Dragonfriend Series Book 1
by Marc Secchia Genre: YA Epic Fantasy
Gold Award winner - 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards
Stabbed. Burned by a dragon. Abandoned for the windrocs to pick over. The traitor Ra’aba tried to silence Hualiama forever. But he reckoned without the strength of a dragonet’s paw, and the courage of a girl who refused to die.
Only an extraordinary friendship will save Hualiama’s beloved kingdom of Fra’anior and restore the King to the Onyx Throne. Flicker, the valiant dragonet. Hualiama, a foundling, adopted into the royal family. The power of a friendship which paid the ultimate price.
This is the tale of Hualiama Dragonfriend, and a love which became legend.
Series Note Dragonfriendis a YA fantasy novel set in the same world of the bestselling dragon adventure series Shapeshifter Dragonsand Shapeshifter Dragon Legends. It can be read in any order alongside Aranya, Shadow Dragonand The Pygmy Dragon. Awesome dragons, epic stories and deep dragon lore abound in this unique series set in a world of volcanic islands above the clouds.
Lia was yelling into the dark hole when the incline beneath her feet heaved, sending her into a helpless, bruising tumble down the steep slope before the vine snapped taut. She fetched up against a large granite boulder. Nearby, rock and stone buckled and cracked. Clinging to her vine, Hualiama caught her breath. With the resounding thunder of a Dragon’s challenge, Grandion burst free from his confinement, bellowing and bugling his joy until echoes cascaded from the opposing mountainsides, and the startled dragonets took off in a flock to begin a celebratory aerial dance.
From the tips of his talons to the massively spiked crown of his head, Grandion was what the scrolls failed so miserably to capture, an awesome living creature of fire and magic. It seemed inconceivable that a beast of his stature could possess a sleek, feline grace, but as the Dragon stretched his neck to gaze at the stars, and arched his spine with a deep groan that bespoke irrepressible delight at being freed from his bondage, he seemed wreathed in a mantle of stark and terrible splendour, far surpassing Lia’s wildest imaginings. Her chest hurt. Lia’s scalp crawled with a sensation of expansiveness.
Mercy! What had she loosed upon the Island-World?
Then, the Dragon’s muzzle turned, seeking her out. A crystalline eye-jewel, blazing with Dragon fire, fixed upon the Human girl with a potency that struck her speechless. She had never felt so very small. Mighty as he was, not even Amaryllion had mesmerised her so profoundly. This was different, a tempestuous song of magic and elation and no small tremor of fear as she gazed back at the Island-World’s ultimate predator, and yet her heart sang unbridled.
Grandion. She knew him, and he knew her, and it was a connection so exquisite and unending, Lia thought she might explode in a puff of bliss.
“What magic is this?” he whispered.
“None I know,” Lia stammered. “Oh, my soul … I feel … strange.”
With great nobility, the Dragon bowed his neck until the tip of his muzzle almost brushed her stomach. “I thank thee for redeeming my life, Human girl.”
By rights, the Dragon should execute her on the spot for standing upon the holy Isle. Though terror reigned supreme in her being, Hualiama’s tiny hand rose to touch his muzzle, sparking a palpable frisson in the Dragon’s body. Grandion’s belly-fires roared into life as if she had applied the bellows to stoke a furnace, only the blaze melted her own soul. Lia laid her cheek against his; so warm, so alive. There was nothing cool or reptilian about him. The complex beat of his hearts defied her comprehension, bespeaking ebullient storms of emotion coursing through the Dragon. And Lia wept as she had never known a person could weep, for gladness and wonder and the strangeness of a mystery which cocooned their shared existence at this moment, for the white-golden fire which gilded his muddied bulk in tongues of living fire, and for the knowledge that all of what she knew of the world, should be cast upon the pyre.
Once, the Ancient Dragons had raised the Islands from volcanic ashes. Newness rose from those world-shaping fires, sculpting places where creatures could live and love and thrive. So she felt now, poised upon the rim-wall of the unknown, about to dive into her future.
“O Dragon,” she breathed at last, “I tremble at thy presence.”
Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He's the author of 23 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year - watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards.
When he's not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there's nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.
There are four major Dragon families–the Ancient Dragons, the Lesser Dragons, Shapeshifters and dragonets. Many varieties exist within each major family; varieties of colour, shape, size and magical ability. Certain colours and abilities are more common than others. All Dragons speak Dragonish to a greater or lesser degree.
Lesser Dragons–descendants of the Ancients, they are commonly Reds, Greens, Oranges and Yellows. Their primary attack is Dragon fire but this is usually combined with one or more special attacks or abilities. Greens are renowned for their healing abilities and poison or acid attacks. Their favourite habitat is woodlands, forests and especially jungles. They are often long and lean in body shape, and reclusive by nature. Reds, Oranges and Yellows excel in various categories of fire breathing, fire shaping, fireballs and special attacks such as molten lava. Reds are usually the most massive of the Lesser Dragons, achieving wingspans of over 120 feet. They are gregarious and love to live in large colonies. The Blue and Grey-Blue spectrums tend to dominate in the lightning and water-based abilities, and higher-level magical abilities such as shielding. They are fond of roosting in high places or near water. Zuziana, as an Azure Dragon, is a rare colour and is among the smallest of Dragons in physical size. Grey-Black to Black Dragons, such as Fra’anior (an Ancient Dragon), usually have lightning and earth powers such as earthquake, or the much rarer powers of storm and shivers. They often prefer living in caves.
Dragonets–first found on the Islands of Fra’anior, the dragonets are generally thought to have lesser intelligence, but the largest dragonets (up to four feet in length) do communicate well in Dragonish. They love to live in large colonies and are highly sociable. They become easily attached. Sapphire, a blue dragonet, becomes attached to Aranya and travels with her. Dragonets have as wide a variety of colours as Dragons. It is agreed that dragonets only breathe fire and have almost none of the other abilities of the Lesser or Ancient Dragons. (Special note: Flicker might disagree. See the Epilogue of Dragonstar for more on this subject)
Ancient Dragons–those who first colonised the Island-World and are said to have created the Islands and Humans. Little is known about the Ancient Dragons. One in particular, Fra’anior, a huge, multi-headed Black Dragon with Storm powers, plays a part in our story. There are also Magma Dragons which live in volcanoes and Land Dragons who roam the Cloudlands, although it is unsure as to whether they are flying, walking or swimming. The Land Dragons are said to chew on the roots of the Islands.
Shapeshifters–most scholars agree that Shapeshifters are a race of their own, being neither Dragon nor Human. Shapeshifters may have been the result of scientific experimentation by the Ancient Red Dragon, Dramagon, but this is uncertain. Shapeshifters are able to transform between their Human and Dragon forms. Most Shapeshifters are bound to a single Dragon colour.
Dragons which defy classification–magic being what it is, there are those Dragons and Shapeshifters who defy classification, as is the case with Aranya and her mother Izariela, and Fra’anior’s soul-mate Istariela. Izariela and Istariela are Star or Silver Dragons, Dragons tending from silver to the purest white. No-one knows if they are Ancient or Lesser Dragons, nor exactly what their powers might be. Aranya, an Amethyst Dragon, is also of indeterminate classification, although she evidences a number of abilities across the spectrum such as Dragon fire, healing power, lightning and storm.
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