Alright, new (Stand alone) Story to keep you guys busy while I finish the two series I have going now. I was kind of bored
and was jumping around impatiently, trying to pick something to write. I started this one over a year ago and figured I would finish it since it was more than halfway done. I hope you like it, don't bite my head off if you don't. I promise to make it up to you with the next chapter of Luck of the Irish if you don't like it. Thanks to my editor Gbc5452. Oh and I promise, I'm doing a Christmas story so there's that... :)
quick note from gbc5452; It is entirely my fault that this took so long to be sent in. My laptop crashed twice and prolonged my editing. It is not Gweall's fault there's been a gap between stories, it's mine, an she's amazing and as editor god I order you to lay her offerings of yummy goodies and such in an apology for poking her for new stories. DO IT NOW SUCKAHS! so says editing god
Stormbringer's hooves ate away at the land as she raced forward. Prince Terrin could feel her heavy breathing under him. She galloped faster then the soldier's horses could keep up with and soon they were far ahead of the others.
Some just stopped and watched as the lightning fast gray blur passed them and kept moving.
"They move like lightning and rain, as if they were one." One soldier said to the other.
"The Prince named her Stormbringer for a reason." The other said back. They watched as the horse and her rider reached the top of the hill. Her rider looked over the hill and saw the steep cliff that marked the end of the humans land.
Stormbringer's breathing had settled as the last of the soldiers finally caught up to them.
"Sir, not to interrupt you but we should be getting back soon. Your father will worry." One of the guards said.
"Alright." Prince Terrin said and pulled the reins until Stormbringer turned, and clicked at her to begin a fast trot back to the castle.
"Your father wants you to attend the meeting with Lord Feric." said one of the guards.
"You can just say my Uncle you know. Just because he's head of the guard doesn't mean he gets special treatment." Terrin smiled and clicked once more and Stormbringer galloped away from the guard.
When they had finally reached the castle after their morning's ride, Terrin left his beloved Stormbringer in the hands of the stable keepers and walked into the castle while removing his riding gloves. He took off his thin leather riding helmet letting his hair fall down to just above his shoulders.
The maids and other
females who he passed stared at his forest green eyes and smooth golden hair. They all wondered who
he would pick to be his lucky queen. But most knew that would most likely never happen. It was well known around the castle and the surrounding grounds that Prince Terrin didn't take to the presence of women, he preferred men much more. But that didn't keep the maids from thinking about his broad shoulders and chest.
The guards at the doors to the war room opened the large wooden double doors
as Terrin approached. He
stepped inside to see the meeting had already started. His father sat at one end of the table and
his uncle sat to his left. The other seats of the long table were filled with generals, lords, and captains of different sorts. One seat lay empty to his fathers immediate right where Terrin was to sit.
"Nice of you to finally join us, Prince Terrin." His uncle said sarcasticly.
"It is rather nice of me isn't it, uncle." Terrin grinned when his uncle frowned.
"We are in a war meeting, you will address me as Lord Feric." His uncle said.
Terrin rolled his eyes and took a seat next to his father.
"And you should know better than any, Uncle Feric, that as the prince heir to the throne I can refer to anyone except for my father the king in any way I please."
Lord Feric glared at him from across the table.
"If I may continue, my king?" said a general down the table.
"Of course." His father gestured for the general to continue.
"The Kin are getting restless. We don't know what's disturbing them but they have been seen growing closer to the borders, and in large broods." Said the general. He used the long wooden pointer to point to a spot on the map that covered the table. Terrin recognized it as a map of Human and Kin lands.
"They even show up more in the waters. Several of our ships have had damage done to their hulls from the spines of one of the retched creatures." The general said. Mumbles and murmurs could be heard around the room.
"What do you suppose we do about this?" said Terrin's father.
"Sire, I think it's obvious what we need to do. This can't go on if we give them room to
breathe they will only spit fire in
our direction." replied the general.
"You suggest we attack them?" Said the king, surprised.
"What other choice do we have? If we don't they will." Lord Feric spoke up.
"We could talk to them. This war has gone on for many centuries. Perhaps it's time to put all
of this behind us." Said another general, who Terrin recognized as General Mickaz.
"We could give them more land."
"We must slay them."
"Leave them be, they will settle."
"They will settle after they destroy us all."
"You know how they are, evil creatures."
Many thoughts went around the room and finally the spotlight landed on Terrin.
"My son, you have as much say in this as anyone else here. If not more so. What are your thoughts?" The king asked Terrin.
"I think...We don't know enough yet. We need to find out at least why they are restless. It could be something as trivial as 'verns in the the area. Something we can solve peacefully." Terrin said, referring to the dragons cousins Wyverns, they looked much like dragons but were cruel and barbaric, they also could not speak.
"You can't talk peace with a dragon. The Kin wish for only our extinction, it's in a dragon's blood." His uncle said. They starred silently at each other from across the table.
"Thank you for your thoughts, I will be returning to my throne room to talk with the advisers and come to a decision about what will be done about the Kin." The king rose and everyone else followed and bowed before the king walked out with Terrin and Lord Feric close behind at his sides.
"My king, with all due respect, your son is not ready to handle the burden of the throne. He is still naïve and young."
Lord Feric said.
"Good thing he doesn't need to take the throne now then isn't it." The king smiled at his brother.
"And even if I did, I could handle it perfectly well. I have watched
you my entire life Father, I know how to be a good king. And how to lead my people." Terrin said, and glared at his uncle.
"You can be trusted with nothing! I should be the one to take the throne, not some child!" His uncle growled. "I am the eldest brother, it should have been mine."
"But it wasn't. You have no children nor can you produce any. Therefore, I take the throne and my son follows." The king said.
Terrin snickered at the embarrassment that came over his uncles face.
"I would be a better ruler." His uncle argued. Anger washed over his face and he tried to hide it.
"Maybe, but I guess we won't know until we see what my son can do." The
king smiled and finally reached the doors to the throne room. The guards opened the large brass doors and all three men stepped inside.
"He is young and stupid." His uncle growled.
"I've reached my twenty fifth summer. I'm no longer young, nor am I stupid. Do not insult me again." said Terrin.
"I have heard your arguments brother, several times in fact. And I do not wish to hear them again." The king grew serious and Lord Feric knew it was time to keep his mouth
'In due time you and your boy will fall, and it will be MY turn to rule.' Feric thought to himself.
"So it's agreed then. My son and Lord Feric will at least go to the border to see if they can figure out what has gotten the dragons so restless." The king said.
"Father, why must uncle come along? I'm perfectly capable of doing this on my own, and you know it!" Terrin asked, trying to
stay calm and not get
"Of course I know it, but he doesn't. Perhaps this will show him what a capable leader you can be. But be careful. You know what dragons are like, my son. Though you have had the pleasure of NOT seeing them. They are dangerous and they will not hesitate a second to kill you." His father told him.
"I know father. You speak as If I don't remember how mother died." Terrin said.
"I should have never let her on that boat." The king blamed himself for the thousandth time.
"You didn't know one of them would attack. It was not your fault." Terrin said for the thousandth time back.
"Yes, well, either way it doesn't fix or change anything. But maybe you can. Go with your uncle and make me proud." Terrin nodded his head and walked through the long halls to his room.
He quickly suited up in his finest armor and attached his favorite sword to his side and headed down to
the stables to get
They trotted at a quick but
steady pace. Stormbringer could easily outrun even the fastest of the kingdoms horses. Terrin could practically feel the horses legs itching to run. But she obeyed what Terrin told her to do and cantered lazily along so the others could keep up. Though it was obvious the other horses considered this a fast pace.
"I can't believe we are doing this. What does he want us to do, talk to the great beasts?" his uncle growled. He trotted next to Terrin on his own horse. Terrin couldn't remember the name but the horse was black as night and had a cruel glare to its face. His own armor was more impressive then the soldiers that followed him, but far less impressive then Terrin's.
All of the soldiers that accompanied them were his best. Terrin noticed they all wore a very serious, stoic expression on their faces. He shrugged it off as them being nervous about facing the Kin.
'If we see them at all.' Terrin thought to himself. 'We most likely won't even get a glimpse of one of the dragons. Oh, how I would love to slay one. Make its tough scales into a fantastic piece of armor.' Terrin lost himself in thoughts of slaying the dragons.
Before he knew it Stormbringer stopped beneath him an he came out of his reverie to see they were at the giant steep cliff that separated the Dragons land from the Humans. The legend was that when the Draco-human war began, the Great Earth Dragon Egtunell separated the lands with this cliff so that no human could get down easy and that no dragon would fly up.
To the east was the Atren Sea. The same ocean his mother had died in. The waters were filled with the water dragons. They often attacked the humans ships and the humans often destroyed their homes. They dwell deep in the underwater caves and the ones that lived more to the north, towards the icy caps of the world, lived under the large slabs of Ice.
Terrin had never seen one but had seen pictures of them in books. They were long snake-like creatures. Sometimes with a head at each end of their long serpentine body. Their backs held large crests, much like a fish. And they sometimes had large fins to help propel them through the water. They were usually blue or green. Terrin remembered seeing a boat that had barely managed to return to port after being attacked by one of the dragons. The bottom of the boat had been scraped by teeth and scales and there were several holes in the boat where the
beast had sprayed water out of its mouth. They could produce enough water pressure to eat away at solid stone. that's how they made their homes. Their most dangerous weapon was their own bodies, capable of crushing a whale to death in seconds.
To the west was the desert where the earth dragons lived. They were large worm like creatures that would burrow underground and surprise their prey by
bursting from beneath them and swallowing them whole before they knew what had happened. They were exceptionally hard to kill and you were considered an amazing hunter if you could kill one. Their black plated bodies could be hundreds of feet in length.
At the top of the cliffs past the desert lived the air dragons. They looked like water dragons in that they had the long serpentine bodies. But
their bodies were more like a garden snake and were thinner and lighter. They had large wings that sprouted from their
body with feathers, though they could have leathery bat-like wings as well. Of the species they were the only dragons found to be feathered. They had no arms but did have back legs with wickedly sharp talons. They would swoop down on their pray and catch it in their claws much like a hawk would. They were usually white or gray and were the only dragons who didn't have a specific home. They preferred to soar over the land and only landed to sleep or eat. Considered the weaker of all dragons since they are neither poisonous nor can they breathe anything deadly.
To the north the fire dragons lived. They were smaller then the earth dragons but larger than the others. They breathed fire, obviously, and preferred to burn their prey. They were the most dangerous of all of the dragons since they held traits from each of the other broods. They were large and strong like the Earth dragons, but spectacular fliers like the wind dragons, and they were poisonous like the water dragons. They lived in the volcanoes and lava pits to the north. They were usually different shades of red and orange.
A fifth species of dragons used to inhabit the swamps to the south, close to the cliffs that now separated the lands, the green dragons could breathe toxic gasses and liked to live in the marshes of their lands. But the humans completely wiped out the last of their kind hundreds of years ago.
Terrin looked over the lands and could barely make out the lava pits far to the north.
"Well, what do we do now, Fearless leader." Feric sneered the last part at Terrin.
"I don't know, Father said to find out what was going on." Terrin thought frantically, he didn't want to seem like a pitiful child who couldn't do a single thing without his fathers direct
"You're useless." His uncle rolled his eyes and turned his horse. Terrin turn Stormbringer to follow and clicked at her so she ran ahead and blocked her uncles horses path.
"You can't leave now, we've only just gotten here. We must investigate." Terrin said.
"What would you like to do? Climb down the Divide?" Feric laughed.
" Well, no but we must do something." Terrin said and trotted Stormbringer back over to the cliff. He dismounted and looked over the edge to see exactly how far down it was. He grew dizzy when he saw the sheer drop down the Divide.
He heard his uncle dismount behind him. And turned to say something when he heard the sound of a sword being drawn. He quickly drew his own and met his uncle with the weapon. His left foot was hanging half the way off the cliff and his right was trying to keep him from falling backwards.
"What are you doing!?" He shouted at his uncle.
"Trying to stop you from falling." He replied casually. He pushed against Terrins weapon harder an he felt his left foot slipping off the little ground it had. Terrin looked to the guards for help but most of them just sneered their
approval. Some looked down at the ground,
ashamed of the crime they were watching, but doing nothing.
"Don't just stand there, help your prince heir!" Terrin shouted at them. None of them moved. Terrin's vision went red with anger.
"When I'm king, they will all have higher ranking positions then lowly soldiers. Why would they help you?" His uncle laughed. Terrin was shocked at the treason being committed and was caught off guard when his uncle gave one final shove of their matched swords.
Terrin felt the ground under his left foot crumble away and he fell backwards. His right foot caught the edge of the cliff and it caused him to turn. He was falling face first towards the earth below. He closed his eyes and prayed one last time that his uncle would be caught.
He hit something that was smooth an sturdy. It hurt but not as much as he thought dying would hurt. He opened his eyes and saw red again. But this time it wasn't with anger. He looked to see he was grasping to the right wing of a very large, very pissed off, dragon. The dragon gave a shriek, that sounded like a mix of a lizard and a bird, and banked heavily to the right. Terrins sword sliced through the delicate flesh of the dragons wing and the dragon screeched again, this time louder.
The dragon turned as hard as it could to the left so it was facing the cliff side. It tried to save them from their fall by grasping the side of the divide. Its wings resembled a bats and served as its arms an as its wings. The clawed finger type appendage tried to grip the cliff side but the loose earth just crumbled beneath it. It tried several more times but eventually gave up and used its large back legs to kick off the side of the cliff.
It tried to spread its wings again but it began tumbling to the right due to the tear in its wing and the weight of Terrin holding it. Terrin heard a loud screeching sound and wished the dragon would just shut up. Then he realized he was screaming along with the dragons shrieks and roars.
They fell faster and faster towards the ground and the dragon tried to shake Terrin off its wing.
'If I'm going down your going down with me.' Terrin thought to himself.
The dragon hissed and tried to balance itself but all it succeeded in doing was turning and twisting them in mid air. Terrin saw the ground getting closer and closer. He looked into the dragons eyes and saw the fear in them. The dragon quickly stopped shrieking and turned itself so its back was facing the ground. It folded its wings into its stomach, an brought Terrin along with them. Terrin was pressed against the smooth scaly belly of the dragon an could feel its wings on his back. He felt the impact of them hitting the ground and heard the
They slid for a large distance until finally they came to a stop. The dragons wings loosened and Terrin was able to climb free. He got a few steps away and saw he was still holding his sword. He sat, or more like fell, to the ground an stared at the large beast while he caught his breath. His hands shook and he couldn't seem to get enough air.
The dragon was a large red one. It had two horns that curved towards its back, an in between them were pointed spines that went all the way from its head to halfway down its tail, where they stopped, and a club like chunk of bone ended the tail.
The dragon was still alive, Terrin could hear its
heavy breathing. Terrin looked up the
cliff and saw no sign of his uncle. He tried to stand but his still shaky legs wouldn't allow it. The dragons breathing suddenly became quieter an it opened its large eyes that were easily the size of Terrin's hand. It tried to roll over an folded its wings in an odd way so they were more like arms instead of wings now. He used his tail to help push up his lower half and stood on his own shaky legs.
He looked at Terrin and his
yellow unblinking eyes showed only minor annoyance and curiosity. Terrin slowly moved his hand to his sword that layed next to him. The dragon hissed and moved so it was facing Terrin head on. He glanced at the sword an back at Terrin. His eyes narrowed and Terrin could see his muscles clenched for battle.
"Don't come near me violent beast." said Terrin through clenched teeth. The dragon
raised it's head and it looked, if a
dragon could, like it raised an eyebrow.
"I'm not the one reaching for the sword." It said. Its voice was nothing like Terrin imagined it to be. It sounded younger then the beast looked. And it was obviously male. His lips didn't move but Terrin could hear the voice clearly. He remembered reading somewhere that dragons communicated through telepathy.
reaching because you were staring like you were going to eat me." Terrin said defensively
"Eat you?" The dragon looked liked it was surprised. "You wouldn't even prove to be an appetizer." The dragon laughed in Terrin's head. Terrin swallowed roughly.
"Well leave then." Terrin's hand still hovered over his sword. The dragon squinted at Terrin before raising its 'arms' an spreading its wings. He raised his tail an straightened up on its hind legs so it was nearly standing erect. It slammed its tail on the ground and pushed off with its legs. It flapped its wings several times but it's eyes opened wide in shock.
It hovered for a moment an made it only a few feet before it screeched an fell to the ground. He hissed and raised his right wing. A long cut run from almost the bone that served as his arms all the way down until it almost split the wing in half.
"My wing! You retched creature!" The dragon
hissed and turned to face Terrin
again. It opened its mouth and revealed a row of large, LARGE, teeth.
Terrin picked up his sword and stood in a position where he could fight.
"It was an accident, I was a little busy falling from the top of a cliff to notice where my sword was going!" Terrin yelled at him.
"What were you doing anyways? Last time I checked humans can't fly!" The dragon shouted back at him in Terrin's head.
"Oh we cant? Gee I wish someone had told me that!" Terrin said sarcasticly. Silenced passed between the two a moment but neither stopped their menacing stances.
Finally the dragon relaxed.
"There's no point in fighting, it will only add to our troubles." The dragon said quietly.
"Fine." Terrin put away his sword.
"Now how do I get back home?" Terrin asked the large reptile. The dragon looked up at him with an almost shocked expression on his face.
"There is no way up to the human lands other then flying." The dragon said, as if Terrin should know this.
"Look, I'm Prince Terrin. I'm kind of a big deal up there and if you don't get me back
up there then there is going to be a problem."
"No you look, I'm Zantoranzin, and I can't fly. So your not getting back up there." The dragon motioned his head up the cliff.
Terrin sighed and plopped down on the ground again. He laid his head in his hands and sighed.
"What am I going to do? My uncle is probably telling my father some lie about me falling over the cliff and into the claws of one of your kind." Terrin muttered. The dragon made a scoffing
sound that wasn't in Terrins head. He
didn't know dragons could scoff.
"You think you're the only one with problems? Look at my wing. I can't fly. If I can't fly I can't hunt, if I can't hunt I don't eat, if I don't eat then I die. Kind of like you humans." The dragon, Zantoranzin, said inside Terrins head. Terrin hadn't thought of the damage he'd done to the dragon.
"Don't you just
breathe fire on stuff?" Terrin asked.
"How often does stuff hold still while you burn it alive?" Zantoranzin squinted his eyes in annoyance at Terrin. Terrin hadn't thought about that.
The dragon fell back on his haunches and Terrin thought it looked kind of funny, a dragon falling to the ground exactly as he had.
"There is a path up to the humans land. But it's far. And you would never make it." Zantoranzin said.
"Where is it?" Terrin jumped at the chance, any chance.
"To the east. Along the coast line." Zantoranzin said.
"No there isn't. The divide goes all the way out a good distance into sea." Terrin said.
"Yes, but there is a series of very small islands that go around the cliff and over to the humans side. But again, you could never make it." Zantoranzin said.
"How do you know what I can and can't do?" Terrin stood and glared at the dragon. Zantoranzin stood and stretched his long neck so he was looking down at Terrin.
"I know you can't because it's at least a weeks walk from here. And the islands are too far apart for you to swim to, AND on the way there, as well as on the islands themselves, there are dangerous things that that sword couldn't protect you from." Zantoranzin said.
Terrin tried to
object but could think of no objection. He sat again dejectedly on the ground. Silence came between them again and soon Zantoranzin stood.
"I must see if I can make it to the lava pits." He began walking but looked very uncomfortable and awkward doing so.
Terrin felt almost lonely, knowing he was leaving. "Well I have to try and make it across the islands." He said trying to show the beast he was not helpless. The dragon turned and looked at him for a moment.
"I wish you luck, human." Zantoranzin said and turned back towards the west and headed towards the lava pits.
Terrin began walking towards, what he knew to be, the east.
'God-forsaken uncle. God-forsaken dragon, god-forsaken rock!" he thought as he walked and kicked a rock that dared be in his path.
He had been walking for hours and felt like he had only traveled an inch. He kept his sword drawn and occasionally heard things stalking him in the dense
jungle-like swamps. He stuck close to the wall
of the cliff and used it for guidance.
He couldn't even see the coast from where he was and knew the dragon had been right. It would take him days to get there and by then his uncle would have already had the throne, if he planned on doing what Terrin thought he would be doing.
He heard a rustling in the trees nearest him. He
turned and brought his sword up and
prepared to strike. Glowing yellow eyes peered at him from the leaves at the top of the tree. He swallowed his fear and gripped his sword tighter ready to fight off anything that drew closer to him.
A loud screech pierced the still air and Terrin screamed as the beast came towards him
Zantoranzin walked along and sulked. He was hungry and was trying to hunt when that human had fallen on him. He stopped and lifted his wing and glanced at it. The wound had stopped bleeding but it would take a long time to heal. He growled a sigh and kept
He heard things in the swamps next to him but did nothing. He knew nothing would be so foolish as to attack a red dragon, even an injured one.
The part of his wings that he used to support his weight while walking were already sore. He groaned and sat down. He would never make it to the lava pits at this pace. He felt lonesome and his 'arms' hurt. He stood again and was about to start walking when he heard a shriek. He turned his head and thought he heard a humans scream. He rolled his eyes.
"The foolish human hatchling has already gotten himself in trouble." He said to himself. He began walking and he heard another screech.
'It sounds like a harpy....' he thought to himself. 'He would never be able to fight one off. And they usually come in pairs.'
He hesitated a moment longer before turning and running as best as he could towards the sounds of the fight.
The creature tried to scratch at Terrins eyes with its long bird-like talons. It missed when he rolled away and used its feathered arms to circle around for another swipe. Terrin took the opportunity to run back the way he had come. He dropped his sword and felt relieved when the excess weight had gone. He dashed as fast as he could hoping to out run the creature.
Zantoranzin ran as fast as his body would allow.
'I am not built for running!' he thought to himself. He gave a small jump and flapped his wings as best as he could. He glided a short distance and then fell back to the ground. He tried again and when he 'landed' this time he landed on his hind
legs. He began doing small frog-like
jumps that were slower then flying but faster then running.
Terrin ducked his head as the creature tried to rip it off his shoulders. She screeched again and extended the razor sharp talons out. They grazed the spot where neck met shoulder and he could feel blood dripping. He looked back and saw she still chased him. He turned forward only to see the large red lizard, Zantoranzin, right in front
of him. He stopped and nearly ran into
the great beasts 'arms'.
Zantoranzin drew in a breath and the bird-woman stopped and tried to turn. Zantoranzin dug his claws into the ground and exhaled, sending out a large wave of flame. Terrin could feel the blazing heat that the fire above him produced. He was glad he was as close to the dragon as he was, where the flame could not reach him. The bird-woman screeched and tried to flap
away. Terrin smelled her feathers
burning and saw much of the skin and feathers on her back had burned away. She did manage to get into the swamps before Zantoranzin could pursue her.
Zantoranzin closed his mouth and smoke leaked from the sides and out his nose. He snorted and a large puff of smoke came out of his nose.
"Good riddance. Awful creatures, those harpies." He said in Terrins head. Terrin sighed and plopped down on the ground for what seemed like the thousandth time that day.
"I'll never make it to the islands." he said.
"If its any consolation to you human I will never make it to the lava pits." Zantoranzin said, sitting in the same place he had been when he singed the harpy, but was now looking at Terrin.
"Stop calling me human, My name is Prince Terrin." Terrin said. He looked up at the beast and realized he wasn't a prince to him. "You can call me Terrin." He grumbled.
"And you may call me Zan." He replied. "I will make you a deal, Hu-....er...Terrin." He
"I will help you get to the islands if you can help me catch food, by the time you get home my wing should be healed enough to fly." Zan propositioned. Terrin looked at the beast. His large maw filled with teeth and his sturdy tail. Even the single finger-talon on his bat-like wings were wickedly sharp. He would have no problem defending himself and Terrin. But he would
have a problem sneaking up on prey. He
wasn't exactly sneaky when he walked.
"Fine." Terrin rose. "But we leave now." Terrin walked in the direction he had been running from and heard the dragon fall into step behind him. There wasn't enough room between the edge of the swamp and the edge of the cliff for them to walk side by side and Terrin was glad for that. He didn't want to have to look at the monster he needed help from.
Zan decided not to mention his hunger for now and give Terrin time to think.
The sun had set several hours ago and Terrin knew he should stop and rest but he couldn't, he had to get back to his land. Zan's footsteps behind him were heavier and slower and he knew the dragon was tiring too.
"We might as well stop here for the night, it's as good as any spot." Terrin
finally said, when they reached a part
of the cliff that had made a small dome. The dragon stooped low and crawled inside. He curled around so he was in a crescent shape that still left room for Terrin. Terrin walked towards the swamp instead of the cave. Zan looked up and watched him curiously. Terrin gathered a decent amount of sticks and twigs that had fallen from the trees and brought them back to the small cave. He set them a good distance away from where the two would sleep and looked at Zan expectantly.
"Could you give me a hand here?" Terrin gestured to the sticks.
"Why do humans fear the dark?" Zan asked and blew a small burst of flame towards the twigs and they quickly began burning.
"We don't." Terrin said.
"Then why must you have a fire?" Zan smirked.
" Because, for warmth and to keep various creatures from getting near us." Terrin said.
"Ah, so you don't fear the dark but the creatures in it." Zan chuckled.
"Quiet." Terrin muttered and fell asleep. Soon the fire died out and Terrin was woken by his shivering and chattering teeth. Zan slept peacefully next to him with long deep breathes. Terrin thought about getting more wood but that would mean he would have to wake Zan to start the fire. And the old saying 'let sleeping dragons lie.' came to mind.
He huddled into a closer ball and tried to breathe warm air into his hands. His heavy armor was meant to keep off painful attacks, not the cold. He heard Zan's breathing quiet and knew he had woken.
Zan stared at the human shivering and shaking on the dirt and felt sorry for him. He knew humans were warm blooded but they still often got cold, as they had no fur to keep it away. Zan slid his tail along the dirt until he reached Terrin and brought him closer to his warmer body. He knew his kind naturally produced heat more then other creatures and he felt Terrin stop shaking.
"Thank you." Terrin whispered. Zan stared at the body of the prince a moment longer before lowering his head and going back to sleep.
Terrin woke and found himself clutching Zans tail in his sleep. He sat up and saw the dragon was awake but only looking at him.
"Sorry." Terrin said and released his tail.
"That's alright. You were cold last night." Zan pointed out.
"Yes, thank you for that." Terrin thanked the beast again. "We should get moving." Terrin said and stood. Zan stood as well and Terrin heard the dragons stomach grumble.
"Ok, we should find something to eat first and then get moving." He said when his own stomach replied. Terrin
found he was becoming use to deciphering the dragons facial expressions. Though he could not move his mouth in the way humans could he had a way of speaking with his eyes. And he could tell now that the dragon was smiling.
Zan crawled out from the hole in the cliff that made the small cave and stretched. He let out a sound that Terrin assumed was a yawn.
"Your wing is healing fast." Terrin pointed out.
"Yes, it would heal faster if I could get to the lava pits. But that is not on the way." Zan said in Terrins mind.
Terrin grabbed his sword and motioned for Zan to follow him. He heard the dragon lumbering behind him and after they were a decent way into the swamps he told him to stay
"I'll find something and push it down towards you." Terrin disappeared farther into the swamps until Zan could no longer see or hear him. He crouched low and listened carefully for the sound of anything approaching
Soon he heard what sounded like hooves coming his way, and human feet following behind them. Soon a deer like creature jumped from the shrubs in front of him and had no time to stop before Zan opened his mouth and bit the horse sized animal.
Terrin came out from the same shrubs in time to see the tail of the creature slide down Zan's throat. Zan shook his neck and the scales shook back and forth.
"Will that due?" Terrin asked the lizard. Zan
nodded his large head once.
"I do not usually expend that much energy. I should be fine." Zan said. Terrin began walking back to the divide they followed.
"What about you?" Zan asked.
"I saw some fruit back towards the cliff, I will eat some of that." Terrin said. Zan had a hard time turning around in the dense trees of the swamp but finally managed to follow Terrin.
"I thought red dragons liked their food burned?" Terrin asked as he shoveled a handful of berries into his mouth.
"We do. But I was hungry and it was already in my mouth." Terrin thought he heard the dragon chuckle. He smiled and kicked a rock on the ground in front of him.
"How old are you human?" Zan asked. Terrin turned his head to look at the dragon that lumbered behind him and looked
down at him.
"I'm twenty-five. How old are you, Dragon?" Terrin said the last part sarcastically.
"My kind do not measure our age in years, but in events." he replied.
"That's right, I read about that. That you live to be so old keeping track of years becomes difficult, so you go by memories." Terrin thought out loud
"Yes, I was still a hatchling when the Draco-human war started." Zan said.
"I wasn't around at the beginning of the war. So you're several hundred years old." Terrin stated.
"Yes. I suppose so. Though I am still young for my people, I understand this time is a great deal for Humans." Zan said.
"We don't live long. Definitely not as long as Dragons." Terrin said.
"Yes, there's a saying among my kind, 'Time is like the wind, it lifts the light and leaves the heavy'." The dragon recited the line.
"What does that mean?" Terrin looked up, confused by the great beast's words.
"That is one of those sayings that no one remembers where it started. It is said that's why some dragons fly and live so long. We care not about time spent or lost. While humans concern themselves with saving
it and losing none, they remain ground-bound and young." The dragon said, looking straight ahead.
"Why did the dragons start the war?" Terrin asked. The dragon stopped walking and looked down at Terrin.
"We did not start this war. The dragons were here long before humans ever set foot on this land. The world was ours and ours alone. When the human's came they slayed us for our scales, claws, wings, and horns. We defended ourselves when Dragon-hunting became a human sport," Zan spat the last word, " Humans used our scales to create their armor, and our claws, teeth, and horns as weapons against us. They even decorated their villages and homes with our wings and heads. They began selling dragon meat as food. They wiped out the Green
Brood and now Lestrazar is alone." Zan grew angry and smoke poured from his mouth and nose.
"That is not what human children are taught in school. We were told that when we arrived here, the dragons attacked us and wanted us to leave. They attacked our villages and killed thousands of us. That they are mean and cruel creatures, unable to think or feel emotions like remorse." Terrin
"It is not true and I was there to confirm this! My mother was slain by humans when I was very young!" Zan yelled. It sounded like he was crying in Terrin's head but his eyes showed no tears.
"What about your father?" Terrin asked.
"Dragons are not raised by their fathers. Once we are hatched we are raised in a clutch with other young. Raised by a group of other dragons, Our mothers keep
track of us but our fathers are never known, but they are there. Watching over us." Zan explained.
"I'm sorry about your mother. Mine was killed by a dragon." Terrin said. Zan snorted and looked at Terrin.
"I apologize human. If you do not mind my asking, what type of dragon?"
"A serpent. In the sea." Terrin said and looked ahead to where he knew the sea would be but could not see it over the tall trees of the swamps.
" Ah, I see." Zan nodded his large head.
"Humans often mistake the Atren for being cruel and evil, and that they only mean to attack humans." Zan explained.
"Don't they? I have seen many ships destroyed by them." Terrin said.
"Have you ever seen one?" Terrin shook his head. Zan's eyes smiled and a small laugh echoed in Terrins head.
"They are quite large. Larger then a Tunell." Zan said. " They do not mean to attack your ships, but after all you are sailing in their home waters. Often times your ships will scrape their backs. Look at our scales, Terrin. They only go one way. If they are scraped the wrong way it can be
quite painful. Many of them get angry and only try to defend themselves. I have heard of humans nearly sailing into their nests as well. If I had a brood with young I would protect them with ferocity as well." Zan lowered his head so he was eye level with Terrin as they talked.
"I've never thought of that. Have they not ever heard of a warning shot, though? Those water blasts are quite a pain
I hear." Terrin
Zan shook his neck, something Terrin noticed he did when he was annoyed or uneasy.
"Yes I know, Anzin and Atren do not get along well." He laughed.
"What are these? Anzin, Atren, Tunell?" Terrin asked. Zan cocked his head to one side much like a dog would.
"Humans do not know of our names?" Zan looked like he was surprised, his eyes blinked three times rapidly.
"What do you mean?"
"Every brood of dragon has a different ending that goes to the end of the name of a dragon, Zantoranzin. Zantor is my name, Anzin is my brood. For female you would just add an A to the end." He explained.
"Oh, So Atren..."
"Is the water broods." Zan explained. "When you speak of a general brood, humans say red, earth, water, air. Dragons say Anzin, Tunell, Atren, Zar, and Angi was the swamp dragon's brood." Zan said.
"I see, so it's kind of like a last name for humans. It tells people what family your
from." Terrin said,
"Yes, I suppose so." Zan looked ahead.
"Who is Lestrazar?" Terrin asked. Zan stopped walking and looked shocked at Terrin.
"How do you know that name?" He asked in a whisper, as if
someone else was around to hear him.
"You said it when you were explaining what had happened when the war started." Terrin said. Zan almost seemed to sigh.
"Lestrazar is the last remaining dragon of the green brood. He is as ancient dragon as there ever has been." Zan explained
"Couldn't he just mate with another dragon and rebuild the green dragons population?" Terrin asked.
"Dragons cannot mate with dragons of a different brood. And he is also the leader of what was the green brood. He is not allowed to mate with any other than his chosen and she is long
dead." Zan explained.
"Dragons mate for life," Zan said, "Unlike humans." He said jokingly.
Terrin stopped. "Was that a ..... Joke?" He said surprised.
"Oh gods it was, you're beginning to infect me with your human....ness....." Zan said. He jumped farther to the left away from Terrin, like he was avoiding an infectious disease. Terrin laughed and chased him. Zan
squawked and ran ahead of Terrin. He moved slower then the human but had much larger steps.
When they had both finally run out of breath they matched their pace again so they could talk.
"Are you mated?" Terrin asked him.
"No, I have not found my mate yet. But I will. I am confident in that."
Terrin walked quietly for a moment.
"I hope you do." Terrin said. Zan glanced at him but kept walking.
"Why don't humans mate for life?" Zan asked curious.
"Most do. I will." Terrin said proudly.
"You have not found a mate either?" Zan asked.
"No, it's a bit more complicated for me." Terrin sighed.
"And why is that?"
"I like men, not women." Terrin said. Zan glanced at him and stopped walking.
"I didn't realize that mattered to humans." He said.
"Don't all dragons mate with females?" Terrin questioned.
"No, we do not care about genders, usually if there is two males that are mated a female is chosen to lay an egg for the males.The same happens if two females mate, then a male is chosen. The hatchlings are raised only by the
care of the brood." Zan explained. "Males of my species do not raise the young, so it matters not who we mate with."
"Odd." Terrin said quietly. Zan stopped and leaned back onto his back legs. He spread his wings and flapped them a few times. Dirt fell off them and Zan yawned. Terrin looked at the rows of sharp teeth and down his throat where fire could spew at any moment. Terrin swallowed nervously. This whole time he had forgotten who, or what, he was in the presence of. He mentally scolded himself for letting his guard down, Zan was not his friend, dragons are enemies to humans. Zan returned to leaning on his wings and continued walking.
An hour after they had started walking they came to a part of the divide where the cliff cut into the swamp. Zan looked at the giant wall that blocked their path.
"Stay here." He said and walked up to the wall and dug the claws of his wings and legs in. He climbed the wall slowly and awkwardly when he was high enough to see over the trees he seemed to sigh before he pushed off the wall and fell back to the ground with a loud crash.
cuts very deep into the swamp, it would not be wise for us to venture into it, nor would I be able to move easily in this form." Zan explained.
"Couldn't you just climb us to the top?" Terrin realized.
" No, not far off the ground the mud becomes loose and will fall under my weight." Zan said.
"Then what in gods name do we do?" Terrin said. Zan looked uncomfortable and sat down like an over-sized dog.
"I...I do not know. I have never had to walk this far before." Zan admitted. Terrin sighed and sat next to him. Silenced passed between the two for a long moment.
"What do you mean in this form?"
Terrin asked suddenly. Zan looked up from where he was staring at the ground.
"What?" He asked in Terrins head.
"You said you wouldn't be able to move easily in this form. What do you mean by this form?" Terrin repeated Zans words. Zan looked uncomfortable.
"Well, some dragons can shift into human form." He said reluctantly.
"What?! I have never heard of that!" Terrin jumped up from where he stood.
"It is not something we willingly tell humans." Zan sighed.
Terrin wanted to say something but he didn't know what. He sighed and sat again.
"We have to go through." He said a moment later.
"I would not be able to defend us in human form. We would be vulnerable." Zan said.
"It's better then sitting on our asses." Terrin stood and walked towards the swamp.
"I'm going with or without you. You can stay here and starve
or get your scaly butt into that swamp." Terrin turned and said. Zan stared at him a moment and tested to see if Terrin was bluffing. When Terrin didn't flinch Zans shoulder's seemed to sag.
"Alright." He stood and looked like he was concentrating on something. He began to shrink and lose his red scales and horns. The webbed part of his wings shrank until all that was left was the
boney, arm-like, structure that supported his wings. His arms shrunk and his knees reversed so they were facing the way a humans knees would. The scaly red skin began to soften and turn a lighter, tan, color. The rows of sharp white teeth evened out and flattened until he had a smaller, human, mouth.
When the transformation was finished Zan rolled his shoulders uncomfortably and seemed awkward in the smaller body. His hair was a deep black with unnatural red tips. His eyes were a golden brown and he wore leather armor that looked, oddly, much like his scales.
"Happy?" He spoke out loud for the first time and Terrin was shocked at his smooth melodic voice.
"Yes, now lets go." Terrin turned back to the swamp and stepped through the thick trees. They
walked in silence, Zan stumbling along the way.
"Humans are just....just....Stupid!" He yelled angrily after he fell for the fourth time. Terrin rolled his eyes and kept walking.
"Two legs, no wings, no tail, no scales, no fur, horrible eye sight, no claws, or reasonable teeth." He mumbled.
"Are you going to complain the whole way?" Terrin turned and asked him. Zan glared at him with the chocolate brown eyes.
"Yes." He growled. Terrin glared back and kept walking. Zan growled behind him once more. Zan stopped suddenly.
"Quiet, stop moving." He seemed to look around him and listen for something. Terrin did as he was told and stopped.
"What?" He asked. Zan shushed him. Terrin listened and didn't hear anything.
"I don't hear anything." He growled and kept walking.
"It's because humans have awful hearing as well. Now stop moving!" Zan yelled a whisper. Terrin kept walking.
"Terrin! Terrin stop moving!" Zan whispered loudly.
"No, you just don't want to walk anymore." Terrin said back. Zan shushed him again and motioned with his hands to hold still. Terrin kept walking. He heard something like rocks falling. He hesitated but didn't hear anything
else. Zan ran behind him and pulled his
arm back behind him just as the giant worm like creature burst not a foot in front of where he had been standing. Zan threw himself on top of Terrin and put his finger to his lips and turned his head slowly to look at the huge worm that stood from the ground. Terrins mouth hung open. Several trees lay on their sides, pushed out of the way by the large worm-like creature.
It 'stood' at least 20 feet in the air and seemed to just hang there for a moment. Its body was long like a worm's but covered in several plates. It's head seemed to have no eyes or any other face like features. Only a large mouth with no lips and only large teeth surrounding the O it's mouth made. The teeth were larger then Terrin himself and the beast seemed to drool green slime. It seemed to be waiting for something. It spun it's jaw anxiously. The jaw seemed to be one single bone that could spin several times in a circle before having to turn back. Its teeth could also move individually so it could 'bite' down on its, would be, prey.
Terrin let out a squeak of fear and Zan stood and ran, pulling Terrin by the arm behind him, moments before the beast turned it's body and slammed, teeth first, into the spot they had just been. It quickly 'ate' away at the dirt that they had been laying on, and seemed to dig through the earth itself and its long body followed. Terrin turned to watch as at least a hundred feet of worm followed the toothed head through the hole it had eaten through.
Zan ran and dragged Terrin behind him deeper into the swamps. Terrin could barely see the cliff off to the right. Zan seemed to follow it and made a sudden turn when the cliff stopped cutting into the swamp and turned back. Terrin could hear Zan's heavy breathing and tried to keep up with him. Zan grabbed Terrin and rolled them to the side moments before the large worm, again, lunged out of the ground teeth first. Zan didn't hesitate this time and got up and ran again towards the 'path' like spot between the divide and the swamp. He began changing as they ran. His fingers extended, creating the bones the would support his wings and webbing filled in between them Horns began sprouting from his eyebrows to curve backwards and small spiked lined his neck and down his back.
The armor he wore spread and became scales once again. Finally he grew larger as they neared the opening. Terrin could hear the worm underground behind them. Zan completed his change as they reached the small opening. He jumped into the gap between swamp and cliff and, with his back against the wall, turned. The worm creature exploded from the ground for the third time and lunged, teeth first, at Zan.
Zan drew in a breath quickly and let a torrent of flame spill into the worm's face. The bulk of the flame landed inside the worms open mouth and surrounding areas. The worm seemed to screech, which oddly sounded much like Zan, and tossed it's 'head' to try to avoid the flames. The fire began to slow and finally stopped and Zan inhaled a large breath again. The worm didn't give him a chance and quickly fell backwards and burrowed through another hole and left as fast as its plated body would carry it. When the tail of the creature disappeared
into the hole it had created
Zan relaxed and let out the breath.
"Good, I was totally bluffing the last part." Zan admitted. Terrin dropped to the ground and caught his breath. His hands shook and he was dizzy with adrenaline. Zan caught his own breath and laid down next to Terrin.
"Next time, do not ignore me when I tell you to stop." He said after several minutes.
"I'm sorry." Terrin apologized. Zan opened one eye and looked at him, when he was sure he was being truthful he nodded his acceptance and closed his eye again.
"What was that." Terrin asked. Zan opened both his eyes this timed and looked surprised.
"It was an earth dragon." Zan said surprised, like Terrin should have known.
"THAT was an earth dragon!?" Terrin sat up from where he leaned on the cliff.
"I read they were large but....but that was.... Gods what am I doing out here." He sighed.
"We should rest here for the night, She won't be coming back anytime soon." Zan smiled.
"She?" Terrin asked.
"Yes, you were walking into her nest." Zan laughed.
"Oops." Terrin blushed.
move to get wood for a fire, the adrenaline had left his body and he was now exhausted. Zan curled into a crescent shape and used his tail to push Terrin closer towards him. He spread his wings and covered Terrin.
Before Terrin noticed he let out a sigh when he was surrounded by the warm leathery wing. He blushed and looked up at Zan but the dragon was already asleep. Terrin sighed and leaned
into the red scales of the
Zan woke and saw Terrin dragging a large deer behind him. Without moving he sent the thought to Terrin.
"How on earth did you catch that?" He asked. Terrin jumped and looked at the behemoth who had not moved but his eyes were now open.
"Sword, just as good as those claws you know." Terrin nodded at the single claw on each of his wings. Zan lifted his head.
"Move." He said. Terrin stepped aside of the carcass and watched as Zan let a pitifully weak burst of flame. It was barely enough to roast the deer. Terrin wrinkled his nose at the smell of burning fur.
"Wow, that was....pathetic." Terrin chuckled.
"How do you think dragons produce fire. We must consume enough of a certain rock to produce it. Despite many beliefs we are not magic. Just large,
intelligent, lizards. Who can turn into
humans...doesn't really help my argument." Zan smiled his reptilian smile. Terrin laughed.
"Where can you get more of this rock?" Terrin asked as he knelt next to the deer and cut off a small piece for him and left the rest for Zan.
"As far as I know the only place is the lava pits. But I will know it if I see it." He said and glanced at the deer.
"Aren't you going to eat?" Terrin asked. Zan seemed to sigh. He barely opened his mouth and let his long snake-like tongue trail out and wrap around the deer. He pulled the deer towards him until it was close enough to bite.
"Amazing, the laziest dragon in the world, its official." Terrin laughed. Zan looked up at him.
"This walking thing is much more difficult then you humans make it out to be." He sighed, but
"So what happens if you get back to the lava pits?" Terrin asked.
"I would be able to heal my wing, and be able to breathe fire again." He explained simply. Terrin thought for a moment.
"If I get you back to the lava pits, will you fly me home?" Terrin asked. Zan looked up.
"I thought you wanted to walk?" Zan said.
"I did, but this is taking to long, I know the lava pits are closer and it would be much much faster to fly." Terrin said. Zan nodded his large head slowly.
"That it is the truth. Yes, if you get me to the lava pits I will gladly take you back to your home,Terrin. Or at least as close as I can take you." He said.
"What do you mean as close as you can take me?" Terrin asked.
"I wouldn't be able to fly you all the way into the humans lands. I would be killed if I was seen." Zan said.
"No, you take me all the way to the castle or no deal." Terrin said firmly. Zan looked into his eyes.
"Very well." He nodded his large head.
"Good, now, which way is the fastest to the lava pits." Terrin asked. Zan looked thoughtful for a
"Through the swamp." He said. Terrin grimaced and looked at the large hole the earth dragon had disappeared through.
"Alright, the safest and fastest way." He corrected himself.
"There is no other way." Zan shook his head. Terrin sighed.
"How long will it take to get there?"
"A day, maybe two." Zan said after thinking.
"That's faster than the week it would take to get to the coast." Terrin said to himself.
"I can no longer protect us without my fire. We need to move quickly and quietly." Zan stood from where he had been lying.
"Ok." Terrin stood and walked towards the swamp. Something crunched under his foot. He looked down and saw it was a large plate that had fallen off of the earth
dragon. It had been scorched by Zan's
flame but other then that it was in one piece. He picked it up and ran his hands over it.
"Zan." The dragon looked down at him.
"Will you carry these? They would make fine armor." Terrin said. Zan nodded his head and watched Terrin spend a few moments picking up various pieces of scales and plates. Zan crouched down and Terrin climbed up the slope of his wing and put the items on his back. When they sat securely behind the spikes that lined the dragons back Zan stood again and Terrin jumped down to walk beside him.
"Why was an earth dragon in the swamps?" Terrin asked as they walked.
"Many earth dragons come to lay their eggs here. There are not many nesting areas in the deserts." Zan explained. The two walked slowly as Zan tried to weave through the dense trees and swampy waters. After only a few minutes he gave up and shifted into his human form, and tied the plates with vines to carry. They picked up their pace and covered much more ground.
"Why didn't it speak. I thought all dragons could speak. Tat's one of the things that separates your kind from wyverns."
"She could speak, she just chose not to. If you had a hatchling and someone came stomping near them wouldn't you attack first and ask questions later?" Zan
"I suppose I would." Terrin smiled at Zan and he couldn't tell if the dragon blushed or if the redness in his cheeks was just remnants of his normal form. Zan carried a handful of scales from the earth dragon and Terrin did as well. It slowed their pace but not by much. And Terrin was excited to make a new set of armor and weapons out of the thick plates.
They reached a part of the swamp where a large bog blocked any land paths. They starred at the deep murky water and thought a moment.
"We could go around." Terrin suggested.
"We don't know how far across it is, it could add a day or more to our journey." Zan countered. " We should go through it." He said.
"The gods themselves couldn't make me swim in that water. We don't know what lives in there." Terrin looked at Zan as if he had gone mad.
"Red dragons cannot swim. I should be able to walk across it, you may ride on my back." He said and puffed out his chest and raised his chin trying to seem tough. He was much smaller then Terrin and Terrin couldn't help but chuckle at the sight. Zan glared at him and shoved the scales he was holding at Terrin. He changed back to his dragon form and lowered his head so Terrin could climb up. Terrin crawled up his face and used the arch of, what would be, his eyebrow to push himself up.
"Watch the eyes, damn you!" Zan growled.
"Quit your crying." Terrin said as he sat between Zan's horns. Zan raised his head and Terrin got dizzy at the height. Zan stepped forward into the bog and began wadding through the muddy green water.
"Ugh, this is disgusting." He groaned in Terrins head. Terrin couldn't help but
laugh at the large lizard, you could
clearly see the grimace in his face. The water grew deeper and deeper until it reached halfway up Zan's chest.
"My wings make it nearly impossible to move." Zan complained.
"You are the one who wanted to go through." Terrin pointed out. Zan held his head as high as he could above the water. The green swamp water looked thick with mud and Terrin couldn't imagine how many rotten logs and
trees lie at the bottom. After about an
hour wading through the swamp they caught sight of the shore.
"Finally." Zan rolled his large eyes. The water got shallower and shallower until Zan stood on the bank of the bog. His wings were covered with mud. Moss, twigs, and various other goo and swamp things.
"Ew." He said simply. He tried to shake the filth from his wings, tail, and feet but the goo stuck firmly to his jagged scales.
"Hold on." Terrin hopped down and began cleaning the slime off of Zan.
"Thank you." Zan said when the majority of the filth had been wiped off.
"Your welcome." Terrin smiled. The lizard smiled back with his large eyes. He seemed to clear his throat and shift back into his human form. The pair got walking again, Zan was tired from the trip through the thick water but tried not to show it. Terrin couldn't help but stare at the handsome man. His black and red hair was spiked much like the spines on his back when he was in his dragon form, and his golden brown eyes were close to the colors he wore around his pupils as a dragon. It was then that Terrin noticed the gash in his arm. It bled through the red armor that matched his scales but Zan seemed to pay no attention to it.
"You're hurt." Terrin pointed out.
"Yes, we keep any existing wounds in both forms." Zan said, like it was no big deal.
"I didn't know, lets stop here for the night and I'll bandage it." Terrin set down the large blackened earth dragon scales in a clearing and ripped part of
the tunic he wore under his armor. He sat down next to Zan and tied it around the gash like a bandage.
"It's not much but it's the best I can do. If I can find a certain type of plant I can crush it's leaves and it will act as a mild pain reliver." Terrin thought out loud, looking around for said plant.
"I'll be fine for now, maybe we'll find it tomorrow." Zan said, yawning and lying down. "This clearing isn't big enough for me to switch, we'll have to deal with the cold tonight." He mumbled.
"We should be fine." Terrin said, not convinced. They slept on opposite sides of the clearing. Terrin shivered and Zan's teeth chattered.
"We would be warmer....if we shared body heat." Zan said, hesitantly. Terrin was quiet, but was glad that Zan had said something first. He would have said it in less than twenty seconds if the dragon hadn't first.
"You're right." Zan heard him stand and run over to his side, curling up on his chest without hesitation. He held back a laugh and could smell
the manly scent of Terrin on his chest. He sighed and finally began drifting off to sleep.
Terrin woke up to the steady pounding of Zan's heartbeat. It was faster than a human's, but was constant and reassuring.
"Good, you're awake." Zan spoke. Terrin had no idea how he knew that
he had woken up, but he was glad to hear his voice,
"We should get moving, if we hurry we can get there by the end of today, if not we should be there early tomorrow." He said and stood, pushing Terrin off of his chest. Terrin stood and stretched. before they started walking.
answered, keeping his eyes ahead of
"Won't there be other dragons at the lava pits?"
"Yes, why?" Zan asked.
"How are they going to feel about having a human there?" Terrin asked, worried.
"I-...I didn't think of that." Zan stopped walking and turned to face him.
"Me either, not until now anyways."
"I'll talk to them, I'm well known in the brood and they should take my word."
"Should?" Terrin asked, worried.
"Yes, should." Zan seemed just as worried.
"Maybe I should just stay in the swamp then, until you're all healed up and ready to leave." Terrin reasoned.
"No way, if I have to fly into the human capital, you can walk into my brood." Zan laughed, and jumped over a fallen tree.
"Asshole." Terrin grumbled. Zan smiled and winked at him. As time went on he was growing more and more fond of the human. It was beginning to scare him. Two
people so different shouldn't be
together. At least as far as the world was concerned.
"So Dragon's are pretty free when it comes to relationships. Mating and such..." Terrin asked.
"Yes, we believe if you claim someone as their mate, then there's no exception. No matter the case." Zan said.
"Most other species don't follow that rule."
"No, they don't."
"Why do you think that is?"
"Honestly?" Zan asked. When Terrin nodded he continued. "I think that considering there are only two actually intelligent species on this planet, Dragons and Humans, that's not a lot to go on. Dragon's are a lot like humans, but we've been around for a lot longer and have had time to learn from out mistakes. Human's have the capacity to be just as intelligent, but prejudice and the status quo keep them from reaching their full potential." Zan replied.
"That makes sense. But not all humans are like that."
"And not all Dragon's believe in mating freely." Zan said.
"No. You can't expect an entire race to see things the same way. Ever." Zan said.
"I guess you're right there. I have to admit though. Pretty much every human thinks Dragon's are blood thirsty barbarians."
"Do you?" Zan raised an eyebrow. Neither of them looked at each other while they walked, but each listened to the conversation intensly.
"I used to. But since I met you...I guess....No. I don't."
Terrin replied honestly.
"And since I've met you, I don't think all Humans are moronic killing machines." Zan looked over at Terrin and smiled.
"I think that means we're friends..." He smiled.
"I guess it does, doesn't it?" Zan nodded. Silence passed for a few momnets as the two thought about
their conversation but soon it was picked up again.
"But you know, Dragons don't believe in friendship." He said.
"They don't?" Terrin frowned.
"No. They believe in mates, which is equivilant to a Humans 'love'." Zan said. "And they believe in broods, which is equivilant to a Humans 'Family'." Zan explained.
"Then where do friends fit in? Compaions? Allies?" Terrin asked.
"They fit in as family. Because when you befriend a dragon, you're friends for life." Zan smiled.
"I think I like the sound of that." Terrin nodded.
"That's one major
thing that separates Dragons from Humans." Zan said.
"What?" Terrin asked.
"That simple concept that Humanity isn't a species,
it's a state of mind."
They were silent for the rest of their walk.
"It's getting hot." Terrin fanned his face with a leaf he had picked up awhile back.
"Yes, it is!" Zan smiled excitedly.
"Very." Zan smiled wider and pulled back the vines of some old tree, revealing the pools of hot lava that awaited them. Behind the pools were several volcano's covered in caves and cliffs filled with dragons. Several deep red or orange dragons flew through the air and some bathed in the bubbling lava. Clutches of eggs could be seen in the distant crevices, caves, and ledges of the
"Leave your sword here, it will make you seem like more of an enemy than you already are." Zan said. Terrin dropped his sword from his side, leaving it hidden under a small bush.
"Let me go first, I'll talk to them and then come and get you." Zan looked excited to see his home again.
"I was worried I would never see my brood again..." He confided in his human family member. He paused for a second before stepping out into the black dirt of the lava fields. He shifted quickly and crawled into one of the steaming pools of red liquid. He was under the surface for a long time before coming up. Bits of lava clung to his scales and horns, but he seemed to sigh and relax for a moment. He sat in the pools for a few minutes before climbing out and stretching his wings. Terrin
saw his right wing was as good as new and didn't even show a scar. He reared up like he had the day they had met, and without hesitation, slammed his tail down onto the ground while pushing up with
his back legs and flapping his wings.
He took to the skies and did a few circles before flying towards the largest volcano in the center of the lava fields. He flew into a cave at the front of the volcano and was gone for nearly an hour.
Terrin began to worry when an hour and a half had passed. He was about to stand up from the spot he had claimed as his when he saw a familiar red dragon fly from the cave, followed by two others. He landed in the clearing near the swamp and walked towards where he had left Terrin. He stuck his head through the tree's and made eye contact with one large eye.
"I've spoken to our queen. She's agreed to speak with you, as long as you leave all of your weapons and fears behind." He spoke in his head once more. Terrin nodded and Zan allowed him to crawl on his back.
"Are you ready to fly with a Dragon?" Zan asked, proudly stretching his
wings and roaring.
"As long as there's no crashing this time." Terrin swallowed nervously. He had always wondered what it would be like to be a bird and fly high above all of his problems. But now flying was his problem. Several red dragons stared at the human, many had never seen a human and had only heard stories.
"You left your sword
didn't you?" Terrin nodded.
"Then we'll be fine!" Zan said and without waiting for an answer, slammed his tail on the ground again and took off. Terrin screamed like a little girl.
flight was short, only forty seconds or so as the volcano
was right there. But it was nothing other than terrifying. Terrin clung to the dragon's scales for dear life as he and the two other escorts soared towards what he knew to be the queen's lair. Zan landed, and Terrin jumped off quickly.
"I'm never doing that again, I think I'm going to be sick." He leaned on the wall of the cave.
"If you don't want to fly again, then you better get comfortable here, because you wont make it back to the human lands." Zan laughed. They walked to the cave and there was a strange sound coming from deep inside.
"What's that sound?" Terrin asked. They turned a corner and he had his answer. There, in the center of a large opening in the cave, was the queen. The strange sound he had heard was her breathing. Zan was huge, one of his claws was easily the size of one of the kingdom's biggest horses. And Zan, was easily the size of the queen's smalled claw. She was lying down, but even then she was probably taller than the castle Terrin had grown to call home. Several teeth poked out of her closed mouth, and her horns scraped the roof of the giant
"You are the human called Terrin?" Her voice filled his head. Despite her size, her voice was sweet and light.
"I-I am." He stuttered.
"Do you know who I am?"
"You're the Queen... Of the Red dragons."
"My name is, Sarazina. You may call me Sara." Her sweet voice echoed in his head again.
"It's... It's an honor to meet you." Terrin bowed.
"The honor is mine, human. It's been a long time since we've been able to have a civilized discussion with a human." She spoke.
"I'm sure it has." Terrin nodded.
"Zan told us how you met. Quite a story." The Dragon queen chuckled lightly in his head. "I sense good in you, Terrin. You may stay here until you're ready to leave." The queen nodded her head at him.
"Thank you, it means a lot to me. I promise not to cause any trouble." Terrin swore.
"I'm sure you won't, and Zan will watch over you. It's good to see another of my children find his mate,
no matter the species."
"Oh hell no!"
"I'm not his-"
"He isn't my-"
The dragon and his human
friend voiced their objection at the same time. Stumbling over their words and looking uncomfortable in the presence of the queen.
"You may not realize it yet, but it's true." The queen smiled at them.
"I think you have this wrong I-"
my queen, thank you." Zan bowed and carefully picked Terrin up with a clawed hand. He turned, and with three legs walked out of the cavern.
"Put me down!" Terrin shouted, and once they were standing outside the volcano, he gently set him down.
"What was all that?" Terrin asked.
don't know, she can see things others can't." Zan shrugged his large shoulders.
"And you believed her?"
"Well... I admit I'm skeptical but she is my queen. She's wiser than you could ever know."
"I'm not your mate." Terrin said.
"I'm sure you're not, come on. We'll sleep here and head to the kingdom tomorrow morning." Zan waited for Terrin to get settled onto his back before taking off. He landed on a ledge of the nearby volcano.
"Sleeping in the lava pools will help me heal even more, you can stay there, with the hatchlings. The brood mothers will keep you safe."
"You're having me sleep with a bunch of dragon
babies?" Terrin glared at him.
"You'll be fine, see you tomorrow." He smiled and glided down to the boiling pools of lava.
The next morning, Terrin woke up when two fighting dragon hatchlings rolled over him. He grunted and walked to the edge of the cliff. Zan looked up, and flew to meet him, perching on the edge of the cliff.
"Ready to leave?"
"Sure, how long will it take to get there?"
"A day, maybe." Zan shrugged.
"Good, lets go." Terrin nodded, but made no move to get onto Zan's back.
"We ARE flying, meaning you have to get on." Zan laughed. Terrin sighed and climbed on.
"Ready?" Zan asked.
"I suppose." Terrin sighed.
"Oh, I almost forgot." Zan said. He glided down gently to the ground near the pools. The drop made Terrin's stomach drop but it wasn't as bad as he thought.
"I think I could get used to this" He muttered.
"I made you something last night."
"Made me something?" Terrin raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, climb down and I'll show you." Zan said. Terrin jumped off his back and Zan shifted into human form. He stepped behind a tree and came back with a helmet, breastplate, and legplates made out of the earth dragon scales Terrin had gathered.
"You made these?" Terrin ran his hand on the smooth scales.
"Yes, they're forged with the lava from the pools." Zan nodded to the bubbling pools.
"This is amazing!" Terrin took off his armor and put on the sleek black scales.
"Oh, and there's more." Zan held up a long black blade with a handle made from the scales.
"Is this a tooth?" Terrin held it to the light to get a closer look.
"It is." He smiled.
"We didn't pick up a tooth though, where did you get it?"
"I guess when I shifted I lost one, it happens sometimes." Zan opened his mouth to reveal one of his back teeth was missing.
"It's yours? Thank you, it's perfectly balanced." Terrin held the sword in his palm, letting it sway back and forth in a balanced motion.
"I'm glad you like it, those scales are good for keeping you safe from blunt attacts, they do no good from heat though. The sword will be
impervious to heat but the handle isn't.
It's also unbreakable." Zan explained. Terrin then realized that the tooth the sword was made from wasn't broken, but was still completely intact.
"This is incredible." He gave the sword a few practice swings and found the armor was light and provided awesome protection, and the sword was swift and made a beautiful sound when swung.
"We should get going, you're going to want to show off that new sword of yours to your father."
"Yeah, lets go." Terrin hopped onto Zan's back after he shifted. It was becoming easier and easier and it was actually beginning to feel natural to him.
"Lets fly!" Zan spoke in his head, and gave a fierce roar outloud. The roar shook the leaves on the tree and as it trailed off, they took to the skies.
They were flying for awhile when Terrin realized that the Divide was to his right, when it should have been ahead of them.
"We're going the wrong way, the Divide is there." He pointed.
"We need to go around. Over the ocean and around the divide."
"Because, If I fly directly at a human kingdom, they're going to try and destroy me, we don't want that do we?"
"Uh, no, no we don't." Terrin swallowed.They flew until they reached the coast and the sparkling blue water looked inviting.
"Look, there." Zan nodded his head down at the water.
"What?" Terrin scanned the oceans but didn't see anything. Zan dived until they were only a short distance from the water, but still high enough to get a birds eye view. Then Terrin saw it. The huge skeleton lined the ocean floor, twisting and curving for hundereds of feet.
"It's one of the water dragons."
"Jesus, I didn't think they would be so big."
"Yes." Zan continued to fly along the pattern it's skeleton made.
"What the hell could have killed it?"
"Human's did." Zan said
"What?" Terrin looked surprised.
"She was brought down by one of your fleets a few months ago. Look, between her ribs." Zan said, bringing him even closer to the water. There, underneath the body
that had rotten away under the twisting waters, was a clutch of eggs. The dragon had died protecting her eggs to her last breath.
"Can't they be saved?"
"By who?" Zan seemed to raise an eyebrow.
"Theres other dragons aren't there?" Terrin was desperate to find a way to save the unhatched dragons.
"Yes, of course. But who would save them? Red's can't take them. We can't even swim. They can't fly, they can't dig. They belong in the ocean, and another blue won't take them. More than likely they will rot without their mothers care." Zan said sadly.
"I want to help them." Terrin
"I do too, but there's nothing we can do." Zan frowned, and took off in the direction of the human lands again.
"Do you think we'll see a live one?" Terrin looked down at the waters hopefully.
"Maybe, they're large and it's their mating season as far as I know." Zan said. Suddenly a huge crest broke the surface of the water and then disapeared.
"Yes." Zan already knew the question. He got down low to the water and just past the surface was a full grown water dragon.
"Gods..." Terrin gasped as the large beast breached the surface and arched back into the water. Foot after foot of
the large snake passed through the water until it ended with a large sharklike tail.
"Is it true some of them can have two heads?"
"Yes. It's fairly common."
'That's crazy." Terrin laughed.
"It's life." Zan shrugged, smiling. The dragon came up to the surface again and moved her head to look up at Zan.
"Zan, what are you doing in these parts?" Her voice filled Terrin's head, and he assumed Zan's too.
"Just doing a favor for a friend." He moved so she could see Terrin on his
"A human..." The dragon's eyes got wide as she swam along with Zan.
"They're not as horrible as they sound, believe it or not..." Zan laughed.
"You always were the open minded one, Zan. Good luck, I need to get back to my eggs." The dragon said, and dived beneath the waves again
"You know her?"
"I've seen her a few times, she's helped us out during the dry season."
"Food is scarce, she's caught whales and left them on the beach for us."
"Wow, I would think that fire dragons and water dragons wouldn't get along."
"Most dragon broods get along with each other. Despite human stories, all of us are quite peaceful, so long as our hatchlings aren't in danger." Zan said. They neared a chain of islands that went around the cliff of the Divide. Terrin recognized it as the way they had originally planned to take. The islands looked empty for the most part, and they were traveling much faster than they would be if they were walking.
"There, in the distance." Zan said.
"What is it?" Terrin asked, in the distance he could see a few black specs but couldn't make out what it was.
"It's the harbor, to your kingdom." Zan said, climbing in altitude.
"We're almost there!" Terrin smiled.
"You never told me, how did you
end up down in the dragon lands?"
"My uncle, he tried to kill me. That's when I landed on you. He wants to take over the throne."
"But the throne is yours, isn't it?"
"It is when my father dies or steps down from his duties, but he thinks that because he's older than my father he deserves it."
"Doesn't he? From what I know about human customs, the eldest child gets the throne."
"As long as they can reproduce they do, and my uncle is infertile. He cant have children therefore there's
no one to take the throne when he dies, so it was
given to my father." Terrin explained.
"I see." Zan pondered the situation quietly for a second. "And what do you plan to do when you get there?"
"Tell my father what's happened, expose my uncle and take my rightful place at the throne."
"Your father is about to step down from the throne, is he not?"
"A few more years, yes."
"I see...Terrin, has it ever occured to you
"There, the castle. There will be guards there but they wont have any long range weapons with them so you'll be fine as long as you stay off the
ground. There's a large window in the roof leading to my fathers throne room, break through it and we'll land right there." Terrin said.
"Very well." Zan didn't continue with what he was saying, instead, he banked hard to the right and flew over the grassy highlands. His shadow scared the horses and cows roaming below, and a few soldiers guarding the fields pointed up at him in
"Terrin..." Zans voice shook in his head.
"What?" Terrin asked, eyes
pointed straight at his castle.
"I'm scared..." The words from the behemoth of a dragon were almost comical, but Terrin could hear the fear in his voice.
"It'll be okay, I'll talk to them. I won't let them hurt you." He stroked the large scales on the dragon's neck. Zan was silent. Suddenly, he turned upwards and flew in a straight line towards the heavens. He gained a good deal in altitude before turning and heading towards the large window in the top of the castle. He could see the throne in the back of the room, and tried to stay away from it, he didn't want to squish anyone afterall. He opened his wings before he hit the window to slow his fall, and felt the glass shatter beneath his feet. He landed with a thud on his hind legs and steadied himself with his wings. Half of the palace guards must have rushed in and before they could do anything Terrin jumped off of the dragon's back and drew his own sword.
"No one touch the dragon or you answer to me!" He shouted of the roar of confusion and fear. The guards froze, none of them removing their eyes from the dragon who shifted uneasily in the room that barely contained him.
"Father!" Terrin shouted and ran behind Zan's hind leg to get
to the throne. He ducked under his
tail and faced the empty throne.
"Where is my father?" He turned to the guards, who were silent. "Where is the king?" He shouted. One of the guards turned away from the behemoth in the throne room and stuttered a reply.
"Your father is in the fields. Near the Divide. He was looking for you, sir...." The soldiers mouth went dry when Zan made an uncomfortable screech.
"Quiet, Zan. And my uncle?" Terrin put a
hand on the beasts leg to calm him.
"Is with him." The guards spoke.
"Get to them, as quickly as you can. Take Stormbringer if you must, my uncle has commited treason, he attempted to kill me, GO!" He shouted and quickly ran up the slope of Zan's wing, onto his bag and held tight as the dragon took off.
"We need to get to them, I have to tell my father what's going on."
"Terrin, did you ever think that your uncle might be.... a bit impatient."
"How do you mean?"
"I mean, why would he wait a few years, when he could have the throne now?"
"He can't, with my father still alive he-... No, my father!" the realization hit Terrin and he encouraged Zan to go faster.
"Go! We need to get to them! Hurry Zan!" He turned to see half of the palace guards galloping after them. The head guard who Terrin had spoken to was riding
Stormbringer, and though she wasnt as
fast as when Terrin would ride her, she was almost matching pace with the dragon. Terrin could see a small group of people in the distance and he could feel the tension as his father neared the edge of the cliff. He looked over the Divide and he saw his uncle draw his sword, while still mounted on his horse.
"No..." Terrin whispered, not even Zan could hear him. His uncle drew his sword
"No!" Terrin cried, and his uncle's sword slashed through the air.
"NO!" Terrin screamed. His father turned in time for the blade to be burried into his shoulder. Terrin was close enough to see his face go pale, and he watched as he lost his balance and slipped off his horse,
and into the Divide.
him." Zan promise and dived over the Divide. He
chased the falling body of Terrin's father and, when he was close enough, opened his mouth and scooped up the king. He shut his mouth gently, making sure not to bite him, but keeping him safe. He pulled up and glided back up to the top of the Divide. There, the guards were attop their horses and his uncle sneered at him.
"You should be dead!" He growled.
"Arrest him!" Terrin shouted at the palace guards who just arrived. They did as they were told but then hesitated.
"What are you doing? Look! The boy is corrupt, he's working with Dragons! I saw the beast swallow the king whole!"
"You pushed him!"
"He fell, and your pet beast ate him!" His uncle shouted. The guards stared at Terrin expectedly. Zan bent his head and opened his mouth, gently placing the king on the grass. Terrin jumped down and went to his fathers aid.
"Terrin, you... fell..."
The king gasped.
"I was pushed father, by uncle." Terrin tried to keep the tears from falling but to no avail.
"I should have known." The king coughed and held the large wound in his shoulder.
"It's not your fault, I didn't know until he did it."
"Yes, but you're going to be alright, we'll get you help." Terrin looked around but didn't know what to look for.
"Is that a...." The king pointed up at Zan.
"Yes, but he's a friend. Don't worry." Terrin smiled.
"A friend, you've made friends with a dragon?"
"It's a long story, we need to get you help." Terrin stood. "Zan, can you give him a ride to the palace? There's doctors there, they can help him." Terrin begged.
"Of course." Zan laid down on the ground and Terrin called over several guards who helped the king onto the back
of the red behemoth.
"You, ride with them and see to it that my father is safe." Terrin pointed to the guard who had brought Stormbringer.
"Me?" The guard went pale. "On that?" He pointed to Zan.
"Him." Terrin warned. "His name is Zan, he'll take good care of you and my father, now go." he nodded.
"Come on then." Zan nodded at the guard, who put a hand to his head.
"He." Terrin repeated.
"Right... He." The guard crawled onto his back behind the king slowly, and swallowed.
"Alright...Uh...I'm ready." Zan stood and took off, the screams of the guard fading into the distance.
"How are you still alive?" Terrin's uncle questioned.
"You'd be surprised how forgiving a dragon is when you fall on it's back." Terrin smiled.
"What? You fell on it's- What are the odds of- forget it!" His uncle shouted. "It will turn on you, they're ruthless beings. You can't befriend something that isn't human."
"You know what separates Humans from Dragons?" Terrin asked. His uncle only glared expectedly.
"Dragons understand that humanity isn't a species, it's a state of mind." Terrin smiled. "Take him to the jail. And assemble all of the guard and the kingdom in front of the palace." Terrin said. He climbed upon the back of his beloved horse and galloped towards the palace with the speed of a soaring red dragon. But it wasn't the same as the real thing.
Most of the
palace had seen the dragon. They were afraid it was an
invasion, that the war would start again. When the red behemoth landed it's scaley feet on the stones in front of the palaces greatest doctors home, the king was brought down by a knight bearing the colors of the kingdom.
"Everyone to the palace courtyard! Now! Royal Guard and all!" The guard shouted as he carried the king into the home of the doctor. Everyone stood motionless at the great lizard on the cobblestone walkway. Horses were frozen in their tracks, their riders, the guards, the citizens of the kingdom, it seemed even the air itself had frozen. Zan knew he should get back to Terrin, but even he had frozen under the stare of hundereds of people.
"To the kingdom, now!" The guard shouted.
"You have no horse, I assume
you will be wanting a ride there?" Zan
spoke to the guard who nearly jumped in fright.
"Yes, if you would Dragon."
"My name is
Zan." Zan said as he climbed his
"My apologies, Zan." The guard still seemed terrified of the flying red.
"Apology accepted." Zan smiled inside and took off again. The guard managed to hold back his scream this time, but Zan could feel his muscles tense with fear as the rose above the kingdom.
Terrin led his horse through the crowd heading towards
the castle. He saw the great shadow of Zan fly over him and looked up in time to see the great behemoth pass behind a building, blocking him from sight. He galloped until he reached the doctors home. Without even making sure Stormbringer was tied to a post, he dashed inside.
"Father?" He called out, looking through the house.
"In here, my prince." The doctor called out. Terrin followed the voice through the house and found his father on the table used for patients.
"How is he?"
"I think he'll live. But it's a bad wound." The doctor soaked a rag in warm water by his side, and then continued dabbing at the wound.
"Terrin..." The king gasped.
"I'm here, father." Terrin went to where his father could see him.
"You need to do something for me."
"Just wait until the doctor is finished with you and you can do it yourself." Terrin smiled.
"I'm sure I'll be fine, but it's time for you to take the throne." His father held his hand.
"What? No, you'll live and you'll be able to lead your people as you always have." Terrin said, trying not to cry.
"I know I will make a recovery. But until then, I'm in no condition to rule, and judging by the way you made it back home, I'm sure the kingdom needs a strong leader right now." The king said.
"Father, I can explain I-"
"No need, I trust in what you've done and what you plan to do. You've proven to me that you're far more mature than any of us had made you out to be, and that you're ready to take over."
"But Father, I-"
"You must do this, my son. It's your time to rule." The king said. Terrin was silent for a moment.
"I'll do my best, father." Terrin promised.
"I know, you will. Now go make me proud and rule this kingdom as I would."
"I planned on giving a speech to the kingdom, will you be able to hear it?"
"I will." The king swore.
"I need to go."
"Go then, and change the world." The king said, as if he knew what his son had been thinking about since he met the great dragon.
Terrin led Stormbringer directly into the palace. Her hooves made an unusual sound against the stone tiles the floor was made of. She was
forced to slow down for the turns through the hallway, the floor was not built to
keep a horse from sliding. He dismounted as he reached the stairs that led to the large balcony used for speeches made by the king or generals. He climbed the stairs swiftly and reached the balcony as the last of the huge crowd filled the courtyard. Zan hovered above the crowd, kicking up dirt and leaves that had fallen from the tree's.
"Zan, land on the castle." He shouted over the roar of the wind from the dragon's wings and the confusion of the crowd. Luckily Zan heard him and he dug his claws into one of the pointed spires of the castle. He slid down a little bit, digging claw marks into the tiles of
the roof. The screams of
the people could be heard easier now, and some pointed. Women fainted dramatically, men held their swords tight, children cowered behind their parents.
"The king was attacked!" Terrin said, to get the peoples attention. The kingdom went silent. The only sound was Zan, trying to keep from falling off the tower not meant to hold a dragon.
"My uncle committed treason. He attempted to kill me and then my father." The kingdom was still silent.
"I know the guards who assisted him, and I'm telling you now that all of you will be brought to justice." Terrin said.
"My father is alive, but injured. He has passed the throne on to me." A few voices rose up, chattering with each other about what was happening. Terrin saw Zan turn his head, surprised at the announcment.
"I am your new King...." Terrin said, surprised at the words coming out of his mouth. All was quiet for a long moment until the guard who had ridden Zan to the doctors stepped forward.
"All hail King Terrin!" He shouted. Another moment of silence passed before the entire kingdom cheered. People bowed and some cried.
"Congradulations, your highness." Zan whispered in his head. Terrin turned towards him and smiled, remembering why he was really up here.
"There's more!" Terrin screamed over he crowd, though nobody heard him. He waited for the cheering to die down but it didn't. "Zan, could
you help me out here?" He saw the
giant red dragon open his mouth as he enhaled, and let forth a roar loud enough to shake the walls of the palace. The crowd was silent.
"There's more." Terrin repeated.
"My uncle pushed me off the Divide, and I should have died. But in a stroke of fate...I landed on the back of a great...red...dragon." Terrin put emphasis on each of the last three words. "My sword cut his wing and we fell. He couldn't
hunt and I couldn't get past the Divide. We made a pact that day, almost a week ago. I would help him make it to the lava pits, and he would fly me home." Terrin let his
words sink in.
"During those five days, we became more than two enemies dealing with each other to get what we want." Terrin was silent again. "We became friends." There was a shocked murmer throughout the crowd.
"You have to understand, everything we thought about them was wrong!" Terrin shouted over the growing roar, and the people began to quiet.
"They're not viscious beasts. They're smarter than you know. They're kind, and they're thoughtful. The night at the lava pits, I stayed with a nest of dragon hatchlings. They're raised in a group setting, all the dragons look over them together. All of them protecting each other." Terrin explained what he had seen.
"They treated me as their own. They made sure I was warm enough and one of the mothers even went out and found me fruit to eat. Zan risked his life more than once for me. Not because he needed me to hunt for him, but because we're friends." Terrin said, looking at the dragon who nodded in agreement.
"I met their queen,
she's so beautiful I can't even put it into words. I spoke to a water dragon. I saw the bones of one who had died protecting her eggs from one of us. I nearly got eaten by an enormous earth dragon who only wanted to protect her nest. I was attacked by harpies, and more mosquitoes than you can count." Terrin grew excited as he realized all of the things he had seen on the short five day journey.
"This whole time, we've seen them as
evil wretched creatures who
are greedy and only want to slay us. But they're not."
"The water dragons sink hundreds of our ships and kill thousands of us every year! What does your friend have to say about that?!" A man shouted from the crowd. Several people nodded in agreement.
"We sail into their waters, their home. We hit them with our ships and crush their nests. We steal food from their hunting grounds, we're doing the provoking! They're only defending themselves!" Terrin shouted.
"So what should we do? Just stop
eating and sailing?" The man scoffed.
"You could speak with us. We can get together to make a map of where it's safe for us to nest, and for you to sail. We can share the oceans, they're a large place." Zan spoke. Terrin's eyes suddenly lit up.
"We can do more than that." He mumbled, the crowd turning to face
"We can work together. We don't need to continue to see each other as enemies, only tolerating each other enough to get our food." Terrin said.
"We can talk to the leaders of the dragons, I can meet with them, we can share the land." Terrin
said. "How much easier would it be if
we could hunt in the swamps? If they could fly in the open air up here? The earth dragons would be amazing allies, the fire dragons are the most powerful things I've ever seen, and the water dragons are beautiful and powerful. How would you feel having an entire whale to feed the kingdom? And being able to sail the waters freely?"
"Terrin..." Zan seemed unsure of this.
"A whale?" The words seemed to sink into the audience, astonished at the thought of being able to feed the entire kingdom with one animal.
"No Divide?" Another wondered, amazed at the thought that the giant cliff seperating the lands could vanish.
"We would be able to get leather from the repitles in the swamps..." Another said.
"And the herbs there would be an amazing contribution to my collections of medicine, theres herbs there I haven't been able to get in years!" The doctor
"Zan, could you take me back? To see the red queen?" Terrin asked.
"I could...But it would be up to all of the dragons. Not just her." Zan explained.
"Then fly ahead. Talk to your queen, and the other leaders. Bring them....To the islands. The ones that are
lines up with the Divide. I'll bring a handful of our
generals and nobles to speak with them." Terrin reasoned.
"You're really serious about this aren't you?" Zan's eyes were wide.
"The time for fighting is over, Zan. It's time that we brought our people together." Terrin smiled. Zan looked at him with shock until a smile settled on his scaly lips.
"You're insane." Zan said, and took off into the air.
"Give me three days, to convince them." Zan called out in Terrin's mind as he flew off.
"You have three days, Zan! Don't disapoint me!" Terrin shouted after the soaring figure of the behemoth.
Two days later
'This is the longest week of my life' Terrin thought. In seven days he had nearly been murdered, made friends with a dragon, met the queen of the red dragons, gotten home, stopped an assassination, became king, made a speech to his new kingdom, came up with the idea to join two races that hated each other, made an appointment with all of the kings and queens of the dragons, had a court date with his uncle and postponed his trial until after the meeting with the dragons. That's more than anyone should do in a lifetime, much less seven
"Sire, everything is ready for the journey tomorrow." The guard who had flown with Zan said. Since that day Terrin had promoted him to head of the guard, dismissing the previous head for treason. He showed more bravery in the confusing time than anyone else.
"Good... Prepare Stormbringer for yourself." Terrin said.
"But, how will you get there?"
"I have my own ride coming." Terrin smiled. Suddenly a monstrous roar shook the kingdom, and the shadow of the familiar red behemoth was cast over the castle. Terrin smiled and quickly rushed outside just in time to see Zan fly towards the Divide. He hopped onto one of the guard horses, and as the head of the guard followed him he headed towards the steep cliff that still separated the lands. He dismounted while he was a good distance away from the cliff side and smiled as another roar echoed through the air.
"Sir, is that-" Without a word Terrin ran towards the cliff, and jumped.
"Sire!!" The guard ran towards the cliff frantically, and fell backwards as the huge dragon rose from the bottom of the cliff. Terrin straddled his back, arms spread to match the leathery wings of the behemoth. They rose until they blocked out the light of the sun, casting a huge shadow on the field in front of the kingdom.
"My god..." The head of the guard muttered. He mounted Stormrider, and led her and the other horse back to the kingdom.
"Are you hungry?" Terrin asked. He sat in the open field with Zan, both of them spread out on the grass on their back.
"No, I made sure to eat well before I came back." Zan sent the thought to his head.
"Alright, so what's the word?"
"The elders have agreed to come, all of them. They will be there noon tomorrow."
"Good, do you think this will work?"
"I don't know. Your people seem open to the idea, as do mine. But the smallest kink in the chain could ruin everything."
"Well then we have to be sure that this chain remains kinkless." Terrin smiled at the dragon, who looked funny lying on his back in the green grass.
"So will you stay here tonight?"
"Yes, everything is set up with my people. I'll direct your people to the proper island tomorrow." Zan said.
"Good." Terrin was quiet for a moment.
"So have you thought anything of what the dragon queen said to us?"
"What do you mean? About us being mates?"
"I guess. I'm still not sure if she's entirely wrong..." Zan said.
"You mean you feel like...you have feelings for... You think she's right?" Terrin stamered.
"Well...I don't know. They say you're supposed to know immediately when you find your mate."
"And...did you feel anything? When we first met?" Terrin played with the grass in his hands.
"I felt your sword slice through my wing." Zan turned his large reptilian head to face him, almost seeming to raise an eyebrow.
"Seriously." Terrin smacked him playfully and laughed, he doubted the dragon could even feel it.
"Honestly, the fact that I didn't set you on fire the moment I saw you says a lot." Zan chuckled in his head.
"I guess it does." Terrin smiled.
"So, I'll just sleep out here in the fields? I promise, no snacking on the cows." Zan smiled a reptilian smile, as one of the small herds of cows walked by.
"Of course not, get into your human form. You're staying in the palace, with me." Terrin smiled and stood up, dusting off the cloth pants he wore instead of his usual armor.
"With you?" Zan said in his head, as he shifted into his human form.
"I didn't mean...Down the hall. Not in the same-.... come on, it's getting cold." Terrin blushed. Zan gave him a cocky smile in his human form.
Zan sat down on the bed and Terrin leaned against the stone doorframe.
"We leave early, at sunrise. It's a long trip there and we need to make sure we aren't late." Terrin said.
"Of course, I'll be awake."
"Good. If you need anything, I'm at the end of the corridor." Terrin pointed down the hallway.
"Goodnight." Zan smiled.
"Goodnight." Terrin waved, and left the room. Zan stared after him and smiled. He knew Terrin was his mate, if he wasn't ready to accept it that was fine. He could wait. He could give him all the time in the world.
The spray of the ocean hit Terrin's face and he smiled. The spray was refreshing and the air was even better. Zan seemed to be enjoying it just as much as he did. His wings were damp with the spray, but he didn't seem to be bothered by it. In fact, steam rose from his wings as he dried them while flying. The three ships of his kingdom were below them, following the red dragon to their destination. Just at the horizon, Terrin could see the islands.
"Is that them?"
"Yes, we're nearly there. We picked an Island that looked like it would be easiest for you to reach, it has a sharp drop off close to the island. It makes it easier for the atren king to reach the island, and easier for you to dock your ships." Zan
"Atren, thats water right?" Terrin thought about their conversation a few days back.
"Yes, good you're learning. I doubt if you remember my full name though."
"I don't." Terrin admitted.
"I would have been surprised if you did." Zan laughed.
The ships let their anchor drop as they approached the island. The small crews used the row boats to reach the shore. The dragon circled the island once before finding a clear spot and landing. Terrin remained on his shoulders as Zan played with the sand between his clawed toes. The crews settled and prepared themselves for what was to come.
"Remember, they're not here to hurt us. They're here to talk. You're all to act civil and be calm, understood?" Terrin said atop his confident dragon friend. Everyone nodded their head in agreement and the head of the guard walked up to the mounted king.
"When are they to arrive?"
"Any minute now." Zan said. "I told them noon, and they will not be late." The head of the guard looked up at the sun in the middle of the sky.
"It's almost-" Suddenly a large water dragon sprang forth through the surface. The soldiers jumped and instincivly raised their weapons.
"Weapons down!" Terrin shouted, and his people obeyed. The dragon continued to rise from the water. Eventually it stopped at what Terrin assumed was half of it's body length. The great serpent had fins sprouting just behind it's jaw, and it's eyes were snakelike.
"Gods..." The head of the guard said. The dragon looked down at Zan, age showed in its eyes.
"Zan." It's voice was deep and echoed in everyone's mind.
"Thoro." Zan bowed his head.
"Where is your queen?" The deep voice
"By the looks of it, nearly here." Zan moved to look around the snakelike body. The serpent turned and in the distance, the forms of two other dragons could be seen.
"How is Terra going to get here?" The blue serpent spoke again.
"By the looks of it, she's being carried the poor girl." Zan chuckled.
"You make her sound innocent." The dragon chuckled.
"Terra?" Terrin asked.
"The earth dragon queen, Terratunell." Zan
"Ah, and Thoro?"
"Thoroatren." The serpent spoke. "The king of the
water dragons, as a human would put it." The serpent bent until it's massive eye was even with Terrin.
"An honor to meet you." Terrin didn't flinch.
"A brave one, Zan. A good choice for a mate." The serpent spoke to only Terrin and Zan.
"I'm not his-" Suddenly, a large black streak fell from the sky, landing in the soft sand of the
island. The humans jumped in fright as the large black dragon burrowed into the sand. She was gone for a long moment before the gnashing teeth of her head appeared at the sands surface again. She climbed up and sat like a cobra prepared to strike.
"Zan, Thoro." A melodic womanly voice echoed in everyones head. The familiar great red queen landed on the soft sad near Zan and terrin. Finally, a white thin dragon coiled its way onto the
sand. Like a small albino garden snake with feathered wings, it was beautiful. Its feathers glimmered like pearls in the sunlight.
"Everyone is here, Terrin. Feel free to start whenever." Zan spoke to him in his head. Terrin cleared his throat and climbed the dragons neck, up to his head. He stood, a foot on each horn, and spoke.
"All of them showing up proves that they're not here to harm us. They want peace as much as we do." Terrin said. Most of the humans stood in shock.
"I'll let them introduce
themselves." Terrin nodded at the dragons.
"I am Thoroatren. King of the water brood." The largest dragon spoke.
"I am Sarazina. Queen of the fire brood." The red queen spoke.
"I am Terratunella, Queen of the earth brood." The black dragon burried in the sand spoke.
"And I am Erionzar. King of the air brood." The white feathered dragon spoke.
"You may call them Thoro, Sara, Terra, and Erion." Zan spoke, simplifying it for the humans.
"And you, human? What is your name?" Thoro bent to make eye contact with Terrin again, splashing the water around his enormous body.
"I'm prince Terrin." Terrin nodded his head at the dragon king.
"King Terrin." Zan corrected.
"Right, still getting used to that." He blushed.
"Zan tells you wish to bring our two races together?" Thoro questioned.
"Break the Divide?" Terra added, her plated body shining in the sunlight.
"Yes, humans and dragons could learn to help each other. It would be a benefit to both of our kind."
"How would it benefit us?" Sara asked, her red scales bright she seemed smaller now that she was out in the open.
"Aren't you tired of having your nests threatened?" He turned to Thoro. "Or running into one of our ships?" He turned towards Erion. "Don't you want to soar the skies freely?" He looked at Sara. "And more hunting room?" The dragons pondered his questions.
"And what do your people get out of this?"
"We don't want to hurt you, we could work out where it's safe for us to sail and fish. We could get more land by being able to cross the Divide. More room to hunt and gather." Terrin explained. The dragons considered this.
"It make sense, on all sides." Zan mumbled.
"It does." The head of the guard spoke finally.
"But how do we know all of your people agree with this? If one of
ours is to be killed if one of yours feels threatened? Or the other way around? If one of our nests are accidentally crushed, or if-"
"These things can all happen, and theres no doubt that at some point they probably will. But is it worth it to do nothing and maybe have another human dragon war break out?" Zan interrupted Erion. "We need to stop seeing each other as different beings. We all live on this planet and it's about time
we start getting used to each other." Zan said.
"We're not saying that we need to be friends. We just need to adjust and get used to each other, it will stop the violence." Terrin chimed in.
"Humans and dragons can get along, these two have proven that today." Sara said.
"Yes, it's quite obvious what's going on here." Erion gave a sly smile on his lips.
"Nothing is going on here, why does everyone keep saying that?" Terrin rubbed his temples, annoyed.
"Even if you don't believe that something is going on, it is." Sara smiled. "You must feel it, Zan." She turned to the red
"I do." He admitted.
"What?" Terrin shouted, looking down at the dragon he stood on.
"There's no rush to accept it now, Terrin." The dragon sent the thought to his head only. The humans stared on, confused.
"There better not be, because I'm not accepting it, ever." He glared at the scaly firebreather.
"Very well." Only the other dragons could see the pain in his reptilian face.
"On with the matter at hand." Terrin sighed.
"What about a trial period. We get a few volounteers to stay in the kingdom, get humans used to the idea of living with dragons in the area." Sara raised her head with the sudden idea.
"Sounds like a fantastic idea." The leader of the guard said.
"We should get at least one person from each brood." Terrin said.
"What if both Terrin and I travel to each brood, we talk to them and take volunteers?" Zan said.
"It sounds like it would work for me." Sara said. "Although of course, Zan will be the one from the fire brood to represent me."
"I agree." replied Erion. The other dragons nodded their heads in agreement.
"Then it's decided. You all will return back to the kingdom." Terrin spoke to his people. "And you, tell everyone whats happening. I'll go with Zan and try and gather some volunteers." Terrin said to the head of the guard. He nodded, and the humans set sail for their home, while the dragons flew back to their own families.
1 year later
The plan had worked. Dragons and Humans stood together on the day that would come to be known as 'Falling Day' The day that the two species worked together to tear down the Divide. The earth shook as dozens upon dozens of earth dragons tore through the ground around the Divide. Red dragons stood on the cliff and the coast was lined with water dragons. Humans stood by with shovels and picks. The sun rose to the final point in the sky, directly above the Divide.
"Lets get to work!" Terrin shouted, holding a shovel above his head. Dragons roared and Humans cheered, digging their claws and shovels into the tough ground. Water dragons dived under water for a second before coming forward and spraying the divide with water. Earth dragons dived and chewed away at the ground that was loosened by the water. Humans dug away, at the soft ground for hours. Air dragons lifted away the largest unmovable boulders and trees burried into the dirt. After digging and shifting the dirt around all day, it finally formed one large slope from the grassy plains of the
human lands, and the moist swamps of dragon territory. The red dragons, including Zan, rose into the sky and enhaled deeply. The humans and dragons scattered as a rain of fire sprayed from the sky, hardening the rock. Steam rose from the mud until it was dirt, and still the dragons sprayed their fire. Suddenly the dirt turned black and hardened into volcanic looking stone. The dragons landed and for the first time in a long time, there was no Divide breaking the land in two.
Zan was happy. The two sentient species on the planet had finally become one. Dragons and Humans alike lived in peace now. No more war, no more killing. Terrin's first act during the trial period was to save the water dragon eggs they had seen in the ocean. They hatched and became the first dragons to become part of the human navy. Earth dragons worked with farmers, fire dragons worked with blacksmiths, air dragons worked with stablemasters to keep the cattle and horses from running off, It was perfect harmony. Humans traveled through dragon lands to help improve their living conditions and
help keep their eggs safe. Everything was right with the world. Everything but one thing.
Terrin still hadn't accepted that Zan was his mate. He would always be by Terrin's side, but he couldn't help but want more. He would walk around in his human form for hours, trying to attract Terrin. He knew that Terrin didn't mind his dragon form, but he would never be sexually attracted to it. He would, however, be attracted to the muscled
toned body his human form displayed. He would 'accidentally' run into Terrin while coming back from bathing, or would 'accidentally' leave his armor in Terrin's
room and have to go in naked to retrieve it. He knew that it made Terrin crazy. He could see him struggle to keep his erection from showing when his hair was dishevled and his eyes were needy. He had tried everything but jumping him while he was sleeping. And at this point he was about ready to try that.
Since that day a year ago, with the meeting of the humans and dragons, Zan had been living in the palace.
"Zan, have you seen my sword?" Terrin asked, as he fastened his sheath to his side.
"Yes." Zan said. Terrin hadn't looked up since he walked into Zan's room.
"Good, why was it in here? I was worried I'd lost it." Terrin said and finally looked up. Seeing a naked Zan with the sword hiding his cock.
"What are you..."
sick of playing games, Terrin. You can't deny that you feel the attraction to me. You know we're mates." Zan said, sitting up but keeping himself covered with the weapon.
"What? Zan we're not-"
"Don't deny it, Terrin... Please don't deny it anymore." Terrin saw the tears falling from his eyes.
"It hurts... It hurts so bad when you say I'm not you're mate. That we're just friends. You may as well be cutting my wings clean off, I feel like I'm falling so fast I don't have time to catch myself." Zan admitted.
"Zan...I never meant-..." Terrin was at a loss for words.
"I know you didn't mean to hurt me, but you did. I feel it, so I know you do too. I just don't know why you fight it." Zan said, tears slowing.
"Because, my kingdom needs me. They need me to be strong, for them. I can't-...we can't...."
"But we can!" Zan stood up and pinned Terrin to the wall, sword forgotten.
"No-...They're relying on us to....to-"
"To show them that humans and
dragons can live together, peacefully. And what better way to show that than to show a mated pair. Two species, together...perfectly." Zan's lips grew closer and closer until he could feel Terrin's breath on his lips. Their lips met and their tongues danced. Terrin sighed and Zan kissed his neck needily.
"Zan, I've wanted you for so long..." Terrin finally admitted it.
"I know." Zan kissed his collarbone. "Do you have somewhere to be?"
"Yes." Terrin nodded, trying to keep from falling into his trance. "I....A generals meets....My-...Uh...." Terrin couldn't focus with Zan nibbling at his chest. His tunic got in the way, but not for long. Zan shifted his hands and ripped the shirt away
with his claws. The long nails brushed against his nipples and he moaned.
"The head of the guard can take care of it? Can't he?" Zan asked. Terrin nodded quickly.
"Yes, yes he can..." Terrin ran his hands up Zan's bare torso.
"Good." Zan mumbled, with his mouth full of Terrin's right nipple.
"Oh gods..." Terrin nearly collapsed. Zan scooped him up and
carried him over to the bed. He placed Terrin down on the silk bedspread that was reserved for royalty. He laid him down and ripped the rest of his clothes off quickly.
"You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this, for my mate. To feel this..." Zan moaned and bit into Terrin's shoulder.
"Oh gods...Please..." Terrin groaned.
"Do you want me?" Zan
"I do, I want you so bad!" Terrin squirmed under Zan's hard body.
"Say it again." Zan smiled.
"I want you so bad, Zan." Terrin repeated.
"Oh god, say my name again!" Zan begged. He ran his hands up and down Terrin's body. His fingers landed on his round ass.
"Touch me..." Terrin begged quietly. Zan spread his round globes and brushed his fingers against his tight hole.
"So good..." Zan smiled. Terrin pressed back onto his fingers and two digits slipped in. Terrin moaned and Zan began working his ass with his fingers, stretching him gently.
"Zan, I love you so much." Terrin moaned.
"I love you too, Terrin." Zan kissed his way down his chest. he got to the hardened length of his mate and licked at the head. Terrin bit his lip and Zan smiled at the sight. He swallowed as much of the thick cock that he could and was pleased when he was rewarded with warm precum.
"Mmm, you taste fantastic." Zan grinned.
"I want to taste you." Terrin
put a hand on his chest. Zan moved and removed his fingers so that Terrin could reach his own hard cock. They moved so that they could both reach each other and Zan could still play with Terrin's ass. Soon, Terrin's ass was stretched well and Zan's cock was lubed up with Terrin's spit.
"Terrin, let me take you. Please...I can make you feel so good." Zan kissed his cock lovingly.
"Do it, Zan. Please." Terrin sat up and kissed Zan lovingly. Zan kissed him back, sharing the taste of his hard cock with him, before putting Terrin under his muscled body. He lined his cock up with Terrin's tight hole and pushed. Terrin moaned as the thick cock slid into him. There was no pain, only mind numbing pleasure. Terrin nearly blacked out from pure pleasure as Zan pumped into him. He grabbed his shoulders and moaned into his neck as he was filled.
"I never knew it could feel this good." He groaned.
"It'll get even better, Terrin." Zan whispered in his ear. He thrust once more and hit the perfect spot, causing his lover to see spots. Terrin moaned and tightened his legs around Zan's hips. Zan felt his lover tense and his own body clunch as his orgasm grew closer.
"Terrin...I can't last much longer." He whispered.
"I'm almost there..." Terrin kissed his ear. Zan thrust into him one last time and grunted. He felt his balls empty into Terrin's tight ass and his lovers release spray across their stomachs. Terrin moaned and hugged Zan tighter. The
couple relaxed and Zan moved them so that he could spoon against Terrin.
"Say it." Zan whispered.
"Say the words I want to hear." Zan moaned in his ear.
"I don't know-"
"Yes. You do." Zan whispered again.
"I-I..." Terrin hesitated, and
then finally realized that he did believe the words.
"I love you, my mate." Terrin whispered. Zan felt tears spill from his eyes for the second time that night. It was the most beautiful thing he'd ever heard. The words he had prayed to hear for a year and seven days."And I you mate. Forever. Now, let's rest."