Following starts the prologue of a novel I initially wrote for my grandchildren. Turns out, it’s more suitable for late teens and young adults than pre-teens and early teens. If you decide to let your 10 year old read this, read the chapter yourself first. Some of the descriptions are a bit graphic, I guess, although I think they’re only describing the story and are not gratuitous in my mind, certainly not like Hunger Games, or the Twilight Saga. Although the book is complete, I’m in the middle of a re-write so I hope this will motivate me to spend more time, ah, re-writing.
By way of introduction, Dragon stories continue their appeal to boys, (and girls–yes, there is some romance in this story) in spite of a seemingly saturated market. The Dragons of the Cliffs are different, special and possess some powers other dragons in other stories don’t have. I surmised that if vampires in the Twilight Saga can drink animal blood and tolerate light, my dragons have no limits. So, I hope you enjoy this first weekly installment. And, yes, it does have a Christian theme.
Dragons of the Cliffs: Anden’s Challenge
Stygian Darkich called for the retreat when Thursagon’s sword severed his Dragon’s head. The Dragons and riders blinked from the Cliffs of Norse to the GoldenMire outside the Master’s cave, their wounded fighters and Dragonless riders two on a neck. Stygian jumped from the Dragon whose rider saved him when he fell. This was a bad loss. Seven Dragons and riders gone and he, their leader, led them to—to defeat. A gash in his left shoulder throbbed. The left arm hung at his side, immobile. No matter. Fix it later. He had to inspire them, motivate them. From the front of the group, he pulled up and flexed. “They defeated us this time, but we regroup, we train, we will prevail!” He shot his right fist into the air.
A weak cheer landed on his ears. Curses sounded from the back. A murmur rolled through the group.
“We will defeat them, I say!” Quiet. No cheer?
Then a voice from the back. “How do you know? You told us we could not lose this time.”
Anger filled his chest and rose to his face. “Silence!” He’d find out who said that. He started toward the voice when the ground moved left, then up. The ground? Quakes and rolls followed. Up—he left his feet; down—face in the dirt. A gust of wind hit him from the Dragons who hovered above him to escape the convulsing ground. The quaking stopped.
Stygian rose to his feet and opened his mouth to speak when a voice came from the mouth of Master’s cave across the piles of gold, precious stones and coins.
A stooped old man walked across the treasure and shuffled his way. “You need not, ah, chastise,” he wheezed, inhaled, “the rider who spoke those words, Stygian.” The old man inhaled, coughed, exhaled. “He, ah, voices.” Deep breath. “The concern of us all. How will you win when you allowed victory to escape your grasp?”
Anger ignited in Stygian again and exploded out his mouth. “Leave me, old man, lest I send you to the den of Lucifer!”
“Oh, I’ve no fear of the den of Lucifer.” Breaths inhaled, wheezed, exhaled, wheezed.
Was he standing straighter?
The old man continued toward him, his gait faster.
“For you see.” A deeper tone this time, louder and stronger burst from the visitor. What was happening?
“I happen to be.”
He, he was bigger. His arms and legs—bulged with muscles. He, what was he?
The man-beast grew and the wrinkles of age left him. His face turned a reddish black and the white hair disappeared. His size—he became massive. Stygian tried to swallow and couldn’t. The monster’s head tipped back, his mouth opened, his arms came out from his sides and a deep, dark laugh echoed from his throat. The man-creature smiled, took two steps and stood in front of Stygian.
“With the den. It’s my home.”
Stygian shook, staggered and thought his heart would beat out of his chest. His master, the Wyvern of Lucifer himself, stood before him. The yellow fangs and the grin penetrated his eyes, his head, his heart. He grabbed his chest. His heart stopped? No, it was going again. A pain filled his brain like a hot poker rammed through his skull. He fell to his face on the ground prostrate. “My master. What is your bidding?” The words left his mouth involuntarily.
“You’ve disappointed me once too often, young leader.”
The ground shook, then shook again. Stygian turned his head. A colossal black Dragon emerged from the cave, twice the size of any Dragon of the GoldenMire.
“Meet BlackHeart, my new Dragon.” A laugh filled his ears. A hand with strength previously unknown to Stygian circled his neck. Pain! Snap! No feeling below his neck. With a jerk, he traveled through the air, bumped and slid under BlackHeart. The talons surrounded his head. All went black.