Today we conclude 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.
The Kinship passed through the place where the Hunt had failed with little comment. The survivors grew solemn, and River uttered prayers for the dead as they passed, but otherwise they pressed straight on. The fleeing Anathema had followed the route Mathar predicted. The ranger picked up the trail quickly. His robin flew ahead a little ways, returning now and then to chirp at them and take off again. “We’ll catch up to them by daybreak,” he said. No one wanted to stop and rest. No one even had to ask.
Later, River would recall the battle in flashes.
She remembered the woman towering above them, the blazing silver circle on her forehead terrible to behold. Her voice was a roar in River’s ears. River might have given into instinct and fled, if it weren’t for Swift at her side and the knowledge of her companions behind. Then came the brittle flapping of obsidian wings and the sharp acrid smell of a flamepiece, and that awful need to run, go, get out stopped buzzing in her head.
She remembered the thrum of Mathar’s bow. The steady rhythm of his arrows kept the howling Wretched from reaching Chalima. Gave River and Swift the opportunity to get within striking distance.
She remembered losing the Anathema in a swirl of darkness. He’d reappear, strike, then fade again. Swift’s mace passed through where he’d been only a moment before, and River thought we’re done.
She remembered Swift’s gritted teeth; Eshuvar’s clear, certain voice as he cast his spell; the dry, reassuring k-chak! of Chalima reloading her flamepieces; and Mathar’s laughter ringing out over it all. She remembered how her heart lightened as they made their final push.
She remembered how they stood together after, one Anathema dead, the other their captive. Chalima propped up a wounded Swift. Mathar slung an arm around Eshuvar’s shoulders. Though their Kinship had fulfilled its purpose, no one spoke the words to disband it.
River prayed no one ever would.
If you enjoyed this fiction, there are only a few days remaining in the Dragon-Blooded: What Fire Has Wrought Deluxe Edition Kickstarter!