Title: Shadow's Dawn
Word Count: 104,000
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Caraka cannot escape the psychotic goddess--the Shadow Queen--who possesses her fragile mind. Between the goddess's berating and homicidal crazes, the half-dragon feels her sanity slipping away.
Although the goddess saved her from certain death as a child, Caraka cannot handle the tainted magic that courses through her veins. Caraka knows, though, if the goddess were to leave, she would be dead; in her childhood, her soul was replaced by the goddess' spirit, which is keeping her alive.
Just as her mind was spiriling out of control, rumors of an army of demons, brought to the world by a fallen dragon rider, is slowly making its way across the continent, leaving a barren wasteland in its wake. When war breaks out, she is forced into the middle of a fight she wants no part of.
As the last of the gods, only the Shadow Queen can send the demons back. Unwilling to face the impending army, the goddess cowers away and slips deeper into her insanity. What Caraka want is a sense of normalcy, a chance at a life without someone chattering in her head. If she doesn't help, it will mean the end of the world, yet if she does, it would mean the loss of her soul. Caraka's heart is torn between a desire for normalcy and doing what she knows is right, even if it means the ultimate sacrifice.
The Black Lion Tavern nestled comfortably between two adjoining buildings. It sported a plaque above it's door that hung dangerously askew. Just past the creaking double doors, the tavern filled with the commotion of excitement. The autumn air swelled with the stench of vomit and seaweed, mixed with the cracked sounds of tuneless singing and boisterous laughter.
A lone young patron sitting at the bar cleared her throat. Her voice, amidst the raucous of burly patronage, sounded soft and feminine.
"Excuse me," she said. Her eyes watched the manic barman before she lurched forward and grabbed the barman's sleeve.
The bartender stopped and nearly dropped the mugs he was carrying. He stared at the cloaked customer, eyes bulging out of their sockets and sweat draining down his face.
“What is it, missy? Make it quick now, we are grossly busy.
The patron motioned towards the empty mug in front of her. Her sharpened nails clicked on the wooden bar. "I just want my mug refilled."
The man blinked. “With what? Refresh me.”
Narrowing his eyes, he leaned forward and attempted to see past the shadows of the hood. Two silvery-green eyes stared back at him, dark circles jumping out against the ashen skin. Strands of silver and red hair gently fell across the already shadowed, round face. A pair of black, lupine ears poked out from under the hood, twitching curiously. "What's your name, dearie?"
She stared at him suspiciously for a moment before saying, "My name is Caraka."