He was flying.
No, that didn’t make sense, because Iren could feel solid ground beneath his feet. Darkness surrounded him; he fluttered his hand in front of his face but couldn’t see it at all. The floor, if one existed, felt like flat stone. He took a few steps. The hollow ring of each footfall unnerved him. With trepidation he called, “Hello?” but only his nervous breathing replied. He reached for the Muryozaki, but it had disappeared from his hip. Fear took hold. Somehow, he had become lost in an infinite void without even a weapon to protect him.
Just as his desperation grew too great, a faint light appeared in the distance. At first Iren took it for a star, but it grew bigger the longer he stared. It soon took the form of a great undulating serpent with majestic wings, bursts of light erupting in every direction with each wingbeat. The vast majority of the dragon, for it could be nothing else, was of the purest white, with a few sky blue streaks accentuating the lines of its massive yet elegant body. Most impressive of all, however, were its eyes. Even from far away, they shone with a blue that bore through the blackness.
As the dragon flew closer, its light swallowed the shadows so that Iren nearly forgot they had ever engulfed him in the first place. The creature’s glow did not act like a beacon in the night, guiding ships to shore like the lighthouse at Ceere. Rather, it simply made the darkness go away, so that there was no need for such a lantern.
Iren gulped as the beast’s size truly came into perspective. Its eyes alone measured over five feet in diameter. The dragon’s teeth offered no comfort; each was longer than Iren’s entire body and had an edge that made the Muryozaki look like a worn butter knife.
The creature landed on four legs, each with three claws longer and sharper still than its fangs, and came into striking range. Iren expected it to devour him, but instead the dragon lowered its head in a deep bow of respect. The gesture so astonished Iren that he could do nothing but stare and take in the strange beauty of the awe-inspiring reptile. Long blue hair grew all along its spine, and two gigantic blue whiskers, each as thick as Iren’s thigh, adorned its face.
At last the dragon rose and, giving Iren a curious expression, loosed a low grumble, which sounded more like a sigh than anything threatening. Then, with a booming voice that shook the very fabric of the universe, the creature said, “So you are my knight. You are Iren Saitosan.”
From fantasy author Josh VanBrakle comes an epic new trilogy of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic. Lefthanded teenager Iren Saitosan must uncover a forgotten history, confront monsters inspired by Japanese mythology, and master a serpentine dragon imprisoned inside a katana to stop a revenge one thousand years in the making.
Lodian culture declares lefthanded people dangerous and devil-spawned, and for Iren, the kingdom’s only known Left, that’s meant a life of social isolation. To pass the time and get a little attention, he plays pranks on the residents of Haldessa Castle. It’s harmless fun, until one of his stunts nearly kills Lodia’s charismatic heir to the throne. Now to avoid execution for his crime, Iren must join a covert team and assassinate a bandit lord. It’s a suicide mission, and Iren’s chances aren’t helped when he learns that his new katana contains a dragon’s spirit, one with a magic so powerful it can sink continents and transform Iren into a raging beast.
Adding to his problems, someone on Iren’s team is plotting treason. When a former ally launches a brutal plan to avenge the Lefts, Iren finds himself trapped between competing loyalties. He needs to figure out who – and how – to trust, and the fates of two nations depend on his choice.
“A fast-paced adventure…led by a compelling cast of characters. Josh VanBrakle keeps the mysteries going.” - ForeWord Reviews
Genre – YA epic fantasy
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Josh VanBrakle on Twitter