Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Spotlight: Legend of the Oceina Dragon by J.F. Jenkins

Title: Legend of the Oceina Dragon
Author: J.F. Jenkins
Published: February 2011 by Astraea Press
Page Count: 187 Pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: The Dragons Saga

Darien Oceina is the youngest son of the Great Dragon Lord of the Water. For years he's loved and cherished Tai Dawson from afar. Tai is a simple, ordinary girl who doesn't even know Darien exists. On his eighteenth birthday, he chooses her as his wife. But there’s one problem: She thinks his choice means she's going to be offered as a sacrifice to the Dragon Lord, but instead, she’s forced to move to his home, far away, to give up her life and be his bride.

When she first sees Darien after the ceremony, she doesn’t expect to feel anything but hatred toward him. The two are struggling with the complications of a new marriage when their nation is attacked by a rival dragon species. Together they learn to love one another while they struggle to stay one step ahead in a game where the prize is their survival.

Excerpt: Chapter One

There are a multitude of rules that must be obeyed when finding the perfect sacrifice for the great water dragon, Lord Oceina. The sacrifice must be female. She may not be older than eighteen years of age. She must be pure like the snow -- un‑tainted in any way.

The priests watched all of the girls who grew up on Little Oceina Island. They watched for potential candidates for the next sacrifice, because it was to their advantage to have a girl ready rather than to be caught off guard. The great dragon was quite spontaneous with his demands, though for the past fifty some years each sacrifice was spaced apart by exactly eight years. This time, they would be ready when the great lord called on them for aide.

The priests had suggested many fine young women. Each beautiful and smart in their own way and containing several different talents. One girl in particular the priests favored more than any. She was a beautiful blonde with sparkling blue eyes and a body that made many other women jealous. The dragon, however, was not impressed.

“I don’t like her.” He said bluntly in that strange speech the dragons used with the human priests. Few humans could understand the dragon tongue. This skill separated the average person from the priesthood. It was a holy gift, which helped with the bonding between the two species.

The dragon lord flew through the sky with the aid of his magic and the head priest of the island clutched to his dark blue scales for dear life. It was well known that there was more than one water dragon in existence. This specific dragon, however, was the lord over all the others of his kind, or so the priests believed. His happiness was the most important of them all, as their very lives depended on it.

These dragons ruled over the continent, which was named after them as appointed to them by God. If the dragons ever became displeased, the island would lose its protection the creatures provided. Protection from the other species of dragon who might invade the island or otherwise try to harm its inhabitants. There were four dragon species in all. The Oceina (water dragons), the Aero (wind dragons), the Inero (fire dragons), and the Terran (earth dragons).

The Oceina dragons all had long, well muscled, snake like bodies and four legs to support themselves with on the ground. Their scales were always a shade of blue. More often than not a deep, rich, dark, blue that shimmered in the light like precious stones. They were elegant and strong, quick to anger and wise, and thus amongst the most highly revered species of dragon in the world.

Without the blessing of the great dragon lord of the water, the island would lose its protection and be outcast as a rebel nation, or one unaffiliated with one of the four great dragon lords. The island was too small, and far too passive to risk such a venture. Often, this resulted in the priests being too agreeable, unwilling to assert their true opinion. The dragon lord had been told they would be by his kin, but he was amazed at how annoying this was. Generally, he was very patient, but the priests he had spoken to
today were beginning to wear him thin.

“You don’t like her?” The high priest stammered. “Forgive my doubt, my lord, but what is there not to like about her? Surely she cannot be that displeasing?”

“I don’t like her,” he repeated. “I have another in mind. Now of course if you wish to go against my wishes and not provide for me the sacrifice of my choice, I will simply kill them both and leave your temple for the Inero to set ablaze. There should be as little bloodshed as possible.”

“Yes, of course my lord.”

“I am pleased we agree. Now, as for my chosen sacrifice....”

Her name was Tai Dawson, and in the great dragon lord’s eyes, she was by far the most beautiful human female he had ever seen. Few would argue with him on the matter, and not simply because he was the lord, but because she was indeed a rare beauty. She radiated with purity, and not just in the sense that she had never known the touch of a man, but rather because she had the same sort of beauty a waterfall or a sunset had. She was natural and confident. Her hair was long and dark, and it looked so soft.

The dragon lord wanted to touch it, so badly, but he would have to wait until the sacrifice.

What really drew him to her was neither her long, wavy, dark hair, nor her petite but delightfully curved body. It was her eyes. It was not often he saw a human with eyes that matched the color of his scales. He’d always had a strange attraction to the color blue. The sparkle of her eyes made him wonder if what the humans felt when they saw him fly was the same as how he felt when he stared into her eyes -- lost, amazed, and out of breath.

The dragon lord was surprised the priests had not chosen her from the beginning, but then he would remind himself of what his kin had advised him. The priests didn'ʹt know anything about what he truly wanted. Thus, he should reject any sacrifice that wasn’t her. He only wanted this girl. He had chosen her nearly six years ago. His heart was set on it.

“If you’re sure, my lord.” The priest said, bowing his head down humbly against the dragon’s skin.

“I’m positive.”

“When do you wish for this sacrifice to commence?”

“The seventh day of the first month of the new bloom.” His eighteenth birthday. The day he would be entering into adulthood amongst his brothers and other kin. He couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with the sacrifice. The sacrifice that was really a marriage ceremony between him and this chosen girl. He had to be wed. It was the way of his kind. He wanted to be wed, and he only wanted her or no one. No one was not an option for him. He had to do his part to continue on his species. He loved this girl though, a lot. The priests did not know this of course. The priests believed that the dragon lord would eat the girl. All of the humans believed this actually. What the humans didn’t realize was the dragons walked amongst them.

His family had thought the idea of celebrating his birthday with the sacrifice odd. In the rare chance something was to go wrong, it would be horrible for the day to be spoiled, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Things would go how he planned them, and they would be perfect. He refused to accept any less and he was far too stubborn to give up.

“Yes, the first day--‐‑.”

“No, your grace. I said the seventh.”

“But why the seventh?” The high priest paused to gasp at the realization he had once more questioned his lord and proceeded to bury his face back against the dragon’s skin. “Forgive my doubt once more. I should not question your ways. You know far more than we in the mysteriousness that is our God.”

“You too can learn the same mysteries if you open your faith to the possibility.” The dragon said gently. “Seven has always been a holy number and it is the day which strikes me the most for this ritual. We will not be performing the ceremony for hopes of a bountiful harvest this year. I have already foreseen the crops will be ripe on time and plentiful. This sacrifice is a sacrifice of thanks for safe passage through the terrible winter storms, and for safety through the summer months. I worry the tropical storm systems we experienced recently will only strengthen as time presses on. Perhaps we will be able to gain favor. Gain favor through obedience.” He clarified.“Not through ritual.”

“Yes, my lord. That gives us two weeks to prepare for the ceremony. Do you know the specific arrangements already, or have they not yet been spoken to you?” The priest lifted his eyes and his grip on the dragon’s back weakened. Which was good because the dragon feared he might break a scale with such a hold.

“I have all of the arrangements now. I shall take you back to the temple and dictate them to your fellow brothers and sisters. I am very pleased with your obedience. It will not go unrewarded.” The dragon had the ceremony in his mind for the past year. He’d been dreaming of this day for so long. Two weeks was far too long to keep waiting, but it would be unethical of him to perform the sacrifice before he was of age. It would defeat the purpose of bringing him into adulthood.

“Thank you, my lord.”

“After this sacrifice, I do believe there will be no need for one again for quite a long time.” If he could smile, the dragon lord would have. “Your island has always been so faithful. I do hope it stays that way. Even without such a regular tradition.”

“Of course, my lord. We will forever be faithful to you.”

The dragon lord hoped the priest was telling him the truth. The island was an important asset to their empire. Enough thinking about politics, he thought. After all, there were much more pleasant things that should have been dancing through his mind.

“I will return in two weeks time, and I shall see for sure then. Do try not to embarrass the poor girl, though I do make a small request.”

“Yes, my lord?”

“How can I put this delicately? I much prefer to not remove clothing from my teeth. I don’t like the taste of fabric either, but it would be disrespectful to the sacrifice to have her lie around completely nude.”

He was trying not to sound too eager about the idea, but he couldn’t help it. The images of the girl that were now in his mind were enough to make him blush. Thankfully, the priest wouldn’t be able to notice from where he was riding on the dragon lord’s back, but anyone who was familiar with the physical attributes of his species would have noticed the slight purple tint to the skin on his face. He couldn’t help it. The girl was beautiful. The dragon lord had never touched a woman before in his life. The idea of being able to soon gave him tingles, made him giddy with excitement. Waiting would be hard.

“Yes, we are well familiar with the custom, my lord.” The priest said softly. “Is there anything else that you request of us at this time?”

Two weeks. The dragon lord said again. Have everything ready by then.

“Yes, my lord.”

It wouldn’t pass fast enough for him. He knew it. As he flew home, he was already beginning to feel the drag of the hours, and those hours would extend into days. He wondered if the same would be true for Tai Dawson.

J.F. Jenkins lives in Minneapolis where she spends most of her time creating and plotting world domination – something that has been in the works for roughly 13 years.

In her free time she works as the local coffee wench and dominates the minions of the pixilated world on her PS3.

She’s also got a little man (J Walk) and a little man trapped in a big man’s body (J Dawg) to take care of along with her two fur babies Ushi and Tibu.


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