Finding herself in a part of the world that she does not understand, Maia embarks on a journey to discover her past and her future. Where on Eldoris is her future? Will a world torn apart by men, war, and dragons keep her from her home, Ugary, or lead her back to it?
“Run,” my father said. He had been a general in the Ugarian army for almost thirty years, until today. We were hiding in disguise, the three of us, my mother, father and I against the country of Ugary. Ugary with its black dragons, ostracized from the rest of the world because of the crimes the capitol had committed.
We were all starving; we were all afraid of the capitol. The wars never seemed to end, and the wars took my father away from home. I was always afraid for him, afraid that they would find out he was trying to infiltrate the capitol for this many lingering years.
We lived on the outskirts of Ugary. Growing up in the countryside I was far away from the evils of the city. I think my father did that on purpose, so that I could see through the wicked. I am different, but I don’t know how. My father never told me why, and that might be the detail about my past that frustrates me the most.
“Good,” he always made me repeat, “There is good in everyone. Even in the darkest of souls. Find the good Maia and you will unite a world.”
Standing next to Zal, my black stallion, she shakes her mane getting excited to race for the second time today. Zal has always been my only true companion, besides Master Kento. He had taken me in at age fourteen. An outsider, who had just escaped the only home she had ever known.
I escaped Ugary the night my home was ambushed. I was the first person to ever escape, and after all this time I am starting to think I will be the last. I rode Zal out of the country, fast into the night. Crossed into the Southern Lands, and then crossed an ocean to get to the Northern Heights. Master Kento was the first human I saw that I didn’t hide from. He stood there leaning on his cane in the pouring rain, peering down at Zal and me. It was in his kind eyes that I found the trust that I needed, and I knew he would protect me. We had a found a home here in the Hunter Line, the teaching community for equestrians.
Kento has green eyes that crinkle at the sides. He is short, but then again most jockeys are. In his prime, he was the fastest jockey that lived. He won the world cup, the most coveted prize across all of the lands.
He looked at me and didn’t ask any questions. I was a child, struggling to stand next to a horse bleeding from the knees. We had fallen so many times, but always gotten back up. Zal knew just as well as I that we could not stop. If we had, we would have died.
My Master hid me in the stables for two weeks, and then passed me as a stable boy until I was old enough to go to school.
I told him everything when I was seventeen. I told him about how I had hid under our trap door in Ugary. I told him about my mother’s screams, how I knew what was happening to her and how I knew they were making my father watch. I told him how I snuck out in the middle of the night, silently waiting under that trap door while my parent’s dead bodies were above me. I let him know how sorry I was that I couldn’t bury them, but I knew Zal and I had to run.
“Run,” was the last word that my father ever said to me, and sometimes I think through all of this madness, through the hiding, losing my Ugarian accent, through the races with Zal and moving from school from specialty to specialty by dragon; sometimes I think I will never get back to see that countryside again.