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The House on the LakeThe oven door opened, filling the kitchen with the warm and inviting smell of fresh cookies. Braving the heat, Dawn shoved both mitten-guarded hands past the threshold – and was rewarded, minutes later, as she withdrew her morning’s work.
There were well over a dozen cookies total, each meticulously made from scratch and augmented with a happy sprinkle of gooey chocolate chips. Sight and smell coalesced into a sudden and mouthwatering compulsion; and, succumbing to temptation, Dawn gingerly plucked the largest of the specimens from the tray.
She took a moment to admire her work – but only a moment. Then she leaned forward, gently pressing her teeth against the cookie’s edge. She didn’t fully bite down, applying just enough pressure to lightly crack the surface. But her snack was crafty, oozing a taunting layer of chocolate over her tongue – urging her to take it further.
She obliged, finally taking a bite – not out of spite, but out of necessit
A Wild Spring BreakI was small enough to fit in the car’s cup holder – and desperate enough to cling to the sides for dear life. Liz had never been a reputably good driver; and the fact that she had chosen a road that spiraled down the side of a cliff in a series of tight twists and turns not only made things worse, but very dangerous. Even for a dragon – who, on Earth, would have roughly been the size of a small skyscraper – it was a long drop to the ocean below; but for a human, it was quite literally a plummet into oblivion.
My girlfriend rounded the curve and set off down a short patch of straight road, giving me and my frantic nerves a break. With a relieved sigh I sank back into my makeshift seat, trying to break up the nauseating argument inside my mind as to whether or not I was technically moving.
“Did you know,” I asked, stifling a groan “that, back on Earth, scientists theorized that nausea was actually an evolutionary advantage at one point?”
An Orphan's ProphecyIt wasn’t like Char to be nervous. He, like most military commanders, had his regular share of anxious and stressful situations: casualty reports, tactical deployment, and the war itself were all psychological weights he could shoulder with relative ease. What he expected – what he dealt with on a normal basis – couldn’t get to him.
But when taken out of his idiom, Char cracked – quickly. Interrogations weren’t exactly a breach of that comfort zone, since prisoners and enemy spies were set before him almost as often as his meals. And so it wasn’t so much that he was probing an individual for information that got to him, as much as it was that he was probing a human for information.
Char couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen a human. He reasoned years; he suspected decades; he almost wondered if he’d ever truly come face-to-face with one at all. Living for centuries on end made the past into a blur as layer after layer
Food by Day, Friend by Night
(Part 6 of the Final Stand)
(Part 3 of the Battle for Fantasia Trilogy)
"You spent the day where?" Crystal asked again, her voice past the point of hinting on disbelief as she leaned in above the bonfire.
"This is the third time," the Black Terror duly noted, poking a claw at her stomach. "He spent the day in here."
"How, may I ask, is he still alive?"
"Kaz's artifact," Sterling broke in, tearing away a large piece of venison as he spoke. "Bond lets us both work with Embyr's body."
As if to bring emphasis to the human's words the black dragon fished the tiara from her side, spinning it around a claw proudly. The golden eyes from the second giantess watched the movement of the crown keenly, as intent as she would have been during a hunt.
And then came the grab, a blur of movement whisked the artifact from the titan's grip. Embyr moved to protest a moment before Sterling, too, found his way into the claws of the azure dragon.
"So, how does this work?" Crystal asked, slipping the tiara on
The Greatest Gift Pt. 1Liz strode amid the rows of houses, her bright red eyes taking in the beauty of her neighborhood as the winter sun cast its golden rays down amid the eves and smoking chimneys. At length she approached a large two story dwelling that carried the sentimental value attached to the place one called home, dropping a hand into the upper half of her two piece garment (hidden beneath a heavy cloak) to extract a ring of keys. Jingling the metallic teeth-ridden objects the dragon fitted a smaller member of the bunch into a lock just beneath the door's handle, giving it a slight twist to swing the large oaken portal wide.
With a relaxed smile Liz slipped inside, closing the door behind her to shut out the season's sting. Sighing contentedly the obsidian scaled woman made her way towards a large fireplace in the entry room, taking in a deep breath to puff out a single ember amid a stack of dry logs. Almost immediately the room became alive with the warmth of the blaze, the hungry fire licking at
The First KissMy walk from the den to the kitchen was, needless to say, a long one. The countless steps as I marched between the two rooms gave me a long time to think as the thundering rumbles of Liz's snoring echoed through the house behind me. Each great release of breath danced down my spine, causing my body to shake with guilt as each step drummed down on first the hardwood and, at length, tile.
I was human, an unnatural but accepted denizen of a world of giants. The original occupants of the realm were both similar to mankind and different all at once: they were humanoid and even went about the same jobs and lifestyles of my kind back on Earth; yet their bodies resembled animals, anthropomorphic in every sense of the word. It was this inclusive race of titanic creatures that dominated the planet, much to the chagrin of the furless men and women that lived like rats in their homes.
Liz was one such giant. Her home had secretly welcomed me in just before the recent Christmas season thanks to a c
Onyx's Choice: Start
Part 1 (Start)
Work has become increasingly hard to come by. Most cities and city-states have enough willing bodies and readily turn away individuals like yourself; but Stonebridge has proven itself to be different, to be ready and able to take on new artisans to fuel its booming economy.
Unfortunately, “artisan” implies some form of skilled labor. Untrained and inexperienced, you have only one career path available to you – one that those of your disposition have inherited generation after generation: mercenary work. It doesn’t take much to lob a sword at someone; and by the same logic, it takes an equally low about of training to lob a sword at something.
Kelly, the Lord of Stonebridge, singled you out personally with an assignment the moment you passed through the gates. The details were unquestionably vague: there was a creature that lived a few miles west of the city that was causing problems for the populace. For all he told you it could be a rabid
(Part 9 of Shadowdale)
"Say aaah," Crystal said playfully, dangling the struggling human above the black dragon's throat. Embyr did as she was asked, her teeth parting to reveal the pink cavern that awaited the boy. He was dropped in, plummeting between the gap in her lips with a yelp to land with a wet plop on the Black Terror's tongue.
A pleased "Mmmmmmmmm," echoed around the human as he found himself shrouded in darkness, the keratin fangs closing behind him to seal his body within the confines of the dragon's maw.
"This must never get old." Sterling muttered, slamming a fist into the dragon's jaw. She giggled, rocking him onto his back with the force of her laughter.
The dragons waited, lying awake for a long while as their friend drifted to sleep in the warmth of Embyr's body. Finally, after the black dragon could make out the deep, rhythmic breathing of sleep, her eyes darted to the blue dragon that lay beside her.
"Is he asleep?"
She gave a nearly imperceptible nod, trying her b
ReflectionsVal's pursuit led him to the foul beast's domain. The hollowed-out cavern reeked of blood and rancid meat. The dim light he had seen as he charged through the tunnel after the monster could now be identified: torches. Rows of mysteriously lit torches lined the walls of the huge cave. At its center was a substantially large labyrinth of mirrors.
He spotted the beast entering.
He spun his silver broadsword in his hand and hurried in behind it.
His garb was a simple blue and white crusader's leather with thick armored pads and reinforcing steel studs. Lightweight and flexible, but quite effective defense against blunt blows and – in a pinch – the slashing claws of the unholy spawn of the earth. All monster-hunters wore a similar variety in Val's experience. It would serve him well in these close quarters of the mirrored maze.
Right, left, forward, left, right he turned, always catching a glimpse of the beast's tail as he wove his way through the corridors. Every so often he sp
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