Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sample Sunday: Blood of the Dragon

This excerpt is from chapter 6 of Blood of the Dragon. The full novel is available on Kindle, Nook, and in paperback.

Lana was having her last dinner with her parents, after which they would head to the hatchery to move the egg, when a member of the SC burst through the door.

"Nilon knows!"

Before anything else left the woman's mouth, the family was in the hall throwing on their boots and grabbing their sweaters. All four raced through the darkened streets toward the hatchery. Despite the expected commotion, no sound could be heard from the building. The woman explained that the Hidden had put a sound lock on the area to minimize the attention. They were all out of breath as they reached the hatchery door. Lana's father stopped them from entering and pressed his ear to the wood. The others followed suit. Sounds of struggle and angry shouts could be heard inside. A sliver of light crept across the snow as he peeked in. A spreading pool of blood could be seen just inside the door. There were signs of a struggle, but no one in the immediate visible area. As they entered, they were forced to step around the SC guard, now deceased. It was clear that a fight had occurred, but he had been on the losing end. Slashes covered his face and hands. A bright red stain grew from a tear in his shirt. Chelandra's mother checked for the man's pulse, but none was to be found.

A scream of pain and hatred brought them back to the task at hand and they proceeded cautiously down the aisle. The door to Mynora's stall was open, straw spread out onto the dirt floor. Mynora was inside the tiny stall, desperately trying to protect the cracking egg. Nilon had slipped past her to the back corner, using her bulk to protect himself from the two Gypsies near the door. The Gypsies could not use magic and Mynora could not turn around in the cramped space without endangering the egg. Nilon knew that and used it to his advantage. He had a long dagger in his left hand and was swinging it wildly. Slashes along Mynora's neck and back showed that he was not afraid to use it. She had her flank to him, protecting the treasure.

At random intervals, Nilon would lunge, attempting to strike the egg and wound the hatchling inside. His attempts had not succeeded to this point, though Mynora's strength was failing quickly. Blood soaked the straw underneath her and she moaned in pain. One of the Gypsies attempted to thrust a spear over Mynora's bulk, but it stuck in the wall next to Nilon and did the man no harm. He grabbed the shaft and yanked the object out, whipping it toward the egg. His assault was blocked and the spear tip sunk past thick green scales. Mynora thrashed briefly at the attack and a scream ripped through the enclosure. Nilon leapt backward to avoid the backlash.

When the Gypsies saw the newcomers, one screamed, "Get the egg out!" He pulled out his dagger and climbed over the dragon. As Nilon struggled violently with his attacker, Lana helped the others move the egg onto a cart that had been brought from the wagon outside. She and her mother pushed the cart quickly toward the door. A startled gurgle caused Lana to look back toward the stall. The Gypsy who attacked Nilon lay gasping for air across Mynora's tail. Blood spilled from his mouth and nose. Mynora pinned Nilon against the wall as he slashed violently at her hide. The second Gypsy was preparing a burst of energy that would engulf the entire stall.

"Go!" Mynora screamed.

Lana's father burst through the door and helped Lana and her mother push the cart to the wagon. Lana felt her hair stand on end as the energy bomb was released inside the building. She stopped and turned back as the stench of burnt flesh filled the air.

"Lana, you must go." Her mother was pushing her to the wagon. "You have to."

The girl climbed up next to the egg as tears began streaking her face. The remaining Gypsy shouted a command and the horses took off at full speed. By the time Lana turned back, her parents were barely visible. She waved desperately until she could see them no longer, then collapsed in misery.

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