Knight Heirrant: Prologue

by wfgodbold

Below the jump, I have put the first draft of the rewrite of the prologue of my first novel, tentatively titled Knight Heirrant. As I continue rewriting, I will continue posting updates, probably a chapter or so at a time. Feedback is welcome. Enjoy!

Knight Heirrant

W.F. Godbold

Prologue

Stars.

Nothing quite drives home the insignificance of man like lying back, resting your head on a nice, soft rock, and looking up at the starry ceiling does.

Wait.

Rock?

Ceiling?

STARS?

“Shit,” I muttered as I rolled to my left as fast as I could. I was almost too slow; a blast of flame splashed against the rocks that had knocked me senseless. I scrambled back to my feet and snatched up my gladius from where it had landed.

Floodlights cast eerie shadows across the cavern; I swallowed nervously and blinked away the last of the stars from my vision. “I didn’t expect you to be this … large,” I finally said, staring into the inky darkness that shrouded the far side of the cavern. ‘Damn it,’ I thought to myself. ‘I shouldn’t have left my shield behind.’

I sighed and switched my short sword to my left hand, freeing my right hand to draw my pistol from its shoulder holster under my matte black motorcycle jacket. I brought it up and squeezed off two quick shots as I backed towards the cave entrance.

The report wasn’t as loud as it should have been; enough adrenaline in your system can mute just about anything. I was rewarded with flying sparks and a surprised roar.

The roar was far louder than my gunshots had been, and the echo rumbled in my chest. The air was still humming when a large shadow separated from the rest of the darkness and began to move towards me.

My breath caught in my throat; I tried calming down, using the exercises Gramps taught me when I was growing up, but they didn’t seem to be working. The shadow slowly defined itself as it moved closer to the floodlights, until finally I could make out the full size and shape of what I’d gotten myself involved with.

I’ve seen smaller RVs.

Hell, right now I’d rather face an oncoming RV with just a sword; they don’t have a glossy black armor-plated hide, or claws the length of my forearm, or giant, taloned, bat-like wings, or a huge, horned, wedge-shaped head full of jagged teeth, a forked tongue, and flickering flames. An RV can’t stare at me with glowing, ember-like eyes the size of a man’s head.

I swallowed and fired another shot. Sparks flew again, this time from the creature’s shoulder, where the bullet glanced off. It didn’t mar the monster’s hide at all.

Those big eyes narrowed and the dragon took another step closer, more smoke curling from its mouth. It bared its teeth briefly, and then let loose with a gout of flame.

I dove to my right and rolled closer to the entrance before springing back to my feet. I could smell burnt hair, but my motorcycle gear protected me from the brunt of the blast. ‘Next time,’ I thought, ‘Bring the damn shield and the helmet, no matter how dark it is.’ I moved to leave the cavern, but froze when I felt something inside my head.

Impressive, son of man, the mental voice said, booming inside my skull. I dropped my gladius and my Glock 17C and grabbed the sides of my head, my face a rictus of pain. I have not encountered one brave enough to stand against me since I left the Old World.

The dragon snaked its sinuous neck back towards the corner of the cave it had just left, and then returned to the lit area and gazed at me once more. What was left of Cole hung from its mouth, swaying lifelessly. If you wish to die, the dragon’s mental voice echoed, then by all means, follow. Gersus has never fallen in battle.

I gritted my teeth, and deliberately bent down to retrieve my weapons. I returned the Glock to its shoulder holster, and slid the gladius into its sheath, then squared my shoulders and took a deep breath.

With far more bravado than actually felt, I finally spoke. “That may be, Gersus,” I said, “But everything ends. The time has come for yours!”

What is your name, son of man? Gersus’s voice echoed loudly in my head once more. I winced. I remember all who have stood against me.

I met the dragon’s burning gaze and said, “My name is George Santos, dragon. Remember it while you can, because I don’t plan on dying.”

Gersus roared, though this time it was muffled by the body in its maw. The dragon’s powerful legs propelled it upwards, and the ceiling gave way, collapsing around the dragon and filling the cavern with rubble as he surged upwards, blotting out the stars in the night sky. With each beat of its wings, Gersus pulled further away. Follow me, then, young George Santos, the dragon’s voice grew fainter in my head. Follow me to your doom!

I sighed. “‘Follow me to your doom?’ Seriously?” I kicked one of the rocks that now filled the cave, and watched the sky carefully. It looked like Gersus had headed south. I turned and made my way back through the passageway to get out of the small cave system and back to my bike.

Some days it doesn’t pay to open for business.

Like I told Gersus; my name is George Santos.

I’m an exterminator.

Top Chapter One

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