The skies were clear as blue crystal around the lush river valley in a clearing a herd of cattle grazed upon the succulent grass peaceful in their daily lunch. That is, until a black shape fell upon them out of the sky. The scream of an old bull went up into the air as the bovines retreated into a stampede. The bull's screams continued until a white blur dropped next to the black.
"Jabb, why haven't you killed it yet?" the white scaled dragon said to his son. Kraylan stood tall above his black and violet son the feral dragon was also much older. His scales were pure white, as if snow had fallen on him and had never melted away. Even his eyes were devoid of color, and pupil. A soft glow emanated from them and that was all one could see. His head was adorned with four horns, two large twisted ones that looked like a Kudu's except they were straighter and shone like polished marble. Two smaller horns were just behind them; they curved slightly to the back, and appeared to be like two large fangs.
"I... don't know father" the young dragon said as he pinned the helpless animal to the ground. It had stopped moving and crying out a while ago and only squirmed every so often. The bovine was pinned under two large paws covered in jet black scales. The dragon that held him down was covered in them except for his softer underbelly where it was covered in a deep purple almost amethyst. His eyes were black, but unlike his father the young drake had irises, and they were, like the scales of his underside, a shade of bright amethyst.
Kraylan hummed thoughtfully and approached the pinned animal; he opened his jaws and wrapped them around the cow's head. With a quick jerk of his neck a loud crunch was heard, and then all was still again. "We need to eat to survive boy, which means that we must kill." The father said, he could tell though, that the last thing this boy needed was another lecture. "Come, do you remember how to clean it?"
The two dragons spent the next hour or so opening up the cow and cleaning out its intestines and other organs. The black and violet drake didn't seem to have issue with this, which pleased the much older one. Kraylan taught his son which parts were safest to eat along with how to eat the bones without doing much harm to their throat. Once they were finished with their meal the older drake dug a hole and buried what remained of the carcass.
A few hours later the pair had stopped to take a relaxing dip in the hot springs. Kraylan was first into the slightly boiling water, it would likely be much too hot for any other creature, but for the dragons, whose existence was attributed to fire, it was merely a warm bath. Kraylan shivered slightly and laid himself down in the hot water, leaving his head just above the pool. The white drake's son meanwhile took a running leap and splashed in the middle of the large pond sending a wave crashing over Kraylan.
The old dragon lifted his head and narrowed his eyes at the younger male, who quailed a bit and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry dad" he said lowering his form into the water. Kraylan smiled and shook his head before swishing his tail and sending a wave of his own crashing over his child's head. The two of them laughed and Jab sent another wave at his father. Before long the two were splashing and playing, until at last the sun set behind the mountains and both were a little tired.
"I haven't played with you like that since I was very little" the son said to his father. Kraylan rumbled in reply, nodding his head.
"I know, I suppose I'm a little too severe sometimes." The dragon said crawling out of the spring; his scales glistened brightly in the moonlight, while Jab appeared to be a stripe of violet with eyes perched up above it.
"Didn't you have someone to play with when you were young?" Jabb asked as he laid himself down, folding his large wings close to his back. The elder dragon did not respond immediately, instead he gazed up at the stars for a few moments. "Dad?"
"No, I didn't" the dragon said laying himself down beside his child. Jabb looked a little confused, his judgment told him to stop his line of questioning, but he knew so very little about his father, and he was curious.
"What about your mother? You never talk about grandma" said Jabb. "Or grandpa" the drake added with a tilt of his head. Kraylan closed his eyes and slowly shook his massive head.
"you're reaching back more than a thousand years Jabberwocky, long before anything should matter to you." The drake replied, shifting uncomfortably. Jabb's response was to shake his head.
"No, you matter to me, and I want to know; other than you and mom I don't know any of our other family!" the young dragon said. The words stung Kray a little he had remained quiet all these years about his lineage for their sake. At least that is what he had told himself.
"Mine is not a pleasant story, and our lineage is... it's not a proud one Jabb, it will be difficult to hear." The dragon said, hoping beyond hope that this would dissuade the young drake. He should have known better though.
"So was the story of my un-hatched egg mate being murdered." Kraylan tensed up at that, his claws raking the ground in front of him. It had been his fault that his then rival Azari had stolen one of his un-hatched children. He remembered begging with the other drake, pleading like he never had before in his life. Azari had flash boiled the life within the egg right before Kraylan's eyes. The drake's wrath had been mighty, he killed the dragon on the spot, but the damage was done, and Kray had never forgiven himself for it. "Dad?" Jabb's voice snapped the dragon out of the past; he shook his head a little and turned to his son.
"Very well Jabberwocky, I will tell you how I came to be, how I was raised, grew into a monster, and eventually became the dragon I am today." Kraylan took a deep breath and began the tale of his parents meeting, something he'd never done before.
"More than a thousand years ago, I was nothing, not even a thought. My mother was a priestess, a true dragoness from a proud heritage. She was from a monastic order of justiciars that roamed the land, righting wrongs and dispensing order. The great work she had done caught the attention of the forces of evil, they sought to kill her, or at the very least dishonor her so she would be cast out of her order. And to that end they summoned my father."
"What was her name?"
"... Andara Silverscale."
The forest grew thick and close together, ancient and ragged the tree's branches intertwined as if trying to throttle their neighbors. The blackened twisted trunks and their dark leaves shot up into the air blocking out all of the sun's light. The branches and trunks made way for a dirt path, cracked and rocky, it had not been used, yet nothing grew there as if it were forsaken of all life. Along this path walked a proud dragoness, her body was covered in shining metallic scales from head to her toe claws. The anthropomorphic woman stood at an even six feet, her form was hidden beneath a veil of clothing; scale mail armor and robes. At her side was a single sword, and in her hands a long bladed spear.
The dragoness continued in silence, her face grim and her satin gold eyes full of worry, not for herself but for the state of the land. It was tainted, and she was on her way to find the source and purify it if possible. The woman had long since sacrificed her old life in favor of living selflessly for the good of others. And her code of honor demanded that she find the source of this evil. She could feel it though; this place had been touched by a hellish demon.
As she continued on the forest finally broke at the foot of a mountain, halfway to the summit she could see orange light pouring from what appeared to be a cave. The dragoness hummed thoughtfully and closed her eyes; she could practically feel the evil surrounding that place swirling like a vortex of hate and vile action. The priestess spread her wings and opened her eyes just before taking flight. She didn't want to tire herself out hiking up the steep terrain when she thought that there was a good chance she'd end up fighting.
The dragoness landed at the mouth of the cave and winced covering her snout with a hand "God... the stench." She said. The smell emanating from within the cave was that of rotting flesh, blood and a musk that could only be from numerous mating. Semen, sweat and even urine clung to the muggy air. The dragoness could hear chanting in some black language that even she could not comprehend. The dragoness shook her head and readied her spear, she whispered a prayer and at once the weapon began to glow faintly white with a holy aura. Andara took a breath and marched into the cave. The heat was incredible, stepping into the cavern was like stepping into an oven; The Mountain was an ancient volcano, but long dead. The cave was artificial, she could sense magic in its creation, and it was far too straight to have been made in any other way.
The dragoness followed the path until it veered slightly to the left, a correction for a mistake and that brought the central chamber into view, a huge room, as large as a cathedral. Directly in the middle of it was a towering spire of rotating flame, it was thick and disappeared into a hole in the ceiling. Andara ducked as a blade whistled through the air, she heard the steel strike the rock wall while she twisted her body and shoved the point of her spear through her assailant's gullet. She looked at him, and her eyes narrowed. "demon." She said pulling her blade free with a surge of blood. The creature was red skinned and reptilian in features. Horns sprouted from its head, back and neck as if it were a hellish porcupine. The foul beast gurgled a response then fell to the ground before bursting into flames.
The priestess scanned the large room for more targets, and she certainly found them. The cavernous chamber was littered with the lesser demons, they were fighting amongst themselves or fucking each other, a few were even eating their fallen brethren. It would take her a while to cleanse this place she realized, but the first thing she needed to do was find out the opening that these creatures were using to escape from hell. And Andara had a pretty good idea that the spiraling inferno had something to do with it. The dragoness said a prayer for herself and continued to the base of the flame with a purpose in her eyes.
As she crossed the floor she began to receive attention from those around her. The dragoness continued regardless, they would attack when they felt confident in their numbers against her. When she had reached the base of the fire she curled her lips back in a snarl, the ones who had created this blight on earth were still there. Six figures kneeling in a circle chanting barely audible above the roar of the flames. In the middle three offerings were made, the burnt remains of a holy book, a slain child, and one of the red robed figures who had killed themselves. "Violence to one's neighbor, violence to one's self, and violence to god" the priestess said to herself as she readied her lance. It was all she needed to see.
She heard the scrape of claws behind her and leaped straight into the air her powerful wings pushing her higher than her legs ever could. The dragoness turned mid air, picked out a target and dropped like a falcon. Her spear head found a home in the chest of one demon, then another. Andara's spear danced from opponent to opponent parrying with the haft, and thrusting into a new enemy, the dragoness kept her cool throughout, years and years of experience fighting calmed her almost into a perverted sense of peace. She could see where the swings and thrusts were coming from before they were thrown a quick dodge and a sure strike were usually all that was needed. Before long the small crowd had been reduced to ash. With her last enemy vanquished she turned her scaled head back to the blaze.
Her golden eyes narrowed on the red cloaked figure closest to her she didn't need to know who this person was, only that they had committed crimes that deserved death. She huffed and raised her spear once again then thrust into the person's back, her eyes widened when it was turned away at the last moment. The dragoness growled and tried again, to no avail. She disliked wizards, and she disliked wards immensely. Andara stopped and thought a moment; if she could not kill the casters then perhaps she could destroy their work? She stepped closer to the circle and studied the runes and pentagrams, she was studied in their meaning and a solution presented itself to her, but it would she realized, cost her greatly. Andara closed her eyes and said another prayer, asking forgiveness for what she had to do next.
She plunged her spear hard into the rock, the blade shimmered in the fire as the dragoness kneeled and drew her sword. She stood in the middle of the circle kicking the one who had murdered himself aside. The dragoness took several breaths and parted her tunic and pressed the tip of her blade under the little scales of her armor, rendering them useless. Andara steadied herself for the pain to come, let the fear wash over her body and pushed. She felt the chain mail holding the scales separate, her own scales tear, and then her flesh. But just before her steel found anything vital a boiling hot hand grabbed her by the shoulders and flung her away as if she were a rag doll Andara screamed as she hit the wall of the chamber, her wings broke with a sickening snap.
She slid to the floor and groaned as the pain throbbed through her body. She rose up and looked to her shattered wings hanging limply across her shoulders and dragging along the ground. Blood dripped from both, the bone breaking through her skin and the scales above them. Andara began to silently weep from the pain, in her hand she clutched her sword and looked up to see what had attacked her. The dragoness froze as he loomed near, He was a dragon, but unlike any she'd ever seen before. The male was tall with glowing embers for eyes. His scales were black as obsidian, with red breaking through his scales. His wings though were feathered and dusty grey, a black smoke drifted down from them. What caught her attention more than anything though were his horns, four great spiraled black thorns, and in the middle was a golden seven point crown wreathed in fire. He was an arch demon, one of nine that ruled over one of each of the circles.
"I sense divinity in you little one, I don't get to see that very often." The Helldrake said his voice booming over the roar of the flames. "You are no mere mortal are you Justiciar." He added, stepping towards her once again.
"Stay back from me demon!" she cried struggling to her feet; she succeeded, and stood with her back against the wall. The dragoness held up her sword, pushing down the pain, and focusing for the battle at hand. She prayed silently in her head and once more her blade glowed white. The arch demon's eyes drifted to her blade then to her.
"You have some tricks little girl, but they won't save you from me." The drake said holding up his hand. He gripped the air and a tongue of flame wreathed his hand, when it dispersed a golden hand and a half sword with an ivory grip was left in his black fist. Andara didn't wait, she cried out and lunged forward striking out at him with a furious overhand swing, and the drake raised his sword and casually flicked her blade away. Using the momentum she spun and swung at his side, but once again the dragon flicked her blade away, this time recovering and slashing down at her diagonally, attempting a cut from shoulder to hip. Andara leapt back, feeling the tip of his sword whip by.
The Helldrake turned his wrist and brought the sword forward, attempting to run her through. The priestess responded by parrying the thrust with a loud clash of steel, she lunged forward to slash at his neck. the drake hissed and ducked under the swing and brought his shoulder to her, he drove with his powerful legs and tackled her then with his sword arm threw her to the side, while doing this hi slipped his blade under her wing and with a small burst of blood sliced it off at the joint while she was being tossed.
Andara screamed in agony as she and her bloodied stump struck the ground, she rolled over on her side and convulsed for a moment, the pain of her missing wing driving her over the edge for a moment. She was brought back to reality, hearing the beast stomping toward her, Andara cried out as she shakily got to her feet, fear coursing through her. She calmed herself and let it wash over her; she still had a job to do. The dragoness looked to her opponent and quailed, she needed an idea, or else she wasn't going to last against him. The priestess looked back over to the circle of those accursed mages; they had stopped their chanting and were now watching her and their new master.
"You are strong little one; many would not be able to recover from such a wound. What is your name?" the Arch demon asked. Andara stood there panting, sucking down as much air as she could.
"Andara Silverscale, Justiciar of heaven and priestess of the third order" she said before pointing her sword at the hell drake and adding "and you are Anziel, Arch demon of the seventh circle of hell, violence." The hellish dragon smiled and chuckled; he spread his wings and bowed to her placing his hand over his chest.
"You will make a fine bride, dear Andara." He said before taking two lumbering steps and thrusting at her with his sword. The priestess grunted in pain and parried the blow, she stabbed down at his legs, trying to attack anything open at this point, the drake merely widened his stance, and her sword bit the ground. Andara cursed and brought the point up, aiming for his groin. The arch demon swatted her blade away and with astounding speed grabbed her sword arm and lifted her up into the air. "Did you know I am one of the original fallen? It took the might of Michael, and Gabriel combined to strike me down, what hope do you, the flawed creation have!? Even if you are Nephilim!" the dragon answered holding her up close to his muzzle. The dragon rumbled deep in his throat and opened his maw. He locked lips with her, forcing her mouth open with his tongue. Andara's eyes widened and she kicked at him, her claws raking his belly and chest. They only scratched, and only served to anger him.
"WHAT RIGHTS DO YOU HAVE!?" the drake roared as he broke his kiss with her, "we were the first born, we were perfect, and then he made you in his image!" the dragon dropped the woman and kicked her in the gut, sending her skidding towards the group of mages. Andara stayed there on her side clutching her stomach, unable to breathe. A moment later and a ragged gasp filled her lungs with air once more. The dragoness got back to her feet once again, visibly shaking with fatigue. She looked at the mages around her, their heads hooded and shadowed from the fire behind them. She realized there was only one thing she could do to close this hell mouth.
"My brothers and s-sisters will... will avenge me." She said panting heavily yet still trying to keep her composure, she felt fear but refused to let it master her. One of the mages turned its head to its companions then lowered the hood over her head.
"Your order is finished dear Andara" for a moment the luminous scaled dragoness faltered, eyes widened with shock. The woman standing before her was another young priestess of her order.
"Neimera... why?" she said not quite unable to hold back a tear. "You swore an oath." She said her throat constricting as anger began to rise within her. The dragoness stopped herself before she sinned, what she planned required a pure soul. Neimera flicked her feline ears in a mild annoyance, her tawny fur spoke of leonine origins as well as her amber eyes.
"It's fairly simple" she began looking back at the dragon. "Your little band of Justiciars came through my village when I was a young girl. I remember my mother and father had a dispute with another couple over the theft of their grain. My father had gone to their farm and stole some of their cabbages in retaliation. When they came to the Justiciars to settle the dispute your brothers killed both the other couple and my parents." The voice the feline spoke in was cold, and sour as if she had bitten into a lemon. "Ever since then I dedicated my life to killing all of you. You in particular, for you oversaw the judgment." Andara shook her head; she didn't need to hear anymore of this. The only thing she was sorry for was the fact that she wouldn't be able to rid this world of another traitor.
"I will see you in the ninth circle Neimera." Andara said before she took a few steps back from her and turned once again to the Demon lord. Summoning her strength the dragoness sprinted toward the demon and flung her blade at him, she then took hold of the haft of her spear which was still implanted into the ground and charged full tilt at Anziel. The drake brought both of his hands to his sword for the first time and used the extra force to not only block her blade from striking him but to utterly destroy it. Anziel grinned and met her spear head with another parry; she stayed on the outside of his reach jabbing at his legs, chest and throat. The Helldrake simply moved out of the way of her strikes or parried them. Until finally the dragon caught the haft of her spear just behind the deadly head.
"No more sparing, you are mine you priestess" the dragon said pulling her and the spear towards him. To his surprise the dragoness complied and leapt toward him forgetting about her weapon entirely. One of her hands latched onto his sword arm and another onto his second wrist. The dragoness's teeth found his throat and with a cry from the demon her fangs pierced flesh. Boiling hot blood flooded her mouth and ran out the corners to stream down her neck, staining her white tunic even more.
The arch demon gargled something unintelligible, and Andara began to push with all her might towards the fire behind him. slowly but surely her legs made headway and brought them both up to the edge of the flames, it was so hot the mail under her tunic began to heat and begin to glow. Just as she reached the precipice and was ready to make the final push the Helldrake stopped dead in his tracks, suddenly she was unable to so much as budge him. Andara's golden eyes opened and looked up to see a horrid smile on his face, twisted and cruel.
Before she could help herself the dragon wrenched free of her claws and grabbed her by the throat. There was a sick tearing sound as Anziel ripped her fangs out of his neck blood spraying everywhere. A the arch demon's grip around her neck was iron tight, a moment later she knew her struggles were in vain, she had failed. The damage done to the dragon's throat was being undone and soon after he laughed. "Thank you, I do like to be helped where I'm going." his voice boomed over the fire, making everything else seemed so very quiet.
"We're going to become well acquainted, you and I." he added raking his other hand down the front of her armor, stopping to caress one of her ample breasts. The drake tore the front of her scale mail off of her as if it were tissue paper exposing her breasts to the hot air the drake eased his grip on her windpipe as she began to choke. "Ah ah, no dying yet, I need you little slut." He said his hand traveling down to the waist band of her leggings, and with a flick of his claws a portion of the fire from the blaze behind him leapt forth it burned away what was left covering her, Andara screamed as she felt the tongues of flame cover her body, caressing her scales, breasts and sex as if they were molten hot fingers.
"Go to hell!" she cried tears streaking down her face.
"Yes" the dragon said with a smile spreading across his muzzle. "you and I both dear Andara" Anziel took one last look to the mages and nodded to them "you shall have the power to defeat your enemies and rule the continent as you see fit, I shall of course do everything required of me to fulfill our bargain." The drake said, Neimera bowed low and the others followed suit.
"I feel almost bad, this deal is very one sided my lord, you are sure you require nothing else?" the Helldrake smiled at the lioness and chuckled.
"My dear loyal servant" he began looking back to Andara. "You have given me more than I could have ever hoped for." the Arch demon's smile turned into a snarl, with a venomous glare at Andara he leaned back into the flames, and they fell. The priestess's eyes widened and panic struck through her body, the fire consumed her and the last thing she saw was Neimera's smug grin before oblivion took her.
To be continued...