Happy Friday everyone! I promised a surprise and here it is. Dragon Ascending is a brand new KDG read, and the sequel to Fury’s story. I debated long and hard about sharing the second book in the story of the SNT ships, but the truth is, I was just too excited about the Dragon to keep it to myself. Fury’s was the first story in a series of novels I can easily see in my head. Dragon Ascending was not the story I planned to follow Fury’s, but it was the story that pushed itself to the front of the queue with such persistence and such intrigue that I couldn’t resist. The rough draft got written fast and furious last April for the Camp NaNoWriMo month. For me it was one of the novels that wouldn’t let go of me until it was all there on the page down to the last word. On top of the tenacity of the story, it was an absolute joy to write, and it wouldn’t let go of me until it was all there. SOOO, if you enjoyed Fury’s story, I promise you, you’ll love Dragon’s story. As always, I love it when you share my work with your reading friends, so feel free. In the meantime, enjoy!
Dragon Ascending Book 2 of the Sentient Ships Series
On a desolate junkyard of a planetoid, scavenger Lenore Felik, disturbs something slumbering in a remote salvage dump and uncovers secrets of a tragic past and of the surprising role she must play in the terrifying present she now faces.
Robbed of her inheritance after her tyrannical father’s death, Tenad Fallon is out for revenge on her half-brothers, one who happens to be the sentient ship, Fury. Fury, with his human companions, Richard Manning and Diana McAllister, has his own agenda – finding the lost sentient ships and ending the scourge of indentured servitude in Authority space.
Dragon Ascending Part 1 Salvage
Anticipation returned with consciousness and the knowledge that I was no longer alone. But how quickly that anticipation was crushed. This filthy dust-covered woman child was not she, not the woman I longed for. With consciousness I was painfully reminded that the one I desired was gone, and the ache of her absence came back to me just as quickly as the presence of this humanoid roused me from my slumber.
Perhaps it had been a millennia, perhaps it had been only moments. The pain was the same. And certainly if I had cared to check, I would have known exactly how long she had been gone down to the nanosecond. It mattered not, the passing of time. It had eased nothing. Of what happened before, beyond her loss, I remembered little else, only fire and pain and loss, none of which I wished to bring to mind even if I were able.
But I knew with certainty that this humanoid woman at the perimeter shield was the first to visit me in my mourning, so I made sure she could enter my resting place. Though I should not have. I should have returned to my sleep. In sleep, I did not feel my loss. In sleep it was as though I had never existed. But night was approaching. The wind was already rising. This one would not survive without shelter, so with some effort, I opened a small breach in the perimeter shield, and this one was wily enough to find the entrance I had provided. She was not large, she had no trouble wriggling through like a small desert creature, pushing an oversized pack ahead of her. Once she was within, I closed the breach for the night to keep out predators, and I made my shelter available to her, but she did not know that. She did not even know I was there. No one knew I was there. I was alone.
It was my intention simply to offer her shelter for the night and then to return to my slumber, but oh, the presence of her, the intrigue of such a being finding her way here to this desolate place where no one came.
But when she drew near, she was not at all what I had hoped for. She was filthy and she stank of sweat and fear and determination. There was a fresh abrasion on her shoulder. It was rubbed raw from the heavy pack she carried. The scent of her blood made uncomfortable memories dance and weave in the fog of my mind. I did not want the scent of blood in my space. It caused me pain. And then I wondered if it was perhaps her pain I felt, and I was even less comfortable with the pain I could do nothing to ease. I was never supposed to feel such helplessness. I was supposed to alleviate pain, to heal wounds, to make situations better, and yet I could not. I could not remember how.
She was nothing like the woman who was taken from me. And I despised her for all that she was not. Perhaps it was only self-loathing in my helplessness. I do not know. And yet she intrigued me. And I found that I could not return to my slumber in her presence. Oh of course she did not know I was there. I did not want her to see me in my disgrace so far from the stars in the dust and the filth of this place. Oh how the humanity we once all longed for now seemed like such an evil thing.
I did not want her here. Her very presence disturbed me, reminded me of what I had lost, and yet I could not leave her unprotected nor could I rest while she slept in our shared hiding place. We were, both of us, fugitives, salvage, hiding away for our safety, of use to no one, tired and alone. But perhaps a little less alone for the moment. I watched while she slowly ate hard journey bread, taking but small nibbles, savoring each bite, lingering over small sips of precious water. In truth, she was thin, too thin and the bread would do little to return her to healthy weight. I would have offered her a feast. I would have offered her a bath and a clean bed in which to sleep. Was that not the hospitality one would share even with a stranger, even one who had come uninvited? But alas I could offer nothing but shelter, so weakened was I, so unaware even of my own functions.
When she had eaten her meager meal, making sure to tuck half of it away safely in her pack, she curled on her side, pulled the loose fitting cape around her thin shoulders and was instantly asleep. It was little enough to keep her warm and even in her sleep she shivered. That much I could offer at least. I curled myself around her and gave her my warmth, feeling the rise and fall of the breath of human sleep, and the ache of another memory, one I could almost not bare. Just the feel of human sleep next to me — one who did not need sleep and yet hid in it now like a coward wishing for death that would never come. But I was awake for the moment, and I took pleasure in the sleep that was laced with all the biological functions of humanoids, so complex in their perfection and yet so very, very vulnerable in their weaknesses. This one lived another day because I had given her shelter. But beyond that, there was nothing I could do for her small, fragile humanity.
Through the night I kept watch as she battled dreams, doggedly keeping them from erupting into the waking world. Silent. It was a silence I knew well, the deep silence of self-preservation. Why was she here in this inhospitable place where everyone who could leave had done so long ago? For a moment I feared for her, but there was nothing I could do, nothing I could offer that would not give my presence away, so I offered what I could and watched her sleep.
In the morning when she left without breaking her fast, I closed the breach in the defense shield behind her, and I returned to my slumber. But she had disturbed my perfect sleep. Even when I returned to it, this strange woman walked my dreams. The details of her came to me while I slept. Her hair beneath the rusted desert dust had been pale, cut short. Her eyes were equally pale, perhaps blue, though they seemed more silver at times. Her body was small and fragile, hard earned muscle and sinew too close to the bone. Her lips were cracked from the sun and the heat and drawn tight with the battles of her own internal workings, but I imagined them full and moist and smiling, as they would have been if she were well cared for, sheltered and cherished as she should be. How was it that I cared to remember so much about her when all I really wanted was to return to oblivion?
I would not see her again, for certainly she was just passing through. It was best that I not think what her future might hold in this desolate place. It was best that I not think of her at all. And yet, how could it be that I missed her when she left? Though I remembered little of what had been, I had not doubt that my own losses had left me unbalanced, and perhaps it was my instability that brought with it dreams of this strange woman, for surely she was nothing of value to me.
So for some time I did not bother to measure, I was alone again, expecting that time would purge this woman from my memories and allow me to return to my deep unknowing, for surely she was of no significance that she should take space for long in my dreams.
And then she returned. At first the joy of my anticipation nearly overwhelmed me, unhinged as I was sure I must be. And then I realized she was injured, that death was imminent and that she sought my shelter in which to die.