In fact, I built a whole fantasy culture based on dragons. Their gods are dragons and the lucky (or unlucky ones, depending on who you ask) ones can actually shift into dragons. The first dragon I can remember writing, Chanda the White, lives in this world and she's definitely the most fearsome. She's been cursed for so long that she doesn't even remember what it's like to be a human.
Until a lone warrior comes to her lair with magic in his blood.
For a chance to win a copy of Survive My Fire - or the other Keldari Fire book, The Fire Within - comment on this post with why you love dragons too. I'll pick a commenter to win their choice of either book.
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I scented him in the arid noon. Heat waves shimmered his two-legged shape in my slit-eyed glare. Who dared encroach on my domain?
It was too hot to stir from the cave, even for me, but the warrior's scent tormented me. Sweat and musk, muscle and pride, oh, how tasty, how divine a feast. Miles away and on foot, he wouldn’t reach my lair until dusk.
Sluggish, I dozed. Dreams tormented me in the roasting heat of afternoon, memories from centuries ago of my life before the curse. Rage crawled in the dark secret fissures of my heart, a fire stoked hour by hour. Trapped in this prison of wing, scale, and claw, I hated that warrior.
I would tear him limb from limb. Shred his skin and lick his spicy blood from the unforgiving sands. Crack bone to feast on his marrow. I would dine on his fear, shred his dreams and char his most secret hopes.
As soon as the sun touched the horizon and shadows stretched across the red sands, I crept from my lair.
Hundreds of warriors over the years have braved my domain. They came with sword and magic, bows and shields, hearts bursting with courage, hope, rage, envy, even lust.
They came, and they died.
I killed them all.
This one would be no different.
Ah, but he was a cocky son of a bitch. He stood in plain view on the highest point of my barrens. His back to me, he stared out over the empty Well of Tears. The Well I had not been able to fill despite an eternity of suffering.
The dying sun blazed behind me, outlining his warrior’s body, the proud tilt of his head, and then the chiseled lines of his face as he turned. His eyes were dark eyes, shadowed and hollowed with misery. Keldar was a hard land, a hard life, even for such a magnificent warrior.
A curved scimitar gleamed in the growing shadows, ready in his hand but not offensive. Not threatening, not yet. The black taamid flapped about his shoulders like wings, loose and flowing to the ground. Leather knife straps crossed his chest, and a coiled whip hung on his hip. I could smell the sweet herbed oil used to keep the dragon hide supple.
No fear flickered in his steady gaze. No emotion showed on his stone face. He stared at me, waiting. For what?
Casually, I flicked a wing at him. He ducked, tucked into a smooth roll to the side, and flipped back to his feet. Impressive. Instead of trying to knock him down, I flipped around and grabbed him with my tail as thick as his body. Squeezing scaled muscle around his chest, I locked him in bands of living iron he couldn't possibly break.
I would crush his bones and bathe in the blood spray—
The curved blade slid into my flesh, just enough to anger me. I slung him to the ground so hard I heard his ribs creak. But no grunt of pain. Not from him.
The scent of blood—even my own—brought my hunger roaring to life. I breathed deeply and threw my head back. Flames blazed to the heavens. The ground rumbled and cringed beneath my claws. Horses miles away screamed in terror and people quaked in their flimsy hide tents and whispered prayers to deaf and uncaring Gods.
The warrior before me licked my blood from his blade.
He dared to taste my blood. A shiver crawled down my spine. This was no ordinary warrior. Already, I felt a gnat's brush against my mind through the fragile blood bond he attempted to weave.
I dared say mine was a bitter and noxious brew compared to the sweet wealth of his blood that would soon roll in my belly. With my hunger fully awakened, I ignored my unease. I flapped my wings and scrambled at him.
He dodged aside with a roll and then leapt, kicking sand in my eyes. A child’s trick. I didn't have to see him. I could smell him: burnt cinnamon, roasted sage, sweat, and tasty warrior.
I would eat him alive.
I would eat him alive.