When Alain Adair dies, it is a brutal death for a brutal man. The townsfolk know who killed him, but they don’t know how. They suspect magic, though no one has the courage to speak the words aloud.
Alain’s young wife, Kora, murdered her husband, although she has no idea how she did so. Suspected of using magic, she flees and seeks refuge in an ancient forest. Unconscious, feverish, and at the threshold of death, her life takes a strange turn; when she wakes she is tethered to Draeon, a rebellious dragon prince. Kora struggles to understand who and what she is while surrounded by creatures known as Fae in a world filled with magic. She and Draeon become intertwined with the nefarious goals of an over-ambitious dragon, Fedelmid, who seeks to gain power at the sacrifice of all.
With an aging dragon historian, two elves, and two dwarves, Kora and Draeon become the unlikely chosen people to venture to the human world to ensure the scheming, power-hungry Fedelmid faces justice. The fate of the Fae, as well as the human race, depends upon their success in stopping him. Their bond and its physical limitations could prove to be an overwhelming challenge to accomplishing this goal.
The veil was as solid as rock, yet as flexible as skin, no more visible than the air around it as it hid a land of magic, the land of Caelaron. The barrier, which separated the world of men from the realm of magical beings, was maintained by the Guardians. Behind this veil of protection, the ancient races sought refuge after a long ago war when the race of men invaded the old homelands. Dragons, elves, dwarves and other fae creatures now lived here together in peace. Each race had its own region and council. A High Council included members of each of the major races, and the dragon ruler, King Gaiden, governed the council.
As the Guardians patrolled the boundaries of the veil on this particular day, word came from King Gaiden that his own son, Draeon, had torn the veil and entered the world of men. Their orders were to await the arrival of the young elf Kilian and then seek out the hatching grounds of their ancestors, find the young rogue, and bring him back into the veil to face his punishment by the High Council.
Draeon had actually gone through the proper channels to gain access to the world of men. He had taken his request to the Council, but his request had been denied. Yet, the rebellious young dragon did not take the denial seriously and went anyway. When King Gaiden noticed that his youngest son was missing, he knew where he had gone. He quickly summoned Kilian, his son’s best and only friend, to be questioned. Kilian, a member of the Guardians patrol, was loyal and honorable, and Gaiden knew that the elf would not deceive him or the Council. He did not enjoy placing his son’s friend in this position of betrayal, but he wanted his son to return to the safety of Sohalia, and unfortunately, he knew he must be punished for his crime.
Draeon had never been a dragon to conform to the will of others. None knew this better than Kilian. And now, King Gaiden had assigned him the task of leaving the protection of the veil to find Draeon and to bring him back. Though he cursed his friend with every step he took toward the tear in the veil, Kilian understood why Draeon wanted to see the world beyond their own. He knew how arrogant Draeon could be, and when determined, he would never give up seeking what he desired. It was that very arrogance that had Kilian walking into a world he himself had no desire to venture into, the world of men. Many on the Dragon High Council, including Gaiden, believed that Kilian’s close bond with Draeon would enable him to feel the young dragon’s magic and locate him. But as there was no magic left in the world of men, any magic would be suspect. Kilian knew this, and he knew that the only reason he was being forced to go was because only he had a chance of talking Draeon into rational thinking and returning home. He doubted that he would succeed.
When the Elvin Guard approached the breech in the veil and began taking note of where the large tear was made, Laikan, the leader of the Guardians, was visibly annoyed. He was a tall elf with ashen hair that was cropped in an unusual style. His piercing eyes were serious and determined. He wore the Guardians uniform of grey pants and tunic.
“There is no help for it,” he said. “The breech is too high. He must have shifted right before he opened it.” Aggravated, Laikan continued to speak to the other elf Guardians. “We can’t fly, so get a dragon here to patch that up. We will have to make a breach of our own.”
While shaking his head, Laikan slid one finger down in front of him, as though slicing the air. A faint glow appeared, causing a seam in the veil to open easily. At that moment, a red dragon flew overhead and began to repair the breech Draeon had made. Laikan, Kilian and several others stepped through the lower breech, and then Laikan turned to two of the younger elves and told them to stay behind and guard the area until they returned. He then directed Kilian and Draeon’s brother, Dante, to follow him into the world of men.
Kilian had no desire to be there. It repulsed him. The thought of the savage, brutal humans made him sick. When Draeon first decided on his journey, he had tried to convince his friend to go with him, but Kilian would not even consider the notion. He was quite happy behind the veil and wanted nothing to do with the human world. Once he took the first step out of the protected lands, he felt the magic weaken. This world was dead of magic. The life that was present did not have the soft, soothing hum of power, and the trees did not speak here. The land was as silent and empty as a corpse.
A peal rang out in that moment. Like a loud clap of thunder, it shook the ground beneath their feet. Magic was being cast near where the little group stood. A flash of light to the right of Kilian, and then a dull glow, illuminated the darkness ahead of them. The animals of the forest stopped all at once; nothing stirred, and they stood for a moment in perfect stillness. These creatures were not accustomed to experiencing magic. The small group turned in the direction of the light and began to move forward.
Robin Cowan-Daniel is a novelist and a writer of poetry and short stories. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, two children, and grandson. This is her debut novel.