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Imora
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-178-1
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 261 Pages
Published: June 2014



From inside the flap

Imora the Ice Dragon awakens from the long dragon sleep to discover a thief has stolen away with her most valued possession: her son's heart, preserved in a jar. When she tracks the thief to a high mountain fortress, a Dengal army is waiting. In the battle that follows, she loses both of her wings. She retreats, belly to the ground like a common snake.

In her previous wake, she takes her son away from his father in order to teach him her ways in the high cold mountains of Dengaleth. When the Dengals slay her son, Imora finds the discarded heart struggling for survival. Through a series of trials and sacrifices, she obtains crystallis from the Fallen Star, all while fighting back the call of another dragon sleep. With the crystallis, she crafts a container to preserve the heart securely until she can find a way to restore her son's life. At last, she surrenders to fatigue.

Now, with no wings, she must learn to exist as a creature of the ground, discover a way to find and reclaim her son's heart, and at last enter the realm of the Uldethwyrm to ask the dragon god to resurrect her son. But to enter the god's realm she must make a great sacrifice and an even greater one if she is to save her son- her own existence.

Imora (Excerpt)


CHAPTER ONE

She slumbered, deep beneath the snow, in a womb of glistening ice. Her hide, a complex mesh of translucent icy scales, heaved in and out like the waves of the ocean, each breath slow, long drawn, and steady as a clock's beat.

Inside her slumbering mind, asleep for one hundred years, visions of clouds swarmed; light, white billows high above the world, above all its splendor, above all its wonders. Her wings were spread wide as she glided upon an overwind. It carried her amongst the clouds and into a massive cirrus. She spiraled her long slender body around its wispy strands, dodging some and following others as ice crystals clinked off her scales. She threw herself into a thick thread, let the chill envelope her form. Frayed fibers blurred her vision.

And then she fell.

She could feel her body spiraling downward, wings useless, flailing as the world dragged them as if by the arm of a giant. A small cloud drew her in. Her mass dispersed it as she plunged through. Below, the white mountains spread, their peaks jagging upward as if waiting, wanting to skewer her alive.

Her time was near once more. She had felt it for months now, a quiet reminder of a life forgotten in the void and occasional dreams of slumber. Her long sleep was ending and it was time to take her place amongst the waking world for a new age.

However, there was something else, another thought, another feeling.

She was not alone.

Someone was near.

Thud!

Her mind drifted out of the sky and back into her slumbering body as more thunderous thuds sounded in the outside world. She knew the source of the noise and knew that she would be safe until she awoke. The Dengal's were, if anything, not entirely without a sense of honor. They would not murder her in her sleep; they preferred the fight.

Her mind and her senses quickly waking, she kept her breathing unchanged as to not alert the intruders that she was aware of their presence.

Ignoring the insistent thuds, she waited until her mind had reached its waking state enough to act quickly and with intelligence. Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes, and with a great flurry, came alive like a tornado, sudden and abrupt without warning. Her wings unfurled from their cuddled tuck as her long slender body and head snapped upward. Frosted wind blew from her nostrils in a long, cold stream.

In those moments sleep slipped away, released her mind and her body back fully into her control. Her first real feeling was pleasure as her wings spread out to their furthest reaches, stretching the muscles and webbings tight. She flapped them once, caught briefly in the desire to escape the confines of her cave and feel the wind beneath them once more.

She drifted her gaze to the five fiends standing not so far away. Four were backing away at the sight of her display. One of them shook, shambling like a snow-covered tree. The fifth, the one in front with the iron boots, stood his ground, a shiny iron-headed axe held firmly in both hands. The Dengals were a short, stocky folk with rough, ruddy flesh, dressed in heavy metal shells and thick furs and hides of slain beasts. They were creatures of war and chaos.

The four with the crossbows took aim, though even as they did, they continued to back-step away.

"I am Eldakas Yer of the family Bey of the Kakana Olak," the courageous one spoke in his native tongue, a guttural, to-the-point language she had learned when she was young. She much preferred her own tongue despite its complexities, for it was fluidic and melodic like the flowing of a river.

"I am here to challenge you, Imora the Ice Dragon!" The fiend went on, his red beard dancing like fire on his chin. "Stand up to me," he finished with another thud of his boot.

Stirred from one hundred years of slumber a few days early, she wanted to roar. She wanted to bat her wings together like heaven's thunder itself, but she could waste no time, show no weakness.

She allowed her anger to take an inkling of control, fully aware what would happen should it take too much of her.

One quick downward flick of her head and she snapped Yer Bey in two with her mighty maw.

The other four Dengals wasted no time in fleeing; left Yer Bey's lower half standing alone in its iron boots.

Imora swallowed the body chunk whole. It left an unpleasant metallic taste on her tongue. She had yet to find a tasty Dengal, but after so long without food, anything in her belly was satisfying enough.

She came down on all fours, a bit weak and a bit shaky, and started out of her cave, her mighty claws digging into the slippery ice. She passed the ice hunks where the Dengals had broken through the barricade that protected the main chamber, and then up the long shaft she went, in no particular hurry. Her eyes not yet fully adjusted to being open, she could barely see the four forms scampering ahead. She could hear them though, their metal armor clattering and clanking as they went, spiked boots gripping and tearing at the ice. She followed them up and through twists and turns, slowly gaining, until she could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

One Dengal turned and took aim with his crossbow.

Imora hastened her pace to overbear him. He managed to loose a single bolt before she swallowed him whole, but she did not fear it, for such a feeble weapon could not penetrate her scales.

However, as she felt the Dengal settle into her belly, she felt a prick in her chest, right below her neck. It was a tiny, annoying sort of prick, one that demanded a good scratch. Much to her displeasure, she could not reach it in the confines of the tunnel. She tried to rub the spot against the tunnel walls as she climbed, but that only made it worse.

So, upward she continued, as the urge to scratch grew worse and worse until the prick turned into a fiery pain. Her chest felt aflame and steam began to rise as her scales began melting away.

When Imora at last erupted from the tunnel into the white light of day, she felt more pricks at her flanks as the three remaining Dengals peppered her with the enchanted crossbow bolts. Whatever foul magic they were using, she would put an end to it soon enough.