This timeless fantasy debut follows four children—a boy-turned-dragon, his reluctant dragon rider, a runaway witch, and a young soldier—bound together by the Fates themselves to save their world—and magic itself—from being destroyed.
Blue, River, Wren, and Shenli all grew up on different sides of a war they didn’t start. Their land has been torn apart over centuries of conflict, with humans taught to fear all things magical, dragons driven to near extinction, and magic under attack. But an ancient prophecy has put the four of them on a collision course with destiny—and with each other—in a mission to heal the fractured realm once known as Haven. All of them must follow the threads of Fate, leaving behind the lives and homes they know to discover the truth about the seemingly endless war—and the truth about themselves. As the barriers between them begin to crumble, can they unravel the lies they’ve been taught to believe in order to restore the balance between humans, dragons, and magic before it’s too late?
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Every twenty-five years, the king of Gerbera is eaten by a dragon.
It is tradition.
What’s that, young one? No, I imagine it isn’t very pleasant, but what else is the human king to do? He has his honor to uphold, after all. And a deal’s a deal. One king every quarter century, and in exchange, the dragons leave the villages of Gerbera well enough alone.
That’s the way it’s always been. For nearly a thousand years.
No, I am not that old. You mind your tongue, kit. Before I toss you to the shadow bears for breakfast. Of course I’m joking.
Your mother would be furious with me.
Why do the dragons want kings? How should I know? Maybe they taste better than ordinary humans. Leave it to dragons to be so particular. And, no, I don’t know why they wait twenty-five years. Maybe that’s when a human is ripe? I don’t care to think about it too much, if you don’t mind. Now hold still while I get this twig untangled from your fur.
Ah, well, the humans have no choice, you see. They must keep the peace with the fire beasts. They’ve nowhere else to go. Beyond their forest is Dragon Mountain, and that’s where the world ends.
Everyone knows that.
Besides, humans are not as clever as foxes, dear. But don’t hold that against them. They do their best. Oof, stop squirming about, would you? I’ve almost got the blasted twig free.
What’s that? Where do they get the new king? Perhaps they grow kings like carrots. My whiskers, you ask so many questions. You are giving me a headache.
Fine. Fine. You may ask one more. If you must.
What would happen if a king didn’t present himself to the dragons?
Whiskers of mercy! I pale to think of it. Our forest stretches to the base of Dragon Mountain, after all. The fury of the dragonfire would surely be the end of everyone.
No, youngling. Do not fret. You have nothing to fear. Don’t you see? The human king always comes, just as he should. It has forever been thus.
He gives his life to save us all.
Now sleep, little one. If you’re quiet enough, you can hear the moon rise.