Waking the Dragon (Dragon Ruins Book 1)

By: Rinelle Grey

Chapter 1

Were his eyes...golden?

Karla blinked.

That wasn’t even the strangest thing about them—even more bizarre was the fact that the pupil was a narrow slit, like a cat’s eye.

People with gold eyes did not arrive in Mungaloo’s biggest rock and gem store. Ok, its only rock and gem store. In fact, very few people at all came in and she certainly hadn’t been expecting anyone at this time of the afternoon. She discarded her phone on the counter. This was a welcome distraction from her last text message conversation with Bruce. She gave her full attention to the customer. If that’s what he was.

"You must see this." The stranger extended a perfectly manicured hand and opened it to reveal something small and golden.

As an archaeologist, the object caught her interest almost as readily as his strange eyes. Nestled in his palm was a small gold medallion, hammer markings indicating that the stylised image of the sun had been sculpted by hand. If it was a fake, it was a convincing one, but there was no way it was from the Australian outback.

“You have to go out to the Dragon Scales and see for yourself.” Karla couldn't tear her attention away from his intense eyes. There was something captivating in their depths. “There is a centuries old chamber there where I found this. You never know what other relics might be there.”

Karla shook her head, confused. “The Dragon Scales?” What was he talking about? An artifact like this hadn’t come from around here. Surely he had to know that.

She tried to let him down gently. “It must have been dropped by someone, there are no artifacts of that kind in the Australian outback. The Aboriginal people were hunter gathers, not builders.”

“I found it out by the Dragon Scales. There’s a chamber there, I tell you.”

His voice was desperate. What did he want from her?

“You have to go and find them before the mining companies destroy them.”

Ahh. Karla grimaced in sympathy. That was the issue. She’d never met the owner of the area that was about to be mined, there weren’t any houses there, just a strange rock formation of sandstone weathered into a lumpy pattern, but she now had a reason for his strange behaviour.

“Is it your land?” she asked sympathetically. “I'm sorry, but you need real evidence of an archaeological site to halt a mining contract. They’re never going to believe something like this.”

“Karla? Is there someone there?” her father called. She heard his footsteps coming in from the residence out the back of the store.

“Please, just go. You will see.”

The man pressed the medallion into her hand, closing her fingers over it, his intense eyes capturing and holding her attention.

She couldn't look away. And somehow, she couldn't say no. “I'll see what I can do.”

Then he was gone.

Her father entered the room, pushing his reading glasses up onto his head and holding a sheaf of papers in his hand. The hopeful expression on his face indicated he was looking for a distraction. Anything to save him from finishing his taxes. He looked around the room, as though he expected to see someone hiding behind one of the shelves. “Who were you talking to? Was there a customer?

Well, this would certainly provide a distraction.

“Some crazy guy who said he found this out by the Dragon Scales.” Karla held out the medallion. “Said there was a chamber there, and that we needed to save it before the mining company destroys it.”

Her father dumped the tax receipts on the counter and pulled his glasses back down. Taking the medallion from her hand, he examined it carefully, turning it this way and that. Finally, he handed it back to her. “You should go check it out.”

“I don’t know.” Karla hesitated. When she’d been staring into the man’s odd eyes, she’d been almost convinced that it was worth checking out at least. Now reality was reasserting itself, and the very idea seemed ludicrous. “He’s obviously nuts. This isn’t from Australia. He’s faking evidence, hoping to stop the mining company. Lord knows, we’d all like to be able to stop them, but no one is going to believe a story like this.”

“That medallion looks genuine to me, but you’re the expert.”

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