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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.    

Land of Zandador

The Great Rift is the dimension God created after the flood to preserve the animals who wouldn’t be able to survive earth’s post-flood atmosphere, such as dragons.  It is an odd-shaped island in the midst of red and purple seas that is roughly the width and length of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is comprised of seven distinct regions, one of which is Zandador.

The Land of Zandador is in the middle of the Great Rift.  The weather is near perfect all year, and the land is the most habitable in the entire Rift.  The river that runs through the middle of Zandador breaks off into various streams, allowing people to set up cities and villages all over the land.

North Zandador is hilly and mountainous.  South Zandador is swamp land along the river, then turns into rolling meadows and farmland.  Dragon Stalkers share Zandador with humans but have their own distinct territories in the outer corners of the land. 

Those who live in Zandador are direct descendants of Javan, one of the original 49 human settlers of the Great Rift.   They have tan skin and dark, red or blonde hair.  They’re also the only ones with the ability to communicate telepathically with the dragons. 

They believed man should work with the dragons and that the dragons were able to thrive when given a purpose:  to serve and protect man.  Riding dragons and thus gaining their loyalty gave the dragons that purpose without the dragons having to lose their free will.

As a result of these beliefs, they became known as the Collector Bloodline.

When they won the first Battle for the Throne, they claimed the Land of Zandador as their own. 

To find out more about the dragons, Bloodlines and the regions of the Great Rift, check out The Dragon Collector.

The Land of No Return

The Great Rift is the dimension God created after the flood to preserve the animals who wouldn’t be able to survive earth’s post-flood atmosphere, such as dragons.  It is an odd-shaped island in the midst of red and purple seas that is roughly the width and length of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is comprised of seven distinct regions, one of which is The Land of No Return.

The Land of No Return is southernmost region of the Great Rift; a Y-shaped canyon separates it from Keckrick and Varzack to the north. 

Like its counterpart Xyies at the northern tip of the Great Rift, the Land of No Return is cold and barren.  But unlike Xyies, there are no underground caves to provide a safe haven from the below freezing temperatures or the wind, snow and ice storms that constantly sweep across the land. 

Because of its uninhabitable nature, the Dark King uses the Zandadorian Portal to banish lawbreakers and traitors to this region. 

No one who has been banished to the Land of No Return has ever returned.

To find out more about the regions of the Great Rift, check out The Dragon Collector. ffffff

Varzack

The Great Rift is the dimension God created after the flood to preserve the animals who wouldn’t be able to survive earth’s post-flood atmosphere, such as dragons.  It is an odd-shaped island in the midst of red and purple seas that is roughly the width and length of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is comprised of seven distinct regions, one of which is Varzack.

Varzack is the region below the southeast half of Zandador.  It is bordered by Keckrick to the west, the purple ocean to the east and the Land of No Return to the south.  A desert separates it from Zandador, and a Y-shaped canyon separates it from its other neighboring regions.

Varzack itself is a mountainous and rocky region.  The trees in the mountains grow tall, thick and fast; they reach their full height within a year of being planted.  The rocks and stones come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  The wood, rocks and stones are used all over the Great Rift in the construction of homes and buildings.

Those who live in Varzack are dark-skinned people and descendants of Gomer, one of the original 49 human settlers of the Great Rift.  They developed an insatiable thirst for power and control once they discovered that a dragon would become subservient to anyone who cut off the tip of its tail.

They believed dragons were to be used, not be useful.  Their goal was to enslave all dragons, and use those dragons as tools to gain power over man.

As a result of these beliefs, they became known as the Hunter Bloodline.

When they lost the first Battle for the Throne to the Collector Bloodline, they retreated from the Land of Zandador and moved south to Varzack.  There they learned the art of building and became master artisans in the use of both stone and wood.

To find out more about the dragons, Bloodlines and the regions of the Great Rift, check out The Dragon Collector.

Keckrick

The Great Rift is the dimension God created after the flood to preserve the animals who wouldn’t be able to survive earth’s post-flood atmosphere, such as dragons.  It is an odd-shaped island in the midst of red and purple seas that is roughly the width and length of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is comprised of seven distinct regions, one of which is Keckrick.

Keckrick is the region below the southwest half of Zandador.  It is bordered by Varzack to the east, the red ocean to the west and the Land of No Return to the south.  A desert separates it from Zandador, and a Y-shaped canyon separates it from its other neighboring regions.

Keckrick itself is a lush rain forest.  An array of plants, trees and flowers grow in this region and are used in many foods and medicines all over the Great Rift. 

Those who live in Keckrick are brown-skinned people with black hair and are descendants of Tiras, one of the original 49 human settlers of the Great Rift.  They believed that dragons should be free to live how they please without any interference from man.  They also believed man should protect the dragons, not require dragons to protect or serve man. 

As a result of these beliefs, they become known as the Protector Bloodline.

When they lost the first Battle for the Throne to the Collector Bloodline, they retreated from the Land of Zandador and moved south to Keckrick.  To protect the plants and animals of the rain forest, they spread out and set up small communities all over the region.  That way they only had to clear tiny sections of land here and there to build their homes.

They are a peaceful people who keep to themselves but won’t hesitate to fight to protect Dragon Stalkers from harm.

To find out more about the dragons, Bloodlines and the regions of the Great Rift, check out The Dragon Collector.

Tirza

The Great Rift is the dimension God created after the flood to preserve the animals who wouldn’t be able to survive earth’s post-flood atmosphere, such as dragons.  It is an odd-shaped island in the midst of red and purple seas that is roughly the width and length of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is comprised of seven distinct regions, one of which is Tirza.

Tirza is the area south and east of Gibbet and is more than twice the size of Xyies and Gibbet combined.  The northern corner of the region contains volcanoes while most of the rest of the area is a bleak desert.  The only exception is the far eastern shore that is dominated by a huge lake, trees and meadows.

Those who live in Tirza are descendants of Madai, one of the original 49 human settlers of the Great Rift.  They grew to be unusually tall and built one of their first villages on Dawn Stalker territory, something the first king of Zandador strictly forbade. 

The dragons showed their disapproval of the encroachment by attacking the village and killing the inhabitants.  The remaining Madai descendants vowed vengeance by wiping out the dragons and became known as the Destroyer Bloodline.

When they lost the first Battle for the Throne to the Collector Bloodline, they fled the Land of Zandador and moved north to Tirza.  They inhabited the area around the lake and devoted themselves to training for war with the dragons. 

To this day, they pride themselves on their ability to live primitive lives and destroy any animal that poses a threat to them.  The animal threats in Tirza include six-legged bears, flying skunks and needle-shooting porcupines.

To find out more about the dragons, Bloodlines and the regions of the Great Rift, check out The Dragon Collector.

Gibbet

The Great Rift is the dimension God created after the flood to preserve the animals who wouldn’t be able to survive earth’s post-flood atmosphere, such as dragons.  It is an odd-shaped island in the midst of red and purple seas that is roughly the width and length of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is comprised of seven distinct regions, one of which is Gibbet.

Gibbet is the territory just below the icy region of Xyies.  It is a warm region shaped like the palm of a hand; the abundance of wild monkeys and thick jungles make building there challenging.

Those who live in the thickets of Gibbet are descendants of Tubal, one of the original 49 human settlers of the Great Rift.  They are tough, crafty folks who developed a genetic tendency toward dwarfism. 

Their small height made them feel like outcasts in the Land of Zandador, so they moved north and set up their own secluded community in Gibbet, far away from dragons and the conflict between the Dragon Stalker Bloodlines. 

Rather than clearing the land of trees in order to build homes, they learned to build in the trees and thrive alongside the monkeys.   The monkeys have thus grown protective of the dwarves and swarm to attack any strangers who trespass in their land.


To find out more about the dragons and regions of the Great Rift, check out The Dragon Collector. fff

Xyies

The Great Rift is the dimension God created after the flood to preserve the animals who wouldn’t be able to survive earth’s post-flood atmosphere, such as dragons.  It is an odd-shaped island in the midst of red and purple seas that is roughly the width and length of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is comprised of seven distinct regions, one of which is Xyies.

Xyies is the northern most tip of the Great Rift.  It looks like a giant thumb covered by a white, icy landscape. 

Xyies is a cold, barren land; the only habitable places are in underground caves.

Those who live in the caves of Xyies are descendants of Meschech, one of the original 49 human settlers of the Great Rift.  They migrated to Xyies from the Land of Zandador in order to avoid the conflict between the four Dragon Stalker Bloodlines and get as far away from the dragons of Zandador as possible. 

Xyiens survive on the fruits, nuts and vegetables they grow underground and the water they distill from the icy surface above.  They are extremely intelligent but lack pigmentation in their skin, making them a small nation of underground albinos.

To find out more about the dragons and regions of the Great Rift, check out The Dragon Collector.

The Storms of Zandador

Wind.  Rain.  Hail.  Sleet.  Snow.  Like on earth, these types of storms occur in the Land of Zandador.  But unlike earth, the Land of Zandador experiences three different types of storms:  red rains, white winds and sanity strikes.

Red Rains are horizontal rain storms that form over the ocean and sweep across the land.  The rain droplets in these slow-moving storms are red and sting when they contact skin.  The smaller the droplets are, the stronger the sting.  They can leave welts that last for weeks.

If a person is caught in a storm and exposed to too many stings, death is an imminent possibility.

White Winds are powerful blankets of wind that can form anywhere at any time.  The wind is so concentrated that it appears to be a sheet of sheer white, and the sound of the storm is so high-pitched that only animals can hear it coming. 

Anyone or anything caught in the path of a white wind storm can be thrown hundreds of miles away.

Sanity Strikes only occur at night within five nights before or after a full moon.  When these storms hit, glowing balls ranging in size from marbles to golf balls fall from the sky and explode on impact.

If a person is near one of these exploding balls, he or she will be rendered insane for days.  If one of these balls explodes on a person, he or she could be rendered insane for years.  Some never regain their sanity.

Find out more about the Land of Zandador, the Dragon Stalkers who roam the land and the boy who is on a mission to collect dragons in The Dragon Collector.

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.

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