"What brings you here in the middle of night, Marta?"
"I am troubled with dreams when I do sleep and sleeplessness when I can't." "Would you care to sit with me awhile, then?"
"Yes, Namahline, you are a great friend." Marta stepped into Nama's stall and curled into her side. Nama exuded a calming mind chant and soon Marta was sleeping quite peacefully.
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Read an Excerpt
By Tonia Morecraft
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Tonia Morecraft
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Hatching
It was a dark smokey day, the smoke from the great mountain hung in the humid air. It was a perfect day for the hatching. Marta almost couldn't contain herself long enough for the simple breakfast her mother had prepared. "You must eat, Marta," her mother chimed. Tall for her age, yet innocently sweet she obliged her mom, with a smile. "I'm sorry mama, I'm just so excited. Today is the day I can feel it." Sasha only smiled at her daughter, today had been the day each hatching for the past two years. This year would be her last year to be chosen. Sasha didn't want to see her daughter disappointed but being a mate wasn't bad either, as she was. It had been fate to see Sasha as a mate, not being chosen during her three years eligible, so a mate she was, raising three strong sons and her daughter, Marta.
As she ate her porridge and muffins, she thought over the last two hatchings and what had gone wrong, she was sure. She had been late, she had been too far away and her brothers had teased her into a bad attitude and that frightened off the dragons. The hatchlings would only choose one of courage, strong character and of good vibrations and that would only be if her brothers stopped teasing her and let her alone. They felt as the only girl in the unit it was her job to be a mate and let the dragons to them. It was their belief that dragons were for the men to hunt and travel and protect the villages. Boys!, Marta thought, were just too full of themselves, she would show them. When the time came to pick a mate, she would be doing the picking, not being the picked. Marta slid a look at her mother, noting the tired eyes and flushed look. She worked too hard being Drake's mate and producing children so often, she would rule her home and decide what and when not someone else.
Marta picked up her satchel wondering where Michael, her twin brother was, he was due at the hatching today as well. This was their third and final year to be chosen after that they would be trained as mates and that would be their fate. Marta so did not want that to be her future, looking again to her mother. She vowed to be different, to make her own life. Hugging her mom good-bye, Marta left their home and walked toward the center of town, where the hatching was to take place. All the dragons eggs were gathered there as they were ready and with the females approval, of course. No one messed with a mommy dragon unless they were crazy. Leaving all negative thoughts and bad vibrations behind her, Marta walked with smooth confidence to the town's center.
In the town's center, under a shade canopy of palm leaves and plenty of water, were the eggs. Colorful, some smooth, some rough, but all held the potential of a rider. The greatest potential Marta could ever imagine, this just had to be the year, and with that final thought, edged her way into the crowd and as close to the eggs as she could get without climbing into the nest itself. The she dragons were circling near and some even landed there in the circle to watch the event and protect the young. It was always best to be aware of the female breeders as they were very protective until the matching was over. From there on the young dragons were the chosen's responsibility. As the sun reached into the sky, the hatch lings began to come out of their shells. Oh, what a sight. No one was allowed to reach for them, or call to them, they just had to wait and watch and be aware when they were chosen, a hard event to miss. As the hatch lings chose their human and eye contact was made a passing of thoughts occurred and from then on the human and the dragon would know each other's thoughts, feelings, joys, triumphs and pains. It was more than just a spiritual experience, it was a combining of two living beings for the rest of their lives, there was no separation once a match was made. There were various species and the human really had no choice as to the type of dragon that chose them, but if the thought was there in the mind the dragon may chose someone else if it didn't feel wanted. There were European Dragons, Frost Dragons, Knuckers, Wyverns, Amphitheres and Marsupials, this being a perfect place for breeding dragons there was a large variety. Marta had her preference but she was open to all and this was going to make a big difference in her being chosen, she was sure. As she sat down cross legged next to the hatching nest she noted Michael was already seated across from her and seemed quite content to ignore her completely. Well, that was just fine by her, she would show him and her other brothers, she would choose her own life and her own mate when the time came, not the other way around.
Suddenly there was a large crack, the first egg was hatching! Oh, how beautiful, a Wyvern, as the young dragon looked around he made eye contact with Simon, a boy of only ten summers. How lucky can you get? The next egg produced a Frost Dragon brought down from the White Mountains, again a majestic sight. Marta almost couldn't stand it, such beautiful creatures, so close and yet so far, she loved them so much and the impact they could have on her life was immense. Before that match was even made another and another hatched, pretty soon there were more hatchlings than eggs.
Marta was so busy watching the amazing animals hatching that she forgot to watch Michael or even to worry about her own match.
Then suddenly, something happened, a magnificent European Dragon with the palest of blue scales caught her eye and in that flash of an instant everything changed. Marta almost collapsed with the effect of combining their minds and sharing their thoughts, and as all this happened, Michael was matching with a Marsupial. Marta calmly reached into her satchel and offered up a treat to her new companion.
After all the hatchings were matched and the ones not chosen had gone home to wait for the next year or their training as a mate to start, Marta still just simply sat and watched her new friend find her legs and stretch her wings. Yes, it was a she dragon, how could she have been so lucky. She got the dragon she most wanted and a girl, not to mention the fact that it looked like her dragon was also a rare silver dragon. What a day, she was so excited but also so shocked she didn't know what to do next. When the minister came over to record the matching and to register the dragon's name Marta was tongue tied to the point of being embarrassing. She hadn't thought of naming her beauty and could not produce a name to suit, the minister understanding her dilemma suggested she ask the dragon for her name. As this had not occurred to Marta, she again felt foolish and inept until the dragon spoke in her mind and gave her, her name, Namahline.
Feeling the connection with Namahline and the utter gentleness in her mind, Marta began to relax, a little. Once the minister moved along to finish up the registration of the various matches, Marta and Namahline began to get to know each other while they walled home.
As they walked, Marta tried to adjust herself to mind speaking as this was the proper way to communicate with her dragon. It wasn't always easy and especially for one who was quite vocal normally. Namahline was calm and encouraging, for one just hatched, and her presence alone made Marta much more relaxed. Along the path they met up with Michael and his new friend, Chaz, which they were told was short for Chazmerin. Chaz was a Marsupial dragon, this breed of dragon did not fly but covered large amounts of ground by bounding, a kind of running leap. Michael was thoroughly intrigued by his new companion and more than relieved that he didn't fly. You see, Michael was afraid of heights and only his twin knew this, if it ever became common knowledge he would be ridiculed beyond belief. Because they were twins, there was a special bond between them, one that most couldn't imagine. They felt the others pains, joys and strong emotions as if their own.
So when Michael teased Marta she could tell he was with their older brothers, deep down he was proud of her and a little protective. Marta, of course, felt she didn't need the protection but felt the same toward Michael.
"Can you believe it, we both got chosen, this last year of our eligibility?"
"I know," replied Marta,
"I am so glad for both of us." Michael said grinning, "I hope Mom and Drake can take it, two more dragon riders and no mate from this unit."
"No mate yet." Marta mumbled. She was afraid that Mom was bearing again and that it would be too difficult for her, it had been thirteen seasons since her and Michaels birth, but that was a negative thought and today, today was all about the good, "Right Namahline?" "Right."
As Marta and Michael turned into their home, Sasha and Drake were there to greet them. They were both quite stunned to see that both of their children had been chosen. "Well, well, what a fine day it is indeed." Drake stated as the two alike walked to the house with two magnificently formed dragons. Sasha was so completely amazed that both of them had been chosen but especially for Marta. She would escape the fate that she had so desperately feared, and for that Sasha was so grateful. As befitted the new riders, they were greeted with bows from both parents, it seemed strange, but it was traditional. Drake, as the head of their unit, was responsible for checking over the dragons for any flaws or problems. Chaz was fine with that and actually enjoyed the stroking hands, Nama on the other hand wanted nothing to do with it.
"Marta, you must control your dragon for this inspection," Drake insisted. "If you can't control her for this how can you possibly expect to ride her."
Marta, feeling the sting of his words, simply asked Nama if she would please be still and accept the inspection.
"Please?" Drake looked shocked, "What do you mean, please."
Oops, there I go talking out loud again.
"You are supposed to be the master, not to ask but to demand she do as you wish." "I see you still have a lot to learn, Marta." Once the inspections were done and all was well, the new members of the unit were settled into the Crutch.
This was a long building with dividers inside to keep the dragons apart. There were only four stalls, as that was all that had thought to be needed, but now a new divider would have to be added.
"Oh well," Drake said, "That will be seen to later, the two young ones will be fine together for now.
Michael, you and Marta fork in some straw and feed them, get them settled, then up to the house for a celebration." After Drake and Sasha were gone, Michael turned to Marta,
"I don't blame Nama for not wanting Drake to inspect her, I wouldn't want him to inspect me either." They both fell into peals of laughter while Chaz and Nama looked on confused.
Up at the house Sasha calmly asked Drake why he was being so hard on Marta. "Is it because she is a girl?" Sasha asked.
"Yes," Drake replied.
Shocked and dismayed by her mates answer, Sasha just stood there open mouthed. "Now, now, Sasha, it's not what you are thinking. Marta is a beautiful young girl and would have made quite a catch as a mate, but do not think I don't know her hatred for such a life. She will have a hard go to become the rider she envisions and I will not make it any harder by coddling her. You and I, we believe in her, but she must believe in herself. I am starting her training now, especially in that arena."
"I am sorry, Drake, I should have trusted you more on this." Sasha walked over and placed her head on Drake's shoulder and knew he was right. All would be right, he would make sure of it. Her only concern now were the two older brothers. Scott and Thom, what would they have to say about not only Michael but Marta being chosen, finally, as well.
"I feel your concern, mate, do not let it worry you, I will deal with this as well." Drake spoke, watching his older boys return from the hunt. "Now, prepare a feast for our new riders, without Marta's help I'm afraid, and let us celebrate as is becoming tradition.
Once all were seated for the meal and blessings bestowed, Drake announced the change of roles for Michael and Marta as well. "I will tolerate no badgering of the young ones and will demand you help them in this trial. Is that clear?" Stuttering badly, both Scott and Thom blinked owlishly, and agreed without hesitation.
"Michael and Marta are both riders now?" asked Scott.
"That is what I said, isn't it?" From then on it was all about what kind of dragon chose them and the coloration, because of course that denotes temperament. All were excited in the news and the feast went well.
As it was what we would refer to as "Spring" and they called the time of Two Moons, it was bright late into the night. This time was not wasted, as the nights were bright, the days would become blistering as the season moved on.
So, after the feast, the unit moved out to the Crutch, preparing to build in the dividers and get to know the new members better. This was a time of coming together and learning for the unit and especially for the new riders. Drake and Flame had been together for many seasons, and worked together more as one than two beings. It really was magical to watch. Flame was a bright red to maroon colored Wyvern, a dragon mostly of flight and colored for a volatile temper.
Scott was blessed with a smartly colored Knucker, of yellows and golds, an even tempered creature of the ground.
Thom had the luck of the Amphithere, a beautiful winged creature of blues, golds and blended earth tones, again a very calm and even tempered dragon.
Scott being of fifteen seasons and chosen in the first year of his eligibility, had five seasons with "Sonny." Thom of fourteen seasons and being chosen in his first year of eligibility had four seasons with "Estrada".
The dividers were built without difficulty, with the help of the dragons. That was the way of the units, the dragons were an integral part of the units. Working with the members for building, hunting, protection and companionship, they filled a void both ways for humans and dragons. Chaz and Namahline were getting off to a good start with the others and introductions were done when Scott, Thom and Sasha arrived. Chaz seemed a genuine flirt and loved all the attention. Namahline was friendly but a bit more reserved. Maybe, this was due to her being of the more rare types of dragons, a palest of blue that would, in time turn, to a silver color. Coloration is of course a factor in a dragon's personality. Chaz, formerly Chazmerin, was an olive green and darker green combination. This seemed to indicate a friendly outgoing personality and that fit to Michael just great. One thing the whole unit agreed on, they had the best mannered all purpose companions around and that would not change with Chaz and Namahline's training.
During the next few weeks Michael and Marta were bombarded with geography, nutrition, critical care and various other types of information that they felt were just not natural.
"I don't get it," Michael said one evening after lessons.
"Get what," Marta snapped. She wasn't very happy with lessons either.
"Why do we need to know all this now?"
"No one bothered with us before we were chosen, why now?"
"That's the point isn't it. Now we are riders, before we weren't decided, nothing to train for." Marta stated.
"Oh," was all Michael could manage.
"Let's go and be with Chaz and Nama while we can," Marta said, "Nama always makes me feel better."
"Yea, Chaz too," Michael said. Off, the two alike, went to spend some quality time with their companions.
Sasha announced at supper the following day that the unit would be going to the meeting place in two days time. This was met with smiles by Scott and Thom and questioning gazes from Micheal and Marta. Do we have to go, the young ones asked. Drake answered before Sasha could, "Yes, we will go as a unit."
For the next day (night) as it was getting increasingly warmer during the day, preparations were made to go to the meeting place.
"I don't want to go," stated Michael one evening, to Marta.
"I know, do you think I want any part of this. Oh, yuck."
"I'd guessed we'd have had a little while longer."
"Will Chaz and Nama be allowed to go?"
"Of course, they must accompany us, we can not be separated."
Excerpted from Dragons' Plight by Tonia Morecraft Copyright © 2011 by Tonia Morecraft. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1 The Hatching....................1
Chapter 2 The Gathering....................9
Chapter 3 Home Again....................15
Chapter 4 A Plan....................23
Chapter 5 First Flight....................27
Chapter 6 The Discovery....................35
Chapter 7 The Trial....................49
Chapter 8 The Stranger....................55
Chapter 9 A Grisly Finding....................63
Chapter 10 The Secret....................73
Chapter 11 The Calm....................79
Chapter 12 Together Again....................85
Chapter 13 The Council's Decision....................91
Chapter 14 The Match....................97
Chapter 15 Back Again....................101
Chapter 16 Shocking Surprises....................107
Chapter 17 Seek and Find....................111
Chapter 18 An Army of Dragons....................119
Chapter 19 Training....................123
Chapter 20 A New Revelation....................131
Chapter 21 An Army is Formed....................137
Chapter 22 A Journey Begins....................145
Chapter 23 A Strange and Different Land....................155
Chapter 24 Into the Frey....................159
Chapter 25 The Dragons' Rival....................173
Chapter 26 Face to Face....................181
Chapter 27 And the Fates Prevail....................189