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Rayna the
Dragon Rider

The fierce dragon warrior faces her greatest foes in a dance with source magic.

She conquered kings, magical beasts, and witches of chaos. But Rayna’s journey is not yet complete. Far from her home and wounded, Rayna learns a great threat has risen. 


After a thousand years of slumber, The Source Gods have returned to the world they created to reclaim it. The very existence of humanity is at stake and only Rayna wields a power strong enough to save it. 


But is having a dragon enough to stop the threat, or will facing off against the gods be Rayna’s last stand?  

A story of heroes, gods, and unyielding courage. 

Rayna the Dragon Rider is the third book in an exciting dragon fantasy adventure series A Time of Dragons. A tale of betrayal, war, and survival that blends old characters and new in a richly imagined world.  


Ryu carried Rayna on his back for miles before his energy gave out. He started a downward spiral somewhere over the ocean. In Rayna’s weakened condition all she could do was cling to the dragon’s neck as they spun out.

Wind ripped through her hair and lashed across her wounds. She gritted her teeth and shut her eyes tight, overwhelmed with a sense of fear. Rayna never did like heights and plummeting towards the ocean out of control is exactly why. 

Fortunately, Ryu managed one last push to keep them in the air. They came close enough to the water that his tail skidded across it. The cool splash over her skin roused Rayna enough so she could help steer Ryu towards land. 

He jutted up across an expanse of desert that made Rayna believe they were back at the Red Waste. But as he flew deeper into the island, she realized he’d brought them all the way down to Kartha.

Memories of her time there came back in a flash. Some good; mostly bad. Rayna tried to get Ryu to turn around and take them back to Atharia. She needed to find Jagger and K’lani. Promises were made to reunite at Theopilous after the war with the dragon queen ended. Rayna intended on keeping that promise to her husband. 

Ryu would have none of it. He was weary from flying and the long time spent in captivity. Once they found themselves over land he didn’t hesitate to touch down. Flying on the back of a dragon with a fear of heights is not something Rayna would ever get used to. When he finally landed, she rolled off his back and retched on the ground. 

She took a moment to compose herself then searched the area. Ryu set them down in an obscure spot of the island near the beach. In the very least he’d set them down far enough away from the towns that they weren’t immediately discovered. That wouldn’t last long.

If anyone spotted the dragon in the sky, there would be an army headed for them in moments. Rayna tried to rally Ryu back into flight. He chuffed at her and turned his head. 

“Come this is no time to be stubborn,” she told him, almost pleading. 

Ryu curled up beneath his wings intent on resting. Nothing Rayna did would rouse him. If anything, her constant commands only proved to irritate the dragon and he shouted in such a way it forced her to back off.

Rayna felt her own wounds starting to catch up with her as well. Battling a magical witch-turned-dragon left neither of them unscathed. She had an open gash upon her side where the dark dragon’s tooth almost impaled her. It needed to get stitched up before she lost too much blood. 

The barren surroundings didn’t show anything useful to aide her. Instead, she would have to make a poultice to staunch the blood. That meant venturing further out. She hesitated before going; troubled by the thought of leaving Ryu by himself. 

They’d been through a lot together. He’d become her best companion. A strange pairing of a once mighty dragon slayer and the last known child of dragon lineage. In a way, Ryu had become like her child now. 

Rayna stroked his snout and tried to reassure him she wouldn’t be gone long. In his slumber he didn’t hear her words. She spoke more to reassure herself than anything else. Gathering up her weapons she ventured down the bank towards the ocean. Nearer to the water the grassland would be softer than the dense beach where Ryu now slept. She could fashion a poultice from banana leaves and mud. 

Without a sheath for Bhrytbyrn she had to drag the massive blade behind her. Carrying the whip of bones upon her hip chafed her wound so she wrapped that around her torso instead. She must’ve looked a strange sight shuffling across the beach in disarray. 

At the water’s edge she sat upon her knees and tried to flush her wound. The saltwater stung each time it pooled over the cut causing Rayna to wince. She only hoped it was enough to keep infection from taking hold. 

The wet sand proved too loose to keep its shape upon her side. What she needed was dark mud and thick leaves. That meant she would have to move further inland. Rayna looked back towards where Ryu slept. She wondered if he could stream a small enough flame to cauterize her wound. Those straying thoughts led her down a nightmarish scene of going up like a torch. 

Ryu was still just a young dragon. She didn’t know how much control he held over his fire breath. It didn’t make sense to chance it. Still, she hated wandering so far away from him. She just got Ryu back from the dragon witch Nadiuska. If she lost him again, she would go mad. 

But the parting gift Nadiuska left at Rayna’s side was starting to ache up into her ribs. She could feel the cold trickle of blood oozing out down her skin. It began to pool in the creases of her armor which grew heavier with each step she took.

Rayna thought about stripping the armor and burying it in the sand. But she couldn’t bring herself to part with it. Suppose someone happened to stumble across it and they made off with the lot? The armor was high quality and would certainly fetch a fair price at market. But it meant more to Rayna than all that. 

The man it belonged to once saved her life and lost his in the process. Wearing his armor as she headed into battle made her feel as though she honored Valerios in some small way. So, she trudged on relying upon the strength of her body to maintain the weight of the armor. 

A man she knew on the land of Kartha had also saved her once. Those days seemed so long ago but with each step Rayna took she saw his face clearer in her mind. 

Toth was born on Kartha and carried the darker complexion like the others kissed by their island sun. He was tall, much taller than Rayna herself, with a lean musculature built from adventure seeking. Toth could never sit still for too long without racing off to swim in the deep waters or climb the highest peak. 

Rayna scarcely remembered his long, wavy hair not slick with water or perspiration. He thirsted for life and enjoyed challenging himself. One of those challenges he aimed to conquer had been Rayna herself. And once Toth set his mind to something he usually accomplished it. 

She was taken with him at first sight as most women were. He was like a Source God in the form of a man. But Rayna would make Toth work for her affection which created a deeper bond than any single night of passion would’ve.

Rayna recalled how their days at play would last for hours. Whether they were fishing, fucking, or hunting it made them lose all sense of time until Toth’s brother had to come looking and brought them back. Even now Rayna heard the gallop of horses as she thought back on her past in Kartha. Another step deeper into the brambles of a fallen forest and she realized the sound of hooves were not in her head. They were very real and growing very close. 

She’d traveled far from the beach coming upon what she thought would be a lush tropical forest. Inside she expected to source what she needed for her wound including fresh water and food. On closer inspection she found it had succumbed to the elements of wildfire. No shred of thick, billowing trees remained making it impossible to hide from the approaching riders. 

Though wounded and weary, Rayna stood her ground. She hefted her sword up in both hands and awaited the inevitable fight. If she fell, she hoped Ryu would get away safely. Guarding the dragon had become her life’s work. She wasn’t going to stop now, not even for the King of Kartha.

Rayna the Dragon Rider

A Time of Dragons III  

Copyright © 2024 Cynthia Vespia

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