Feverbird's Bird Claw
The Feverbird's Claw by Jane Kurtz. (2004) Reading Level: Ages 9-12. 304 pages. Greenwillow. ISBN: 0060008202.
From the publisher:
Twice, on the last day of her childhood, Moralin sees death coming straight at her. The first time, in the fighting yard, she saves herself. But the second time, outside the city walls . . .
Moralin is captured by the Arkera, age-old enemies of her people. They dress in rough clothes and use a language Moralin can't understand. Why have they kidnapped her? Why are they taking her with them into the heart of the red forest, where the fire-breathing skulkuk lives? And if Moralin can escape, can she survive the skulkuk and the other perils of the wilderness?
Moralin is about to face death again. She is also about to uncover secrets -- secrets about the Arkera, her own people, and herself.