by Bryan Fields
Book 3 in The Dragonbound Chronicles
|Book 1||Book 2|
Genre Urban Fantasy
Tags Dragons, magic, zombies, urban fantasy, Las Vegas, gaming, online gaming, pagan, sword-fighting, Drow, Dark Elves, humor, role-playing games,
Release July 22, 2014
Editor Christine I. Speakman
Line Editor Nancy Canu
Cover Desgner Celairen
Las Vegas. City of sin, neon, and epic bad decisions. David Fraser and his fiancée, the Dragoness Rose Drake, are in Vegas for the BuzzCon gaming convention, seeking an investor for the online game they are developing. It’s a long shot, but even in Las Vegas, long shots occasionally pay off.
The warrior god Crom has other plans. A centuries-old religious war between the Dark Elves of a distant world threatens to spill over onto Earth. Crom’s followers need an artifact capable of killing the demoness known as the Bloodmaiden before she can become a full-fledged goddess and establish her worship on Earth. It’s a quest worthy of a Hero. A Hero like…David.
To succeed, David will need all the strength, resourcefulness, and luck he can muster. Fortunately, he has Rose to call on, and she has a way of making her own luck. Anyone who tries to stop them will find out what happens when the dice come up Dragons, the hard way.
With our canopy open, Nadia twisted the handle on top of the grenade, counted to three, and yelled “Cover your eyes!” She popped up long enough to throw it in front of the group on our left. It bounced wide and the charging Hellsteeds raced past it.
For an instant, a fifty-foot circle in the Arizona desert was brighter than the sun. The blast wave knocked one car off the road and sent us lurching to one side. The Dark Elves to our right were slammed to the side, all but two unhorsed and knocked to the ground. The ones to our left never emerged from the fireball. When the light faded, nothing was left but a cooling pool of molten glass.
The two still riding split up, putting plenty of distance between themselves. One threw a cloud of Darkness at us, but it was fixed in position. The car punched through it and was out of the area in moments.
The second guy was more devious. Whipping and kicking his Hellsteed hard enough to tear off dead flesh, the rider pulled ahead and let an arrow fly at the front tire. It hit dirt and exploded, leaving a good-sized pothole.
As he nocked again, Rose fired off three rounds from the gold Desert Eagle she’d claimed. One round struck him in the chest, the other two hit the Hellsteed’s shoulder. I couldn’t be sure, but I think all three rounds bounced off him and the horse. He grinned and loosed another arrow, blowing another hole in the desert.
“You need enchanted bullets!” Eric called out. “Give me the gun!” While he focused on it, Nadia peeked over the rear window and nailed the guy who’d thrown the Darkness spell. Her spell looked and sounded just like a blaster pistol out of a space opera. I guess she had better training than the average clone soldier, since the bolt ripped his chest open, sending his arms and head in several different directions. With its rider gone, the Hellsteed vanished.
“Nice! What was that? I don’t think I’ve seen it before.” Eric passed the pistol back to Rose. “There. Aim for the head.”
Nadia blew on her finger, pretending it was the barrel of a gun. “Mother calls it Zapper. It’s an upgrade of the basic Unerring Bolt.”
An explosion shook the car, shattering the canopy and sending bits of glass flying through the air. Thankfully, the spell reinforcing the back window held. Most of the glass scattered to the side or fell behind the car.
“Get a library, you two!” Rose leaned out and squeezed off three quick shots. A Dark Elf dropped to the ground, bouncing to a stop as his Hellsteed vanished.
Nadia took a quick look over the back seat. “Four playing catch-up, two on each side of the road,” she called out. She glanced sideways at Eric and tilted her head toward the oncoming riders. “Your turn!”
As she said that, a zone of Darkness appeared ahead of one of the riders. He entered it and a second one appeared ahead of us. I tried to dodge it, but it was too close. The lights only went out for a moment, but it was enough.
The first rider teleported through the pools of Darkness, appearing crouched on the trunk. He ignored Nadia and Eric, vaulting over the rear window and grabbing the back of my seat. He raised his sword to stab me, and Nadia kicked him in the back of his knee. He fell backward on top of her.
Nadia grabbed for the guy’s sword arm. He pulled away and elbowed her in the stomach. Eric tried to pull the guy off Nadia and got a face full of Elf boot. Rose tried to aim at the Dark Elf, but couldn’t get a clear shot.
Another arrow hit the rear window, blowing holes in the glass, shaking the car, and sending the trunk lid skidding and bouncing into the dirt. Eric wasn’t hurt, but the concussion knocked him to the floor. Rose switched targets and Bow Guy quite lost his head.
Nadia seized a handful of Elf hair and yanked the guy’s head backward. She bit hard, trying to tear his throat open. Good plan, but he was already dead. He reversed his sword and drove the blade through his own heart and Nadia’s.
Eric’s roar was pure Dragon, shattering the windshield and both of my eardrums. My sense of balance went to hell, leaving me ready to puke as the world spun around me. I slumped against the door, totally forgetting about things like driving.
Rose grabbed the wheel and stomped on the brakes, sending us bouncing and skidding off the road. The soft dirt slowed us down and Rose managed to get us stopped without rolling the car. She touched the side of my head long enough to heal me, but I was still too dizzy to stand.
As we came to a stop, Eric pulled the Dark Elf’s sword free and threw it at one of the remaining two riders. It went wide, but they dropped back. He got a good grip on the Dark Elf and hurled the corpse at the pursuing riders. They dodged it, but came to a stop as well.
Nadia’s body jerked, sending a stream of blood into Eric’s face. Eric ripped his shirt in half, trying to keep pressure on both sides of the wound. “She needs a healer!”
Rose vaulted into the back seat. “Two closing fast. Kill them while I’ll fix her!” She saw the doubt in Eric’s eyes and growled, “I’ve got her! Kill the rest, now!” She shoved Eric aside and cupped her hands over Nadia’s heart.
The last two riders spurred their steeds and charged. Eric stepped out of the car and stared at them, fists white-knuckled and shaking. They drew their swords and he gave them the finger.
Three rows of pikes, fifty feet across and tight as the teeth of a comb, shot out of the sand and dirt. Both riders and steeds crashed to a halt, each impaled a dozen times over.