The Dragon of Time by Aaron Dennis Book Tour and Giveaway :)
Pressure wracked Scar’s body. A piercing whistle rattled his brain. His muscles pulled away from his bones, and he struggled to breath, to open his eyes, but there was such a glare all around him. The ringing in his ears subsided, and as his vision cleared, he witnessed an expanse of something akin to glowing, orange terracotta; light spilled from the cracks in the ground, and above him, a low sky of golden fire sparked and crackled. “What are you that defiles Edin?!” a raspy voice demanded in a tone like raging infernos. Whipping about in an effort to behold the Dragon, Scar caught sight of shimmering, gold scales; a snake-like body undulated from within the oppressing sky. “I am Sarkany, the Dragon Slayer!” “There is no such thing!” “There is. I am here to cleanse the world of your kind, Dragon.” “You are but a fool, a machination of the Gods.” “No! I am more than that; I am the harbinger of change. Prepare yourself, beast, your end draws near.” He doubted himself, though; apart from a clawed foot of gold scales poking from the burning sky, he had not seen the entirety of Gyo. Scar gripped his blade tightly, regulated his breathing, and spread his feet for balance. A gout of flames large as a home exploded from overhead. There was no way to dodge, and cringing, Scar braced himself for an early demise, yet there was no heat, no impact, only a blinding flash. Once it subsided, he witnessed something miraculous; there was a sparkling barrier surrounding his form; it was the same as the power Gilgamesh had wielded during their duel. “What’s this? You manipulate the powers of my brethren? How?!” Gyo thundered. “I don’t know,” Scar whispered in disbelief. Could it be? He gazed at the glowing gem of Kulshedra, and taking a long inhalation, he focused on a minute vibration, which flowed through his entire being. From it, he forced his attention upon his armor, and the steel plate from his chest expanded, unleashing more plates until he was covered as Gilgamesh was. Confidence filled his bones. “Come at me, Dragon. Show me the might of Gyo!” His voice was unfamiliar to him, metallic. Another burst of flame from the sky forced the warrior to shut his eyes. “Let us see how you handle the sun itself,” the Dragon raged. A maw protruded from the flames; it was a strange beast with thick whiskers, a mammalian snout, and a bushy beard, yet the razor sharp teeth bearing down upon the warrior parted; Gyo unleashed another gout of flame. Closing his eyes, Scar ran forwards to strike the Dragon’s maw. No sooner had his sword vibrated in his grip from the impact, that Gyo curled over himself and swiped his tail. The blow sent Scar, barrier and all, sailing and skidding. Reaching out at the hot ground to halt, the Dragon Slayer scrambled to his feet in time to see the great, shining Gyo swimming towards him. Spinning to the side, Scar clipped the beast’s opened mouth, cutting through his cheek. Gyo hissed like hundreds of exploding geysers, yet he curled his serpentine body again, gripped the man in his rear talon, thus shattering the barrier in a glimmering display, and immediately started an ascent into the flaming sky. It was evident Gyo was a fiercer Dragon than his brothers, Zmaj and Kulshedra, and Scar feared the flames raging over Edin. Fighting the pressure from a speedy flight, he braced his boot against a massive thigh, slashed as he twisted his body, and sliced through golden armor. The injury near the Dragon’s abdomen halted the beast for a second, and Scar capitalized by thrusting his blade deep into the wound and twisting. The Dragon dropped the warrior, and he plummeted back to the terracotta. Looking up, he saw only flames. “Where are you, Dragon?!” From landing on hand and knees, he righted himself and spun around in time to receive another gush of fire. Unable to erect a barrier in time, the agonizing heat charred his skin, but before severe injury was done, Gyo took him by the legs and flew just above the ground, scraping the warrior along the way. Such rage and fury welled from within the giant, he screamed and jammed his blade into the ground; the act freed him from the Dragon’s grasp, but as Gyo flew over him, he struck him across the helmet with his tail, and once more, the Dragon of the Sun vanished into the sky. The bladesman stumbled, panting, waiting for his body to heal, waiting for the Dragon to reappear. A tingle accosted his spine, and he looked up to see spread jaws ready to end him. With a mighty, war cry, Scar focused on the power of Kulshedra; an explosion of energy propelled him and his blade ever upwards, through the monster’s palate, through his skull, and as the once ferocious Gyo crumpled like wet rope, Scar careened from the sky amidst shattered scales and into the mass of golden mist swirling away from the dead Dragon. Writhing around the disintegrating innards, Scar felt the pressure of Edin’s rupture. With the beast dead, and its soul entering the gem, the whole of the Dragon’s realm shattered, leaving Scar in a heap.