Monday, August 4, 2014

Guest Post: How to Hunt Your Dragon, Author H.L. Burke

Welcome to fellow fantasy author, dragon lover, and writer mom H. L. Burke! In today's guest post she is sharing with us some of the rules of her world from Dragon's Curse, Volume One of The Dragon and the Scholar Saga, in celebration of the release of the latest in this series, Volume Three, Dragon's Rival! Read below to find out how to hunt your own dragon and enter a giveaway.

An excerpt from: Laws and Guidelines Governing the Hunting of Dragons, a pamphlet produced by several noted scholars from the Academy of Magic and Sciences, detailing the dangers and difficulties of dragon slaying and the laws regarding such sport. Please note, this is not a how to manual, but rather a cautionary piece presenting some things an ambitious knight would be wise to consider before taking on his first dragon slaying assignment.
The Academy of Magic and Sciences acknowledges that dragon hunting is an ancient and honored tradition among kings and knights. However, the creatures are both rare and dangerous. Because of this, certain laws have been passed and are upheld by all kingdoms upon the Continent. Refusing to abide by these rules may result in prosecution, fines, or in extreme cases execution. It is your duty, as a dragon slayer, to  familiarize yourself with these statutes and see that you and your companions keep to the letter of the law.

The first and foremost rule of dragon hunting is never attack a dragon’s nest.

It is difficult to observe the mating habits of dragons. They are solitary beasts and during such intimate moments, they can become exceedingly hostile to outsiders. Due to the valorous and persistent research of Henry of the Many Scars, we do know certain basic facts. For instance, when in search of a mate, dragons set fire the majority of trees around their lairs, as an invitation to other dragons and a warning to those who might be tempted to watch.

While dragons are known to mate for life, they do not nurture their young. Once the hatchlings have emerged from the eggs, they are left to their own devices, and considering they are roughly the size of young horses at birth with fiery breath and venomous fangs, they generally do quite well for themselves. Dragons often lay their eggs in community nests. The nesting period is one life stage where dragons are known to be social creatures. For most of their existence they are solitary or keep to mated pairs.

In the years following the Wars of Wild Magic, when dragons were much reviled for their choice to side with the Fey rather than the Humans, ambitious hunters took advantage of this knowledge. A large group discovered the hatching grounds and managed a successful attack, destroying hundreds of unborn dragons and several mating pairs. Within days an organized force of adult dragons rose up and burnt the home villages of the offending hunters to the ground. This swift retribution led to an assembly of representatives from several kingdoms as well as the Academy, and the First Law of Dragon Hunting was agreed upon and signed.

Those who would hunt dragons must always consider the long term repercussions. Dragons are an extremely long lived race. Their average lifespan stretches upward of three hundred years. They are also patient creatures, and just because they do not take immediate revenge for the slaying of a mate or a child does not mean they will not strike at your great-granddaughter’s christening or some other far future event.

Always be aware of the trouble your desire to slay dragons may have on those around you.
Do not slay dragons for profit. Only merchants approved by an Academy review board may traffic in dragon bones, blood, venom, or scales. Bounties on problem wyrms, however, are an accepted practice. If a dragon has chosen to settle in close proximity to humans, he has taken his life into his own talons and can be exterminated as a nuisance dragon.  

Thankfully the rarity of such beasts makes it less and less likely that a knight will be called upon for such dangerous duties. However, if you wish to try  your hand at dragon hunting, please remember that in doing so you  take your life in your hands.  Do not allow your carelessness and disregard for the law to endanger others.

Dragon's Curse, book one in The Dragon and the Scholar Saga
by H. L. Burke
On her first assignment out of the Academy, young healer and scholar, Shannon Macaulay is summoned to the struggling kingdom of Regone to see to the wounds of a young but crippled king. When the unwanted attentions of an aggressive knight and the sudden appearance of a hated dragon turn her world upside down, she decides to take matters into her own hands even if doing so proves dangerous. Finding herself strangely drawn to the company of the dragon, Gnaw, Shannon must force herself out of her safe world of books and botany to come to the aid of her unexpected ally in a strange kingdom, cursed by a fateful encounter with a dragon and the loss of a beloved prince. Can she learn to put aside her fears, and perhaps sacrifice her deepest desires, to help a friend and restore a family?

ABOUT H. L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.
Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

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