Dragon Magic

By: Megan Derr

Four strangers. A shared moment long forgotten. A bond forged in desperation.

On the first day of the Festival of Counting, the beginning of the royal census that takes place every ten years, the royal city is filled to overflowing. Everyone is happy, excited, and proud to be counted amongst those who live in the glorious kingdom of Orhanis.

Then a fearmonger strikes, killing thousands in mere seconds and leveling the city. As the royal castle burns, only four men remain to drive the fearmonger away—and in their desperation, accidentally bind themselves together in a legendary Oath, unable to part ways until they find and kill the fearmonger once and for all.

Mahzan, the King's Jester, an orphan who clawed his way to the top and hides a fearsome magic… Sule, the notorious North Captain, who sacrificed everything to live as a strong, capable, highly respected man… Cemal, a priest who traveled the continent bent on murder and now lives lost… and Binhadi, the mercurial shadow mage with a dark history and bloody ties to the throne…

Four men used to standing apart, standing alone, who must learn to stand together if they hope to save themselves and all of Orhanis.

To all the fantasy authors I loved growing up, thanks for the stories, and the desire to spin my own.


"You fucked someone else," Mahzan said in disbelief, feeling as though he had just been stabbed, the pain sharp and white-hot. "In our home."

Kuzey sneered. "Your home, maybe. Never mine."

"Ours. I have always said this is your home too." His skin burned as anger rushed through him. Mahzan lunged, threw a fist, and caught Kuzey dead on the nose. Kuzey gave a muffled cry, blood streaming, drenching his clothes, as he dropped to his knees.

Mahzan resisted the urge to hit him again, though mostly only because his hand hurt. He shook it out, grimacing at the blood on his knuckles. "I gave up much for you. I kept my promise. Even the position you were so angry about, I was going to turn down because of you. I had decided you were right: we should leave the city. That is what I was going to tell you tonight. But you—you fucked someone else! In our home, in our bed! I can still smell it! I have my faults, but I kept my vows. Get out of my house. If I ever see you again, I will kill you."

Turning around, he picked up the food he had brought home for them and threw it against the wall. Then he stormed back out into the night, yanking his cloak back up around his shoulders, pulling the hood down low.

He stopped at the alleyway near the corner and held out a coin. "Give me one." The coin was taken, and a small paper packet was pressed into his hand. Mahzan walked on without another word, unwrapping the paper and pulling out one of the pungent, potent cigarettes inside. Drawing matches from his tunic, he lit the cigarette and took a long drag, then another.

By the time he reached the intersection that led to either the harbor or the market, the familiar, floating buzz had fallen over him, dulling his anger and pain. He had missed the taste and feel of the mist-leaf. It was another pleasure he had given up for Kuzey. Well, no longer. He had tried to be what Kuzey wanted and had never succeeded.

He took another drag, breathing in the smoke, relishing the calm it brought. Great Dragon burn him for a fool. Tears threatened, making him feel that much more stupid. Desperate to avoid the self-pity and despondence he knew were lurking, he kept pulling at the cigarette, uncaring if he made himself sick by morning.

He should have known better. But he wouldn't make that mistake again. He was finished. Never again would he be stupid enough to love—

—Sule scowled at the halfwit who had run into him and lay sprawled in a heap on the dirty street. His gaze fell on the half-smoked mist-leaf lying next to him. He rested a hand lightly on the hilt of his sword, fingers twitching, gripping tightly as the words played over and over again in his head.

"You're no daughter of mine! Take your perversion and get out!"

"What are you doing out on the streets at so late an hour?" Sule asked coldly. When the man did not reply, he snapped, "Answer in the name of the King!"

"Fuck you," the man slurred as he stood up, absently wiping blood from his scratched cheek. Sule felt a flash of guilt—but then the man flourished a medallion that banished any hint of softer emotion. Sule glared at it: the Great Dragon curled around a crescent moon, made from silver and gold, with a bronze, frowning mask overlaying all. Of course he would run into a royal jester in the dead of night in a part of the city no one had cause to walk around at so late an hour. "Royal fool," he spat.