Jump to content


Author: Signature Author
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Stellar last won the day on March 17 2017

Stellar had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

2,504 Is My Ego Showing?

About Stellar

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Location
    New Zealand
  • Interests
    movies, music, gaming, online gaming, writing, finding purpose and meaning in all facets of life

Recent Profile Visitors

30,503 profile views
  1. call me a romantic fool if you may, but writing a meaningful kiss is the breath of life, and one of the most satisfying and joyful things to create

  2. Flame And Frost

    Thank you so much for reading! The most pleasing response to get as an author is that the characterisation and the plot has depth to it; a lot of work goes into creating something authentic and empathetic. However, there is no shame in feeling as though you have missed something, because my writing has a lot of small detail that is very easy to overlook, so please don't feel like you are 'stupid' for not getting it all. I encourage everyone to re-read if any part of it has escaped you, because you may pick up new information that will make things clearer. So, thanks again for following Spirit of Fire, and I hope you'll stick around to see the story through.
  3. Flame And Frost

    You are completely right! Darren is going to want revenge, but nobody from the Conclave knows what has happened here yet, and they probably won't until Araziah himself tells them. Something like this might complicate his plans to work with them, given that Theo was a member of the prestigious Seventh House. Regarding his feelings for Torsten though, in whatever capacity those feelings may be: there may be some truth to that. If there are deeper emotions residing beneath his outermost layer of ambition and ego, they could very well be misunderstood and ignored .... for now. What would happen if he is required to confront those emotions though? You will see more of Torsten's reaction in the following chapter. Their fight took place within the forest and over a hill some distance from the town, so it is not immediately visible to any residents. Probably the most notable thing would have been the noise -- a dragon can make a roar that has a good volume to it, and sounds nothing like any other commonly known native American wildlife. If anyone was close enough to hear it, they might've thought they were hallucinating.
  4. Flame And Frost

    Er, no. As I said, the Sixth House is extinct.
  5. Flame And Frost

    If Araziah was capable of physically beating Theo to the point of knocking him out, he would have done so during their melee. Theo was right in stating that the red dragon was too small to win the physical fight, and did not have the size and strength to force any kind of peace -- you need to realise that Theo was roughly three times Araziah's weight. Restraining him would have taken some next-level ninjitsu. If Araziah had been a bit older and a bit larger, perhaps it could have gone differently. However ... Theo wasn't counting on the infernal breath attack nor teleportation, and these things were instrumental to the outcome. Basically, Araziah didn't have a lot of other options except to kill if he wanted to win, and he did not enter battle with the intention of a stalemate or loss. On top of that, while Torsten is completely justified in feeling upset, Araziah did indeed warn them before any of this happened. The threat was there, and the risk of ignoring it was one they chose to take.
  6. Flame And Frost

    Araziah was relying on Torsten's ignorance of his situation continuing, and it was quite the unexpected surprise for his facade to be exposed; without that ignorance, the whole premise comes crashing down. You could surmise that Araziah has temporarily given up on the idea of getting Torsten to voluntarily cooperate and is instead looking at alternatives. One cannot assume, however, that this idea is permanently shelved.; these creatures are, after all, ambitious and pragmatic when they wish to be. Obstacles are to be destroyed or subverted, whichever is simplest, and if a way does not exist, one will be created. Araziah will do what he needs to in order to get what he wants -- it all comes down to the attractiveness of whatever the Conclave can do for him versus what he would require to ensnare Torsten's help, if that is possible. One thing is for certain: those options are mutually exclusive, so it's got to be one way or the other. Sadly, unique skills do not function post-mortem, and the dead are dead without second chances -- with the exception of the Spirit of Fire itself, but gods do work by different rules to the mere mortals. Theo is gone, and unfortunately, he is not about to return.
  7. Flame And Frost

    If Torsten was smart enough to figure out what was basically a bluff, does he strike you as the sort to give in to coercion in a situation where he holds all the power? Would that sort of behaviour fit his character? When the option exists to simply refuse cooperation at any time, what recourse does Araziah realistically have? As for last chances, it remains to be seen what the Conclave can offer him and if it is enough to be tempted to an alternative course of action.
  8. Flame And Frost

    The Conclave will not be pleased, although it's worth remembering that Theo was not the only one working on acquiring the Fear through Torsten's family. Darren was intending to ... do something about this (see Chapter 9 for reference) and he will likely be even less impressed when he discovers Theo's fate as he genuinely loved his little brother.
  9. Flame And Frost

    The prophecy and Araziah's future are not explicitly linked. That's not to say that the two won't be intertwined, because there isn't much room for these things to occur completely without touching; just that at this stage they remain independent. However, the Conclave is in definite need of any help it can get, and Araziah, whilst uninterested in resurrecting the mad god, might find something in their intentions to work to his advantage. The Sixth House is indeed extinct. The progenitor Irofex was, in simple terms, a prolific backstabber, and so were his descendents. This tendency eventually led to the destruction of the house and the death of the remaining members. At some future point, you may learn some more of this and other fire dragon legends.
  10. A Place For Updates

    It's Chapter 10! Don't miss it.
  11. Flame And Frost

    The feeling of being mentally commanded was nothing what I had experienced before. Something in my brain had control taken from it, and my ability to do anything other than exactly what I was told was slipping away, moment by moment. It was freakish and unnerving, and I had no way of stopping it. But ... I could still try. I locked my muscles in place, my shoulders so tense that they hurt, my whole body shaking from the strain of resistance. "Theo." A tear ran down my cheek, not even able to lift a hand to wipe it away. "I trusted you! You need to stop!" "They'll kill you if I don't." The distress was in his voice, his eyes, and it was as strong as my own. "I don't want this, but I have to make it happen." His eyes narrowed, and his stare became more intense, the pressure building. "Do as I said. Now." Stiffly, I turned and walked one step only, before I brought myself to a halt. It was like sitting on a very steep slope in a car with brakes that barely worked. If the chain broke, it would be all the way down at full speed until I hit the bottom. Can't. Won't. Forcing my head to turn to the side so we had eye contact, I tried again. "Please, Theo. Please." My lips quivered and I blinked, just managing to stay still. "You're hurting me." "I- ... I have to." He stumbled over his words for a second, then he flinched and looked away. "There's- ... it's the only way." In that instant, I felt a gap. A crack. For only a second I was free, and before he could look back, I acted. In one motion, I reversed course, stepping back, and my right fist came up in a tight arc to punch him in the face, slamming into his left cheek with a smack. Free. The compulsion dissolved, his concentration broken by the shock of the blow, and I was already moving. Pain was blooming in my knuckles and wrist from the force of the hit, but I would not pause; not for anything. He had no chance to recover before I threw the rear slider open and was gone across the yard. By the time I heard him again, I was through the rear gate, his voice rising on the afternoon air, both remorseful and urgent, and footsteps on the yard's grass; a quickened rhythm like my own. I didn't know whether he was genuinely sorry or whether he was meaning to follow through on what he had attempted, but ... I wasn't going to find out. One advantage I knew I had from our afternoon soccer was speed, and while he was fast too, I had a second advantage over him: stamina. I leaped straight over the drainage creek, the empty council land and Theo behind me, and without stopping, continued up the hill at speed. Past where the caves were, then onto the ridge, just as I had a few days earlier during the search for a newly escaped dragon from the garden shed. Only, this time I kept going. The slope crested and then began descending, the trees on the lower side becoming more suited to the forest than scrub; larger and leafier, ferns scattered throughout the spaces between them. The exertion from climbing was gone, and I ran downhill, the wind on my face, but still, back a distance, I could hear him following, and calling my name. Stop chasing me! Then, there was broad sunlight, and still running at speed, I burst through the cover onto an open field. It was at least two football fields to the other side, the flat covered in wildflowers and lush thigh-height grass, but there was no chance to look at the scenery, because I had no intention of slowing down. Less than five seconds later, there were the sounds of his pursuit, and I didn't bother to look back, but ... I didn't have to. I was almost at the middle of the field, when there was a whoosh of air and a large shape went right over my head, did a tight 180 and landed in front of me with a thump that was heavy enough to shake the ground. Theo. As with the colour of his hair, he was a mix of orange and red-brown; the blend of it somewhere between burnt pumpkin and paprika. His appearance was much more solid than the only other dragon I had laid eyes on, and again, it matched his more robust human physique. The plating was thick and fully grown all over, his horns curving close around the side of his skull, bunching up in short, thick, protective coils. There was every indication that he had reached the size of a mostly-mature young adult, and it was precisely how big he was that took me by surprise. Crawley's comment from when we met about snakes large enough to crush buildings had never felt more relevant. Just standing on all fours and looking down at me, his head was maybe twenty feet off the ground. The main part of his torso alone was probably around thirty feet long, and the tail swept out behind him was easily double that and then some, though I couldn't see it properly from the angle I was viewing. The wings were drawn into an idle folded position, compressed somewhat, but from the glimpse of flight, they were enormous; at least eighty feet each. On top of this, there was the knowledge that Theo was not a full adult. His siblings, and others, had to be larger. Some of them, a lot larger. I am sorry. His voice was some sort of psychic projection, the 'sound' of it broadcast from his mind's physical location. It was heavier and deeper than his human voice, with a rich echoing bass that framed each word like a movie effect, or an electronic embellishment. Nonetheless, I could still hear scraps of the Theo I knew within the words, his personality not lost in the speech. I thought I could finish this, but it is too much. It is wrong. I will not return to them, and I cannot continue to act this lie. The Conclave is forsaken, and I am done with their plans, now and forever. No more. "You- ... you tried to force me!" I stared up at this enormous creature, and he back at me, as afraid as I was angry. "How can I know you won't give in to that pressure? How can I trust you?" I will do anything to prove it. I- ... I will give you knowledge. Knowledge that only my brothers know. His head lowered, coming closer, and I stepped back, my uneasiness involuntary. Knowledge that allows power over me. My name, my true name. "What?" I whispered. I am Thyndorag, of the Seventh House. Speechless, I gazed up at him. I was torn. He had tried to do something terrible, but, just like me, he was being pushed and pulled by greater forces all around him. Now, he was so far invested in escaping that he had told me his most personal and vulnerable secret. I did not get to reply, however, because another voice cut through the air, calling out from the direction we had come. "Thyndorag." From the trees, Araziah strode fearlessly through the grass, the word floating on the afternoon stillness, and his expression was of a raptor in waiting, sizing up prey; narrowed, sharpened, and prepared. "Now, I see you. Now, I know you." You. The surprise and apprehension in Theo's reply was momentary, and quick to dissolve. You exaggerate your strength. Turn back, hatchling. You cannot challenge me, not even with this. "I can," he stated, emphatic and unequivocal, "and I WILL!" At the finish of the sentence he broke into a run, leaped into the air and transformed. For the first time, I saw it in action, and it happened in the space of a blink; the dragon form simply appeared where the human had been, wings spread, head forward, intent on the first strike. "Araziah, no! NO!" From next to me, Theo launched himself over my head in a mirror image, his wings snapping open, a heavy whoomph of air blowing the grass flat as he passed. I had about three seconds to back away, in complete disbelief, as the two collided mid-air. The impact, and aftermath, was unforgettable. I had seen wildlife documentaries with all kinds of animals fighting; everything from lions and tigers, to wolves, bears, eagles, crocodiles, sharks; even the recreated animation of dinosaurs. It was always amazing to watch the brutality of nature's strongest through the comfortable isolation of a camera lens, able to observe it all from the safety of the living room. This was different, and on a level that exceeded anything else. I was witnessing, just feet away, two of Earth's unparalleled predators meeting in combat. In those first few moments of the fight, there were two thoughts that stood out about what I was seeing. The first was that Araziah was already a lot larger than he had been the day I saw him climbing over the back fence and escaping our property. He had to be more than twice that earlier size, and seeing his wings fully spread was truly astonishing. His growth was phenomenally quick in such a short time period, and in that brief instant I had to judge before they struck, I estimated that the length, width, and height of his bodily proportions were a little greater than two thirds of Theo's, and his weight at no more than one third. The other thought was that, despite his significant disadvantage in size, Araziah was much quicker and more aggressive. They crashed together, roars of confrontation reverberating off the trees and hills, smashing back to ground, locked in a close initial grapple. Theo landed a clawed slash from his right to the torso, knocking that side free, while Araziah's teeth snapped down on the left wing, aiming for the shoulder joint, before a twisting thrust and a powerful weighty kick with the left leg dislodged the smaller combatant and sent him flying off to the side. He tumbled headlong right past me, a dozen feet away, rolling twice before he could right himself. In the same moment, Theo turned along the trajectory and followed in a flying leap that brought him thirty feet off the ground, limbs extended in an assault stance, before bringing his full weight to smash down on the target. Beneath, the red dragon slid, barely skittering out of the way before the hit could land, and with an agile grace, he jumped to the nearby forest edge, rappelled off the trunk of a white oak and launched himself, spinning in the air to dive on top of his foe. I was backing up further, away from the melee, not wanting to be crushed in their single-minded violence. Just as Araziah landed on Theo, the latter was whirling to counter it, but the jaws were already scraping at his neck. A scattering of orange scales and armour shards were ripped free from the throat and upper chest, Theo's angered snarl coming in tandem, his left arm pushing Araziah away. Without entirely letting go, he turned the fended swipe into an opportunity, and put his brawn forward. Turning the attack around, Theo used his weight to gain a dominant position, and then the smaller dragon was forced backward, the superior mass working against him. Again, locked in a grapple, they rolled, snapping and wrestling, a thrashing mess of wings, claws, fangs, and fury, that went blindly flailing through where I was just standing. They continued their rampage down to the other end of the clearing, a strange savage dance that neither would back down from. Transfixed, I ran back across closer to the forest that lay in the direction of home, not taking my eyes off the pair all the while, mindful that I might have to leave fast no matter the outcome. End this idiocy! We are kin, not enemies! Theo's shout was plain above their battle, and he was subduing Araziah, every ferocious effort more contained than the last. The orange dragon was forcing the smaller onto his back as much as possible, each movement restricted, drawn in, even though the slow cornering was energising the red into a vortex of pure wildness. Theo had him half-pinned, but he would not stop, the viciousness unending. If you persist, if you will not yield, I will destroy you! Araziah's answer was to stop, for just a moment. His jaw snapped open and a jet of fire shot out, engulfing Theo's face. The larger shook his head, a low rumbling complaint of irritation, not pain, and he slapped Araziah's jaw, interrupting the flame breath. Fool! Fire cannot undo fire, and you are not strong enough! Surrender! At last, Araziah spoke in his natural state, and it was just as unyielding and potent as his personality, his supreme ego. I am Araziah and you are Thyndorag. I am true fire, and you? There was a strange sharp noise, and the red dragon shimmered from existence beneath Theo. He only had time to sit up and turn about in bewilderment, before he caught the sound and rushing sensation of moving air, as Araziah plunged from a hundred feet above. He slammed Theo prone with the full force of his momentum, their positions reversed, the foreclaws punched into the ridging of the upper chest, anchoring them together. Araziah reared, drawing in a deep breath. YOU WILL BURN! The second cone of fire bathed Theo's entire head and the ground beneath him. For just two seconds, it seemed no worse than the previous, but then ... it was. I watched, my horror multiplying, breath coming short, as the orange-red shifted rapidly to yellow, then white, then finally to a crackling blue inferno, dazzling bright and tinged with rippling violet. Then, scales were melting, flesh and skin ablating away. Theo's body shook, gripped by an impossible heat, the conflagration searing everything from outside in. Secondary jets burst out again, fire escaping via the eye sockets and all other gaps through the skull, into a horrendous blazing corona. For a moment, that was all I could see; his head wreathed in a crown of the purest hottest fire. Then the bone itself began to char and with one last spasm, he collapsed onto the sterilised earth; the conflict over, the flaming torment done. No. It's- ... he couldn't have. This wasn't supposed to happen. It can't be ... I could only stare, aghast, as the red dragon climbed atop the broken corpse of the other, the rest of the lifeless torso and limbs now igniting in a natural fire of its own; returning in death to the element that spawned him. There, Araziah raised himself, triumphant and surrounded by the flickering ashes of his enemy, wings extended, standing tall, and roared his victory to the sky. -o-0-O-0-o- The outer vestibules of the complex were enormous, even though they had no obvious function beyond waiting rooms. To even the briefest inspection, it was evident that they were created to allow all but the largest dragons space for resting comfortably, if the choice was such. There was no illusion who this place was designed for, and no question which power they served. Not that she harboured any doubts. The final recesses near the primary entrance were as devoid of activity as the rest of them had been, but this caused the Lady Shiba no concern. She strode with conviction, unworried that her arrival was surely noticed, her presence known, and her purpose already assumed. It was why she pushed through the double doors with no pause, each half of the towering aperture flung open as if it were no more than cardboard. The audience chamber was immense; octagonal, a high vaulted ceiling, floor of steely granite, the walls a mural of black and yellow etchings that climbed from base to roof. Palatial crystalline braziers hung far above, each with a substantial blaze, the chained links between them casting a mishmash of shadows. At all of the octagon’s corners, barring the one where the entrance was, there sat a chair on a raised balcony projected from the wall junction. Each was accessible only from a door on the corresponding intersection, well above regular human height. On the corner directly opposite the entrance, at ground level beneath the balcony was another exit; an archway. Covered only by a curtain of glittering grey material, it led into the private innermost quarters. In front of the arch stood a lone figure dressed in the red and black ceremonial robes of the Conclave. "So, after all this time, here you are." He was built in classic style for his breed; handsome, elegant, a sharp-tipped nose, tousled yellow-blond hair, and penetrating amber eyes. Early 50s in apparent maturity, though he had a strange otherworldly agelessness that was alien to humanity; a fantastic seniority of clear skin and bright eyes, indicative of a creature that had lived for centuries and would see yet more if fortune was kind. There was also an even-tempered calmness that should have been more perturbed at the company he was in, but there were no qualms visible. "Undisguised, no less." The Lady Shiba reached the chamber's centre, where the concentric spirals of the stone patterning met. There she stopped, and she was as he had said: without magical artifice and lacking any form of concealment. Her veil was gone, the hood drawn back, her silken gown a vivid cobalt. Her hair was lighter blue, like the early evening sky, and from crowning woven Greek braids, it flowed around her shoulders in waves and curls. Tiny chunks of precious stone were entwined in the tresses, and the light glinted and sparkled off quartz, moonstone, topaz, beryl and sapphire. More than ageless, her look was impossible to tell. It was young, old and everything in between; perennial and undying, outside the throes of time. She did not speak. "I will concede that I was not expecting the mysterious assassin to be the Tempest herself. This is a chance not to be passed over; to see her in person, to hear her speak." He continued, a faint smile, cordial. "Our kind is long robbed of such experience. Whispers from the shadow realm cannot compare, but, soon, our father will not be so ... impaired." "Rulthain, sire of the First House." Her insight was perfect, finely attuned and pinpoint. "Where is my priestess?" He laughed. "Your oracle is far from here. Too far. We are not so reckless to keep her in a common holding. She will be dead before you find her. Always too late. The future cannot be stopped." "You will tell me." Her eyes glowed, and she raised her hands in front, palms up, each surrounded by an orb of blue light, ice crystals beginning to cluster and cling about her fingertips. "I will quench your fire and take what I must from your frozen heart." "I think not." Rulthain clicked his fingers, and from six of the seven doors above, excluding the one over him, figures emerged onto the surrounding balcony perches. There were three per door, dressed in variations of the ceremonial garb. "The Conclave remains defended." The Lady Shiba glanced up, viewing the ring of faces arrayed against her in turn, each trio seen and heeded. She lingered for a moment longer on the balconies to the immediate left and right of Rulthain, her insight recognising two of the individuals for who they were. "Porazun of the Second, Gerricas of the Third. I see spawn of the Fourth also, but there are two houses missing." She looked back to Rulthain, brow raised in an inquisitive mockery, followed by an equally taunting question. "Have the Fifth and Seventh followed Irofex's vanquished kin into falsity and betrayal?" "Tempest." It was Gerricas who answered, the one to Rulthain's right. He was a lean middle-aged figure, devious and shrewd, his face pale and hair shoulder length, burgundy with ebony streaks. "Your interest in the subtleties of our history and pedigree is truly flattering, but such base commentary does not become you. The Fifth aids their brethren, the house a loyal friend to the Conclave, as true as any children of fire, but the Seventh?" He gave a little chuckle. "It is impressive that you arrive to subjugate us with a list of true names at the ready, so ... it behooves me to reveal that you cannot learn anything of Xajarkith's line from any of us. You will never know their names, and your plan to slaughter his descendents and forestall the prophecy comes to nothing. How it must smart to know that one of them will instead fulfill it, and in so doing, bring about your fall." "You presume much, but ... I tire of this infantile chatter." The light around her hands expanded, the presence of her psychic aura radiating out to fill the audience chamber. Her voice grew, in both volume and strength, a display of raw unmitigated power. "Abandon your cause, or perish." In unison, the Conclave members raised their arms, a warding motion of protection invoked. The defence was collective, and the stronger members, the elders and sires, did no more than flinch, the attack fended off. The younger and less able grunted and recoiled in pain, some clutching at their heads, though all withstood it. Except for one. On the centre-left balcony, one of the three occupants, a young female, screamed. Whirling about, crazed and disoriented, she tripped on the edge and fell, transforming before she hit the granite. A median-size mottled red-grey adult, the dragon convulsed; wings, claws, and limbs scrabbling and gouging at the rock. The spacious interior left more than enough room for the agitation to occur unimpeded, the Lady Shiba out of reach at the centre. Without moving, she turned her head only, giving full focus to the distressed creature, the psychic agony intensifying. Scales were squeezed free, popping from the head, bone cracking, and jets of boiling blood ruptured out the eyes, and from the neck. The dragon gave a final jerk before she succumbed, thumping heavily upon the floor, and with a flick of the Tempest's fingers, a wave of cold swept the body, freezing it solid before it could burn. Then a second flick sent a surge of blue light, pure kinetic force that pushed the corpse to strike the chamber's wall where it shattered into a million fragments. Crippled, broken, condemned; an ignoble hellish death by true ice. The Lady Shiba returned her attention wordlessly back to the sire of the First House, serene and composed; the abhorrent finale a resounding period at the end of her display. "Is that all you bring?" Rulthain spat, contempt paired with his unabashed hatred. "We have no fear of death. You dare not assume your natural form. I know this. Humanity's ignorance and the illusion of their self-imagined primacy is too fragile and precious for you to dispell with open war. You are bound. You are limited." He held out his hands, as did Porazun, Gerricas, and several of their companions, and the flame poured down from the braziers, splitting into arcs that came to rest in a floating ball over each palm. "No victory here can avail you, nor will it prevent your fate." "The ocean does not fear the spark." She whispered it, her hands moving in a gentle curving motion until the fingertips came together, as if in prayer. Gerricas shook his head, the fire at his palm swirling about his fingers, a playful prelude to what was about to happen. "Ah, but it takes just one to kindle the world." On the finish of his words, simultaneously, the Conclave attacked. From all sides, streams of flame were launched at the Tempest, twelve pairs of hands pulling and manipulating the blaze drawn from above, directing it at their foe. The other six leaped down from their vantage points, and taking dragon form, stood in a looming cordon about her. Their breath joined the tirade of heat, and for many long seconds, the lone figure was lost in the miasma of fire, a little bubble of blue encased in the roaring white storm of elemental rage. Then, the bubble grew. In a pulse, it expanded out a few feet, pushing back the flame. Then again, and a third time. Inside, the baking surface of the floor hissed and cracked, fracturing as the temperature plunged over the reclaimed ground; steam turning to an icy mist. The encircling dragons backed up, their area shrinking, then one by one, they returned to human form. Fleeing the ever-expanding shield of the Tempest, the six departed out the nearest of the ground access points; either the entrance doors, or the arch by Rulthain. "Withdraw! All of you!" In the wake of their departure, Rulthain's shout to the remainder was vociferous, heard even over the thunderous collision of magical forces. "Go to safety!" Heeding his command, all but the other two sires relented, turned, and ran for the exits behind them. The wall of blue was closer, jumping outward more with each push, and it was only two dozen feet from them; the interior a blizzard of howling snow and churning ice. Together, Porazun and Gerricas jumped to the floor, moving to stand shoulder to shoulder with Rulthain, their spray of fire constant all the while. "Brethren, leave now!" Porazun's first and only speech was brief, and he stepped in front of the other two, drawing more of the flame to him, taking the burden onto himself and throwing it forth with renewed anger. "I am strongest! I will contain her!" They did not argue. Rulthain and Gerricas did as they were bade, and slipped through the arch's curtain behind. They dashed through the private chambers, passages and stairways, until less than a minute later, they broke into the open air, taking to the sky. In moments more, they were high above and beyond reach, the heavens darkening and the rain beginning, when Porazun was at last overcome. Below, there was a momentary perfect calm, the world seeming to fall silent for a single second. An outburst of overwhelming bright blue light burst from within the buildings. The shockwave discharged, the walls and roofs exploding up and away. The sire of the Second House was gone, obliterated entirely, and standing in the frozen wreckage of the Fire Eternal was a lady of river and lake, a tempest of storming hail. She was unharmed and undefeated; the goddess of ice prevailing, the Spirit of Water ascendant. -o-0-O-0-o- I could not bear to watch. My chest ached, my head was throbbing, and I felt sick. The sight alone was disturbing and terrifying, and to see the smoking fragments, cooling trails of it still rising into the afternoon clouds, was too much. I couldn't do it. So, I walked away. I did not reach the trees at the field's edge before there was movement from behind, the distinct sound of wingbeats. The air whooshed overhead, and he dropped down right in front, blocking my exit, so close that I clearly felt the impact of his weight. Where are you going? Araziah folded his wings back, and began to circle me, walking to my left, his tail coiling in the opposite direction so I was penned in, his head facing inward, watching. I am not done. "But I am." My hands were balled in fists, and I was so close to doing something really stupid. "You KILLED him!" I warned you. I warned him. Neither of you listened, and now ... he is dead. "Who gave you the right?!" You did. What?! He finished his first circuit, but he continued on, like he was a cat stalking a wounded mouse in a trap. Your promise was made. I saw it was real, and I saw you. I know not yet how nor why, but my insight was clear. I saw you. In some way, you will guide the shape of things to come. You are the assurance of my future in waiting. Our future. His tail swished in a random twitch of excitement, scything through and snapping several low-hanging branches off the nearest tree. If any other dragon knew what I know, they would spend all their strength to own you. This is what I protect. This is the reason I act. This is why you are mine. "I don't know what you think I agreed to, but I didn't promise you fucking ANYTHING!" I was shouting, but I didn't care any more. "Nobody owns me. I'm not your toy. I'm not your servant, your errand boy, or your fucking tour guide, and I sure as hell am not your prize! Do you know what consent is? It means I have to consciously agree, because I have free will. I'm not doing anything you say unless I want to, and if you don't like it, you'll just have to ... kill me." Instantly, Araziah stopped circling, his eyes zeroing on me. What did you just say? "You heard me. Silly human isn't behaving. Your only options are to mind control me, or kill me. So, go on then, or have you lost your courage? What's the matter, did you forget how fast it is to burn all your problems away?" There was a part of me that knew that it was potentially suicide to antagonise a dragon, especially one like this, but there was another part that simply no longer gave a fuck. "It was really easy just a couple minutes ago, right? What's stopping you now?" He let out a low rumbling growl, an indication that the comments were hitting a nerve. Be very careful what you wish for. "Or what? You'll grant it? Because that's really going to screw up your 'future in waiting' isn't it? If you could still do that same shit without me, I'd already be a puppet or a corpse, and you'd be-" There, I came to a screeching halt, a lightbulb going off in my mind. Why hadn't he already done this? The reason was obviously not that he wasn't capable, because I knew that was beyond dispute. It was because he was holding back. He can't 'make' me or it'll fuck everything up. "Wait! I- ... I think I get it. I have to help you willingly, right? You compel me or you kill me, you're not going to get what you want. Whatever 'glorious destiny' you saw needs me to choose it. You can't bring yourself to take the risk. Am I right?" I glared at him, looking him directly in the closer eye, black on gold, the iris tightly focused in a righteous anger. "Because I'm not choosing that. Not until you change." You continue to frustrate me at every point. He didn't deny it, but there was another very pissed-off growl, a lower raspy tone. This is the last chance to abide by your oath. Do not waste it. "No. I won't obey. You know what your alternatives are. What are you waiting for?" In a quick twisting movement, Araziah turned on the spot, his body swinging out behind, his front curving in very close by me. The left foreleg hit the grass just inches from my right foot with a violent thoomp, his head and shoulder thrust past, and his jaw snapped open. A roaring burst of flaming temper enveloped the tree in front of us, the backdraught of heat and wind so close that it mussed my hair. Abruptly he stopped, then peeled away to the right with not a second thought, the tail carving a foot overhead like a whip made of spikes and metal. With a single leap, the red dragon was in the air, wings beginning to beat, and I heard his parting words. You choose poorly. His vocal projection seemed to echo around the field, a lofty distant condescension to it; an irate afterthought thrown over the shoulder on the way out by an insulted guest. Perhaps the Conclave will prove wiser. We will see. Then, with a magical gleam, the sky hazing around his airborne form, Araziah vanished, and I was left alone under the late afternoon sun.
  12. Spirit of Fire

    A wee bit of language lore for my Spirit of Fire readers. Small warning though, there's nothing too serious in here, but if you want to avoid any sort of potential spoiler, you may want to hold off until you've reached at least Chapter 7, to be properly safe.
  13. That awkward canon-breaking moment when you realise that you ship the secondary love interest just as much as the OTP in your own work.


    Sigh. Um, I guess polyamory is a thing too, right? <_<

  14. Compulsion And Resistance

    Thanks for commenting! Crawley is great fun to write and very easy for me to characterise. It's not hard for me to know how he'll respond to most things, and the sorts of unique phrasing he'll use in dialogue. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story!
  15. Already Claimed

    Siblinghood is derived from having the same parents; typically this is a bonded pair, though sometimes it's the result of an impulsive tryst. The children need not hatch at the same time to have an emotional bond to one another. Nero and Darren are the closest in age and have a rather blasé relationship, whilst Theo is much younger but is clearly dear to his older brother. Their relationships are not unlike ours with regard to family bonds; how caring or not depends on the personalities involved. Some people love their siblings, some can't stand them. While something resembling imprinting can happen, as they age and become more territorial and solitary -- they are not naturally social pack creatures but are solo predators like a tiger -- the importance of youthful impressions fades. Since they are also intelligent magical beings and not simply animals, wilfully ignoring those impressions is quite possible, as is banding together with others of their own kind for common purpose. This is not to suggest that their behaviour can't be affected by imprinting at some subconscious level, just that it need not be a dominant factor. It is mostly the fire dragons who consider an actual serious relationship with a human to be beneath them. Using people for sex or as slaves or just as a food source is fine; treating them as a beloved equal fits anywhere from bizarre through to abominable and disgusting. The other elemental types are not as zealous, of course, although generally speaking they are aloof and apathetic to the struggles of a human life and just don't get intimately involved with our affairs. After all, they can live for a long time -- centuries or even more -- and human lives seem short and unimportant by comparison. However, friendships and relationships can and do happen! They are just the exception, not the rule. So, to round this off, they can definitely feel the same sorts of emotions as people, but it is all relative to the unique position they hold in the world and how they perceive everything else from that strange lofty viewpoint.

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our cookie and Privacy Policy.