Another writer, K.A. Cummins, suggested we create a fractured tale for our main characters from our very-different family-friendly stories. She gave us the ground rules: a Victorian market, the dragon is transformed into a human for this encounter, and some plot points.
The bare-bones story is told today on her blog, Here, we present the longer story, for those who love fractured mashups.
Now for the fractured tale:
Our Protagonists Meet in a Medieval Market by Kandi J Wyatt and Phyllis Wheeler
Hest wandered into the market place where bobbles and trinkets met his gaze. He stared in wonder at the intricate cogs and wheels. How were they made? With a shake of his head, he glanced over at the person standing next to him and gaped. A silver-haired young man with muscles larger than any knight he’d ever seen strode beside him. Silver orbed eyes blinked back at him as the man cocked his head.
Heart of my hearts? Usheen’s voice filtered through his mind.
Where was the dragon? Hadn’t they been flying over Muintir? Gripping his sword at his side, Hest felt the bond’s magic flow through his muscles.
“Hush, ‘tis I,” The silver-haired youth said, bringing a hand to his mouth as if to confirm he’d spoken.
Hest blinked. “Usheen?”
His companion nodded, not daring to open his mouth again, but he trailed a talon-like fingernail over dark lines on his hand that looked suspiciously like someone had drawn scales there. Hest wondered if that’s what he looked like when he gave into the bond, but no one had ever said he had silver hair.
The two stared at each other until someone bumped into them.
“Watch where you’re standin’!” The man grumbled. “Most people keep to the sides if they’re goin’ to gawk.”
“Ah, my pardon,” Hest nodded to the man, gazing around for his personal guards, only to find none. Goshkeah would be furious that they’d been separated.
With a courtly bow, Hest moved to the nearest booth, Usheen trailing after. Hest couldn’t help but double check to be sure the dragon had no tail dragging behind him.
At the other side of the market, voices called out, hawked wares, scolded, spoke in admiring tones, and generally sounded like background babble to Jake and Ava’s ears. Seasoned time-travelers from 2020s America, the eleven-year-old twins started at one end of the market and wandered toward the middle, noting the cinnamon, cloves, and body odor flavoring the air.
A group of soldiers in clinking chain mail, wearing swords, marched by. A robed merchant seemed to ignore the soldiers. Or did he? Ava thought he flinched.
Jake zeroed in on a long-haired dog that lay next to a rug seller, pillowed on his own colorful soft rug. Jake knelt to make friends.
Across from the rug merchant, Ava found a house of puzzles–jigsawed figures, made of colored wood. A star in three dimensions begged her to pull it apart. But when she tried, the puzzle merchant frowned at her, his gray beard nearly covering his downturned mouth.
The next booth was a gadget shop, full of boxes of gears and cranks. What could this dark blue metal box do? She paused. A yellow button poked out of it, inviting touch. When she picked the box up, a soft melody drew her in.
Jake stood up from the dog and came over to listen. “I know that song,” he said. “Don’t I?”
Hest and Usheen were both drawn into the stall. That music! Hest hummed along. It couldn’t be.
“’Tis the swantry,” Usheen said, his voice quiet and awed. He reached out a hand toward the box.
“Wait!” said Ava, and Usheen flinched away, the spell broken.
“Push it!” said Jake. He reached over and pushed the button.
A stench filled the air. The four of them backed away.
Hest glanced about and took in the situation. They were in a foreign city without his personal guard. There was no time for diplomatic measures.
“They’ll be coming for us soon,” he said, gesturing toward the long-haired gadget merchant.
The man was trotting away down the alley flapping his arms and crying, “Help! Help!”
“Usheen, create a distraction!” Hest glanced about for inspiration and saw a banner flapping in the distance. “The city gate ‘twill be our best chance. Meet there.”
Usheen, though in human form, had not lost his dragon roar. He launched himself through the crowd letting out a bellow that made people cover their ears. Surely the soldiers would follow him, looking for a dragon, but not finding one.
After ten minutes, the four of them met up outside the city gate.
“Please explain what we’re doing here in this market.” Hest took in the two younger ones, while Usheen tried his best to glare at them. But a cocky smile spread across his face.
“I guess we’re all keeping my brother out of trouble,” said Ava, poking Jake with her elbow.
“Sorry,” he said. He ducked his head.
Be sure to sign up for our joint family-friendly literature giveaway! It ends Tuesday, 3:30 pm Pacific!