[This first-person narrative of an adventurer’s hunt for Ruga the Ageless lies in a crustly pool of dried Draken blood.]
The land was stark and good, filled with grass and terrible prey. It was the kind of land a Draken could love.
I crept through the swamp, and thought of the days long past, when I would fish in the cold streams near the clan holding. Slashing down into the clear water, my claws would hook the darting, silver fish. Those were good days, and the fish made fine meals.
I am grown into life’s later days. I seek what all Draken seek, a ferocious animal that I will kill to prove my worth. I have done much in my long life, and have scars to show for it. I want just one more good hunt, one more strong foe, one last fine kill.
At the Pell village, I exchanged dried meat cut from a huge Girrok I hunted in Deradune. They fed me with cakes of flat bread that tasted of the earth’s minerals and salt, and gave me clear, thin wine to drink. Not the strong liquor I prefer,
but fine and good in the day’s hot sun. They told me of a mighty beast in the hills nearby, the hard-shelled Ruga who kills all who come near.
My blood thrilled at the name. Ruga. I almost felt shame at the thought of killing such a fine animal. But even as I loved the beast I had never met, I vowed to kill him just the same. Or he would kill me. It would be good either way.
I climbed up the hill where my prey made his rest. My claws dug into the flinty Blighthaven soil.
I could feel the wind blowing through my horns. I stalked my foe, and saw even dug in to sleep he was a great trophy. I felt fear, and am not ashamed to admit it. My heart pounded, muscles coiled, and realized that only at this one moment was I truly alive. Friend Ruga, this old Draken will never forget you.