Quest of the Brokenhearted is still 99 cents for a few weeks. *hint hint wink wink* I want to bring out this excerpt because of the monster involved. The Paura Riders were something I designed in high school, so it’s great to see them last so long and end up in a published work. Enjoy.
It is a barely audible flap of wings that draws Kira’s attention to her left where the fog has thickened to resemble a swirling wall. A screech erupts from the other side, the noise followed by a metal clink like one would hear from unsecured platemail. The instant the dividing barrier starts to fade away, she leaps to the side and lands flat on her back. Kira curls her legs until her knees are against her chest to avoid the metal talons of the creature that soars out of the fog. With the head and wings of a parrot, the beast’s body is similar to that of a lion with blue and gold feathers instead of fur. A skeletal knight sits on its back and jabs down at the prone adventurer with an obsidian lance. She flips away in time to feel the blow narrowly miss her back and tries to counter, but the champion is out of range as she finishes her swing. The four warriors scream as a second enemy barrels into them, the other shrieking mount red and green with a spear-wielding rider. One of the humans is sent careening off the walkway while the dwarf takes a stab to the shoulder before the creature flies away.
“Get her first!” the elf shouts, his eyes wide with fear. His enhanced legs allow him to leap and his kick sends a shockwave that pushes Kira close to the edge. “If we kill her then one of us will be released from this fight. Maybe all of us can go if we’re-”
“Lousy coward,” Kira mutters as the kusari-gama’s club strikes the warrior in the open mouth. She jumps away from one of the attacking monsters and spins to deflect a strike from the other as it flies out from below the walkway. “These two know who the real threat is. Would you idiots stop charging me? I don’t want to fight you, but I will if I have to. Pay attention to the monsters!”
To the adventurer’s frustration, the dwarf rushes her while his friends block the champions’ latest attacks, the impacts knocking them together. Instead of fighting the other warrior, Kira flips off the walkway and catches the sill of an open window. Pulling herself into the covered passage, she catches her breath and prepares to run for the far end to gain some distance. She is about to take a step when the champions smash through the walls on opposite sides of her. The impact sends the dwarf and remaining human plummeting to their deaths while the elf catches the crumbling edge. Both warriors realize that the damage is too much for the walkway and sprint towards the nearest tower. Kira remains inside while her fellow competitor is on top, neither of them paying attention to the circling monsters. Loud cracks echo as the stones splinter and the entire structure begins to sag, which makes it harder to run. Pieces tumble towards the courtyards, many of them getting sheared in half by the network of ropes that are masked by the fog.
With a groan, one side of the walkway gives and the structure swings towards the tower, the end remaining connected by ropes and boards that were once entombed in the stone. Jumping for a window, Kira hastily scrambles to the outside and narrowly avoids sliding out of the crumbling shaft. Stretching for the edge where she can see some handholds, the adventurer hears a telltale screech. The wind makes it impossible to discern the direction that the attack will come from, but she briefly spots a flicker of red and green in the fog. A second later, the walkway is shaken by an impact and Kira instantly leaps out into open air. The champion smashes through the stones and continues soaring towards the adventurer, who swings her kusari-gama to wrap the chain around the mounts neck. With her weapon tight and in place, she is lifted higher and gets sliced along her side by two sharp talons. Planting her feet on the soft underbelly, Kira kicks out before she is brutally mauled and twists to swing herself onto the beast’s back. She frees her kusari-gama as she lands and slams the club against the skeleton’s head, which is knocked off its shoulders. A solid kick sends the rest of the rider crashing onto a nearby rooftop and she slams her sickle into the mount to avoid getting bucked off.
“Don’t think the Paura Riders are so easy to kill!” Cyrena shouts as the beast hurtles by the princess.