The fourth book in the Dragon’s Fire Series was, until Book Seven, the most challenging one to write, as I took a unique approach and turned the villains into the protagonists. So far, the technique is resonating well with readers.
“Don’t give me another innocent face to haunt me.”
Avalon Kearney, daughter of a successful Grymwalde lawyer, desires to compete in academia with her brother’s arrogant friend, Richard. Instead, she must content herself with devouring every title in her father’s expansive library, as well as every newspaper she can get her hands on.
Birthdate: October 1858
Age at the time of this story: 18/19
Physical Characteristics: 5’7” tall; 130 lbs; dark brown hair; chocolate brown eyes
Avalon is the second-born and only daughter in a well-to-do, progressive Zandorian family. An avid reader from a young age, Avalon benefits from studying under expensive private tutors. She appreciates order and planning, and presents a fashionable and business-like exterior, concealing a soft heart underneath. Ever the lawyer’s daughter, Avalon is careful to analyze everything people say, finding as much truth in words left unsaid as in what she hears.
Avalon has an intense fascination with history, particularly how politics in Zandor have affected its people.
She longs to further her education, but the doors of the University of Grymwalde are closed to females. So when Professor Cullen Ulliac grants her the opportunity to work with a group of student rebels, she jumps at the chance. She even finds a way to continue operations with them after the first job is over.
But her continued involvement comes at a high price. Avalon soon finds herself entangled in the rebels' lies and violence, too far in to escape when she wishes she could.
“The University of Grymwalde will not admit women to their programs of study, so you can imagine my excitement, and my trepidation, when Thomas told me that he had offered my services for a student project, and Professor Ulliac was willing to let me participate. Thomas won't tell me all the details yet. Still, he said that my involvement will help the students strike a blow against the autocratic tyrants who oppress the Protectorate of Zandor.
My brief moment of fear is long past. Whatever the rebels ask of me, I shall make them proud, and they'll rethink their chauvinistic opinions of ‘the fairer sex.’"
“I’m going to give you two words of ancient Zandorian advice. Don’t feel.”
Age at the time of this story: 25
Physical Characteristics: 6’1” tall; 175 lbs; brown hair; brown eyes
A descendant of Zandor’s now-powerless royal family, Richard is studying for his master’s degree in law at the University of Grymwalde. He works as a law clerk for Avalon’s father, with aspirations to become a partner in the firm eventually. Intelligent and crafty, Richard knows how to work any system to his advantage. He is a critical thinker, skeptical of anything without proof, and tends toward cynicism.
An ancient prophecy challenges Richard’s belief in only the things he can see and draws him into a scheme to change the course of the future. But when the plot turns and threatens the few things he cares about personally, Richard finds that the cost of his involvement might be more than he is willing to pay.
“I am working on my Masters of Laws degree at the University of Grymwalde while working as a law clerk at Kearney and Associates. Once I finish my master's, I'm set to take a position at the firm as an associate—might even make partner if I play my cards right.
But then Professor Ulliac challenged me to something more. He showed me a weird old prophecy written in an ancient language and told me what it said.
Apparently, I have a bigger role to play in the current political scheme than I thought, and possibly something far grander than a partnership in a law firm ahead of me.
I'm not one to rush into things. I think things through; I plan. I know how to place people where I want them and manipulate circumstances to benefit me—ha! I ought to. I'm a lawyer, for crying out loud!
But this plot's bigger than all of us and as unpredictable as a runaway train. We're playing with fire. Someone's going to get burned.”
Background Information—The Fire Tower
This mysterious, six-story stone tower was erected on a hill about four miles outside of Grymwalde around the time of Zandor’s inception. No one knows why it was built or what it was used for, though the general story is that it served as a lookout tower to spot hostile troops approaching from the west or to watch for forest fires.
Legends about the tower encompass wilder and often spookier ideas. Stories say that the place was used as a palace, a prison, and a sanctuary for pagan rituals. Some myths speak of a peculiar red light shining out from the top floor once upon a time. Others say that every night, darkness cloaks the tower, making it, and everyone within it, vanish from the face of the earth. In the morning, only the tower returns. Ghost stories, tortured souls, weird wailing sounds—the Fire Tower abounds in frightening legends.
When the surrounding lands were surveyed into private parcels in the 18th century and sold, the Fire Tower passed into private hands along with them. The new owner decided that tearing the tower down was more work than it was worth, and permitted it to stand.
Dark and lonely, this strange, mystical relic of the thirteenth century watched silently while the world developed and modernized around it.
Next month, Cullen Ulliac and Gwyneth Grenleigh!
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