Authors: Josh VanBrakle
Tags: #lefthanded, #japanese mythology, #fantasy about a dragon, #young adult fantasy, #epic fantasy, #fantasy books, #dragon books
THE WINGS OF
Book One of The Dragoon Saga
Copyright 2013 Josh VanBrakle
All Rights Reserved
This ebook is licensed for
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This book is a work of fiction. All
characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance
to persons living or dead or actual events is a coincidence.
Sidney, NY 13838
Library of Congress Preassigned Control
First Edition: 2013
Cover design and typesetting by Heather
Forest Fire Copyright Adrian
Dragon Copyright Kuma/Fotolia.com
Find out more about the
author and upcoming books at
Writing my first novel has
been both the most laborious and the most rewarding undertaking of
my life. It is also something that never could have happened
without the support of some truly incredible people. First and
foremost, I want to thank Shannon Delany, author of the
13 to Life
series, whose writing workshops literally changed my life and
convinced me to pursue my dream. Shannon, without your advice, I
would never have completed this novel.
I also owe a great deal to those who
reviewed drafts of this manuscript and whose comments and
copy-edits helped me refine my work. Tom Foulkrod, Jim Hilson,
Gretchen Smith, and my dear wife Christine, I truly appreciate your
willingness to stick with me through the numerous revisions and
support me as I begin my writing journey.
Finally, I especially want to thank Heather
Hilson, who turned my manuscript into an actual book. Heather
designed my cover as well as handling the typesetting and
If this book is any good, it is only because
of these wonderful people.
Bitter cold engulfed the young woman as she
realized the truth. She would not live to see the dawn.
Stay in the house!” her
husband had cried to her. Less than an hour ago, that’s where she’d
been: curled up next to the fire and falling asleep with her head
against his arm. Now she stood in the middle of a pasture,
clutching a tiny package to her chest with all her strength. Tears
cascaded from her cheeks at the sight of the two figures before
her. Mere yards away, they clashed in the night, sparks flying each
time their blades met. In spite of her husband’s warning, she’d
followed him. She wouldn’t cower inside while he fought for his
life and those of his family! As long as she breathed, she would
never abandon him, nor would she relinquish her cherished bundle
that the pair of them, against all common sense, had created
The fiercest spark yet lit up the pasture,
and a moment later a sword arced through the air toward her,
landing on the ground not a foot away. Frantically, she stared into
the darkness, and she just barely made out the silhouette of a
disarmed man on his knees, pleading. His triumphant opponent paid
no heed and stabbed deep into the defeated man’s chest.
With a single glance at the sword before
her, the woman knew which fighter had fallen. She wailed in the
night at the death of her husband.
At the sound, the murderer turned and walked
slowly toward her. The woman froze, so filled with fear she
couldn’t think. She gazed upon the villain’s foul blade, still
dripping with her husband’s blood. Tracing with her eyes up the
killer’s arm, she beheld the face of her death. The murderer
hesitated briefly and then, fist clenching around the hilt as
though steeling for what would come next, swung.
The woman felt surprisingly little as the
blade sliced through her neck, and shock, more than pain, caused
her to drop to the ground. As she fell, her tightly guarded bundle
came loose from her arms and rolled a short distance, coming to a
stop next to her fallen husband’s sword. The cloths protecting it
fell away, revealing a tiny infant boy, the tip of his shoulder
resting gently on the blade’s hilt.
As the attacker readied the third death blow
of the night, the dying mother beheld her son open his eyes, his
piercing sky blue eyes. She flashed back to earlier that night,
when those same eyes, this time belonging to her husband, stared at
her with worry. “He will be hated,” he’d told her, “just as I am
He will be loved,” she’d
declared without the slightest doubt, “just as you are
He’d smiled at her, the same sad smile that
made her fall in love with him, the one that hid nothing of his
grief. Just once, she wished she could have seen him smile at her
genuinely, from the other side of that pain.
Instead, the last image the woman saw was
the downward thrust of the murderer’s blade toward her son.
Iren Saitosan’s eyes snapped open at the
sound of something he almost never heard, yet instantly recognized:
the echoes of footsteps on the stone tower stairs leading to his
Toah. Toah. Toah.
He threw off his tattered blankets and leapt
out of the hard bed. Almost no one came up here. Every so often,
children would dare each other to see who could climb the farthest
up the steps without getting frightened. They considered scaling
the tower all the way to the top and knocking on the Left’s door
the ultimate sign of bravery.
These steps didn’t belong to children
though. They were too heavy, and there was no associated chatter.
Those not making the climb always teased the challenger,
alternating between goading them on and threatening them with what
the evil Left might do to them if they dared to continue. No, these
steps came from an adult.
Iren tensed. Since the day King Azuluu had
decreed that he must live up here away from “normal people,” no
adult had ever climbed the tower.
That was odd. Iren furrowed his brow. The
steps were slowing down, as though whoever made them were
hesitating. It was probably just some gawker, no different from the
children, coming to see the freak, the Left.
The sound of nervous breathing made Iren
focus on his chamber door. Whoever had come had made it all the way
to the top and now stood just outside. The door was already
slightly ajar, just as Iren had left it. He grinned. This was his
favorite part. He couldn’t help but glance above the door at the
wooden bucket resting precariously against the top of the door and
the wall. His little trick always worked on the kids; he wondered
if an adult would be stupid enough to fall for it too. Folding his
arms, he leaned against the windowsill and waited.
After a moment a loud grunt came from the
steps, and then the door flung open as the intruder shoved his way
in with a shoulder charge.
The bucket slammed into the man’s head,
dumped its load, and then rolled away, rumbling on the stone floor.
Its former contents, a full load of water, now soaked the intruder.
Across the room, Iren cocked his head sideways and smiled
innocently, saying, “Should have knocked.”
The intruder put a hand to his head, feeling
for a bruise. “Captain Angustion warned me you might pull a stunt
like this.” He started to say more, but some of the water snuck
inside his mouth, making him gag.
That’s smart, Balear,
spitting it out,” Iren said lightly. “Do you know how many times
I’ve washed my clothes in that?”
Balear’s face paled, then just as quickly
reddened as he shouted, “You left-handed demon-child!”
Iren didn’t react to Balear’s outburst. He’d
been called worse in his tenure at Haldessa Castle. Instead, he did
his best to look unintimidated, even though Balear carried a
broadsword on his belt. “Why don’t you head to the baths and wash
off?” he suggested. “Also, I hate to tell you, but you should
really consider drying your uniform. That’s a very unbecoming look
for an officer in the Castle Guard.”