I would like to thank author Cindy Lyle for sharing this excerpt from The Dragon Within. I am currently reading this book and will have a review coming soon.
We pretty much ran all the way back to the castle. Fitch insisted on coming too, so I had to stop a few times to let him catch up. Elric didn’t bother to wait for us, by the time Fitch and I reached the inner ward the alarm had been sounded, and everyone was busy preparing for the impending encounter with the Dark Lord. We hurried into the main hall of the Keep and found Anora, Edwin and Elric conferring with some of the
army’s commanders. A scout ran in ahead of us and reported directly to the king.
“The prince’s reports are accurate, Sire. There is a small group of about fifteen headed toward us, but I did not see the Dark Lord. He does not appear to be among them, but there are Litui.”
“Send a detachment to the bridge and stop their advance there. Since they did not bring a large company I don’t think this is an attack, but be ready for anything. If there are Litui, chances are his Hautur are there as well, so their numbers could be deceiving. ”
King Edwin turned at the same time as Anora to see Fitch and I enter the front hall. Our reception was not a warm one. Edwin was furious, and the look on his face made me feel like I was the Dark Lord himself.
He stormed across the foyer, but Anora reached me first and threw her arms around me as if she was seeing me for the last time.
Edwin stared, but his anger loosened his tongue. “You, this is your fault. I should never have allowed you sanctuary here. You have brought the Dark Lord to our doorstep and put this entire city in jeopardy. I should throw you out and let him have you. I have kept your secret for too long and now it may have cost us our safety.”
That last comment wounded me deeply. I considered King Edwin my father, and to have him cast me away as some disease was heartbreaking. Although I could understand where he was coming from; I would be angry too if the people I was sworn to protect were being threatened from within.
Anora pushed herself away from me and looked like she was about to strike at her husband, but Elric was suddenly between us.
“Father, enough! You can’t possibly be blaming Karah for what’s happening. She didn’t ask for any of this. Do you honestly think the Dark Lord would have left us alone forever? She was only told this afternoon that she isn’t human, that she is trapped in a human body with no memory of who she is. How is any of that her fault?” Elric looked at me and then back to his father. “Karah and Fitch came to you for protection, and this is how you repay them? By spouting insults and threatening to end it all by handing her over? Do you not see that that would be the end? The Dark Lord will have won, and everything you worked so hard for would be destroyed. Karah needs us, and we need her.”
Elric stood between his father and me, so luckily he didn’t see my face beam with hope and then redden in embarrassment. What was I thinking? Elric was not my knight in shining armour come to save me. This was my mess and I had to fix it myself.
I gently placed my hand on Elric’s arm and nudged him aside so I could face his father. He was still angry, but the look of hatred was gone from his eyes. Now there was only fear and uncertainty.
“I am truly sorry I have brought my dilemma to your doorstep. I am so grateful to you and Anora for taking care of me and loving me for the last eighteen years, but you are right. I am a danger to you and this village. I have to turn myself in to the Dark Lord, and maybe he will leave you alone. You have survived for 300 years without me. I cannot see what possible difference I can make.”
Elric spun me around to face him. “No, I can’t believe you’re giving up. What happened to the girl who used to follow me around everywhere and get us into all sorts of trouble, and who made me teach her how to use a sword? What happened to the girl who used to pretend to fight shape-shifters and Litui? You are a fighter. You have fire in your blood, so don’t give up now.”
Elric held me at arm’s length, but I wanted nothing more than to close the gap and let him hold and protect me, but I shrugged his hands away and moved closer to Fitch.
“I’m not strong enough to be the person you want me to be. Those were just games we played when we were young and naïve. I’m a nobody who is lost and alone and will just cause pain to the ones I care about.”
During the day I spend most of my time and energy being a stay at home mom. It doesn’t leave me a lot of time to write but I manage and I wouldn't change it for the world! I have a beautiful 8 year year old daughter and an 18 year old step son so my life can get pretty intense. I was born in a small Canadian town called Uxbridge and now I live with my husband and our kids in Ajax which is not far from Toronto, Ontario. I love spending time with family and friends when I can and I love to cook. Dragons are my fantasy passion, but here in the real world I settle with my horses! They don't bite! The Dragon Within is my first novel and in September I plan on starting the sequel which will be titled The Dragon Calls
You can learn more about Cindy Lyle from her site