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For the Skybax of the same name, see Windchaser (character).

Windchaser is the first of the Dinotopia digest novels. It was written by Scott Ciencin and published in May 1995.

Blurb

A storm at sea washes a young pickpocket, Hugh, and a surgeon's son, Raymond, overboard. Landing on the strange island world of Dinotopia, Raymond and Hugh learn the meaning of real courage and true friendship, with the help of a reclusive Skybax named Windchaser.

Plot summary

Attention:  This article, or section, may contain spoilers! Read on at own risk!

Raymond Wilks is the son of a doctor on the prison ship Redemption, headed for Australia. During a storm, the prisoners break free and hold a mutiny, killing Raymond's father in the process. Before Raymond can befall his father's fate, he is rescued by Hugh O'Donovan, a pickpocket, right before the Redemption crashes into the coral reef surrounding Dinotopia and sinks.

Raymond and Hugh are rescued by dolphins and brought to Dinotopia, where they are greeted by Bix, who takes them to the Hatchery. Although Raymond embraces his new home, Hugh is distrustful of the Dinotopians, refusing to believe that anyone would be so accepting and friendly without ulterior motives.

Bix takes the boys to Waterfall City where they begin their education under a Edmontosaurus named Sollis. Upon arrival, Raymond encounters a wounded Skybax named Windchaser, who attempts to capsize several boats. Meanwhile, Hugh tests the extent of the Dinotopians' hospitality by stealing several items. When the Dinotopians forgive him, Hugh is bewildered and begins to believe that he is not worthy of living in Dinotopian society.

Raymond and Hugh travel to a Skybax camp where Raymond begins training under instructor Hikaro. He learns that Windchaser used to have a rider named Daniel until Daniel perished in a fire and Windchaser was wounded trying to rescue him. The Skybax has become a recluse ever since. Raymond makes contact with Windchaser and discovers that Daniel had taught him to speak human language.

Hugh is assigned to guard a training tightrope while the safety nets are being changed. While distracted, Hugh fails to notice a boy climb out on to the rope and get himself stuck. He blows a horn for help, spots Windchaser in the sky, then attempts to climb out on to the rope to rescue the boy. However, his nerves give out and he fails to climb on to the rope. The boy is eventually rescued by a Skybax and his rider, and Hugh is ashamed of himself for not having the courage to rescue the boy himself.

Later, at the celebration honoring the Skybax and the rider who saved the boy, Hugh realizes that Windchaser was the one who alerted the Skybax rider to the boy in danger and thus he deserves to be honored. He is told that Windchaser refused the honor and went to the Sky Galley Caves in the Forbidden Mountains. Hugh and Raymond set out to find him.

During a severe storm, Raymond slips off of a mountainside and lands on a tree wedged in a deep ravine. Windchaser arrives and Hugh fashions a harness so that Windchaser can carry him to tree. Working together, the two rescue Raymond. Back at the Skybax camp, Hugh realizes that Windchaser saw the boy in trouble on the tightrope because Hugh blew the horn, meaning that Hugh did indirectly save the boy.

Months later, Raymond decides to become a healer, Windchaser becomes the official ambassador between humans and Skybaxes, and Hugh goes off to study under his idol, the Triceratops scholar and philosopher Laegreffon.


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