Nimbulan has lost much bringing peace to Coronnan. Now he must risk his magic, his very essence, and the last of his family in one final battle to find peace.
The covenant with the dragons is broken. No longer can like-minded magicians gather dragon magic and work communally to impose honor and ethics upon any single mage. Nimbulan, Senior Magician, and councilor to the king has had to exile his beloved wife, Myrilandel, because she is a witchwoman and no female can gather dragon magic. Now she is missing from her protected clearing along with their two adopted children.
To bring his wife home again, with only his loyal journeyman Rollett at his side, Nimbulan must brave the hostile city of Hanassa. The secret city is wrapped within a volcanic caldera and sealed off from the outside world. No dragon will venture there. It has become a haven for outlaws, smugglers, and rogue magicians.
Will Nimbulan’s love give him enough courage and strength to endure the trials that await him? Will Myrilandel have enough cleverness to survive the cruelty of a renegade dragon who rules Hanassa with a bloody fist?
About the Author: Irene Radford, aka P.R. Frost, aka C.F. Bentley, has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species, a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon, she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon, where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck.
A museum-trained historian, Phyllis Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family, she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between.
Read a Sample
(Danger!) a dragon voice screamed into Myri’s mind. (Danger to you and the younglings!)
Raised voices and pounding feet filled the village square.
Amaranth leaped to the doorway, back arched, fur standing up. The tips of his wings poked free of their protective skin folds in his agitation.
“Raiders!” Powwell, her adopted son, shouted.
Kalen, Powwell’s half-sister, dashed inside. “Myri, come, the storage sheds are burning. We have to flee, now! They are coming closer.” She tugged anxiously at Myri’s arm.
“Who?” Myri barely had time to ask as Kalen pulled and Karry pushed her outside.
In the open space around the Equinox Pylon, dozens of villagers rushed madly from hut to hut. Smoke filled the air with an aura of menace.
“This way,” Powwell half-dragged, half-carried Myri’s bulky body toward the path leading up into the hills and their magically protected clearing. Amaranth kept close by her side, refusing to fly until she was safe.
(Not that way!) Shayla announced into Myri’s head. (Evil men await you near your clearing.)
The carpenter’s hut at the edge of the village exploded in flames. Three people, faces blackened with smoke, ran out the door, coughing. They beat uselessly at the bright green fire with blankets and cloaks.
The greedy flames ate at the dry timbers and thatch. The entire autumn had been unusually dry and bright. Very little rain had soaked into the homes to protect them from the flaming arrows that sped through the air. A fisherman’s home, near the cliff path to the beach, caught fire with the next barrage of arrows.
Powwell tried a magic spell to douse the fire. The flames shot higher, feeding off his magical energy as well as the thatch.
Smoke filled Myri’s lungs. She nearly doubled over from coughing. Moisture streamed from her eyes. Cold autumnal air chilled her skin.
A tiny cramp in her belly sent panic and new energy shooting through her veins. The baby wasn’t ready to be born yet.
Amaranth circled her ankles, mewing anxiously. She almost tripped over him. Her senses distorted. She needed a moment to grab a hold on up and down, right and left, safety and danger.
Black-clad men appeared at the edge of the village. A dozen or more. They carried torches, swords, and bows with full quivers on their backs. Something seemed familiar about them—brightly colored vests and kerchiefs covered in silver embroidery—Rovers!
“Into the forest. They can’t find us in the trees!” Karry yelled.
(To the trees. I will guide you to safety,) the dragon said. Amaranth agreed.
Instantly, Myri’s vision spun upward. From the perspective of a dragon flying overhead, she saw the villagers running aimlessly in all directions. Some of the humans ran afoul of the black-clad men who approached from the north with fire and sword. Others disappeared amid the towering trees that spread up the hills to the south of the village.
She forced control over her double perspective. She’d done this with Amaranth many times. Part of her consciousness had to remain anchored to her body so she could flee from the danger.
Myri’s empathic senses roared into life after many moons of dormancy. She stopped her running steps to absorb the full impact of her talent. The essence of every life around her slammed into her consciousness. She needed time to sort through them, to know who was friendly, who intended harm, who needed help, who could help.
Suddenly she knew that the lives who hid among the towering trees awaited the villagers with clubs and knives.
“We’ve got to hide.” Powwell slipped his adolescent arm about her waist, guiding her. She sensed his magical armor dissolving as fast as he erected it. What magician led these raiders? She didn’t think the Rover chieftain powerful enough to interfere with Powwell’s magic.
“No, it’s a trap! There are more Rovers in the forest.” Myri reeled, not knowing where to turn.
Shayla circled the gathering of humans, screeching her distress. She spurted flame at the edges of the milling villagers, then withdrew it. She endangered the innocent along with the raiders.
“Yiheee!” a black-clad man screeched, running toward Myri with club raised.
“I need her alive,” another voice shouted. “Catch the witchwoman and her familiar alive.” A voice she recognized. She should have known he was behind the raid the moment she recognized the attackers as Rovers.
“No,” she moaned. “Not him.”
Amaranth screeched and launched into the air. He extended his talons to rake Piedro, the man with a club. He threw his hands over his face, ducking beneath the flywacket’s assault.
Amaranth raked the man’s scalp and circled back for a new assault. Piedro came up swinging his club, blood from his scalp dripping into his eyes. He caught Amaranth on the tip of his wing.
“No!” Myri tried to rush to her familiar. Powwell dragged her back into the mass of villagers fleeing into the forest.
The flywacket faltered. Out of nowhere, a fishing net flew through the air, trapping him. He fell heavily to the ground, thrashing and hissing. He bit the knotted ropes that covered him.
He stretched and paled. His black fur shed light. His wings grew larger, forming wicked hooks on the tips and elbows. The net parted at one knot, then a second.
“Transform, Amaranth. Transform into a dragon,” Myri cried with relief. She needed to stay and make sure he was safe. Powwell pulled her away, toward the trees.
An old woman flung herself over Amaranth’s struggling body. She enfolded the enraged flywacket in a thick canvas sack, cutting off his access to sunlight. Without light, he couldn’t transform into his dragon body. He had only cat claws and teeth to fight the net and the sack.
The cramp in Myri’s belly intensified. She panted, trying desperately to regain control over her body and the people running and screaming around her. The line of trees loomed closer. Sanctuary. She knew how to hide in trees. But she couldn’t climb anymore. The bulk of the baby kept her bound to the land.
A dark man stepped out from the concealment of a fallen tree. Myri tried to run from him. Kalen and Powwell dragged her in a different direction.
Help us, Shayla!
(If I flame those who threaten you, many innocents will be killed. You must flee and hide. Flee into the trees.)