Quest of Awakening
by Daniel Dickson
Publication date: May 19th 2023
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
‘Eragon’ meets ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ in this queer YA fantasy that will leave you breathless until the last page.
With war threatening to shatter Ivearth’s 500 years of peace, Prince Xavier embarks on a perilous quest to the mystical isle of Hom to claim a dragon and secure his place as king. But a dragon can only bond with someone true to themselves, forcing Xavier to confront his deepest fears. His truth, if revealed, could destroy the monarchy, the kingdom and the faith he serves.
Accompanied by a newly-heartbroken magical creatures expert, and a fearless steamboat captain, Xavier braves mermaid-infested waters and faces off against fearsome dragons. But the trio soon learns Hom calls on them to confront the obstacles that lie within. For Xavier, dangerous feelings for someone unexpected becomes the trigger to confronting all he has suppressed.
Will Xavier be successful in his mission? Or will his journey lead him down a different path, one that could alter the course of history forever?
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They debated the topic for some time. Rueban knew he needed us on his side. He calculated his words and made it clear he would not back down while being unprovoking. I ought to have been thinking more about how he had disrespected our Treaty of Protection. How what he was asking of us could breed civil war at best and a war with a powerful race of magicians. But instead, I wondered what Rueban had been thinking. What those glances at me meant.
After a few more cups of wine, Father had had enough of debating and asked me if I would escort Rueban to his chambers. We stood and made our respectful, pleasant farewells to Father and took our leave.
We walked through torchlit corridors in uncomfortable silence. Rueban was the first to speak. “I suppose soon it won’t matter what your father thinks. You will soon be king.”
“Yes, well. I have to say, I agree with my father. But I do hope we can maintain a pleasant alliance.” My voice shook as I spoke and I hoped he hadn’t noticed.
Rueban didn’t press the subject, showing surprising restraint. Being around him felt threatening, though, as if he were on the verge of attack. Still, even with the quickening of my heart and the awkward silence, there was something oddly alluring about his piercing blue eyes and the way he fitted his richly-embellished tunic.
We approached his wing, and I led the way to his guest chambers, stopping at the oak door with rounded handles. I reached across and opened the door for him. “I trust you’ll be comfortable,” I said.
He leaned into the archway and turned back to me. “Yes, yes, I will.”
I signaled my agreement and prepared to walk away, but he stretched an arm out to stop me. I turned back and faced him. His touch excited me in a way I wasn’t prepared for.
“Prince Xavier, it’s been a pleasure meeting you tonight.” He slid his hand from my back, and his fingers fell onto my forearm and caressed me. My throat closed. I didn’t know what to say. His gaze was intense, and I knew we verged on something inappropriate, something dangerous.
Rationality fled as I met that gaze with my own. He rubbed his hand up my biceps and held me firmly. I didn’t want to stop him, but even if I had, the fear in my stomach kept me speechless and immovable. He reached a hand to the back of my head and ran his fingers through my hair as he arched in toward my face.
I couldn’t look. It felt sinful, with the Great Goddess peering down at me. So, with eyes closed, I reached out my hand and rested it on his waist. He opened his mouth to speak, letting out a hushed breath that sent shivers down my body.
“Good night, Prince Xavier. Now I see what you truly are,” he whispered.
I swallowed my anxiety as he pulled away and disappeared through the door. My heart slowed and my breath shook. What was that? What kind of game was he playing? What did he think he knew about me?
I slammed my palm against the stone wall beside me. Gripping my sore hand, I stalked back through the corridors. He had put me in such an uncomfortable place. To throw himself at me like that. But it was fine. I hadn’t wanted it anyway. I’d been just going along with it. Or at least that’s what I had told my racing heart, that one day soon I would have a queen, and this night and other nights like it would just be distant memories. One day I would laugh about the confusing thoughts I’d been fighting against since I was young, and they would plague me no more.
But here I am, awake at the midnight hour, replaying that night over and over in my mind.
Daniel Dickson is a Glasgow-based author and cognitive behavioral therapist with a passion for impactful storytelling. With formal education in various aspects of professional writing, psychology, and counseling, he strives to help people find self-love and thrive through his writing and clinical practice. In his free time, he enjoys practicing meditation, taking walks in nature with his rescue dog Willow, reading books across a range of genres especially fantasy and sci-fi, and traveling to explore new cultures. His favorite book is Humans by Matt Haig, and he’s a film buff with a particular fondness for the movie Donnie Darko. As a spiritual person with influences from Buddhism, Eastern and Western philosophy, and psychology, Daniel believes his stories can promote acceptance and contribute to creating a more peaceful and unified world.
His debut novel, Quest of Awakening, is a queer YA fantasy that follows the journey of a young prince as he navigates his identity and embarks on a dangerous quest to save his world. With a diverse cast of characters and themes of self-discovery and acceptance, this book is sure to capture the hearts of readers.
Join Daniel on a thrilling adventure that will keep you turning pages and inspire you to embrace your true self. Get your copy of Quest of Awakening on Friday, May 19th.
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