Cover image for The Dragon Society
Title:
The Dragon Society
Author:
Watt-Evans, Lawrence, 1954-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York: Tor, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
428 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780765300072
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

It all began with Dragon Weather: a wave of incredible heat, oppressive humidity, dark angry clouds . . . and dragons. Dragons with no remorse, no sympathy, and no use for humans. Dragons who destroyed an entire village and everyone in it. Everyone, that is, except the young boy Arlian.Orphaned and alone, Arlian was captured by looters and sold as a mining slave. Seven years later he escaped, fueled by years of hatred for the dragons, bandits, and slavers who took away his youth-and a personal vow to exact retribution from all those who have wronged him, including the powerful Lord Enziet Arlian's entire life has one purpose, and one purpose only: to mete out justice. And in the climactic battle of Dragon Weather Lord Enziet fell to this justice.In The Dragon Society Arlian returns to Manfort, the city that is home to The Dragon Society, whose sworn purpose is to stand against the dragon menace, and whose foremost member had been Lord Enziet. Arlian must immediately deal with the consequences of Enziet's death. But what he finds is shocking, for the doomed Enziet believes that Arlian might well be the best hope humanity will ever have for defeating the dragons . . . permanently.


Author Notes

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Lawrence Watt-Evans has been a full-time writer and editor for more than twenty years. The author of more than thirty novels, over one hundred short stories, and more than one hundred and fifty published articles, Watt-Evans writes primarily in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comic books. His short fiction has won the Hugo Award as well as twice winning the Asimov's Readers Award. His fiction has been published in England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Poland, France, Hungary, and RussiaHe served as president of the Horror Writers Association from 1994 to 1996 and after leaving that office was the recipient of HWA's first service award ever. He is also a member of Novelists Inc., and the Science Fiction Writers of America. Married with two children, he and his wife Julie live in Maryland.


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Having survived an encounter with a dragon, Arlian also known as Lord Obsidian qualifies as a member of the elite and dangerous Dragon Society, whose members enjoy the benefits of agelessness and increased vigor even as they grow less human with each passing year. When Arlian inherits the secret knowledge of a fellow Society member, he takes upon himself the challenge of waging a final war against dragonkind and against the other members of the Dragon Society. Veteran fantasist Watt-Evans's sequel to Dragon Weather combines swashbuckling fantasy with serious themes of self-sacrifice and personal courage in an adventure that belongs in most libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

1 Strangers at the Gate Late one winter night, at an hour when all sensible folk were long abed, a man stood yawning atop the city wall beside the gates of Manfort, leaning against the gate tower and peering every so often into the darkness outside the city. He was wrapped in a thick coat and wore a broad-brimmed black felt hat, but still shivered with the cold, occasionally stamping his feet on the stone battlement. Then a dull, distant creaking drew his attention. The streets inside the gates and the paved square outside were dark, cold, and empty, but somewhere to the south, far down one of the roads leading out of the plaza, he could see a dim flicker of light. Suddenly alert, he stared at it, shuttering his lantern so that his eyes could adjust more completely to the darkness--and so he would not be seen so easily. The light drew nearer, and the creaking grew louder, until at last the man on the wall could make out a wagon trundling up the road toward the city. The wagon was large and boxy, drawn by oxen--the sort of wagon used by the caravans that brought goods from all over the Lands of Man. A single lantern dangled from a long iron hook above the driver's seat, providing just enough light to let the tired oxen see where to set their feet. Caravans did not travel by night, of course--but the man on the wall was not waiting for a caravan. He un-slung the bow on his back and strung it without ever taking his eyes off the approaching vehicle. The wagon drew steadily nearer, the oxen trudging stolidly up the street toward the plaza, through occasional patches of half-melted slush that had fallen from the roofs on either side; the wheels slipped sideways on the wet cobblestones now and then, but the wagon moved steadily forward. The two men on the driver's bench sat side by side, huddled against the cold. One, the driver, was a stocky, crop-haired man of indeterminate age clad entirely in black leather; he stared into the darkness ahead, as calm and stolid as the oxen pulling the vehicle. Beside him, alternately drowsing and starting into intense alertness, slumped a tall young man wrapped in a black woolen cloak piped with white; a scar marred this man's right cheek. He came alert as the wagon neared the gates and scanned the towers carefully. The man on the wall beside the tower ducked behind the parapet, out of sight, and drew an arrow from the quiver on his back. "We should have stopped at an inn," the driver said as the wagon bumped into the plaza. "Dawn can't be more than two hours away. You're exhausted, the oxen are exhausted, I'm tired myself, and we still have to get to the Upper City and get everyone inside." The young man shook his head sharply. "No," he replied. "I might still have enemies here. If we had arrived by daylight the news of our return would be everywhere in minutes, and they could have had assassins in the crowds on the street before we could get inside the gates, let alone reach the Old Palace." "They could have assassins on the wall or the rooftops right now, Ari, and we'd never know it in the dark." "Only if they knew we were coming," the other said, but he threw a quick glance at the stone parapet, which was little more than a black shape against the starry night sky. "Lord Toribor is a sorcerer, isn't he?" The young man snorted. "Lord Belly? Not much of one. He left the sorcery to Enziet and Drisheen." "You swore to kill Lord Nail, as well as Belly, and surely he knows some sorcery." "True. I suppose he might know enough to know we were coming." "Then why don't you think Lord Nail might have archers on the rooftops, waiting for us?" The younger man sighed. "He might. But he's still sworn not to kill me in Manfort itself, and I think he'll probably keep that oath." "What about the others, then? Do you think any of them might decide to avenge Enziet or Drisheen?" "I don't know. I don't know what the rest of the Dragon Society knows, or what they would think of any of it..." He was interrupted by the slap of a bowstring. The young man was too tired to recognize the sound immediately, but his leather-clad companion reacted instantly, shoving Arlian to one side while he dove to the other. Arlian's hat fell to the pavement. An arrow whirred between them and embedded itself with a thump in the back of the driver's bench. "Damn!" Arlian said, fumbling at his belt as if expecting to find a sword there. "Black, where did it come from?" "There," Black said, pointing at the archer on the wall--who had risen from concealment with another arrow nocked. Arlian tumbled completely out of the wagon, and the arrow smacked into the seat where he had been a moment before. "If he's smart, he'll shoot the oxen," Black hissed, as he crouched half on and half off the driver's bench. "Let's hope he's a fool. We can dodge better than they can." Arlian had gotten to his feet and stepped back beside the still-moving wagon, out of the light. "Thirif! Shibiel!" he called quietly as he walked alongside. No one responded. "Don't wake them," Black said. "They'll stick their heads out, half-asleep, to see what's happening. You could get them killed." " We could get killed! They might have some magic that would help--maybe an illusion of some sort, like the one they used at the inn in Cork Tree." "I think we can handle one bowman without magicians, Ari." "I don't have a sword, Black--it broke back there in the cave, remember? And how do you know there's only one?" Black didn't reply at first, and Arlian called, "Black?" "Hush," Black said. "Listen!" Arlian listened, and heard creaking wheels, ox hooves slapping on wet pavement... And something else, farther away. Footsteps. Running footsteps at street level. "It isn't just one," Black said. "I sincerely regret being right about that," Arlian said. "Black, I'm completely unarmed." Another arrow whirred past Arlian's ear, uncomfortably close; apparently he wasn't as well hidden by the wagon as he had hoped. "Can you use a whip?" Black called. "To drive oxen, yes; to fight, no." "I'll keep it, then." A fourth arrow chipped a splinter from the wagon inches from Arlian's nose. "I notice he's only shooting at me " Arlian said. "Yes, I know," Black said. "You're the one someone set assassins on." Arlian noticed that Black's voice seemed to be receding. He risked poking his head forward and looking around. Black was no longer on the driver's bench. His black leather clothing, black hair, and black beard blended into the darkness, and Arlian could not spot him for several seconds, but finally he made out a low shape moving rapidly forward, bent over and moving with amazing stealth, his drover's whip clutched in one hand. Arlian watched him run a zigzag path across the plaza toward the gates. He could no longer hear any footsteps; he peered into the darkness, trying to guess where the assassins were. He heard the snap of a bowstring, but did not hear or see the arrow's flight, and the click of a steel point striking stone seemed distant--was this some other bowman at work? The first archer was presumably still on the wall, but those other footsteps had not been... Someone shouted, and he thought he heard a scuffle; he looked for Black, but could not locate him in the darkness. Then an unfamiliar voice called from some distance, "Lord Obsidian!" Puzzled, Arlian hesitated, then shouted back, "Who calls?" "I'm called Horn," came the reply. "I work for Lord Wither." "Lord Wither sent assassins?" Arlian was startled; while he and Wither had had their disagreements, he had not thought the old man wished him any serious harm. "No, my lord--we have captured the assassin. I have my knife at his throat. What would you have me do with him?" This was all far too confusing in Arlian's exhausted condition. "Black?" he called. There was no reply for a moment; then he heard voices muttering in the distance, too low for him to make out any words. Then Black's voice called, "Wait there, Ari." Arlian waited, baffled. He glanced up at the battlements just as a light flared, and saw several men, one of them with his hands raised while the others surrounded him. The light came from a lantern in one man's raised hand. Then the light vanished behind the gate tower, to reappear moments later at the tower's base, where Arlian could see that it was now Black who held the lantern. There were two others with him, both strangers--but one of them did, as he had said, hold a knife at the other's throat. Arlian had thought there were more people than that in the lantern's glow atop the wall, but there were only the three approaching now. Arlian stood and waited for them. "Lord Obsidian," the man with the knife said as they drew near the wagon. "This is the assassin." "And you are Horn?" Arlian asked. "Yes." "Would you mind telling me why you are out here in the middle of the night, saving me from assassins? How did you know who I was?" "Sorcery, my lord," Horn replied. "Lord Wither grew impatient for your return, and used sorcery to determine when you would arrive--and in so doing, he learned of this ambush, and sent me to ensure your safe arrival." "That was kind of him," Arlian said. "And is Lord Wither here?" "No, my lord. He is safely home in bed. He trusted me and my men to deal with matters here." "Your men?" "I have others with me. They have remained on the battlements, in case other dangers still lurk." Arlian nodded. Then he turned his attention to the other stranger, the man with the knife at his throat. "You meant to kill me?" he asked. "Yes, my lord." The man's eyes were downcast, staring at the paving stones. "Why?" "I was hired to do so, my lord." "By whom?" The assassin looked up and met Arlian's gaze. "My lord, you understand that revealing that would ordinarily put my friends and family at risk, and since you are surely going to kill me in any case..." "No, I am not," Arlian interrupted. That seemed to disconcert the assassin; he stammered, then said, "I cannot...I...This is a special circumstance, my lord." "In what way?" "The man who hired me is dead, my lord. You killed him." Arlian blinked wearily at him. "Did I? Who was he?" "Lord Drisheen, my lord." Arlian nodded. "So I did." "If he were still alive I would not betray him, but he is dead, and left no family..." Arlian snorted at the very idea of Lord Drisheen having a family. "He paid us half before he left," the assassin continued. "The other half was put in trust, to be delivered when your death was confirmed--if you came back to Manfort; if you died elsewhere, we would not be involved. But we were to kill you outside the gate--he insisted upon that--so my brother and I have been taking turns freezing up on that wall for months. If we had been able to strike in your home..." "I'm sure you'd have done better," Arlian said. He noticed that this fellow seemed to have no compunctions about betraying his brother's role in the scheme. "I don't suppose Drisheen told you why I was to be killed?" The assassin's surprise was plain even by lantern-light. "Revenge, of course. He knew you meant to kill him." "Of course." Arlian sighed. He looked at the waiting wagon--the oxen had stopped when Black made his dash across the plaza--and at the arrow embedded in the back of the driver's bench. "Shall I kill him now?" Horn asked. "No," Arlian said. "Let him go." "My lord?" Horn said, startled. "Release him. He's unarmed, of course?" "Of course," Horn said. "Well, at least we took his sword and knife and bow--he might have other weapons hidden. But surely, my lord, you cannot mean to let him go free?" "I can and I do. You heard me say I did not mean to kill him, and I don't. Let him go." Horn hesitated, then lowered the knife and released his hold on the assassin's arm. "One thing," Arlian said, as the man stood staring stupidly at him. "You are no longer an assassin. If you ever attempt another murder, I will hunt you down and kill you. You heard how Lord Wither's sorcery warned him of your intent--well, I have two Aritheian magicians in this wagon whose magic makes Lord Wither's mightiest sorcery look like a child's game. I have had my fill of vengeance for the nonce, but I am being merciful, not stupid. Do not test me on this; my mercy is limited. Do you understand me?" "Yes, my lord." The assassin bowed deeply. "You got half your money; enjoy that, and make no further attempt at the rest." "Yes, my lord." "Now, go away." The assassin hesitated, then turned and ran for the gate. Arlian, Black, and Horn watched him go. "I had heard, my lord, that you were obsessed with revenge," Horn said. "It would appear I was misinformed." "You were not misinformed," Arlian said. "My obsession has become more specific than that. I am obsessed with revenge upon the dragons, not upon men." "In other words, he's mad," Black said cheerfully. "But he pays well." Horn grimaced. Arlian studied him. "So I am under Lord Wither's protection?" "For the moment, yes," Horn said. "Why?" "He says you have something he wants, my lord." "And has he asked you to collect it for him, or to bring me to him, so that I can pay him for saving my life?" "I am not at all sure we did save your life, my lord--your man here seemed well on his way to settling the matter, had we not done so first. At any rate, we are not to trouble you. Lord Wither will wait upon you in his own good time, when you have had a chance to recover from your journey." "Will he, indeed?" Arlian had a fairly strong suspicion that Lord Wither's courtesy and consideration was not entirely unselfish. The old man probably thought that a polite approach was more likely to be effective in cozening Arlian. Arlian also had a fairly strong suspicion that he knew what Lord Wither wanted, and that he was not going to get it. "Thank you for your help, Horn," Arlian said, "and my thanks to Lord Wither for his intervention. Tell him I will be happy to see him in a few days." Horn bowed. "Can we go now?" Black asked, gesturing at the wagon. Horn stepped aside. Arlian retrieved his fallen hat, then hurried to the driver's bench. A moment later he and Black were back in their seats, the arrow embedded in the back of the bench between them had been pulled free and tossed aside, and the oxen were trudging onward as if nothing had happened. Copyright © 2001 by Lawrence Watt-Evans Excerpted from The Dragon Society by Lawrence Watt-Evans All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.