Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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The Next Day
Grasslands between Keye and Abyele
Erik breathed in the cold breeze as it swept past his form, as the blades of grass swung all around him.
As the sun shined down from high above, its light lightning up his every direction, even the Dark Citadel as it hovered above.
All but himself, as he stood beneath the ever-flowing storm that was his wind elemental.
Darkness surrounded him, just as he felt the same fill him, mind and soul Erik felt the darkness loom within.
“Our foe approaches,” Xeyl whispered with the breeze and into Erik’s ears.
As the elemental, and its other three brethren formed behind their master.
“Then the time has come,” Erik mused, “Lower it.” He said nonchalantly, as high above the citadel began to move.
Riding the storm, it hovered back and away from Erik, then slowly began to fall.
“Dejal, Fierv. Give it a nice landing,” He told the other two, as the elemental of flame and the one of earth turned to face the descending city.
As their magic flowed into the ground, quaking it flat and burning it clear.
Creating the perfect terrain, as the storm clouds parted, gently setting the Dark Citadel down onto the ground.
Erik turned around, gazing upon its greatness for a long silent moment.
His creation, “Quite the mark you leave, master.” Voltru mused as its form shuddered with energy, the clouds then completely dissipating from sight.
“I’m not done yet,” Erik replied, “I’ve only begun to leaving my mark.” He said before returning to face the wide-open grasslands ahead.
“It has been short, but you’ve been more than useful Xeyl.” He told the wind elemental, “Fierv, Voltru, even in my past life you were both of immense use as well.” He told the other two, before his gaze fell to the last as all four now kneeled.
“Dejal, my dear old friend, you I thank the most. Eons spent protecting my liar, without barely a hint of spite on my return. Thank you, each of you, for everything.” Erik said, his expression remaining blank as he continued to speak.
“Master?” Dejal said in a questioning tone, confused albeit having no features to physically show such.
“For this day I will need my full strength, as such…” Taking in another deep breath, Erik raised his right hand up. “Guardians, Dejal, Fierv, Voltru, Xeyl…I release you.” He chanted before snapping his fingers, a sound which echoed through each elemental’s very being.
As each of their forms then shuddered, as the ground and air around them quaked.
As their true forms were briefly revealed, for the giants that they were, each standing almost as tall as the Citadel itself.
The four goliaths kneeled, a mountain, a storm, a blizzard and an eruption each kneeled before Erikathyr.
As each dissipated out of this physical realm, returning back to the spirit realm.
Erik continued to chant, “Draconic School; House Hold Subschool; Lair;…” taking a deep dreading breath.
“Unclaim.”, Erik ended his chant.
Stumbling back then, Erik clenched his chest, as black veins grew to riddle his body.
As all the power, all the mana that was sealed away to control and own this fragment of space he called his Lair…returned to him.
Erik shuddered, yet smiled.
Although the pain was unignorable, the power which coursed through his body was something he hadn’t ever felt.
He was a Lairless Dragon now, what his people regarded as a feral beast.
And feral Erik felt, as the sound of marching feet finally reached his ears.
As over the horizon of rushing grass, a line of grey began to rise.
“Finally…” He mused, “Finally…” He growled, turning then to gaze elsewhere as more sound joined the already quaking melody of drumming and stomping metal boots.
As an armada of Zrosian grey armoured soldiers rose to his east, a line of blue rose to his north.
Azure armour, black and blue capes alongside tall emerald-green great-swords held high. The Elven armies of New Druv too approached.
“Finally!” Erik bellowed for all to hear, his voice overtaking all as it filled the grasslands.
As he glanced to his west, as there too rose another colour, another line over the horizon, another foe.
Hellbent on surrounding him, the Dwarven armies of Seeri came from the west. Just barely visible beyond and behind the citadel.
Three kingdoms marched towards him, three people joined against him.
“Ohh, how reminiscent is this of old times past.” Erik mused in draconic, as his blackened wings spread wide open.
As with a single, albeit struggling wing-beat, he rose into the sky.
His wings shook as he hovered, particles of dark energy flowing out of his form and falling down.
Erik smiled widely, as within minutes the armies now surrounded him, as their chosen ‘heroes’ stepped forth from the masses.
Out of the last remaining Zrosian army, stepped out Hanae herself, Empress and Elder Beast of the Zrosian wilds she moved forth with her retinue of powerful beasts. Her expression seemingly calm, yet twitching, as pure rage filled her boiling heart.
As then out of the Elven army, stepped out seven more, their features amusing Erik to no end.
Behind them stood an army of Wood Elves, Snow Elves, Night Elves and High Elves, yet out of the seven only one was indeed not a High Elf. Reminding Erik that, some things just did not change.
Glancing then to the dwarves, twelve stepped forth this time, gnarled expressions and awfully unkept beards within suits of armour of the highest quality of both make and enchantment, each wielding weapons which radiation raw power.
Erik opened his arms wide, “And so, history repeats itself.” He exclaimed out loud.
“Indeed, vile beast, as I only see yourself and a mountain of stone behind you.” Mused one High Elf, four arrows already knocked upon his crystalline bow, yet take aim he did not.
“The great Erikathyr, destroyer, devourer, conqueror. Stands before his joint enemies, alone. Truly, you must jest.” Hanae growled, “Enough with the tricks, enough with the ploys. You can hide your filthy rats beneath your shadow, but once you have fallen nothing will save them then!” The Zrosian Empress exclaimed.
Her eyes burning, literally a bright crimson, as she met the Dragon’s dark gaze. “Look around you, Dragon, the entire world has come to see you fall…for second time. And for a second time, you stand without ally or friend or family. Surrender, and may we have mercy upon your dreaded soul.” Hanae spoke with a commanding tone.
As Erik’s eyes narrowed, as his smile faltered.
“Surrender?” He mused in Zrosian, “After all this? After how far I’ve come?”
“And same as before, you will fail, you will fall, you will be slain!” A Dwarven lord announced, slamming the end of his massive flail upon the ground, sending many another dwarf stumbling from the ensuing quake.
“Hah…Fail…Fall…Slain?” Erik repeated in dwarven, as his gaze fell.
“Indeed, all that lays behind me is a mountain.” He then spoke in Elven, “And this city, shall stand forevermore, marking how far I’ve come. Marking, through its foundation of blood and gore, through its structure of hard work and raw power…This Dark Citadel, shall mark the immortality of my children and theirs. This Dark Citadel, shall stand for as long as this world shall, for I name it now. Draconia, that it never falls.” He announced, as very slowly he began to descend back down.
“But vile beast?” He returned to draconic, halfway down to the ground. “Vile, I might be, but beyond beast this being that is me was born. Now beyond dragon as well.”
As beneath his breath, he chanted.
“Light, which I earned. Brightness, which makes me whole.” A whisper it was, yet it filled the ears of all, his words blowing through the fields of grass like a frigid breeze.
As the champions of each side, suddenly rushed to cease his words.
Elven royals, Dwarven lords and an Elder Beast, each charged the chanting Dragon.
Their weapons flashing into action faster than the flowing wind, as Erik continued his chant. “The white of my scales, gold of my eyes…Now black of scale, now crimson of eye! For I am not light, for darkness is now I. A darkness I command not…”
His voice, turning into a growl as he continued on.
As weapons deemed legend, dove into his form.
“Blessed, I am not.”
As with a single wing beat, each was sent flying aside.
“Fire as it was absorbed within, Lightning deformed by my sins. My blood boils, my blood roars…”
All but Hanae who withstood the burst of mana, soaring forth as her claws expanded beyond her small frame.
“Yet my blood’s element…this is not.”
Swiping forwards, she was met with Erik’s Underblade, as the pitch-black weapon held one-handed deflected both sets of claws in a singular motion.
“As still, it rises forth…”
Suddenly Erik plummeted, crashing onto the ground yet still standing, his dark gaze rose to meet each of theirs as briefly he paused his chant.
“Let us begin, the final chapter.” He mused, before finishing his chant right after.
“Draconic School; Unleash Linage!” Erik bellowed, his voice naught but a monstrous roar, as his form exploded into swirls of darkness.
Growing, expanding into a massive form, Erikathyr the Dragon now suddenly stood before the three armies in his true might…yet changed.
Gone were the beautiful white scales,
Gone were the glorious golden horns,
Gone were his majestic white and gold wings.
With scales of the darkest black, jagged horns of crimson, leathery wings of blood red held up by limbs of black…A feral violet filled Erik’s eyes, as his gaze befell his foe.
The Dragon arched back, wings briefly enclosing…
Before suddenly bursting wide open, sending forth a turbulent wind.
The Dragon roared, quaking the ground, quaking the air.
Quaking his enemy’s hearts, filling them with a primal kind of terror.
“Let us put this to rest, and play the final note to my melody!” Erikathyr exclaimed, stomping down onto his front clawed feet, as flames of the darkest black flickered in between his mouth.
As flames darker than night, burst out with the opening of his maw.
Hanae stepped forth to meet his attack, as her own form changed.
The reality of her shape shuddering, Hanae suddenly reappeared larger, different.
A massive brown bear with moss, leaves and an entire forest growing upon its back, eyes burning crimson as she stomped her right front paw down.
The ground shook, then rose to her will, forming a pillar of stone she deflected the Dragon’s fiery breath.
As over the stone, briefly she caught a glimpse of his spreading wings.
And as the pillar of stone fell to dust, a burst of wind followed as the Dragon rose into the skies.
Spinning in his upward motion, Erikathyr turned as he levelled out with wings held closed, reopening them as he spun to then re-face the ground.
“Come, denizens of Faetera, allow me to introduce you to your maker!” The Dragon called out, before descending down upon the gathered masses, seeming to each mortal eye like a horseman of the apocalypse.
His massive draconic form swept down, gliding over the army as a trail of darkness was left in his path, rising back up briefly as he turned to dive back down once more.
Maw widening, as once more Erikathyr swept over the armies.
Black flames engulfing thousands then, as many more rushed to get out of his wrath.
Ending his massacre by fire, as he came to meet the Elder Beast once more, and the two monsters clashed. As Erikathyr bent his wings upwards, revealing all four of his clawed feet as the mountain of a bear rose to her hind-legs.
Erik crashed into Hanae, his claws raking through her tough fur and even tougher hide, splattering blood all over those who stood beneath, a tidal wave of crimson upon many poor a soul. As the Elder Beast whined in pain, digging her own claws upon Erik’s scales, yet pierce them they did not.
Digging down with her maw then, Hanae’s fangs tightened around Erikathy’s left foreleg, a force capable of crushing any city’s wall.
Yet, still his scales withheld.
Not a scratch, not a drop of blood, as Erikathyr pulled away.
Pushing off with all fours, as he beat his wings, Erik sent Hanae stumbling back.
As once more he opened his maw wide.
Not a chant, not even the semblance of one escaping his breath, as flames of darkness gushed out instead.
Hanae was engulfed, her vision going black as instead of feeling the flames burn away her flesh.
Immediately, whatever the darkness touched, it all went numb.
And as the Dragon returned to the skies, all watched in frozen awe, as the last of her kind…The Elder Beast fell to her knees, blood dripping out from what wasn’t charred black, as her expression lay passing into blankness.
Empress Hanae, in her strongest form, passed out from the agony.
Her massive body looming forward, threatening to collapse upon her scurrying people…Through a shuddering of reality, she suddenly returned to her previous form.
Collapsed and unconscious upon the scorched ground.
“With a single breath…” A Dwarven Lord mused as he gazed upon Zrosa’s strongest.
“It is not over yet!” Exclaimed a Snow Elf, one of New Druv’s chosen few, with features as white as their name recalls.
As he and his brethren all raised their arms forth, magic flaring within their eyes, many others also joined.
As chants of all kinds flowed through the armada below, the voices increasing with each word spoken.
Erikathyr swooped down once more, breathing out a black blaze in a wide arc all the while slashing his bladed tail along the ground, yet still the chanting continued, and spells ensued.
From the most common balls of flame formed by the foot soldiers, to complex coils of several elements flaring up into the sky, casted by the more expert of mages.
To then devastating barrages of power, as the Elven heroes casted forth their own.
Erikathyr flew, as fast as his massive form could manage, he evaded many a spell simply with his speed.
Yet, with a gigantic army unlike any other spanning the entirety of the ground below, he couldn’t evade them all.
As flames seared his scales, as ice formed solid along with his wings, as lightning strikes and water blades struck his sides.
Those did little alone, but as thousands bashed into his body, together they caused much more.
Followed by a joint cast, the Elven heroes spoke their unified chant.
“Raise the elements shall thy, to my command thou flows. Fire, Water, Wind, Earth…” In Elven they each chanted, hands raised and eyes closed as they stood in a circle, “Lightning, Ice, Life and Light!” As each called upon element flowed out of their bodies, wind and light far greatly than the others, the elements formed at their centre.
“Upon what makes us and this world, calls thy. By thy power, move, strike!” They each called out, and the elements merged into an amalgamation of colours, taking the form of what seemed to be light, this was naught but a mixture of pure raw mana.
Erik turned to them just as they ended their chant, swooping down upon them then. “Arch-Sorcery; Sage Level; Elemental Catastrophe!”
And as Erik spread his wings to hover, as he widened his maw and breathed out pure darkness.
The mixture of elements surged upward, meeting his black blaze.
The combination of lights clashed with the darkness, the very air shuddering as if in horror by the collision of these two opposing energies.
As from below, it seemed to all as if a sun was being formed anew.
Whilst above, as if the darkness and eternity of space beyond was trying to snuff it out.
The very sound of this battle was not unlike the rumbling of thunder, growling, roaring right into each and everyone’s ears.
Filling the expressions of all with both astonishment and dread.
As the beam of lights suddenly began to grow thinner, then being overtaken by the befalling darkness, as it engulfed the Elven heroes just as well.
And everyone else around them.
Alarm filled each heart then, until a beam of pure white light pierced through the black.
Several dozen times thinner than before, yet brighter than ever, it blasted a hole right through Erikathyr’s attack…
And Erikathyr’s body, as the Dragon bellowed with pain.
As the blackness beneath him dissipated, he plummeted.
The Dragon fell back down to the ground with a crash, rocking the ground beneath one and all.
Now filling them all with hope, as Erikathyr struggled to stand up.
Wings laying sprawled upon the ground around him, as it was splattered with the charred corpses of thousands.
“Now’s our chance men!” A Dwarven Lord announced as machines of dwarven make rumbled forth.
“Give up not!” Exclaimed a voice from the Elves, “For our fallen! For their sacrifice! Let not this moment be lost! For New Druv! Blot out the sun!”
As a bellow grew also amongst the remaining Zrosians, thousands of roars joining into a great war cry.
As each of the three armies now converged onto the fallen Dragon.
Elven arrows filling the sky above, enhanced with deadly magic they rained upon Erikathyr.
Dwarven eruptions blasting forth from the side, as their cannons and worse sent forth a barrage of mithril.
Enraged but not disheartened by their fallen Empress, the Zrosians charged.
Like an army of frenzied beasts, as the Elven rain and Dwarven barrage came to a pause.
Erikathyr was surrounded, scaled like a hill and suddenly covered in hungering half-beasts, tearing away at his body slash by slash, bash by bash, stab by stab. Hundreds of weapons, feeling like needles, they filled his weary body.
As he growled, “Remember, my name. Remember, this day…” Erik exclaimed, as he steadied himself.
“Remember, my wrath!” Erikathyr roared out, as black sparks of lightning suddenly surged through his entire form.
Disintegrating all flesh and bone within a fifty-meter radius, the lightning crackled along his tail before surging up his back and into his now opening maw.
“Let me fill, your history books, with my immortal myth!” He exclaimed, as a beam of black crackling energy burst out from between his jaws, as he moved his head from left to right.
Running the continuous surge of lightning across the Dwarven lines, causing absolute havoc amongst them.
Thousands more, now lying dead.
As Erikathyr’s searing breath dissipated, still the Dragon stood tall, a terrifying sight to behold surrounded by what could only be depicted as cataclysmic.
Erikathyr stood tall, a mighty member of the greatest of beasts, a one-being-army.
Until, his entire body suddenly fell numb.
Agony, unlike anything he had ever felt before, it plagued his heart.
(“Hah…my time has run out.”) He thought.
Unable to breath, unable to speak.
(“This power…it takes ove-“)
Unable to move, Erikathyr collapsed to the ground.
His body shivered and twitched, as his eyes rolled back.
“Indeed, finally.” As a hellish voice then filled the battlefield, Brazath appeared, standing amongst the destruction.
Wingless, still the devil prince smiled widely. “Even you, cannot escape the inevitable!” He exclaimed in a maddened tone, eyes bulging wide open as he cackled wickedly.
As a dark aura formed all over Erikathyr’s fallen form, tendrils of black and violet too, like wisps of strange energy.
“For when the Ancient wakes,” Brazath quoted.
Unlike any darkness, unlike even the miasma of hell, something else entirely oozed out of him.
“For when the blood boils!” Brazath mused, as Erikathyr’s body suddenly pulsed with movement, seemingly growing into twice its previous size. “Monsters beware!” He exclaimed with great excitement, as once more Erikathyr’s body rose to its feet.
And once more reality seemed to pulse around it, once more it doubled in size.
Changing for the ultimate time.
As his horns now grew out like a forest of bone, whilst the tail grew thicker, yet also shorter.
The blackness of his scales, joined by a pulsating violet, a bright murky light flowing out from in between each plate.
As his wings, grew not with each sudden growth, and instead crumbled to dust, being no more.
A mountain in his own right, Erikathyr stood far above the clouds now.
His eyes though, showed no semblance of sentience, no Erik within.
Only a feral hunger, a primal ferocity, as its every movement formed a rumbling sound.
As it glanced down upon Brazath, who wholeheartedly laughed.
“The end…” He said with glee.
And the Elder Dragon growled.
“Is nigh and here! Hahahaha!“
And the entire world shook.