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The Dragonwood: The Rangers Book One

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There is a storm fast on the rise..... This storm, it is like no other, for it is a storm of gargantuan winged reptilian fire breathing beasts...... This storm, is a storm of gathering dragons, and only the most bold of hunters can slay them before they can attain their ultimate goal..... Enter The Rangers.....

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Prologue: The Wyrm's Wrath

Eyes flaming raged in ingots of smoldering cinders. Serrated teeth dripped with the gore and the blood of fresh kill.....

The Wyrm of a Drakken beast glared long upon the mortals that slowly invaded upon its territory. Eyes seeing through the smog by means of insight of mystical flame.

Small electro-sensory pores within the ancient dragon's snout detecting their unwanted and unannounced presence immediately.

One among the three hunters, was that of another's brood; that now stalked on the limbs of a man.

Biting clean through the silenced steer's neck, the ancient dragon tossed the head aside and proceeded to slowly feast on the meat.

Teeth ripping and shredding at the steer's coat and flesh. Sharpened molars chewing and biting again and again, allowing multiple rows of jagged edged teeth to tenderize the meat.

Salivary glands dripped of salt and of risen stomach acids that dissolve the grizzle making the feast all the easier for the beast to chew.

The Wyrm ate of the steer from its neck to its rump, and let the hind legs and the rump lay where it falls.

Turning slowly from it day's feasting to its pool of flowing waters from the natural spring that continually fills its needs, the ancient dragon drank. Its maw being cleaned, and the water washing down the meat.

The mountain shook violently as the ancient dragon roared. These mortals, they have now found and slain its mate.

Duran climbed slowly upon the back of the stilled Drake. Blood dripped from its eyes and mouth. Gore spilled out from its chest and stomach.

"..... Congratulations slayer Duran..... You have slain a bitch..... The bastard, it will not be far along....." Spoke the aging seer charged with task of guiding the slayers to the dragon's lair wryly.

"..... One dragon, is just as good dead as another....." Smarted the youngest of the three slayers bluntly as the Brood-kin now knelt low to feel the pulsating reality in revelation to be found within the fem dragon's womb.

"..... The Drake, she is with brood..... This one, Duran; slaying of her has been outlawed by The Rangers of Sharr..... She has been marked to be protected until passed time of her brood's delivery."

Duran waved the Brood-kin's words fast away.

"Bah! Expected words from a runt of a bastard fool born."

Chalandra, the leader of the hunters looked closely on the dragon's mark. Her eyes seeing and instantly recognizing the mystical sigil of rendering.

The Woman of the Woods now glared angrily upon the man.

"Fool! Beirhan is correct..... This bitch bears marking of Eris, The Queen of the Wood..... You should have followed my directions!"

The ground began to shake. The impact tremors from the walking of a beast greater than that of the fem dragon slain now caught the hunters off their guard.

The seer looked to the west, his eyes moving quickly through the trees to center on the beast now fast approaching.

"..... The Wyrm..... It knows you have killed its mate."

The Brood-kin, part man part dragon; sneered visibly, sharpened molars bared. His mouth slowly closing with the eruption of a low growl, a customary signal that one of the three has angered him more than they should.

The frills upon the back of his neck rose from one to the next in tips ending at pointed spines of bone. Steaming breath of smoke bellowed from the two nostrils of his dragon like reptilian snout.

Chalandra immediately dismounted from her steed. The woman slammed her staff into the soil beneath their feet and began to trace a circle around the three.

Reaching for a pouch attached to the right side of her belt, the woman pulled loose a small vial of thickened greenish-yellow liquid.

Chalandra shouted commands fast to her two partners as the seer made a hasted exit from the dragon's territory. The woman tracing the dirt drawn ring with holy oil from the uncorked vial.

"Beirhan? Sigils of protection, fast! Duran? Protect the dragon's eggs!"

Duran crossed his arms in immediate discontent. The man scowled silently on the woman.

Chlandra's eyes flared with thunder. The woman pointed her right index finger directly at the man.

"Do it Duran! Or I will smite you where you stand!"

Grumbling beneath his breath, the young man age in years of his early twenties scratched the scruff of his unkempt beard. His average build smaller in appearance even to the woman, the boy of a man could do nothing more but do as she commanded. She was accredited as being the leader of the hunt after all.

Pulling loose his sword from its sheath Duran cut a slash into his left hand and quickly drew a half circle in the soil before him, as he positioned himself before the slain Drake's womb.

Dripping the blood from the cut in his hand into the Line of Drawing, the hunter marked his forehead with a blood drawn cross and two sigils upon the back of each of his hands; as he stood ready fro the dragon's attack.

The sigil runes of protection began to seer into the man's flesh.

Her long greenish-white hair flowing behind her, Chalandra knelt fast down before the shadow of the towering dragon, the woman mumbled a silent prayer to The Queen of the Wood.

Chalandra's eyes were now as ingots of blue and white flame. The aura radiance of her casting flowed from her eyes slowly down the side of her face to trace her shoulders and arms.

The ring of holy oil ignited, as the aura of radiance reached her finger tips that were touching the oil within the drawn circle of protecting.

Chalandra's thoughts were now being invaded by those of The Wyrms' own.

(Woman of the Wood....... Of your companions I spare this day..... Of my brood, I alone will slay..... Leave my territory and never return..... Your people will one day feel my wrath in rages over the innocence you have slain.)

The dragon roared as it took to the sky. Its mighty wings unable to extinguish the protecting ring of holy flame.

Visions came quickly to her thoughts. One tear dripped slowly from her right eye. Beirhan was quick to her side.

"Chal? What is it?"

"..... My village of Antion..... I have seen its destruction for my interference in rite of the dragon's wrath."

The Brood-kin drew fast his crescent sickle like blade from its sheath and turned to confront Duran. The human was gone.

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