Javor meets the dragon

A Sunday sample from The Children of the Seventh Son

He spun back and saw the dragon, more hideous than any he had seen before, and larger than any but one.

It stood on four legs, its neck arched like an angry snake. Its back was higher than the second-storey balcony on Javor’s house in Constantinople, and the black leather of its outstretched wings blocked out the sky. It had a long neck, covered like the rest of its body in shiny, greenish-grey scales that each refracted the sunlight in shimmering rainbows. Its impossibly long, snake-like tail undulated behind it as if it had a life of its own. All four of its limbs terminated in a purple claw longer than Javor’s forearm, thick and sharp.

Its face was broad, more like a man’s than a snake’s, but lopsided with a light-grey bulge behind the left eye. Four purple-red tongues flicked out between loose, wet-looking lips, then back in. It hissed, red eyes fixed on Javor’s great-grandfather’s dagger.

It extended its neck, the head coming closer to Javor. Its gaze shifted to his face. Javor looked into the eyes. He saw swirling patterns. His mother.

He pushed the scene out of his mind and waved the dagger.

Javor thought, Bring me your young. They are so tender.

No. I did not think that. He tore his eyes from the dragon’s and threatened it with the dagger. “You want this?”

The dragon hissed as it drew its head back. Four tongues dashed out and in again. It opened its uneven mouth, revealing three uneven rows of triangular yellow teeth.

Its breath smelled like rotting death.

Retching, Javor sprang forward. The dagger rotated of its own volition in his palm to an underhand grip. He swept it down with every bit of strength in his arm.

The Children of the Seventh Son

The year 600 of the Christian Era is the darkest time of the Dark Age. Young Javor the Sklavene has settled in Constantinople, civilization’s last bastion against dark forces that have shattered the Western Roman Empire.

Wielding two special weapons made from the Bones of the Earth, Javor has become the favourite monster-killer of the secret Gnostic Order. As his young family grows, he is sent to distant, exotic lands to eliminate threats and learn more about why the earth is intent on destroying humanity.Every mission seems to bring more questions than answers—until he finds the greatest danger comes not from forces from beneath the surface of the world, but from the very civilization he has been defending.

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