Still hard at work on “Ice Phoenix” and thought I’d share a bit of something I’ve recently written. Enjoy!


Raw Bone stretched his leathery wings and lifted his muzzle to the thunderheads above with a roar that carried over the din of the battlefield and the storm. Lightning crackled overhead, the ultraviolet light making his cerulean scales flash in the gloom, highlighting the rivulets of dark red blood coursing down the lines of his hard muscles from gaping wounds.

The scales of a Sarkany in beast form never hardened over time as a true dragon’s. They remained supple and smooth and easily subject to bullets and canon fire. It was only their incredible stamina that allowed them to not only survive, but continue fighting despite bullet holes, gashes, and stabs. On the edges of his consciousness, Raw Bone was aware of the injuries he’d sustained, the blood loss and fatigue setting in. A part of his mind that shut down in order to focus on the battle at hand.

His thick neck coiling down, he turned his gaze to the last of the human tanks still valiantly trying to find traction in the rapidly deepening mud in the hope of escaping the Draycyn and Sarkany ambush. Powerful legs working in tandem, he charged into the muck and seized the metal monster by its turret. Crushing it in his maw, he threw it into the wall of the ravine.

All around him the human infantry clashed with Draycyn dragonryders and Sarkany warriors, the colors of the various tribes brilliant in the stormy half-light. Gunfire mingled with explosions of thunder, the screams of the dying, and the roars of dragons and Sarkany in beast-form under the constant downpour of rain.

Raw Bone released the primal power flowing in his veins, the current that connected him to the Sacred Rainforest, and a cerulean light pulsed from his core, echoing out in concentric rings that rose around him, changing his shape. The light burst in a flash of blue and vanished, leaving him in his form as a man in its wake. His roan blue mane of hair wet and heavy against his back. The thin cerulean lines tattooed on his beardless face glowed brightly against his dark golden skin.

Straightening to his full eight feet, the yellow of his eyes glowing fiercely against the blackened sclera, he whipped his spear free of its catch across his back and stormed the infantry. With his strength behind it, the impossibly sharp blade at the end easily impaled four men with a single throw. Running in behind, Raw Bone snatched the haft and tore it free, turning to engage a handful of humans seeking opening at his back. Some he sliced through, others he stabbed, and some needed only to make skin contact with the blade. Like an oil, the poison of the deadly rainbow frogs coating it went through the skin despite the rain, reducing the unfortunate to a seizing, foaming at the mouth wreck that eventually choked to death on its own tongue.


~Excerpt from “Ice Phoenix” copyright AJ Culpepper 2017
~ Image courtesy of Sorry, artist unknown 😦




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