Category: Character Profiles (page 1 of 4)

Taliya’s First Friend

The rush of heat from the dragon’s breath of fire passed over Taliya’s back in less than two seconds.  Nevertheless, she waited another minute before moving just to make sure the dragon was done trying to kill her.  When she felt safe, she stood from her crouched position.  She couldn’t see the dragon anymore, but she could still hear him breathing.

“That was mean!  I’m sorry I stepped on your tail and all, but you were invisible.  How was I supposed to know your tail was in my way?”  Taliya wanted to reach out and touch the dragon, but she might not be able to duck fast enough if he decided to blow fire at her again.  Instead, she put her hands on her hips and continued her one-sided conversation.

“I know you’re still here.  I also know you don’t really want to hurt me or I wouldn’t still be here.”  Taliya ducked and waited for more fire to come her way.  When nothing happened, she stood tall, crossed her arms over her chest, and spoke with a confidence she didn’t feel.  “I came a long way today to meet a dragon.  I don’t want to hunt you or collect you or destroy you.  I just want to say hi and be your friend.  So you need to let me see you.”

She kept her arms crossed and stared at where she thought the dragon’s head should be.  Five minutes passed.  Ten.  Fifteen.  Her muscles wanted her to move, but her determination made her remain stationary.  She began to wonder if she was staring at air when the biggest creature she had ever seen appeared in front of her.

“Whoa.”  She found herself situated between a long white tail and a claw bigger than her entire body.  “You’re like a mini mountain, and you’re not even standing up.”  Taliya walked around the long dragon, marveling at its strong muscles and bright white skin, skin covered not with scales but with dozens of deep red scratches.

“You’re hurt,” Taliya said, approaching the dragon’s head.

The dragon offered a slight nod, and she could see the pain in his eyes.

“You must have just shed your scales.  I read that happens to dragons every ten years.  Some animals must have attacked you after you lost your scales.”

Another nod.

“If the books I’ve read about making medicine from plants is true, I think I can help you.  Will you let me?”

The dragon lowered his head and sniffed Taliya with nostrils that were as tall as her.  She must have passed his test because he snorted, laid his head on the ground, and slid his injured front leg toward her.

“Good.”  So much for returning home by dark when the city gates would open again to let in the supplies from Japheth.  “I’ll figure out how to heal these cuts, and I’ll stay with you to protect you until your scales grow back.”

The city gates would remain closed until next Saturday, anyway.  She just hoped she could survive until then.  If the dragon didn’t decide to eat her, would she be able to find food, water, and a safe place to sleep?

Rather than cower in fear, she smiled.  Life was finally becoming the grand adventure she had always wanted it to be.

Taliya Steps on a Dragon

The trees seemed to grow bigger and taller and wider and greener as she approached the edge of Noon Stalker Territory.  The excitement of exploring the wonders the jungle held helped her forget how thirsty and hungry she was becoming.

It had taken her longer to get across the meadow than she expected, and her legs were growing itchy from walking through the long grass under the hot sun.  The boring brown dress she and all the girls in Zandador had to wear hung just past her knees, and that left the bottom of her legs exposed to the grass.  Had she been smart, she would have snagged a pair of pants from the wagon full of uniforms she had escaped Oer in.

Next time.  Next time she would be smart enough to bring water, food, and pants with her.  For now, she would deal with being thirsty, hungry, and itchy.  That was better than being stuck in her room with nothing to do but read about the place she could now touch and smell.

Before progressing into the jungle, Taliya looked to her left.  She could still see the city she had escaped from, but she was certain no one there could see her.  She was too small and too far away.  Plus, no one would be looking for her.  If her parents ever bothered to discover she was gone, they would probably be happy they didn’t have to deal with her today.

“Well, I’m happy I don’t have to deal with them.”  Taliya smiled and studied the trees in front of her.  In a few steps, she would be standing in the jungle where Noon Stalkers lived.  “Time to find me a dragon.”

With her mind now focused on dragons, she trudged forward between two giant trees that had leaves bigger than her head.  She had no trail to follow, so she carefully weaved her way between trees and ferns and shrubs and flowers.  Wanting to keep the place as pristine as possible and keep from disturbing any creatures who lived on the plants, she found herself ducking under branches and dodging leaves in an attempt to touch nothing.  Being short finally gave her an advantage in life!

Everything around her smelled fresh and alive.  Colorful birds sang lovely songs above her.  Other animals she couldn’t see chirped and whistled.

This.  This felt like home.  This felt like a place where she belonged.  Maybe she would stay here.  Maybe she would never go back to Oer.

Her stomach rumbled, reminding her she had yet to eat today.  Maybe staying here wasn’t such a great idea, at least not until she figured out how to find food and water.  And a place to sleep.  She did like having a bed and a roof over her head.

She looked up at a bright red bird with a long black feather for a tail.  “I’ll go just a little bit farther, then turn back.  Even if I didn’t get to see a dragon, at least I got to meet you.”

The bird cocked its head, let out a high-pitched wail, then flew away.

“Fine,” Taliya yelled at the departing bird.  “I didn’t want to be your friend, either.” 

More birds fluttered through the trees, and she could hear animals on the ground around her scurrying in every direction.

“What is going on?  Do I smell weird?”

Confused and a little hurt by the sudden departure of all living things, she trudged forward.  That’s when she stepped on what felt like the root of a giant tree.  Only it wasn’t a root.  Or a tree.  It was the tip of a tail of a giant dragon, a dragon that became visible to her the second she came in contact with its tail.

She screamed and ducked just in time to avoid a flash of fire from the dragon’s mouth.

A Whole New World

“Uh oh.”  Taliya’s giggles turned to worry as she realized what she had done.  She had made it outside the city gates for the first time in her young life, but she was in the back of a moving wagon filled with clothes that she couldn’t stop or reach the top of to climb out.  The plan was to explore the land around her hometown of Oer, not travel all the way to the city of Japheth in the wagon!

She sat cross-legged in the middle of the long wagon and considered her options.  Should she yell for help?  She could tell the soldier driving the wagon that she just happened to fall in as he drove by, but then she would end up right back in the city.  Her boring parents wouldn’t even try to listen to her explanation, and she would probably have to endure some sort of unpleasant punishment.

What if she started throwing all the uniform pants that surrounded her out of the wagon?  That would get the driver to stop for sure.  Too bad she would still be stuck inside the wagon for the guy to find her and take her back home.  She was not going home until she had a chance to do some exploring.

The wagon hit a big bump and sent her flying face first into a pair of pants.  As she sat back up and brushed the lint off her tongue, she got an idea.  She just needed to act quickly, before the wagon picked up too much speed.

From her knees, Taliya began pushing the clothes toward the back of the wagon.  She stacked pair after pair of pants on top of each other until the pile nearly reached the top.  “That should do it.”  She nodded at her pile and began climbing. 

She made it halfway to the top when the wagon hit a rough patch of road and jostled her backwards.  Once the road smoothed out, she began her ascent again.  At the top, she could barely make out the city of Oer.  If she didn’t get out soon, she may not make it back to Oer by dark. 

Then the wagon began traveling faster.  Jumping out at this speed was going to hurt.  Did she want a few bruises, or did she want to get caught by the soldiers in Japheth? 

Bruises.  Definitely bruises. 

Taliya bit her bottom lip, closed her eyes, and jumped, curling herself into a tiny ball before smacking into the ground on her right side.

She grunted on contact and rolled several feet along the dirt road.  She waited a minute before attempting to move.  The sounds of the wagons faded away, and a breeze blew dust in her face.  She coughed, opened her eyes, and tested her limbs by extending them one by one.

Right leg.  Stinging, but okay.

Left leg.  All good.

Right arm.  Scraped up, but working.

Left arm.  Just fine.

“I did it.”  Taliya rose to her feet and gazed at her surroundings.  Nothing but beautiful green meadows stretched out on either side of the road in front of her, and the same meadows led to the speck of the city of Oer behind her.  “I really did it.  I’m free!”

She ran into the waist-high grass and laughed as she twirled with her arms wide open and her face toward the sky.  She twirled until she got too dizzy to keep twirling, then plopped onto the softest grass she had ever touched.

When her head stopped spinning enough for her to focus, she cocked her head, squinted her eyes, and studied the landscape to the right of Oer.  “There it is.” 

Her jaw dropped at the sight of the vibrant green plants and spectacularly tall trees in the distance that marked the edge of Noon Stalker Territory. 

She picked herself up and brushed herself off.  She had some exploring to do.  It might take her all day, but she wasn’t going home until she met a dragon.

Taliya Escapes

 Pine needles from the branch above her poked her back.  Taliya didn’t mind.  The open wagon full of uniforms from the factory where her mother worked would be driving by any time.  Once she jumped in, the pine needles wouldn’t bother her any more.

 In all her six years, Taliya had never been beyond the row of pine trees that divided the living quarters of the city from the government headquarters.  She could see the lake and trees and flowers as well as the beautiful buildings and cobblestone street that surrounded the lake from her perch in the tree, but no commoner like herself was allowed past the pine tree line.

 She didn’t think that was fair.  Why did she have to stay stuck in the part of the city that had no grass or trees or flowers, where row after row of identically built square houses separated by narrow dirt roads made her feel trapped and invisible?  She wanted to go beyond the tree line.  Beyond the cobblestone streets.  Beyond the city gates.

For the past two years, she had spent her days and nights reading about the world beyond the gates.  Glorious things awaited her in this Land of Zandador, and she was done reading about them.  She wanted to explore the world for herself.  She knew she was still too little to survive on her own, though, so she would just escape for the day. 

The western gates always opened at dawn on Saturday to send the uniforms produced in the factories that week to the capital of Japheth, and they always opened again at dusk to let in the shipment of food from Japheth.  She figured she could leave with the clothes and return with the food.  Her parents would never even miss her.

A whining mule captured her attention.  To her right, five wagons each pulled by two mules and driven by one soldier headed her way. 

She held her breath as they approached on the dirt road that led under her branch.  One by one, they plodded by.  The drivers stared ahead of them, so no one noticed when she let go of her branch and dropped into the last wagon in line. 

A giggle escaped from her lips as she buried herself under the clothes.  A tiny little girl had outsmarted a bunch of mean, stern grownups.  Now she was about to experience the best day of her life.

Too bad she would never be able to tell anyone about it.

Taliya’s First Crisis

“I had to glue her mouth shut again.”

At the sound of her mother Lily’s voice, Taliya jerked to attention from her hidden spot in the loft that overlooked the common room of the small home.  Her parents didn’t often say much to each other.  Her mother liked to sleep a lot while her father sat quietly in his chair by the fire reading book after book.  So when they did talk, she paid attention, especially when they were talking about her.

Her father Hizel sighed.  “I thought we agreed you weren’t going to do that anymore.”

“I had a headache and couldn’t bear listening to one more of her relentless questions.”

Taliya licked her lips.  They were still raw from the sticky goo her mother had put on them earlier, but she had used her tongue and spit to free her lips hours ago.  Maybe if someone would answer her questions, she wouldn’t keep asking them.

Why couldn’t she play outside?  When could they take a trip beyond the city walls?  Why was the city surrounded by walls and guards anyway? 

And what about dragons?  Would she ever get to see one?  Did their scales really change colors when they got hungry?  What Bloodline was she from?  Would she ever find her own dragon to take care of?  Could she enter the Battle of the Throne one day? 

Taliya crawled on the splintery wood floor to the edge of the loft and watched her tall, muscular father shrug his shoulders and sit in his rocking chair by the fireplace.  “She’s only four, Lily.  She’s curious.”

“She’s exhausting.”  Her mother’s tan cheeks were turning red as she marched across the room to stand in front of her father.  She was barely taller than him even though he was sitting down.  Taliya hoped that someday she would be as tall as her father, not as short as her mother. 

“By the time I was her age,” Lily continued, “I had learned to keep my mouth closed and do what I was told.  But your child is asking about traveling and dragons and what Bloodline she’s from and if she can compete in the Battle of the Throne.  Those are dangerous questions to be asking!”

Hizel stopped rocking and stared at Lily.  “What did you tell her?”

“Nothing.  Of course I told her nothing.”  She crossed her arms over her chest.  “I can’t handle her anymore.  I want to give her to the King’s Workhouse.”

“No!”  Taliya bumped her forehead on the railing, ignored the pain, and scrambled down the ladder.  “Don’t send me away.  Please.  I’ll be quiet.  I’ll be good.  I promise.”  She wanted to explore new places, but going to the King’s Workhouse did not sound like a good idea.

“This is what I’m talking about.”  Lily stared at Hizel but pointed at Taliya.  “She can’t even sleep when she is supposed to.  I have to listen to noise all day long in the factory.  I need quiet when I come home.  I want her gone.”

Hizel stood and loomed over Lily.  “But she’s your child.” 

Taliya looked at her mother, then her father.  Neither one of them looked at her.  Her heart began to beat faster to keep up with her speeding mind.  How could she convince them to keep her?  What could she do to make them want her?  She liked them.  Why didn’t they like her?

“No,” Lily said.  “She’s your child.  You’re the one who requested the license to have a child.  I simply complied when the license was granted.  That’s what I do because I’m a good citizen.  I comply.  Taliya doesn’t.  The only way for her to learn compliance is to give her to the King’s Workhouse.”

Learn.  Books.  Taliya’s bright blue eyes flew to the stack of books piled beside her father’s chair.  “That’s it!”  Taliya pushed her way through her parents and picked up a thick red book with large black letters.  “I’ll read these books and learn how to be that comply thing you want.  I’ll be quiet just like father when I read.  Please don’t send me away.  This is home.  I like it here.”

Lily rolled her eyes and took the book away from Taliya.  “You’re too young to read.”

“I disagree.”  Hizel picked Taliya up.  “She’s smart.  I can teach her.”

“No,” Lily said.  “You trying to teach her how to read is only going to make more noise around here.”

“We can go outside,” Taliya said.

Her mother shook her head.  “People will see you and wonder why you are trying to get a head start on your education.  I don’t want to do anything that might cause people to doubt our loyalty to the king and his laws.”

“What about your loyalty to your family?”  Hizel took the book back from Lily.  “We’ll begin our lessons right here in the common room after you go to bed.  Until then, Taliya will sit quietly alone in her loft to give you your space.”

Taliya let a little bit of excitement creep into her next question.  “Does that mean I don’t have to go away?”

“That’s exactly what that means,” Hizel said.  “But it also means you have to promise to be quiet around your mother.  No more talking, and no more questions.”  Taliya bit her lower lip and nodded.  “Okay, Father.  I promise.”  Not asking questions would be hard because she had so many things she wanted answers to, but she would just have to learn to find those answers in books.    

Barath

Meet Barath, one of the characters in The Dragon Hunter.  He works for Omri in the lab located in the basement of the castle.  Here is his brief profile:

Birthdate:   March 13 in the Zandadorian year of 3303

Current Age:  897

Appearance:  Half-bald black man, well-trimmed white beard; scrawny; wears glasses (but he’s always forgetting where he put them and often walks around with several pair on his head at once)

Rank: 
Lead Researcher in the King’s Lab

Family:  Widower; his only daughter is Omri’s third wife

Personality:  Intelligent, Absent-minded, Talkative  

Biggest Fear:  Upsetting King Omri and thus endangering his daughter’s life

Unique Facts:  Once Omri discovered how brilliant Barath was, Omri had Barath’s wife Yara killed and threatened to execute his daughter as well unless Barath agreed to work for Omri.  Barath has worked for Omri during the king’s entire reign and has become accustomed to obeying the king’s orders to keep his daughter safe.

Lydia

Meet Lydia, one of the characters in The Dragon Hunter.    She is the Tribal Chief of the Sacratali Tribe in Lower Keckrick.  Here is her brief profile:

Birthdate:   December 8 in the Zandadorian year of 4103

Current Age:  97

Appearance:  5’7”, spiked hair, brown eyes, brown skin; slender, muscular

Rank:  Tribal Chief 

Family:  Widow; mother of three grown boys; has five grandchildren, all girls

Personality:  Tough, Determined, Impulsive

Biggest Fear:  Being unable to protect her family and tribe

Unique Facts:  On her tenth wedding anniversary at the age of 47, a powerful storm with high winds and massive rainfall swept through her village.  Her husband—the Chief at the time—was trapped by a fallen tree and drowned by the rising water from the rain.  She tried to free him from the tree but was unsuccessful.  She took over as Chief and became fiercely protective of her family and tribe, determined not to lose any more loved ones on her watch.

Taliya, Dragon Protector

Meet Taliya, one of the characters in The Dragon Hunter.    She is a Dragon Protector and a direct descent of Atlar, Timlech and Tra, the Protector Kings who ruled Zandador from 1501-1800.  Here is her brief profile:

Birthdate:   March 17 in the Zandadorian year of 4178

Current Age:  22

Appearance:  5’2”, waist-length black hair, tan skin, bright blue eyes, slender figure

Heritage:  Protector Bloodline 

Family:  only child; parents live in Zandador but sent her to Keckrick to live with her grandparents

Personality:  Smart, Witty, Outgoing

Biggest Fear:  Losing Kisa, the dragon she is secretly protecting in Keckrick

Unique Facts:  Her human contact has been limited because she doesn’t want anyone to find out about Kisa.  She can move in the woods without making a sound, shoots darts from a slingshot with deadly accuracy, and studies the weather patterns.  She can sense when animals are about to strike or a storm is about to hit.

Omri Finds His Dark Side

In the cold, dark corner of the stone prison, Omri sat with his hands chained together in front of him and his ankles chained to the floor.  He had been stripped of the power to do anything.  Except think.  Plan his revenge.  Contemplate his future.

He would escape this prison.  He would remain in Varzack long enough to regain his physical strength and ensure his brother rotted in a prison of Omri’s choosing.  And he would become King of the Land of Zandador.

When he became king, he would make the world bend to his will.  He would have complete control of everyone and everything.  Dragons would obey him.  People would fear him.  Even the land would produce the food and plants he demanded.

When he became king, he would dictate what the people learned, where they lived, what jobs they worked, who they married and how many kids they could have. 

When he became king, no one would dare defy him.  If they did, he would have them killed or banned to the Land of No Return.  

When he became king, he would show no mercy.  Have no compassion.  Show no sympathy.  He would treat people the way he was being treated in this prison.  He wanted every person in his kingdom to feel like they had shackles on their hands and feet, to know the hopelessness of being a prisoner, to have no say in the day to day activities of their lives.

When he became king, he would gain total domination over the Land of Zandador.  Varzack.  The entire Great Rift.  And eventually the dimension on the other side of the portal known as earth. ffffffffff

Omri’s First Encounter with a Dragon

The year was 3600, a Battle for the Throne year in Zandador. 

At age 96, Omri was too young to enter the battle.

As a servant in Varzack, Omri was not allowed to leave Varzack.

As a blacksmith, Omri had no official training as a Dragon Hunter.

None of that mattered to Omri. 

Omri was the one son his parents had a chance to influence.  They were forced to give up Omri’s two older brothers to become soldiers in the army and thus focused all their attention on their youngest son.  If he became King of Zandador, they would be freed from their life of servitude to their master Rehu.

His mother had been telling him from the day of his birth how special he was.  She made him believe he could do no wrong and deserved to have everything he wanted. 

Likewise, his father told him he was strong and smart and powerful and had been training him in secret.  They weren’t supposed to know how to fight with the swords they made in their blacksmith shop, but they trained at night anyway. 

So when the Battle for the Throne began, they helped Omri sneak out of Varzack so he could hunt dragons in Zandador.  What none of them knew was that Omri’s oldest brother Mahrer was also in Zandador hunting dragons.

He began his hunt in Dusk Stalker territory.  He spent a month tracking one dragon, learning its habits and assessing its strengths and weaknesses.  Then one early morning in February, Omri made his move.

His plan was to cut off the dragon’s tail while it slept, and Omri had observed it often slept til nearly noon.  Attacking at sunrise would catch the dragon in a deep sleep, and it would be his before it had a chance to open its eyes.

Quietly, Omri drew his sword and approached the dragon’s cave.  He found its white-scaled body curled into a ball, and its tail curved all the way under its head.  Omri smiled.  All he had to do was slice through any part of the dragon’s tail, and it would be his to control.

He adjusted his feet as he raised his sword, but that was all it took to wake the dragon.  In one quick motion, it kicked Omri with his back leg.  The sharp claws ripped Omri’s shirt, cut into his chest and sent him sprawling down the hill.

Omri scurried under cover of some nearby bushes and waited for the dragon to find him, but it never did.  Because his brother found him first.

“Omri?  What are you doing here?”  Mahrer pulled the hurt Omri to his feet and punched him in the jaw.  “How dare you attempt to hunt any dragon, especially one I plan to make my own.”

“You’re no Dragon Hunter.”  Omri spit out a mouthful of blood.  “I got closer to that dragon on my first attempt than you could ever hope to get in a thousand years.”

Mahrer screamed and punched Omri again, knocking him out.

When he woke up, his hands and legs were tied, and he was on his way back to Varzack to serve a decade-long prison sentence for abandoning his blacksmithing responsibilities. ffffffffffffff

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