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Author Topic: [Story] Here there be Dragons  (Read 1774 times)
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Dubh Amn

Spell Energy / Taint +4/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 28

« on: October 27, 2006, 06:29:27 PM »

After dwelling on the darker aspects on the setting, I wanted to explore the idea of hope in Midnight.  I chose to use one of the big names for this story and chose a Dragon.  I'm a big Shadowrun fan as well and decided to model the actions of my dragons along those presented in SR fiction.   Enjoy!  Comments welcome.

Music floats gently through a cavernous space, bouncing lightly from stony walls and ceiling worn smooth by age and care.  The gently sloping and bowed walls lend an almost organic, warm feel to the large cavern room.  Soft, golden light plays gently over scintillating gems worked carefully into the white and alabaster stone, filling the space with a suffused glow that seems like sunlight. 

Heavy lidded eyes blink drowsily as the notes slide against steely scales, grown hard and implacable.   A small crystal box lies near the snout of a great, drowsy beast - a thing far older than almost anything now living in Eredane or Aryth as a whole.  Indeed, the music gently lilting from the box, let alone the item itself, also bear a remarkable lineage and age.   The orchestral music, recorded in a grand hall far from here, across an ocean of distance, speaks in volumes of concepts that those now born to Aryth would be unable to understand. 

A conquered people have no use for the word "freedom" or "tranquility".  Moreover, they would be hard pressed to even define such things in any tongue of this land now spoken.

Massive muscles bunch and slide under scales as the beast shifts slightly, moving a titanic claw towards the box, lovingly flipping the small lid closed with a claw that itself dwarfs the tiny magical construct.  The closing lid silences the sound of the song, the last notes filtering away into the inky darkness in the farthest reaches of the cave.

Even hear, the shadows devour the past hungrily. 

Heavy, leathery wings unfold and stretch, filling the space before settling once again against the dragon's back.  It has been untold years since those wings tasted the air as it whistles past them, turning to bite into brisk wind as the bulk of the creature soars skyward.  If such a desire even remains, no remnant of it passes along his face or eyes.

There are very, very few left in Aryth who know of dragons and their kind.  Once, learned scholars, sages and kings had called on the council of the Elder Wyrms in time of need.  They had been valued if feared friends to the Elthedar and all the mortal races they had spawned.  There was even a time when the greatest of all mortals rose up to challenge the dragons for wisdom, for treasure, for right.

Now, only one thing is left to challenge the few remaining Wyrms. 

The Shadow in the North may believe himself strong enough to slay an elder dragon out of hand, but that is not the enemy that concerns the beast which lairs in this unknown mountain.

The enemy that will slay all of the dragons is one they can no longer combat, a foe so terrible that the press of its victory is inexorable, its triumph assured, its dominance complete.

Izrador may not slay all the dragons himself, but Time will.

The world was broken into Ages, into times for all.  This is the way it was meant to be.  As long-lived creatures, the Dragons had always known this to be true.  One ascends while another falls to ruin.  Races walk proudly in the sunlight as their failures grow in darkness, faults that will doom them.  There is no malice in this process.  There is no evil.  This is simply the path that all things follow.  Men believe gods and dragons to be immortal, but that is only because they lack the understanding of eternity to see the inevitable. 

He had always found this amusing.  Mortals, especially humans, should grasp the concept of the finite more readily than any.  Allowed only a short time, they should simply know of the need for societies and kingdoms, to carry the lineage of all and preserve the memory of what has come.  With such a short time to live, they should understand the mortality of all things.

But Man has ever been a thing unexpected.  Rather than choose to accept and understand and grow strong from knowing their own limitations, men choose to invent immortality and heavens so they may never die, never truly cease to be.  They choose to hunger for a continuance past what they have been rightly given.

More than any other race, Man fears Time.  For the first time in his long, long life, Xircxi finally understood that fear by feeling it himself.

Time had been the Shadow's greatest weapon for corrupting Man, even if only indirectly.  How many of them had betrayed everything they held dear, everything they knew to be sacred, just to live past Time?  The false idea of immortality is something simply too tempting for the weak to bear. 

Now the Ages are fallen to ruin.  Izrador has perverted the order of the world, introducing foreign elements and draining the very essence of the world dry.  Races are meant to rise and fall, but when this foul thing rises, his ascension will be so horrific as to leave Aryth a blasted, wasted shell.  None will be left to crawl from the ashes.  There will be no balance.

There will be only Time and emptiness.

Sensing a presence in his cavern, Xircxi shifts, opening his maw, tasting the air as the frills near the back of skull along his jaw flex, catching the sound of footfalls as his tongue and nostrils fill with a familiar scent and taste.  As the ancient dragon slides into a Sphinx-like sitting position, a male Sarcosan dressed in the livery of the Horse Lords and female Halfling with bare feet, wearing tribal furs, step into the room.  They bow low at an equal distance, a gesture returned by the great wyrm, nodding his head to them.  Were a human to see this ritual, he or she would intuitively grasp that many layers of body language, of position and stance were being used and observed.  The feel of ancient ritual, of honor and an underlying predatory fierceness would be apparent.  The same man would be at a loss to explain one one-hundredth of what he was seeing.

The Sarcosan and Halfling speak at the same time, their words flowing as three minds reach out to touch one another... "We greet you, great one, Father of the Sky, Lord of All, Keeper of the Memories of the Brood.  We come to serve."

Xircxi's rumbling voice fills the cavern as he speaks the only words that are ever verbally exchanged between them, always spoken the same way, with the same intonation, at the same pace, "Greetings Agammon and Estherix.  I acknowledge and welcome you.  Enter into my presence and be known as friends."

Both Sarcosan and Halfling sit nearly as one, having gone through the ritual many times over the years.   Easily, they begin to converse telepathicly, words easily flowing between them, unburdened by the need for sound. 

The dragon Estherix in the guise of the Halfling speaks first, "It has become worse.  The lands of Men are ruined.  The Dwarves have broken.  Even the Elves are hard-pressed.  The Shadow presses his war on all fronts and those who would stand against him have lost all hope.  The entirety of the world is simply waiting to die."

Agammon speaks next, the mental voice he projects impossibly large for the human frame he wears... "There are those who would stand against the coming Darkness.  They fight small wars, living and dying for meaningless causes.  The hope for an armed resistance to the Shadow is lost.  There will be no armies or great generals.  There will be no stand, no Eris Aman.  Those born now are weak.  We have lost our hope for greatness among them.  Only one now remains from the Ages past and the losses suffered crush her soul.   Even now, she pines for one lost to the Darkness.  Her grief will doom her people, though it take the rest of this Age."

Xircxi breathes as Agammon finishes speaking, the emotions of his words hanging in the air.  So many lost.  Where now are the heroes of old?  Gamdrang the Hew-Handed.  Ilion and his sister Amarith.  The sorcerer-king Ranudan, Kalif of the South.  So many names, now lost to history.  A heritage denied to those who need it most. 

In his brutal totality, Izrador had eaten the past, once again using Time against them.

Estherix and Agammon wait for his response, flickers of thought passing between them.  Hours pass as they silently communicate, sharing the experiences of the past year. Then, softly, Xircxi speaks.

"In times past, we filled our role as wardens of this world.  We watched and warred and befriended and heralded the passing and awakening of Ages.  We considered ourselves to be Guardians.

We have failed.  Now, we must find a new role to fill, one we cannot fail, even if we are the cost to be paid.

You two are yet young for our kind and your memories do not stretch as far as those who would be trusted to this task in times past. 

But you will be my hope now. 

We cannot stand alone against this foe.  Our backs have been broken over the mountains we last fought over.  He knows this, sitting in his cold tower.  He laughs and considers us a remnant forgotten.  In his arrogance, he has even raised one of us from the dead."

Flickers of emotion sweep between the dragons, as they acknowledge the bond that existed between Xircxi and the one now known as Zardrix.  A heavy glare of Xircxi silences the mental communication for the first time since the pair entered the chamber.

With great effort, Xircxi opens his mouth, finishing his speech with actual spoken words.  "You will be the fire of hope that rekindles what remains of the spirit of old in the blood of the young.  You will continue your travels among them.  You will tell them of great heroes and old wars, of tragic loss and battles won.  You will remind them, by force if needed, that they are the scions of a world free from this cruel dominance of Shadow.  You will show them that as their ancestors were free, they too can be.   

We must master the weapons of our enemy.  We must marshal to ourselves that which he would seek to use to destroy us."

Rearing to nearly his full height, Xircxi looks down at his charges, the weight of his words and his mind pressing his final thoughts into them..

"For us, it is Time."
« Last Edit: May 05, 2007, 12:17:34 PM by Nifelhein » Logged

"Live as brave men; and if fortune is adverse, front its blows with brave hearts." - Cicero
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Against the Shadow  |  Forum  |  Midnight & RPGs  |  Games and Stories (Moderators: Kane, Bleak Knight)  |  Topic: [Story] Here there be Dragons
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