This is the first draft of a brand new work.
‘Are we hunting or not?’ Narg poked his friend with a thick green finger. ‘It is time to begin the taunt, the moment can be lost before we engage.’ Barramon angled his head, smiled and ran the whetstone along his blade twice more. ‘If a weapon could have children you would never have taken a wife.’
‘We are ready.’ Barramon raised the sword to his pursed lips. ‘Are you coming, or do you still have rituals to perform.’
‘The rite of the hunt is important. It focuses a warrior’s mind on the foe.’ Narg rolled his shoulders.
Barramon sprang to his feet and bound into the thicket, over gnarled roots and torn stumps sword drawn. The hunt was on.
‘The sight of a dandril will focus my mind in an instant.’ Narg huffed as Barramon drew ahead.
‘If you are such a born warrior why do I always have to wait for you?’ Barramon cut through the bracken with an upward arc his body carried through by the momentum. Narg clumped along behind.
‘We are closing, these talon marks are wet with sap.’ Narg smacked the scarred tree with his sword. Thorns snagged his clothing but drew no blood or marked his skin. He chased on brushing the nuisance from his legs. ‘You tire so soon?’ Narg matched his stride to Barramon’s slowed pace.
‘Hush you oaf!’ Barramon placed his hand over Narg’s mouth, his pale hand matching the protruding tusks. ‘There.’ They hunkered down. ‘Only scales, remember?’ Barramon lifted an eyebrow at his companion.
‘Of course.’ Narg’s hand fell upon Barramon’s shoulders pressing the smaller man toward the ground. ‘Scales.’
‘Scales.’ Narg’s cheeks flushed toning his green skin brown. The words echoed between his ears, where blood raged.
The beast was young, vibrant green whose yellow underbelly pressed down on the scrub. Too young for fire, weened, perfect for scales.
‘Narg!’ Barramon scolded the space where his friend had been. He shook his head, smiling.
Narg’s crushed stick into the earth under his bare feet as he pounded across the clearing to challenge the dandril. He bellowed and beat his broad chest his huge fists thudded against his toughened leather jerkin. The dandril raised its head, licked the blood and sinew from its lips, and with a snort renewed its interest in its kill. Narg roared again, his lungs burned with rage until he was hoarse.
The dragon coughed a bone to the ground. Spittle drooled from those long bloodied fangs. A black tongue licked the air between them. Narg spat back, leaping high landed with a thunderous clap. He tore up clods of earth throwing them at the beast, some hit their target. The dragon growled clawing at the blood-wet soil. Narg held his ground, he would not be deterred by a stamped foot.
‘Come to me!’ Narg slipped his sword from its scabbard holding toward his prey.
A low grumble rose into a huffed gout of hot breath as the dragon began its charge.
‘Idiot!’ Barramon called from the sanctuary of his hide.
Narg heart thumped to the beat of his feet. The dragon raised its head and roared. Veins swelled around Narg’s neck and down the might of his arms reddening his flesh, his rage drove him forth. The two warring titans shook the earth around them.
A web of saliva glistened among the dragon’s teeth, its maw spread wide. The space between them hung with the fetid stench of the dragon’s meal. Narg clenched his blade, the haft heavy in his hand. At the moment when a dragon rolls its eyes and only the white remains, Narg stepped aside and pummelled the pommel of his sword into the eye. The dandril squealed clawing at its face where the blood ran in thick a sanguine stream.
‘Narg! No!’ Barramon’s blade clanged against the orc’s causing his friend to stumble. The strike, a mere distraction. Distracting enough to give the beast a second chance.
The dragon lurched around, swinging its horned head up. The blow lifted Narg from his feet. The dragon swung again, those teeth clashed as they snapped and bit at the air. Narg rolled aside to escape an enquiring claw. The beast reared – a great scaled bear.
‘Scales.’ Barramon cried. ‘Scales.’ The dandril crashed to the ground in a billow of smoke.
‘It has smoke!’ Narg groaned, deflecting the claw from his face.
‘So I see.’ Barramon clambered up its back working his knife under the horned ridge along its spine. Another scream, and in the distance a splinter of trees. All three fighters fell silent. The sky filled with startled birds and leaping wyverns. A tremor rattled the leaf litter.
The dragon was the first to react.
The beast bellowed dragon spit over Narg, and rand across him. Blood oozed from the back of Narg’s skull. Reaching behind his head he pulled out a bloody rock and threw it at the fleeing dragon. Barramon, dove after the dandril slashing his blade across its rear leg. The creature limped away into the woods.
‘Come on, you oaf.’ Barramon pinned himself against a tree. ‘Hold.’ He waved a hand at the orc.
Gold scales glittered in the sun shafts probing the blood trail. Smaller than the dandril pup the wyvern was no less a foe. Quicker and full-grown both men would have to be at best to win. Splintering trees scattered them all. The wyvern threw itself forward on its folded wings using its tail to launch itself into the air and escape the coming threat.
Shattered trees fell from the sky littering the clearing. Barramon thrust out a hand half-dragging Narg his feet. They ran without looking back.
The hobbled dandril struggled to escape, knowing what approached. A three-fingered hand wrapped around its trampling body lifting clear of the forest. The dragon squealed and was no more.