Thurvok, the sellsword, is enjoying a meal with his friends, Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Lysha, Meldom’s sweetheart whom the adventurers saved from the gallows, when a peasant woman asks them for help. Her young daughter Tali has been chosen to be sacrificed to the dragon that terrorises the area.
Thurvok and his friends want to help her and save Tali. But slaying a dragon is difficult, not to mention dangerous.
This is a short story of 4500 words or 18 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.
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- The Cave of the Dragon is a short story of 4500 words or approximately 18 print pages in the Thurvok series, but may be read as a standalone. This story is a digital premiere and has never been published previously.
- The Cave of the Dragon was one of the stories written during the 2018 July short story challenge, where the aim was to write a short story per day in July 2018.
- Like many of the July short story challenge stories, The Cave of the Dragon was inspired by a piece of fantasy art, namely this one. Oddly enough, there is no dragon in the picture (which I had completely forgotten, until I looked at it again), but once I started writing I found that the story worked better with a dragon than with an evil wizard.
- Normally, Meldom is the planner of the group, but this time around Sharenna is the one with the plan. Meanwhile, Lysha has found her role as the treasurer of the group.
- Sharenna once again proves herself to be the most powerful member of the group and saves the day with her magic, though the other three all help to defeat the dragon and Thurvok is the one who actually strikes the killing blow.
- There is a damsel in distress in this story, but for once it’s not a member of the main cast, but a guest character.
- Unlike my other stories, the Thurvok series is credited to Richard Blakemore, whom regular readers will recognise as the pulp writer protagonist of the Silencer series. As for why the Thurvok series is credited to Richard Blakemore, in the Silencer story Mean Streets and Dead Alleys, Richard purchases the January 1936 issue of Weird Tales and is pleased to find a new instalment of a Conan serial by Robert E. Howard, a Jirel of Joiry novelette by C.L. Moore, a Jules de Grandin novelette by Seabury Quinn as well as one of Margaret Brundage’s famous covers. He also muses that he would like to take a stab at writing something like that one day. This throwaway scene got me thinking, “What if Richard actually did write a sword and sorcery series for Jake Levonsky?”
- When I found myself writing a sword and sorcery adventure for the July short story challenge some time later, I suddenly wondered, “What if this was Richard Blakemore’s lost sword and sorcery series?” And so I decided to credit the story to Richard and pass myself off as the editor who rediscovered him. I even created a blog, a Twitter account and an Amazon author page for Richard and filled out a Smashwords interview in his persona.
- The cover is stock art by Kevin Carden.