Scale of a Dragon
Callen is a beautiful young woman who tries to see the best in every situation. Cursed with a cruel, overbearing father, she struggles to find balance in her life. When an injured dragon crashes near her home, she must disobey her father to follow her heart.
Now available at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com, Scale of a Dragon is a short story of 5,600 words set in the world of The Guardian’s Apprentice – I hope you enjoy this brief excerpt.
A rumble of what sounded like thunder in the distance made Callen pause, as one did not often hear thunder in the middle of January, much less under a cloudless night sky. She glanced upward to look for the source when suddenly an ear-splitting shriek pierced the night air, echoing over the forest. Dropping her bundle of firewood, Callen looked around in fear as the sound made her blood run cold; the shriek had carried the sound of rage, pain and anguish in equal amounts. A sudden burst of blue-black flame in the distance caught her attention, as an enormous dark object hurtled towards her. Callen screamed and dove behind the pile of firewood as the object passed just over the roof of her cottage, knocking a few stones from the chimney as it passed. A thunderous crashing sound followed as whatever it was plowed through the forest behind the cottage and came to a stop some distance away.
Callen cowered behind the pile of firewood for several minutes, until the cold chill of the snow forced her upward. The forest was remarkably silent since the object had crashed, with the only sound being the wind creaking through the branches high above. Taking a few furtive steps, she eased around behind her home until she could see the forest beyond. Small branches and entire limbs had been torn from the trees, although the objects trajectory was not perfectly straight – some larger trees had been entirely missed – as if someone had fallen from the sky instead of something.
Unable to contain her curiosity any longer, Callen carefully followed the trail of debris into the forest. Not far beyond the edge of the treeline, she could make out a dark mound nearly the size of her cottage. Callen knew the forest well and there had never been a mound of dirt here before – and this one appeared to have been on fire as there were wisps of smoke rising from it and the smell of burnt sulfur permeated the air. She edged forward, trying not to stumble over the debris in the snow.
This must be what a mouse feels like when it sniffs a trap for the first time.
Fear surged through her as she realized what would happen when she didn’t bring more wood in for her father – he would be furious – not to mention how she would explain the thunderous crashing sounds he must have heard as the object clipped their roof. But at that moment, something spurred her forward; she could not explain it but knew in her heart that she had to examine the object that had crashed. As she drew nearer, the object began to take on a more familiar shape – what had looked like just a large mound from a distance was now more elongated, with a spiked tail trailing out the back and large, leathery wings stretched to both sides. With increasing horror, Callen realized she was gazing upon a dragon! It must be a relatively young one, judging by the size, but it was still as large as Callen’s cottage. The beast was lying with its head partially under one wing and it was obviously badly wounded. There were scorch marks all along the blue-black scales covering its body, where wizard fire had obviously struck. Most dragons repelled wizard fire with ease unless they were caught by surprise or were very young – which this one seemed to be. Callen knew she should flee and call for help, but for some reason she just could not bring herself to do so. She stared at the creature in awe of its obvious power, for she could feel the magical aura radiating from it.
She crept closer to the beast and moved around towards the creature’s head, being careful to avoid the outstretched wings and tail. Now that she was closer she could see the dragon was still breathing, though the breaths were ragged and shallow. Guided by her curiosity, Callen leaned forward to get a better look at the beast’s head. As she craned her neck forward, a fallen branch caused her to stumble. The sound of the limb breaking echoed through the forest like a gunshot, and the dragon’s eye snapped open with a start – the pupil narrowing as it focused on Callen. The piercing stare of the fiery orb transfixed her…
Available at Smashwords http://tinyurl.com/5w85vxv
and Amazon http://tinyurl.com/6fpcuox