Cowboys and Sorcerers, Part Two

black dragon

Found at wallpapersafari.com

The 22nd Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

Clayton, Yao Jin, Landon, Mitchell, and Illanipi were trapped in a narrow canyon which was blocked at both ends by black clad gunmen, all firing their six-shooters at our heroes. Landon’s lantern amulet was shining a bright white light under his shirt indicating great danger.

Jake “the Magician” Mitchell turned his horse sideways, whipped out twin Colts at lightning speed and started firing a seemingly endless number of rounds in both directions.

Only Illanipi was totally calm throughout the battle. The trio from the future were ducking, even Clayton, a dragon disguised as a man, since he, the sorceress, and the eight-year-old boy were in between the gunslinger and his targets.

Continue reading

The Palace of Heaven, Part One

ancient china
The Nineteenth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

The young sorceress Yao Jin, eight-year-old Landon, and the mighty Ambrosial Dragon stood on a ridge overlooking a valley in what they knew to be ancient China. By some mysterious magic, the trio had been taken backward in time rather than returning home after rescuing the souls of Yao Jin’s grandfather and his Nameless Master from demons on an unknown island in the River Styx.

“Buddy, do you think you can…”

The little boy had turned toward the now imposing and magnificent dragon only to find he was no longer there. In his place, there was a Chinese man. To the child, he seemed about the same age as Yao Jin. He was tall and dressed in what looked like old fashion Chinese clothes. At the same moment, Landon saw that Yao Jin’s clothes had changed, too.

“Hey, what happened to Buddy?”

Continue reading

Ghosts

bronze age stone art in sweden.

Found at fotosidan.se

The Seventh Story in the Time Travel Adventures of Ross Murdock

“The reason I’ve invited you to this briefing is that you both already have some idea of what we’re looking for and the stakes involved, although if the higher-ups had their way, you’d both be put in Guantanamo.”

Major John Kelgarries, military commander of Operation Retrograde stood at the front of his audience in the conference room specifically addressing Gordon Ashe and Ross Murdock.

It had been several months since they returned from their mission in Bronze Age Britain and discovered the Soviets had destroyed their covert base disguised as a Beaker trading post. Ashe, Murdock, and the outpost’s only survivor McNeil had just barely escaped an armed Soviet detachment who had attempted to capture them before they could be extracted by submarine. McNeil had cracked under the physical and emotional pressure and was now off team. However, in the aftermath of their mission, the roles of Ashe and Murdock had shifted.

Continue reading

The Curse of Lurgha

rocket launch

Photo: Reuters

The Fifth Story in the Adventures of Ross Murdock

Assa and Rossa stood on a rise and gazed at smoke ascending from a burnt ruin at the far side of the valley. At that distance, there was no obvious sign of what had caused their trading post to burn to the ground. Lightning maybe? No people or other evidence of attack was visible.

“We proceed carefully, Rossa,” Assa hissed. Murdock’s senior partner moved forward cautiously and Ross, or rather Rossa followed. It was more important than ever for the twenty-eight year old former thief for hire to think of himself only as a Beaker trader, that he was the apprentice of his master Assa, and that this was the only life he had ever lived. Murdock pushed away his memories of the 21st century and continued to follow Assa from one point of concealment to the next on the future Island of Britain four-thousand years before he was born.

An hour later, they had crossed the valley and were standing just meters from the still smoldering ruin and ashes of the trading post which had served as a small outpost for the investigating temporal team from Operation Retrograde.

Continue reading

The Traders

submarine

Found at Shutterstock

Ross Murdock, or rather “Rossa,” stood in front of half a dozen historians and cultural experts for inspection.

“I think you are lying. Who are you really?”

Aiyana Zheutlin shouted at him in a language few would understand in the 21st century, a language understood by Bronze Age Beaker traders 4,000 years ago on an island that would eventually be called Britain.

“I am Rossa, a trader. I travel with my companion Assa. See, here are the markings of my clan.” Rossa offered the necklace made of wolves teeth, and a thin leather strap tied with intricate knots as evidence of his authenticity.

Continue reading

Escape

submarine

From the 1968 film “Ice Station Zebra”.

“I’ve got a headache, Ashe.”

“Small wonder, Murdock. The virtual interface takes some getting used to. Plugs right into your brain, like that old movie ‘The Matrix,’ but without the spike in your skull.”

Gordon Ashe was just a few inches shorter than Ross Murdock, but his skin was much darker and looked almost like it was weathered to leather. The archeologist was in his forties but looked older. He was a veteran at Operation Retrograde and was supposed to have five jumps to his credit. He even helped set up the trading post to which, on Ashe’s next jump to Bronze Age Britain, would find Murdock accompanying him.

But only if they had absolute proof that this was the right location and time.

“Martial arts, interactive language classes, cultural classes, hell, the cafeteria here only serves me food that those traders ate four-thousand years ago.”

“It’s only been a week, Murdock. Give it time.”

“Time. Is that a joke?”

“If you don’t learn, you’ll end up like Hardy. He got careless and paid the price.”

Continue reading

The River Between Heaven and Hell (Part Two)

dark water

The Eighteenth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

Yao Jin stood on the rocky shore of a nameless island on the River Styx facing the demon. Her sword Demonslayer was drawn and at the ready, and she was desperate to see if the blade would live up to its name.

Demonslayer was a gift from her Grandfather Xun Qin, the most powerful sorcerer in the East for the past twenty generations, and he said it was the sister sword of Stormbringer the soul drinker, both having been forged in the furnaces of Arioch, Lord of Chaos and Duke of Hell.

As the young magician raised her blade, she could feel it vibrate in her hands and it moaned and wailed like a wraith in torment.

“Let me pass demon or I’ll send you back to Hell in pieces!”

Continue reading

The River Between Heaven and Hell (Part One)

styx

From the 2012 film “Wrath of the Titans”

The Seventeenth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

“My name is Yao Jin and I need to speak to your grandson. It is an urgent manner.”

The Chinese woman at the door spoke English formally, like someone who had learned it from a textbook, but her tone, facial expression, and body language told Grandpa she was terrified and desperate. On top of all that, she was dressed in a simple but full length cloak, which was odd clothing for a warm summer afternoon.

“Well of course you can come in, but why do you need to speak to my grandson?”

Continue reading

Z is for Zebra

z is for zebra

© James Pyles

Daniel put the yo-yo back in his pocket as he reached the fenced pasture. The only horse he knew by name was Champion. The ten year old pulled up some grass from his side of the fence and coaxed the horse over. Of course the three others started moving toward him as well.

“Just came to say good-bye, old boy.” He patted the horse on the nose. “I mean, now that you’re just a horse again and everything.”

Suddenly, Champion and the other horses started acting spooked and moved away from him.

“What the…”

“It’s probably me, Daniel.”

Continue reading

X is for Xylophone

x is for xylophone

© James Pyles

Wichita Township wasn’t very big and it didn’t take Daniel long to find the main street. It was still raining, night was falling, and very few people (or whatever) were out. That was good, since he wasn’t anxious to attract attention, but he still needed to find some place to stay.

If the person who was supposed to meet him at the end of his train ride lived here, the ten year old had no idea how to find him, her, or it.

The shops looked quaint, the kind you’d expect to find in a small town in the late 19th century. There were clothing shops, taverns, inns, bakeries, and…and…a toy shop. Actually the letters painted on the display window said “Matty’s Toy Shoppe”. Unfortunately, the sign in the window said “Closed.”

Something compelled Daniel to look in the window anyway. Rag dolls, cloth puppets, marionettes on strings, a yo yo or two, toy drums, toy horns, there was even a small xylophone.

Continue reading