Monday, April 14, 2014

Dragons of Winter excerpt by P A Brown

In The Dragons of Winter, by P A Brown, dragons aren’t supposed to fight dragons.

Eighteen year old Alecca is set to join Ciburon, the new leader of the Realm of Xua and become the most powerful rulers of Telen, their world. But amid the ceremonies that will bind the the two dragonshifters forever, Kytam, a rival from a smaller realm seeks to take Alecca for his own, thus gaining control of the world. There is no history of war on their world, but war comes anyway. Kytam must be stopped if there is ever to be peace again among dragons and frails.

The Dragons of Winter
Crimson Frost Books (November 24, 2013)


It had stormed during the night. Snow piled against the walls of the stable and main house. Paths had already been cleared and the vast courtyard was empty. The only light was from first moon on the snow and the glow from the cook’s window. She would be baking the morning bread.

But none of that concerned Alecca anymore.

He and Ciburon left the house when Válka, the first moon rose. He was naked, as the gods demanded. Ciburon held his hand and ignored his shivering. Once in the center of the courtyard Ciburon turned to face Alecca. He laid his open palm against Alecca’s chest and held his gaze. His eyes were bottomless pits and Alecca fell into them.

“You must bring it from here.” He traced a circle over Alecca’s heart.

“But how will I know?”

“You've had dreams, right?”

Startled, Alecca looked down at the hand splayed above his heart. How did he know that? “I never told anyone—”

“You don’t need to. We all experience the dreams before our first shifting. They help us find our form. You have to remember them now.”

Alecca closed his eyes, focusing his inner eye on memories of those dreams that had come with increasing regularity over the last year. Now he understood them. He thought of wings stretched wide, of twisting muscles and tendons that gave them the strength to lift and carry him for hours. A sinuous neck and tail, glorious claws burnished deepest ebony. Jaws and teeth that could rend the thickest drakken skin and would never feel the deepest cold. 

The touch on his chest changed and he opened his eyes. Where Ciburon’s hand had spread over his heart, curved black talons now rested. Alecca raised his head and looked into flashing golden eyes in a massive, wedge-shaped head of obsidian that morphed before him. Wings unfolded as dark shadows, blurred, then grew solid in the growing light.

Alecca reached inside himself. He saw his soul change. Pain shot through him, radiating out from his chest. It was worse than the pain of Ciburon entering him. Sharper. Cleaner. He doubled over, falling to his knees on the packed snow.

Get up.

At first he ignored the voice in his head. Then it came again. Ciburon?

You must stand and face the pain, Alecca!

He struggled upright, staggering while wave after wave of agony rolled through him. In horror he stared down at his hands and saw them shift. Soft skin became elongated claws of bronze; he stretched them out, marveling at the taut web of wing. Pain ripped through him.

Rise! Rise! Now Alecca, rise up.

Alecca threw his head back to scream, but instead he found himself bugling and his face and mouth felt... wrong. He snaked around, looking right then left. Delicate crimson wings stretched wide; he flexed shoulder muscles and watched, in awe, as his new wings moved. He did it again. Faster this time. He could feel energy flow through him. The wind from his wings created vortexes of snow that swirled around him. New snow fell, obscuring both first and second moon. He was no longer cold.


The ground beneath his clawed feet fell away and he rose into the heart of the storm. The snow should have blinded him, but his vision was unimpaired. He knew where the ground lay, where all the stone structures of Kalec’s estate were. He knew where Ciburon crouched on the ground below him watching his first flight.

Then he forgot his lover in his new-found freedom. He surged upward and the ground fell away. He swung west, toward the mountains he had flown over in his dreams. The night brightened, the sky cleared of dense snow clouds, and both first and second moon rode high in the sky, casting double shadows on the drifts below.

He was alone, reveling in his new-found freedom. It was all open to him. The world that had taken him weeks or even months to cross on foot was now his. He could see the great waters and black cliffs of Drakh and the strange creatures that rumor said lived in the bottomless seas below them. The permanently green forests of the southern Ehras, where the sun burned so bright the forests steamed during the day. 

All his to see and explore.


AlanChinWriter said...

Wow, you pulled me right in, Pat. Beautiful writing.

When I think of Pat Brown, what comes to mind are well-written, LA cop stories that have an edge. This new voice (at least new to me) is delightful.

Pat Brown said...

Thanks, Alan. It was fun to do something different.

Pat Brown said...

Thanks Alan. It's fun to do something different.

Lloyd A. Meeker said...

After reading the excerpt I had to buy the story. It's terrific, as is everything I've read of Pat's. Solid, intelligent story with a really interesting treatment of dragon-hood. Well done, Pat!

Pat Brown said...

Thanks, Lloyd