Call Me Dragon Dragon Fires Rising Book 1 by Marc Secchia Genre: Humorous Fantasy
Call me Dragon. It’s the last thing you’ll ever do.
Blitz the Devastator has never done a decent day’s devastating in his life. Fireless, artistic and shunned by his Dragon Clan, he struggles to pillage even the meanest village. A future full of misery and failure beckons.
This much is true until the day the burly brown Dragon successfully – imagine that – kidnaps the Princess Azania. As a black Princess of T’nagru, this spirited beauty is by definition the most unforgettable woman in the seventeen realms. Knights errant, men-at-arms and sundry Princes expire at her feet in drivelling worship.
Unfortunately, they all want his scaly head on a platter shortly thereafter. Goes with the territory.
To Blitz’s consternation, the royal nuisance refuses to behave herself and be a typical pampered Princess. With humour, unconventional flair and the odd stomp of her diminutive slipper, she sets out to reform her Dragon.
One question remains. Who will save the Dragon from the Princess?
Shortly, he heard a faint cry, “Dragon, watch out! Slayers at the lair!”
Seven men twitched beside their chosen weapons. Aha! They had missed one – a net trap strung high in the trees. Hefting the trunk, Dragon threw it down upon the nearest trio of weapons. The men scattered with pathetic yells. It was a mystery to him how people did not like to be crushed by a falling tree. One of the Dragon bows fell and triggered itself. A seven-foot quarrel feathered in a tree branch right beneath one of the other lurking men. His reflex triggered the weapon; another quarrel hurtled into the lair’s dark entrance.
Plucking up two boulders, Dragon threw them as best he could at the other bow emplacements but missed with both throws. Blergh! Useless. Another skill to master. Ducking back behind the ridge, he loped toward the Princess’ position, before changing direction abruptly to pour down the mountainside. Two swordsmen were almost upon her. Spying him coming, she whipped out of hiding with a wild yell. The talon blade sliced deeply into the foremost man’s thigh. Mid-swing, the second man found himself plucked into the air by a vengeful Dragon’s paw. He threw the hapless fellow high over the stream toward his fellows.
Spinning upon his heel, he curved his body over the Princess. Whirr! A bolt skimmed off his scales. A fraction more penetration, and that would have been his guts. Azania threw her sword overhand, causing the hidden crossbowman to duck. He slipped and fell. Dragon helpfully caught him before he struck the ground.
“So, what’s inside the lair?” he asked.
“Not telling you a thing,” spat the scarred, dark-haired man.
Dragon pinned him against the oak trunk with one paw, and spread the talons of the other. “Let’s just see about making you talk – Princess!”
In a flash, he scragged her neck awkwardly as she plummeted into what had been solid ground just a moment before. A pox on their well-hidden trap! So sharp were his talons, her shirt began to rip as she dangled from his paw. He lurched forward to her aid, and discovered the stupidity of throwing himself headfirst into a deadly pit. Paws out! Somehow, he caught a stake with his forepaw before his weight completely slid inside. Just, just saved his blushes. Placing the Princess beside a wonderfully sharpened example of an implement meant to aerate a Dragon’s windpipe, he used his other paw to control his precariously balanced weight. Actually – pluck, pluck, pluck, like he was shredding a duck! Whirr! A quarrel skittered off his upturned behind.
Azania’s eyes widened as he pretended to slide down into the pit with a loud but extremely fake groan. She had to duck into a corner as he folded himself up neatly, shovelling several other spikes out of the way.
Glittering of eye, he hissed, “They could at least bother to construct a pit properly. How insulting.”
“Don’t give them time to reload,” she hissed right back, wiping her brow in clear relief. “Let’s go, Dragon. I counted. All of their weapons discharged, save the net.”
“Ooh, what a smart little Princess you are,” he cooed.
She flushed. “Dragon!”
Clutching her about the waist, he coiled his thighs and launched skyward.
Immediately, the Princess shouted, “Beside the cliff!”
“Got it. You were not supposed to –”
Flashing toward the Dragon bow concealed behind a towering oak there, he readied his tail and whipped it forward. Man and weapon rattled together like peas in a pod in the narrow space. The man came off worse.
“– leave the river!” he finished furiously. Hurling himself toward the copse of trees where the other Dragon bow operators still lurked, he realised belatedly that delicate Princesses did not crush small forests quite as well as fifty foot Dragons. He curled up, protecting her against his stomach as he attacked the next bowman with his backside. Squish.
The net triggered and soared uselessly toward the lair. Pleased by that result, he extracted himself from his inadvertent seat and charged around the trees with nothing like the poise he had just spent six weeks perfecting, spraying pebbles and water in a great wave as he fought and failed to regain his balance on the soft footing. In that time, the Princess sidestepped a hacking sword blow and left her dagger in a woman’s chest.
At least one of them knew what she was doing.
The last thug, the one he had abandoned in order to save the Princess, fled downriver as fast as his bandy legs could carry him.
Beast and woman shared a wicked glance.
With a brilliant smile, Azania stuck out her arm, and cried, “Dragon? Fetch!”
Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He's the author of 25 fantasy books in 5 languages including 10 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards.
When he's not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there's nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.