Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects – Excerpt Three

Written by New York Times bestselling author Christie Golden, the new novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects is now on store shelves. We're pleased to present a series of three excerpts from the novel for your reading enjoyment.

Read the third excerpt below.

Did you miss the first two excerpts? Catch up on the action with excerpts one and two, then read on for the third sample below.

It was not in the manner Alexstrasza would have wished, but it did seem that the sudden presence of the twilight dragonflight galvanized the other flights into unified action. Without another breath wasted in argument among themselves, they lifted into the skies, charging to attack the enemy, to protect this sacred temple from danger.

It was an incongruously beautiful violence. Dozens of powerful forms in hues of ruby and emerald and sapphire wheeled and turned in midair. Their foe was all the shades of day turning into night—purple, violet, indigo—and grace and brutality combined into a bloody battle.

As they clashed, a voice seemed to echo in their very ears.

"How kind of so many of you to gather together in a single place, that I might destroy more of you weak creatures so readily."

Alexstrasza flew directly toward a cluster of three dragons, diving out of the way of their deadly breath, colored as purple as they were. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw one of the blues hover for a moment, casting a spell and then folding his wings and diving straight down. She swerved quickly and avoided the sudden storm of what looked to be icicles. One of the twilights managed to turn herself incorporeal, but the other two were too slow. Seizing the opportunity, Alexstrasza darted upward to clamp her massive jaws into the sinuous throat of one of them. Caught in his corporeal form with insufficient strength to transform, the twilight dragon let out a strangled scream and frantically beat the air with his indigo wings, trying to tear away from her. His black claws raked at her belly. Her scales blunted the damage from the attack, but white-hot pain still rippled across her stomach. She bit deeper, and the pain stopped. She opened her jaws and released the limp body, not sparing it a second glance as it tumbled downward.

"Who are you?" she cried, her own voice amplified and carrying on the cold, clear air. "Show yourself, name yourself, or be known for the coward and braggart that you are!"

"Neither braggart nor coward I," the voice came again. "I am known to my followers as the Twilight Father. They are my children, and I love them."

A chill rippled through the great Life-Binder, though she did not know why. If the name was true, and he was the patriarch of these beings—

"Then come forth and protect your children, Twilight Father, or sit back and behold as we slaughter them one by one!"

Two of them dove at her from opposite directions. So intent was she on locating the source of the voice she almost did not sense them in time. With barely a tail's breadth to spare, she folded her wings in and dropped like a stone, turning over as she did so. Directly above her the two twilight dragons shifted into their shadowy forms an instant before their collision, their two bodies passing harmlessly through one another.

Laughter, harsh and smug, enveloped her. "You are as a foolish little girl, for all that you are the great Life-Binder. It will be delightful to watch you crumble to pieces beneath what is to come."

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