Ashes and Spirits

By: A.D. Trosper
(Dragon's Call Series Book 3)

I would like to thank my readers more than anything. Without you, this series wouldn’t be near as much fun to write. Your emails, comments, and messages have been wonderful and I treasure each one. As this part of Dragon’s Call draws to a close, know that I can never express well enough how much I appreciate you.

I also owe a thank you to my family. They have had to hear me rant when my muse deserted me, do without me while I wrote, and listen to me talk about it way too much.

Another thank you must go out to Wichita Archery for their knowledge on arrows and specifically what night arrows sound like (once it was clear that it was for a fictional battle and that I wasn’t intending to actually shoot someone with an arrow).

Also, many thanks to the people who delve into the secrets of volcanoes and those who thought to record the action when a volcano erupted. And thank you to the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory.

And finally, thank you to my editor for the meticulous work she put into keeping me consistent and her brilliant suggestions. And to the team at Blue Harvest Creative for their incredible cover design, gorgeous interior, and amazing eBook. You took my manuscript and turned it into a beautiful book.

For the readers who love Dragon’s Call

Maleena stood in the middle of a blackened field. Ash floated through the air like snow. Tears streaked her face as she slowly turned, and a fist closed over her heart. Tellnox lay still and crumpled on the burnt ground, his brilliant-green scales charred. A long, jagged tear laid his neck open from jaw to shoulder. Mckale lay not far from Tellnox, his silver eyes staring sightlessly at the sky.

With a sob, Maleena turned away. Her eyes fell on Kellinar’s body. Next to him, Shryden’s now white scales were evidence of a dragon that died after his rider. Taela wandered lost and screaming through the battlefield. Paki’s body lay partially submerged in the perfectly round and still lake.

Syrakynn raised her voice in keening sorrow as she dragged herself across the ground to her fallen rider. With each passing moment, more of the red washed from her scales.

Loki leaned against Merru. Both of them bled heavily from too many wounds. Serena sat next to her dead Miya, her eyes filled with loss and desperation as she stared off into nothing.

Maleena turned, frantically searching for Nydara. The silver lay behind her, both wings shattered beyond repair and one back leg useless. It was too much. Too much sorrow, too much devastation, too much…

Nowhere could she find Vaddoc and Namir. In her heart, she knew. Knew they had died before this battle ever happened. Died defending the Yari as they fled the shadows. Knew exactly when and how they had died.

The screech of a Shadow Dragon spun her around. More Kojen charged over the battlefield. Maleena grabbed a discarded sword, perhaps one of Mckale’s, and braced herself. Despite the pain in her wings, Nydara pulled herself forward. Using the last of her strength, the silver sent fire into the sky to hold off the Shadow Dragon while Maleena met the wave of Kojen.

There were far too many, but Nydara could no longer fly. Maleena fought with her last breath to defend the silver. Pain exploded in her head as a Kojen sword connected. Darkness closed over her as she fell to the ground. Nydara’s grief-filled roar echoed in her ears as the world faded…

The image shifted…

Maleena worked a weave she had only used once before under the direction of a much older dragon. Mckale and Tellnox tried to keep the shadows at bay while Nydara made defensive moves as Maleena wove. It was nearly finished, two more threads…

A black dragon crashed into Nydara and the weave fumbled. A wave of white-light burst away from Maleena, ripping apart and destroying everything in its path. The explosion stunned Maleena and knocked Nydara from the sky. The dragon tumbled toward the lake.

The last thing Maleena saw before Nydara hit the surface of the still water was the blast tearing her friends from the sky. Then the dead lake claimed her and the silver, and their souls fled…

The image shifted…

Again, it ended in everyone’s death, including hers. Over and over the images shifted, each one different and yet each one ending the same. The Shadow Riders won. The Guardians and their dragons were all killed.

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