Here’s an excerpt from some of the new deliciousness that is filling up the pages of “The Most Unlikely Hero” (aka The Elven Games). It was either this, or a boring excerpt from one of the many articles I’ve written this past month and a half. I figured you’d like this better. Plus? I’m not giving anything away. If you’re a frequent reader, you’ll get it, if you aren’t I hope you enjoy it anyway…
“It won’t be much longer now ‘til we reach the town,” Edgar said companionably.
“Yes. We are almost there. I can smell the sweat of the guards at the gate.” The monk clicked his tongue and the horse stepped his gait. “Night is approaching though, so they mayn’t let us in until sunrise.”
“Galentown has always been a harbor for the traveling citizen, day or night. Why would they refuse entry now?” Edgar asked, his curiosity piqued.
“These days are not the same as they used to be. Galentown is still the same open city, but they are more reluctant to allow entry at night, unless the moon is full, because it is becoming increasingly difficult to know friend from foe.”
“Aye, but Galentown is protected by King Teodric, as it is a safe harbor for all types-pirates, thieves, and otherwise. Knowing friend from foe has never been a concern.” Edgar quickened his pace to match the horse-drawn cart, but still fell slightly behind. The monk slowed the horse’s gait once more to accommodate him.
“That was before,” the monk said, cryptically.
“Before? Before what?” Edgar stopped in his tracks. Something was not right. Derik intimated that their father still lived, so what else could cause this to be true? “King Teodric wouldn’t allow this to change. Galentown in the largest trade market Northend has. We’d have to be…at war…” He stopped mid-sentence as the reality hit him full force in the chest.
“Then it is true? The Dragon Queen Soren has arisen? Juba was right? My brother wasn’t merely telling me a story to get me to come back home?” Edgar’s heart pounded in his chest. “Tribba! Salisa!” He turned his face behind him, fearing the dark clouds would have already obliterated the Western Hemisphere from sight.
The monk’s head jerked up at the mention of the Dragon Queen’s name. “What do you know of Soren?” He asked. Edgar detected something in the friar’s voice he could not quite put a finger on.
“Only what I’ve heard in legend.” Edgar decided to keep what little knowledge he had until he knew Friar Arch better. He may have already said too much.
“Legend?” The friar scoffed. “She’s no legend. She’s real. I’ve seen her myself.” A slight tremble followed the last of Friar Arch’s words and Edgar realized what it was. It was fear.
The monk, despite his privileged position, was afraid of Soren and her minions. Of course he was! As much fear as the dragon Edgar had summoned produce within his own self, he could imagine what the Dragon Queen could evoke. He put his hand on the cart nearest the monk’s foot. He preferred to touch his shoulder, but it was out of reach. The monk seemed to understand Edgar’s intentions, however, as he nodded and raised his hand in acknowledgement. “Aye. She is worthy of every liter of fear I possess. She rose in plume of smoke, her minions appearing from within the trees themselves…
<em>A scream shattered the stillness of the village. People looked for the source and found a spiral of flames hiding the shape of a man. He was burning alive, yet no one knew why or how. A second scream sounded, this time from the edge of the village, near the sacred entrance to the woods they’d once chased a strange woman into. A streak of fire shot out from between the trees, enveloping yet another passerby in flames. People scrambled out of the way, not caring who they knocked over in the process. Mothers grabbed for their children, who had been playing hopscotch in the square. Shopkeepers slammed their doors shut and the clicking of locks filled the air between the screams. The stench of burning flesh permeated the square and those still remaining within it began retching. For those left in the open, death came swiftly in the form of a fiery red scaled dragon, his neck long and lean like a lizard’s, his tri-clawed feet shifting the dirt as he landed. He opened his hooked beak mouth and fire erupted from within him, making his abdomen glow like flowing lava. His bat-like wings stretched like fingers before they began flapping, fanning the flames before him. When all who occupied the square mere moments before had become ashes, and the square a giant bonfire, the dragon flicked his great reptilian tail through the closest huts, demolishing them before torching them with a powerful exhale of his breath. One by one, the small shops of the square caught fire, their windows filled with the tear-streaked faces of those trapped within them. The smoke choked out the sun and darkness filled the sky. Heavy footfalls sounded from the forest and the trees shook in fear. Black clothed soldiers emerged from the trees, releasing arrows into bodies as they marched through the burning, yet not a single one was scorched from the flames. They continued their steady march to the homes beyond the square. Screams filled the silence once more and the soil turned red with blood. Met with little resistance, they continued marching through the village, taking out those brave enough to raise a hammer or an axe against them with their blood colored arrows long before those hammers and axes made any contact. </em>
It was not until the black knights reached the wall of the monastery that they found any resistance. A small handful of the village’s sworn protectors shot poison tipped arrows from their wood and hide bows down into the midst of the dragon squadron beneath them. I know not what poison their arrows held, I only know that as they struck, the black knights disappeared.” Fear caught Friar Arch’s tongue for a moment and he paused for the first time since beginning his story. “It was then that I saw her, the Dragon Queen, Soren, standing in the middle of the blazing square where only moments before had stood a dragon. Her red cape furled out behind her and mingled with her fiery red hair, billowing out like flaming wings. Streams of fire burst from her palms as she advanced, creating a fiery trail that added such an intense heat, sweat began pooling on my flesh. When the village soldiers succumbed to her raging fire, I grabbed my horse and my cart and ran for the forest behind me.”
Silence burst the swollen air between them as the monk finished the story. Edgar shook his head, partly in disbelief, but mostly in sorrow.
“How is that they were so unprepared?” Edgar asked.
Intrigued yet? And I haven’t even hit the halfway point.
Thanks for stopping in!