On the planet of Naronna, Brie was a simple bakery owner who kept to herself. No one suspected her to be a runaway from a powerful royal family from Malta. Her life was about to change when that dragon inside of her no longer was content to remain dormant.
Brie’s real name is Brieanika, and she holds several royal titles on two separate planets. Since she ran away she managed to live her life the way she liked for over a thousand years, but it had all come to an end. Royal guards were sent to retrieve her so she could learn how to control the dragon and to become one with it. Though she dreaded returning to the life that she didn’t know, she had no choice but to join her people and fulfill her destiny.
In this exciting fantasy tale, accompanied by Trace, her Sentinel, and a few friends, Brie rediscovers her heritage, stumbles through her new life within the royal court, and learns what it really means to be a dragon. While doing all of that, she must continue to do everything in her power to thwart the plans of the person intent on ending her life.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)|
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THE DRAGON INSIDE
By J. A. Edwards
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2013 J. A. Edwards
All rights reserved.
Three men waited patiently on the shuttle bay platform. The Naronna shuttle was running late. They stood by themselves away from the other travelers. They were not talking aloud but an occasional nod of the head or a chuckle sound made it seemed as though they were communicating with each other, possibly telepathically. The other travelers, who were waiting for the shuttle as well, did their best to stay away from the three. They seemed to be making the people feel a wide range of emotions, from unease to terror. Everyone did agree on one thing, these men were people to avoid.
Once the shuttle finally arrived, no one moved. The three strangers were the first ones on. They made their way to the back of the shuttle to stay away from the rest of the passengers. One of the rules when traveling to Naronna was no weapons allowed. However, no one was brave enough to approach the men and take their weapons away from them. Nevertheless, the Captain of the shuttle did send a message to the security at the Naronna capital city of Nuna, so that they are aware of the visitors.
"Have the images of the men arrived yet?" the Hanger Commander asked as he walked into the room.
"They are coming in now, Sir." The board operator signaled the Commander over to the screen.
As the images appeared on the screen, the Commander examined the three men very closely. They wore solid black uniforms. On their left upper arm was a Royal insignia. On the right arm was an insignia representing the position within the royal court. Two of them had short hair, cut very professionally, one with midnight black in color and the other one brown. Then the third had shoulder length very light blonde hair and could use a shave. The Commander did not care for the tattoo of a bird's wing around his left eye.
"This is very interesting and very unusual. By their uniforms, I can tell that two of them are Draynor Royal Guards and the one with a tattoo surrounding his left eye is a Slayer. The question is why they are here on Naronna?"
"Maybe they are here in response to the massacre at the mine a few weeks ago." the operator added.
"I hope not. I would hate to think that we have a rogue dragon on our planet." The Commander started to imagine massive dragons flying over the city breathing fire and destroying buildings. He shook his head to make the thoughts go away. "Let the shuttle dock as normal. I will go and meet our guests from Malta personally." The operator nodded and sent a message to the shuttle Captain.
The twenty minute flight aboard the shuttle to the capital felt like eternity for passengers and crew. It is very rarely that people see the Draynor far from Malta. At least once everyone glanced to the back of the shuttle to see what the visitors were doing. But all they saw were the three men looking straight head, and an occasional nod from one of them showed they were still silently talking with each other. Many felt disappointed. They realized that they were not going to see a dragon today, at least not from them.
The shuttle docked in the main city hangar without any delays. The passengers disembarked quickly and went their separate ways. They saw the small group of security personnel waiting as they landed and did not want to stay around to see what was about to happen. The three Draynor soldiers were the last ones off, without hesitation, they walked over to the waiting security and stood face-to-face with the Hanger Commander.
The Commander went straight to the point. "Gentleman, may I inquire what your business is here on Naronna?"
"There is a young Draynor who lives here that we need to talk to. Nothing more," one of the men answered.
"So you are not here to investigate the mining massacre?" The three men glanced at each other; they were unaware that a massacre had occurred. "Eleven miners were killed, or torn apart for a better word. No one knows what kind of creature could have done it."
"We will check into it while we are here, but I am sure it won't be a matter for us," the Slayer added.
"Well, you should know better than anyone." The Commander said and the Slayer nodded. "Gentleman, enjoy your stay on Naronna. Just remember next time you travel on the shuttle, no weapons are allowed." The Commander then walked away.
The men were silent until the security team had left the area, then they spoke very quietly to each other. "Mikan, check the scene at the mining camp to make sure none of our people were involved." The Slayer nodded and walked away. "Straider, come with me, we need to find our Lotta Lu." The other two men walked out of the hanger and into the main city.
* * *
As the sun set on the city of Nuna, people were finishing their work days and heading home to spend time with their families and friends; no one was in a rush. It was a very peaceful city. The houses were built into the side of a mountain and then continued to sprawl throughout the valley. Beyond the city, there was a forest as far as the eyes could see. By all accounts it was a paradise. Where the mountain met the ground there was a line of shops closing up for the day. A young woman, who looked barely 23, stepped outside of a bakery, locking the door behind her. She had red hair that crept down her back and she was finally able to untie the ponytail and let it fly free now that her workday was over.
"Baker, here is the order for the King's breakfast. He wants you to deliver the order personally." She turned around when she heard the voice of the King's Advisor. Two palace guards accompanied him. She batted her sky blue eyes at him.
She took the piece of paper with the order on it and placed it in her pants pocket. "As I explained before and every time you deliver the order, I don't have time for personal deliveries. I have a very small bakery and I don't have the personnel available," she answered with a smile.
"You need to learn your place, Baker, when the King gives you an order, you obey it," the Advisor snapped.
"Maybe if you called me by my name instead of my profession, I might be a little more inclined to comply," she snapped back. "I will have the order on the King's table before he arrives, as usual." She tried to walk away but the Advisor grabbed ahold of her arm.
"I don't like you. Your defiance to our King will be the end of you."
She looked at his hand on her arm. "I don't care if you don't like me, but our King does, so maybe you should be a little nicer to me." He slowly let go of her arm. "So for future reference, my name is Brie and not Baker." She walked away. The Advisor did not follow her. He just walked the other way with his attitude dragging behind him.
Brie was too tired to cook anymore, but she was hungry. Therefore, she stopped at the diner just two buildings away from her home to have the evening meal. When she walked in the diner, she was greeted with a smile.
"Brie, it is wonderful to see you here tonight. Please have a seat. Would you like your usual?" Brie nodded. "I will get it for you."
Then the waitress was off, almost bouncing, into the kitchen. Brie smiled. Haley was an annoying person because she was overly cheerful all the time. She tended to eat more than she served, but she was very kind and knew all the gossip.
While she was waiting for Haley to return Brie glanced around the diner and noticed that half of the fifteen tables were filled with customers, it was not usually so busy in the middle of the work week. A few people recognized her and nodded as they eat their meal. Haley rushed out of the kitchen with a plate full of food and a drink. She placed it on the table in front of Brie.
"Eating alone again, I see." Haley started in. "You know you could be easily dining at the palace. King Braedan likes you very much."
Brie smiled. "I am aware of his feelings. But I have no interest in a life at court."
"Well, it would be better than working twelve to fourteen hours a day." Haley smiled. She then heard the bells on the front door ring as someone walked into the restaurant. "Back to work," she yelled as she flitted away. Brie just smiled as she started to eat.
After a few minutes, Brie realized the diner had become silent; even Haley's laugh stopped. She looked up from her plate and saw Haley frozen in horror. She was staring at a man dressed all in black. He was asking her something, but she was too afraid to answer him. Her strange behavior was curious to Brie so she looked at the man to see if she recognized him. It was easy for her to see him because he was walking toward her table. She stared at his extremely black hair and the stern look on his face. Unfortunately, she did know him and she needed to get out of the restaurant in a hurry. She quickly got up and turned towards the back of the diner for a quick escape. However, as she turned around she ran right into the grasp of the man's partner.
"Hello, Brie." The man smiled at her. He turned her back around and pushed her down into the chair. "Have a seat." Straider kept his hand on her shoulder. The other man reached the table and sat down across from her.
"How have you been, Brie?" He calmly asked.
"I am fine, Trace." She answered the man sitting at the table as she kept trying to squirm out of Straider's grip. "Will you tell your pet lizard to let go of me?" Trace signaled to Straider to let her go. She settled down in the chair. "How did you find me?"
"Silly Lotta Lu, I have always known where you have been. Don't you remember we are connected?" He touched the side of his left forehead Brie just rolled her eyes. Her reaction made him chuckle.
The front door to the diner opened up again. This time Mikan, the third member of the party, walked in. Haley stayed where she was; she felt safer behind the counter. Brie glanced behind Trace when she heard the bells on the front door ring. She wanted to know who else was coming in. All she saw was the tattoo on his face around his left eye indicating he was a Slayer. Brie became frightened and managed to get out the chair. She was a few feet away before Straider caught her again. Mikan whispered something into Trace's ear. Trace nodded with acknowledgement of the information.
Trace smiled. "My Lady, please sit down, no one wants to hurt you. I just want to talk."
"Then why didn't you come alone? Why bring a Slayer with you?" She was shaking in fear because she did not believe him.
"Trace, maybe we should talk in a more private setting." Straider glanced at the others in the diner for the first time. They had been listening in on the conversation.
"I agree." Trace nodded. "Brie, shall we retire to your home?" She did not move. Trace stood up and moved next to her. He whispered into her ear. "I am sure it is bad enough for you to be seen with us. Do you really want to let them hear what we need to discuss with you?" She stared at him. "It is your choice."
Brie let out a sigh and extended her hand toward the front door to signal they could leave. She dropped money on the table to pay for the meal she did not get to eat. She walked out of the diner surrounded by the Draynor guards. Haley watched her leave; she did not move, she just had a blank look on her face as if she was frozen by what she was seeing.
Brie was glad the street was empty. She did not like the stares. She tried her hardest to blend into the background because attention was something she never wanted. She led the way down a dark alley to her small loft. She unlocked the door and walked in. The three men followed. They looked around at the opened area; it was bigger than it looked from the outside. There were a few dishes in the sink from the morning meal and a blanket was thrown on the back of one of the two chairs in the room. Her bedroom was upstairs but they could see that the bed was still unmade. She ignored the condition of the apartment and once the door closed, Brie started in on them.
"I made it perfectly clear I wanted to be left alone. You have no right to hunt me down like a criminal." Her anger flared.
"Calm down Brie. We did not hunt you down. Again, I have known where you were ever since you ran away." Trace spoke as calmly as he could. "But play time is over, Lotta Lu." He raised his voice. "It is time to come home."
"Stop calling me Lotta Lu, I am not a little one!" She yelled.
"Then stop acting like one," he yelled back.
Mikan walked over to Brie. She stood her ground and refused to move. He circled her, sniffing the air around her. She did not know what he was doing. He held up two fingers for Trace to see. He then grabbed ahold of her wrist and tried to move the sleeve of her shirt to expose her bare arm. Brie grabbed ahold of her arm and refused to let him.
"Move your hand, My Lady, or I promise you, you will lose it." Mikan stared deep into her eyes. Brie was not sure if his threat was real, so she slowly moved her hand away. "Thank you." He slid the sleeve up her arm and exposed a laceration in her forearm. Inside the wound, it was healing over with a thick reddish tissue. "Trace, make that three times." Mikan kept ahold of her wrist as he searched his shoulder bag for something with his other hand.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk, your body has attempted three times to change and you haven't contacted anyone yet for help?" Trace was not happy. "If you fully changed without one of your own kind there to help you, you would have killed everyone you saw. The massacre at the mining camp wouldn't have compared to the carnage you would have inflicted on these people," he scolded her.
Mikan pulled a bracelet out of his bag and placed it around Brie's wrist, then locked it into place. Brie jerked her arm away from him and tried to get the bracelet off. "It won't come off," he said. "The restraint will stay in place until we get you home, so you can fully change without risking innocent lives."
"I am not going home." Brie continued to try to take the bracelet off. "You can't protect me there."
Trace stopped, he did not expect her to say that. "Why do you think we can't protect you? You think you are better off without any protection at all?"
"At least here no one knows who I am, so I am in no danger." She gave out a sigh to calm herself down. "With an entire military guarding my parents and brother, they were still murdered. How could I be safe ...?"
"It is because I was not assigned to watch over them." Trace cut her off. Brie looked confused. "I was assigned to watch over you. You are alive and you have continued to stay alive because I have been watching over you all this time, even though you did not know I was there." Trace walked over to her and took ahold of her hands to calm her down. "The day you were born my life was forfeit. I took an oath to protect you until I take my last breath." He spoke softly. "If you will not come home, will you go somewhere else for your training?"
Before Brie could answer Trace, some commotion outside caught their attention. Straider moved over to the window and glanced out through a crack in the blinds. At least 20 well-armed soldiers had surrounded the building. A vehicle pulled up and stopped in front. Then more guards showed up and surrounded the vehicle.
"It looks like a Royal procession," Straider commented.
"It probably is. It seems the King has feelings for our Lotta Lu." Trace added as he walked over to the center of room to prepare to meet a King.
After a few minutes, there was a knock on the door. Trace signaled for Straider to open it. Once it was open, Straider found himself face to face with the King of Naronna. He was 35 years old, with light brown hair and a body that showed he worked out every day to be physically fit. Straider gave a slight bow of his head to show his respects. The King ignored him and walked into the room. He walked past Trace, refusing to acknowledge him as well as he went by. He stopped in front of Brie. He held out his hand for her to take it. Brie extended the arm that had the restraint attached to it. He examined the restraint for a moment then he kissed the back of her hand.
"Are you all right my dear?" the King asked. She nodded. He turned toward Trace and finally acknowledged his presence. "Lieutenant, when Royal Guards arrive on my planet, it is customary that they present themselves to me before they bother my citizens."
"Yes sir, I am aware of the custom, but under the circumstance we determined that it would be wise to speak with Brie before we did anything else." Trace tried to justify his actions.
"My Hanger Commander said you were looking for a young Draynor. Now I don't know what your definition of young is, but by her appearance she doesn't look more than a year or two younger than yourself." The King drilled Trace for information.
"Sir, looks can be deceiving. It is the dragon inside of her which is quite young and the reason for the visit." Trace answered. The King looked at Brie with a raised eyebrow. "We want to make sure the dragon stays inside until we get her some place safe."
"Well, she is not going to run from you, so the restraints will not be necessary." He reached to take the bracelet off her arm.
Mikan grabbed the King's arm. "Do not remove it, Braedan." The King froze in his tracks, how dare someone touch him.
Excerpted from THE DRAGON INSIDE by J. A. Edwards. Copyright © 2013 by J. A. Edwards. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
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