At River’s End: An Excerpt #highfantasy #elves

A vengeful sorcerer returns to threaten the peaceful lives of the elves.

Positioning her feet apart and bending slightly at the knees, Isandra steeled herself for the wyvern’s attack. The sorcerer atop the beast crouched low, bracing himself for an impact as well. Isandra knew what was coming. The beast lunged its weight forward, closing on her position. On instinct, she twisted her body, narrowly avoiding a collision.

She spun to watch as the wyvern made a tight circle, its sights once again set on her. Readying herself, she lifted her sword. This time, the creature flew inches from her body, the sorcerer sending out a blast of white sparks. Isandra was hit, the magic burning dark spots on her armor and diminishing the blue glow her father had placed over her. The sorcerer was trying to remove her magical defenses.

Despite its massive size, the creature was surprisingly agile. It glided on the wind, tilting its tail slightly to maneuver back into position. Isandra was ready. Holding her sword firmly, she poised to strike as soon as the wyvern was within reach. Before her eyes, the beast split in two, one attacking from her left, the other to her right. With no time to decide which was the bigger threat, Isandra swung her sword at the beast on the left. Her sword penetrated the image, and it disappeared before her. An illusion, she realized too late. The real wyvern crashed into her, bowling her over.

With her face pressed into the dirt, Isandra attempted to right herself. Swooping down, the wyvern grabbed her in its talons. She grabbed the hilt of her sword only an instant before she was hoisted into the air. The beast thrashed its leg, shaking the elf like a ragdoll. Isandra clung to the scaled leg, her head spinning from the motion.

The sorcerer leaned over the side of his mount, looking into Isandra’s eyes. His visage was dark, his expression one of pure hatred. She could feel his malevolence and his sincere desire to crush her. Gripping her tighter in its talons, the wyvern squeezed with all its strength, but it could not penetrate her enchanted armor. It cried out in anger, reeling its head.

Isandra saw her moment to act. With a swift move, she struck at the talons, the runes of her sword flashing in a multitude of colors. In a single swipe, she sliced through one of the long scaly toes, watching as it dropped from the air and landed somewhere out of sight.

Crying out in pain, the creature jerked to one side, momentarily knocking the sorcerer off balance. As he swung her direction, Isandra thrust her sword at him. She heard nothing, but saw the tip of her sword dripping with blood. With regret, she realized the wound would not be deep, nor would it be life threatening. Clutching tightly to the wyvern’s leg, she attempted to climb up its scales.

Noticing that the elf warrior was approaching, the sorcerer prepared another spell. A wave of energy washed over her, forcing her to lose her grip from the beast’s foot. It took great effort to avoid dropping her sword, but Isandra instinctively tightened her grip as the energy crashed into her. Her other hand slipped from the scales, and for an instant, she was falling freely into the sky. As the beast’s tail moved into view, she grabbed on, narrowly avoiding a fall to her death. Peering at the ground below, the soldiers were too small to be seen. All she could make out were small puffs of smoke, likely caused by magical fire.

Climbing along the wyvern’s tail, Isandra had a good view of its underbelly. On most creatures, this area would be soft and vulnerable. Unfortunately, she could find no such spot on this creature. Its entire body was armored with thick, golden scales. In vain, she stabbed at the scales, hoping to find a soft place between them where the beast could be injured.

Swiveling his head, the sorcerer took notice of the elf who was still clutching to the wyvern’s tail. He had thought her finished, but still she persisted. Raising his hand, he prepared a blast of fire. Unleashing the magic from his hand, he projected it at her and waited for her screams to reach his ears.

As nimble as a lemur, the woman swung gracefully under the tail, shielding herself from the fiery attack. The magic glinted off the wyvern’s scales, bouncing to the ground below. In anger, the sorcerer pulled hard on the wyvern’s reins, knocking it slightly off-balance. It swooped low, giving Isandra the opportunity she needed. With a gentle leap, she flung herself from the creature’s tail, somersaulting onto the ground and bouncing back onto her feet. Readying her sword, she prepared for the beast to circle back.

 

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