The Blood Sun Comes [Chronicles of Shalthar Book 1]
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by Patrick Webb
Description: Elf-warrior Eric Ravenwing has lived on earth for 200 years. But now he has been summoned back to Shalthar to defeat tyrant Byron Greyblade and his monstrous army of solgrymm. Action, suspense, and a little wry humor, a great read from a sparkling new writer.
eBook Publisher: Live Oak House, 2005 2005
eBookwise Release Date: April 2005
10 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [316 KB]
Reading time: 227-318 min.
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When dragons fight, the skies protest so thoroughly as to cause freak weather changes. The only thing harder on the weather and the land than a battle between two dragons is a spell duel between two archmages.
--High History of Shalthar
* * * *
Flamefang left the tunnel and leapt into the air, changing shape as he went. This was no time to hide. Beating massive wings against the air, he banked and turned westward, bellowing a challenge to any creature bold enough to try to get in his way. This would be his moment. At last the game would be over! Icewing had been looking for him for thousands of years, and at last he would have the hoard of the ancient silver dragon, complementing it with his own hoard.
To the best of his knowledge he was one of fifteen dragons left on the planet. Soon it would be fourteen, and the hunt would begin anew. The only thing he disliked about dealing with that morsel Greyblade was the damned solgrymm. He despised the smelly creatures. He had, once upon a time, eaten three of them in one bite, and found himself sick for several days. He had decided then that he would wait until one of them was on a hunt, for he knew that they would bathe then. It was then that he found that it was not the fact that they did not bathe that made him sick, it was something about their nature that made them poisonous. Only slightly poisonous, but nonetheless, he decided that he would never eat one of them again. Killing them out of hand was another matter entirely. All that had changed when Greyblade came into the picture. It was at Greyblade's insistence that he stopped killing the solgrymm for fun.
Flamefang looked down at the landscape that sped below him. Trees, ancient as even he was, reveled in their silent majesty, whispering only of the small creatures that dared to invade their age-old grounds. Looking back up, Flamefang gazed at the small figure that took wing ahead of him.
The shape twisted in midair and convulsed, growing much larger. Silver scales glinted in the bright sunlight, sending nearly blinding refractions back at Flamefang. Huge wings flashed brightly as they moved with a calm grace that somehow made Flamefang uneasy. There were not many creatures that could unnerve him. Not many at all, yet still, the sight of the silver dragon as calm as he was suggested that one of two things was going on. Either the silver was far stronger than his brothers and sisters had been, or that the silver had given up all hope and was prepared to sacrifice himself in the attempt to destroy Flamefang. Either way, Flamefang knew that the battle would be fierce.
Bellowing a challenge, Flamefang sped towards the waiting silver, blood thundering in his veins, adrenaline fueling his strength. Now at long last the game would end, and Flamefang would have the hoard of the silver.
* * * *
Icewing listened to the challenge, and felt himself overcome by the great peace that he knew to expect. Today two dragons would die, and no man, elf, dwarf, or god would change that. Preparing himself for the battle, he felt a quiet, powerful power that swelled within him like the crescendo of a great song, building greater and greater, waiting to unleash itself upon the evil one. Spreading his wings wide, he slowed down and calmly awaited the charge of the red dragon.
Icewing inhaled to the bottom of his lungs, filling his being with the awesome power of a dragon's breath. The cold of the poles of this planet entered his body, spreading through his veins, seeping through the muscle, and spraying out from behind the cracks in his scales. It was an awesome cold that lit his body on fire, stinging with each beat of his wings. As Flamefang grew close he unleashed his own mighty breath of fire, blazing like the infernos of hell itself, the flaming cone rushed outward dashing into the cone of cold and ice that erupted from Icewing's mouth.
A great explosion shattered the air, as ice and flame met each other with unequaled force. Both dragons hurtled backwards, stunned by the concussive force released by the twin blasts.
Icewing reeled back and righted himself, watching as Flamefang did the same. Flamefang arced around, coming for Icewing's neck. Icewing flew high and stopped, coming around and under the red's attack. Flamefang overcompensated, swinging his lower body around and throwing himself out of balance. He went into a flat spin, centripetal force spinning him out of control. Slamming into a tree, he roared his anger. The tree screamed in protest as it splintered, the crack resounding in the dragon's ears.
Flinging himself up into the sky, Flamefang began desperately casting a spell, summoning all his magical energies up into a single burst of frenetic power. Icewing roared in laughter as he spun his own web of magic. The powerful burst of energy ripped out, slamming into Icewing. As the energy dampened, Flamefang was amazed to see no sign of the silver dragon. Was the battle over already? As he began complimenting himself, he heard a bellow from up above. Looking up, he saw Icewing moments before the silver slammed into him, claws ripping a long furrow in the red's hide.
Flamefang screamed in rage and swung his head around in serpentine fashion, biting into Icewing's neck. Icewing retaliated by wrapping his wings around the red and himself, tangling his wings in with Flamefang's. The tactic worked, and both dragons came crashing to the ground in a spray of leaves, dirt, and blood.
* * * *
Torgath looked up at the sky. This was a glorious battle: two mighty dragons fighting in the sky, fighting as warriors, tooth and claw. "Assemble the clan! We shall hunt the victor of the battle that goes on now! That glorious hunt will be remembered as the greatest hunt of all time!"
The warriors eagerly assembled and strode down to the river to bathe. This would be, for all of them, a hunt that would surely secure their future glory and grant them the blessings of the spirits.