Dragon Mage is the second book in the Dark Age series, and it picks up right where Dragon Whisper left off.
Breanna is still struggling to master her magic, even with Mim’s help, and the war is only growing stronger.
Meanwhile, the dragons are becoming increasingly restless. Only Breanna stands between them and their hunger. Can she ensure that they never feed on the souls of the people again?
This is the beta version of Dragon Mage. I want it to be an exciting read that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end, so as I update chapters I’ll be asking for your thoughts and feedback.
But for now, enjoy!
There was no trace of the Dragon’s Whisper.
The fire crackled. Her friends breathed gently as they slept. Birds flitted above her, nesting high in the trees.
But, for Breanna, the world was empty.
She shook her head. “I can’t hear anything.”
“It’s all right, poppet,” Mim said, her soothing tone was tainted with an undercurrent of exhaustion and frustration and Breanna had to force herself not to roll her eyes at the Wizard’s patronising pet name. At seventeen summers old, Breanna was used to her own tribe belittling her. But now she wondered if the Wizards too would treat her like a child. She was dreading her new apprenticeship.
It had been days since she had set out from the Fenwater Marshes to journey to the Wizard’s Tor; the only place in the Edge Islands where she could learn to wield her newly discovered powers.
But in those few days, there had been no sign of any Dragons.
Breanna thought this could only be a good thing. But the Dwarf Wizard, Mim was growing weary and impatient.
“Why don’t we try somethin’ a little different.” Mim’s black eyes sparkled in the firelight as she grinned.
Breanna stifled a groan and glanced at her sleeping friends. There was little point in trying again, could she not go back to bed? There were still a few more hours until dawn.
“Now, you must understand,” Mim continued, “you’re not listening for a sound. You need to feel the dragon buried deep within your thoughts… Why not start with the last Dragon? The Water Wyrm. Go back to that moment when you were on the beach. When you could feel the Dragon’s thoughts. Do you remember?”
Breanna had thought of little else.
Just a few days before, had placed her hand onto the snout of a raging Dragon. A Dragon that had already consumed the life of one of her friends and was preparing to kill everyone else. She could feel its pain. It’s raging hunger… it had been a Whisper loud as a thundering waterfall but silent as a thought.
The Dragons had all been unstoppable; they had turned against the people who worshipped them. The Green Dragon of the Elves, the Forest Drake of her own people of the wood, the Water Wyrm of the Fenners; all the dragons had turned and all of them had killed.
But instead of having her life force devoured like her father and everyone else before her, Breanna had somehow entered the beast’s thoughts. She had slid into the Dragon Realm. She had seen the world through the eyes, not only of one Dragon but of all of them.
In that place, in that realm of Dragons, she had been powerful; she had controlled the mighty creatures and turned their rage away from her people… but in doing so it had forced her to make a terrible choice. She had commanded the Dragons to attack others; she had ordered them to kill an army of Druids.
At her word, the Dragons had murdered those soldiers. Even though she had saved everyone she knew, there was blood on her hands.
But to stop it from happening all over again, Breanna and her friends had to find out why the Dragon’s had turned against them all. Who was the mysterious golden-eyed woman she had seen in the Dragon Realm? What did she want? And when would the Dragon’s attack again?
Breanna needed to master her power and listen to the Dragon’s Whisper. To do that, she would have to go back to that moment. The moment on the beach when she had entered the Dragon Realm. The moment she had become a killer.
She shuddered. “I remember,” she replied flatly.
“Good, good!” Mim replied, a little too brightly, “now seek that moment, and find that Dragon’s Whisper. It’s just like finding the right note on a lyre or a whistle.”
Breanna took a deep breath and glanced jealously at her sleeping brother, Broc. His dark beard and skin were so like their father’s and he had wanted nothing more than to avenge his death and save their village from further attacks. Koax, the Monarch Guard of the Fenwater Marshes, lay sleeping soundly next to him. They had seemed so strange to Breanna at first, neither male nor female, webbed hands and feet, greenish hair and skin, and their ability to live in the water as they did on the land. She had witnessed their lake village decimated and seen so many of their people killed by the Water Wyrm. But now those same people proclaimed her a Dragon Tamer; she was their hero; they had composed a ballad of her triumph, and Koax had been ordered, by the young Monarch themself, to protect her and ensure her safe arrival into the hands of the Wizards Council.
Then there were the two Elves, the jovial Ranger, Cassian, laying on his back and snoring softly. The Queen of the Elves had ordered him to stay in Meadowvale. But, he had defied those orders and sore an oath to help Broc and Breanna stop the Dragons.
Then there was Leasha.
She was an Elven Princes, heir to the throne of Meadowvale, and as beautiful as she was adventurous. She too had defied the Queen to join their quest and Breanna suspected that they never would have come so far had it not been for her rebellious spirit, not to mention the royal magic that gave her the power to heal.
Leasha slept next to the empty bedroll where Breanna should have been, she lay a hand across as if she were reaching out for her friend and Breanna longed to curl up and sleep next to her. Soundly, and with a mind free of cares.
But she could not.
If she was to keep her friends safe, then she had to master the ability to control the Dragons. The lives of everyone on the Edge Islands was at risk if she did not.
She nodded firmly and closed her eyes.
Breanna summoned the memory of that moment on the beach. She remembered the dark, blue-black skin of the Water Wyrm glistening in the morning sun. She remembered the long snout and tooth-filled jaws, gaping wide and ready to draw the life essence from within her… and she remembered the deep golden eyes, piercing her soul, calling out to her… the Whisper; a thunderous waterfall she could feel with her whole body, screaming to all the life that surrounded it.
She reached out just as she had done then as if to lay her hand upon the beast that called to her… and the memory awoke something more.
Distant and small.
A tremor in the base of her gut; only a flicker of light in the dark’s silence. She reached out. Calling to it, encouraging the light to grow and hoping she was finally starting to master her Skill.
“I…” she whispered the word but her body was too distant to control.
The Whisper grew stronger. It was in pain. A hunger. It frightened her.
“You’re doing well, poppet,” Mim said, but she was so far away…
The tenuous link Breanna had to the Whisper was growing stronger, the flicker within her belly crawled across her skin and filled her with silent simmering rage.
Suddenly she knew.
This was not her Skill.
Breanna had not reached across the great divide to touch the soul of a Dragon.
The Dragons had reached out to her.
“They’re hungry…” She choked on the words. Her mouth was so far away. Her body was a realm away; she had forgotten how to wield it.
“What!?” There was a dark horror buried deep in Mim’s hurried question.
Breanna opened her eyes, her friends lay defenceless and sleeping. “The Dragons are coming.”
In a flash, Mim extinguished the fire and shouted until they were all awake.
Grabbing weapons and armour, the groggy gang hurried, half-dressed from camp.
Breanna glanced back.
She could feel the Dragon shimmering in the distance. It was drawing closer, and it was hungry.
Fear clawed at her belly and clouded her mind. The Whisper pushed away everything else and all she wanted to do was run.
As she cleared a shallow ditch, Mim lit the way with her staff, and Broc staggered; snapping out orders to the others, half-drunk with sleep.
Suddenly, a shadow eclipsed the stars.
A beast raged above them, beating the air with its wings.
By the wavering blue light of the mage-staff, Breanna could make out the emerald scales of a Meadow Dragon. But even in the blackest night, she would have been able to see its eyes of blazing gold.
The companions stopped dead.
Cassian and Leasha fumbled to ready their bows, Mim readied her staff and Broc lay a hand on his sister’s shoulder, his silent question loud in her own mind as well; Could she do it again? Could she command the Dragon to spare their lives?
A bolt of lightning shot from Mim’s staff and suddenly a murmuring shield of magic surrounded them. The Dwarf Wizard groaned at the exertion and Breanna knew the magic wouldn’t hold back the Dragon for long.
“Breanna?” Cassian was breathless and wide-eyed.
But she shook her head. “I don’t know if I can…”
Koax took a deep breath and stepped towards the barrier. “Then we will do as was done before.”
“No!” Breanna grabbed Koax’s arm. She knew what they meant to do. She knew they meant to sacrifice themself and dash off in the opposite direction, giving the others the time to escape. It had saved them before. It had saved all but one of them.
But this was her fight. She had to be the one to reach out to the dragon.
If only the accursed creature was close enough to lay her hand upon. If only she had applied herself to Mim’s teachings. If only she could reach across that small space between them and command the Dragon the way the Dragon’s call seemed to command her.
But as she pulled Koax back, it was her brother who left the safety of the shield.
“Broc!” she screamed.
She bolted after him. Leasha grabbed at her tunic but she tore herself free and leapt through the barrier as the others called after her. The safe thrumming of Mim’s magic disappeared. The Whisper of the Dragon intensified over the heavy pounding of its wings.
Broc was in its grasp.
His limbs stretched out, his chest forward, his body raised impossibly from the ground as the Dragon drew the aura from him. The shimmer of his life essence surrounded him in a golden haze… it was all happening again.
It was that first day in the forest, that first time the Dragon had attacked. It was the day she had lost her father… all over again.
She wouldn’t let it happen.
She had come too far to let it happen.
Breanna leapt forward, tackling her brother to the ground and severing the connection.
She turned to look at the giant creature hovering over her. Its eyes glowed gold twenty feet above her in the dark. She drew her Fenner blade and raised it. She would have to fight the beast alone.
“Leave us!” she commanded but the beast only opened its jaws, and prepared to take her life.