I made this picture of Noren and Elninya with a friend (who drew the man for me, since I am really bad at drawing humans) a while ago. It matches this picture of Silmavalien and Minth.
Noren found Elninya’s egg shortly after Silmavalien found Minth’s, but Elninya did not hatch until much later (just as the end of DragonBirth). Elninya hatched in a grove outside the City of Delenois, where Noren had camped before planning to go into Delenois to ask the Oracle of Delenois what her egg meant. From that day, Noren became a fugitive of sorts, at least if Elninya were to be discovered, as dragons and riders are hunted and killed as witches in Silrah and most of South Aneri. Elninya is an albino dragon, and in addition to sun-burning easily, her skin gets dry and flakes readily, but she is a fairly strong and robust dragon in most ways, both physically and emotionally.
Since Noren spends the following years searching for Silmavalien, he and Elninya spend a lot of time apart after she learns to fly. Their greatest joy in life is getting away, into wilder or more rural areas, often at night, to spend time together and often to fly.
Once out of the gates, Noren rode at once up towards the mountains. He left Victor in a clearing, to graze, and climbed up a little ways, so that Elninya, in coming to him, would not startle the horse. He would be tired the following day, but he could not pass up on this chance to ride Elninya. She would be very upset, too, if he did pass up on it.
You will be fine carrying me? he asked her, for the hundredth time that day.
Noren smiled at her firm, confident, and excited, “Yes!” She knew it would not be a problem.
Before long, he saw her shimmering white length and wings against the rapidly darkening blue-purple of the sky. She landed before him, her happiness flashing forth white beauty.
Noren strode to her, almost bouncing on his toes. He followed her directions, in seating himself astride of her shoulders, just forward of her wings, in a little hollow that seemed to be there right for his convenience in riding her. When he was settled to her satisfaction, she lifted her wings and took off.
“There,” she told him. “That wasn’t even hard. You’re no heavier than a big buck, and you’re rather easier to carry, sitting on my shoulders, than struggling in my claws or teeth.”
I’m glad, said Noren. He felt a little giddy, as she rose rapidly higher, soaring to heights he had not imagined. In a few minutes, she was higher than the topmost spire of Kranah. Yet, the whole experience was somehow familiar and comforting, for he had shared flight with her a thousand times.
They flew for hours. Elninya dipped and soared. At one point, she brought him up a cliff, and landed at the top.
My stomach feels queasy, said Noren.
“That’s not abnormal. Flying even makes mine feel that way sometimes, and when I was just learning to fly, it did so a lot – whenever I did anything new, I think, which, to begin with, was every time!”
Excerpt taken from DragonWing, Copyright © 2019 Raina Nightingale