GENRE: Epic Fantasy
Lead in: Darion, an exiled prince turned mercenary, has returned to his home land to fight the invaders from Camara.
With a desperate heave, Darion flung up his shield and crouched in the saddle. The impact slammed his shield into his shoulder.
The deflected lance flashed by. Its point pierced the neck of Darion's mount. The animal staggered sideways, screaming in a high, nerve-wrenching pitch.
Darion cleared his right foot from the stirrup. As he tried to roll away from the falling animal, his other foot got tangled in the stirrup. He struggled to breathe, lost all sense of direction. He managed to kick himself free, avoiding the thrashing legs of the dying horse.
Dazed, he looked up. A Camaran officer on a black stallion dropped his broken lance and drew a sword. Darion scrambled backwards, fighting down panic. The weight of his armor and shield made him feel hopelessly sluggish. His enemy closed the distance with infuriating patience.
Then Darion bumped into his dead horse. He cursed. Trapped. I'm going to die here, on my home soil. The Camaran's stallion reared.
Everything around Darion slowed. Sound dampened to a buzz, the periphery of his vision blurred as the central image sharpened. The black beast rose gracefully, looming over him. Bits of mud floated away from its pawing front hooves. The man's sword, raised high, caught the sun in a lazy gleam. A waft of crushed grass and earth wet with blood tickled his nose. All that happened in a heartbeat. An exalted laugh escaped Darion's lips. The finality felt liberating, and with it came the absence of fear.