My Stories

I write adventures for those in search of a good story. My novels fall in the Fantasy genre, but many people consider them Sci-fi too. Each story is written with what I look for when I read a book: action, adventure, twists and turns, love, heroes, vicious enemies, fighting (weapons and hand to hand combat). I write because I want to share the stories that are inside of me. I hope you enjoy the adventures as much as I love writing them!

The Shadow Dragon

“You’re too slow!” Marty yelled, scowling at me before he turned to the rest of the team.  “And she was faster than the rest of you by a hundred yards!”  
All the guys groaned, and I could feel their eyes boring into me.  I glared at Marty, who ignored me.  He seemed to find great pleasure in turning the team against me, which wasn’t hard since they were irritated that I was more than capable of being the best.  
Marty didn’t care that I was better than any of the men in the area or that I could lead him to a triumphant year at the Tournament.  He was not happy I was female, he did not like that I was better than the others, he despised that I would not quit, he hated that I was here, and he was not afraid to remind me as often as possible.  
The world was changing from the old ways, but it did not mean that everyone was accepting the change.  The only reason Marty was allowing me to be here was because of his brother, Alex.  
Six months ago, Alex had brought me before Marty to ask him to train me.  Marty had argued vehemently with Alex, and I was certain that I was going back home.  The whole team and I watched as Alex and Marty walked away from us.  It didn’t take long for all the boys to start making derogatory comments about why I was there, but I wasn’t listening to them.  I was too busy trying to hear what Alex and Marty were saying to pay attention to them.  
I had already defied my father by coming here, and having to go home was unthinkable.  Unfortunately, it sounded like that was exactly what Marty was planning to do.  The argument was not too long, but long enough that we were all sure that I was headed back home.  However, Alex got his way in the end and here I am. 
When Alex and Marty interacted, I was never sure if Alex was the younger or older brother.  All I knew was Alex came across much wiser.  Alex and Marty looked the same age, but that was where the similarities ended.  
The best I could guess, Alex was about ten years older than me.  Alex had a powerful aura about him that most people found intimidating.  I thought this was ridiculous because Alex had a compassionate nature that set him apart from everyone else.  Especially Marty, who was closed-minded, mean, and hot-tempered.  
I didn’t know Marty as well as Alex, but I knew he was nothing like Alex.  Alex did not see the world in black and white like his brother.  In fact, when Alex talked I could see a rainbow of colors that opened my eyes to a world of possibilities.  Whereas Marty saw everything one way and if you dared to argue with him he would make you pay dearly.
I had no ties to Marty, nor did my father.  Before Alex left me here I had only seen Marty a few times during the Tournaments - at a distance.  This probably only added to the friction between Marty and I.  It was always a male swordsman from his team that won the Tournaments, and now there was me – a female swordsman, who was better than everyone else.  And to make it worse, his brother discovered my talent, not him.  
As much as I wished someone else could train me, Alex had entrusted me to Marty.  Therefore, I had to believe that Marty’s tactics were going to improve my abilities.  Although most days I was certain that Marty was trying to make me give up.
Alex, on the other hand, had befriended my father years ago.  We were on the verge of losing our land when he had ventured into our lives with perfect timing.  He not only talked Lord Vertas out of slaying my father in front of me and my sister, but he stayed with us to help my father work the land.  Within a year, my father had made his debts right.  
My father was so thankful he opened our house to Alex for the rest of his life.  He even offered my beautiful sister, Krissy, to him.  Alex politely refused, saying that it was not in his blood to be tied down.  For which Krissy was overwhelmingly grateful - for she was secretly seeing someone else.  I often wondered if Alex had known that.  He never seemed to miss anything.  
“Sonia!” Marty yelled in my ear, startling me.  “Since you think that you are so much better than everyone else here, why don’t you make a run through the Batwas Valley.”
I heard the laughs as I looked over at Marty in disbelief to see him smirking at me.  Marty wasn’t quite as tall as Alex, nor were his shoulders as broad, and his hair was red.  His brown eyes did not carry the same wisdom as Alex’s.  Marty’s eyes had a cruel look in them - a look that always put me on the defensive.  I squared my shoulders and met his stare, nodding confidently.
“Hold on,” he said slyly as I turned towards the valley.   “Leave the weapon, it is not yours.”
I didn’t look at him this time.  I quickly removed the sword that was sheathed on my back, and dropped it on the ground.  This time there wasn’t laughter, only silence.
“If you’re not back in four days, I will inform your father that you will not be competing,” he informed me.   
I bit my tongue and stared at the Batwas Valley.   One of these days…
“You might want to start running.  You’ll want to be well beyond the middle before it gets dark.”
I couldn’t miss the mocking tone in his voice.  He knew he was sending me to my death, but I was going to prove him wrong.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I was going to return in less than four days.  As I started to run towards the valley, Marty began yelling at the others that they had four days to beat my best time.  I highly doubted that they would be able to.  
I smiled at the knowledge that the next four days would be the most frustrating for Marty because I was better than any of his boys.  None of those guys had ever even come close to my average time.  My smile vanished as I thought about there being a very good chance that I would not return to see the outcome, no matter how badly I wanted to prove Marty wrong.  
It was said that the Batwas Valley ran along the Ancient’s realm and was home to creatures that this land had only ever heard of.  Stories had been told of people who tried to find this realm, but no man or woman has ever returned from that adventure.  No one knew if they were killed before they made it there.  Or if they did reach the Ancient’s realm, was it the Guardians or the Ancients that destroyed them?  
The Guardians are the mythical dragons of the Ancients.  They are mythical because it has been several generations since anyone reported that they had seen them.  The legends of the Guardians have practically disappeared, and no one is sure if they ever really existed.  The fact that dragons are no longer seen is a good thing.  According to the stories my father had told my sister and me, they were cruel creatures that killed people simply because they could.  
I ran down the deep green hill that led into the valley, where I would have a choice of two trails I could take.  One trail would lead me around the Batwas Valley, but would take more than a week to return.  The other trail, the one that would begin my journey through the valley, led to a river.  The river would lead me to the heart of the Batwas Valley – this was the area rumored to be closest to the Ancient’s realm. 
Of course, I wouldn’t actually go to the heart of the Batwas Valley.  I planned to cut across the untamed land, and from that point, without a weapon, the chances of survival were not in my favor. 
I reached the river without any trouble, which should have been a good thing - but it never was.  It seemed that anything that started easy would become difficult by ten-fold before it was finished. 
I stepped into the river cautiously and crouched low.  I slid my hand into the ice cold water and raised my cupped hand to my lips. I drank the ice cold refreshing water as I stared into the forest where few had survived.
The distance of the trail could be covered in a day or less.  However, the forest that filled the Batwas Valley was old and many trees have fallen.  Not to mention, the rumored creatures living in there that kept most everyone away.  
I stared at the trail that continued into the woods.  It looked lightly used, but I was confident it would not be long before the trail became nonexistent, making the journey at least a two day run – if I finished.  Once I finished, I could run the safer, but longer ridge home that would put me a few miles away from where I began.
I took a deep breath as I looked around.  I knew I had better get moving because it was already late in the day.  The creatures that everything feared moved in the night – or so it was said.  I swallowed the rising fear and started running, knowing that the sooner I got past the mid-point the better.  
Running the valley turned out to be an amazing adventure.  The air smelled exhilarating, filling me with excitement.  I was hurdling over logs and ducking under branches, running down the winding path that was quickly disappearing.  I smiled as my adrenaline pushed me faster.  If it weren’t for what I feared was coming in the night, I probably would have enjoyed the punishment that Marty had given me.
The darkness came quickly in the valley and the temperature was dropping dramatically.  I could feel the cold wrapping itself around my sweaty body.  It was unfair for Marty to send me in here without a weapon or the proper attire.  I should have swallowed my pride and refused, but I didn’t want to look weak in front of anyone.  
When it became difficult to see, I climbed into a tree, knowing the ground would become a very dangerous place.  I situated myself in the branches, keeping my eyes on the ground and ears open to all the sounds around me.  I wrapped my arms around myself, trying to keep my body from shivering.  
The night brought the sounds of a variety of creatures that I was unfamiliar with.  Luckily, none of them seemed to find interest in me.  I continued to sit in the tree shaking uncontrollably, hoping my luck would hold up and I would survive the night.  I could hear Alex saying that my definition of being strong looked an awful lot like stupidity, and right now I would have to agree with him. 
It was a couple of hours before the forest became silent - except for a sound that sent fear through my entire body.  Some of the howls were closer to the tree I was sitting in than I wanted, but one had come close enough to cause my heart to pound in my chest.  I looked to where the sound had come from.  The ground was dark, but the creature was darker.  I heard the territorial hiss of what could only be the Ortal.  It was too close to the tree I was hiding in.  I held my breath as I saw its white eyes pierce the darkness near the base of the tree.  
Unfortunately for me, it must have picked up my scent.  I only saw the one, but I knew it wasn’t alone because they traveled in packs.  I was trying not to freak out, because the one thing that had stayed consistent in the stories I had heard were that the Ortal despised trespassers.  Alex had once told me about his encounter with them, making him the only person I knew that had seen the Ortal and lived.  
He told me they preferred to walk on all fours, but they were more than capable of standing, which would bring their height up to a minimum of six feet.  They were known to use their arms of solid muscle to rip their adversaries into pieces.  He had shown me a scar to prove to me they weren’t just all muscle, but they were also intelligent and had a strategist’s mindset.  
I continued to watch the Ortal as it circled the tree.  My body relaxed a little as the Ortal abruptly began to head in the direction that I had come from as though it caught sight of something far more interesting than my scent.  There should have been more of them following it.  Where were the others?  I looked back at the base of the tree, searching for more white eyes.   
Perhaps that one had strayed, and was now catching up with the others.  I had only searched a few moments when I heard rustling in the branches above me.  I stopped breathing as I looked up.  Drool was clinging to the razor sharp teeth of the Ortal a foot over my head.  Alex had said that the teeth weren’t what you had to fear, but there wasn’t anything to stop the terror inside me from rising.  
It let out a low, deep growl, and my brain kicked back on.  I quickly dropped to the branch below the one I was sitting on, and continued to climb out of the tree without a second glance.  I hit the ground running in the opposite direction I had come.  I jumped onto a fallen tree, and used it to hurdle over the boulder that was in my way.  I landed in a shallow river and kept moving.  My eyes searching for something I could use as a weapon.  The water was frigid and my ankles began to hurt, but I knew that the river was the only thing slowing the Ortal down – giving me a chance to live a little longer.  
Finally, I saw a fallen tree with broken branches strewn all around.  I didn’t have to look behind me to know that they were catching up, I could hear the splashes and howls not far behind me, and I fought to keep my fear from consuming me.  I jumped out of the river and ran to the tree, snagging a broken limb off of the ground. It was fairly thick, and I wrapped both of my hands around it holding it like a sword.  
I turned towards the river to see seven Ortal step into the moonlight, forming a semi-circle in front of me.  Even on all fours they were bigger than I had imagined.  Their dark skin was sleek, and I couldn’t stop myself from noticing that their claws easily cut into the hard ground.  I took a couple steps back, knowing that if the tree was behind me, then the Ortal couldn’t be.  
One of the Ortal stepped forward and began to speak in its strange language.  He was huge, and his lean body was covered in scars.  I didn’t even want to wonder what could have caused the wounds on him.  I held my thick stick up, and slanted it in front of me.  I took a deep breath, knowing that I was dead if any of them got near me.
The one in front of me made a noise that sounded oddly like laughter.  He spoke again, tilting his head to the side, his white eyes never leaving my face.  He must be the Alpha, the leader.  Alex had said that the Alpha was the most dangerous, most intelligent, and the cruelest of the pack.  
It barked, and the Ortal to its right jumped towards me.  I swung my stick without hesitation.  I made contact with its head, and watched it fall to the ground.  I heard more laughter as a whine escaped the one I hit.  I couldn’t believe that I had knocked it to the ground.  I stared in disbelief, before I noticed that all the other Ortal’s attention was on the fallen one and off of me.  I took that moment to run again.  
I jumped onto the fallen tree behind me, leaping to the ground on the other side a moment later.  I sprinted through the brush as fast as I could, ducking and maneuvering myself through the bushes and trees that seemed to be getting closer together.  
I halted suddenly in horror.  I looked at the tall trees that surrounded me in the distance, shaking my head.  I was in a clearing, but it wasn’t the exit of the valley.  I had just killed myself.  
I had managed to run the wrong way, taking me deeper into the valley.  The trees on the other side of the clearing were at least a quarter mile away.  The bright moonlight that had aided me in maneuvering through the darkness, now gave me nowhere to hide.  
I quickly turned to run back into the trees, knowing that was my best chance for survival.  However, the Alpha was standing in the moonlight sneering at me and the pack was standing a short distance away in front of the trees, blocking my escape.  The Alpha barked again and another Ortal charged at me.  I swung the stick I was holding tightly in my hands, and this one hit the ground too.  
I looked up, hoping that their eyes would be somewhere else again, but they weren’t.  The Alpha was now walking slowly towards me.  I started walking backwards away from him, trying hard to calm my breathing.  I was exhausted and scared, but I didn’t want him to know that.  
He stopped a few feet in front of me, and began sniffing the air.  He stood on his back feet, straightening his back.  He stood much taller than six feet, and his muscles bulged against his dark skin.  I forced myself to swallow.  He was still sniffing the air.  His eyes abruptly looked into mine, and he bared his teeth at me.  He barked again, and this time they all leapt forward.  As I turned to run, I fell to the ground.  I closed my eyes, and braced for the terror to begin.  
When it did not come, I opened my eyes and saw a wall of blackness in front of me.  Two Ortal suddenly appeared on the ground.  They were not moving and were covered in a shiny substance.  Ferocious snarls filled the night but were immediately drowned out by a roar like none I had ever heard, echoing all around and sending terror through me.  I tried to see what it was that I was going to be up against, but I couldn’t see anything in front of me, except blackness.  
I had to get out of here!  I turned, but before I could start running I realized that I could see the area in front of me all the way to the trees in the distance.  I glanced over my shoulder to see the darkness that was there.  I didn’t care about what was going on at the moment.  I knew I needed to escape the creatures of the valley before they remembered I was here and killed me.  
I ran for the trees in the distance that could see moonlight shining upon.  I only made it about a hundred yards before I had to stop.  The Alpha bared his teeth at me and, without a sound, he lunged at me.  I raised my stick and swung.  He caught it with his hand, which had four inch claws on each of his three fingers.  I stared at his claws, claws that were dripping with a shimmering substance that smelled like… blood?  
I looked from the claws to his face in horror.  He smiled, showing his sharp pointed teeth.  He yanked the stick closer to him, pulling me with it.  He breathed in deep before he threw the stick that I was clinging to through the air.  My body hit the ground hard, and the stick fell out of my hands.  
A second later, I was screaming at the horrific pain, resulting from massive pressure on my left leg.  I reached for my leg and saw that the Ortal had bit into my shin.  I shook my head in denial at the reality that his mighty jaws had crushed the bone.  There was no way that I would be able to run now!  How was I going to escape?!
The Ortal stood over me, wiping my blood off his mouth.  A wave of nausea was quickly washed away by panic, which had scattered my thoughts so that I couldn’t figure out what I was going to do.  The Alpha dropped to all fours as he spoke quickly.  I had no idea what he was saying, but I knew it couldn’t be good.  I shook my head, I didn’t want to die.  
I watched in terror as it began reaching for my chest.  I stopped breathing and my mind seized with fear as the darkness began swelling behind the Alpha.  The Ortal shrieked in horror as its body was lifted and then consumed by the darkness.  The Ortal was afraid of the darkness?!  This was not good.  
I attempted to get up, but my leg wouldn’t bear any weight and I fell back to the ground, screaming in pain.  There was another roar that echoed all around, sending chills down my spine.  I immediately attempted to drag myself away, but the Alpha appeared in front of me again, covered in blood.  He grabbed my wrist without hesitating, and began dragging me across the rugged ground as it ran.  
I screamed as his claws ripped into my skin.  My blood was racing down my arm as the Alpha continued to pull my body behind him.  He stopped abruptly, quickly changing directions.  The ground continued to beat against my body as it ran until finally my mind overrode the fear and pain.  I did not want to die!  I began to watch the ground for something I could grab and get myself free from his grip.  
After three attempts, I snagged a large rock off the ground.  I knew it would be a wasted effort to throw the rock at the Ortal, but with a lot of focus I was able to slam the rock against its hand.  The Alpha let go of me and I began dragging myself away, hoping that the Ortal would continue to run away from darkness it was afraid of.  
I screamed in agony as the Alpha dug its claws into my left shoulder, lifting my torso off the ground and whirling me around.  Horror continued to fill my mind. The Alpha had placed me between him and the darkness that had been chasing the Ortal.  The darkness roared fiercely, causing more fear to race through me, fear that made my nightmares seem like childish dreams. 
What is that?!
Two orbs of fire suddenly appeared in front of me.  A gust of overly warm, moist air rushed against my body.  The Ortal quickly grabbed my side, forcing me to scream again as its claws ripped into my flesh before lifting my body over its head.
The thing in front of us growled warningly, and to my surprise the Ortal talked without irritation.  There was a pause before he spoke again.  The Alpha continued to speak with long pauses until the darkness let out a long guttural growl.  The Ortal slowly released my body, and I crumpled to the ground.  I wanted to drag myself away, but I lacked the ability.  My newest wounds were throbbing and my leg was useless.  I attempted to roll over, only to cry out as my whole body protested with pain.

The orbs of fire moved close to me before disappearing into the darkness.

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