On Wings of Thunder

On Wings Saga (#1)

by M.D. Grimm

On Wings of Thunder - M.D. Grimm
Part of the On Wings Saga series:
  • On Wings of Thunder
Editions:Kindle - First Edition
Pages: 144
Audiobook - First Edition

Trystan is an unchosen angel—shunned by society, bullied, and without a future. In a hidden well, Trystan discovers a carving of a dragon, who were once the commanders of demons and  now believed extinct. But Trystan discovers the carving doesn’t depict an ordinary dragon. Stories tell that millennia ago, Asagoroth and his demon army nearly conquered the three realms but was killed by the Five Elders. The powerful angels combined their life forces to cast a spell, sacrificing their lives.

But history is full of falsehoods. The Five Elders only managed to imprison the dragon, and Asagoroth  had cast his own spell—one of releasement. It only needs the blood of an angel to liberate him from his cage….

Asagoroth, enemy of angels, conqueror of realms, is free. But even as the angels prepare for war, the Great Dragon surprises them with an ultimatum: hand over the angel who awakened him or face annihilation.

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Excerpt:

Trystan shivered at the thought of demons. Angels were at constant war with their cousins, and the angelic armies were always on alert for new attacks. Trystan had witnessed a dozen assaults by the dark ones, and it was something that frightened him but also intrigued him. He didn’t want to be intrigued, he shouldn’t be, but he always pressed his face against the windows, trying to catch a glimpse of the dark beasts. His roommates would cower under their beds or inside their closets. But not him. He’d read descriptions of what demons looked like, but he rarely managed to see one up close.

Not that it mattered. He’d never be a soldier or a guardsman. He’d probably end up doing maintenance work or cleanup, or some other demeaning job. He was given a basic education on basic topics. He could read efficiently, he was in good physical shape, and he could follow orders. Not that he liked to… and only when someone was watching him.

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Trystan entered the gardens and ran down the paths, past the colorful flowers, the weeping willows, the rivers and ponds, and massive waterfall. He loved this place. It gave him peace and true beauty—a living beauty with warmth and rounded edges.

He easily found the well again and looked around. Not seeing anyone, he crouched, moved aside the covering, and jumped back into the hole. His used his wings to slow his descent and landed lightly on his feet. After shimmering his wings intangible, he pulled out the crystals and shook them. Angry, the pixies lit up and cast light into the well, illuminating everything, banishing the darkness.

Grinning, Trystan set the crystals along the walls and knelt over the carving again, squinting. He still couldn’t make out what the design was, but he noticed with a start his blood in the grooves hadn’t dried. It was still glistening as if newly shed. Amazing.

“Magic,” he murmured. It had to be. Something magical was in this place, this carving. He was sure the well had been here before the garden, and that meant it had been centuries or more since this carving was created. But why?

Unable to resist, Trystan unwrapped his hand and aggravated the wound, causing blood to well once again. He cringed against the sting but never made a sound. Blood dripping, he moved it along the design. Just as before the red droplets were drawn to the grooves. Trystan continued painting the carving, moving across the floor, determined and slightly obsessed with seeing what the red revealed. Why did his blood react in such a way? What sort of magic was this?

He’d grown dizzy by the time he reached the top of the design and the last droplet hit the stone, happily sliding into place. Trystan pushed to his feet, staggering slightly, and wrapped his hand again. Stepping back, he picked up two crystals and held them over what he had revealed.

Stunned, he froze, his breath hitching.

Dragon.

The carving was unmistakably that of the profile of a dragon’s face. Sharp features like that of a bird, but with a heavy eye ridge and large horns sweeping back behind its head, the design was truly a work of art. Trystan’s blood seemed to have given it life, and the light from the crystals created slight shadows that tricked him into thinking there was movement in the stone. The eye of the dragon was in heavy shadow cast by the eye ridge. The mouth was closed, but Trystan could imagine the teeth.

Trystan realized then it was wonder he felt, not fear. The beast was regal, almost princely in the way he was posed, his head at such an angle as to show haughtiness and a sense of arrogance and pride. All these things Trystan sensed as he knelt once again, taking in the beauty he had discovered.

He shook his head slowly, lowering the crystals.

“Why in all the cosmos is there a dragon carving in the bottom of a well underneath the garden?”

For some reason he directed the question at the dragon. He rolled his eyes at himself.

“Get a grip on your sanity, angel. The carving isn’t alive. No matter how much it looks it.”

Yeah, he talked to himself a lot. That was what happened when you didn’t have friends.

Trystan sat on the side closest to the mouth, as if face-to-face with the beast. He leaned back against the wall, staring.

“Why are you here?” he whispered. “Why would angels have created you? You’re a demon.”

Dragons were once the highest ranking in the demon hierarchy. As far as Trystan knew from his studies, all the dragons had died out. There was an abundance of famous legends about them, but one legendary dragon surpassed them all. It was a tale to inspire nightmares, a beast who could block out the sky with his girth, could set all the realms on fire with a single breath. Trystan had been fascinated by the wild tales, the ones his sister told him as a child. Such tales weren’t told in school and especially not to the unchosen. He’d learned much of what he knew of dragons from Annalise. But much of that knowledge had faded.

He smiled slightly. “Just my luck I discovered you. I can’t even ask anyone why you’re here. I can’t even ask my sister.” He shrugged. “That’s all right. I’ll just break into the library tonight, see if there are any books about you.”

Trystan leaned forward and lay on his stomach, propping his chin in his palms, his elbows on the stone. He couldn’t stop staring, and despite his growing hunger, he didn’t want to leave.

The dragon was just too beautiful.

“I’d really love to know who carved you. I don’t think even our best artists could replicate the life your creator put into you.” He paused. “Great, I really am talking to a stone carving. Do I really expect you to talk back? I must if I keep asking you questions. By the Light Bringer.”

Trystan sat up and laughed at himself. He ran his fingers through his hair before touching the dragon’s snout. The rest of the stone was cold, as stone should be. But as he pressed his fingertips on that portion of stone, heat met his skin. Trystan flinched, jerking his hand back. His eyes widened.

“Yep, definitely magic. Weird magic.” Trystan narrowed his eyes. What was that dragon’s name? The most famous of his kind, the destroyer of worlds, the enormous beast? Trystan scrunched up his face, struggling to remember.

He looked at the carving and slowly reached forward, heart pounding, and touched the snout once more. Heat flared again, but this time he didn’t remove his hand, though it shook. It warmed his skin as if… as if the carving really was alive. Dragons were said to have been warm, right? Because of the fire inside them?

And then he knew. He knew the name.

“Asagoroth,” he whispered.

The stone trembled underneath him. Trystan gasped and scrambled to his feet, his wings becoming visible and spreading wide. The crystals knocked and danced along the stone, the pixies becoming angrier, their light shining brighter. Even as Trystan’s heart clenched in fear and shock, the trembling stopped. Just like that, everything was still.

Trystan swallowed hard. “Okay, time’s up.”

He hastily gathered the crystals and, without a backward glance, leapt out of the opening. He covered the hole once again and flew away, his heart hammering against his ribs.

***

The beast stirred, rumbling with frustration. He was awake now. He was aware and awake and alive and wanting. He desired and he yearned as he pulsed in the dark, his heat scorching his prison. The One had been there. He’d sensed him, heard him; he’d felt the One’s touch as acutely as he once had. But the beast knew he had to be patient. He had to wait. It wasn’t time yet, but soon. Very soon. The spell would take three days from the first drop of blood. Now there were only two left. He could only wait for the first crack…. Then he would burst free and take back what was his.

He opened his large, fierce eyes in the darkness. He curled his claws of steel in the black. Wings of shadow and despair yearned to open, to feel the wind, to own the sky once again.

Not yet. His growl rumbled in his chest, in the stone. Not yet. He’d been patient for a millennium. He could wait two more days.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Serena Yates on Rainbow Book Reviews wrote:

‘On Wings of Thunder’ starts out as an epic battle of good versus evil – angels versus demons – and when the five elder angels combine forces to kill Asagoroth, the demon leader, yet only succeed to imprison the mighty dragon, I thought I knew where the story was going. As the tale picks up a thousand years later with the dragon awakening, it turns out I was wrong. In fact, I was wrong on more than one level. The characters surprised me, the events twisted and turned a few times, the epic battle still happened but in an entirely unexpected way… and the final resolution was logical, yet its consequences surprised me in a good way. I love it when a book (or rather, its author) can do that to me!

Trystan may be an angel, and the angels are beings of light, yet they are not what I imagine angels to be. They are cold, cruel, set in their ways, and have more rules and regulations than should be allowed. Everyone is “chosen” from birth as to what they will be when they grow up – except very few “unchosen” angels – like Trystan. He is ignored, even shunned, by everyone, including most of his family. When he discovers a carving of a great dragon he is ready to listen to the one everyone calls a beast, and what he finds out surprises him.

Trystan has to learn to accept himself and Asagoroth’s love for him, and his need goes much deeper than it seems at first glance. But the angels keep hunting them down, unwilling to let them live in peace, and Trystan begins to understand Asagoroth’s anger. He is determined to find a way out… and that is when the surprises start to take over. I can’t say too much more without spoiling the story, but let me tell you - I followed the events with breathless anticipation and loved the final resolution.

If you like epic tales that combine existing legends and myths into a new whole, if you believe that opposites attract for a reason, and if you’re looking for an action-packed read full of love, betrayal, discoveries, and a perfect ending that is just the beginning, then you will probably like this novella as much as I do. It’s as entertaining as it is thought-provoking!

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.


About the Author

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!). After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier. Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.