She was once a slayer of mighty dragons, now a defender of their kind
Rayna’s vow to protect the last dragon on Atharia has been beset by danger. In all her years of hunting dragons never did she expect her best traveling companion to become one. But with a bounty of blood on their heads that bond will be tested.
Now, as they continue the journey towards the Isle of Dragons, Rayna is challenged by mercenaries, monsters, and a mysterious figure who follows wherever they go. Will the odds become too great or will Rayna rise up as the dragon warrior to quell the evil armies that seek to destroy her?
A beautiful, violent story about revenge and redemption. Rayna the Dragon Warrior continues the exciting fantasy adventure series A Time of Dragons.
As a slayer of dragons, Rayna counted only upon her skill and speed to win the day. That she was a woman in body seemed less important than her prowess with a sword. Her mindset changed as a pack of heavily armed mercenaries chased her down.
Being the number one threat to the King of Atharia, a heavy bounty lay on her head. That fee doubled for any man in the land who could abscond with the precious cargo Rayna traveled with.
The words on the bounty scroll were ambiguous. If any knew that Rayna carried a small dragon with her there would no doubt be more would-be hunters on her trail. Entire towns would empty at her passing just to catch a glimpse of Ryu the red dragon.
Having the notorious group the Righteous Wardens galloping up behind her was trouble enough. Their leader, Coraise Kennethgorian, lusted for more than just the massive bounty or even the small dragon Ryu. Coraise wanted Rayna for himself.
She sensed his desires the first time they tangled only to be rescued by a man who bedded then double-crossed her. Since then, Rayna made it a point of not getting into bed with strange men by choice or by force. Coraise had other ideas.
Rayna managed to steal a swift horse from a small farm on the way to taking Ryu towards freedom. It gave Rayna a chance to rest her feet from an arduous journey. But a bit of bad luck brought her right across the path of Coraise and his men.
As Rayna routed towards Valeuki, Coraise and the others were heading away from the city. Rayna almost brought her horse headlong into the pack of them. Too late did she recognize his square jaw and long, dark mane of hair. He was handsome enough but Rayna knew that under his striking features lay a special type of malice reserved for women.
She pulled back on the reins of her horse causing it to rear and whinny. The commotion caught Coraise's attention and when he saw it was Rayna his face broadened with a disgusting grin. Rayna turned the horse ready to gallop all the way back to where she’d left a trio of human-wolf hybrids dead on the battlefield. Anything to get as far from the Righteous Wardens as she could.
It seemed Coraise hired new men to replace the last that fell by Rayna’s broadsword. The massive weapon she called Bhrytbyrn sat in its cradle on the horse’s saddle. Rayna would need to stop in mid-gallop to retrieve her sword. But once she had it in hand, her special connection to the blade would light it up in flame.
Looking over her shoulder, she debated taking the chance. The Righteous Wardens grew close enough to make out their scowled faces and missing teeth. If Rayna stopped now they would all crash into each other. Thrown from her saddle any number of things could happen that would not favor a victory. So, she pressed the horse into a faster gallop.
The chase seemed endless. Many times Rayna tried to thwart their pursuit by moving in and out of dense forests. She maneuvered her horse with spectacular precision around large pine trees. Her hope that the erratic path would knock a few of the mercenaries off balance proved pointless. They remained in the chase without the trees being any hindrance.
Rayna’s horse began to tire and her own legs ached from the rough ride. Soon she would have to stop and face the men head on. If she fell to this pack of fools the embarrassment would hurt more than anything Coraise had in mind for her. Worse still, Ryu would be taken and all would be lost for his kind. But the little dragon decided his own fate.
As the Righteous Wardens inched closer to Rayna, one of them reached out and caught her cloak. He yanked it free from her shoulders to reveal Ryu in his papoose at her back. At first, the mercenary gasped in delight. Then his joy turned to screams of terror.
From her vantage point, Rayna couldn’t see the encounter but she knew what happened to the man. The warmth across her shoulders and the chaos of scared, stumbling horses told the tale.
Feeling threatened, Ryu reacted to the mercenary’s advances. He levied his first dragon flame directly into the man’s face and continued spitting fireballs at the rest of the pack. His attacks weren’t the engulfing spread of fire that grown dragons held. But he’d grown enough in such a short time that his flame still did damage one didn’t walk away from.
With Ryu defending their back, it gave Rayna a chance to break away from the pack. She put enough distance between herself and the Righteous Wardens to make her feel at ease. Still, she kept a steady pace until she knew she had lost them.
On the crest of a hill in the distance stood Coraise. The sun was at his back silhouetting his tall frame as he watched on. Rayna kept her eyes on him to prepare for his advance. But he would not engage the fight this day. He pointed the tip of his sword towards her to signify they’d meet again, then turned the other way.
Someone the likes of Coraise Kennethgorian wouldn’t stop coming after her until one of them was dead. To him it was a sport to hunt down the once mighty dragonslayer. For Rayna, it was life or death not only for her but Ryu as well.
Rayna the Dragon Warrior
A Time of Dragons II
Copyright © 2023 Cynthia Vespia