Gold Award winner – 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards
Stabbed. Burned by a dragon. Abandoned for the windrocs to pick over. The traitor Ra’aba tried to silence Hualiama forever. But he reckoned without the strength of a dragonet’s paw, and the courage of a girl who refused to die.
Only an extraordinary friendship will save Hualiama’s beloved kingdom of Fra’anior and restore the King to the Onyx Throne. Flicker, the valiant dragonet. Hualiama, a foundling, adopted into the royal family. The power of a friendship which paid the ultimate price.
This is the tale of Hualiama Dragonfriend, and a love which became legend.
Dragonfriend is a YA fantasy novel set in the same world of the bestselling dragon adventure series Shapeshifter Dragons and Shapeshifter Dragon Legends. It can be read in any order alongside Aranya, Shadow Dragon and The Pygmy Dragon. Awesome dragons, epic stories and deep dragon lore abound in this unique series set in a world of volcanic islands above the clouds.
Lia was yelling into the dark hole when the incline beneath her feet heaved, sending her into a helpless, bruising tumble down the steep slope before the vine snapped taut. She fetched up against a large granite boulder. Nearby, rock and stone buckled and cracked. Clinging to her vine, Hualiama caught her breath. With the resounding thunder of a Dragon’s challenge, Grandion burst free from his confinement, bellowing and bugling his joy until echoes cascaded from the opposing mountainsides, and the startled dragonets took off in a flock to begin a celebratory aerial dance.
From the tips of his talons to the massively spiked crown of his head, Grandion was what the scrolls failed so miserably to capture, an awesome living creature of fire and magic. It seemed inconceivable that a beast of his stature could possess a sleek, feline grace, but as the Dragon stretched his neck to gaze at the stars, and arched his spine with a deep groan that bespoke irrepressible delight at being freed from his bondage, he seemed wreathed in a mantle of stark and terrible splendour, far surpassing Lia’s wildest imaginings. Her chest hurt. Lia’s scalp crawled with a sensation of expansiveness.
Mercy! What had she loosed upon the Island-World?
Then, the Dragon’s muzzle turned, seeking her out. A crystalline eye-jewel, blazing with Dragon fire, fixed upon the Human girl with a potency that struck her speechless. She had never felt so very small. Mighty as he was, not even Amaryllion had mesmerised her so profoundly. This was different, a tempestuous song of magic and elation and no small tremor of fear as she gazed back at the Island-World’s ultimate predator, and yet her heart sang unbridled.
Grandion. She knew him, and he knew her, and it was a connection so exquisite and unending, Lia thought she might explode in a puff of bliss.
“What magic is this?” he whispered.
“None I know,” Lia stammered. “Oh, my soul … I feel … strange.”
With great nobility, the Dragon bowed his neck until the tip of his muzzle almost brushed her stomach. “I thank thee for redeeming my life, Human girl.”
By rights, the Dragon should execute her on the spot for standing upon the holy Isle. Though terror reigned supreme in her being, Hualiama’s tiny hand rose to touch his muzzle, sparking a palpable frisson in the Dragon’s body. Grandion’s belly-fires roared into life as if she had applied the bellows to stoke a furnace, only the blaze melted her own soul. Lia laid her cheek against his; so warm, so alive. There was nothing cool or reptilian about him. The complex beat of his hearts defied her comprehension, bespeaking ebullient storms of emotion coursing through the Dragon. And Lia wept as she had never known a person could weep, for gladness and wonder and the strangeness of a mystery which cocooned their shared existence at this moment, for the white-golden fire which gilded his muddied bulk in tongues of living fire, and for the knowledge that all of what she knew of the world, should be cast upon the pyre.
Once, the Ancient Dragons had raised the Islands from volcanic ashes. Newness rose from those world-shaping fires, sculpting places where creatures could live and love and thrive. So she felt now, poised upon the rim-wall of the unknown, about to dive into her future.
“O Dragon,” she breathed at last, “I tremble at thy presence.”
Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He’s the author of 23 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year – watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards.
When he’s not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.