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The Journey (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #1)
The Journey (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #1)
The Journey (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #1)
Электронная книга238 страниц3 часа

The Journey (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #1)

Автор Laura Lond

Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд

4/5

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His father killed in war before he was three, his mother unexpectedly dying when he was eight, Jecosan Tarres is young and poor, yet he has something not many men have: a faithful heart, a strong spirit, and the knowledge of truth taught to him by his mother and Priest Shaledan. Alone for a year, but later befriended by Dalian the blacksmith, he has already beaten the odds of being destitute and forgotten, but clearly something or someone is at work in his life. With his faithful dog Gart and his friend Dalian, he sets out on a life defining journey after a messenger visits him with a commission to go to Kanavar, the ancient capital of Meoria, where he is to enter the king's service and somehow prevent the war that is about to break out in his country. There are powerful forces interested in his journey, both to fail and succeed. Join young Jecosan as he struggles along, escaping sudden traps, facing prison and captivity, fighting pain and despair, losing and making friends.

The Journey is Book 1 of The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres trilogy. It is approximately 60,000 words (192 pages in the printed edition). Book 2, The Palace, and book 3, The Battle, are also available.

ЯзыкEnglish
ИздательLaura Lond
Дата выпуска29 дек. 2010 г.
ISBN9781458007254
The Journey (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #1)
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Laura Lond

Laura Lond is an internationally published author of several novels and a collection of short stories. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. Having worked for 2 years at a literary museum, Laura entered the world of business, working for large international corporations like Xerox Ltd. and Fluor Daniel. After moving from Europe to the United States, she has been self-employed as a freelancer.

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  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    2nd book to the Jecosan Tarres trilogy and it was just as good as the first. Orphan Jeco saved by the mysterious Black Night Elgur who helps him get to the palace so that he can fulfull his destiny. Jeco shows perseverance and good manners will take you far. Nicely written store and made a nice story time. Well written and hard to put down. Very nice way to spend an afternoon in the sun. Good Job!!

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The Journey (The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, #1) - Laura Lond

The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres

Book 1: The Journey

Laura Lond

Published by Laura Lond at Smashwords

Copyright 2010 Laura Lond, Second Edition

Cover design by Steena Holmes

This book is also available in print at most online retailers

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Sneak Peek of Book 2, The Palace

Chapter 1

Jeco was making his way along a barely visible path in the woods, parting the thick grass ahead of him with a long stick as he went. In some places the grass was still wet of the morning dew, though the sun was rising higher and higher, its warm rays penetrating the green cover of tree leaves. Birds sang joyfully from all directions. Some of them would pause for a moment, noticing the boy, then resume their careless chirping.

Jeco stepped into a wide clearing with three old birch trees towering in the middle. He walked around them, heading toward the south side, bathed in sunlight, and found what he was looking for: five big mushrooms were sticking out of the grass, those commonly known as brown-caps. Jeco pulled out a small knife, carefully cut the mushrooms off and placed them in his basket. The basket was already full and the biggest mushroom wouldn’t fit, so the boy had to cut it in half.

Jeco looked back and whistled. Gart! he called out.

Loud, powerful barking came in response, echoing all over the forest. It was getting closer and closer, until the underbush parted and a huge, beautiful dog bounded onto the clearing, his rich golden coat shining in the sun. He barked once more and froze, waiting for orders.

Jeco handed the basket to him. Here. Would you carry this home?

The dog carefully picked up the handle.

You got it? Jeco asked, still holding the basket. Home!

The dog growled, offended, and pulled on the handle. Jeco smiled, patting his head.

I know, I know. You don’t need to be told twice, you’re a smart boy. Well, go now. I’ll be waiting for you here.

The dog crossed the clearing with just a couple of huge leaps and disappeared in the bushes.

Jeco lowered himself on the ground, leaned against one of the birch trees and closed his eyes. He was getting tired; he had already sent home his third basket today. I’ll need to look around here some more, the boy thought. This is a good spot, there’s got to be more brown-caps here. And after that I could go check the grove at the river. I haven’t been there for a while, long enough for new mushrooms to grow.

He felt at home in the forest, and he was an expert at mushrooms and berries. That’s how he supported himself; these skills had helped him to survive four years ago when he had to learn living on his own. Later on, Dalian the blacksmith had hired him, and the boy’s life changed for the better, but at first it was tough. He still remembered those days very well. Not only he had to feed himself, he needed to store up supplies to make it through winter—lots of them. He’d wander in the woods all day long, throughout summer and fall, trying to pick as much as he could. He didn’t have Gart back then, so he had to go back home each time he’d fill up the basket, empty it there and go to the forest again. By the evening Jeco would be exhausted, but there was still a lot to do. He often worked way past midnight sorting, cleaning mushrooms, hanging them up on long strings to dry.

The forest around Chegmer was full of mushrooms and berries, and everything would have been fine if it wasn’t for frequent losses. Neighbors kept stealing strings of mushrooms Jeco had drying outside; the king’s soldiers would often stop the boy on his way home and check his baskets for berries and hazelnuts. If he had any, they’d take them all. With time, Jeco had learned to avoid it by figuring out the soldiers’ routes and staying away from them. He had also discovered that he could sell some of his products at the market. That was risky, of course—the market was one of the places the soldiers visited quite regularly, taking whatever they liked from the merchants. But on a good day Jeco would manage to sell everything and make some money; then he could buy bread, milk and potatoes.

It was at the market that Jeco had first met Dalian the blacksmith.

Hey, young merchant! somebody’s deep voice once thundered over Jeco’s head.

The boy looked up and marveled at the man’s height and huge shoulders.

Call your mother, the big guy went on. I want to buy hazelnuts.

Jeco averted his eyes. Being reminded of his mother still caused pain. He wished he could call her...

Go ahead, sir, he said. My mother is not here, I’m on my own.

Are you, really? the blacksmith asked in surprise. You mean you know how to count money?

Of course I do.

The man reached for his leather pouch. You’re a brave fellow. People can be pretty mean around here, I won’t be surprised if they mistreat someone like you.

That sure happens, Jeco said with a knowing smirk.

Then why does your mother send you here alone?

This time Jeco was somewhat prepared and did not look away. She died.

The man’s broad smile faded. Oh, my. Sorry, lad… When?

Last spring.

I’m sorry, the blacksmith said again. So you’re helping your dad?

My father was killed in the war.

The blacksmith was silent for a few moments, gazing at the boy.

Whom do you live with, then?

Alone.

And nobody’s taking care of you?

I wouldn’t say that. Shaledan helps me a lot, the priest. He even asked me to come and live in his house, but I refused. He’s struggling himself. I didn’t want him to starve in order to feed me.

That was nice of him… And you did good, too, not wishing to become a burden for the old man. So how did you survive through the winter?

I’d made some supplies—mushrooms, nuts, jelly. Bought some bread and dried meat. I made it just fine, thanks to the heavens.

Thanks to the heavens, you say, the blacksmith repeated. Well, I can understand—you’ve got nobody else to count on. He grew silent again, bouncing the pouch on his palm, thinking about something.

So, uh… You said you were going to buy some hazelnuts, sir? Jeco reminded.

Oh, yes, of course. The blacksmith handed his hat to him. Put them in here.

Jeco filled the hat with hazelnuts. The blacksmith paid with a silver coin and refused to take his change.

You know what? he said after a short pause. Come to my place tomorrow.

Why? Jeco asked, surprised. The invitation was rather unexpected.

Well, I—I’ve got an idea. Some business to talk about. Come around lunch time, all right? I live over there, he pointed. Ask for the smithy, or Dalian the blacksmith, everybody will show you the way.

On the next day Jeco went to the blacksmith’s. He had quickly found the smithy—a low building made of thick logs, its chimney puffing clouds of black smoke, roof shaking with each powerful blow of the blacksmith’s sledgehammer. Right next to it stood a well built house. A small white-haired lady came out to the porch.

Jeco greeted her and asked whether Dalian the blacksmith lived here.

Here is our dear guest, she smiled. Come in, son, you’ve come to the right place. Dalian’s been expecting you since the morning. Come into the house and have a seat. I’ll go call him in, and we will all have lunch.

Jeco was somewhat confused by such hospitality.

Thank you, but, uh… Are you sure you’re not mistaking me for someone else? he asked, stepping through the doorway. I wasn’t invited for lunch, Dalian wanted to talk to me about some business.

The old lady gently pushed the boy toward the table. "At two in the afternoon lunch is the most important business. What’s your name? Jeco? That’s a nice name. I am grandma Shanita. Everyone calls me that, and you may call me so, too. Dalian is my son. Have a seat. I’ll go get him."

She left. Soon the heavy sledgehammer blows stopped, and in a few moments Dalian showed up, his white teeth shining on his soot-covered face.

Dalian washed his hands and face, and they all sat around the table. Grandma Shanita served some amazing soup spreading warm waves of aroma, some of it quite familiar and some of it not. Jeco remembered that his mother also knew all kinds of spices and seasonings, and that she used to add them in her soups, too. He liked the kind old lady even more because of this, even though she did not look like his mother at all.

Dalian began asking the boy about his life—his trade, selling at the market, as well as his encounters with the king’s soldiers. Jeco didn’t mind, so he shared some of his adventures, wondering what kind of a business it was that the blacksmith wanted to discuss with him and when he would get to the subject.

Well, what do you think, mother? Dalian suddenly asked.

Oh, dear! The old lady quickly brought her hands together. Why are you asking me now? We’ve already decided. Tell him!

Dalian put aside his spoon, then picked it up again, not knowing what he should start with.

You know what, uh… How about working for me? I need some help in the smithy. No beatings, don’t you worry about that. I’m not that kind of a person. And we’d like you to live in our house with us. My mother and I—well, we’ll be like your family now.

Thus Jeco had become the blacksmith’s apprentice. His whole life changed: now he was free all morning, and after lunch he would work in the smithy, learning the craft. Dalian did not overload him with work. The boy quickly figured that the blacksmith didn’t really mean to hire him—he’d just decided to take him into the family. Jeco was grateful, but he didn’t want to live off of someone’s kindness, so he continued to go to the forest every day. Grandma Shanita was happy to take care of his mushrooms, she would clean them and cook all kinds of delicious meals, or carry full baskets to the market and make a nice profit. She was perfectly safe there; no one would dare to take anything from her—everybody knew what kind of a son this little old lady had raised.

Jeco felt much safer as well. The word had spread fast that he was either adopted or hired by Dalian the blacksmith, and people started treating him with cautious respect. Nobody wanted to mess with the blacksmith, especially after he’d set the record straight with the king’s soldiers. He did that on a bright sunny day when one of them had stopped by the smithy, wishing to reshoe his horse. Dalian came out, wiped his hands and called for Jeco.

You know this boy? the blacksmith calmly asked, placing his heavy hand on the man’s shoulder.

Yeah… I saw him at the market several times, the soldier muttered. He was a head shorter than Dalian, and even with his shoulder plates seemed to be skinny and small comparing to him.

Well, Dalian went on, just as peacefully. Remember this and tell it to your friends. If I ever hear that any of you laid a finger on him, I’m gonna beat you in the ground up to your ears. I don’t care that you’ve got the king’s crest on your chest.

Chegmerians were smart; they figured that if Dalian threatened the king’s soldiers, those without the crest had better watch out.

Dalian, grandma Shanita and Jeco were getting along great. At first, neighbors only shook their heads, unable to understand why Dalian took this boy into his house, but soon enough they were shaking their heads for a different reason. Seeing Jeco work each day in the smithy, fetch water from the well, chop wood and bring full baskets of best mushrooms and berries, pragmatic Chegmerians had realized that the boy was probably making Dalian more money than he cost him. Many were jealous, wishing they’d hired him themselves. Neighbors were right: perhaps Jeco hadn’t made Dalian rich, but he was a big help to the family. Later on, when he’d gotten Gart and trained him to carry baskets, his contribution had become even more considerable.

Gart was a true gift of the heavens. Two years ago Jeco had ventured too far in the forest, picking firewood on a cold winter day, and gotten lost. He’d wandered around for hours trying to find his way home when he came across a rather strange trail. At first Jeco thought it was made by wolves, he could clearly see their big paw prints in the snow, lots of them, left by what had to be a large pack. But after a closer look he’d discovered with much relief that the paw prints were different from those of a wolf. They looked more like dogs’ paws, although they were huge, bigger than any dog Jeco could think of. It was a good sign; the boy assumed that the trail must have been left by a large group of hunters, so it should take him to some village or settlement sooner or later. Jeco started walking along the path, looking carefully for human footprints which would have confirmed his guess, but he did not find any. Instead, among those enormously big dog paw prints he noticed some other ones, very small, that looked totally unfamiliar. There were not many of them, much less than those of the dogs, yet they were there all the way. Puzzled, Jeco kept searching the trail, wondering what a bunch of dogs could be doing so far in the woods accompanied by some unknown little creatures—when he heard a weak, muffled whimper. Jeco went in its direction and soon saw a small yellow hairball laying in the snow, not very far from the trail. Jeco picked it up. It was a puppy, almost frozen to death.

Not knowing what to do, Jeco pulled off his mittens and started rubbing the puppy, but his hands soon went numb with cold. He then unbuttoned his coat and shirt and tucked the puppy in, right to his chest. The touch of the cold little body made the boy shudder; he’d pressed the puppy close and ran, trying to warm up. It was hard to run in the deep snow, he’d quickly gotten out of breath, but Jeco wouldn’t allow himself to stop. It’s all right, it’s all right, he talked to the puppy. We’re going to make it. Now I know why the heavens let me get lost in the forest—to save you. But now we’re going to find the way home, you’ll see.

He was right. Soon he saw a big crooked pine tree that he’d recognized right away, realizing where he was. It was very, very far from home, but now he knew which way to go. He’d made it to the road Chegmerians used when they went for firewood and headed home. Some time later Adrash overtook him, the hired hand of Karlop the tavern keeper; Adrash was riding in the sledge loaded with firewood. He’d picked Jeco up and brought him home.

At the gates they met Dalian; he was on his way to the forest, looking for Jeco.

Jeco! Dalian called out, seeing the boy holding onto his chest with both hands. Are you all right?! What happened?!

I got lost, but I’m fine now, Jeco replied, getting off the sledge. And I’ve got company. Look.

He unbuttoned his coat. The puppy jumped at the sight of the huge, bearded man looking down at him, but quickly regained his courage and barked in a hoarse, yet unexpectedly strong voice, "Gart!"

That was how they named him. Little Gart had joined the family, although at first Dalian had his doubts about that. The puppy’s big paws were a sure sign that he was going to grow into a very large dog; Dalian did not think Jeco would manage to feed him. He’d even asked Priest Shaledan to talk to the boy and convince him to give the puppy away. But the priest had a different opinion.

Do not take away the gift sent by the heavens, Dalian, he said. The heavens had placed that little life in Jeco’s hands for a reason. Don’t take away this simple joy and comfort from the poor orphan. People forget their own sorrow when they are taking care of someone else.

Dalian gave in, even though he didn’t find all that heavens talk very convincing. Jeco was happy. He did his best trying to nurse the puppy back to health, despite being very sick himself—he’d caught a severe cold that night in the forest. The boy had spent almost two weeks in bed, half-conscious, exhausted by fever. Grandma Shanita sat by his side, changing wet towels on his forehead and giving him her special herbal tea. According to Dalian, that tea was the best cold treatment known. It must have been true: Jeco felt better after drinking it,

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