Dawnies, I hope you enjoy the fifth excerpt. As drafts are being compiled, I am hoping for feedback. Like and comment suggestions. Remember to become an official Dawnie by clicking on contact on my website below.
Deeper into the forest we advance as I begin to fathom why it was given its name. The trees, massive, black, and void of leaves restricts the light of the sun and moon. Only endless darkness and white sheets of snow line our paths.
Kooloan gallops to the center warning us of his senses. Weapons drawn, we halt as the snow begins to beat our faces. Back and forth he gallops twice more and then. “Wild dogs!” Kooloan yells.
“Surround our queen!” Genna calls out.
I disembark my mere. “Your Grace, what are you doing? Get back up there.” Genna barks.
“Shelleann and her daughters. They must be protected.” I bark back. Running towards them, snarls are thundering and nearing as we prepare to engage.
From the thick of the forest runs big, black, furry beast on two feet with blood-red eyes.
I and two other guards surround the children as they cry out. “Shh. It’s okay.” I whisper. “Where is your mother?”
Boom. Goes the sound of the clash between men and beast.
Dogs snarl, growl, and howl as they rip through many of the guards. Several men jump on the back of one, stabbing it multiple times along its upper torso. They bring it down but more and more leap from the darkness.
Kooloan hits one with an arrow between its eyes to bring it down immediately. “You must strike them between the eyes.” But the news was late. We do not have a chance to grab bows for the dogs were ripping through the supplies and weapons.
Three of them make their way over to me and the girls. They charge. It becomes hard for me to concentrate as my head begins to spin. With my sword, I swing but miss. One of the beasts rushes Genna. She falls to the ground. I jump on top of its back as Genna musters enough strength to push it with a force of ten men. I roll with it, falling and stopping a little ways from it. I stand to my feet. And there she was. Shelleeann.
“I shall not lose another.” She announces. Genna walks up as we three prepare to engage once more. This time my head pounds, harder and harder. The dogs attack. I slit one in its chest and thrust my blade as deep as I can.
By this time a horn sounds loudly in the distance. War cries as tribal natives rang out as the ground begins to shake.
“Kales!” Ton cries out.
The Kales release arrows as they gallop onto the scene. I turn to see that she was standing toe to toe with another dog. Only this one was white with red eyes and a pink nose and on all fours. It drools from the mouth and then howls.
The other dogs silence and become perfectly still. I move closer and my eyes lock with it. It is Rome, but what has happened to him? The Kales stand their ground with arrows fix towards them all. All who were left, including Ton and Hiddard run to me.
“Rome. It is me boy. It is Kalera. Romulus. It is me. I love you.” I whisper.
He calms his groan and growl. With a strong howl the wild dogs retreat. Rome looks me in the eyes, lets out a slight cry, and then takes off. I run after him.
“Rome! Rome!” I scream but I cannot keep up. As I move deeper into the forest, my legs begin to get lighter and my feet no longer feel the ground below.
“Roarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” He screams. As he whips and breaks the limbs of the trees and before long he ascends above. As I look down to see everyone in awe.
Xavgon. My dragon is back.
“Mother, I know how much you love him. So I have been tracking him for you.” He explains.
“I don’t understand Xavgon, why didn’t you find me.” I ask.
“For some time our bond was broken. I could not feel you and it took time for me to grow.” He replies.
Xavgon explains to me how he has been trapped but was found by a young Shellion who sensed his dred powers. She tried many spells before he was free. But not completely. He had to grow on his own without me. It only came to be because a piece of my hair was used in the original potion Musfall brewed so he possessed it. Without it, he would still be but an egg.
“I need you now more than ever.” I assure him.
“I am here now mother, never to leave your side again.” He assures.
“He is out of my sight.” Xavgon says.
“We must go back to the others. I cannot leave them in such a dangerous place stranded.” I say.
“I promise you, I will find him.” Xavgon says.
“I know.” I reply.
“I don’t understand. What just happened? Did I see what I think I saw?” Ton asks Hiddard.
“You did, my friend. That was a dragon. And not just any dragon, our queens.” He smiles.
“Well, we certainly could have used him a few minutes earlier.” Ton says.
From the dark Xavgon’s wings flap and causing supplies and men to fall over. The earth, quakes as he lands.
I slide down to all bending before us including the Kales who had saved us.
“Everyone okay?” I ask.
“Not everyone my queen.” Hiddard replies.
I scan the area to see dead guardsmen.
Shelleeann and her two daughters walk over.
“Thank you Kalera for risking your life for theirs.” She says.
“If I am not here to save you, then why am I here?” I respond.
“This is Xavgon, my son, my friend. Where he has been matters not, but he is here now, not as a servant, but as an equal. He is not a pet. He is not a slave. He is a dragon, and a dragon is to be free. We will bury our dead, and continue to the port. From there, make our way to Mason.” I announce.
“Mason, my queen. But what of Ager? What of Bram? You now have a dragon. We can take him. Ton speaks.
“Maybe we can. But my weakness is his. The longer I remain in Zaylen, the stronger I become. I promise you. All of you, the next time I stand before Ager, it will be to end him. Donegal believed in me though he had never seen me. He believed in prophecies he did not know to be true. He united the outer north as best he could. He gave his life for us to be here. But we are not enough. I will need a full force to meet Ager. To destroy the hold he has on this realm, I will need an army. I will need the people to believe in me, not because of Xavgon, but because of me. It begins in Mason. I end the games, I free the people, and I offer them a choice. Be free and follow and fight for me, or be free to leave. They will decide their own fate and together all of us will bring this realm peace.” I announce.
Ton, Hiddard, and Genna takes a short bow and walks away. I remember the eggs. I run back looking for the mere with the compartment I had stashed them in. After finding it on its side, I open the box and there they were.
Xavgon leans in to sniff them. “My children.” He cries.
“Your children?” I ask.
“They were lost to the world my mother, but here they are. You being here now with them can only mean one thing.” He says.
“What’s that?” I whisper.
“Boilos. The Death Claws have returned.” He replies.
“You know of them?” I ask.
“These eggs have been petrified for thousands of moons, elementos was laid by my ancestors. Your blood awakes them.” He responds.
“Donegal asked me to destroy them. Is there another way Xavgon?” I ask.
“There is, but you are not going to like it.” He replies.
Meanwhile, Ton is thanking Kooloan for his help. He walks Ton over to his father. King of the Kales. Ton becomes nervous and stutters as he thanks him.
“I did not do it for you.” Spoke the King.
What Ton does not know is that Kales are telepathic beings. Not long after Kalera patched him up, he sent a message to his tribe about her.
Kooloan moves towards Kalera and Xavgon.
“It seems you and he has the same gift as we Kales. Your grace, this is Malaki, my father, ruler of the great Kale tribe. He is pleased to meet you.” He says.
I look upon him in awe. He was taller than Kooloan and his mane was white and silver. He had brown skin, blue eyes, and long black hair.
Malaki looks me over finding the symbol of the Dawns on my neck. He could not believe it. For many moons, ago a Dred made her way into his camp. She had been bitten by wild dogs and was turning. Her magic no longer sufficient enough to end her suffering. The Kale cared for her as long as they could but she soon surcomes to her injuries. Before the transition was complete, she told them of one who would save the realm. One from the old ways would destroy what is and what was. She begged Malaki to kill her before the transition was complete. He believed she was suffering from the fever, but here a Dawn stands.
Gracefully, Malaki and his tribe surround me. They bow their heads as one. And I graciously turn to each of them as to say thank you. Then Kooloan signals the tribe to help aid in the burial of the dead.
“I am indeed thankful for your support out here.” I spoke.
“I am thankful that you healed my son. He had been missing for some time. He is my first in command.” My queen, how can we help you?” Asked Malaki.
“We are on a journey to rescue two children from the clutches of Mason. I can’t be sure, but I believe they were taken there to fight in the Games. After, and hopefully, successfully, we will head beyond Grayler to Mount Mahar. If you can spare Kales to accompany us that would suffice.” I answered.
“I can do more than that. I will accompany you on your mission. Dawns are the reason my people were able to live in peace for many moons. It was a sad day when the last was taken away from this world. Zaylen needs you, and I will help you to whatever end.” He responds.
Malaki removes his bow from his back.
“I pledge my life to the Queen of the Realm. My bow shall protect you, and my knowledge educate you. I am very familiar with the lands of Mahar. What is it that you seek there?” Ask Malaki.
“According to my dragon, I must return the Elementos to their rightful place, or this world suffers the wrath of the Death Claws” I explain.
“I know of those horrid creatures from the far, far north seeks them. They have sought them for thousands of moons. If they are real, the creatures will follow. Until now, I thought it was a rumor, myth.” Informed Maliki.
Kalera and Malaki make their way over.
They all begin moving the bodies as the Kales brought over piles of hay and buckets of water. Hiddard gave a final death toll of 20. To each individual body, I clean their faces and pray over them. As I move to the next, Ton, Hiddard, Kooloan, Genna, and others carefully place them on a stack of hay. Before long, a vertical line of five women and fifteen men lay before us.
My thoughts were on Xavier and my mother and the unknown of Musfall and Zoran as I speak their eulogies.
“I did not know any of you, but for you I shall continue. Your acts will forever be etched in the corners of my mind. Your honor and bravery shall live on in each of us as we strive to make this world a brighter place.”
Xavgon moves in closer to me. I turn to him and whisper, “Raygol.” I have no idea where the word stems from. But Xavgon understands quite clearly. He takes a deep, deep breath as I warn everyone to move. But I stood there. He roars and looks down at me and turns his head towards the dead. He brings his long neck in and blows. From the base of his body, he releases ice blue flames onto the bodies of the dead.
I raise my arms as the flames protrude me causing no harm. I feel no pain, my skin intact as I realize I had already risen so the fire could never harm me again.
As the smoke clears, the bodies are frozen like a stone.