Today we’re continuing our look at the intro fiction for Dragon-Blooded: What Fire Has Wrought, whose deluxe edition is currently on Kickstarter. Written by Lauren Roy, it’s set about 50 years prior to the “present,” Realm Year 768.
“We should swear an oath,” said Swift. They were by the side of the road, finishing a meal scraped together from what the retainers had left behind. For Chalima, who grew up in poverty in the Scavenger Lands, it was a feast. Eshuvar made comments about missing this or that side dish, or wishing for a glass of some expensive wine to wash it down, but subsided at a glance from River. Mathar lifted the young sorcerer’s spirits when he shared out a packet of seasoning he’d brought from Lookshy. Swift had finished her plate quickly, a habit formed in the Legion. It meant she missed out on Mathar’s spices, but she’d had time to think while the others ate.
During the planning, River and Chalima shaped the strategy while Mathar and Eshuvar chimed in with recommendations. Swift had remained quiet, trying to figure out what had gone so terribly wrong on the Hunt. Now she stood, meeting each of their gazes, ready to defend her declaration. She wasn’t one for pretty words and inspiring speeches, but River had listened this morning when Swift suggested they push on. She might listen now. “The bond will strengthen us. It’s what we should have done before.”
To Swift’s surprise, it wasn’t River who rose first in support, but Chalima. The hand she held out was already warm with Essence. “I swear,” she said, “by Earth, by Wood, by Fire, by Air, by Water….”
The other three were standing before Chalima reached the last element, their animas flaring to life as they recited their oaths. The words differed — the Realm and Lookshyan versions were more intricate, more poetic, than Chalima’s short declaration — but the intent was the same. Their banners flared as their voices rose, the five elements twining together and climbing toward the sky. As they stated their purpose to hunt down the two Anathema, all five stood straighter, resolve swelling in their hearts. They recited one another’s names, each one a promise to the others.
Then it was done, and the oath settled deep, coming to rest in their very bones. Swift felt it not like a restraint, but an expansion. Her companions’ vitality sang with her own, and she felt, for the first time in days, like they might survive what was to come.
Stay tuned for the conclusion next week, or read the full piece yourself in the Dragon-Blooded: What Fire Has Wrought Deluxe Edition Kickstarter!