Hooked on First Change, Duty, #MFRWHooks

An excerpt from Magic and Steel - Mt'wan Comraich, one of the novellas in First Change: Legends From The Eyrie, the latest of the Dragshi Chronicles.

The Lady Mairin Alidryer of the Dragshi searched for the one man in the world intended to be her mate. However, the man she left behind when she gained the freedom of flight refused to accept the truth that she did not love him. Now the head of a band of raiders, her former suitor turned stalker swore to have Mairin on her knees in front of him.

All that stands between his plans is the true human, Kedar, wielder of the enspelled sword called Mt’wan Comraich. But will the steel of the Protector of Mt’wan be enough.

Bodyguard to the Lady Mairin, Kedar dared not fail in his duty—or more dangerous—love her. For like the true dragons, the shifters mated for life in this world and the one beyond.

In this excerpt, we see duty is not just an attribute of man. Dogs are more than companions, and have served as protectors and guardians for humans as well as other animals. A well-trained sheep dog is extra hands and eyes to the flock's guardian. One of the duties of the dragshi and the true humans who live at Cloud Eyrie is to protect the dragons irregardless if the human is a dragon lord or a shepherd such as Kedar.

The sun had not even kissed the mountain peaks before Faoth raced from her spot farther down the trail. A tawny blur, the pup headed straight for Kedar. She snatched his pant leg in her mouth and tried pulling him back towards the meadow.

“Faoth, obey” Kedar said, his voice as much a growl as those coming from the dog. “Home!”

Although the puppy released Kedar’s pant leg, her head swiveled from the trail ahead to the path behind and back again as if unsure where to go.

Kedar was just as torn. Faoth had never disobeyed him, so why was she doing it now?

With a whimper, the puppy dropped its efforts to get Kedar to follow, and ignoring orders to return, scrambled over rocks in the direction of Rioghnach.

The hackles of the head dog’s neck straightened into a golden crown of thorns that emphasized the black face. Lir looked up at Kedar, its expression plainly asking for orders.

Suddenly the animals’ actions made sense—gryphlor.

He tried reaching out to the dragon with mindspeech, but only silence greeted the attempt. Kedar realized his friend would be sleeping off her meal and would be unable to defend herself until it was too late. A glance at the sun told the story of distance already traveled.

“No,” Kedar yelled. The path would take too long. Despite the danger posed by the wood’s inhabitants, he would have to go cross-county. With the dog at his side, he raced into the deepening shadows of the forest. I have to reach Rioghnach. The old one must be protected at all costs.

Fear took control of his feet and he ran faster, ignoring both the branches that grasped at his clothes and the stickers that ripped his skin. Sharp pains in his side finally forced him to stop. “Go on,” he ordered Lir in a hoarse croak. As if it had kept its pace slow to accommodate its human leader, the golden dog took off at a fast lope. Unwilling to be left behind, Kedar sucked down long breaths and, holding a hand to his side, staggered on.

Reaching the tree line, he saw Faoth and Lir had circled around and now crawled on their bellies, inching closer to the dragon. The only sign of their passage was a slight wave in the grass.

Kedar planned his actions to complement the dogs’. Even though they could not see him, without commands to counter them, their training and instincts would direct them. And he had done the training, making the dogs’ defense techniques predictable.

Although he sensed the gryphlors’ presence, Kedar could not spot the large cats. His eyes strained to separate shadows from brown hide. Finally, his efforts were rewarded. Movement, as if a breeze rippled through the meadow, showed the gryphlors’ location. The pride had spread out and were between him and Rioghnach. Wings spread to bask in the warmth radiating from the rocks, the dragon faced away from the threat. Even worse, the big cats were downwind so the dragon would not catch a hint of their presence.

~ * ~

The rest of MAGIC AND STEEL as well as the other tales in First Change, is available at these ebook sellers.

Be sure to check out the other excerpts by the authors of MFRW.


Reflections on 2021 A to Z


This is my 3rd attempt--and surprisingly third completion- of the A to Z in April Challenge. A to Z is the challenge hop that asks bloggers to spend the month of April using the English alphabet as inspiration for their posts. This year's participants came from 85 countries.

Reflecting on the 2021 challenge one word came to mind--thought provoking. Besides the difficulty in matching a topic to a letter (more on that later), the short time frame that required a post a day was an additional complication. And since I did both the 2020 and 2019 challenges I didn't want to duplicate their posts. At least not plagiarize too much from my previous ones. The link to the topic list of the earlier challenges is provided to see how the letters have changed.

Then there was the world event called Covid-19 or the novel corona virus. Although some improvement has been made over the past year, travel restrictions, scheduling vaccine appointments, and continued cancellation of volunteer activities, stole the energy to write, and chased the muse away.

The theme for the challenge mirrored what I use for this blog--the characters and settings of my novels with a touch of the writing life tossed in for variety.

Reading through the comments left on the Journey to the Stars and Worlds of Imagination was interesting. Some were already followers of the blog and my fantasy romance novels. Others stopped by because of the topic such as "x" words, writing tips, or music.

The full list of posts from the challenge follows. I hope you'll find a topic or two of interest. ~till next time, Helen

D is for Dragon

A+e=d creating a characters name
Bad Character
Editing Love It or Hate It


G is for Gryphlor
Music for The Soul and Imagination
Never Say Never

K is for Kia
Sea Shanty
Time In My Worlds
Uncommon - Unique- Unusual





2021 Z : Zulu

 #AtoZChallenge 2021 banner


It took a lightning flash, but the topic for "Z" turned out to be one of the easiest. A slideshow of old pictures running on a digital frame started flipping through pictures of my father in his flight uniform and the planes he flew. Now how does that translate to Zulu?

Not giving my age, but a craft like this
was among my first exposures to airplanes.

After World War II, the military alphabet (then known as the Able Baker Alphabet) was reworked by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) so that letters and numbers would have distinct names that would be easily understood irregardless of the speakers language. This version of the alphabet was also used  by by airline pilots and crew for radio communications. Between the military service of family members, the shows I watched growing up, and an association with the commercial aviation industry, it is not surprising that at one time I could recite the entire alphabet. (And yes, I still use it when talking to customer service personnel who can't tell the difference between B, E, G, and several other letters.)

A - Alfa
N - November
B - Bravo
O - Oscar
C - Charlie
Q - Quebec
D - Delta
O - Oscar
E - Echo
R - Romeo
F - Foxtrot
S - Sierra
G - Golf
T - Tango
H - Hotel
U - Uniform
I - India
V - Victor
J - Juliett
W - Whiskey
K - Kilo
X - X-Ray
L - Lima
Y - Yankee
M - Mike
Z - Zulu


Thank you for coming along on the Journey to Worlds of Imagination. If you've missed any of the posts, here is the link to a list of them all.
If you're following other blogs in the challenge, here's the master list of the other participants. 

~ till next time, Helen