Lies of Wolves by Rachael Ashdown

wolves75x99Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Karyna was on her way to her wedding when Freydis revealed her plan, leading Karyna to fight back, taking up arms against the witch. But before either could act, Hallvardr the Ravager, a fierce fire drake, unleashed his fury upon Birkholm. As the readers suggested, Karyna will fight the dragon herself to save the innocent islanders.

Episode 18

Smoke and steam seeped over the smoldering village, bright flames licking the wooden beams, the heavy rains hissing as they disappeared in the raging heat. Karyna stared, rooted to the spot as an enormous, hulking beast rose through the haze, the shadowy form releasing another stream of flames that quickly ate through the damp wood and turned the thatching to ash. The screams and shouts from the panicked Vikings racing by were lost in the crash of timbers as the great dragon slammed its tail into a watchtower, turning it into splinters.

Never before had these people seen such a horrid monster. Imrich, drawn out of his hall by the sounds of chaos, was trying in vain to rally his soldiers to his side. Even Freydis, the most powerful among them, could do little else but watch in terror as the fire drake appeared out of the mists in all his glory, a giant scaly black demon with leathery wings larger than sails and jaws that could devour a horse in seconds. Villagers fled to the hills, their ships destroyed in the blaze, soldiers and civilians alike all running from the inferno.

Hallvardr the Ravager stood upon his rear legs, his wings spread and his teeth gleaming as he let out a booming laugh, the sound causing the earth to tremble and the flames to dance higher. His glassy yellow eyes scanned the village, a sneer appearing across his maw as they fell upon Imrich, standing alone with his sword brandished, abandoned by his men.

“Is this all that Birkholm has to offer?” the thundering voice taunted. “Where is the great Wolf Slayer, the hero of legend? Too afraid is he to face me himself? I should have known the coward would hide from me. He could not even face the wolf himself. Let his heart tremble before Hallvardr the Ravager, Bane of the House of Finnr, greatest of the fire drakes! And what of your witch? Does she flee from my greatness as well? Her magic is useless against me!”

“There is no witch here,” Imrich snarled back. “I rule this island, and I will slay you myself!”

“Do not lie to me,” Hallvardr hissed. “I know she is here, and I will feast on her flesh before this day is through. Where are you, little witch? Come; try your magic on me.”

But Freydis did nothing. At the great dragon’s words, she fled, her cloak flying behind her as she disappeared into the hills, her magic giving her great speed. Her flight made Hallvardr laugh once more, a great crack appearing in the earth as he slammed his forefeet on the ground.

“You rule a village of cowards,” the dragon said, amused. “But soon it will not matter. Soon I will feast on you and your people. They cannot hide from me.”

Enraged, Imrich charged at the great beast, his sword held high as he rushed to strike the scaly hide. But long before he reached Hallvardr, the dragon’s tail whipped out and struck him in the chest, sending him hurtling into a wall, the frame cracking and his form crumbling as his body moved no more. Karyna watched the great serpent approaching the chief’s stricken form, the great jaws opening to unleash another blast of fire upon the helpless man. Recklessly, she threw down the sword in her left hand as she ran towards Imrich, picking up his lost shield and throwing herself between him and the dragon.

Fire burst around her as she held the shield to the sky, the sweltering heat causing the water in her clothes to turn to steam, surrounding her and Imrich in a hot mist. But as the flames subsided, both she and Imrich were still whole. Rising with her sword at her side and the shield on her arm, she boldly stood before the dragon, her dress singed and a stony glare upon her face. She was a warrior, and she would not let this dragon slay the innocents of this village. If she was to die, it would be a warrior’s death. She had nothing left to lose. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

One response

  1. Hey, it’s me Raider-k from FF! I came over here to read your original story and loved it! I especially enjoyed how you incorporated all the Norse mythology! Your Karyna character is very gutsy and determined, and I like the idea that you gave her the scars to prove it. Her courageous attitude reminds me of Ygritte from Game of Thrones. What’s going to become of Karyna?! And I sort of wish she could have a genuine love interest in the story, one who would appreciate her toughness and the beauty within–not that she needs a man, really, but it would be nice. You know I’m a sucker for Romance!

    This is a cool site! I like their idea of voting on the chapters and I might even go check out some of the other stories too!

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