As Wynter’s love for Arianna grows, so does the danger they both are in. While learning about the mysterious Dragon Pendant, he uncovers the relic known as the Dragon Mask, which is tied to the pendant and the sword Dragon’s Bane, that he carries. In the belief that it will help him understand how he is linked to these items as well as his past that he carries, Wynter and Arianna are swept up in a mysterious Dragon Cult. Their travels take them to the Kraag Mountains that hold the Dragon Mask.
On the way to retrieve the mask, Wynter’s love for Arianna and his sanity are challenged as he must face the great serpent the Hydrus, suffer terrifying visions of the future, and finally face the dark elven wizard Szordrin in a fight that will force Wynter to embrace his magic in ways he never has before. The only thing he knows for sure is that his love for the elven priestess Arianna will keep him from giving up, and keep the world and the gods from falling into darkness forever.
“Wynter, watch your back!”
A cry from Arianna let me know if I didn’t do something quick, I would end up being run through. Turning around with a grace and speed only those of elven blood had, I deflected the attack with my sword. The clash of metal rang in the air as they struck. I winced. No matter how many fights I was in, the sound of a blade against another still hurt my ears. The noise hurt down to my soul. I detested killing another being. Blaming my elven side would be easy, but many humans hated to kill. As a half-elf, my battles weren’t always visible, but deep within the core of my being. Such was life.
“Thank you, my love!” I shouted as I ran my blade across my assailant’s stomach.
If there was ever a gruesome sight, when the innards of a man spilled out after being sliced open by a sword was high up there. I hoped Arianna didn’t see the carnage. I glanced over to see her in combat herself. She swung her mace with the skill of a warrior, such as those who tried to harm her. No matter how much I tried not to worry for her, I couldn’t help but brood. I had to admit her skill in combat as a priestess of The Keeper was top-notch. Arianna held her own well with these ruffians.
“Wynter, this wasn’t the voyage I asked for,” she said, her back against mine.
“I admit boarding the ship is difficult, but once we’re out on the open sea, we can watch the sun set upon the ocean as I hold you in my arms,” I replied.
“Difficult? Who are these men? What did you do to piss so many people off?” she asked.
“Not sure. My ability to anger others is a gift,” I said with my sword raised.
I wondered who I’d made angry. I’d spent my whole time in the Library of Janas studying text after text about the Dragon Pendant. Scribes came and went, but I never thought to believe one of them could’ve spied on me. I’d made sure no one followed me back to the inn. Risking my life was one thing, but Arianna’s life meant too much for me to put in obvious danger. Her being with me raised the stakes. No matter how much I’d pleaded with her to stay at the temple till my journey ended, she’d insisted on coming. She had a steadfastness I found hard to resist. I’d admit to being a little selfish in wanting her to come with me. Being apart from her hurt and she always kept me centered.
“I’ll cut your throat, half-breed,” said a ruffian with half his teeth missing. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the lass. I can warm her elven blood.”
“Over my dead body, scum bag,” I replied, swinging my blade. With the quick strike, I watched his head separate from his body as it fell to the ground with a thud.
I became separated from Arianna. Turning, I watched as a city ruffian ran toward her with his sword high only to meet the end of her spiked mace with his face. I smiled. One of the many things I learned growing up was underestimating an elf, lead to disaster. All elves trained in combat, including elven women. Elves prepared themselves in those few instances they went to war. Arianna, a priestess of The Keeper, wasn’t an exception. I admired everything about her.
A shout from my left brought me out of my reverie. I needed to stay focused. These ruffians were coming out of nowhere.
Our swords met. The man was strong and muscled. I didn’t have anywhere near as much muscle as him. He reeked of body odor and refuse. Whatever gutter he’d crawled out of, sending him back to the sewer would prove easy. I kicked out and connected with his knee. There was a sharp, audible crack. The man’s face contorted in pain and the pressure on our blades subsided as his busted knee distracted the man. I drew a dagger and struck out with all the speed I could muster. The blade dug deep into the man’s upper ribcage and his blood poured over my wrists. With a glance, the light in the ruffian’s eyes faded. I stepped back as the man dropped to his knees, my dagger still in his chest. I had found and pierced his heart with my dagger. He died, still on his knees. I shook my head. This was getting old.
“Wynter, help me!” Arianna shouted.
I looked up to see her surrounded by five men. She swung her mace in an arc to keep them at bay, but it was only a matter of time before she grew tired and they took a chance. This left me only one prospect to take them all out at once. Killing them was a likelihood I had full confidence in. As a warrior, my skill with the blade made me a force to be reckoned with. My skill with magic made me even stronger. I had a special connection other users of the art didn’t have. With this connection, few weapons could compare to my skill.
I reached deep within myself and stroked the sparks of magic within my soul. The fire came alive at my touch and poured through my body. Warmth spread throughout me as the ancient dialect of magic formed the words needed to cast the spell. I stretched my free hand out at the men surrounding Arianna. There was fear in her eyes. I will save you, Arianna, I thought. The magic burned and begged for release as the arcane energy pushed against my inner being.
“Ignis globos,” I chanted.