The Last Tempest
Word Count: 1008
Aurellan parted the very clouds with an unfurling of his mighty wings. The bright sun’s rays crested over the horizon and glistened on the Dragon’s crimson scales, gnarled and scarred in a hundred places, but unbroken. Arch-Mage Eatheron clung to the reigns for dear life, though he knew he would not fall from Aurellan’s hunched back. Ancient mounts such as these could never be truly tamed and possessed an intellect far exceeding mortal elves. The High Elf of Caledor never once needed to utter a command, because Aurellan could always read the battlefield by himself.
He knew what needed to be done.
Lances of sorcerous magic hurtled from the valley so far below, Eatheron could not tell friend or foe from such a height. But Aurellan quivered as the dark magic crunched into his mighty hide. He shook the sharpened horns on his great head as if annoyed and nose-dived into the chaos without a word of consent from his ‘master’.
The battle in the valley was a remarkably miserable chronicle in the Phoenix King Finubar’s campaign against the Druchii. A glittering host of three thousand elven knights marched across the lowland on the right flank. They advanced over countless fallen no doubt left in their destructive wake, and into the teeth of a counter-attacking Witch-Cult. The center of the battle had become a killing field. High Elf archers and Druchii crossbows traded blows across entrenched positions. Occasionally, one faction would sally out of their fortifications and charge the other.
It was upon the left flank that the fight had turned truly dire. Aurellan unhinged his maw in a great roar, a challenge to the Black Dragon that wreaked havoc down there. Eatheron traced the volleys of dark magic to the area as well, and could barely make out the coven of sorcerers holding a great hill. He observed the Black Dragon unleash purplish flames upon a great host of spearmen with grim fascination.
Eatheron stroked Aurellan’s gnarled scales. “I’m not certain that we can beat that, friend.”
Aurellan unleashed a low growl and spread its wings for descent.
Eatheron shrugged. “If you suppose.” He began to drone in the archaic tongue, his hand lifted toward the sun even as flames crackled into life upon his fingers.
The Druchii upon the great hill, to their credit, did not flee at the sight of a Sun Dragon bearing down upon them. Several lines of crossbowmen formed ranks around a dozen Dark Elf Sorceresses and prepared themselves to fire on their masters’ orders.
“Your fate is at hand!” The Arch-Mage unleashed his spell with a swipe of his hand in the same moment that Aurellan belched liquid fire from his maw.
Aurellan’s mighty claws rent the earth where it had been scorched, crushing the burned and dying beneath them. Eatheron unleashed another fireball into the midst of dead Sorceresses for good measure. He shifted his attention toward the Black Dragon waiting for him at the peak of the hill. The ancient beast beneath him growled deep within his throat and stalked closer to its prey.
As Eatheron made to unleash an infernal spell of fire and magic at the darkly armored figure atop twisted dragon, something seized him. An overwhelming sensation of serenity eclipsed his wrath as if a shadow looming over him. Thoughts that were no longer his own whispered gently on the fringes of his mind, fingering their way into his inner psyche. Even Aurellan paused in his primitive assertion of dominance to cast a quizzical glare at the Arch-Mage.
We must never allow war to define who we are. We look to Isha, Mother of the Elves, for our future. Every tear shed in sorrow is a forest reborn, a soul forged anew. As our Goddess weeps over the senseless destruction of the elves, the flames of war are guttered… even Malekith’s eternal hatred can be undone.
The rider atop the Black Dragon barked a command and the twisted beast charged forward. Aurellan turned and split his maw with a geyser of flames, but his foe countered with breath of his own. Eatheron found himself clinging to the reigns for dear life as his mount stood upon it’s hind legs and fell upon the foe as it tackled into him. Wicked talons harder than diamond rent through the Black Dragon’s veiny grey wings. Aurellan’s titanic maw snapped shut around the back of the creature’s neck, hard enough to draw blood through the hardened scales.
A shooting star is the lance of Asuryan striking across the heavens, destined always to find its mark. To scholars, it is nothing more than an omen, a sign of the times we live in. Those who have dedicated their lives to studying the arcane can unleash their true purpose and bend the heavens to their will!
The Black Dragon slammed into Aurellan with all of its strength, enough force to throw the Sun Dragon off of its hind legs and it send it hurtling down the hillside. The next moments were a blur of earth, mud, and flames as Eatheron was thrown around in his saddle. The sheer momentum of
Aurellan was enough to break him like a ragdoll. The sound of ribs breaking and his leg bones cracking were audible even over the surprised screams of his mount.
The world halted in its spinning almost as quickly as it began. Eatheron peered into the sky, his lower body pinned against the earth beneath Aurellan. All he could see through the smoke and rain was the looming silhouette of the triumphant Druchii commander atop his monstrous mount. The raging storm had broken up enough that he could see dusk on the horizon… and the bright trail of a shooting star.
Eatheron reached out for the shooting star with broken fingers and a voice that was not his own spoke through his lips. He was no longer controlling his body, but he was still aware that was alive. Was this possession?
Death is only but the Gods’ bridge to eternity.