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White Dragon
A Dragon Medley - Book II
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-196-X
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Medieval
eBook Length: 256 Pages
Published: September 2014

From inside the flap

Leena, a Healer, her best friend Meeryle, a Mage, and Tikid, a Green dragon, travel together to the closest city to introduce dragons to mankind. The dragon’s presence make things difficult for them, but their lack of experience in the face of the oncoming winter almost cost them their lives.

Amidst blowing snow in the mountains, they find a new ally who will guide them in the cold, towards a new people, the elves. Amongst them, Leena finds someone she never thought she would see again and someone with whom she has a special bond. If only he were not so insufferable…

After Meeryle furthers her studies with the elven Mages under her familiar’s watchful eyes, Tikid leads them further into the mountains towards the White dragons. But these are fierce creatures who so not respect humans, a far cry from the gentle Greens. Thanks to a lot of convincing on Leena and Meeryle’s part, the White dragons accept to meet with humans and elves, but Leena and her friends come back to the elven home only to find warfare. Will her Healing skills and her determination be enough to save everyone?

White Dragon (Excerpt)

Chapter 1

The door slammed in Leena's face. The tall girl shook her head with a sigh.

"So? Do we have a place to sleep?" asked Meeryle.

Leena shrugged. "We can use the barn. Well, I think that's what she said. She was so busy deciding whether to faint or simply shake with fear that she chewed her words."

"The barn it is, then," said Meeryle. "It's better than sleeping in the open. Besides, it looks like it's going to rain. I'd rather be dry in the hay than wet in the forest."

"Not rain, Meeryle, more like snow," replied Leena with a shudder. "Don't forget, we've been heading north and I think we're far enough for winters to be white rather than muddy like the ones we're used to."

The chubby girl frowned, looking at the clouds. "Are you sure? This looks like rain to me. What do you think, Tikid?"

Tikid inhaled and shook her huge head. As usual, the dragon responded directly in the girls' heads, using mindspeech. "Snow is cold. Let us see if the barn still has live earth. I am tired and I need to replenish." She headed for the barn, wings drooping.

"She didn't answer my question. Leena, we have to teach her to answer questions properly."

The tall girl smiled. "I thought you'd be used to these answers by now, Meeryle. Come on, Tikid's right. If it does snow, it'll be cold. We need to start a fire."

Meeryle's face paled and she bit her lips. "You start it; I'll get the dry fruits and the bread ready."

Leena's heart sank at the fear on her friend's face. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't get Meeryle near a fire. It hurt to see her best friend afraid of the very thing she used to treasure. Meeryle was a Mage who had lost control of her power, and in doing so, burned down their village's barn and all of its contents, almost killing herself in the process. Since then, Meeryle had refused to use her gift for fear that she might once again lose control of it and harm, if not kill, someone.

Meeryle didn't just avoid fire, she no longer wanted anything to do with things linked to the element. As a result, the most celebrated cook in their village didn't prepare hot meals any longer. She could still make dried fruit and bread taste good, but she didn't use her talent to its fullest. Mealtime was reduced to the barest minimum; Leena had to prepare soup or hot items. Meeryle would only eat those away from the fire. The only positive outcome was Meeryle's decreasing girth. Between the much leaner meals and the constant walking, the Mage had gone from big to chubby. Another few months and Meeryle would probably be a normal size for her soon-to-be eighteen years and her short height.

Leena entered the barn, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. Evening was already upon them, and the clouds, heavy with snow, didn't help matters. The tall girl took out her small lantern, lit it with the flint and frowned at what she saw. The barn was old and empty, the owner using it to store forgotten objects and garbage that might be useful one day, not grain or hay. The gray sky could be seen through the ceiling in some places.

"Well, let's find the driest spot in here, shall we? I'm surprised this place is still standing."

"The earth here is useless to me. I will need to go back into the forest for a little while before I sleep," said the disappointed dragon.

"From what I understand, the closer we'll get to the city, the worse things will get." This farm was a bit of a surprise, really. Since they had decided to take the short route over the mountains to Sharitown, they had met very few dwellings once they had been clear of the forest. The land was rather dry, giving little hope of wielding any crops. The rocky mountains ahead were not a welcoming sight, but they might offer better sustenance for the dragon than the desiccated fields surrounding them.

"Go before it gets completely dark. I'll get a fire going and we'll eat before you get back."

"Thank you. I do not like the smell of live dead things cooking," replied the dragon with a disgusted sniff.

Leena smiled. The only smell Tikid liked was that of Meeryle's sweetcakes. Anything else offended her senses. Dragons didn't eat; they imbued themselves with the essence of their environment. Tikid was a Green; she needed the essence of the trees in particular and of plants in general. As earth was crucial to plants, she could also use its essence, but it had to be 'alive', full of minerals and other nutrients. It seemed humans had a tendency to drain the earth of its essence, forcing Tikid to fly into the forest and rest there for a few candlemarks, replenishing her energy. She always came back to sleep with her human friends, and had become a heat source for Meeryle. Since the young Mage refused to warm herself beside the fire, she cuddled Tikid and slept against the big creature, holding the fourth member of the traveling group, Suqi.

Leena still didn't know what to make of the fox-like creature. Suqi was a goupil, the traditional Mage's familiar. Leena could no longer think of the creature as an animal. The goupil could mindspeak, just like Tikid, so she had to be considered a person. Suqi would only speak with Meeryle and sometimes Tikid, but never with Leena, which irked her to no end. She had much to discuss with the goupil, in particular her ability to lick a wound and Heal it. However, Meeryle had relayed the firm message that Suqi's Healing gift was none of Leena's business. Insulted, the girl had decided to ignore the creature, at least for the moment.

Leena prepared the fire and heated the remnants of the soup. She considered their dwindling supplies and sighed. Life was not easy. While they had managed to gather a few coins, money was of no use in the villages scattered in the forest. Trade was the currency both within and between the small communities, so buying food had at times been difficult, especially of late. As they slowly made their way out of the forest and into the mountains, villages were far and between, isolated enough to rarely have visitors, let alone accept coins for goods. Since neither of the girls could offer freshly killed game - they weren't hunters - or fabric, they had to find another solution.

Meeryle did have an idea and for some reason, Leena wasn't comfortable with it. Meeryle had proposed that Leena offer her services as a Healer, but not for people. The village Healer, Corvin, had given Leena her gold-and-green scarf marking her a Healer in her own right, but to make it completely official - and in some areas, legal - Leena had to register with the Healer's Guild. In the meantime, Corvin had told her to limit her Healings to very desperate cases only. Some new Healers who hadn't been sanctioned by the Guild had met with mistrust when offering services. Leena didn't want to take the chance. She was much too young to be a Healer and she knew it. No, Meeryle had suggested that Leena offer her Healing services for animals in order to pay their way to Sharitown.

Tikid had jumped with joy at the idea. Since dragons spoke with animals, she could ask the cattle or the horses where they hurt or if they felt sick, then relay the message to Leena. The solution was simple and elegant, but it didn't have the success Meeryle had hoped. In order for Tikid to speak with the livestock, she had to show herself. Since the group's goal was to introduce dragons to the human population, they had hoped they could combine the offer for services with the presentation of the eager young dragon, but so far, they had been met with mistrust and fear - and very few farms. Who in their right mind would let a creature as big as the dragon near their animals?

Looking at the near-empty bag of food, Leena was now wishing people weren't so mistrustful. The thought was unfair, as she was herself still intimidated by the large dragons. But now that they probably wouldn't see another settlement before they reached Sharitown itself, Leena wasn't so inclined to be charitable. They already had to ration their food, trying to use whatever could be gathered - which was thankfully a skill they had both developed while they were very young.

The first villages who had welcomed them had been close enough to theirs to have heard about the dragons, so had they been in need, they would have certainly allowed Tikid to speak with their animals and Leena to Heal them. However, the livestock had been quite healthy, so Leena's skill hadn't been required, much to her relief. However, the further away they traveled, the less they were made welcome. Offering Healing services for the cattle had been out of the question, so Leena hadn't have to use her gift at all, on people or animals, for which she was thankful.