A Tale of Mantasia

© By The Story Lover

A Story Set in The Dragon Earl Universe

Preface and dedication: This story may seem familiar to you and there are reasons for that. This story is inspired by ?Memories? and ?A New Day Dawns? as well as the true life story of our favorite nephews THP. I want to personally thank both ACFan and Gunrunner for allowing me to write this story which infringes upon their copyrighted material. I greatly appreciate them for doing this. This story is a Fantasy it will have Dragons and Elves and sundry other Fantasy Races. It is also being written as a tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey two of my favorite Fantasy Authors. This story is dedicated to August Christopher as a continuation of his legacy.


Chapter One - There Once Was a Youngling

Author's Note:

This story is a prequel of sorts to my story "Dragon Earl" as it tells the story of Lucaso and Tayledro who are mentioned in Chapter Four of "Dragon Earl". It isn't necessary to read "Dragon Earl", however, that story will fill in some information which might come in handy while reading this one. I hope you all enjoy this different slice of life on the planet Draconis.

In the trade town of Centralia in the nation of Mantasia located near the border of Mantasia and Movado; there was born a youngling, a rather nondescript youngling, most would say. Lucaso as he was called was nondescript until you looked into his eyes; as they were of the darkest midnight blue, almost black. His eyes were so dark Lucaso grew up with the nickname "Blacky" which became really confusing later in life when he met his Life Partner, who had black hair. However, that is getting way ahead of this story, so you will just have to wait awhile for that.

It was only when Lucaso was in the bright sunlight or the light of a candle or lamp would hit his eyes just right that you could see their true color. Lucaso's parents weren't too thrilled with being saddled with Lucaso; but before you get on your high horse, they wouldn't have been too happy with any child, let alone a child like Lucaso. Lucaso's parents were merchants in Centralia but what a strange breed of merchant they were. Lucaso's father Etan had been a traveling merchant/peddler in his youth in neighboring Movado. He used to travel the breadth of Movado buying and selling things along the way; unfortunately he was limited to the three pack mules he owned and his younger brother as a guard. He never made enough money or found a partner he could trust enough to purchase a warehouse or setup trading posts.

Lucaso's Mother Parisah only interest in the Dry Goods Shoppe was the trinkets and fancy clothing she was able to acquire for her own use. Other than doing the books and waiting on customers she contributed nothing to the endeavor to improve her family's lot. Parisah was only interested in being the best dressed woman in town.

Early in childhood Lucaso learned the art of being hidden in plain sight; this art would allow him to learn what people wanted to buy. One day shortly after he had just turned five years old he was helping his parents by dusting; at least that is what his mother had asked him to do. Lucaso was actually playing with some very interesting dragon figurines and dreaming of flying on them. Two elderly customers came in to their Shoppe and wandered around for a few minutes before stopping and standing near Lucaso. he was a shy little boy at the time so he just stood still and tried to make himself as small as possible. His mother came out from their living quarters to help the two ladies; when they gave his mother their order she went and put it together. While his mother was busy getting the things the customers wanted the two ladies were busy gossiping. Lucaso was trying not to eavesdrop but the ladies were slightly hard of hearing and were speaking rather loudly, so he wasn't doing it on purpose.

The lady in black said to the lady in blue, "I don't know why they don't carry that wonderful rice from Drakis?"

When the ladies left Lucaso went back to his dusting/playing with the dragon figurines thinking to himself, 'Wat is dwacis wice?'

That night at dinner Lucaso asked his parents what the two ladies were talking about.

"Mater, Pater wat is dwacis wice?" Lucaso's family was very formal at meal times and since they weren't particularly fond of children would never call Lucaso anything but his full name. In fact when they heard people in Centralia calling Lucaso 'Blacky' they would haughtily inform those folks that his name was Lucaso not 'Blacky'.

"Lucaso what do you mean? Why would you ask?" His father disdainfully inquired.

"Cause two ladies were mad we not have it." The indignant Lucaso replied, he thought he was helping his parent's and they didn't want to be bothered.

"It is Dracis Rice Lucaso and we don't carry it because it is too hard to get and would cost too much. When are you going to get old enough to speak correctly?" Lucaso's father replied and then turned to his wife and continued their conversation; totally ignoring their distressed son.

"What do those old biddies know anyway? They wouldn't know the difference between Drakis Rice and Roxio Chaff. When is the cloth for your new dress and my new suit going to be here? We only have two months until the Guildmaster's Ball and you know your seamstress needs at least three weeks and my tailor is almost as slow......." The conversation continued on in the same vein for several hours and Lucaso's parent's never noticed when their son went to bed. In fact they didn't even check to see if he was in bed when they retired for the night.

The only thing that Lucaso wished for was that his Grandfather from his mother's side of the family would get back from his trip. Gramps had the bestest stories and unlike his parent's he gave Lucaso plenty of hugs and cuddles of course that was when his parent's weren't around. His grandfather went on Trading Junkets just to keep his hand in the pie and his mind alert. Nowadays he only bought interesting trinkets and curios for himself and his friends. More often then not he just met friends and retold old tales over a few mugs of ale or glasses of wine. Of course the tales got wilder and more intense with each retelling.

What Lucaso didn't know was that his Grandfather was teaching him the trading business with his stories. His Paternal Grandfather, on the other hand, was a stuck up snob who totally ignored Lucaso whenever he saw him. Lucaso's Maternal Grandfather, Norweg, was bound and determined that one of his grandkids would be able to follow in his footsteps. Norweg sprinkled all of his story/lessons with descriptions of products and how to determine whether the items were real or not. One of the things that Lucaso picked up by himself was that his grandfather didn't bring everything he bought or traded for back to Centralia. When he asked his grandfather why that was, his grandfather was extremely happy as Lucaso's father never really figured out that part of trading. His grandfather explained to Lucaso that that was one of the key secrets to trading; knowing what to buy or trade for in one place, to get a better deal on what he wanted or needed in a different place. Once Lucaso figured out what his grandfather was trying to do, he paid a lot more attention to his grandfather's stories.

"Granpa what's so special about Dwakis wice?" Was the first question out of young Lucaso's mouth when his grandfather returned several weeks later.

The question from his young grandson shocked Norweg, but at the same time made him immensely happy.

"Blacky 'Drakis Rice' is a Long Grain White Rice that has a very sweet aroma and wonderful nutty taste. It also stays firmer than most other rices when cooked and it travels very well. Now, why did you want to know that answer? Norweg inquisitively asked his favorite grandson.

When Lucaso finished telling his grandfather the story about the two old ladies and his parents reaction; his grandfather turned bright red and started sputtering.

"Well I never... I knew your mother didn't have a lot of brains, but your father was a fairly decent trader, he should know better. C'mon Blacky, let's go see what your grandma has for lunch and see if we can come up with a better place for you to live."

Lucaso was very happy to hear his grandfather say that, as he really wasn't happy living at home where he was virtually ignored. While he didn't love his maternal grandmother like he did his maternal grandfather; he did like her and she at least talked to him and would occasionally give him hugs.

Lucaso's grandmother had fixed a wonderful lunch and to Lucaso's surprise, it was a wild fowl stuffed with vegetables and pear-apples. But that wasn't all, it was served with Lucaso's favorite roasted tubers and to his surprise Drakis Rice with mushroom gravy. When Norweg walked into the kitchen and smelled the Drakis Rice, he started laughing and his wife Mercy asked what was so funny.

"I will tell you after lunch, Honey, let's eat; us men folk are starving, storytelling is hungry work."

Mercy started chuckling and then looked over at Lucaso, who by now was seated at his normal place at the kitchen table. The table itself was a wedding gift from some trader friends and was a very unique piece of woodcraft. The table was made of finely crafted Vacheronian Burlwood craftily carved into interlocking pieces held together with tapered dowels. The table was of the same type Heads of States used when traveling on their Royal Progresses and as such was fit for a King. It could be taken apart and put back together very quickly when necessary.

Mercy quickly placed the steaming and wonderfully smelling food on the trivets placed on the table for just that purpose. Norweg quickly served up three plates of delicious food and after a quick entreaty to Draconis, they dug in. Norweg casually kept an eye on his grandson and very shortly thereafter was rewarded with the sign he was looking for. When Lucaso put a fork full of rice and fowl into his mouth and began chewing, his eyes opened wide and he began to smile while trying to chew at the same time. Norweg started grinning and began to quietly chuckle, Mercy, who had been watching her husband finally couldn't take it any longer and stated.

"Nor' I want to know what is so funny and I want to know right now! I worked hard in the kitchen, cooking this food and I don't appreciate you making fun of it. Now spill the beans or you can sleep on the porch tonight."

"Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, I am not laughing at this delicious repast you have fixed for us; well I am, but not in the way you think. As soon as Blacky is finished with his mouthful, ask him what question he stunned me with earlier, and his answer will explain everything." At his grandfather's words, Lucaso looked up and then pointed to the rice on his plate and raised his eyebrows questioningly. His grandfather nodded yes, which caused Lucaso to finish chewing his food and then after a small sip of his fruit juice, he began speaking.

"Gramma Mer, Granpa Nor is right, he was laughing at my question and me. I had asked him about Dwakis Wice, and then you gave us some. Granpa is right; it is weally good. So Please don't be mad at him it was just a coinc..... I can't say that word..." Lucaso had to stop speaking because his grandmother had gotten up from her chair and walked over to him and enveloped him in a smothering hug.

When Mercy had finished hugging Lucaso, she turned to her spouse and said;

"Old man, you got lucky again, you won't have to sleep on the porch this time." She then walked over to her husband and gave him a kiss on his forehead; before returning to her seat. When they all had finished the wonderful lunch, Norweg cleared the table in an attempt to completely get back in his wife's good graces.

"Blacky, would you please tell me the rest of the story I think you didn't tell me everything?" Mercy asked her now sated grandson, after three helpings of lunch.

"Okay Granma Mer;" Lucaso then told her the rest of the story, and he started to get a little concerned because his granma's face was not a happy one.

"Blacky don't worry; I am not mad at you, I still love you and so does Granpa Nor. I am not happy with my daughter and your father right now. Do they know where you are?" Mercy asked her grandson. When she received a negative nod, she continued,

"Be a good boy and go up to your room and play with your Dragons for a few minutes, while I talk to your Granpa; he will be up in a few minutes to tuck you in for your nap."

Blacky got up from the table, giving his granma a big hug and kiss before going up to his bedroom. Blacky loved his bedroom here, as it was full of toys and interesting things his granpa had brought him back. Up in his room, Lucaso quickly forgot about his problems as he began playing Dragons and Dragon Lords; the strange thing was, Mantasia was one of the Nations without Dragons.

In the kitchen downstairs, a highly upset Mercy was apologizing to her husband; "Nor, I am, so sorry I doubted you; they are totally unfit to be parents; they only care about themselves. With what Lucaso has told us, it is a miracle their business is still going. Instead of his nap, you can take Lucaso down to the docks and let him watch the ships come in and unload. I will go visit the Mayor and the Reeve, together we will go visit my Daughter and Son-in-Law and inform them that Lucaso is coming to live with us. I will also inform them that he can still 'work' at their store, but they will have no parental rights or responsibilities. Not that they will care; they apparently never even know he is there except at meal times, and barely then. You might casually ask Blacky if he would like to live with us, and if he says yes, which I know he will, then ask him if he would like it to be forever. Bring him back home here around four o'clock; we will wash up and go to The Ark for dinner."

"Mercy, you have just made me the happiest grandfather in Mantasia and the happiest husband also." Norweg got up and gave his wife a kiss and then went up and got his grandson.

A short time later you could have heard Lucaso's cry of joy as far away as Castle Highmont in Erehwon.


Author's Note: This chapter is a little shorter than my usual ones but I just wanted to set the scene for future chapters. I hope you will enjoy this look into the earlier life of Lucaso and Tayledro and at the same time learn more about the planet Draconis.

Til we fly again,

TSL and 'GOOS'

Comments greatly appreciated at story@storylover.us

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