Dragon Orb: Shadow
Dragon Orb: Shadow
Four dragonriders on a mission to save their world.
Dragon’s in Areth each have a single predestined rider and a single life mission, given to them by the Oracle. But this once all-powerful being is now fatally damaged and fading fast…Only the dragons and their riders can save it!
Shadow the Night Dragon
Pell and his night dragon Shadow must find the dark orb to help save the Oracle, leader of all dragonkind. But Segun, a power-hungry tyrant, stands in their way. Pell must use his flying skills, bravery and resourcefulness to the limit, as Segun is determined to get the orb – even if it means killing the opposition…
CHAPTER 1 – Imagine You’re a Bird
Release the dark orb – death brings me life.
Take brave ones’ counsel, ’ware ye the knife.
Exercise caution, stay pure and heed,
Yield unto justice: truth will succeed.
‘They should’ve listened to me,’ Pell muttered as he powered away from the campsite on Shadow’s back. ‘Kira can twist my words all she likes, but I should be the leader of this quest.’
As he considered his three companions, it took a moment for Pell to realise he was grinding his teeth in frustration. In his heart he felt the Oracle’s Great Quest to seek out the fabled dragon orbs and return them to the dragon spirit in the heart of Orupee’s highest mountain range was a task worthy of heroes. Why then had the Oracle chosen these others to go with him? Kira, rider of the dusk dragon, Longfang, was perhaps the most irritating. Of the three she showed the most promise, but she was stubborn and would not listen to reason.
‘Don’t fret, dragonrider,’ his night dragon, Shadow, whispered in his mind, her silky voice caressing. ‘They’ll see things differently when we return with the night orb.’
Pell had always marvelled at Shadow’s voice, so totally at odds with her fearsome exterior. If he closed his eyes and listened to that voice in his head, it was easy to imagine Shadow as a beautiful maiden, dark and mysterious. And she was beautiful – it just took a certain perspective to see past the vicious horns and teeth of the enormous night dragon.
‘They need our strength,’ Shadow continued. ‘Firestorm and Nolita are hopeless. I’ve never seen such an unlikely partner for a day dragon. Given their weaknesses, it is hard to see why the others want to seek the day orb first.’
Shadow was right. How Elian, rider of a dawn dragon, could describe Nolita as ‘brave’ was beyond him. The boy was so naïve! The blonde girl was the most craven person Pell had ever met. Nolita was pretty enough with her delicate features and her fine blonde hair, but her cringing and weeping was repulsive. Kira, on the other hand, was annoying, but at least there was some fire in her personality. The Racafian tribal girl went out of her way to appear fierce, with her face paint and her weapons. Given the right set of circumstances, Pell would have found her interesting. In reality, however, he knew they would likely clash over most issues.
‘I’m better off working alone,’ he breathed.
‘You’ll never be alone,’ Shadow purred in his mind.
‘Of course not, Shadow,’ he replied, quickly. ‘Sorry. I phrased that badly. I didn’t mean to exclude you. I should have said, “We’re better off working independently”. We make a fantastic team, you and I, and we’re destined for greatness. Why else were we chosen for the Great Quest? There won’t be any dull peace talks or boring guard duties in our future. We’ll do deeds that will be the talk of generations.’
The soothing rhythm of Shadow’s wingbeats and the exhilaration he felt as they climbed between the mountains calmed Pell’s thoughts. Higher and higher they went, until even the highest peaks fell away beneath them. Looking down from such a lofty height, it was easy to imagine himself as king of the world. How could anyone in Areth who did not ride a dragon believe they were lord over anything? To soar above the highest mountains was an experience reserved for the elite. No walls were high enough to deny him entry. The world was his playground. Who would argue with the rider of a dragon like Shadow? None but a fool – a fool with a death wish.
The Oracle’s riddling words might be twisted beyond comprehension, but Pell could see the path they paved in his mind’s eye. It glittered as if studded with diamonds. Glory awaited him. He could feel it in his heart as surely as the sun would set.
Silently he urged Shadow on. For two years he had longed for the acceptance and respect of his fellow night dragon riders. Until now, they had treated him as a boy because he had not yet visited the Oracle. This time it would be different, he thought, satisfaction warming his stomach with a burning sensation that was pure pleasure. His was a special destiny – the night dragon rider entrusted with the fate of the Oracle. By his actions the dragon spirit would live or die. It was an awesome responsibility and one with which he would prove his worth.
The air was bitterly cold as they cruised across the mountain range. While the wind at ground level had dropped to nothing, here, thousands of spans up into the sky, a steady westerly breeze aided their journey. Pell let go of the pommel and clapped his mitts together a few times in an effort to trigger more blood flow. His fingers, toes, cheeks, ears and the tip of his nose were numb, but he was reluctant to ask Shadow to descend. He was eager to cover as much ground as possible before they took a break. It took a lot of effort and energy for Shadow to get up this high, so they should make the most of it.
The sun marched steadily across the sky as they pressed eastwards, but although it blazed golden in the clear blue heavens, Pell felt none of its warmth. By the time the final majestic peaks slipped past slowly beneath them, he knew he had to descend, or risk frostbite. He had seen other riders with missing fingers and toes. The cold was a subtle and sadistic enemy.
‘Let’s go down, Shadow,’ he projected. He doubted that his lips could form the words even if he wished to speak aloud. ‘I need to warm up and I’m sure you would welcome a short break.’
‘Your endurance does you credit,’ Shadow replied. ‘Not many riders show your resilience. We have already flown far today. With our combined strength we will reach the enclave faster than many would believe possible.’
Pell wanted to smile at her praise, but the muscles in his face were too cold to respond. He loved it when Shadow talked like this. It made him feel warm inside. He had known from the instant they had met that they were perfectly matched. They were both competitive and strong. They both wanted power and recognition. Perhaps more importantly, however, they both recognised the potential their joining offered. A strong dragon with a strong rider could do great things.
Shadow eased gently into a shallow dive. As they accelerated, the wind rush began to build and Pell bent low over the pommel of his saddle in an effort to reduce the biting chill of the bitter airflow. In order to crouch so low, he had to lean to one side or the other of the great ridge of dragon horn in front of the saddle. He chose to lean to the left. Initially this was fine, but as their speed continued to increase Pell suddenly realised that the force of the air was dragging him further left and out of the saddle.
He tried to pull himself back up straight, but his body refused to respond. Panic flashed through him. His hands had no strength to grip. His legs were numb with cold against the dragon’s back. He could not tell if his feet were still in the stirrups. There was nothing he could do. Without a miracle, he was going to fall.
Dragon Orb: Shadow – Reviews
I reviewed the first of the Dragon Orb novels, Firestorm back in October 08 and I’ve been waiting (im)patiently to review the newest in the series, Dragon Orb: Shadow. I’ve read it and I can happily say: it was worth the wait…
Dragon Orb: Shadow is written as skillfully as the first and moves along at a much greater pace. The baddies are not pleasant and there is an incredibly tense finale in which….ah, but I can’t say, because that would spoil it! You’ve got to read the novel, you see?
Read the full review:
Shadow is the second book in the Dragon Orb series, and comes hot on the heels of Firestorm. New readers to the series won’t feel lost and existing fans will feel right at home. There’s everything that made the first book so popular: action, adventure, excitement, tension, dragons, and a familiar yet different fantasy world.
Read the full review:
Mark Robson has built on the firm basis of Firestorm, and added another layer of excitement to the adventure. The story is tightly plotted, with countless twists and turns – not least as we start to question the purpose of the dragon orbs, the Oracle, and the quest itself. And the way the story is brought to a conclusion, using Mark’s knowledge of flying to ramp up the tension in the final chapters, is real edge-of-the-seat stuff.
Read the full review:
This is the second in a terrific new fantasy adventure series featuring spectacular dragon rides and dangerous quests.
See the Lovereading4kids page:
The second novel in Mark’s Dragon Orb series that pits the wits of dragons and youngsters in an epic quest to save dragonkind during an historic upheaval in many worlds. Charming, full of courage and a tale to bring to the fore the more admirable virtues of mankind along with an epic adventure its mainly a tale about working together to accomplish a greater good against the oppression of the power hungry and selfish. A great story to inspire.
See the review: Falcata Times blogspot – see April 09