Week 11: Special Excerpt!

Sorry for the delay in this week’s blog. I’ve been dealing with some pain since Christmas, and it’s been hard to function. So in honor of the New Year, I’m happy to announce that December 30, is the current day in TS:Dragons on Skye! This has never happened before where I’ve been writing about the current day. I’ve always dated all of my books, but they’ve never overlapped with reality before. So to celebrate, here’s an excerpt from TS:DoS

But first one quick announcement. Next week I’m going to go over my New Years resolutions and my plans for publishing TS:Fire’s Hope! We’re getting so close guys! this is happening!

Dragons on Skye temp cover

THE SHADOWS: Dragons on Skye takes place in 2170 fourteen years after the events of TS:Starchild and is the start of the third series in The Shadows. It follows  two Bloodless brothers Honehe and Darmis in their misadventures to find others of their kind. One a wolf, and the other a flightless winged boy who can’t figure out how to turn into a dragon, they search out their real parents on the Isle of Skye.  They explore the mountains of Luray, Virginia, and the mysteries of old America, making them wonder what it was that stopped the humans from growing and progressing, leaving their outlying towns in quiet lawlessness beneath their proud cities. With dragons the size of the old Victorian Shadow settlement “the Viridian”, alongside futuristic supercars, this may be the wildest adventure yet!

In this book I introduce a new species called the Bloodless, I’ve done a lot of brainstorming as well as hints to their existence over the course of the last two books and now they’re finally here! The Bloodless are shape-shifters who usually have animal traits in human form, they are master infiltrators, indistinguishable from Shadows and Humans. Honi and Darmis know very little about the Bloodless, and the only other Bloodless they know of was Darmis’ parents who are gone, and his Grandfather who refuses to transform for them.

darmis

 

 

Darmis Zade Fanír

14 years old

Black hair, gold eyes

Species: Bloodless Dragon

Parents: Cælan and River Fanír (Shadow, Nova)

Adoptive Parents: Charly and Ohara Ravenwood

Siblings: Honi Ravenwood (adoptive), Ciel, Cloudy, Pearlumin, Hyacinthia, Alizaria. (biological)

 

 

 

 

And now an excerpt from Chapter I of TS:Dragons on Skye

Once he felt fully alone, Honi relaxed in his heart, then took to the garden stairs on all fours, inciting his transformation as he moved. Fur grew upon his arms and his face, his ears perked up and his tail wagged excitedly, and his nose merged into a potent snout, a long muzzled designed for hunting. At the bottom of the stairs, Honi sniffed at the loose gravel before looking onward. At the shoulder, he was half his usual height, a huge dog, a young wolf who stood on the cusp of maturity.

Opening his heart to the Realm, he felt the world around him, sensing the location of each Shadow nearest to him, with a range of about a mile. It was a small range compared to the Overseers, or even Nymph, but with his heightened senses as a wolf, it was all he needed. It was enough. Honi had everything he could ever want, a great place to live, two parents, an adopted little brother he adored, and miles of woods to romp around in. His quiet nature as a Dire Wolf, gave him everything else he could want.

Growing up, Honi was never much for toys or games, he could barely hang onto a cell phone which his mother begged him to keep on him, but since his little brother was unable to use the Realm, it was the only way they could silently communicate from a distance. Zade encouraged in Honi one valuable trait; silence. The brothers couldn’t remember a time they had been apart, despite being born from different mothers and fathers, and through this connection, they had developed a silent bond, never speaking much when they had the time alone, and only brightening up when Nymph was around.

Honi’s ears twitched when he heard a screeching high-pitched noise peeking through the old, single-pane window of the garage near to him. The structure could have once been a barn, it was clearly added to the property after the original building, which had also been added onto. It was a simple space, that had been recently insulated, with a studio and a loft, where Mark taught a quite thorough homeschool curriculum to the Shadows in the Viridian. This sound wasn’t from Mark teaching a small crowd of young Shadows.

Peeking in through the old dusty window, Honi looked around the studio to see a pair of bare feet striding across the carpet. The man’s feet were scared from surgeries he had endured fourteen years ago, but with time he could walk again. He paced the room, slow and smooth with every step while his hands occupied the strings and bow of a very old violin. Honi couldn’t hear the music well, but it irritated his heightened senses and he knew better than to bother Irwin when he was playing violin.

Putting his nose to the ground, Honi sniffed around, getting a feel for his surroundings before trotting off down the driveway. Out in the open, unashamed by his powerful form, Honi stepped lightly down the gravel, frightening a squirrel before he got to the road. Promptly, he was spotted by a car, which swerved a little and reduced its speed as its occupants awed at the huge wolf out in daylight in Virginia. Honi had seen a handful of coyotes in his time, quite a few foxes, but Virginia wasn’t exactly known for having a wolf population, much less one that would be seen in daylight.

Honi crossed the street and jumped over the guardrail into the woods and upon some slippery rocks. His feet rolled out from under him and he crashed on his shoulder. It didn’t injure him but it still winded him enough that it took a moment for him to find his footing. Upon doing so, he caught the scent of something alive as it scurried away from him and dashed up a tree. There was no shame in his audacity as he sniffed up the tree to catch the tail of a four-foot black snake. He yelped when it lunged at him, and skittishly took a step back as it coiled up at the base of the tree defensively.

Knowing it wasn’t poisonous, he shamelessly terrorized it, snapping at it, at kicking its tail with his forepaws to make it hiss, and rattle its tail against the leaves to mimic a more dangerous snake. Barking at it, he whined and waited for it to attempt to get away. Much bigger than it, Honi held up his right paw, and waited just long enough for the snake to move away. He stomped down on it, holding its head down and leering down to smell it. The snake constricted on the leaves, grasping at whatever it could, but Honi was far too strong for it. With his full assessment, Honi spoke to it, whispering in his quiet Voice to see if it would respond.

The waited, knowing the snake was afraid, but Honi acknowledged fear probably wouldn’t get anything out of it, even if it was a Bloodless. He released it, but still he was suspicious. The snake hissed louder, snapping at him, but Honi smugly walked away letting the snake know it was only alive because Honi had permitted it to remain so. Very easily, the snake could have become his meal. The slope from the road was incredibly steep and lead through the woods down to an old warehouse that was abandoned and only otherwise accentuated by a “for sale” sign posted on old metal door. Honi had heard a few rumors that Mark was thinking about buying this property if they could convert it into more housing. Right now, they had just enough room for the thirty young Shadows housed in the Viridian, however, there were a handful coming up on adulthood that were eager to get out and find lives outside the Viridian.

One such adult Honi considered his good friend was Jeromy Stuart, a twenty-six-year-old demon of a young man, who terrorized the children with nightmares, and concocted horrible schemes to prank the girls. Jeromy was Honi’s friend, solely because his slightly mean-spirited nature empathized with Zade. Jeromy could see into Zade’s heart when Honi couldn’t sometimes, and any friend of Zade’s was Honi’s friend as well. Jeromy had been with Mark’s parade of Shadows since before Honi was born, and Honi got the impression, Jeromy was never straight with anyone except Mark. The young man hid much of his past, and Mark helped him. It drove Honi nuts, and he loved to pry.

Sniffing around the blades of grass peeking out through the cracks between the asphalt, Honi chased the dead leaves and scratched at the old door to see if he could get inside the old building. He wished it was summer, the crunchy cold under his feet was getting old, and he missed chasing grasshoppers and lizards into the fissures between the bricks on the garden stairs. He was content either way, knowing that Zade loved Christmas and winter because of the increase in opportunities he had to visit his family.

As Honi worked his way further down the hill into the valley, he smiled to himself. His life revolved around his little brother, and his happiness relied on the joy of everyone else, but his secret desire, the smile that perpetually stretched across his face, was the constant search for other Bloodless. Honi only personally knew two Bloodless, Zade, and Zade’s grandfather, who refused to show them his other form. Tægan Fanír was the only grandfather Honi knew, and even though Honi was aware he was not related to Tægan, he recognized Tægan was the only male figure Zade was directly related to. That in itself was valuable.

Honi to a dip into the frigid Shenandoah, happily soaking his rusty-gray fur, and shaking himself off on the same bank. Honehe Halo Ravenwood! He could hear his mother scream at him, do not go further than the river! He was convinced she yelled at him just because she liked doing it. She was always screaming about something. Honi chuckled, he certainly liked the sound of his full name. No one called him Honehe unless he was getting yelled at, and that always made him laugh.

Climbing back up the hill, he used a little switch back of a maintained trail, frequented by hikers, to reach the nearest convenience store. This general store, preserving the old America aesthetic which was so valued in this area, was the quaint store where Honi’s dad worked. It was a very valuable stop on the Appalachian Trail, offering dedicated hikers a small campground, a warm tavern, hot food, invaluable supplies, and friendly faces from the several Shadows that worked there. As he came up to the shop, and under the unlit “Brightriver General Store” sign, which had cracking red, white, and blue paint, Honi half transformed. Taking a moment, he slipped on a camouflage painted, thick collar with silver studs, to imitate a domesticated wolf-dog. He was perfectly well behaved around humans, but there wasn’t a drop of domesticated dog blood in him.

He wasn’t quite full grown yet, but compared to other wolf-dogs he had seen, he was huge. Reaching the pavement, Honi padded around to the front of the store and sat down on the sidewalk and smiled, panting a little until someone opened the door for him. Welcoming himself inside, Honi sniffed around at each of the tables, inspecting them for fallen French-fries, or a drop of ketchup that hadn’t been mopped up yet.

“Hello Honi!” a sweet old voice cheered him and he looked up smiling into the eyes of a regular who knew him. The old man’s gray beard and wrinkly smile made Honi’s tongue hang out as he let the old guy pet him on the head, and scratch behind his ears. Rebelliously, he put his paws up on the table, almost as tall as he was in human form when he stood on his hind legs. The tables were polished, smooth and oily, old wood, which retained some of his bark along the sides, and the burned, charred, rusty places from where old nails had been pried out of them. Around the edges of each table, old quarters had been carved into them, displaying their tail face of whatever state they had originated from. The silver coins were worth a lot now, but they were protected under layers of lacquer which were added annually to protect the aging table.

Honi trolled the shop, wagging his tail, and bringing a smile to a couple of hikers who gratefully took to the beer chest, and fluffed Honi’s thick coat. This was the best place on earth, there was so much life in this restored shop, and Honi made his way right to his favorite spot. A thin chain blocked humans from entering a small section of the back, fenced off with the same material and structure as an outdoor deck, across from a wall of refrigerators chilling a slew of beverages. He slipped right under the chain and climbed up on one of the displays to sit right in a bear fur, under a mountain of trophies that would impale him on their antlers if they fell. This was his favorite spot, because if he sat still enough, unsuspecting people would come admire him, and then he could growl at them to thoroughly terrify them. It was also a step up from the rest of the shop, providing a great view of the kitchen and deli.

At the end of the row of refrigerators, Ohara appeared from the back room, carrying a case of bottled sodas. Ohara spotted Honi among the hunting trophies upon second glance, and he glared at his son knowing he’d be perfectly happy sitting there all day. At the front of the store, the door opened, ringing a cute little bell and causing Honi’s ears to pick up. The scent hit him instantly before he even saw it, and he got up quickly to race to the front. Wagging his tail eagerly, he scared a Golden Retriever into frenzied barking the moment they made eye contact.

The owner of the dog stammered at the sight of an obviously full-blooded wolf rushing at his dog but Ohara came running hurriedly. “Honi, Honi quit it!” he snapped, grabbing Honi by the collar and hoisting him backwards. Honi was easily stronger than Ohara but he complied and sat down like an obedient dog giving the Retriever a moment to calm down. “Sorry, he gets really excited when he meets new dogs,” Ohara assured, gesturing to the open door, “but we are pet friendly,” he assured, startling the dog-owner at Brightriver Store’s remarkable hospitality.

Honi stayed sitting when Ohara let him go, inviting the man inside, and Honi wagged his tail when the other dog looked at him, assessing him carefully. Humans had a sense that Honi wasn’t a dog, but real dogs were sent into a frenzy the first time they saw Honi, knowing he was a wild predator the moment they saw him. Ohara hurried over to the register with something drawn from his pocket, and as he opened the register he noticed how the dog-owner, who seemed to be a hiker, was still concerned about his dog near the huge wolf-dog.

“Oh don’t worry about him,” Ohara assured, “he’s real good with other dogs, he just needs a moment to get to know them,” closing the register he stepped out from the counter and smiled warmly, “what can I help you with?”

“Uh…” the man hesitated, pulling his Retriever away from Honi, “I’m doing a month on the Appalachian Trail, been out for three nights already, and I left my solar charger at my car which is now thirty some miles behind me.”

“Wow…” Ohara awed, “Have you done it before? You’re making pretty good time.”

The man chuckled and nodded, “I try to do parts of it yearly. Now, do you have a little solar charger, I don’t need a super powerful one.”

Affirming eagerly, Ohara directed the man to his left, at the two or three aisles of non-food convenience items. Honi took a glance back at the food items, a long, shelving unit, many sections high into the rafters, which was on the opposite side of the tables. The moment he looked back, he realized the hiker had dropped his dog’s leash and the Retriever had very obediently stayed put. Sitting just three feet from Honi, he couldn’t help but find that a little odd. Most hikers kept their dogs at their heels, and most dogs were certainly not this well behaved.

“We have a small campground out there, showers, a buck for five minutes,” Ohara explained keeping friendly and also taking note of the obedient Retriever, “And a communal firepit we light up a lot. If you stick around tonight we’ve got enough winter campers we’ll have a small party, my kids might show their faces tonight if they get their homework done.”

The hiker laughed heartily crossing his arms with a packaging of a small solar charger under his right elbow. “I might just, I’ve never been to this little stretch of Appalachia, at least not in… ten years I’d say.”

Sighing pleasantly, Ohara gravitated to the register, “Yeah, I started working here about six years ago, the whole town has changed a lot, they’re all going for the old America vibe.” He rung up the solar charger, “is there anything else I can get you right now?”

“No, this is good for now,” the hiker assured, forking over a little money, “So you’re not the owner?” he puzzled and Ohara just shook his head. With a little chuckle, the man gestured to Honi, “Sorry, it’s just I see that’s your dog, I assumed—it’s… well, he’s a beauty, what breed?”

Ohara shot a little smirk at Honi, “As full-blooded as I could get,” it wasn’t a lie, he had married the boy’s mother to become his father, it was as close to full-blooded family as he could get. Offering a laugh with the man’s receipt, Ohara dumped the change into the hiker’s palm, “I’m pretty sure there’s regulations about how pure he can be, but who gives a damn about those out here?”

“True that!” the man nodded, tucking his change away into his pack, “it was nice meeting you…” he extended a hand to shake, healing his tone open for introduction.

Stammering, Honi watched his father jump, “O-Ohara… Ravenwood.” Honi chuckled, Ohara had no clue what his surname was, or even what his birthname had been, Ohara had grown up with no one. So when he got married, he adopted his wife’s surname, and this too made Honi smile.

The hiker shook Ohara’s hand firmly with a kind declaration of “Dan Nealucci.” The handshake broke away and the man waved him off cheerily, “see you, I’ll be in town.”

“Bye,” Ohara called out, his eyes finding the Retriever as Dan Nealucci didn’t pick up the leash, and rather whistled a sharp, quick note, to get the dog to follow. Honi’s eyes followed the swift, and obedient dog then looked to his dad and wagged his tail eagerly. As if he was showing off to Ohara how obedient he could be, Honi panted happily with a big smile on his face. Ohara just shook his head, getting back to work and leaving Honi to roam how he wanted.

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