THE IRON DRAGON
DRAGON KINGS OF THE NEW WORLD
Dragon Kings of the New World
The Iron Dragon
End of The Iron Dragon
DRAGON KINGS OF THE NEW WORLD
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.
RELAY PUBLISHING EDITION, OCTOBER 2017
Copyright © 2017 Relay Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. Published in the United Kingdom by Relay Publishing. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Can two fugitives beat Draco at its own game?
Van and Sang are on the run, forced to log on and play Dragons of the New World from a dank basement hideout with borrowed characters while the world crumbles around them. Sang is losing hope after being fired by the CIA, but Van’s resolve is only growing.
When Allie reveals that her people defeated the Dracos by striking them directly, they know what they have to do, but there’s just one problem—their only access to the mysterious Dracos is through a game that’s rigged against them. When they learn of an online tournament that will make five players Pros—and access to the Draco compound—Van and Sang know they have to win at any cost.
Now, with the help of some old friends from the Iron Dragon mercenaries, as well as a few bold new recruits, Van and Sang must survive every punishing challenge and prove themselves to be the best players in the game. With an in-game rebellion brewing and spies targeting them in meatspace, it will take all their courage to face Draco’s bloody endgame.
Dante Doom didn’t touch a videogame or fantasy book until his 23rd year on Earth. He started working at an old-school arcade—hired primarily, he was told, because of his “badass ridiculous name”—and from then his education began. They started him on the classics, a strict diet of Pac-Man, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, Dig Dug, Street Fighter, and Rampage. Freakish proficiency. Beginners luck, they said. He was given well-loved copies of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind and Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern.
Devoured in days. Finally, he was invited up to the arcade owner’s private gaming room: Battletoads, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES), and Ghosts ‘n Goblins followed. Defeated, at last—maybe he wasn’t such a wunderkid, after all. But he didn’t give up. And that earned him a seat at the group’s D&D table. Many a happy day has passed since—he even beat TMNT’s Dam level and its health-draining pink seaweed.
Then a year ago, that same group introduced him to the new Fantasy-LitRPG genre—what Dante saw as the final stage in his education. Because, for him, it doesn’t get any better than LitRPG. The combination of an immersive fantasy world, gaming objectives and levelled progression makes for a fascinating storytelling experience. Inspired, he took two weeks holiday from the arcade, sat down and wrote the Dragon Kings of the New World series.
Find out what Dante is up to next at:
"Do you think what they're saying is true?" Fredlin asked as he stalked through the woods, bow in hand. Alongside him was his companion, Savorn. The two were busy searching for elk to hunt in the Great Forest of Alketho.
"If what's true?" Savorn answered, pointing at one of the bushes. They could see evidence of grazing on the corner of the green shrub. Saliva glistened off of the plant in the sunlight, indicating that an animal wasn't too far off.
"The rumors," Fredlin said, "about the Iron Dragons?"
"Oh, them again," Savorn said with a chuckle. "Look, I don't know what you're on about. They're a bunch of crazies and cheaters. Whatever they're yammering about is nothing more than silly myths."
"You keep saying that," Fredlin replied as he knocked an arrow onto his bow and crouched down, "but I'm not convinced. I mean, I was doing some reading on the internet last night and I saw more than a few articles talking about people found dead while playing this game."
"Yeah, because when an idiot decides to pop a ton of Cwake and spend 72 hours in a tube, they tend to die," Savorn said. "The Iron Dragons are just trying to use those deaths as a way to gain more people. It's ridiculous, really. I mean, first their leaders get kicked out of the game for cheating, and the next thing you know, they're all over the place talking about how evil Draco is. Just give it a rest already."
"There!" Fredlin said as he aimed his bow at a rustling bush. The words Legendary Elk hovered above it. He released the bow and the words Hit! Lethal Blow floated above the bushes. They heard the elk crash to the ground.
"Nice shot. I thought we'd be searching for that thing all day," Savorn said as she holstered her own bow and began to walk towards the bushes. Neither of them had seen the elk, but the game system's alert was guarantee enough that they'd been successful.
"Look, over the course of the last month, nearly 17 people were found dead after playing this game," Fredlin said.
"Are we still talking about this?" Savorn asked as she leaned over the bush to look at the dead elk. Its majestic white fur glistened in the sunlight, and the arrow had struck it clean in in the heart, leading to a quick and merciful death.
"Yes, we're still talking about this," Fredlin replied as he stopped next to his companion. He drew out his field knife and began to work on harvesting the meat from the animal. The words Butchering 00/100 appeared above him as he began his work. "The Iron Dragons posted something serious on Reddit yesterday."
"Yes, because an online forum like Reddit is the epitome of civil discourse," Savorn snapped.
"They were talking about some kind of cataclysmic event that'll be coming soon. And from the looks of it, it's gonna be serious stuff."
"Cataclysmic how?" Savorn asked.
"End of the world type stuff, for sure!" Fredlin replied. "Draco's been working with some kind of terrorist cell. They've been using the game to radicalize other people and get them to carry out missions. There's some kind of gas line in San Francisco that's reportedly being rigged to explode."
"A gas line? In San Fran?" Savorn repeated. "And Draco the video game company is behind it? Do you hear how crazy that is? I mean, I've been living in San Francisco for six years, and I've not once seen a video game company try to rig a gas main."
"I'm telling you, it's really convincing stuff. I'm thinking about joining the Iron Dragons."
"You're going to join a bunch of nutjobs who think Draco is Al-Qaeda? I have no idea why we hang out," Savorn said.
"Well, you're free to join me if you want. It's not too far to reach their headquarters from here," Fredlin said as he finished butchering the elk. "And if I were you, I'd get as far as I could from San Francisco. That main's gonna blow up any minute."
Savorn sighed. "Look, Fredlin, I think you're crazy, but if you're serious about joining the Iron Dragons, I'm in."
"Really? I figured you'd give me all sorts of flack about it," Fredlin replied.
"I might think they're nuts, but have you seen the board rankings lately? The Iron Dragons just overcame the Kingdom of Gloran and the Kraken Gods Mercenary group. They're on fire," Savorn said. "But they don't let just anyone in. I assume you've got an invite?"
"Smart girl," Fredlin said with a chuckle as he dug out a small letter from his satchel. There was an image of a large dragon made out of iron emblazoned on the letter. "They sent this to me last night."
"Can you get me in, or do I have to prove that I'm insane before they consider me?" Savorn replied with a laugh. Then, in the distance, she heard a loud
"You alright?" Fredlin asked. "Hear another elk?"
"No," Savorn whispered. "An explosion, I think." There was another
"I'm not hearing anything," Fredlin said. "Maybe it's a –" His words were interrupted as the power to Savorn's game system was abruptly cut.
"What the hell?" she gasped once she realized that she was sitting in her bedroom. She fumbled for a moment, trying to regain control of her senses. Getting kicked out of the game sucked hard, and for a moment she felt as if she were going b ...