "Renick, my boy, how you have grown!"

Renick laughed but did not know what to say in response so he just shrugged. His father ruffled his hair.

"How's the apprenticeship? Loren working you hard?"

"Yes, sir." Renick shifted his weight from foot to foot. "Working with the dragons is so great. And Uncle Loren lets me stay in the stables with them as often as I want. And it's just a short hike--" Renick stopped just short of telling his father that his Dragon Kind friends, Wrytha and Plyth, lived close by.

Lainey cleared her throat in the odd silence.

"Oh! I almost forgot." Renick grabbed his father's hand and pulled him to where Thane and Lainey were waiting.

"These are my friends, Thane and Lainey."

Thane tilted his head and Lainey curtsied. They both mumbled greetings. "They're the ones--"

Roan, Renick's father, stepped forward and knelt so that he was closer to Lainey's height. He gripped her shoulders gently and studied her face intently. "Lainey? Have you had a run in with a dragon recently."

Lainey's eyes darted to Renick's. "Well, I was snatched by one just about two months ago. But Renick and Thane rescued me."

His father studied her for a few more minutes then stood and examined both Thane and Renick more closely. "I know about that. Loren wrote me. It just seems--" He rubbed his chin as if thinking. "What happened to you three in those woods?"

The End

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