I had a hard time deciding which one scene in Odessa was my favorite. The book is full of action with dragon battles, narrow escapes and discoveries. Not to mention new relationships forged in the fire of danger and necessity. So, after choosing several scenes I then deleted, I finally settled on this one. I like it because of the humor injected into such a dramatic, terrifying event. It also introduces Conall who will play a major role in Myrna’s life. She just doesn’t know it yet.
We all looked up through the canopy and with each lightning flash, watched the jagged bolts jab her back or tail or rip gaping wounds in the tender wing membranes.
“Who the flark are you? Wizard or witch, I care not. I shall disembowel you the same,” the dragon shrieked.
The atmosphere inside the forest became dark as night. Large drops of rain pelted our heads and shoulders. I quickly donned my rain cape, and because they were focused on the dragon, dressed Brigid and Tien, then stood waiting. That was all I could do. Watch and wait and worry.
A harsh light lit the forest, momentarily turning it into a strobed mass of eerie shadows and shapes. There were too many trees, I thought. It had previously been more open than it currently looked. But the flare ended before I could do more than register that alarm. Then all hell broke loose. The upper canopy began collapsing.
With ear-shattering, shrill screams, the dragon fell from the sky. She roared and shrieked for only a moment more. Trees groaned in long, mournful tones. Sharp, brittle cracks and snaps echoed as branches snapped off from the weight of the falling dragon. The ground and surrounding forest vibrated like an earthquake. Like releasing pick up sticks in a game, the trees spread outward, creating a hollow bowl where the dragon headed.
Once I realized what was happening, I rushed to grab Tien, who still sat at the foot of the tree. Brigid still stood entranced, but I saw Liam headed toward her. He scooped her in his arms and ran away from the epicenter. My head swiveled left and right in search of every member of my army, my Vigorios. I felt responsible for their safety. When I reached the tree where Tien had sat, she was gone. My heart fell into my stomach when I looked up at the fifteen ton mass of scales falling toward me at an alarming rate.
Strong arms grasped me around the middle and like a sack of potatoes I was tossed onto broad, strong shoulders and whisked away. I faced the falling dragon and, as though in slow motion, watched as it fell onto the ground and bounced high into the air, then fell again. Three times the humongous body did this until it finally came to rest amid the shattered and splintered trees. The ground vibrated so strongly with each bounce that whoever carried me had to stop and regain his balance. Once the drama of the falling dragon ended, I glanced down to ascertain who my rescuer was. All I could see was a leather shrouded, muscular backside and thick as tree trunk black legs that ran swiftly, dodging falling trees and branches.
As soon as the cacophony ceased, the stranger spun to look behind him. I screamed as he nearly decapitated me on a nearby tree trunk. He froze, then gingerly set me on my feet.
“You idiot! You nearly chopped off my head spinning like that,” I yelled as he lowered me to the ground. My tongue froze in my mouth once I faced him, however.
“Sorry,” he said. “Forgot how close together these grow. That would have been ironic to rescue you from the dragon only to decapitate you.” He grinned, showing large white teeth contrasting in stark relief against his pitch black face. Probing black eyes watched me. The grin lost its edges and floated toward a simple smile before I responded.
“Thanks for the rescue, but it would not have been ironic but stupid and tragic.” I turned and began weaving my way back to the epicenter, nervous about Tien’s safety. I wondered also where Bruiser had gotten to. I had no doubt he was safe, somewhere, but I still worried. I knew Liam had taken Brigid far away and Michael could fend for himself. But Tien was only twelve and still needed mothering…
I froze again just steps from the dragon-filled pit. It was surrounded by those same tree giants she had called Spartims. They huddled, making the chittering sounds. Occasionally one looked up at us as though keeping tabs on our whereabouts. Everyone, including me, stood and stared in the direction of loud rustling on the opposite side of the mess.
“Tien?” I called.
“Where are you, Myrna? All I can find are tree parts.” Her voice sounded so little and pitiful my eyes filled with tears.
“Stay where you are, honey. I’m coming.”
Michael was halfway between myself and where I thought Tien was, so I motioned for him to go one way while I went the other. I ducked beneath trunks leaned precariously on other trunks and clambered over others, receiving gashes and gouges from the splintered branches. It was difficult moving around this mess and my energy quickly waned. At one point I had to dig through dirt between the ground and a fallen tree. Standing up on the other side, I came face to face with the black man. He was carrying a beaming Tien.
“I have a present for you,” he said. His deep voice echoed in the tree cavity we stood near.
“Thank you. That’s two I owe you.”
“Three. But who’s keeping count?” he said.
“Three?” I whirled.
I didn’t want to be indebted to him for anything at all. I just wanted him gone.
“The swamp dragon,” he said.
I nodded. I’d forgotten about that one. “Who indeed.”
I turned and realized I couldn’t get out without crawling back through the dirt. Claustrophobia was kicking my butt right now and I hesitated several moments, frowning.
He must have noticed my distress, because he lifted Tien out of the hole and then turned, grabbed me by the waist, and, before I could object, lifted me over the tree trunks.
I grabbed Tien’s hand and pulled her, half-stumbling, across the debris to where the others stood looking for us.
Here is the Book Trailer for Odessa - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxGxY0UAc4U
Odessa, the first in the Seraphym Wars YA Series, will be available April 1, 2011 through https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=64&category_id=6&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1
http://seraphymwarsodessa.blogspot.com . You can read more about the author, her works in progress and other books soon to become available at http://rryalsrussell.com .
Stop by http://rryalsrussell.com/blog or http://seraphymwarsodessa.blogspot.com during the month of April where the schedule for Odessa’s Virtual Blog Tour will be posted. You can register to win awesome prizes being given away twice a week for the entire month on various blogs OR a FABULOUS prize pack being given away on the author’s blog.
See you there.