The Dragon of Two Hearts: Book Two of the Star Trilogy

The Dragon of Two Hearts: Book Two of the Star Trilogy

by Donald Samson

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Overview

The wild dragon, Scorch, has devastated the lands surrounding the kingdom of Gladur Nock. He demands a steady tribute, which impoverishes the common folk and imposes upon them a mood of fear, desperation and want. The errant knight Michael hears of their distress and armed with his knowledge of dragons, travels to offer his support. On his way, he falls in with a community of townspeople living in the forest. They have sought refuge in the woods, but live in constant fear of discovery. They claim to be escaping not only the destruction of the dragon, but also the oppressive rule of the king of Gladur Nock. The knight realizes that the situation was far more complicated than he had first thought. Continuing on his journey, the knight is ambushed and taken prisoner by a troupe of mercenaries capturing men like himself traveling cross country. He is bound with the others and delivered to the dungeons of Gladur Nock. The dungeons are a training camp where the men are sorted out by their ability to fight. Soon, due to his skill at arms, Michael is sent to the Warrior Compound where only the best are trained. Princess Aina, a warrior maiden, oversees their training. He discovers that they are being prepared to go and face the dragon in single combat. In a rare visit, the king exhorts the warriors to be brave and bring him back the dragon’s heart. Due to his exceptional skills, Michael is soon chosen as the next King’s Champion to go face Scorch. Michael is guest of honor at a banquet, but is disgusted at how the nobility feast and place wagers on how long he will last before the dragon eats him. While awaiting his appointed day, Michael is in the care and guidance of the princess. He discovers that Aina is equally repulsed by how lightly the king and the aristocracy take each knight’s sacrifice of his life. Her sympathies lie with the oppressed common folk who go hungry while the privileged classes feast. Aina takes Michael with her repeatedly on her outings to dole out grain to the hungry. Although Michael had at first viewed her as an adversary, he now sees that Aina is his one true ally. Michael rides off to battle with Scorch. When they meet and take their measure of one another, Michael discovers that his ability to understand Star’s speech allows him to also communicate with Scorch. The dragon is surprised and intrigued to find a human being able to speak with him. The two engage in a duel of the words where the knight attempts to reform the wild dragon from his destructive ways. Scorch spurns Michael’s efforts, and in the end they do battle with one another. With the skills he had learned from Star, Michael is able to befuddle Scorch’s efforts to quickly make an end of him. But Star had always impressed on his young apprentice that in battle, the dragon will always, eventually come out on top. Overwhelmed by exhaustion, Michael succumbs. In true dragon fashion, Scorch does not kill his opponent outright, but drags him back to his hoard where he will slowly squeeze the life out of him. Lying beneath the dragon’s crushing weight, broken and defeated, Michael reflects on his life and his teachings. Could it be that all dragons carry the same secret, yet elusive, opening to their hearts, available only to the knight at the moment of defeat and imminent death? In a final gesture of farewell to life, Michael connects his heart to that of the disgusting beast that has defeated him. At that moment of union, a transformation occurs, and the dragon is awakened as if from a slumbering nightmare. The dragon Scorch is none other than Michael’s own beloved Star, distorted by exposure to the greed, violence and cruelty of the king and his court. Michael gesture has returned him to his peaceful state. Full of remorse for the destruction he has caused, Star sets about healing he countryside, and offers to counsel Michael how to depose the wicked king, without putting himself in danger of returning to his wild nature through exposure to violence. Aina and Michael gather to themselves men at arms from the encampment in the forest. They lay a trap for the king who has pursued him with an army in order to put an end to the rebellious forces and rumors of the knight who claims to have tamed the dragon. Michael and his forces are vastly outnumbered, but reinforcements from Nogardia suddenly arrive, led by none other than Aga and Michael’s childhood friend, Colin. The king is routed and defeated. Aina is joyfully received by her people to free them from their oppressors. Michael’s own noble past is revealed, and a royal wedding is planned. Star willingly places himself in Michael’s care to bring blessings to the kingdom he had devastated as Scorch.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781888365931
Publisher: The Star Trilogy
Publication date: 08/01/2009
Series: Star Trilogy Series , #2
Pages: 316
Sales rank: 590,260
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 10 - 18 Years

About the Author

Donald Samson grew up in the mega-urban environment of Los Angeles at a time when the smog was thick and the freeways were flinging their tentacles throughout the city.   After expanding his horizons through study at UC Santa Barbara, he sought fresh air and adventure.  He set off for a dozen years of travel, living as an expat first in Greece, then for a long stretch in Germany, and finally landing in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. Upon returning to the States, he learned the art of teaching children, and was a Waldorf class teacher for nineteen years. It was during this time that he developed his love for storytelling. His first books owe their origin to stories he told to one of his classes. It was his students' persistent requests (badgering, really) to read the stories he had told that led him to write them down.  He currently lives in western Colorado working as the educational director of a public charter Waldorf school.

Read an Excerpt

Prologue to
The Dragon of Two Hearts

A haze hovered over the ruined land and the stench of burnt earth filled the air. The rolling hills were ringed by cold shadows, and the stubble of scorched trees cast eerie shapes in the stark light of the moon. A small figure crept furtively from shadow to shadow. A fox from the nearby forest had stolen into this forbidding landscape, hoping to find unsuspecting prey. Suddenly, his hackles stood on end. A nearby hillside had shifted. Was that a trick of the odd light on the desolate landscape? Out here even the shadows seemed alive. The night-hunter raised his nose to pick up some scent, but all he could smell was the burn of the land. He eyed the distant line of trees where there were bushes he could hide in. The fox was spooked and every instinct called him to abandon his hunt. He turned his nose back towards the forest, towards his den, towards the safety of thick undergrowth. Crouching low to the ground, he started trotting along the line of the shadow. Then, without the slightest warning to his keen senses, his small life was abruptly and violently snuffed out.
The great beast sniffed at his quarry and was satisfied. He picked up the limp body of the fox in his immense mouth and carried it back to his lair. He cast it onto the stinking pile where its bones over time would mix with the remains of all of his other victims. He gazed up at the moon, spread his cavernous jaws and bellowed loudly. Let it be known that he was the master of this ruination. He returned to patrolling his land.
He approached the line of trees where the fox had sought refuge, the barrier between his devastation and the lands beyond. He stopped in theopen, away from all shadows, allowing the harsh light of the moon to shine ghostlike upon the massive length of his body. He lifted his long snout to the air and sniffed. The burn did not dull his sharp sense of smell. He detected that there was someone watching him from the cover of the trees. He recognized her scent. She had come before, and something in him was confident this would not be the last time. He raised himself up to his full height, as if to show off his glory in the moonlight. He flexed his horns and spikes and thrashed his long tail. It would be a simple matter to pounce on her and add her bones to the pile in his lair, yet he did not. He would let her come as often as she needed until she had seen her fill. He raised his head to the moon and bellowed. He could smell her fear. He smelled her agitation and anger. But most of all, he sensed her irrational attraction to him. He bellowed again.
A day's ride away, a knight awoke from a disturbing dream. He shook his head as if he could shake off the images that still lingered before his eyes. Then he looked up at the sky, well-lit by the waxing moon. He groggily acknowledged that morning was still far away. He glanced about and was satisfied that there was nothing in the night to match the terror he had seen in his dreams. He pulled the covers over his head, turned on his side, and forced himself back to sleep

Table of Contents

Part I The Knight Errant
Chapter 1 Thief in the Night
Chapter 2 The Village in the Woods
Chapter 3 Expect the Unexpected
Chapter 4 Capture
Part II The Kingdom of Gladur Nock
Chapter 5 Sparring in the Dungeon
Chapter 6 The Pit
Chapter 7 Bring Me the Dragon's Heart
Chapter 8 The King's Feast
Chapter 9 The Portrait
Chapter 10 The Dragon Maker
Chapter 11 The Ruined Lands
Chapter 12 Scorch the Terrible
Chapter 13 The Wager

Part III Michael and the Dragon
Chapter 14 In the Forest
Chapter 15 A Spiny Meal
Chapter 16 The Commonality of Dragons and Knights
Chapter 17 The Dragon's Heart
Chapter 18 Flowering Fields
Chapter 19 The House of Michael and Aina

Part IV To Seed the World
Chapter 20 Scorch Is on the Move
Chapter 21 A Trap Well Sprung
Chapter 22 The Duel
Chapter 23 The Commander from Nogardia
Chapter 24 Something More and Something Less
Chapter 25 The Emissaries

Epilogue

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