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Hortense is the main antagonist from the book Dragonsdale and its sequels Dragonsdale: Riding the Storm and Dragonsdale: Fire in Winter, written by Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore under the pen name Salamanda Drake.
She is a tall girl with white skin and fair, curly hair and always carries a whip. Being a daughter of rich Lord Torin, the headmaster of Clapperclaw, Hortense grew into a pampered brat who always gets what she wants and is surrounded by her three toady followers (like Ernestina) all the time. Although she wants to win dragon riding Island Championships, and hates practicing, as she is an awful rider. She switches dragons more times than socks and never cares about them, only blames them for her failures. No surprise she isn't popular by other people and dragons at all... sometimes even not by her father. She doesn't like Cara and Breena from Dragonsdale and often bullies Cara, as she is forbidden to ride dragons.
At the beginning, Hortense rides dragons from the stable Dragonsdale. The Island Championships nears and she needs to prepare her current dragon, Cloudbreaker, for the competition. In other words, she orders Cara bossily to do so instead of herself. Angry Cara obeys, but that doesn't make Hortense satisfied at all. At the competition in Dragonsdale, Hortense complains about Cloudbreaker's harness, only for Cara's father, Huw, to explain her why "ugly" harness is better than good-looking deluxe, making her angry. However, nothing helps Hortense not to be disqualified as soon as possible. That's enough even for her and back to stables, she starts beating poor Cloudbreaker angrily with a whip. When Cara sees it, she can't help herself and punches the other girl. Shocked and irate Hortense snitches on her to Lord Torin and Huw, getting Cara in serious troubles.
As compensation she can have another dragon from Dragonsdale... and she chooses Skydancer, Cara's favorite dragon, only to taunt her. However, when she attempts to ride him for the first time, angry dragon takes off and, ignoring her orders, lands in the nearest lake. This incident leads Lord Torin to ask for Skydancer's culling. Luckily, Cara takes the dragon and they hide in mountains until the situation calms down. During the time, she learns to ride him.
Meanwhile, Lord Torin forces Hortense to practice with another dragon. Her new teacher becomes Huw himself - and he doesn't accept any excuses or failures. Irate Hortense, believing it's all Cara's fault, seeks a revenge. When she notices Cara and Skydancer leaves stables every day for several hours, she decides to discover what they are doing. At first, she cons Drane, pretending to be his friend, and he mistakenly reveals her the truth - Cara secretly rides Skydancer, although she isn't allowed to. Hortense tell the truth to Huw who forbids Cara to ride again and sells Skydancer to Lord Torin.
At the next competition, Hortense rides Skydancer, much to Cara's sadness. She fails again and back in the fence, she whips Skydancer. That is enough even for the dragon and he decides to burn her up in order to protect himself. Luckily, Cara stops him in the right moment, saving Hortense's life. She then rides Skydancer herself at the competition and does no mistake. However, she doesn't win, as she isn't signed.
Dragonsdale: Riding the Storm
Hortense rides dragons from Clapperclaw, the main rival stable of Dragonsdale, now. The next competition comes and Hortense doesn't miss the chance to bully Breena and Cara (who is now allowed to ride Skydancer) again. When she discovers Breena's dragon Moonflight is ill and can't participate in this competition, Hortense meets Breena to "express her sympathy", but she is actually happy about loosing her rival. However, although her practicing and the fact she always won on the training, Hortense fails and Cara wins the competition.
At another competition, Hortense fails again, but Breena and her cured Moonflight as well, as they lost trust in each other due an accident they had. After the competition, Hortense comes to Breena to tell her how "sad" is that Breena won't be able to win Island Championships for Juniors that way, as this is the last year she can participate in them - and if she doesn't win, she will never be allowed to join the Guard Flight. Hortense also says that invincible Cara sacrifices everything to win the competition, even her own friends. When she leaves, Breena starts thinking about it. She had really more chances to win when Cara wasn't allowed to compete...
Later, Hortense and her followers decide to hunt on sea capricorns. However, they bump into Cara and Skydancer on the beach and Cara orders them to stop, as the capricorns belong to Ronan, a merboy. Hortense who thinks merpeople are barbarians, taunts Cara for "having a fish boyfriend" and threatens her if she doesn't leave. Their dragons spit fire on Cara and Skydancer which answers by spitting a giant fire wave, scaring all other dragons enough to escape.
At the next competition which takes place in Clapperclaw, Hortense makes another plan to destroy Cara's and Breena's friendship. She buys off another girl who decoys Cara to the food stand. Cara, standing outside of the stand, then hears Hortense telling the girl how sad Breena is because of Cara's victories and that Cara should let her friend win. This leads Cara to lose the competition voluntarily. Unfortunately, Breena is as bad as usual and this incident makes their relationship so bad the girls start hating each other. As Cara failed, Hortense's friend Ernestina wins the competition. However, when Hortense reveals her how she conned Cara to lose, Ernestina isn't proud on her prize anymore. It should be Cara's, not hers.
Meanwhile, Cara and Breena join Dragonsdale exhibition team, but aren't able to cooperate. What's more, Hortense adds fuel to the fire when she told Cara about her fictive conversation with Breena who "was complaining about Cara's performance in the team". Cara is irate on Breena and the next practice ends up with Cara's and Breena's dragons flying into each other and injuring themselves. Back in stables, Hortense sees Breena to "express her sympathy", only for Breena to shout on her and send her away.
After Breena and Moonflight get stuck in the cave near the sea for three days and almost die there, Cara and Breena are friends again, as they realize it was Hortense who made them up. Next time on the beach, along with Brane, Wony and Ronan, they are interrupted by Hortense and her followers who are about to hunt capricorns again. Two of followers' dragons leave as soon as they see Skydancer, but Hortense and Ernestina stay. When Hortense realizes the two girls are friends again, she starts insulting all of them. Skydancer suddenly takes off, grabs Hortense and drops her into the sea where capricorns begin to play with her. Hortense is forced to promise she and the entire Clapperclaw won't hunt them anymore and then, dirty and humiliated, leaves the beach. Before flying away, Ernestina says Cara and her friends that she will make sure Hortense's promise will be known in Clapperclaw.
Dragonsdale: Fire in Winter
To be added!