Cara was the daughter of the Dragonmaster of the famous Dragonsdale Riding School, but she'd never ridden a dragon. And if it was up to her father, she never would! Her mother had been killed while riding a dragon, and the Dragonmaster didn't want to lose his only child the same way.
But all Cara did was dream of riding a dragon—one special dragon, her favorite dragon—Skydancer, the beautiful, rare, Goldenbrow dragon that was brought to Dragonsdale as a hatchling when his mother was killed. He wouldn't let anyone ride him, and Cara was sure it was because Sky wanted her to ride him, and no one else.
Right now, however, Cara didn't have time to spend with Sky. The dragon riding show was to be held at Dragonsdale, and Cara wanted to help Brenna, her best friend, get her dragon, Moonflight, ready for the show. But the day before the show, Hortense, one of the riders, told Cara to groom Cloudbreaker, the dragon she would be riding in the show. Hortense was the spoiled and pampered daughter of Lord Torin, the school's most important client and High Lord of Seahaven.
The day of the show, Brenna had a clean run, but Hortense had a disastrous ride on Cloudbreaker, finally getting herself disqualified. A few minutes later, Cara caught her beating Cloudy cruelly with a whip, aiming for his eyes, the most vulnerable part of his body, while the dragon was tied up, unable to escape. She was screaming at the terrified dragon, blaming him for her poor performance. Cara didn't hesitate. She grabbed the whip, and hit Hortense as hard as she could, knocking her to the ground.
In spite of the fact that there were many witnesses who saw what she did, Hortense was Lord Torin's daughter, so she not only got away with it, she vowed that Cara would pay for her black eye. So when Lord Torin decided to buy one of the Dragonsdale dragons for his daughter, Hortense made sure that Skydancer was the one she picked. She knew that he was Cara's favorite, and that letting him go would hurt. But she couldn't imagine the disasters that would follow her decision.