Sneek Peeks is a very important part of my web site. It introduces you to the first novel in the Pragamore Chronicles. Although Sneel Peeks will be added to from time to time, it will never be such an amount so as to spoil the novel for you. The second book in the epic series is Krypendorf - The Fourth Lesson. I hope to have it published about a year after the first novel. Take a look below at the 'zip' folder and read about Pragamore - A New Beginning... The book will be published by Author House and will become available on or very near October first of this year. Book signings will be announced as they occur in different areas of the mid-south. We have strived to make these books unique. Illustrations are a pleasant change from the norm, plus we have brought back the little 'page turner' characters taken from the novel itself. The novel is a high quality paperback (6 by 9) with a high gloss three-color front and back. The illustrations are a high resolution grayscale. Also...we will be offering full size (around 11 by 17 inches) collectable collectable prints in full color of the paintings. They will be numbered, titled, and listed on this web site.
Book 1 of The Pragamore Chronicles
'A New Beginning' sprung from the poem 'Pandahar'.
It (the poem) was a request from my sister, Tammy
Barr, for a friend who lived in England. In researching
the poem, I soon acquired more material than I could
possibly use . . . Hense The Novel
Please enjoy excerpts of the novel,
Pragamore -- A New Beginning
ISBN # 978-1-4343-3104-5
or call 901 262 4944 for more information.
or visit pragamorechronicles.com
Excerpt from chapter one - The Calling
Richard, deciding to find out more about his grandfather, heads for the cavern door. It has been locked for more than eighteen years, but having found the key in his father's desk, the lad doesn't let that stop him...
Richard hurried toward the cavern door, watching for his father's return through the windows of the open bedrooms. No matter how he justified what he was doing, he still felt he was doing something wrong.
"So far, so good," he said as he inserted the key in the lock. It fit perfectly. Ever so slowly he turned the key until the lock clicked and the door swung open. The dim lamps from the hall and the great room offered little light into the darkness of the cavern, but he could see the beginning of a stone stairway carved out of the wall on his left.
"I want to see!" spoke a loud voice behind him. Richard jumped and dropped the key. In a flash, Sandra grabbed it and held it behind her back, grinning.
"You little meddler!" Richard grabbed for the key, but she took a step backwards and avoided him.
"Me, a meddler? You have a lot of room to talk. I saw you in father's office, going through his desk."
"All right! All right! What's it going to cost me this time?"
"You're going into the forest soon aren't you?" she said, donning that little smile she used when she knew she had her brother right where she wanted him.
"Correct." a slight scowl started to mar his expression.
"I want a bird - a red one."
"Very well then. I'll bring you a bird." Richard sighed with relief at such a simple request.
He then accepted the key from Sandra's outstretched hand and shooed her away. As he listened to her fading laughter, he peered into the dark of the cavern. After a few moments, he tiptoed down the stairs and sat on the steps where the light from the doorway ended. When his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he spotted a dim light coming through an opening on the far side of the cavern. That encouraged him to go a little farther. On reaching the bottom of the stairs, he detected a strong, tangy scent of pine. The room smelled like the forest itself.
Moving slowly from the stairway, he noticed several bookcases and a desk on the far side of the cavern. As he moved toward them, the scent gradually faded. The desk was dusty and piled with books and papers, but there was one thing that seemed to demand his attention. In bold red letters on the spine, he read 'Beginnings'. Next, the bookmark caught his eye - a long smooth white feather. He turned to the page marked by the feather and read 'For the Lad' in elaborate script. He then heard a sound that made his blood run cold - air escaping from a large set of nostrils.
"Lord almighty!" he whispered. "That can't be what I think it is."
A cold shiver went up his spine and he froze in place. Searching the darkness to pick out the slightest movement; he realized the dust had been blown from the ground on the far side of the room and was swirling in the dim light from the doorway.
As he watched and wondered what to do, the wall beneath the stairway moved. Backing slowly into the dark corner behind the desk, Richard considered his options.
If I run for the staircase, he thought, the beast will have no problem cutting me off. The cavern entrance is no good. It's so long, he'd surely catch me before I could make the cliffs. Besides, I'd be cornered there, and the fall is at least a hundred feet below to the creek.
The movement had stopped, but Richard's heart was thumping so hard he was sure the beast could hear it. Although it seemed like hours, only minutes passed before the wall moved again. Straining his eyes, Richard tried to see the creature that held him captive, but the room was much too dark...and getting even darker. Someone had closed the cavern door.
His attention was now on a sliding sound in the center of the room, but now he could see absolutely nothing. It's got to be a dragon, he thought as beads of sweat formed on his brow. He could plainly hear the beast now as it took long deep breaths, sometimes snorting like a bull. The aroma of pine and moss was now so strong he felt like he was in the branches of the tree itself. Richard shut his eyes and tried to breathe shallow, hoping it couldn't hear or smell him.
The creature was close now. At times, Richard could feel its breath move the hair on his face and arms. A quick wind blew across his face as the great beast moved and the lad braced himself for some sort of impact, but it never came. Seconds later, the smell of the tree weakened and Richard opened his eyes. The beast was moving away from him toward the cave opening.
"It was a dragon!" he sighed as he heard the sound of great wings lifting the creature from the cliffs above the creek.
Richard gasped for air and wiped the sweat from his face with his shirtsleeve. He now had a new prospective on life - he'd learned how it felt to be hunted, and it wasn't much fun.
Slowly, Richard regained his composure as his heartbeat slowed and he stopped gasping for air. Peeling himself from the wall, he started for the cave entrance, and then remembered the big book. He snatched it from the desk and ran for the stairs. Seconds later, he stood in the hallway alone. Well...that's enough excitement for one day, he thought as he leaned heavily against the closed cavern door...
Excerpt from chapter four - The Way to Gray Rock.
On his way to Gray Rock, Richard meets an elf named Nimbsfork. Richard soon decides that a friend would be a good thing to have in an unfamiliar forest. But...he soon learns that elves can be just as puzzling as dragons. As Nimbsfork explains the loss of his mentor, Richard soon learns he has found no friend in the elf.
The elf looked strangely at Richard, checked the clearing once more,and then stood and backed away from the tree. "Kraigamore wasn't a bad wizard, but sometimes the minds of men can bring out the worst in us. I didn't see him die, but I know Benjamin killed him. It must have been an awful fight because Kraigamore's home was reduced to ashes. There was little left. What still galls me is the fact that someone put a shard with a black stain running through it to mark his grave."
"What would that signify?" asked Richard.
"A lie!" The elf sprang forward, grabbed Richard's head and pushed it to the ground. He then quickly jerked Phaelamaun from her sheath and backed away, brandishing it in front of him.
"What's going on?" shouted Richard as he scrambled to his knees. "What's the matter with you?" Richard quickly wiped the grass and dirt from his mouth and face.
Nimbsfork stood twenty feet from the young wizard, holding Phaelamaun in his right hand. "That stained shard indicated the wizard had gone bad," he snapped. "Whoever put it there knew nothing of what happened to him... Stand up, and move into the field!" shouted the elf. "I took a blood oath over Kraigamore's grave to right this wrong and take my rightful place. William is gone and so is Kraiton, his dragon. I want to know if you need to be next."
"What do you mean?" Richard moved slowly from under the elm tree and into the sunlight.
"Are you going to follow in your grandfather's footsteps?"
Nimbsfork edged forward as Richard gave ground and backed farther into the clearing. The stubble in the grass stabbed through his socks making it hard to move quickly.
"I don't really know," answered Richard. "Would that make us enemies? I might have done the same thing if I were in Kraigamore's shoes. By the same token, I wouldn't want to be cursed with having to make the same dreadful decision Benjamin had to make."
"Then I must wait until you decide whether or not to take your grandfather's place under Krypendorf."
"If you mean un Krypendorf's order, I really don't think that's possible. I am a far cry from a wizard, and I don't know if I'll ever be one, but it's plain to me we must part company. I no longer trust you and you can't leave here with that sword." Richard mumbled a few words under his breath and a fireball formed above his hand. "I don't want to fight you, but I will if I must... Phaelamaun, come to me!" he shouted.
The beautiful sword began to vibrate in the elfin's hand as he struggled to hold it. "What magic is this?" he shouted.
Phaelamaun instantly kicked back, twisted free, and then flew end over end through the air to land point first in the ground below Richard's hand. Nimbsfork held his hand out and the air above it began to glow as Richard released the fireball toward him, but the elf waved it off with little effort. Too late for another try, Richard reached down for his sword, but Nimbsfork's answer was well on its way.
The lad tried to wave it off, but too late. As he fell back in surprise, he felt Phaelamaun move in his hand and he tightened his grip. The fireball exploded on the sword's blade, sending him backwards onto the grass.
"It will take more than a magic sword and a would be wizard to defeat me, Richard. Do you Yield?"
Richard propped himself on one elbow as a searing pain shot from his right hand, up his arm, and through his shoulder. As he tried to stand, Nimbsfork formed another fireball. Richard was about to say something when he saw the elf's expression change from rage to fear as the elf's gaze went from the young wizard to something in the air and behind the lad. Richard froze as he heard the sound of huge wings coming in hard and fast, and he knew it was too late to run. He fell to the grass and covered his head. The ground shook as the huge green and yellow beast blew past Richard and plowed to a stop between the two. Something in the beast's roar made Richard look up...and think perhaps he wouldn't die after all.
"Pandahar!" he shouted.
The great reptile's head swung around toward the lad. "Rrritchurrrd," was the guttural sound that rolled through the warm air from the dragon's breath.
Richard had only time enough for one quick blink before the air was filled with dirt and grass. With one swipe from the Pan's huge forehand, he all but covered the young wizard. When Richard finally emerged from the pile of dirt, he saw the dragon lower his right side toward the elf and sidle toward him like a cat, hissing, trembling with rage, and roaring. After one quick burst of fire from the dragon's mouth, Nimbsfork completely lost control of the fireball and sent it harmlessly into the field. The elf was left scrambling into the forest with his clothes smoldering on his back.
The huge animal then slowly turned as if to check Richard for injuries. The young wizard sat in the dirt, holding his arm, and looked completely bewildered.
Pandahar walked toward the lad as if he had all the time in the world and then stopped almost directly above him. Badly shaken, Richard watched in amazement as the beast lowered his massive head to look at the burned arm and hand. He then looked Richard straight in the eyes and backed up, never breaking eye contact.
The young wizard then watched as the dragon slowly opened his wings and stretched them, as one might do after a good night's sleep. Ever so slowly, he moved them back and forth, faster and faster, until his great form rose from the ground. Richard sat there in his pile of dirt and watched as the great beast flew over the trees and out of sight.
"Lord almighty..." he muttered as he put his right hand to the ground in an effort to get up, but the pain stopped him cold. As he grabbed his arm and rolled from the dirt, a pain like burning fire engulfed his arm. He quickly pulled his arm to his chest and shifted his weight to his left. His shirt was almost gone from his elbow to his wrist and angry red blisters were forming on his forearm. He winced from pain as he struggled to his feet.
Another old friend arrived, landing on a tree limb across the field - the raven. The bird had perched on a low limb directly over the trail that led back into the forest. Its head bobbed up and down as it called.
"That's right!" Richard said loudly. "I'm coming."
The black bird cocked its head and cawed one last time, then flew into the woods ahead of him. Shouldering his pack, the young wizard returned to the trail once again...toward Gray Rock.
Excerpt from Chapter Five - Help At Leachenwood.
After being severly wounded by Nimbsfork, Richard finds a new friend in a dwarf from Leachenwood. He soon finds comfort in the fact that there are 'others' watching him on his lonely journey...
*** *** ***
As Richard gently wrapped what was left of his shirt around his arm, he heard the distinct sound of a twig smapping in the nearby woods. The lad stood quickly, holding his arm close to his chest. Flinching with pain, he reached for his sword.
"Settle down, son. I mean you no harm." The voice spoke from deep within the shadows of a large fir tree directly in front of him. "That arm needs looking after. Come closer to the fir. I'm not partial to the sun."
The voice sounded like an elderly man, and courtesy was certainly called for.
"I don't believe I'll move from this spot," said the lad. "Who are you?"
"I'm from Leachenwood. The Pan brought us word that a young wizard was injured in a fight where he was badly out matched. You're a brave lad, young Richard, but a wizard must know his enemy and choose his quarrels carefully."
"I'd like to know your name," said Richard as he studied the shadowy figure. "It's hard to put your trust in a voice only."
"My apologies." The little man stepped from the shadows not more that ten paces from the lad. He stood barely four feet tall and probably weighed eighty pounds soaking wet. His hair was silver, neatly brushed, and not quite shoulder length. His worn leather britches were well kept and his green shirt looked freshly washed.
"You're a dwarf, aren't you?" asked the lad. "I've never met a dwarf before now."
The little man smiled as he stepped closer for a better look at the injured arm. "That arm needs looking after Master Richard," said the dwarf as he produced a packet of ointment and bandages from a small satchel he carried on his shoulder.
Richard winced with pain as his benefactor applied a sticky, sweet smelling salv to his injured arm. The old fellow's hands were as nimble as his own as he handled the bandages. When the dwarf had finished, Richard tried to stand but the forest seemed to spin around him and he sank to his knees.
The dwarf looked hopefully toward the woods.
Richard then watched as the little man walked a few steps farther into the clearing and produced a fancy little silver whistle, which he placed to his mouth and promptly blew. The sound was similar to that of a waterfowl, perhaps a loon. The tone started out low and soft, then finished quickly in a high-pitched tweet. He did this twice, then returned to Richard's side.
The lad hardly had time to ask what he'd done before he saw the results. At first, he thought he was feverish, perhaps seeing things. There were two of them, off a ways, but coming in hard and fast...as if in a dream. The two beasts were perfectly white and without a blemish. They resembled horses, but were more beautiful than any he'd ever seen. Their long silky manes, flowing in the wind, reached midway to their backs. Each had a beard like a goat, and a most remarkable horn in the center of its forehead. As they neared the dwarf, Richard could see the horn's unusual shape. They were twisted to a sharp point and were the color of fresh snow glistening in the moonlight.
"My word!" Richard propped himself up on one elbow.
The dwarf turned and smiled. "Lay still, my boy. Don't move a muscle," he said. "Our transportation has just arrived."
"What are their names?"
"Names? Ha! Oh, yes... Unicorns," laughed the dwarf. "They know who they are, and we know them and what they stand for. Don't be so quick to name and possess everything, young Richard. The world of men is rubbing off on you. Stay on the rock, lad, and if the lead one comes in with his head down, roll off behind the stone."
Richard sat up immediately and scooted off behind the large rock.
"Aquania! Aquania! William's wizard!" shouted the dwarf.
The unicorns slowed to a trot and moved straight to the dwarf. The little man adjusted his suspenders, tucked in his shirt, and then looked at Richard. Somewhere along the way, he'd lit his pipe. It had a pleasant aroma of apples, which seemed to keep the unicorns nudging him.
"Richard," he called, "do you feel well enough to ride?"
Richard eased from behind the stone, keeping an eye on the larger of the two animals. "If I can just get on, I believe I can make it."
The dwarf led the larger of the unicorns close to Richard, who was now upon the flat stone. The beast never took his eyes off the lad, who struggled to get on.
"If I could just get a handful of his mane," said Richard weakly, "I believe I could make it, but I'm so dizzy I can hardly stand. If you can, give me a little boost and ---"
Richard never got a chance to finish his request. Suddenly, he felt light as a feather. Strong arms were around him now, lifting him as though he was a toy. Long, wavy white hair fell over his right shoulder and brushed against his cheek. The fragrance of honeysuckle filled the air as he was gently put upon the unicorn. The arms holding him were strong as any man's, but most definitely feminine.
"Relax, Richard, don't be so tense," she said as she mounted the stallion behind him. "I'm the Wood Woman. My name is Creene Hamadry. We have precious little time for introductions. Save your energy and I'll get you away from here."
"Wood Woman?" he tried to turn and see her face.
"Be still," she ordered as she quickly give the animal his head.
"I won't forget you," said Richard.
"I won't allow you to."
"To Leachenwood now!" shouted the dwarf. "You have little time to waste."
As the unicorn broke into a gallop, Richard's head lolled back. He could scarce keep his eyes open and the dizziness was getting worse. The air seemed to be full of little doll-like creatures darting in close and around the unicorn. The dry hum of their wings filled the air with the most peculiar sound. Although he tried, he could never quite focus on any of them, even when they seemed to hover just a breath away from his face. Weak with fever, Richard finally closed his eyes...