Friday, November 13, 2009

Chapter 4: Dragon Requiem

The fragrance of the night air drifted across Dragon’s nose, snatching him back to reality. His quest had put him in the natural labyrinth known as the Maze of Shakhrami, and he was resting by the entrance. The scars on the landscape in the ancient cavern told unruly tales of battles from long ago. The scattered skulls of the once mighty Wyrms gave undeniable proof of which the final victory belonged to. The largest of the skulls stood several feet high and wide with slashes embedded deep. Drag paused a moment, removed his gauntlet, and placed his hand on the skull. Even as a child, he was enraged at the “heroic” stories of the dragon slayers. He knew good and well that most of them were destroyed out of fear or greed. With his homage paid, he pressed on towards the back of the cave. The cave was deathly quiet, without even the cackles from the Goblin diggers who usually roamed the caverns. He loosened the clasp on his lance as he scanned the area for any signs of a possible attack or way-ward beast. He continued slowly towards an area where the bones became less scattered, and more full skeletons could be found. Drag raised an eyebrow as he realized all the skeletons had been facing the same direction. He was moving opposite the flow of the skulls without even a second thought until now.
“Why? Hmmm, maybe because of the mouth of the cave?” he whispered aloud though no one was around to hear.

He quickened his pace as he moved following the increasing number of skeletons through the maze. Without warning he dropped four or so feet over a ledge and found him self in what appeared to be the mass grave of the Wyrms. Skulls of all shapes and sizes scattered without any sort of rhyme or reason. In this room were many human bones among the wyrm. The size difference in the larger skulls lead him to believe that not just wyrm skulls but dragon and wyvern skulls as well. Carefully climbing his way towards the back of the room he was struck by an epiphany. “Oh dear Altana …” the words fell from his mouth like drops into a bucket.

“They were protecting a nest- this is their hatchery.” Drag was floored by the hundreds of broken eggs and tiny wyvern skulls scattered behind what he guessed was a dragon’s skeleton. It appeared as if the dragon had curled around the nest as a last line of defense.

Drag kneeled in respect to the lives of all the creatures lost in the battle to protect the young just as he mourned the loss of most of this majestic race of creature. When he rose he moved silently in and out of the broken shells and bones looking for a sign that any of the eggs survived. Hours passed by as he dug and searched until he found something that would make his search was made worth-while. Not only did he find signs of hatchlings surviving but to his own surprise he found an unscathed egg. With the care a midwife would put into handling a new born he picked the egg from its resting place and secured it into his bag. Finally, his quest for the egg was over but now to hatch it.

Drag triumphantly exited the cave to have his parade rained on instantly. The sun was blocked by a shadow and much to his dismay the shadow belonged to a wyrm.
The beast was ancient and battle ravaged though the amount of fight left in his weathered eyes was immense. Drag’s eyes widened at the sight of the monstrous creature but his amazement was cut short by a quick whip of the beast’s massive tail. The beast watched intently as the dust settled where the intruder to its lair stood but as the creature waited for proof of its prey’s demise it was struck viciously by a sharp blow to the head.

“Ha! Ya thought ya had me? A Dragoon, of all people...” Drag called out as he hopped back to a near by ledge. In a violent rage the wyrm reared back and swiped at Drag’s position several times before being smashed in the head by yet another jump. Drag quickly tucked his lance by his side and began circling the beast. His movements were quick but sporadic which made him a hard target to hit. Drag cut towards the wyrm and jumped again landing on the beasts head and slamming it to the ground with an earth shaking thud.

“You did good old girl but I’m just too quick for ya. I figured a few blows to the head would put you down for a nap” Drag boasted to the now unconscious wyrm slumbering at his feet. He patted the creature before clasping his lance to his back and heading to his next destination.

No comments: