Lies of Wolves by Rachael Ashdown

wolves75x99Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Karyna saved Imrich from Hallvardr, facing the dragon alone. As the readers suggested, Karyna will use words in an attempt to distract the fire drake before attacking him head-on.

Episode 19

Karyna’s eyes watered as smoke surrounded her, the great dragon hissing black soot from his nostrils as he stood to his full height, looking down at her in amusement.

“This is it? One woman against me, the greatest of the serpents of fire? You are brave, girl, but foolish. Your sword cannot pierce my hide. My fire will melt your shield.”

“I am Karyna, the Bloody Rose of Draget. I am betrothed to the cowardly liar, Garik son of Imrich, false slayer of Eyulf, brother of the witch Freydis. I hate him and this island more than you ever will, Hallvardr, Bane of the House of Finnr, plague upon the world of men. But I will not let you slay the innocents, victims of the wicked plots hatched by their cruel leaders. The House of Imrich is a poison on this land, and none will mourn their passing. But I implore you, great fire drake, leave their people in peace. With the lies and treachery revealed, the House of Imrich will no longer be a threat to you or your kin.”

“You think they are a threat to me?” Hallvardr said with another booming laugh. “These people are all but sport, my play things to burn and devour. I care not for your local politics and petty problems, Bloody Rose. Loki himself freed me from my prison so I could satiate my appetite with the charred remains of these insignificant creatures. And you, with all your grandeur and pretty words, will not stop me from doing as I please. Your tender young flesh will be the first I will have tasted in a century.”

As the dragon opened his mouth to hurl fire at Karyna, she called out once more: “Do not slay me just yet, Ravager! You would be wise to hear my counsel before you destroy me.”

“Why should I listen to you, girl?” Hallvaradr snarled, his visage hidden amongst the smoke and steam, his cat-like eyes staring at Karyna. Unable to look away from those mesmerizing eyes, Karyna continued rallying all her strength for the imminent clash.

“There is more magic here than just that of the witch,” Karyna said, her voice harsh and raspy as she fought back a cough, still transfixed by the evil gaze. “Loki is not the sole god with a hand directing the fate of this island. Odin has given me his favor, and I have spoken with his servants, the Valkyrie Hildr and the elf Einar. The All-father is on my side, dragon, and you would do well to return to wherever you hail from before you are struck down. This is no ordinary blade. It is a blade of Valhalla. Steel alone may not strike you down, but what say you to magic born of Asgard? Does your heart tremble now, dragon?”

Angry sparks flew from the beast’s snout as he growled, baring his teeth in a furious rage. Karyna gripped her sword tighter to hide the trembling, hoping her deceptive taunts would unsettle the dragon long enough for her to launch the first strike. She could feel the evil hatred that consumed his soul now bearing down on her, testing her defenses. She had to move quickly.

“Tremble? I do not fear you or the gods of Asgard. They hide in their mighty temples and care nothing for your insignificant mortal lives. I tire of your arrogance, Bloody Rose of Draget. I shall rejoice as my fire brings you death!”

As he spat out these last words, Karyna took her shield and hurled it at the Ravager’s head, the serpent reeling back in surprise as she rushed towards his exposed chest, sword held high. But she was not quick enough, and as she brought her sword back to plunge it between the scales on his armored chest, one of his great claws slammed into her torso, knocking her backwards into the broken remains of a burning house. The claw closed upon her chest, squeezing the air from her lungs. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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