The gladiator slave pens of Thanus, capital of Byrunthus, were renowned throughout the Southern Kingdoms. A life wearing the iron collar was a life unforgiving and harsh, and often brutally short. There was only one rule within the arena: kill or be killed. It was into such a grim existence a young farm boy named Titus found himself thrust. He was the youngest slave ever sent to the pens in Jax's long memory as master of combat. A slave himself, it was Jax's responsibility to train the new slaves in the ways of sword and shield, of spear and axe. He would train this new lad as well, but there was something about Titus that pulled at a part of his heart that Jax thought long calloused over. Yes, he would teach the boy to become a killer of men because he had no choice, but he would fight for the spirit of the lad as well. He could not strike the chains from Titus' body, but he could strive to keep the boy's soul free. And in so doing, the fabled master of combat of the greatest gladiator stable in the West would start a lost and lonely young boy down the grim, often violent road to becoming a hero that would change the course of the world.
About the Author
Dale R. Boyd was born in southern California in the late 1950's. By the time he was ten, he had found a true love of all things fantasy and science fiction, books and comics in particular. Beginning with Robert E. Howard's tales about Conan the Barbarian and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, he read just about every book his parents would buy him or he could borrow. From his early teens on, he created his own characters, lands and plots, filing them away for some promised future date he would actually write the stories down. As he got older he took the traditional route of what most would call a normal career in the corporate world, but never gave up his love of reading nor the creation of his own little worlds. In large part due to the encouragement of a dear and close friend, he finally sat down and began to write. "A Dragon Rises: Mercenary" is his first published work of fiction, the first of a series of stories.