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Dragon Hunters

Book Two: The Path of Honor

© 2001-2002 Draconus / Stratadrake of NEWST


Prologue:

In a time where technology was high and everything was explained by principles of science, ancient countries and peoples, now remembered only as the "Ancestors", ruled the earth. They had made many advances in their sciences, but they had also paid some terrible prices. War was one of those prices; and when it broke loose from all the laws and regulations that kept it sealed away from the nations, the world paid dearly. Losses of life were estimated at 99 percent and higher, leaving almost nothing left alive. And so, the modern world was born.

Through a miracle attributed only to eight legendary dragons, civilization managed to survive even that catastrophe, and began to rebuild. Now, after three thousand years of time, the only things left of the high-technology Ancestors are the "Catacombs"; vast underground caverns built by the Ancestors and filled with the clues of their power. Many artifacts had been recovered from these undergrounds and brought forth for display in museums and galleries, provoking a movement known as the Restoration; but recently, a mercenary group known only as the 'Dragon's Fist' had begun to invade the Catacombs and plunder them of their treasures. Led by a powerful Dragon Knight, Stratos Valkyros de Khatalus, they were a group of mercenaries who destroyed any and every one standing in their way.

Everyone, that is, except the Honor Guards. Established in most major cities, Honor Guardsmen are the only soldiers brave and determined enough to take a stand against the marauders. Among them are: Hunter Antare, a senior officer of West Falls; his brother Marcus, a tracker from the city Norset, who is Honor Guard material only by blood relation to Hunter; and Katra de Nathos, given to the Norset Honor Guards ever since the death of his father, Draconus.

Provoked by the Dragon Fist's assault on and destruction of Norset City, these three men vowed that they would capture the Dragon Fist's leader, Strato, and bring him to justice. As the Lancaster Royal Military attacked and combatted the bulk of the Dragon's Fist, Strato laid seige to Lancaster City and assassinated their king, Leonardo Rutherford de Suthcross. With the death of the king, the Guardsmens' vow became a duty, given to them by the Lancaster Government.

Travelling towards Aarid Desert and into the city of Border, Strato was finally brought to justice, and all's well that seemed to end well. However, Strato's fate would not be sealed so easily. With the recovery of a powerful Ancestral soldier named Andrake, who was armed with a plasma sword known as the Atom Blade, Strato escaped on a quest of his own undertaking. Hunter, Marcus, and Katra, after a terrible defeat at the hands of such a soldier, gave chase once more after Strato, now overseas.

Strato would not forget them, though, and Andrake was sent to hunt them down. After Andrake sank their ship in the high seas, Hunter, Marcus and Katra were washed ashore on an island known only as Atlantis. There, they discovered a major clue to the legends. A dragon--a real, live, breathing, dragon!--had lived on Atlantis Isle for nearly three thousand years, and offered his help, flying them towards the continent they sought. The dragon also told them of the Ancestors' greatest achievement, sealed away by three "keys".

After finding the first key, Hunter successfully bartered the second Key from Strato's posession, and with the two Keys together, they proceeded off into the mountains to locate the Ancestor's treasure. They found it. A sort of portal--one linking their world to another!--was hidden deep underground. Strato revealed himself to be a foreigner who was long stranded on this side of the portal, far from his home; and Katra's late father, Draconus, was also discovered to have similarly travelled through the portal. After a duel, Hunter and Marcus managed to successfully lure Strato away from the portal. Katra, wanting to learn of his homeland--his true homeland--volunteered to travel through the portal to the other side with Hunter, and they did.

Something horrible happened once on the other side of the portal. Katra's most prized posession--a golden medallion given to him by his father and brandishing the symbol of a dragon--reacted to the portal and unleashed a powerful wave of energy. Katra survived it, somehow, but soon fell ill. Worse, something seemed to be happening to Katra, 'changing' him in a sort of ways, and neither he nor Hunter knew enough about what was occuring to help him. Hunter stopped a passer-by for assistance, but this passer-by evidently knew something about what was happening that he did not want to share, for after one look at pained Katra, he demanded without explanation that Hunter leave the area. When Hunter refused, the man called for an ally of his own, and knocked Hunter out cold. Together, the two individuals absconded off with Katra.

Hunter awoke to the sight of his brother, Marcus, who had travelled through the portal as well to deliver a dire message to Hunter. Strato was there, in the unusual and strange new world, and who knows what trouble he could be causing. But first things first; with their comrade Katra abducted, and a different gold medallion as their only clue, they needed to begin searching.

To find Katra first, and then to apprehend Strato; the saga of Dragon Hunters has just begun.

Chapter One: A Step Into the Unknown

Lost in a strange world and seeking any clue about where they are, Hunter and Marcus stumble upon a most coincidental of locations -- Strato's home town, Khatalus.

Chapter Two: Curses and Lamentations

While Hunter and Marcus are busy searching, whatever has happened to Katra?

Chapter Three: Not in Kanzas Anymore

When Hunter and Marcus arrive at a port city of Aurelia, they begin to realize just how different this new world is from their own.

Chapter Four: Son of the Dragon

Questions need answering when Katra awakens from his ordeal, and there is only one person available for him to ask.

Chapter Five: The Need to Know

It is a quiet time, with questions and discussions, when Hunter and Marcus spend the night at Aurex's lodge as guests.

Chapter Six: So Close, yet So Far

Falknyr and Katra encounter Strato in a nearby city of Calcutta -- only minutes before Hunter and Marcus arrive at the city themselves!

Chapter Seven: Mysteries

Rumors begin their spread when the winter snow arrives and some unidentified creature blocks the road from Calcutta to Sareille under an avalanche of felled trees.

Chapter Eight: Fields and Shadows

Hunter and Marcus have an unexpected encounter with Strato while making their way to Sareille, while Falknyr makes another discovery about Katra.

Chapter Nine: Lessons from the Past

Now into the country of Verdun, Hunter and Marcus meet an interesting merchant when they set camp for the night -- and Strato is not far off, either.

Chapter Ten: A Baptism of Fire

A fight unlike any Hunter or Marcus has ever seen before erupts when Strato challenges a wizard from Khatalus atop the tower in Sareille.

Chapter Eleven: Enter The Rangers

When a strange event happens that night, Hunter is left with Katra's medallion as their next clue. Together, they seek out Sareille's Rangers for help.

Chapter Twelve: Intersections of Fate

Hunter, now a ranger recruit, continues his search for Katra -- and Katra is finally located! Unfortunately, their rendezvous is cut short by a famliiar enemy.

Chapter Thirteen: The Path Is Clear

Katra -- now "Kindra" -- has been found. Strato declares war on Andrake. Andrake is defeated in battle. But the real trouble is only beginning, and Andrake is the catalyst.

Chapter Fourteen: Through the Caves of Hell

Hunter, Marcus, Kindra and Aurex spend several days tracking Andrake through the infamous Shoshone Caverns, and Andrake clues them in about his next move.

Chapter Fifteen: Legacy of the Ancestors

Hunter, Marcus, and Kindra return to the world they call home -- but are soon captured by a rogue group descended from the powerful Ancestors themselves.

Chapter Sixteen: Legends Never Die

Andrake seeks to slay an ancient dragon, which would upset the balance of power in their world. Only Hunter, Marcus, Kindra, and Strato can stand any chance of defeating him -- but will their combined strength be enough for the final battle?


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