Devri Walls - Wings of Tavea
• Pub Date: January 31, 2013
• Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
• Format: Paperback / Ebook, 450 pages
• Age Range: Young Adult
Kiora is rapidly learning that evil and lies come in shades of black and white and swirling greys, but nothing could have prepared her for the shock of leaving Meros. Kiora and her protector Emane step through the pass into a world they never knew existed but were always meant to save, only to find it far worse than they could have ever imagined. Good has been forced into hiding for its own survival, while the rest of the land bows to the Shadow, a force that pushes any remaining thoughts of Dralazar from Kiora s mind. This land is full of new creatures, each more dangerous than the last. Her visions have taken on a deadly twist, and magic, or what comes of it, was never so real. And then there is Alcander: a Tavean, their guide, and an entirely different kind of trouble.
Excerpt from Wings of Tavea
by Devri Walls
The Prince turned his head, scanning the area. Kiora could feel the corded muscles in his arms as he continued to hold her up. “Can you stand if I let go of you?” he asked.
She nodded, reluctantly pulling back from him.
“Good.” Pulling his sword, he turned to face the wood, whispering to her over his shoulder. “Listen carefully and do what I tell you.”
His eyes scanned, looking for any sign of their attackers. A long low growl came from his left. Kiora froze, following Emane’s gaze as he slowly turned to face it. Two sparkling black eyes shown out from the branches, intently fixed on him.
“There it is,” he hissed.
Growls and snarls began erupting from every side. Kiora whimpered, taking a step backwards. Emane reached back, grabbing her hand, and pulled her tight in behind him. Holding his sword out in front, they watched as set after set of eyes began emerging from the shadows of the trees.
“What are they?” he whispered, his hand tightening around her wrist.
The first set of eyes to appear stepped fully out from the trees and into the sun. Kiora’s heart sunk as the gigantic black creature came into view. It was a hound of nightmarish proportions, taller, wider. Its face was sharp with a longer snout and enormous ears. But what was most frightening was the evil intelligence that glittered behind those black eyes.
Emane’s sword swung towards it. “Why does it look like it’s thinking?” he muttered. “I don’t like it, dogs don’t look like that.”
“That is no dog.” Kiora whispered, her eyes wide. Their threads were plunging through her heart, icy cold and dark. She could not ignore them.
Drool dripped from the beast’s wide, fang-filled mouth, as it gave another long growl. The rest of the pack emerged from the tree line, following command.
Emane crouched lower, swinging his sword back and forth in front of them, trying to keep an eye on all of them.
There were probably fifteen hounds, growling and snapping their jaws, but not one attacked.
“What is going on?” Kiora whispered, her frozen heart still managing to beat madly. “Why are they just standing there?”
The predators had boxed them in nicely against the river, but the pack kept its distance, each glancing periodically over at the largest of the pack. Almost as if they were...waiting for permission, Kiora realized, sickly. Emane began slowly backing up, pushing Kiora closer to the river. It was the only way left to go.
The Prince whispered over his shoulder, not taking his eyes off the hounds. “Any ideas?”
She scanned the creatures again, they were in trouble. “No.”
The leader took a step forward, emitting a low angry growl. The others followed suit. “Back into the water, Kiora, now.”
Kiora obediently took a step backwards, gasping as the frigid water splashed up her legs. Stepping back again, she gripped Emane’s shoulder as the current whipped around her ankles. It wasn’t only cold, but incredibly fast. Emane began backing up as well, keeping himself between the creatures and Kiora.
“Run, Kiora,” he said calmly. It was the calm that frightened her most.
She glanced behind her at the river, and then back at the hounds, “No,” she said clenching her teeth. “I am not going to just leave you here, your sword isn’t going to do any...”
“Do it, Kiora, now!” he yelled shoving her away from him. The hounds snarled and snapped their jaws in response to the noise.
“Emane!” she shouted.
He took one more step backwards, “Kiora! Now!”
Her gut wrenching, she groaned and turned to the river. The water splashed up against her in freezing spray. The river dropped off quickly, the shallow edges giving way to nearly waist-deep, freezing water. The current pushed back against her as her feet slipped on the smooth river rocks. Hearing splashing behind her she tried to move faster, hopefully it was Emane, but there was no time to look. The next thing she knew her head was underwater. She struggled to the surface gasping for air.
“Emane,” she sputtered, before the river pulled her back under.
Her lungs screamed at her as she slid along the bottom. Desperately reaching out she drug her fingers along trying to hold onto anything, but the rocks were smooth and flat. Panic pushed in on all sides. Her lungs ached for a breath. Three fingers lodged under a stone and her heart leaped, but then she slipped free again. Then, she felt fingers close around her wrist, jerking her up out of the water. Gasping great mouthfuls of air, Emane shouted in her ear.
Disoriented and coughing she turned to see the large black dogs leaping one after another into the water. Struggling to her feet and still gasping, she clung tightly to Emane as he attempted to drag her to the other bank. Slipping again, Emane tightened his arms around her waist, pulling her back to her feet with a grunt.
A frightened yelp came from behind them. Twisting, she looked over Emane’s shoulder to see one of the hounds being pulled downstream. The others were struggling but making headway.
Kiora had to do something.
Leaning on Emane, she concentrated on the small rocks at the shore as she never had before. The rocks jerked themselves out of the mud flying towards the creatures, hitting three squarely between the eyes. They yelped. The impact was enough that all three lost their footing, each one falling victim to a river that did not forgive mistakes. Their heads vanished beneath the water and did not appear again.
Emane dragged Kiora to the bank, roughly pushing her forwards. She dug her fingers into the mud struggling upwards, her feet slipping. Finally with her feet beneath her she searched for something else she could use. The remaining hounds were not far behind.
Emane scrambled up behind her. Leaning on his knees, he panted, “I don't know how much longer we've got, Kiora!”
“Use your sword!” she yelled, scanning the bank for something larger than the few rocks she had already used.
Emane looked at the remaining set of ten snapping jaws making their way towards them and back to Kiora, “I’m good, but I’m not that good.”
“I’m trying, Emane!” she yelled. “I don’t know what else to use!” She spun in a circle, there had to be something, anything! But this side of the bank was mainly mud and trees. A greedy snarl turned her attention back to the bank as one of the giant heads appeared over the edge, his claws digging easily into the mud.
“Emane!” she screamed.
Emane’s jaw fell slack, “Kiora, is that a…a…” he closed his eyes, breathing out.
“A dragon, yes.” Turning back, she peered through the trees trying to get a better look at the dragon. “But it’s not the one I saw in my vision.”
Emane took a step up behind her, putting his face over her shoulder, he hissed in her ear. “There is more than one of those things?”
“At least four now.”
“What?” Prince Emane shouted jerking backwards.
Kiora cringed as the dragon turned its head toward them, letting out a thunderous roar.
“So, Eleana, you now harbor eavesdropping children?” Its voice was deep, male, and resonated with a melodic quality.
“Those children are who we have been discussing,” Eleana answered calmly.
The dragon stretched its brown scaly neck around one of the trees to get a better look at the two humans that stood staring at him. His head moved past Kiora without much of a glance to focus in on Emane. “This is the Solus?”
“No, Morcant, the other one.”
Pulling his head back a bit, his eyes widened slightly in surprise at the sight of Kiora. Pulling back further, the dragon turned his massive head to the side looking at Eleana. “The Solus is a female?”
“Yes, Morcant, she is. Kiora, Emane, will you both please come over here?”
They picked their way through to where Aleric, Eleana and the giant dragon were standing. Kiora was not sure how the dragon had gotten himself in there in the first place. She glanced behind the dragon at a huge section of trees that had been crushed like toothpicks.
Oh, that’s how, she thought.
Eleana put her hand on Kiora's shoulder. “Kiora, this is Morcant. Morcant, this is Kiora, the Solus. And this is her Protector,” she hesitated for a moment, before naming him, “Prince Emane.”
Morcant raised his eyebrows as Emane was introduced. “Did you say ‘Prince’?”
“I did. Morcant,” she warned, “he is not his family, just as you are not yours.”
Morcant humphed. Poking his massive face forward, he nearly butted Emane in the head. Emane jumped back, looking nervously back and forth from the dragon to Eleana.
“That was an interesting little tidbit you kept from me, Eleana.”
Eleana pulled her head higher, sliding between Morcant and Emane. “It was Epona’s decision, Morcant. You may take it up with her.”
Pulling his head back to his full height, Morcant snorted in disgust.
Kiora could not get over how he sounded when he spoke. On one hand, the sheer volume was frightening. But on the other hand, it was so melodic and the tone so beautiful she didn't want him to stop talking.
“Morcant, I know it has been some time since you have had company,” Eleana chided, stepping away from Emane. “But do you think you could perhaps try to recall some manners?”
The giant dragon smiled, exposing a very large row of huge teeth. He bent his head low to the ground in between Kiora and Emane's feet. “I am very pleased to meet both of you.” His eyes shifted over to look at Eleana. “I apologize for my dreadful manners,” his voice dripped with sarcasm and amusement. “As Eleana mentioned, it has indeed been some time since I have had the need for conversation.”
Kiora looked down at him, a smile playing across her lips.
Morcant pulled his head up slightly so he stood nose to nose with her. “What are you thinking, girl?”
“Her name is Kiora.” Eleana corrected.
"Of course, Kiora. Those dreadful manners of mine.” He smiled wide again exposing his teeth. “What is it that you are thinking, Kiora?”
“I was thinking what a lovely creature you are.”
The dragon pulled himself up to full size, snapping a few branches in the process, letting loose a bellowing laugh. Kiora could feel her insides vibrating as the sound rippled through the forest.
“Lovely creature, she says! I like her, Eleana. I don't think anyone has ever called me that, not in at least three thousand years.” His laugh was still bellowing around them. He raised a foot and stomped the ground in sheer delight. The shock wave from the impact rolled through the ground knocking Aleric, Kiora and Emane off their feet.
“Morcant!” Eleana yelled over him, “You are going to kill them all if you are not careful.”
Morcant abruptly stopped, looking down at the pile of humans struggling to stand. Kiora pushed herself back to her feet, rubbing her elbow.
“Sorry,” Morcant chortled. “I had forgotten the frailty of man.” He clicked his tongue “Too bad, really. You could do so much more without all those limitations.”
Devri Walls lives in Kuna Idaho with her husband and two kids. She has worked as a music teacher and currently, a preschool teacher. She majored in theater and her love of a story still drives her today. Thankfully, she has finally found an outlet for all the voices in her head. Her first novel, Wings of Arian, is available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and Apple.
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