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Dungeon Raiders

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Olivia faces dragons, crazy wizards, giant spiders, and bloodthirsty demons, but nothing as terrifying as bringing home newborn twins.
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Description

We never know why evil comes to call, but sometimes answers aren’t that important…

Practice is over. Dungeon Raiders goes live, and the contestants take the field. They are the chosen ones, living out every gamer’s secret fantasy—until the danger becomes real. The foes in front of the camera aren’t half as dangerous as the ones behind the scenes. Beyond the fantasy competition, real monsters, the Human kind, await their time to strike.

An off-world wizard thinks to make Olivia his pawn. Competing players scheme to steal Frank’s heart from her, and a disgruntled saboteur’s attacks endanger the lives of all the cast members. It’s not Olivia’s fault that craziness and mayhem follow in her wake; a trouble magnet draws them in like fog-bound ships to sirens. But Olivia’s enemies will learn the hard way what she’ll do to protect her family. She doesn’t play Chess; she plays War, and when she raid kicks, she means it.

Playing adventurer is all fun and games until someone loses their head.

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Title Dungeon Raiders
Author Noelle Alladania Meade
Series Crucible of Change
Genre Urban Fantasy
Release 2018
Designer Eerilyfair Design
Length 311 pages
ISBN 978-1-77127-986-4
Price $5.99
Tags magic, fantasy, contemporary fantasy, elves, urban fantasy, murder, alternative reality, parallel universe, online games, role-playing games, trolls, bisexual, polygamy, wizards, magic, reality television

Excerpt

For the first time, I saw the inside of the tavern set. The interior looked a lot like the place in Londunium, except it was much more open and there was no eye-watering stench to contend with. A few groups of people sat at tables scattered around the room. Tink and Boris were armored up and sitting at one of the tables. Vella and Krog, one of the other Orc men, were at another table nearby.

Lorena was there, talking with the ‘barmaids’ and giving them directions. She came over when she saw me. “Olivia, you look lovely,” she said. “Mainly we want your honest response to how they’re doing as you watch. Remember to use stage names only. Frank is Vol’nu unless you come up with some other nickname for him. Remember, stay in character. And have fun. We’ll be getting started any minute, so if you need to use the restroom, now is a good time.”

It was good advice. It’s not like I didn’t always have to go these days. When I got back, there was a tankard of cold water at my spot. A small platter of vaguely medieval looking snacks was in the center of the table.

At one, heavy brocade curtains swung open to reveal a large screen across from where we sat. It was split into two sides. Ghost Raptors were on the right and Iron Destroyers on the left. They all looked amazing in their armor and gear. I pulled out my sketchbook to capture the image. They’d never have another first run.

A heavy portcullis rose to reveal an octagon shaped chamber. There was another gate at the far end of the room. Three archways were open on each side of the room, but between the teams and the open archways were two groups of patrolling foes. They were big and looked like armored ogres. It was obvious the teams would have to get past the guards before they could enter those side rooms, and I’d bet anything the gate was locked to keep them from just running through.

I watched as the groups patrolled. They were moving in opposite directions, and they weren’t exactly in sync with each other, but there was a moment when one group was at the nearest point to the entrance while the other group was at the farthest. I was holding my breath waiting for Frank to give the command to pull. Finally, Frank gave the signal. Otok charged, bellowing and brandishing his giant two-headed axe.

My heart skipped a beat when the two groups met. I knew it wasn’t real, but it looked alarmingly real. My adrenaline surged and I wanted to charge in there and help. Tink and Boris appeared to be having the same reaction. “Come on Ariadne,” I muttered. “Get ‘em while they’re still in a tight group.” I wanted to scream. She stood there, paralyzed. Otok ducked a sword blow, still swinging his axe.

Frank yelled, “Now!” Otok sidestepped as Ariadne shot a flurry of glowing pink balls of light at Otok’s foe. It hit, covering the ogre’s chest with pink goo. Unfortunately, it hit so hard that the goo splashed over Otok. Ariadne looked horrified as both the ogre and Otok went down.

Nighthawk peppered the others with arrows. One glanced off the shoulder of the ogre in front, leaving a smear of red. The next shot flew wide and disappeared into one of the archways. The last shot was a solid hit, center mass. The ogre dropped, theatrically clutching his chest.

Frank’s first shot flew wide and skittered harmlessly across the floor. His next shot barely tagged Nighthawk’s ogre on the shoulder, and his last shot caught the same ogre in the knee.

Yuri slipped around the edge of the room in the shadows. She got behind the wounded ogre, nailing him solidly in the back. He went down, bellowing in outrage.

The remaining ogre, still untouched, charged directly at Frank. His sword connected with a solid thunk. I didn’t think Frank was faking the pained gasp he gave as he went down. I was on my feet, lunging toward the screen, when Boris grabbed me, pulling me back into my seat.

Ariadne glared at the last ogre on this side. “Die you bastard!” she screamed. The glowing lights slammed into the side of his head, spraying him with goo. If she hadn’t dropped him, he would have been blinded.

Nighthawk opened a small bag at his waist and pulled out two glowing red vials. He handed one to Ariadne. She took Otok’s head into her lap and poured the contents into his mouth. ‘I’m so sorry, love. I didn’t mean to hit you,” she said. The pink splash disappeared from Otok as he sat up.

Nighthawk poured the other vial into Frank’s mouth. He sat up, too slowly to my eyes, but the red mark disappeared from his side. I was crying. It was obvious he was in pain. And they still had the other group to deal with.

Vella laughed. “So much for the amazing Ghost Raptors,” she said. “Our team took out the first group without a mark on them.”

I lurched to my feet. “Don’t you dare laugh that Frank was hurt! Don’t forget, I’m a mage too.”

Krog touched Vella on the shoulder. “Chief says there’s no honor in taunting an enemy when they’re down.”

The Iron Destroyers were already working on the second group while the Ghost Raptors took a minute to strategize. This time the Destroyers weren’t so lucky. Torvak, the other Orc, and Sabre were both down when the fighting ended.

This time Ariadne cast while the ogres were at maximum range and there was no danger of hitting her team with friendly fire. I knew this was her last spell, so she’d better make it count. The lights flew from her hands and struck one ogre solidly, while spraying the one next to him.

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