include_once("common_lab_header.php");
Excerpt for Jerrung and the Kwaad Cavern by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Jerrung and the Kwaad Cavern

By

Lissa Dobbs



































©2017 TMDobbs

All rights reserved. No part of this novel may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.



This book is a complete work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events, is entirely coincidental.



Table of Contents



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

About the Author

Other Books by Lissa Dobbs



Chapter One



Jerrung raced through the meadow. He ducked behind large bushes as the ogres closed in. He was tired and out of breath. The ogres were getting closer. There were five of them, nasty creatures with drooling mouths and sharp teeth. Sickly yellow skin absorbed the light of the ending day. Gashes on various parts of their bodies told of a battle hard fought.

Jerrung crouched behind the nearest bush, one with large leaves to better hide him. His breath came in gasps. He wiped sweat from his face. He pulled his sword from his belt and prepared to face them. It was an all or nothing gamble that could bring him either great victory or a painful defeat. Regardless, he couldn’t run forever. He had to make a stand.

“Jerrung!”

The ogres slowed. They lost sight of their prey for just a moment. It was now or never.

“Jerrung! Come on! If we’re late for dinner, Ma will have ducklings!”

Jerrung stood and shoved the wooden sword back into his belt. The ogres dissolved into nothingness as the reality of his sister’s voice cut through his make-believe. “Oh, Hashta, I was just about to slay the ogres. You ruined it!” he whined.

“Well,” said Hashta, matter-of-factly, “Ma will do worse if we’re late. Now, come on.”

With a sigh that held the weight of the world, Jerrung grabbed his pack and followed Hashta. The two traipsed across the field behind The Broken Anvil. Hashta looked anxiously at the fading light. Jerrung had no such worries. His sister was the elder and the one to get into trouble if they were late. He dragged his feet as he thought of the glory that would have come from slaying the ogres.



*****



“Take that!” Jerrung yelled. He jumped off his bed and swung at the ogre before him. He swooshed his wooden sword again. He was determined to vanquish the creature before bedtime.

“Jerrung, what have I told you about jumping on the bed?” his mother asked.

Once again, the ogre disappeared. Jerrung’s shoulders slumped. “Awwww, Ma!”

“Bed,” she said.

Jerrung climbed into bed and laid his sword beside him on the pillow. His mother covered him with his blanket and kissed his forehead. “Good night, baby,” she said softly.

“I’m not a baby,” Jerrung said.

Raesha just smiled as she put out the lantern. “Good night, Jerrung.”



Chapter Two



Jerrung sat by the stream and tossed rocks just to watch them splash. He shivered a little as the cold wind bit through his coat. He was bored. All the other children had gone off to see the new calves at Emla’s. Jerrung didn’t care anything about seeing some stupid cows. All he wanted to do was fight ogres. But, no, he couldn’t even have a real sword. How fair was that? He was old enough. He could really help if the Kwaad attacked.

“I used to spend hours tossing rocks into streams myself.”

Jerrung jumped and yelped.

“I’m sorry,” Astalon said softly. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“You didn’t,” Jerrung said. He didn’t want the magician to know he’d been frightened.

Astalon smiled and settled down in the melting snow beside Jerrung. “So, what brings you out here on such a brisk morning?”

Jerrung shrugged. “All the others are at Emla’s looking at the cows.”

“Ah!” Astalon replied. “And that doesn’t interest you.”

Jerrung shook his head. “I want to fight ogres. I want to see under the mountains. I want a real sword.”

“But, let me guess, you’re too young?”

Jerrung threw a rock with all his strength. It lodged in the bottom of the streambed. “Yeah,” he responded. “But Hashta gets to learn to sew and cook like any other woman. Ma’s even told her all about babies. She’s not but a year older than me. Why should I have to wait?”

“And how old are you?” Astalon asked.

“Seven. Almost eight.”

“Oh, practically a man. I see. I remember thinking the same things when I was your age. It seemed like I was always too young for the things I wanted to do. I think my daughter felt the same way a good part of the time.”

Jerrung looked up at the magician. Many other dwarves were afraid of Astalon because he was human. Jerrung thought that was just stupid. “You had a daughter?”

Astalon smiled at the boy. “Many, many long years ago,” he said quietly. Jerrung could hear the sadness in his voice.

“But then you came here?”

Astalon nodded.

The two were quiet for several minutes. The stream burbled a bit, as if relieved to finally be unfrozen. Birds chirped in the trees, though there were many that would not return for several more weeks. Otherwise, there was no sound but the soft inhale and exhale of the two by the stream.

“Can you teach me magic?” Jerrung asked.

Astalon didn’t respond right away. “I believe there might be a small spell I could teach you. Nothing grand, mind you. Magic is for the old and takes years to master. But there is a charm I could teach you that can keep you safe for a bit.”

“Really?” Jerrung asked. “And you’ll do it?”

Astalon smiled at the boy and nodded. “Come with me.”









Chapter Three



Jerrung twitched onto his back and stretched his arms over his head. He was tired but couldn’t sleep. He felt itchy, like there were thousands of spiders crawling inside his chest. He slung his covers nearly across the room and climbed out of bed. He tiptoed across the room and cracked his door to peek out. There was no sign of his parents.

The dwarf heaved a sigh of relief and opened the door a little wider. He stuck his head out and peered down the short hallway. Yep, his parents were in bed. He slipped from the room and made his way to the kitchen. He slid one of the ladder-backed chairs over to the counter and climbed onto it. He reached up on tiptoes to find the cookie jar. Then he eased one of Ynara’s coconut chocolate chip cookies from the jar. He sighed with pleasure as he bit into its yummy goodness. He loved Ynara’s cookies, and these were his favorites. Well, he liked the gingerbread ones she made for Yule, too.

Crash!

Jerrung jumped. He dropped his cookie as a scream filled the night. He raced from the kitchen and down the hall to his parents’ room. He burst through the door just as Balar drew his sword. Jerrung dove to the floor to avoid the blow just as someone else screamed.

“Jerrung! Get Hashta in here, and stay with your mother!”

Balar tore from the room, sword in hand and still in his pajamas. Jerrung ran down the hall to his sister’s room. “Hashta!” he screamed as he ran. He pounded on his sister’s door then burst into the room.

Jerrung stopped when a cold blast of air hit him in the face. Hashta’s window was broken right out of the frame. There was no sign of his sister.







Chapter Four



“Hashta!”

No answer.

Jerrung hurried back to his parents’ room where Raesha was already dressed.

“Where’s your sister?” Raesha snapped.

“I don’t know. Her window’s broken. She’s not there.” Tears dripped onto his cheeks.

Raesha hurried to her daughter’s room and quickly looked under the bed and in the wardrobe. “Hashta!” she called. She tried to keep the panic from her voice. “Hashta!”

Mother and son hurried through the house looking for Hashta. As much as she got on his nerves, Jerrung would never want anything to happen to his sister.

Raesha stopped in the middle of the living room. She looked behind all the furniture. “Jerrung,” she said softly. “Get my bow and quiver and come with me.”

Jerrung’s mouth dropped open. He’d heard rumors that his mother had been one of the finest archer’s in Everstone a long time ago, but he’d never believed them. She was just his mother.

“Hurry!” Raesha barked. “We’ve got to find your sister.”

Jerrung hurried to the weapons chest and grabbed the yew bow and worn, leather quiver. He took an extra string from the box in the corner of the chest and took the items to Raesha.

“I’m going to leave you with Bombur and Lim and find your father,” Raesha said as she hurried them from the house.

Jerrung knew better than to object. As much as he wanted to help find his sister, he knew his mother couldn’t look for her and take care of him, too. Not that he needed taking care of. She was just like that.

Raesha banged on Bombur’s door. “Bombur!”

“Who is it?” came a quiet voice from the other side.

“Lim, it’s Raesha. Where’s Bombur?”

“He went to fight the Kwaad. He said to stay here and not open the door.”

“Let Jerrung in. Hashta’s missing.”

The heavy oak door opened just a crack. Lim’s face shone pale in the dark. “Okay,” he whispered.

Raesha knelt so she was looking Jerrung in the eye. “Go in there with Lim. Stay quiet. Both of you. Don’t open the door unless it’s me, your father, or Bombur. Understand?”

Jerrung nodded. He tried to keep the tears in his eyes from falling.

Raesha hugged Jerrung then looked at Lim. “You two be careful. We’ll be back soon.”

A moment later, she was gone. Lim and Jerrung huddled in Lim’s room with only a small crack in the curtains to see through.

“Don’t worry,” Lim said. “They’ll find her.”

Jerrung only nodded.



Chapter Five



Storm clouds hovered at the top of the mountains, and thunder rumbled angrily. This suited Jerrung just fine. There had been no sign of his sister, and his parents had refused to let him go to the meeting to decide what to do. Instead, he was trapped inside Bombur’s house with Lim, Adella, and Thorin. Even they wouldn’t let him do anything but wait.

“Don’t be stupid, Jerrung,” Adella said. “The grown-ups will find her.”

“You don’t know that,” Jerrung snapped. “They’re going to keep talking and waiting. Hashta will be long gone before they do anything.”

“But Laurin and Astalon will go with them,” Thorin said.

“Yeah, if they get back from Bruihill in time. They’ve already gone to try and help find the Kwaad there. Remember? They left yesterday afternoon.”

Jerrung threw the puzzle piece he was holding and stomped around the room. He stopped to look out the window. He couldn’t stand this waiting!


Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-9 show above.)