The Stained Hood

Another night of merrymaking was in procession in a crowded tavern in a town whose name no one remembers. Laughter, story-telling, and idiotic babbling filled the air as old and new friends shared in good times. At the bar there sat a young woman covered in a red hood, never stopping her intake of alcohol. Across her skin were a number of claw marks and bites; signs of great conflict and an attitude to match. No one dared to come near her, except one foreigner. She sat next to the intimidating figure without an ounce of fear. The woman in red seemed to ignore her presence as the liquor continued to pour down her throat. Finally, the foreigner spoke,

“Seems to me that you are the only one sulking on this fine night. Come, why not smile a bit and share in the partaking of stories. Tell me your name and the most exciting of tales. The sky is alight with the stars and moon that…”

Suddenly, the girl in the hood smacked the foreigner backwards against a nearby wall. She glared menacingly at her victim with her red eyes alight before going back to her drink. Seemingly foolish, the foreigner rose up and sat next to the hostile woman. A chuckling emitted from the hood before the woman within it spoke aloud,

“Stubborn, I like that. You want to hear a tale then huh? Let me tell you one, but I guarantee you that there will be no laughter found within it. I am only known by the name of Red for my past name I do not deserve. It started upon a night like this, I was out riding upon my silver horse with my white hood when out of the shadows a werewolf pounced upon the two of us. I tried to defend us, but I was knocked back by the strength of this creature. Hours crept by as I lay in darkness, only awaken by the rays of the coming morning. When I awoke I found only bits of my beautiful horse left. My anger and sadness knew no bounds as revenge became my only thought. I marched to the temple of the goddess Epona and demanded for the high priestess, my grandmother. The attendants worked fast to retrieve her as she appeared before me in a long gown with a moonstone carved into a horse’s head. She looked at my questioningly before asking,

‘My dear granddaughter, what is the matter? Have you finally come to your senses and asked for forgiveness from the great goddess? It is only then will you find peace in your parent’s death and see the purpose that is meant for you.’

I scoffed at her before responding, ‘No, I came to make you aware of what the goddess that you revere has done to us. As you know, she took my parents away many moons ago but gifted us a silver horse. For a while, I was happy with the gift that I had been giving, but sure enough your goddess had to ruin that too. A werewolf, a creature of the moon, attacked me and killed my beloved horse. What do you have to say to your goddess now?!’

At first, she seemed unfazed by my news, making me even angrier, but then she did something I never thought I would see. She grabbed her necklace and shattered it against the ground. That is when our quest for revenge began.”

Red took a few more sips of alcohol as she paused from her story. The stranger was stunned by the words that came from the woman’s mouth. She asked,

“Revenge on a goddess? How foolish could you be? The gods and goddesses are not to be trifled with. How are you even still alive?”

“Shut up and I will tell you.” Responded the harsh woman. After finishing what seemed like her eighth glass she continued, “First, we wanted revenge against the werewolf, the goddess was afterwards. We knew that we needed at least a third to even attempt to kill the beast. So, we came to this very tavern and hired the services of mercenary who used only axes to kill his victims. The three of us then headed into the forest to hunt for the beast. It took days to even get within the right area to find its den. In that time, the three of us bonded and partook in merrymaking much like those around us tonight. But like most good things, it came to an end. We were attacked in a flash by the beast. Without a second thought, it killed my grandmother by biting down on her throat. I screamed in anger as I went after the beast with no plan. It easily pinned myself underneath it as it tore into my skin. I would have been dead if it were not for the mercenary. He threw three axes into the side of the beast, making it come towards him. I went towards my grandmother’s body and found the shards of the moon necklace she once wore. Then I heard a dying scream as the body of the mercenary lay cold and bloody upon the ground. It was just me and the horrid beast left to battle. I took up one of the axes and grounded the moonstone into the axe head. With my weapon ready, I charged forward once again to kill the wretched beast. It moved to the side, barely escaping my swing as it latched onto my arm with its teeth. My other hand was still free as I chopped again and again into the beast. It died after the first two strokes, but I did not care. Over and over again I struck it until my white hood was stained red. As I looked at what was left of the body, it began to change to a human form. Horror struck my face as I saw the dead body of my father upon the ground.”

Red had to stop for a moment, her past causing her to be visible shaken before grabbing a whole bottle of wine and guzzling it down her throat. The room had stopped their fun and were listening intently to her story. She noticed this as she gave them a murderous glare, to which they all returned to their fun. After a few deep breaths, she continued,

“As I stayed at bended knee at my loss a beam of light from the moon above came down in front of me. A being formed from the radiant glow as a goddess stood before me. She kept her hair in a pony tail and had a riding hood of silver around her shoulders. Across her shoulder, she wore a belt of moonstones that glowed within the dark night. She looked at me with a disappointing gaze while she spoke,

‘What have you done? My dear you were always so headstrong, but this is beyond that characterization. Anger blinded your judgement and reason. Your father was so close to finishing his sentence before you struck him down. Now, you have lost him forever.”

I was stunned by the figure in front of me, not because she was a goddess but because I had recognized her.

‘Mom?’ I asked questioningly.

The goddess sighed as she replied, ‘Yes, my dear daughter. You see you were only half right about when you thought the goddess took your parents. When I committed myself to your father and him to me, we were told by the other gods not to reveal my identity to anyone. For many a year we both kept silent of my true nature until one night in that dam tavern. Your father was with some of the other men in the village who began to mock me. They said horrible things such as I was a whore looking for redemption by the goddess Epona by becoming a priestess. Due to anger and alcohol, your father rose to defend my honor revealing who I was. Of course, this broke the vow we made to the gods and he was immediately struck by the moon. He transformed into a werewolf and killed all around him before running into the forest. Many moons passed, and he hid within the woods; not killing another soul until he felt the pull of the silver steed, the one I gave you. Another test by the gods to see if you were worthy of being in my presence again. This you failed miserably. Had it not seemed strange that he did not kill you at the same time? You were knocked unconscious with no way to defend yourself, easy prey to anyone. Worst of all you dragged two others to their deaths because of your anger. My dear I am sorry, but you must be punished. Henceforth from here on you will guard my temple as the beast that drove you to such foolishness.’

The moon struck me with such power it overwhelmed my mind. All I could hear was howling and feel a hunger for flesh. That night was the end of me as a human for now I am cursed to walk this earth as a werewolf until my sentence is finished. Serving as the guardian of the temple of Epona just a short distance away.”

With her tale finished, she had finally stopped drinking from the alcohol she had been given. Her eyes had softened from her tale from the fury she had started the conversation. The foreigner smiled as she talked to werewolf,

“So, you are the woman I have been searching for. I am going to need your help Red. The gods have decreed only one that has been bathed in moonlight can defeat the foe I face now.”

Red plucked an eye brow up at the foreigner, intrigued by her offer. Before agreeing to anything she asked one question,

“What’s your name?”

A small smile appeared on her mouth as the foreigner responded, “Aurora.”


Cinder Ella

How long had it been since she had seen the outside world? All she knew was the inside of her father’s castle, well at least in the last ten years. Most of that time the woman spent in the dungeons, only being let out to clean the castle that her step mother and step sisters now ruled over. The three made her life a living hell. Every day she was let out of her shackles to clean. Her cruel sisters would blast her body with spells to make her scream. Constantly, pain wracked her body only matched by the way the woman felt like dirt. She was not allowed any help through her daily cleaning routine. Although, when her sisters and mother were busy with other matters of the state, she summoned animals to help her finish her chores. This gave her time to rest and to catch up on reading. Today was not one of those days. Today they had shackled her particularly tight and had thrown the usually cinders into her eyes. They called her Cinder, not even addressing her by her real name.

Cinder was fading in and out of consciousness. Someone stood in front of her; a person she swore was glowing with light. She shook her head thinking it was only a hallucination from the lack of food.

Then the figure talked, “Ella, daughter of the king of the land of Gaul, a place bathed in sunlight and blessed with the rich soil of volcano. You have suffered greatly these past ten years. The injustice you have suffered is incalculable, but it was not without purpose. Unknown to you, you have been building up strength to take back your kingdom. Your father had a noble heart and that same heart beats in you.”

Finding her voice, the princess responded, “Who… who are you?” Her eyes could now focus on the stranger. She wore a long pink dress embroidered with flames as a red veil lay over their head. Around her neck she wore a golden necklace embedded with a Ruby in its center. The red head had a sweet smile and lovely complexion as warmth seemed to radiate from her.

“My name is Hestia, goddess of hearth, architecture, domesticity, and fire. I was a virgin for many a century until meeting your father. He was such a kind man, taking me into his home without seeking anything in return after I was injured by a chimera. He intended to my wounds and listened to the advice I gave him about his castle. I felt so warm around him. This filled my being until I decided to no longer contain it. That was how you were born. The only reason I left was due to an urgent matter on Mount Olympus. When it had passed, and I had finally returned, your father had been enchanted by your stepmother before being killed by her.”

A tear fell on the goddess’ face before she continued. “I sought advice from an oracle in the far-off region of China in the territory owned by the Shang. She revealed to me the only way to defeat the wretched woman and her enchanted daughters. She foretold to me that my daughter would avenge the death of her father once she reached the age of nineteen. Within you has the potential to blaze a fire bright enough to snuff out your oppressors.” Her mother said as a fire lit in her hand. She floated it to her daughter’s chest as it sank within it. “Trust in the fire that burns within you my daughter. Know always that I am with you.” With that, she disappeared within a burst of flames.

As her mother vanished, the princess could hear footsteps coming down the staircase. Her vile stepmother Tremaine dressed in an expensive gown made of silk and other fine linens. Jewels adorned her fingers and the crown of the former king set upon her head.

The old bat stuck her nose up to Ella as she spoke, “Ah, if it isn’t my deceased husband’s bastard child, all full of ash upon your face. The name Cinder really suits you my dear. Now, the only reason I grace you with my presence is that you left the kitchen quite a mess the last time you cleaned. You should no better to leave specks on my dishes. So…” The cruel woman pulled from her side a cat of nines whip. “You must be punished.” Strike after strike hit the princess’ stomach as the warmth her mother’s fire began to spread. The more she was hit, the more the fire burned brighter as she felt a new surge of power. Still, her cruel stepmother did not notice as she continued her attack.

The old crow’s words soon confirmed her doom. “Your mother was nothing but a common whore. No wonder she left you to rot.” That did it. The cuffs around her wrists and ankles melted away as fire erupted from her fingertips. Tremaine scurried back like a rodent at the sight of pure power standing in front of her. The locks of hair that hung from Ella’s shoulders acted as an inferno while flowing into the air. The princess’ eyes turned into a crimson red while she stared at her abuser. Pure terror was the last feeling the stepmother felt as the blaze burned her to an unrecognizable crisp.

From the charred corpse, Ella ripped the crown from her stepmother’s head and placed it upon herself. She strode up the stairs, scorching the floor with each step. As the door opened, she was met by a host of knights that had heard the former queen’s screams. They were mystified by the sight before them, but soon brushed this off as they charged forward. These mere mortals were no match while they cooked in their own armor. Through the castle she went, cleansing it from the putridness her step mother had wrought. The men that the former queen had employed were pathetic fighters and were no match for the true ruler’s fury. The real challenges soon approached her. Her two step sisters were glowing with menacing magic and screamed like hell cats. Blast after blast they met in strength, shaking the very foundation of the castle. The duo could see they were making no ground and summoned cat-like men with glowing red eyes. Valiantly, she fought against wave after wave of these creatures; her strength never failing her. Realizing that she could not keep this up forever, she summoned a wall of flames that barricaded her from the enemy.

With great haste, Ella retreated further into the castle; stumbling across a young man named Henri. Before striking him down, he bowed to her and pleaded, “Please Princess Ella! I live to serve you and your lineage. My family, the Charmers, have served yours for generations. We were your father’s oracles and kept many secrets from the vile Tremaine. When she stuck your father down, she did the same to mine. I was forced to serve as a foot servant to the trio. I endured in the hopes that one day you would finally rise to power. Your father knew this day would come and trusted my family with this container; saying only you would be able to open it.” From the sack on his back, he pulled a large metal sphere and set it at the feet of the princess. As her hands touched the strange object, it began to glow as it opened to reveal a peculiar pair of objects. It was two glass slippers with parchment stuck between them. The princess took the latter and began to read what was inscribed upon it.

“My sweet Ella. I fear that I will be long dead before you read this and that you have suffered for my weakness. Tremaine and her twisted daughters have been enchanting me. Only for brief moments I am not under their spell and in these moments, I seek to ensure your future. The people will gladly follow you once you dispense those hags. These slippers will allow you to turn your bird friends you sang to as a child into much more magnificent creatures. I love you my daughter and even in my death, I will always be with you. Love your dad, Gentille son of Doux.”

A tear fell from Ella’s eyes as it steamed on her cheek. For years she thought she had no love but was clearly wrong. She sang an ancient song as her birds flocked together before her. Slipping into the gifts her father gave her, the princess focused on the flock as fire whirled around them. They soon changed form and size as Phoenixes now perched before her. Astonished at their transformation, she patted each of them as she turned to face her enemy again. The demon cat-men filled the hall as she made their way toward them. They mewed a twisted cry as they came slashing toward her. It was then her birds erupted behind her and tossed her oppressors against one another. Beaks tore into flesh as the twisted creatures could not stand against Ella and her forces. Hearing the howls of their minions, the two witches turned the corner to see their step sister with her own followers. Blasts of magic launched from their hands as they tried to keep the Phoenixes at bay. It was no use. Ella protected them with shields of fire as they eliminated the entirety of the cat-like horde. All that was left were the two hags.

The Phoenixes took to the air alight with fire as they whirled around their enemy. A fiery tornado formed around the witches. In vain, they attempted to escape; trying spell after spell to escape. Nothing worked. Fear overtook their being before getting struck down with a fiery sword through each of their chests. Like their mother, they were burnt beyond recognition as Ella stood over them triumphant. Henri of the prophet family of Charmers proclaimed a joyous victory, spreading the word throughout the kingdom. Soon, villagers flocked to the castle, exalting their princess with praises. She was soon made Queen of Gaul and appointed Henri her high priest, reestablishing the fallen order. They dedicated the new directive to the goddess Hestia, whose ideals of a safe home and loving family were followed for many years to come. Still, the new queen would feel unrest and would partake in many adventures to come, calling herself Cinderella.


Hansel and Gretel the Glory Seekers

(Another epic retelling of a classic fairy tale, hope you enjoy.)

Hansel and Gretel, twins at birth, were the son and daughter of the mighty king Adalbern. At the age of sixteen, they grew restless at their home and set off in search of glory to prove their worth beyond royalty. On one such occasion, they heard of a strange occurrence in Blackthorn Forest. The two curious royals traveled to this land, before entering the forest however, the duo fell upon a village. Entering the center, they found that no one was outside of their homes, all of which had been boarded up to prevent entry. One of these they approached and heard the whispers of citizens inside the structure.

A villager unlocked the door and asked, “Are you an ally or foe? Where do you hail from? Why have you come here?”

Gretel, the fairer talker of the two responded, “We are friends. My name is Gretel, daughter of Adalbern, and this is my brother Hansel, son of Adalbern; we seek glory and to rid this village of its oppressors. Speak so we may know what we must vanquish.” The villager sheepishly stepped out of his door, revealing that he wore a full set of armor and seemed to be heavily injured.

Hansel is perplexed, “Why are you hiding warrior? Where is the rest of your company?”

“Gone sir. I am the only survivor.” The man responded. “My name is Franco son of Godwine, the friend of the gods. I was sent by my father to liberate these people with my men. But we were destroyed in the face of the enemy or enemies… I am still not sure which it is…”

Gretel questioned, “What do you mean brave soldier?”

“We came to the forest and found a lone wolf feasting on the flesh of one of the elders of this village. When we approached, the monster turned quick and used its mighty jaws to rip through one of my men’s armor and tore his leg off before it disappeared. While we looked, a mighty bear swung its paws from behind us and brought down a fourth of our company. One of my men was able to shoot an arrow at the beast, causing a scar across its face. The bear hid away, and we thought it was over, when from the sky arrows began to rain down above us. A seventh of my men and I were lucky enough to put our shields up while the rest perish. With the remaining soldiers, we began to retreat when we saw the wolf again, this time though he had fancied a scar. The scar of which the bear had worn. To my despair, I watched as the rest of my comrades were eaten alive as I fled for my life. I have disgraced my family and name, but I bring information and warning to any who may enter.”

Hansel responded, “We mourn for the loss of your kin but how did you escape from the forest? The land changes as one enters, no man can emerge from it alive.”

Franco explained, “My father Godwine once had to journey to slay a mighty boar for the gods. The divinities favored him and gave the tool to escape the paths. This object I give to you. It is the Crumbs of Credon, a bag full of rock hard crumbs that shine when the moon is full. Take this so that you might escape with your lives. May the gods favor you.” The twins took the Crumbs of Credon and went on their way. After crossing over the river and into the forest, the pair felt a presence nearby that watched their every movement. They began to drop the crumbs knowing that the forest had a malice beyond its roots. As they reached the very center, they saw smoke arising from the tree line. Carefully they approached and found a peculiar sight that neither had ever seen. A house made of of delicacies stood in front of them, the main structure made of gingerbread. Frosting kept the parts together while the framework was made of candy canes. Decorating the roof were gumdrops as big as their heads. Tentatively they approached, having not been able to eat for what seemed like days. As they partook on the goodies before them. the door swung open and a figure emerged from the house. The two drew their swords but lowered them after beholding the creature in front of them. The creature was a beautiful young woman who was covered with skins of animals layering her lovely hourglass figure.

The stanger spoke, “Weary travelers, where have you come from and why are you in this terrible forest?”

Hansel responded, tripping over his words from his befuddlement that was caused by her beauty, “I am Hansel, son of Adalbern, and this is my sister Gretel daughter of Adalbern; we have come to slay the beast that has oppressed this land.”

“My name is Ada, and I welcome you here. Please eat and rest brave travelers. I offer my home to you and everything found within it.” Said the stranger with a wink.

Hansel responded, “Lead on fair maiden.”

Ada led them inside, but before Hansel followed, Gretel grabbed his arm, “Something is not right with this woman. Take caution brother and let us focus.” Hansel nodded and entered with her sister.

After a great feast, Gretel laid in her bed to slumber and so does their hostess in their separate rooms, but Hansel was restless. He stood up from the table where he remained sitting and entered the chambers of Ada who was waiting for him. The woman invited him to her bed where they fornicated for hours. As Handel tried to leave, he heard ancient and foreign words emitted from behind his back that caused the young hero to drift to sleep. Gretel who had been awaken from the sounds emitted from the fair maiden in her bedchamber, peeked into the room of Ada. The beautiful woman looked at the now asleep Hansel after casting a sleeping spell on her guest.

“My hunger needs to be met, a taste could not hurt.” Said Ada before ripping the right arm off the sleeping warrior and devouring it. As she looked toward the door with bits of Hansel in her mouth, a scar formed across her face. Finally, she sees Gretel looking through the door way. In a fury, Ada grabs a kettle from beside her bed and captures her female guest inside it. Bewildered by the magic displayed, the young heroine was unable to escape the power that kept her trapped.

“I guess I will dine early tonight.” Shrugged off the monster as she took the kettle straight to the oven; her mouth watered at the feast she was about to savor. In Hansel’s dreams, the god Andhrimnir approached him.

“Hansel, you have been enchanted by the creature you seek. Her grip on men is fierce and she seeks to eat all of mankind; causing the gods to put an end to her crimes. If we intervene, we will be forced to use magic so fierce that your world will not survive our wrath. You must vanquish her now while she is weak. Strike for the scar and beware her powers. I will help you defeat her by giving you the Stone Arm of Bucegi.” Hansel awoke and looked at his new weapon that was attached to his missing arm. He ran out of the bed chambers and found Ada with the kettle close to the fire.

“Face me wench! You who is despised above all! You will die for the shame you have brought upon me!” Screamed Hansel. Ada turned and saw the Stone Arm of Bucegi, causing fear to twinkle in her eye.  The prophecy she was told many years ago, stood in front of her.

“Shame dear Hansel? You came to my chambers to fill your lusts. It is you who has shamed yourself. As for that new toy of yours, an oracle said that one day a man with a stone arm would come to vanquish me. I do not believe in such fate and will not die today. Your taste I have tried twice now, let us see how you will taste in the bottom of my gut.” Ada then transformed in front of him by uttering hidden and strange words. The wolf described by Franco appeared in front of Hansel. The shapeshifter leapt forward knocking Hansel back through a wall. He writhed in pain as he tried to recover, when the mighty wolf pounced on top of him. Raising his sword, he forced the sword between the teeth of the creature only holding it back mere inches from killing him. Its might jaws bit down, and the sword shattered into many pieces that clouded the air. Hansel wiggled free from under the beast as the dog was stunned. Remembering the words of Andhrimnir, he rose the Stone Arm of Bucegi and landed a punch on the face of Ada. Her skull was crushed into nine pieces as her body shook and then was still. Hansel freed Gretel from the kettle, receiving a hit on the head for falling for the creature’s seduction. Together the two dragged the shape shifter’s body through the woods. They followed the path of the Crumbs of Credon that was laid before them until it brought them to the village. Praises were sung from the villagers as they came in triumphant from the quest with the corpse of the wretched creature. After a brief celebration, Franco asked to join them on their search for glory, and they gladly accepted his company. The three then went on to travel the world and their names were written into history.



Aurora the Warrior

(First tale of many that I have written in an epic retelling fashion. I sincerely hope you enjoy this version of the classic fairy tale we all know.)

Aurora the Warrior

Written by KC J. Hutchins

“The same place again… did I take a wrong turn?” Aurora said aloud to herself. She wanders for what seemed like an endless maze yet again, never seeming able to move on. Every turn seemed to change but led her back to the same exact spot. This maze seemed to have been the only thing in her life, she could not remember a time before hand. Time seemed lost and her body seemed to never change. Something seemed different today, a red glow has begun to shine in a corridor she did not know existed. Moving towards the light cautiously, she held her sword knowing that it may be a trap. Nearing closer the light seemed to form into a being beckoning her forward. She comes into a courtyard of pillars which she had never seen before. As she stood a creature emerged from the ground with what appeared to be a cage. The creature is Sluagh, known to snatch away those who are going to die. His eyes are a terrible red in color, his teeth sharp as razors, his tongue stuck out with the thrill of murder, his four claws covered in blood, and his horrible green form crooked moving towards Aurora. In his cage, she sees two different balls of light one of blue color which was furiously hurling itself at the bars of the cage and one of green which was staying still in the middle of the cage. The monster throws his claws at Aurora who brings her sword up to meet the blow. As she looks up, she can see something dangling from the creature’s neck. She is pushed back by the sheer strength of the beast. Her mind starts to race, trying to figure out how to slay this monster. Just then the creature shows a weakness, he keeps his hands and his body around the cage.

“He is protecting it… perfect.” She thought. Lunging forward, she runs to the prison. The creature notices and extends a claw out at the oppressor, but Aurora already knew this would happen. Rolling left, she evades and brings her sword down on the cursed beast. It howled in pain as it cowered away trying to tend its wound. The cage is freed from his grasp allowing Aurora to come up with her next move. The warrior places the prison in the middle of the courtyard of pillars and retreated to the darkness. Sluagh moves forward toward the cage. He hears crumbling as he steps to his prize, though continues believing it is his steps that caused this sound. Finally, the sound gets louder still and causes him to turn. The pillars are falling greatly down on him. He begins to run trying to escape but he is too late, being crushed by the great stones of the courtyard. His head sticks out letting him spill out curses toward the woman. She walks up to him while he still speaks and cuts his head off.

Taking the medallion that hung around the monster’s neck as a prize, she states, “Your own stupidity led to your downfall. Curse yourself if you are to blame anyone for your death.” She unlocks the cage and the balls of light fly next to the red form. The three swirl in harmony until three beautiful women emerged. The lady in green is the goddess Airmed, healer of the world, next to her the lady in blue is Banba, the goddess of war and fertility, and finally the lady in red is Macha, wisest of all beings. Aurora recognizes them, bows low, and blesses them.

Macha speaks, “Stand brave warrior for you have saved two of my allies, but I need your help for the third.”

Aurora was dumbfounded and spoke with much difficulty, “How can I help you? I have been stuck in this place for what feels like an eternity. How can I help the goddesses of ancient wisdom?”

Banba speaks up, “You have already done part of your duty. You have freed Airmed and myself. Take heart young hero for it is not your fault that you could not escape the maze.” The hero looks up at the goddesses confused looking to each of them for the answer.

Finally, Airmed speak, “You have been afflicted since birth brave child. Before you were born a terrible war had broken out among your people. The witch Carman and her three sons Dub, Dother, and Dain have come upon your kingdom. Your father, the king, sought to ward them off by praying to us goddesses. There were four of us who answered her prayers, but one of our members has been possessed. Her name is the goddess Badb or the crow as some of the mortals call her. Whoever’s side she is on the people will win.”

Macha interjects, “She fell to the side of Carman by means of sorcery. While she flew above cornfields on the border of our side the evil Dub sprung a chain made of iron upon her. She was unable to break free and the witch set a spell over her that makes us look like the other side. Deeply she believes she is opposing Carman but instead fights us. If we get her to see she can again be our ally and win this war. This is where you come in noble hero. You can stop this horrible foe and her affliction.”

“Again, sweet goddesses who have not heard me. I cannot see beyond this maze even for the answer to escape. How might I even begin to save a mighty goddess to escape a similar affliction?” Aurora responded.

“The answer is in your hand.” Airmed points at the medallion. “That is the Amulet of Go Léir A Fheiceáil, it allows the wearer to see clearly everything before them. You have been trapped inside your own mind without even knowing it. This amulet will allow you to see and free you from your curse.”

“Even so great and powerful goddesses how can a mere mortal fight against such power?” Again, the mere human wondering her future fate.

“When you were born, a prophecy was made by the great prophet Vate. He prophesized that the first born of the king would slay Carman on her twenty first birthday and lift her evil from this kingdom. Carman heard word of her spoken doom. She walked straight into the halls of the castle with the crow on her shoulder. No one could stand against her as long as the crow was with her. She spoke, laying a curse upon you saying that you would be trapped in your mind until you could defeat her. She laughed walking away knowing if you could not escape your own mind how could you even train, but now the prophecy can come true.” Banba revealed.

Aurora thought on this and spoke, “Thank you fair goddesses. Let me now go with your blessings and oppose this threat upon this land.”

“Go, we will be with you as you go to defeat your enemies.”

The warrior puts on the amulet and awakens in her bed. She looks to her right at the wall and in big letters sees “Aurora’s birthday” and underneath the peg marks added up to the number twenty-one. “Cursed for that many years, I shall make Carman pay!” She said aloud. She jumps out of bed and fastens herself in armor that was prepared for her on this fated day. A sword was slung to her side with a bow and arrows that were hung over her back. Looking out the window, the once great lush green land had half of it turn to black dust. She watched as forces stormed the stronghold in an attempt to defeat fate. Fully armed and ready, she emerged from her chamber to see a platoon of soldiers and her father Ailill Molt reinforcing the door. Her father turns and delights in seeing his child embracing her, but quickly remembers what is at stake returns to position.

“We are going to win this fight; my daughter has emerged and we shall win this day! Fight on men! Fight on!” Just as he shouts this, the door swung open. Creatures of horrible fangs that walked like men attacked the castle, while something larger approached from the rear. Dother arrived with armor that seemed to be impenetrable. Aurora, using the Amulet of Go Léir A Fheiceáil, saw an opening in the armor at the waist line. She advanced through the ranks dodging creature after creature finally reaching one of the sons of Carman. Dother recognized the warrior and immediately swung forward with his large broad sword. She ducked nearly having her head cut off, rolling forward she drew ever closer. Fear struck further into the heart of Dother when he saw what hung around her neck. Furiously he swung his sword over and over having every blow parried away leaving him open to attack. Finally reaching her target she swings her sword across his waist. Immediately his guts spilled over the floor of the halls of Ailill Molt. The other creatures shrieked and retreated out of the halls back to the battle field. Taking a quick rest, the soldiers of the castle, the king, and his daughter begun strategizing. They knew that the other two brothers would have to be killed, their mother, and Badb be turned back to the right side.

The king went to put on the armor of Dother as to avoid harm but Aurora warned her father, “That armor has a weakness that his brothers and mother know. I would not put on that cursed suit.”

Her father replied, “A wise man will wear armor that is stronger than others. I will be fine my daughter.” They moved from the tower and onto the battlefield. The tide of the battle seemed to be changing, baffling Carman. She sent her son Dub, the son of darkness, to investigate along with his brother Dain, son of violence whose touch can kill any man. They met the king and his daughter on the battlefield. They saw the female warrior and knew what had become of their brother. Dub filled with hatred swung his mighty spear at Aurora who simply grabbed it in mid-air, and swung it back at the son of darkness. It landed into his shoulder causing his hands to swing back and hit one of his followers who was blinded by his touch. The young female’s mind raced on how to defeat an enemy she could not touch. She ran forward while the man was wounded from the spear who ripped the spear from his shoulder. Again, he threw his spear missing his target. She then jumped up onto the weapon using it as a spring, rising her up into the sky. Dub looked up and saw as arrows rain from the sky all landing their mark. One for each eye, one through his head, and another through his throat. The mighty man fell dead without another word. Her father on the other side was fighting against Dain. He swung his sword forward over and over having his moves parried away. Eventually he used his body to tackle forward and knock the son of Carman over.

“How can this be?! No man can touch me and live!” Dain yelled.

“I wear the armor of your brother Dother who was slain in my halls by my daughter. You will die just the same swine.”

“My brother’s armor you say?” The wicked son smiled as his arm reached out and touched the king’s waist line. Instantly the king fell dead from mere contact with the son of Carman. Aurora looked in horror as her father turned pale. She drew the arrows from the body of Dub and noticed this had changed her arrows. The heads were now a pitch-black color, she thought and now knew what this meant. She flew one arrow straight into the arm of Dain who panicked at once. He had become blind, and Aurora smiled at the success of her discovery. Now going for her sword, she charged at the pathetic son. Filled with rage she stabbed her sword straight through his heart watching the light in his eyes turn dark like the many he had slain. She withdrew the sword and realized again that one of her weapons had changed. The steel color of the blade had turned to a white as pale as death. Looking toward a nearby soldier of Carman she swung her blade causing a non-fatal wound on the man. He immediately fell over pale and dead. The blade could kill any who opposed it with a single cut. From above a caw she heard, and Badb swooped down to attempt to kill her. She swung the crow to the ground as it transformed into the form of the goddess herself.

“Carman, you shall die today! You have hidden in your fortress for years but now you reveal yourself right when you are about to lose. You shall kill no more!”

“Badb calm yourself it is I, Aurora, daughter of Ailill Molt, the one who must slay Carman. I do not wish to harm a goddess such as yourself and I can heal you. Let us not fight it is pure foolishness.” Aurora tried to reason.

“No! I will not fall for your trickery!” Badb lunged forward and with her two swords in hand. The Aurora knows she cannot kill her for that would upset the balance of this world and she had given her word to the three goddesses. She grabbed the spear of the fallen Dub and blocked the onslaught of attacks of the warrior goddess. She slides the spear up to disarm her foe of one of her swords, the goddess in response strikes with more rage and aggression. She brings her sword down stabbing it into the ground where the sword remains stuck. As she struggles to unhinge it, Aurora outstretches her hand and taps into the power of the Amulet of Go Léir A Fheiceáil. Badb’s eyes become clear as she sees what she has done.

“Thank you, brave daughter, of Ailill Molt and my deepest of apologies for your kingdom. I will fight with you, now go knowing that the battle is already yours.” Badb joined her fellow goddesses and began to burn the remains of the sons of Carman fearing their touches could still pollute the land further. Aurora moved swifter now to the heart of the army.

Carman was starting to pace now having her sons nor the crow return. As she looked out she saw her fate running down into her domain. “How did you break my spell?” She looks as she sees the amulet on Aurora’s chest. “The stupidity of others is astounding, you slew Sluagh? Did you also slay my sons and the crow?” Smiling knowing if the crow was slain she had already won.

The king’s daughter responded, “I slew Sluagh and your sons with much joy to rid this world of their stench, but the crow has had her eyes open. You have lost wicked creature although your sons have slain my father, I will now slay their mother!” Drawing her bow, Aurora shot her four arrows. Carman threw a gust of wind, and two of them blew away. The arrows were still coming.  She evaded one but the other just barely nipped her leg. She laughed until realizing that her sight had left her.

Enraged she screamed, “You kill my children and dare to use their blood against me! You worthless woman! I cannot see you but I can still sense your presence.” With that the witch threw a ball of energy toward the heroine who dodged while moving behind a rock. The furious witch hurled blast after blast of energy causing the boulder to grow smaller and smaller. With courage, the king’s daughter advances evading one blast after another. The sorceress sensed this and decided if she cannot see nor would the cursed wench. She formed above her a ring of fire that went out around her scorching the eyes of Aurora. The heroine screeches out her eyes blinded by the flames. Drawing from the power from the Amulet of Go Léir A Fheiceáil she sees Carman and notices that she is tired. Aurora silently and without reserve jumps and brings her sword down onto the wicked wench who had plagued her kingdom. Carman jumps back being sliced by the cursed sword.

“This blood… it is my son’s… you killed me with both of the blood of my children. You wench you deserve death not me! I merely wanted to cleanse the land I am…”

“Shut up witch! Your attentions were purely for conquest! Do not beg for forgiveness from the gods and goddesses, they have already seen your disgust. Join your sons in Ifreann!” With that witch turned pale and departed to the afterlife.

The battle has been won and Aurora walked away with the body wilting down to powder. She returns to her kingdom her sword dripping with the blood of her enemies. The king’s daughter sits upon her father’s throne having the crown held upon her head. She however did not feel the throne stood well for her.

She proclaimed, “The throne is not for me, for while the kingdom moved on I was stuck inside my own head. Therefore, this shall go to the wisest of us all, the crow shall lead us. She who had to suffer for our inability to defend ourselves. Hail goddess and queen Badb who will keep this land clean!”

“Hail Badb!” the court resounded. With that the daughter of Ailill went to exit the court when she was stopped by the voice of Badb.

“Our strongest warrior what shall become of you?”

“The rest of the dear land of Éire needs cleansing. My spirit is not suited for staying in one place but for the heat of battle and the clash of swords. If you ever need me come to me in the form of the crow and I will return.” With that she bows low again and exits the castle to a future of constant battle and adventure.

Samples, Scales Series

Scars and Scales

I have mentioned earlier that I am working on publishing my first book, and I realized that I should probably give all of you a sample of my work to see if you like it. So here is the first three chapters of my book, Scars and Scales:

Chapter 1

A Stranger

Night had long since fallen upon the dust filled yet green land. The moon lay high in the sky as the stars danced beside it; a sense of peacefulness was in the crisp air. Yet on the ground below there was one creature who did not have the luxury of gazing upon the serene heavens. He did not remember the last time that he had walked about freely. All he knew was that finally he could feel the earth beneath his feet. Clutching his cloak, he remained in disguise while in enemy territory. He needed a safe place to rest and stay the night. His path had taken him out of the land of Mendaxum, to the nearby area of Contritus. He passed through the nearest village of Bello Cap, the houses and shops were made of brown stones for the walls and the houses had teal slated roofs. Noticing that the place had still not recovered from the war, he observed that buildings still had burns, singes, and smashed in every conceivable way of damage. Most of the shops had since been closed and found what appeared to be the old local market. The stands had been tipped over and the fruit had fallen on the ground, rotting with flies pouring out of them. Looking above the town was a castle; that at one time had five towers of teal standing tall. Now all but one had fallen; most of which had slid down the hillside and into the town, crushing several other buildings. It looked like the keeps had been stationed on each corner of the walled fortress. At a set of bronze doors, the only standing barbican towered over them with a cannon situated on the top. Inside the walls was a dome with a bronze top. The town sat in front of the beach that opened into a bay which had several small wooden docks built on it. The sand was surprisingly well kept other than the few bits of scrap metal and wood, probably damage caused from the same battle that hit the rest of the town. A far-off cliff exhibited more of the past scars with the rocks broken off, leaving columns of white rock standing in front of a cove under the castle.

The native race in these parts that he could recall were the goblins. In appearance they looked very similar to humans; other than their oddly colored skin, longer noses, and pointy ears. They were a warrior race, an honor bound society. Their battles were waged in fair combat for noble purposes. Why did they align themselves with such evil? Delsey, the sorceress queen of Mendaxum, only wanted to quench her thirst for power. Her lies have caused the near extinction of an entire race; his race. How can one person bring about so much destruction just by words? How can they convince countless others to join her like the goblins? It did not matter now, he just had to keep moving. The eyes of the locals were starting to turn to him, raising suspicions. They must know that a human would never be able to make it out this far at least without magic on their side.

“I have to hide.” He thought. He looked from building to building, waging out the best possible option. “If I hide in a broken structure it would raise suspicion if they saw me climb in; not to mention it would not be easy to defend. If I go to a resident’s house, I would have to convince them to let me into their home. Knowing goblins, they would ask too many questions and we would end up dueling. That would attract too much attention. Then it will have to be a pub, hopefully no one is drunk enough to pick a fight with me.” He thought. He made his way to a rundown building, right before dark; that notably had sword slashes, bullet holes, scorch marks, and blood stains upon its walls. On top of the place was a sign that said, “Ol’ Bera”.

Walking in he looked left and right, scoping out what was before him. On the walls were mounted with all kinds of weapons; plaques were placed under them telling who had owned each item. One of them intrigued the stranger as he looked at a sword with the name ‘Beowulf’ carved into the handle. Underneath the sword was a plaque that read,

“To Roland, an honorable goblin to whom I owe my life when I had gotten stranded in the ocean and was attacked by a sea serpent just off the coast of Conflictus. He braved the sea, grabbed my sword, and slashed a horn off the beast. It ran off, he brought me to shore, and nursed me back to health. The sword should be given to the only other being who has been able to make use of it. Thank you, Roland. Beowulf”

“Well that was an awful long statement for something for a bar; most of the beings here would not have gotten past the first line.” He thought, “Then again it is also stupid to have a bunch of weapons on the wall with a warrior race who are under the influence of alcohol.”

Looking around he could see that it was not all that full. There was a handful of goblins in the back, throwing daggers at a target with a picture of some sort of reptile. The picture had been stabbed too many times to tell who or what it was captured in the photograph. In a corner booth was a group of tiny men, either leprechauns or dwarves, he could not tell from this distance. Above the bar a beam with ropes and buoys hanging from it had two gargoyles perched, one being orange and the other blue. These beings were humanoid with wings that sprouted from their back. Like the goblins, gargoyles lived in Contritus in the city of Suregarde. However, their skin were fish-like scales that covered them from the horns on their heads to the tip of their pointed and long tails. By the sounds of their gossip about boys, he was guessing that they were of the female gender.

On the stair case was a human in appearance, but the clothes did not match the style the typical human wore. Instead she wore a necklace that was a circle with three others inside of it. Her blouse was black with long fishnet sleeves and was matched with magenta leather pants which looked like it contained at least eight pockets around the belt area. She also wore black boots, with matching gloves that went over her wrists, and a black fedora with a fuchsia ribbon. Looking around the room again he could see that the counter stretched out with a black marble top. There were four large barrels that acted as seats for the bar. Behind the counter were matching shelves of the material with bottles of different shapes, colors, and sizes.

A goblin, dark purple in color, stood behind the counter wiping down the top with a red rag. His right ear had part of it bitten off while the left had a silver ring pierced through it. He stood at a normal height with an average build; multiple scars and cuts decorated the length of his arms. He wore a cut sleeve blue shirt with brown baggy pants that where held up by a white rope. The green eyes coming from the goblin shot right at him and raised an eyebrow; seeming to see right through his disguise.

“Can he actually tell? No, there is no way. There are only a handful of creatures able to do that and there is no way a goblin could just by looking at him.” Panicked the stranger in his head.

He approached the bar and sat down to order a drink. The goblin spoke first, “Welcome to Ol’ Bera, my name is Roland owner of this establishment. What might your name be?”

“Uhm… it’s Salaud.” Answered the stranger trying to think of the first word that he heard one of the goblins address each other. Roland started to chuckle, before bursting out in full out laughter. The whole bar was looking at the two of them now.

Roland recovered himself and addressed the room. “He was just telling me a good story about being fooled by mermaids is all. Go back to your fun.” Most of them seemed to go back to what they were doing, except for that human. Roland handed him a drink. Not even thinking about what was handed to him, “Salaud” drank from the cup and the pupils of his eyes turned into slits, like an animal about to attack. His eyes lit up red through the darkness of his cloak as he peered at the bartender.

Roland simply nodded looking at the eyes of the young man. “So that is why you did not give a real name before, no? You are one of them, the race of dragons that Delsey killed when she started her rise to power, no? The Omnis?” The young man nodded yes hoping that the drink would not show anything else. “So, what is your real name?”

“Xerxes.” Replied the stranger.

“Well, Xerxes, any race is welcomed here, as long as they do not cause any trouble. May I ask something?” Continued Roland

“I guess so.” Replied Xerxes.

“How come you survived?” Questioned Roland.

“She wanted power at first. I was the last one standing, the rest had been slain with their scales ripped off some of their bodies by her magic. My wounds numbered many with a broken wing, fractured leg, and multiple cuts and bruises. I was surrounded by ogres, archers, tanks, and every conceivable enemy of the lands. The three brothers were standing there as well, laughing at the demise of the once strong race. She came over slowly knowing that I was already too tired and injured to move. I tried to shoot a fireball at her, but she batted it off with the back of her hand. She summoned stone clasps from the ground that held me down. Her footsteps kept getting closer…” Xerxes breath began to leak fire. “Her hands glowed with that cursed dull yellow color…” His skin began to turn into scales.

“Xerxes.” Said Roland quietly, while putting a hand on Xerxes’ shoulder and looked him in the eye.

The dragon stopped, taking a deep breathe, before continuing with his story. “She put this scar over the right side of my face with her magic.” Xerxes took his hood off, revealing his brown messed up hair and his red eyes. The scar seemed more like a burn mark that stretched from the top of his forehead down the length of the left side of his chin. “It allows her to send images into my head of past and possible future horrors; which basically induces extreme anxiety. When I awoke afterwards I was in a cage above her throne room. Every day she would bring her captured enemies to where I was to show off her might. She started collecting all kinds of races at one point before getting bored with them. Then she had an idea. What if she could create a whole new generation of my kind? A generation she controlled. She tried several times to clone me with her magic…”

“The tools are broken, no?” Roland tried to joke.

“Not funny.” Replied Xerxes. “That sort of magic does not work on me. Though it does beg the question why she did not try breeding? It would not have worked anyway. My kind chooses the mate and cannot be forced to do otherwise. When it did not work, Delsey thought that making me a training grunt would work. I was the punching bag so to speak. Her spells limited me to strictly hand to hand combat, flight only up to ten feet, and fire balls restricted to the size of a baseball.”

Roland was confused at this point. “Then how did you escape?”

“That was by a stroke of luck.” Replied Xerxes. “One of the new captives came in that day while I was in my cage. His hair was a mess and his left eye had a similar injury to mine except that is was a single cut mark instead of the burn-like injury I sustained. As he was forced to kneel before the “queen” a flash of light filled the room, and something was thrown up into my cage. It was a crescent moon medallion with three slash marks behind the moon, the mark of the clan of Moonclaw.”

Roland seemed surprised. “You mean the werewolves known for their healing, yes?”

“Yes.” Replied Xerxes. “I put it on and instantly the incantations that were put on me were lifted. I easily broke out of my cage and escaped during the confusion. Once I got far enough away I went into my human disguise and came here.”

“What happened to the one that helped you escape?” Asked Roland.

“I do not know, but I have to return this to him.” Xerxes took the medallion out of the cloak and showed it to Roland. It gleamed a moonlight white glow and was a wonder to behold.

The goblin thought about something else after Xerxes had finished. “Why did you just tell me all this? You are in, what you would consider, enemy territory.”

“The sword over there.” Xerxes pointed at the weapon owned by Beowulf that he had been looking at earlier. “Beowulf was considered a great hero. True, he would be a bit boastful at times, but he had a big heart and a good sense of judgement. Not many people did he consider an equal, so when I saw that he gave you his sword, there must be a good heart beating under your skin. That and the fact that you were clever enough to identify my kind with their favorite drink. Only someone who partook in meals with us would know to serve this; which suspects you to be either a general or royalty. Since you are of the purple variety of goblin, you must be royalty.”

A stunned Roland looked at him before responding. “That is correct, but for tonight that will be all you get to know. Now you must be tired, no?” Xerxes could only shake his head up and down. “Then we shall get you a room. Chelsey?” The woman that had watched them on the stairs came closer to them. The light showed her face from the darkness. Her eyes were hazel in color and her skin was dark. Xerxes could tell by looking at her that there was an aura of magical energy emanating from her. From the color, he could not tell what type of magic she focused in. “Chelsey, I want you to show our guest to his room. Make sure he gets everything he needs.” Chelsey nodded. Roland continued speaking, “I will talk with you in the morning, yes?”

Xerxes responded, “Yes, thank you Roland for your hospitality.” The Omni bowed then looked toward Chelsey.

“Follow me.” Said the woman. They went up the wooden stairs that creaked with every one of their steps. Xerxes looked at the walls seeing pictures of many different races until he stopped at one frame. It contained a variety of thirty-two different scales, claws, and teeth from all the races of dragons. One slot was left, and Xerxes could guess what was supposed to go there, the thirty-third race of dragons, the Omnis. He began to growl under his breathe before he heard a voice interrupt him.

“Impressive isn’t it?” Commented Chelsey.

“One word for it.” Shot back Xerxes. “What are you doing in this territory?”

“What do you mean?” Asked Chelsey.

“For one you are a sorceress of some kind thus the energy emanating from you. If I remember correctly, you are all under strict orders from Delsey to never leave Mendaxum. So, I will rephrase my question, why are you here?” Questioned the Omni, his eyes going back into slits. Chelsey looked stunned when the dragon spoke with such force. She could tell that Xerxes was ready to attack at any moment if she gave the wrong answer.

The sorceress answered, “You know that not all of us decided to join her right?” The dragon calmed, and his eyes went back to normal. “Most of us actually oppose her, there is even a faction that is forming an army though it will not work if we cannot figure out a way to counter her spells. Does that answer your question to your satisfaction?” Xerxes nodded and smelled something odd. He smelt the scent of a campfire mixed with pine trees.

“Follow me please.” Pleasantly requested Chelsey with a bow. While following, he could hear the comforting sounds of a slow running river gently rolling over rocks of a river bed. His hands and feet felt like they were touching soft grass as he followed Chelsey to his room.

“This does not make sense.” He thought, “None of that exists here. Maybe I am just too tired and starting to hallucinate about…” He could not complete his thought and stopped walking. Trying to forget the unpleasantness, he shook his head to the mere idea before continuing to follow the witch in front of him. Passing many doors, they finally made it to the room number, which so happened to be thirty-three.

“This is definitely a trap.” Thought Xerxes.

“Here we are, room thirty-three.” Chelsey stated, “You looked worried Xerxes, is everything alright?”

The dragon snapped out his thought to address the question. “I am just a little stressed and tired from my trip is all, sorry.” He went to enter the room and found that there was a bed with many different colors of linens draped upon it. In the far-right corner there lay a bed of rocks that could be heated by a fire. Across the way was a black leather chair that rocked back and forth from the visitors’ footsteps. The walls were a plain white color with cracks here and there; wooden support beams aligned the door way and the corners of the room. His chamber was lucky enough to have a window overlooking the quaint but broken town. Outside he could see he was on the top of the building and that the moon was full over the town. His glancing was interrupted by a voice once again.

“Great room isn’t it?” Questioned Chelsey.

“Yes, it is very nice.” Spoke the Omni with apprehension in his voice.

Out of the blue, Chelsey stated nonchalantly, “You know Xerxes I think you need a massage.”

“A what?” Xerxes questioned.

“A massage. You know the act of helping to relieve your body of knots and aches. A way to destress so that you can focus on a task at hand or to relieve pain.” Began Chelsey sarcastically lecturing the dragon.

Xerxes stuttered back, “Yes, yes, I know what a massage is. What I am questioning is why you are offering to give one. I did just meet you and I am pretty sure that the bar does not provide this service.”

The witch put her palm downward towards the dragon while soothing, “Calm down Scales this is not a scandal or anything. I just like helping those in need, that is all. From what I can tell from your demeanor you definitely need to relax.”

Finding the idea enjoyable and having no energy to fight her advances, the dragon lied face down on the bed and waited for Chelsey to begin.

“Uhm, I need you to strip so that I can get along all the muscles.” Stated the sorceress. The Omni sighed out while stripping off his clothes including the medallion around his neck. Finding it hard not to stare, the witch looked up and down his figure. He was physically well fit for someone who had suffered years of torture and malnourishment. His abs were firm and glistened with sweat from his long days of turmoil. On his untrimmed chest were several cuts, burns, and gashes; the sorceress figured this was from the years of being a punching bag. The rest of his body had similar marks from the brutality that was shown to him. She had seen nothing like him before and could tell power pulsated from his body. Not just in strength, but in pure determination. His spirit had not broken from the torture of that tyrant now ruling over Mendaxum.

“I get it is the first time you have seen something like this, but please hurry up before I change my mind.” Blurted out Xerxes nervously.

“Right… right.” Chelsey blushed before continuing. She laid her hand onto his shoulder and immediately the Omni almost elbowed the sorceress in the head.

“Sorry it has been a while since I have had a gentle touch on my back.” Apologized the dragon. A pang of compassion hit Chelsey’s heart as she gently went back to the shoulder and moved down using her knuckles to dig into the spine to release some pressure. The same smells, sounds, and feelings he felt coming up here hit Xerxes again.

“What is going on?” Thought Xerxes while moving a little.

“Shh, easy Scales, just calm down. Let yourself ease out and relax. You need to, or you are going to cause some serious damage to yourself. Relax and breathe. Focus on your breathing and count down from five, starting now.” Xerxes started counting but did not even get to four before passing out.


Chapter 2

A Moonlight Walk

Later that night, Xerxes awoke in human form to find himself in his bed. Something struck him as wrong from earlier. Since there were no injuries, he was alive, and not caged, that ruled out the idea of an ambush. Then what else was there to gain from him being asleep? At that moment, the scar on his head lit up yellow and a nightmare began to unfold. He was in a cage with Delsey on the outside, holding a spear dipped in her yellow magic. She poked and stabbed at him making him lose each sense other than his hearing. Her voice fair but dipped in poison kept asking the same question.

“Where is it? Right now, your only worth is to listen and obey. You cannot speak, see, feel, taste, or smell. All you can do is listen to me. Your race was vile and needed to be purged. They were weak and corrupted, thus leading to their dethroning. Now you will tell me their secret.” He shook his head back and forth. “What was that? You dare still defy me?! Speak!” Her dull yellow magic glowed from her hands and hit him in the face.

Xerxes spoke wheezing, “If we *wheeze* were as weak *wheeze* as you say. Why do *wheeze* you *wheeze* need our secret?” He breathed out heavily before continuing. “And look *wheeze* who is *wheeze* the tyrant *wheeze* now.” With the last statement he spat right on Delsey’s face.

The sorceress fell back, and her yellow magic glowed more intensely yelling, “You insolent fool! I will kill you! I did not hesitate to kill your whole race and I will not with you either! Now tell me!”

Regaining more of his strength Xerxes replied, “No you will not. You need the information I have, and no kind of magic can grab it from my mind. So, you will keep me for as long as I have that information which is going to be forever or before I escape to use it against you.” The dragon glared up at her with his eyes burning red and his eyes in slits; breaking her incantations over his sight.

The witch stepped back before laughing. “Escaping? Who do you imagine would want to save you? Your race of Omnis was hated as much as me. No one is coming to save you. This will be your new home.” With a snap she restored his senses saying, “Rest up play thing, we have a whole day of torture tomorrow.” With that the image ended.

“Have not had one of those in a while.” Thought Xerxes before realizing what was missing around his neck, the medallion. That was when the visions stopped was when wearing that item. He looked to the bedside and found that it was gone. “That little witch!” He screamed letting electricity fly from his scales. He calmed down after several minutes and finally noticed a figure in the corner. A brush of messed up black hair and an eye with a scar that stretched from the top of his left eye and wrapped around his cheek. The scarred eye was grey in color while the other was green. His clothes were made of linen and leather. The linens were black, and the shirt hung loosely around the frame of the person. Pants, also black in color, were under the shirt and tied with a silver rope with the shirt tucked in. The brown leather padded the shoulders, chest, forearms, and shins. It was the one who had freed the dragon.

“My apologies son of Moonclaw, did I hit you?” The figure got up and did not say a word. Instead he handed a piece of parchment to Xerxes with the word, “Follow” on it. “Great of course I get the half blind and mute werewolf as my protector.” He thought. The werewolf in his human disguise glared at him as if knowing what he was thinking before preceding out the window. Xerxes followed not knowing what was going to happen. They jumped stealthily onto the roof and carefully made their way from broken building to building before making it to a cove near the pillars of white rocks and underneath the cliff of the castle.

Inside the cove was a small group of tents. The guide who had been leading him stood up right and strolled straight into the camp. Looking from tent to tent, Xerxes could tell that the insignia of the Moonclaw clan was on every tent totaling about fifteen small and one large one that they were entering. Inside sat a hooded figure with a large staff that was at least two times its height sitting in front of a fire. The figure was maybe four feet high and sat with its legs crossed. The legs were like wolfs with fur of white with stripes of grey. It finally stuck its head up and showed a snout of a wolf with a cut on its nose, a face of white fur, and a short grey beard. His blue eyes looked at Xerxes before speaking.

“Introductions are in order I think.” The werewolf said in a gravelly voice. “My name is Pelzgrauen and I am chief of this tribe. We have come to release you from Delsey.”

“Why?” Asked Xerxes, knowing that most people wanted only to use him.

“What? You mean that Wolfgang did not tell you?” Wolfgang looked at them both before growling and leaving the tent. “Well I guess he is still upset.”

Xerxes looked back at Pelzgrauen and asked, “Upset about what?”

The old werewolf looked seriously at him before speaking. “When the Omnis were in power they ruled over all the lands if you remember.” The dragons scar activated again showing his race burning villages and plundering homes. He saw as they killed family members in front of each other and laughing at the tears that others wept.

“Yes, I remember.” He said horror stricken from the memory of his savage race.

“During that time, you needed healers to help with your armies. So, you came to our tribe for this purpose. The Omnis promised protection from harm for assisting you. When the time came, Delsey invaded and they forgot about us; leaving us to be slaughtered. We fought back as best we could, but it was no use. They killed Wolfgang’s family that day. His anger filled him as he tore through the ranks of soldiers. Charging in, he took out several warriors before facing down Delsey herself. But it was no use, her spells were too strong. He lost his sight in his right eye that day. Before he was about to be killed, a dragon came down from the mountain to help us. He set ablaze the ogres that were near the village and zapped the air born troops. Delsey’s armies retreated to the main force to attack the Omnis while Delsey chased the one who had ruined her attempt to end the lineage of the Moonclaw people. That dragon was you Xerxes.”

Wolfgang from outside the tent lifted his head and opened his eyes listening, more intently. The dragon, who had been looking at the fire in the center of the tent, finally looked up at him. “I remember… The rest of Omnis said to leave you all for dead, but I could not stand by and let you suffer for our mistakes. That attack cost us the break in our defenses and eventually the defeat of my people. I will live with that for the rest of my life knowing I chose one race over my own. Though looking back, I know I could have done more. I could have led her out to the ocean or away from the battle field all together or into a volcano… or something.”  Xerxes was visible distraught and close to breaking down reliving his past.

Right before tears began to fall a hand rested on his shoulder, it was Wolfgang’s. “Thank you.” Spoke Wolfgang quietly.

The dragon only nodded back before composing himself. “So, what now?”

“We were going to ask you that.” Said Pelzgrauen.

“I think that we need to unite the people again. All of them, excluding those who already serve in Delsey’s army, to make this land free at last.” Responded the dragon.

“You are an idiot.” Bluntly stated Wolfgang. “There are too many races of beings that are not enlisted in Delsey’s forces. Several of which have stayed neutral since the time of the Omni oppression. Not to mention that the humans have their own goals which include targeting all magical creatures as enemies since Merlin left their council. Arthur leads them blindly now and hides within the walls of Camelot. He lets his generals merely defend their home. The magicians have also formed their own army, but lack the courage to move forward. Not to mention that they lost their homeland to Delsey who they put on that throne. Did I also mention that the leaders of their eight orders are all missing due to their hasty retreat from Mendaxum? Lastly if you do not forget, there are the dragons. How many kinds are there again? Oh, right there are thirty-two other kinds that we need to rally, most of which hate each other. Did I miss anything?”

“Well actually there are only thirty-one since the Armorph race of dragons follow the commands of Delsey. That and we have the support of the Moonclaw tribe already.” Mildly stated Xerxes. Wolfgang just growled back at the statement.

Pelzgrauen was stroking his beard as he thought on this plan. Finally, he spoke, “Your quest will be difficult, but it may work. The combined strength of the creatures in Magitotum should be enough to defeat the witch, but you cannot do it alone. You are going to need a group of you to accomplish this feat. I can give you a group of our warriors to go with you once we get to the homeland.”

“With all due respect Pelzgrauen, I think it would be better if the group was more mixed then strictly werewolves and one dragon. We need to show that all of us living in Magitotum want the same thing. That is why Wolfgang and I will go out on foot tomorrow and head to where the magician’s rebel sanction is hiding.” Firmly commanded Xerxes.

“No, you won’t. You will do as I say so that we can assure both of your survival. The way you are suggesting is suicide. The goblins would see you and it would be all over. Not to mention we do not know if these magicians will even support you. We do it my way.” The old werewolf said with a snarl. Xerxes started to growl back, and fire started to leap from his breath.

Both of the creatures were ready to pounce at each other until Wolfgang broke the stare down, “Stop it now. There is an easier way to settle this. We could do a Zweikampf.” The dragon looked questioningly at the half blind werewolf. “Single combat between two warriors. It helps decide conflicts without bloodshed. The fighters are not allowed to kill each other or use powers of any kind.” Informed Wolfgang. Pelzgrauen and Xerxes looked at each other and nodded in agreement.

In the middle of the camp, Pelzgrauen and Xerxes stood facing each other. The other werewolves formed a circle around them, eager to see the fight unfold. The dragon enveloped himself in flames from the campfire nearby. Red scales spread across his skin as spikes shot out of his back and down his tail. They form a v-shaped at the tip that he could use as a weapon. The Omni stood at ten feet high and his wings were proportionate to this body size, able to wrap around him like a cloak. He stepped out of the flames while menacingly looking at his opponent. The wolves gazed in awe of the fire that danced around him as he looked just like one of the fire dragons known as the Matahari. The older werewolf simply yawned at the dragon in front of him not moving an inch while holding his staff. Wolfgang moved to the center with his arms crossed.

“This Zweikampf will be between chief Pelzgrauen and Xerxes. This will only be physical combat with no powers what so ever; that includes self-healing or elemental attacks. Flying is allowed in the match. Those who break the rules will be disqualified and restrained by the tribe and the opponents plan will be chosen. Let the match begin.” Wolfgang jumped back and clapped his hands. Xerxes charged forward and punched with his right fist in front of him at the chief’s chest. The old wolf twisted to his left, dodging the punch, and swung his staff; making contact directly at the back of Xerxes head. The dragon felt dazed by the hit, but would not give up that easy. Using his tail, he grabbed the werewolf by the leg and flung him to a wall in the cove. Pelzgrauen used the momentum, rolled in the air, and kicked off the side of the wall. Xerxes saw this coming and prepared himself for the return. The chief span his staff in a circle like a tornado at him. The dragon slid under the staff and landed a punch right in the werewolf’s gut. The older opponent had to jump back after the hit to recover.

“This is my chance.” Xerxes thought. Right before he lunged off to attack, his scar began to glow yellow again. “Not now.” He thought. Sure enough, a nightmare hit his mind again. His scales had been stripped of his body leaving him exposed.

“You lost Omni. Give up. Your plans are going to fail.” Taunted Delsey. “No creature is going to line themselves with an evil such as yourself. Your people destroyed this land. I am here to restore it.”

“A real bang up job you are doing of that huh?” Chuckled Xerxes.

“And your people did so much better.” Delsey shot back. “Now let us see if we can find the last piece of the puzzle from your mind…” Her yellow magic glowed and shot at the eyes of Xerxes, ending the vision.

The dragon reeled back into reality to find that Pelzgrauen was nowhere to be found. He was still standing, and the fight had not ended yet since the wolves were still in the circle with an upset Wolfgang looking at him.

“Darn it. He has taken the upper hand and hidden on me. That means he is looking for an opening, my next move is going to decide the outcome of this match.” Thought Xerxes. He looked around in the darkness to see if he could see any glint of something that was off. There was nothing then he thought of a better way. Using his sense of smell he could tell where the old timer was hidden. He flew up towards the ceiling of the cove smelling that the wolf was there.

Suddenly, a blur of fur zoomed past him hitting his upper left wing. “No way. How could he mask his smell?” Xerxes could not believe that he had been tricked. He knew that he had fallen for a trap and had to be wary of his attacks. The blur of fur came out again and hit the upper right wing. The dragon was starting to feel the strain of flying with his wings damaged.

“I have to quiet down and listen.” Thought the dragon. He closed his eyes and listened for any noise that would give away the location of the werewolf. There were two sounds he could hear. One was of wood hitting stone and the other was claws clutching rock.

“So, he thinks using the staff to hit rock will distract me huh? Well I know where he is now, so I will wait for him to strike.” Thought the Omni. The sounds of the claws became loud then disappeared.

“Got you.” Mused Xerxes as he opened his eyes and used his tail to smack the wolf down to the ground. The dragon smiled but then felt more pain. Looking to his wings, the bottom right had been damaged by a claw. His wings could no longer support him as he plummeted to the ground, hitting head first. Both creatures were on the ground, both dazed from the other’s attacks.

Wolfgang declared. “The first person to rise wins the fight.” Xerxes heard the words but was feeling so dizzy and beat that he was having a hard time getting himself up. He looked across the way at his opponent and was stunned. Pelzgrauen had gotten up, supporting himself on his staff. Wolfgang proclaimed, “The chief is the winner. We shall go with his plan of action.” Xerxes growled from where he laid beaten on the ground.

Pelzgrauen came over and lifted the dragon to his feet and brought him to his tent. Together with Wolfgang they began healing the scaly creature. Xerxes opened his eyes and saw that the two had their hands covered in a silvery liquid.

“It is Silbermond if you were wondering. A potion that heals with the power of moonlight.” Pelzgrauen stated while pointing at the opening at the top of the tent. “You know you would have won if you had continued your momentum. What stopped you?”

“My scar activated in the middle of the battle. It left me stunned and I had lost where you were at that point.” Replied Xerxes.

The older werewolf smiled and went to leave. “Get some rest noble dragon. We set off in a couple minutes.” The Omni sat up, noticing that Wolfgang had finished the healing, and that the wolf still in human form had turned away.

“You lost it?” Questioned Wolfgang. Xerxes was nervous knowing that he had just recovered, and that this werewolf had a dark energy about him. Thinking on it, he had never gone into his wolf form the whole time he had been with Xerxes.

The dragon answered, “Not lost, stolen. I know where the thief is going. That is why I wanted to go towards the faction of the rebel magicians.”

Wolfgang whipped around his eyes had gone to slits and his fur was beginning to grow on his face. “That was a family heirloom. It was the last thing my father gave to me before he died!” His body was transforming more rapidly with black fur growing everywhere.

“I am sorry for losing it, we will get it back Wolfgang. Trust me I know how precious it is to keep the heritage that others left behind for you. I promise that we will get it back undamaged.” Sincerely apologized Xerxes. Wolfgang looked at the dragon and was satisfied with the answer he was given. Slowly the fur went away, and his eyes went back to round pupils. As the moment passed, the two soon prepared for the journey ahead.


Chapter 3

The Voyage

The tribe had to make sail fast. Dawn was approaching, meaning that the werewolves would be at half strength.

“Why do we not wait till the next night? They will not find us here with the protections we have placed to shield us.” Questioned Wolfgang.

Pelzgrauen sighed and looked at the young wolf. “Because we are only strong with the moon. Those wards will not be as strong as what they were at night. You know this.” Wolfgang looked at the side gritting his teeth. “Trust me Wolfgang. We will get your medallion back. But right now, we need to get back to safety or at least another land where they will not find us.” With that, the older werewolf turned to the ships. The tents had been packed onto the eight boats, they looked more like kayaks, but the wolves were insisting that they were to be called boats. The “boats” were made of single pine trees hollowed out so that they could float across the water.

“Oh, this feels safe.” Sarcastically stated Xerxes aloud as he climbed into the boat with Wolfgang. The werewolf glared at him wanting to say something back but smiled and shook his head in agreement.

Pelzgrauen stood up at the head boat and spoke to the tribe. “Wolves of the moon. We will return home with our mission accomplished. We must have courage as we pass over the Moana. Stealth is what we need as we cross over rolling wave after wave. Sail to the north first toward the island of Graecia. We will go through the Pass of Discidium, north of the island. Make for the region of Orario in the land of Epoca before sailing along the border toward our homeland of Baum. May you take faith in each other as we set off.” With that, the old werewolf sat down and made ready to sail. Xerxes and Wolfgang looked at each other and nodded before grabbing their oars and rowing.

The sun was about to come up as they left the cove. The dragon could tell that the wolves were not looking as strong as they had been, appearing more as humans. Passing pillar and pillar of stone, the tribe was silent as they effortless navigated without a sound. They were just about to leave the coast of Contritus when Pelzgrauen suddenly used his staff to summon a moon shield. Xerxes was surprised until he saw what was happening. From one of the stone pillars, a bullet had torn through the sky and hit the old werewolf in the right arm. His arm now bleeding a little, the wolf held the barrier as multiple shots hit the shield. They could see now that the pillars were lookout towers used to spot enemies, and they had fallen for the trap. Three of the pillars were in range of them. Xerxes eyes went into a slit as he transformed into Matahari form. He shot a fire ball at the closest tower and watched as it crumbled to pieces. The other two towers blew horns before the werewolves could shoot their arrows at the occupants. “Not good not good.” Panicked Xerxes. Looking at the sky, he could see the bat like creatures coming at the boats. The Armorph dragons, about four of them, had come to answer the distress horns.

Information came flooding into the Omnis brain about the strange race. The Armorph had the unique ability to transform parts of their bodies into weapons. They were developed by experiments that Jiqeeran and Chenfa dragons performed together. They took one of the Chenfa and tried to see if it could mimic other objects other than itself. While attempting and not really succeeding, one of the guns being used was fired off by accident and hit the machine they were using. A blast of purple energy shot out and morphed the weapons into several of the Chenfa dragons. Their appearances changed from their single colored skin like scales to purple bat like skin. Their arms had morphed into swords without them thinking about it. The wings on their back grew twice in length and had sharp metallic edges to each bat like wing. Down their back formed curved spines like claws that went down to their now elongated tail which had a mace head at the end of it. They found out that they could morph their bodies into weapons and went to go show their clan in the land of Yin Ben. The Chenfa were horrified by the weaponized creatures that came home to them. Not knowing what these dragons would do, they banished them from their land. The new weaponized creatures left saddened and angered to the land of Contritus. There they found comradery with the goblins who welcomed them with open arms. Ever since that day, they have called themselves Armorph and have stayed loyal friends to the goblin race.

Now these dragons were attacking the tribe of Moonclaw. The beings let loose a rain of missiles, bullets, and arrows. Pelzgrauen could no longer hold the shield as it broke into pieces. The Armorph dove in changing their hands to swords to slash at anyone near them. The wolves could not keep up with them in their boats, many getting slashed and injured. Wolfgang jumped up as one of them got close. He stood on its back and waved at it as it reared its head back at him. With that, he dropkicked his leg down onto its right wing and broke it. The dragon roared as it swirled down while Wolfgang jumped off and landed on another boat. The other three were still swarming the canoes. Xerxes could not do anything for they were too close to the tribe and too fast.

“Only one thing to do.” He thought. All the sudden the sea around his boat flowed up to him and incased him in a ball of flowing water.

Wolfgang jumped back onto his boat and asked, “What do you think you are doing? You are going to sink the boat!”

“Just watch.” Replied Xerxes. The flowing water broke into droplets and revealed that the Omni had changed forms. There stood in front of Wolfgang a dragon with dark blue scaled skin. Down his back where spines that shot out webbed together with skin. A large dorsal fin shot out from his back that were between two webbed wings. His tail had transformed into a caudal or tail fin with smaller fins formed two on each side. In the front, his chest to belly were a teal in color. The arms where of the same dark blue as the rest of the body with five clawed fingers with webbing in between them. The feet were similar but only had three digits webbed while the one stuck out in the back of the foot. The dragon flew up into the sky and spurted a blast of water from its lips directly hitting one of the Armorphs into the water. The other two came at him, their hands thrusted forward into lances. The scaled lizard dove into the water quickly. The other two stopped and looked around, waiting to see a glimpse of the enemy. From out beneath them, Xerxes sprang up and hit one of them with his tail fin while the other was blasted with a jet of water from his mouth. The two were launched away into the water. Moments later they flew out, grabbed their broken winged comrade, and retreated to Contritus. Xerxes went back to his boat and water flowed out of him, bringing him back to his human form.

“How?” That was all Wolfgang had to say. Omnis were known to use any power of the other dragon species, but not turn into them. Again, he asked the question. “Xerxes, how did you change forms to a Kikorangi?” The dragon looked from side to side, avoiding eye contact with the wolf.

Pelzgrauen answered his question, “The Gem of Cogni correct?” They both looked at the Omni, who sighed. He began to glow and showed them the item. The marquis jewel shined brightly in an arrangement of colors.

“I thought that was just a legend?” Astonished a surprised Wolfgang.

Xerxes began to spin the tale, “Long ago after the creation of the original races there came a time of great conflict. They began arguing over lands and who was higher than whom. A war, the Conflict of Elemental and Metaphysical Forces, broke out that showed no side was going to win, only death for all who partook. Instead the land became polluted both in nature and of mind. New species of dragons were created, and darker beasts were being formed. Thus, one day the Omnis were born, well to be correct one of them was created.”

“Why not a whole army of them? Wouldn’t that have been quicker with less blood shed?” Questioned the young werewolf.

“Then you would have ran into the same problem that occurred later in history. You know the one that caused all this catastrophe?” Pointed out the dragon before continuing. “Anyways his name was Omnes and he was given the gift of the Gem of Cogni. With this he was able to transform himself into any race of dragons. Using this, he spread peace throughout the land of Magitotum not only with force but with words. Being able to show them that even the most powerful of beings can humble themselves to make a better world. Those were the principles we were taught before the corruption began.” Xerxes finished his story and found themselves between the coasts of Graecia and Fabulum.

“Then why did this not appear earlier? The conquest of the world would have been much easier for the Omnis with that weapon. Being able to infiltrate societies without anyone able to notice them.” Remarked Wolfgang.

“You missed the point of the story then young wolf.” Informed Pelzgrauen. “The gem is not a weapon, it is a tool for understanding. Only the dragon with the right intentions was going to be allowed to even touch it.” The gem went back inside Xerxes as they sat in the boat. “We are reaching the pass soon. Be on guard and stick together.” Ordered Pelzgrauen before going back to his boat while holding onto his arm.

“Yet another detail you forgot to mention.” Commented Wolfgang with annoyance in his voice.

The dragon closed his eyes before giving him a reply. “I tend not to open up to anyone Wolfgang and you cannot blame me, given my back ground. And come to think of it, you are not one to talk. You seem to stay silent except for when you choose to criticize someone’s decisions.”

The young werewolf growled back and turned away from the dragon. “Since the death of my family I vowed an oath of silence until I had gotten justice. I only broke that silence since you saved my people. I thought I could trust you.” Quietly stated the son of Moonclaw. Xerxes eyes opened and looked at the half blind being in front of him. He looked down at his hands, weighing out the risks of telling him anything. Giving him any information what so ever could cause a risk to both him and the one who carries the knowledge. Finally realizing that the werewolf was right and that he trusted him as well, he began to tell the son of Moonclaw about his life before the invasion of Delsey. The two talked back and forth both laughing about their lives before the witch.

“I remember one time a leprechaun came into our village and was very rude. Ruder than an ogre’s table manners.” Reminisced Wolfgang. The two chuckled at the joke. “Any way he was making a ruckus about how we, in his own colorful words, were flea bitten pups who were weak for serving anyone especially the Omnis and he demanded for my father’s amulet. As werewolves you know that was not going to go over well. So, we grabbed the shorty and strung up a net. We played volleyball with him as the ball for about an hour. Then we watched him stumble this way and that before walking straight into a tree. He snapped out of it and yelled that he would remember this day; before running to his ship. It was an entertaining day.” Wolfgang seemed like he was living back in that moment.

Xerxes began to share his tale, “Back during training, we used to have multiple areas of expertise. There were basic exercises such as jogging, flying, target practice, climbing, sneak attacks, and etcetera; but one of my favorites was elemental focuses or Primus abilities. Each of us excelled at different disciplines of power. For Omnis and all dragons, there are two major branches of abilities. There are the Primus and Eximus categories. Primus dragons are those of the more the basic foundations such as the ones influenced by fire, water, and electricity. The Eximus are complicated powers such as time, dark, and light. My focus area is Primus so when the teacher came in I thought it would be funny to shock him when he was not looking. Every time he turned around to mark something on his tiny blackboard that he wheeled around, I would give him a quick shot of electricity. He would then whirl around trying to catch who it was shocking him. After about three shocks he got upset enough that he accidently spun himself into a tornado. He went up then fell head first into the ground. We all busted out laughing and I said that I could watch that over and over again. My younger brother, being an Eximus dragon, used his talents of time to replay the stunt repeatedly. We ended up having to take care of all the damage the tornado did along with a hundred wing ups, but it was well worth it.” Chuckled Xerxes with his eyes sparkling from the memory.

“You had a brother?” Asked Wolfgang seriously.

The dragon did not realize that he had slipped that out. He recoiled back with a sad expression and held his legs with his arms. “Yes, had being the main word in that sentence.” Responded the dragon sadly.

The werewolf gazed at the dragon and found himself asking a question. “Xerxes, are you going to be ok?” The Omni did not respond at first but sat with his eyes empty. He starred into his mind and saw his brother smiling back at him. Xerxes knew that he owed his brother to make this world a better place.

His eyes slowly came back to focus and answered, “Yes Wolfgang I will be fine. Just that the past still haunts me as you well know from experience.”

The two looked at each other in silence before Wolfgang asked silently, “By the way what is a wing up? Do you touch your toes with your wings? Because that seems like it would be too easy for you.”

Xerxes looked back at the werewolf while smiling. “A wing up is basically just a pushup but using my wings instead of my hands.”

“You Omnis always had to outshine the rest of us.” The wolf said sarcastically. Xerxes patted the creature on the back.

They had spent three days in the boats and where halfway through the Pass of Discidium. The pair was sitting down sharing more stories with each other laughing all along the way. They started to realize around sunset that the others were not as jolly. As the night approached, the kayaks began to be in chaos. The tribe was quarrelling and starting to attack each other.

“Why did we even go on this mission?”

“Yeah the Omnis left us for dead when we were attacked.”

“Did you not listen to the story? We saved the hero that saved our village!”

“Except it was his people that caused our ruin.”

“But we can rebuild and have peace.”

“No one can oppose that witch. We must secure our borders not chase after a fantasy.”

The werewolves argued back and forth like this until Pelzgrauen spoke up. “We will help the Omni because it is our duty to do so. We did not stand up against them the last time and we let the world fall to ruin because of it. We will not make that mistake again.”

“What do you know old man? You were the one that aligned us with them in the first place. You are not even worthy to lead us.” Pelzgrauen’s eyes turned to slits as he charged forward and smacked the wolf who said it in the face with his staff. The werewolves all began to turn into their true forms. Furs of gray littered the water began to show. Their claws extend from their hands as they snarled and growled. They pounced onto each other clawing and biting. Pelzgrauen had three werewolves attacking him. One launched himself at the older chief, and was grabbed by the tail. Pelzgrauen used him to smack the other wolves away before throwing the sore creature into the water.

Xerxes and Wolfgang were baffled by the spectacle before them. They charged forward trying to hold back the werewolves from killing each other. The dragon changed to his water form and knocked a few of them out with the ocean while holding others by the scruffs of their necks.

Wolfgang went straight to the chief staying as a human. He grabbed the old man’s staff. “What are you doing leader? This is not like you.”

“I have suppressed the thirst for battle long enough. I will let my inner beast free. You are weak to deny yourself that pleasure. You were always weak, that is why your family died.” Hollered Pelzgrauen. The young wolf snapped as his fur grew to its black color. He began to grow in height to double his size. His claws grew long and razor sharp. More impressively, an energy with the pale light of the moon began to glow around him.

“That’s it… This… ends… NOW!” With that, the energy around him exploded out, splintering most of the ships. Xerxes saw the blast coming but could not get out of the way in time. The tribe was blasted into the water with most of their boats destroyed.