I did the other 5 volumes, so it makes no sense to skip War of Nytefall: Ravenous. I went with a Mab scene for some action. Enjoy.
The crowd cheers as Mab is thrown across the arena and slams against the far wall with enough force to crack the stone. Slowly getting to her feet, she watches the crimson-furred werewolf who is excitedly howling. The muscular beast tears off the last of her armor, which she had been wearing when she first stepped into the arena. Having been starved for days, she rips a chunk of flesh out of the wyvern that had been released to make everyone think it was the real opponent. With claws extended, Mab charges at full speed and becomes a blur of motion that startles the taller fighter. A swipe leaves deep cuts across the werewolf’s chest, but a split-second retreat prevents the injuries from being more than superficial. Continuing her assault, the Dawn Fang gradually slows down to the point where the crowd whispers about the sun having an effect. A savage kick strikes the burglar in the stomach and sends her rolling away, a trail of blood left in her wake. Fangs bared and eyes dilated, Mab struggles to stand and narrowly leans away from a punch only to be swatted to the ground with a haphazard backhand. The werewolf leans down for a bite to the throat, but yelps when the desperate Dawn Fang delivers a chomp to the tip of her sensitive nose. The audience laughs and applauds while the lycanthrope backs away with the smaller fighter still dangling from her face. With her enemy howling pain, Mab is grabbed by the torso and hurled away with a chunk of damp flesh still in her mouth. Both combatants stay where they are, neither one wanting to charge back into the fight until they have healed.
“She’s not doing very well,” Decker whispers as he watches the brawl. Standing in the open wall of Alanik’s office, he glances at the halfling who is gleefully cackling in his chair. “That thing shouldn’t be giving her a problem. I see no strategy and she isn’t using her shadow powers even for defense. What is going on?”
“Just putting on a show for the crowd,” Clyde replies in a dull voice. He watches as Mab ducks a slash and drives her claws into the werewolf’s stomach. “This isn’t easy. She needs to pretend to be an old-world vampire. If Alanik hadn’t announced that the barrier gave her some protection from the sun, she wouldn’t have been able to do anything. This is all an act to keep up the illusion and not a sign of weakness.”
“I can’t tell if you’re trying to convince me or yourself,” the solider quietly points out.
“Let the woman play her games.”
“You will jump in if she’s about to die, right?”
“Good because she would be angry if I did.”
“Concern for your enemy?”
“I’d rather Mab die on a battlefield than in a pit.”
“Not sure how to take that one.”
Alanik claps his hands to stop the whispered conversation and grins at the vampires who glare at him like he is feeble prey. “I never imagined the Dark Mistress would have this much trouble with a paltry werewolf. My plan was to shoot my pet with a dart that would make it twice as strong and fast, but that’s no longer necessary. Now, the three of us should discuss more of this bet. If your fighter wins then I tell you about my clients and whatever else you want to know about. What happens if I win? I’d request her body to have a friend turn into a special zombie, but you would never agree to that. This is a challenge because there is nothing that either of you possess, which I want or need. Then again, each of you comes from a different faction, right? My ears have caught wind of a long-standing conflict between vampire kingdoms. How about each of you makes an offer and we will flip a coin to see who pays up when Mab is nothing more than tattered innards in my arena?”
“You speak as if any of you will be alive if she dies,” Clyde mutters as he watches the werewolf pounce. He frowns at how Mab uses her legs to flip the beast instead of vanishing into a shadow. “I assume me promising not to slaughter everyone here isn’t good enough, so I’ll add onto that deal. For the rest of your life, I will procure you whatever products you want without being paid. Having a monster like me on the hunt will make you rich. We can work out the details later because I do have a kingdom to run. Perhaps the Nytefall navy can help in transport and expanding your reach.”
“I’m unable to make deals on behalf of Nyte,” Decker calmly states when their host turns in his direction.