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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Fantasy · #1788857
The beginning of a tale involving evil dragons and those who hunt them.


The Dragoons of Solomus


Chapter 1
They Clash


         There he is. though a well weathered man watching a dragon resting in an open clearing as a genial breeze blew in his direction. He hasn’t detected me yet, now’s the time. He held his hand on his unique sword and prepared something for a quick strike.
         Conceal me from sight, from smell, and from sound. Then he held his sword up and in a whispered shout he spook “Shroud!” With that word he disappeared from sight.
         Bolting from the forest he dashed right for the black dragon still laying there as if dozing. Just as he was about to strike the dragon blocked his attack pushing him back.
         “Do you take me for a fool, Dragoon of Orochi?” he said now fully standing and ready for battle. “I am a sorcerer as well as a first dragon. Did you think that little trick would work?” Normally he did not fight the dragoons. Not even during the war. He had no desire to die. Nor the ones that chased him after the war, but this one had chased him for decades unlike the others. He followed every rumor, and he was tired of it. He was going to finish this today.
         “It was worth a try, Ningishzida” he said with a smirk. He had been his white whale for years chasing every clue and rumor for decades, and he finally had him.
         “If you find that amusing,” he said, standing on his back legs “how about this!” as he let loose his fire.
         Shield me from fires of Hell, “Shield of Faith!” just as the cone of dragon fire was about engulf him a giant shield appeared protecting him from the flames & heat.
         Shziad stopped his flames presuming he had cooked the dragoon, then he saw the shield. “Why is that you dragoons have to be so stubborn to die?” he said watching the shield shrink down and attach itself to dragoon’s left arm.
         “I have a job to do.”
         “Job this!” Come forth from your earthly graves and serve your new master, “Raise Undead.” with his command several mounds appeared and four skeletons of different animals exploded free from them. “Attack.”
         With his command they moved to attack him. The largest and first to come at him must have been a rock bear when it was alive. He was ready for this.
         Strike down the unholy constructs, pointing his sword directly at it he uttered “Bolt of Law!” bolt of light shot out from it striking the undead creature. Acting quickly he targeted the second largest the skeleton of a lion.
         Shzida was enjoying the show, he wanted to play with him be for killing the dragoon.
         The last two came at him together, blocking one with his shield he slammed his sword through the other scattering its bones across the field.
         Break through, destroy their defenses, and crush them. Concentrated the dragon.
         As the blocked one started getting up he thrust his sword through it’s skull shattering it.
         “Ball Lighting!”
         He barely had time to shield himself as the ball slammed into his shield demolishing it but it took the brunt of the attack, but it broke his arm.
         Mend the bones and repair the flesh, focusing on his broken left arm he spoke “Heal.” acting quickly to be prepared for the next attack from his foe.
         “Hehehe! this is the most fun I have had in years,” Shzida said as he made gestures with his human like claws, “but the fun must come to an end. Blackfire!” a small ball of black fire appeared between his claws then shoot out at the dragoon.
         Calmly he placed his left fingers on the side of his blade drawing them across gently, “Cut through evil with your burning blade, Annwyn!” he swung his sword and powerful crescent of fire flew cutting and destroying the black sphere fire. And continuing on towards the dragon.
         All Ningishzida could do is cover his head with claws. As the wave was a bout to hit it dissipated, to the surprise of them both.
         Before the dragon had recovered from surprise of the attack dissipating, the dragoon came at him at full speed. Curses, I wasted to much magic stamina on spells.
         But before his blow could connect Shzida reacted using his claws to block the sword blow. Forcing him back.
         “Hehehe! What’s wrong, Dragoon of Orochi? Your blows are weakening!”
         “I can keep fighting you for as long as it takes, Ningishzida!” he spoke boldly, but in truth he had seen too many winters, wasted his opportunity, and knew it now. His pride had not allowed him to seek help from the others. Now he would pay for that pride.
         “Your bluff does not fool me. You have not the strength!” he slashed at the dragoon quickly with his shadowy claws.
         He could barely block the attack now.
         A wicked smile drew across the dragon’s face, “This is the end for you! Weak dragoon of Orochi!”
         Before he had any chance to react, the dragon let loose a cone of flame engulfing him, at the same time he turned letting out a scream of pain. As the flames moved on they set the dry kindling of the forest floor ablaze.
         Shzida enjoyed his victory for moment watching the flames quickly spreading through the forest. Spreading his wing he took flight circling a little longer to enjoy the view and to savor the triumph a little longer.
         The dragoon, seriously injured used the last bit of conscious strength to strike out, With my last bit of strength mark him for justice, “Mark of Justice!”
         A flash of light struck the dragon in the side inflicting him with extreme pain as he struggled to stay a loft. He looked at his right side seeing the new mark that seemed to weaken him. He looked down to see the now unconscious dragoon. And started grumbling, “You’re dead now, it’s not worth the time or fun to thrash a corpse.” then he spotted the nearby village. Hmm, perhaps a little fun before I find some place to rest and try to get rid of this stupid mark. He started laughing as he flew towards them.

Chapter 2
The Burning Despair


         While he was circling over the clearing, the flames spread quickly through the forest, the smoke rose, and it wasn’t long before some had yelled fire. Everyone in the village reacted on instinct running to grab buckets to fill them with water. While they keep the forest cleared far from the village’s buildings, past fire’s ashes had started fires in the past.
         “Make sure everyone keeps their eyes on the store house with the grain and wood, we can rebuild burnt homes not grain.” spoke the village’s elder.
         As everyone started moving to protect their important buildings, someone stared and pointed to something moving in the smoke. As the elder turned to see what they were pointing to the dragon burst forth from smoke and let out savage roar.
         Most the villagers started running in fear. They had always believed dragons legends or at least things of a long distant past, but now one was upon them and fear overtook them.
         “Impossible. . .” That was all the elder could say in shock just before Shzida roasted him where he stood.
         Ningishzida took his time passing the village several times scorching several villagers and igniting several buildings. Circling the village now almost fully engulfed with the blaze he enjoying the screams of horror of the villagers, watching them as they dashed around trying to
put his fires out. Watching the men futilely try to save their wives and children only to be burned to death with them.
         Then he noticed one building was left standing one made of stone.
         It does not matter it can remain as a testament to my might.
         Laughing as he turned towards the mountains. Now to find someplace to rest. And I have to remove this accursed mark.
         He let fourth a roar of celebration as he flew into the mountains.

         The flames spread and consumed quickly, soon those not killed during the dragon’s initial attacks were soon consumed themselves by the blaze. The only ones left were the dead and dying.
         Just as the fires started fading. One lone villager headed out of the other forest opposite of the one that was on fire. He was part of a group earlier that day that had collected firewood and hunted game to start stocking up for the winter to come. A youth, no older then sixteen, Armed
with an axe and a short sword. He had got separate from the rest when he thought he saw a glimpse wild fruit grove. He had actually found one and took his time getting back to the village as he marked his path back to the village.
         They will be angry at me but when the find out what I found it’ll make up for all the trouble. He thought continuing to make deep gashes in the trees.
         As he emerged from the forest he saw the smoke, then the remains, “The village. . . No!”
         He ran as fast he could back to the village. In some hope that everyone was fine or that he could help. But it was to late for help.
         By the time he made it back most of the fires had died down considerably, most of the wooden buildings had collapsed into burning and smoldering heaps. The stench of burnt flesh almost unbearable, worst then when his best friend tried to catch that fire moth. Falling down on
his hands and knees he struggled not to throw up. 
         “The village! What happened here?” as his tears fell on the scorched ground. Clenching the scorched earth in his hands he started to get up.
         “Father! Mother! Alexis! Where are you!?” there was nothing but the roaring of the flames as the continued to consume what was left of the village.
         “Someone! . . . Anyone! . . . Please Answer me!” he stared at the destruction, looking for anything any sound or movement other then the flames. Then he heard a weak voice coming from the only stone building.
         “Clovis! Help me!” she must have run in there to avoid the flames.
         He ran to the building, freeing his axe he chopped at the burnt wooden door until he broke it down to get in. There she was laying in the center of the room badly burnt but still alive, still recognizable.
         “Brother. It hurts!” a large part of her dress was burnt, it was also wet, she had managed to douse herself with water but much to late. She had already sustained dangerous injures to her body.
         “Alexis!” he ran to her to comfort her, “It’s going to be all right, little sister, I’m here.” he lied as choked back the urge to cry out loud as tears welled up in his eyes.
         Continuing to reassure her he felt her singed hair. The moist bloody blisters mixed with stiff dry white leathery spots on her arms and legs.
         Fortunately, if you could say that, the flames had spared her cute face.
         “Brother. It’s so dark and cold now.”
         “Alexis. . . it’s going to be alright.” he said choking back the tears
         “Brother, I can’t see you.” were her last words to him before she slipped into the gloom.
         “Little Alexis. No! It can’t be! You can’t die!” he sobbed cradling her lifeless body in his arms, he took her out of the building laying her on the ground outside. He sat there staring at her and crying, What happened here and to you, little Alexis.
         For what seemed hours to him he sat there crying. Then he heard the sound of someone falling near the village border that snapped him out it. Thinking it was the ones who destroyed his home and village he grabbed his sword to get justice.

         While Clovis had been searching the village and weeping over his sister, the dragoon had come to and using determination alone struggled his way to the burnt village using his sword to support himself. Eventually collapsing at the edge of the village. While there was still time he needed to find someone to finish it.

         He moved quietly to where he had heard the sound, planning to attack the intruders with out their noticing him. But that wasn’t what he found.
         Seeing the collapsed man he sheathed his sword. He’s as badly burnt as Alexis, worse probably. A warrior too. There’s nothing I can do for him. Then a thought struck him like a bolt of lightning, He might know what happened here. In a flash of anger and rage he ran over to him.
         “Tell me! Who did this? What happened here?”
         He grabbed Clovis’ arm showing he still had some strength left. “You, take the sword, finish it, while he still has the mark and is weakened!” he let go of him as he started coughing up blood.
         “Finish what, who?”
         “Ki. . .ll. . .” as he pointed to the mountains he struggled using the last of his willpower to force out his last words,  “The dra . . . gon . . .” he collapsed coughing and thrashing about until he finally succumbed to his injures.
         “Kill the dragon?” Clovis said looking up towards the mountains, Dragon? They aren’t real, just fairy tales. Maybe he was talking about a person called the dragon. And what was that bit about a mark?
         As he stood there pondering continuing to stare up, there came a great roar, sound he had never heard before. One that seemed to be a mashing of a hawk’s scream and cougars roar. Only it caused feeling of dread.
         “A Dragon?! They’re real?!”
         In less then a day Clovis’ world had been shattered. Now the man’s words had the ring of truth to them. But could he do it?

Chapter 3
Birth of a Dragoon


         Another roar filled the air of the vale. As Clovis watched the mountains with his mouth open.
         Clovis kept thinking the same line of thoughts over and over, A dragon! A real dragon! They’re real! Until he finally looked back over the dead warrior.
         Ok, if that’s a dragon up there and he was fighting it then that would make him a dragoon.
         “Then that would make this sword. . .” as he walked over to the sword. Still sheathed in its ornate scabbard.
         “. . . for slaying dragons.” as he grabbed the scabbard. He could tell it was not an ordinary long sword. It weighted almost the same as his short sword.
         He could feel a raw power started to surge into him, into his very soul, as he grasped the hilt and started to pull the sword out. The blade flared out as it ended into the guard. Staring at the runes on the blade he felt a strange sensation in his head. His vision blurred then cleared back up and suddenly he could read what the runes said.
         “I am Annwyn, Sword of the Dragoons. I will burn all evil in the name of true Justice.” and yet the runes on the other side of the blade he still could not read.
         Clovis found himself practicing with Annwyn in grossed with his new weapon. Then another roar from the dragon hit him.
         “Dragon with this sword I will kill you.” a thirst for vengeance washed over him, “Monster, I will find you and chop you into pieces!” hold his sword in the air as if he was swearing an oath to some lord on the castle battlements.
         “I will avenge my sister, mother & father, and the village!” No thought of  whether he could truly succeed or not filled his mind. The dragoon had chosen him, had commanded him to finish the dragon. 
         Returning to where his sister lay he retrieved his axe.
         “Once I’ve killed the dragon sis I’ll return to put you and everyone else to rest.”
         Clovis gathered up a few provisions to take with him a couple of filled water-skins some food from the wild grove he found earlier and a few other odds and ends and placed them in his rucksack.
         “Looks like I have everything.” as he placed the last thing in his sack. Looking up at the mountain he grabbed his things and began his march.
         I’ll take that path we found a few years ago, it took us right up to a plateau that allowed us to see everything for miles. That would be the perfect place to start the search for it.
         He soon found the old path and started his climb up the mountain. Not concerned by the low odds of him being successful against a creature he once thought legend only hours ago.

Chapter 4
Ascending the Mountain

         Clovis followed the old path but stayed just on the outside of it to keep an eye out for the group of deamon orcs that resided up there. Staying under the cover of brush and the rocky terrain. He tried to be as quick as possible without giving himself away.
         Then he heard the sound of rocks being kicked by marching feet. He stopped moving and hid quietly in the underbrush watching for who it was. It was a group of orcs.
         “This is stupid, the last time we went to check out that village they killed twenty-five of us. And now there’s only the five of us left!” one of the smarter ones said.
         “Boss wants to know what happened down there. So, shut up and march, any more complainin and I’ll throw you down the side.” the largest one said.
         They must have belonged to that raiding group few months ago. It’s good to know we did that much damage. He was going to let them continue on when he remembered no was left at the village. Let rage get the better of him he jumped out of the bushes.
         “There’s no way I’m going to let you vultures near the village.” he said as he drew new sword for the first time.
         They turned around in surprised worried at first until they saw it was one boy, that is except for one.
         “You fools can get killed, I’m done with this,” the smart one said as he ran down the path.
         “Get back here you coward!” said the largest of the group.
         But he was not about to stop.
         Well that takes care of one of them. Clovis thought.
         “Arrg, you three get him! And if any of you try to run I’ll stick you myself,” they did not hesitate after his convincing point. They advanced slowly, they were not interested dying, but even more afraid of the larger orc.
         As the three advanced this reminded Clovis of times with his father and the other villagers defending the village from their occasional attempts at pillaging.
         He started to back up to give them the impression he was bluffing, hoping one of them would take the bait.
         The middle one took it he brook from the rest thinking Clovis was weak, running right at him.
         He dodged the orc, then spun around thrusting his sword into the back of his neck. He crumbled to the ground limp.
         “Who’s next?” as he now drew his short sword.
         The other two looked at each other and then back to the third who was gave them a gesture indicating what he would do to them. Turning their attention back to Clovis, they decided to rush him together.
         He dodged one, then tripped the other, thrusting his short sword into its belly as he laid prone. The one he dodged turned around just in time to see Clovis’s thrust and withdrawal. The orc took a moment to decide whether to run of fight.
         He choose to run fleeing up the mountain as to avoid the larger orc now cursing at him.
         “So its just you and me now.” he said to the larger orc still cursing at the orc that just fled.
         He said nothing back to Clovis as he started swinging his large double-headed axe demonstrating his strength. “You’ll find I’m not going to be as weak or cowardly as those worthless sacks of skin.”
         His advantage is his strength but its also his weakness. I just need to get him in the right position.
         Clovis kept his distance as he would take swings at him with the axe, and dodging him leading right where he wanted him.
         “Is that the best you have? I’ve seen sylvan girls with more strength!”
         “I’ll show you strength!” he said as he swung with all his strength at Clovis.
         Clovis ducked and the orcs axe hit and imbedded itself into the tree as he tried to free his axe, Clovis swung Annwyn cutting the orcs head off. His body fell against the tree as its blood spurted out on to the tree.
         Clovis cleaned the blood off his swords as he looked to see if the fighting had attracted anything else.
         I could check them for anything valuable, but . . . as he stopped listening for the dragon’s roar, after a few moments he heard it again, I don’t want to waste the time I have to find it.
         Soon he was on the move again up the path.
         Well that’s three dead, two ran away one down and one up. And by the way the first one ran I doubt he’s coming back, he thought as he continued to climb, and they said they had a master. So assuming the second one ran back to him I only have him and his master in my way.
         As he continued his climb he found that someone had added something new to the path a few monstrous plants had been planted to impede unwanted travelers.
         “I don’t have time for this.” as he freed his axe. He took careful aim with it targeting the middle one, I only have one shot at this, as he throw the axe at the middle one. “Gotcha!”
         His axe landed right in the middle, right in where what could be called an eye. It let out a shriek as its tentacles thrashed for a few moments then collapsed lifeless. At the same point the other two started thrashing wildly in response for the surprise attacker.
         Taking the opportunity Clovis rushed in for the right one getting slapped a few times by the thrashing as he brought his sword down on it cutting it in half.
         As the second one let out a shrill scream the third one twisted its tentacles around itself instinctively protecting its center.
         He yanked his axe free of the first one, then cleaned it and his sword of the plant juices before continuing.

         As Clovis was ascending the mountain, resting on the very plateau Clovis was headed for was Ningishzida who would let lose another roar. Both in celebration and frustration.
         Dispel this horrid mark, burn it from my side. “Dispelling Breath!” as he breathed his fire mixed with the spell onto the mark on his side. Only for it to glow a little brighter.
         “Why won’t this bothersome mark go a way! Curse that irritating dragoon. I’ve tried every countering spell I can think of and still cant make a change in it.”
         Once I’ve fully rested I’ll return to my library and do some research on what this is and how to get rid of it for good.
         He gave off another roar in frustration. Little did he know it was drawing Clovis directly to him.

         Around that moment Clovis realized the dragon’s roars were coming from the very plateau he was heading to.
         It's there! Now I have you dragon!
         He began to recklessly run up the path. Soon he ran into someone. It was the orc that had run away up the path.
         “He’s dead? Who killed him?”
         “I did!”
         He looked up to see a full blooded deamon standing further up the path with a leashed fire hound.
         “You killed your own minion!?” he suddenly felt sorry for it
         “Why not he ran from you a child? If he is going to be as useless as the others he deserves to die.” he said with a wicked grin that accentuated his pointed teeth.
         Despite being his enemy he suddenly felt sorry for it.
         “That doesn’t matter now, why don’t you give me that sword and I’ll let you live.”
         “Why do you want it? You can’t use it.”
         “You don’t need to know what for, just give it to me and you can go.”
         “No.”
         His horns seemed to get sharper with Clovis’s rejection, he let go of the hound leash.
         “Attack!” the hound ran right for him.
         Clovis pulled his short sword hist in time as it leapt at him stabbing it in the guts. As he pushed it off he heard the deamon cursing him.
         “First it’s the animals now my loyal servant,” his blood red skin seemed to radiate hate at that moment, “Boy, I’m going to make you pay for it all.”
         He unfurled his whip with a snap.
         “In fact you might be worth quite a bit at the slave market in Saliron! Heeheehee!”
         “That’s not going to happen”
         “We’ll see about that” the deamon responded as caught Clovis by his left hand holding his short sword and started pulling.
         Seeing an opening let him pull him closer as he grabbed his loose axe, once the deamon believed he just about had him he threw the axe at him.
         The deamon dropped his whip to dodge the flying axe. Giving Clovis the time to draw Annwyn.
         Seeing this the deamon scurried for the axe to use it as a weapon against him.
         Clovis threw his short sword grazing his arm as he picked up the axe.
         “You should have come along quietly boy, now I’ll have to kill you.” almost snarling.
         Clovis didn’t respond to him vocally, he just gave him a ‘come on’ with his hand.
         Enraged by Clovis’s gesture he rushed head long towards him with the axe. He dodged his attack and quickly cut his other arm.
         The deamon let out a howl as he charged again, this time Clovis also charged, but at the last moment jumped aside pushing the deamon down to the ground and thrusting his sword into the deamon’s chest killing him.
         As he picked up his axe from the body he heard another roar from the dragon.
         He’s not much farther now. He thought as he gathered and cleaned his swords before getting on the move again,

         As he approached where the dragon was lounging, Clovis stopped to rest himself for a moment and collect his thoughts. It was at that moment that everything started to hit him all at once.
         What are you doing? You’re just the son of farmers. It’s one thing to deal with troublesome orcs, but you don’t know how to slay a dragon. He thought to himself.
         Now fear crept into his heart and soul.
         You are likely to get yourself killed or worse eaten by the dragon. Just scale down the mountain and run away from here. You could sell the sword for a good sum of gold and live comfortably. then a voice deep inside of him yelled, No!
         Then he remembered about all his friends, his family, his village, and little Alexis. All dead back in the village, all charred all because of that dragon!
         No! I won’t turn back! Not now! Not ever! This is for everyone. Not just the people I knew but all those this dragon’s killed. I have faith that God will lend me the strength to slay this evil creature, and avenge everyone! To do his will in the mortal realm. holding Annwyn like a torch
in the dark.
         With that he started climbing the last bit of the way to the plateau where the dragon rested, with renewed strength and faith.
         “I will not let fear rule me now.”

Chapter 5
Cat vs Hornet


         “Why won’t this stupid thing go away” Shzida mumbled to himself looking at the mark on his side when the sound of falling rocks attracted his attention.
         Climbing up onto the plateau, Clovis’s sudden appearance surprised him.
         “Humph? And who might you be, child? It doesn’t matter, I’m not in the mood to deal with children,” as he turned his head looking back at the symbol, “Why don’t you go and play some where else.”
         Clovis said nothing back just stood there scrutinizing the dragon in anger in the silence.
         That must be the mark he was talking about.
         “You are still here?” looking back over at him.
         And what is this feeling I should be over whelmed by the sight of this dragon? My hairs are standing on end. And yet I almost feel, exhilaration?
         It was then Clovis took up an offensive stance and drew Annwyn from its scabbard holding it with both his hands.
         “Hmm?” This surprised him even more. He did not expect this from a simple child.
         “That sword! That was the dragoon’s sword! Aha hah! You think yourself to be a dragoon just because you weld that sword. You are sorely mistaken child.”
         “This is for my village, family & Alexis! Here’s the end of your evil existence, dragon!”
         Not a fool he knew a direct attack against the dragon even weakened was too risky, but he needed to know how weakened he was.
         Clovis kept his distance testing what the dragon would do when he approached, for the most part it seemed as if he was studying him.
         Well, there’s no point in playing around, I’m not in the mood. Rip his flesh, brake his bones, and boil his blood.  “Avascu. . .”  Suddenly the mark on his side started to glow then he felt the pain, “Uggh. What the. . .” as he turned his head seeing the mark now pulsing. Why is it doing this now?
         Seeing the dragon momentarily distracted Clovis took a chance on a direct attack.
         Ningishzida returned his attention to Clovis perceiving he would try to take advantage of his temporary distraction. Just in time to block his blade with his claws and push him back.
         Perhaps something simpler, concentrating he started a new spell, Chill the air, freeze him in place, bite him to the bone.  “Freezing. . . Not again! aarrgh!” he struggled not to grab his head from the pain and keep an eye on Clovis as his vision blurred.
         Not wasting the second chance he came after the dragon anew. This time the pain lasted longer it kept him from reacting. Giving Clovis a good opening as he slashed the dragons left side causing him even more pain.
         Shzida managed to shove him away, then let out a quick blast of his fire. Forcing him out of the way for a moment, long enough to recover his senses.
         I can’t use combat spells. And after that last time I don’t want to risk any other type of spells at the moment. Well at least I can use my fire, though I don’t have that much left after the attack on that stupid village. He thought as he kept scanning for Clovis. I Can’t fly away either thanks to the wasting of my energy. Curse that imprudent dragoon he may yet be the death of me.
         Clovis kept on the outside along the edge of the plateau hiding in the boulders and brush watching the dragon.
         It seems as if that mark causes him pain sometimes when he tries to do something. He’s not taking off which is good I guess. I need to get in close to hit him. But now he’ll probably try something else. Hum. I wonder if I can trick him into thinking I’m a fool and exposing himself in
some way.

         He would pop up and act as if he was going to attack, and Shzida would let loose a cone of flame just as he would jump back down.
         He’s trying to get me to waste my breath. Clever but obvious. He’ll run out of energy soon enough with those attempts.
         The situation forced him to rely more on his brute strength and natural weapon for fighting something he disliked. In spite of the boy’s apparent inexperience it was actually giving him an advantage. Clovis’s moves were chaotic and unpredictable all the while he managed to
avoid his own attacks.
         Clovis noticed that the dragon had a hard time turning around quickly. His mouth and neck were a reasonable problem but he had an idea.
         He grabbed his sack and dug out some rope. Tying it to a stick he placed it under some loose rocks. Moving away he checked to see where the dragon was sitting and looking. Once he was ready he yanked the rope.
         With the sound of falling rocks the dragon turned expecting him to pop out in one direction.
         Clovis moved quietly then rushed the dragons right side slashing another wound in the dragons scaly hide as he roared in pain giving Clovis a second try as he stabbed at another spot before the dragon reacted.
         Curse him. as he breathed a cone of raging fire in the direction of Clovis too late.
         If this keeps up he’ll kill me! When he fought he was accustom to knights and dragoons who tended to have predicable methods. Not some clever berserker running over the place.
         He was starting to panic from the pain of his wounds and being unable to use offensive spells, hearing the sound of falling rocks again he blasted fire in that direction, then bending around several times trying to get Clovis. Wasting a good portion of his fire in that moment of rage.
         I’m starting to get to him. As he watched the terrifying display of raw power.
         As the dragon stopped tired from the over use of his breath weapon, Clovis took the chance rushing out and slashed at the dragon’s other side creating an x wound on his right side.
         That was the last blow he could tolerate, desperate he now chased Clovis as he jumped behind a bolder. As he turned his head to blast him, he found no one there.
         Where. . . Then a sharp pain in his chest interrupted his thought.
         “Take that monster!” Clovis had jumped down and came back up when the dragon turned his head and was distracted. Thrusting his sword right into Shzida’s heart.
         He clawed at the sword no longer interested in Clovis.
         Not much time, I have no choice but to try it or I’m dead!
         He roared and screamed in pain and something else. As he collapsed on his side he let loose a horrible death shriek filled with dragon fire that could be heard throughout the land below and that shook the terrace like furious thunder.
         Collapsing in fatigue, with Annwyn still sticking out of the dragon’s chest Clovis sat and stared at the dragon’s corpse. It had seemed as if they had been battling for hours.
         “It’s done,” he said panting. Almost completely exhausted and now shaking with the full realization he had just fought a dragon, and won.
         “I can’t believe I just did that.”

Chapter 6
Ning’s Rebirth


         As he sat there still amazed that he had fought a dragon and won, Clovis started to hear a strange sound. Almost a sort of murmuring. He glanced around expecting to see something that had been attracted by the sound of the battle and the dragon’s death, yet he saw nothing.
         What’s making that sound, as he continued glancing around for source.
         There it was again. Is it coming from the dragon’s body? as he listened intently towards its corpse.
         It is! What’s making that sound. Then small flashes of light came from the wound the sword was in.
         What the . . . before he could finish there was a sudden flash of light and his sword was forced out of the dragon’s chest. Then a small dragon emerged from the chest wound.
         “It worked! Hahaha!” the small little dragon floated just above the battlefield. “Even better the mark is gone!” as it spun around.
         With his last full magical strength, before death could take him, he managed to cast a spell to create a new younger form for himself to escape death.
         “The dragon’s still alive!?”
         “That’s right child and next time we meet I’ll have the advantage!” he snickered, then used what little magic he had left to take off into the clouds before Clovis had a chance to react.
         Clovis sat there looking in the sky where dragon flew off to.
         “I’ll chase you down to the end of the world if I have to! I will destroy you once and for all!”
         But as much as he struggled to stand up he did not have the strength to do that now. He was forced to spend the night up there with the dragon’s corpse to rest. With the morning he would start his climb down the mountain.

Chapter 7
Descend and Memorial


         With the morning sun Clovis felt a bit refreshed, notwithstanding his hollow victory. After he had a breakfast of fruit and bread from his bag he gathered his stuff and started his descent down.
         He quickly made his way down the path beck to where he had slain the full deamon the day before.
         Now three more fire hounds had gathered around his corpse. They had consumed the dead one and had partially consumed his own. Interestingly they hadn’t touched the deamon orcs yet.
         They must have been his. Serves him right! Then one of them started to sniff the air having just detected Clovis.
         This is going to be trouble!
         He prepared himself as they started to turn, growl, and eying him as fresh meat.
         The three tried to encircled him but the waving of his sword kept them from succeeding.
         The pack leader was the first to lunge. Clovis quickly dodged it and brought his sword down on its head killing it.
         The other two now hesitated, but they started circling him. Keeping his eyes on both of them.
         Waiting for them to give him an opening and when one of the two pounced at him but not the other he had his chance. He ducked the one, gashing it in the belly with his short sword, and when the other tried to attack him he thrust at it with Annwyn killing it.
         As he stood up the one he had injured in the abdomen was crawling away. He let it crawl off as it had its fill of injury and was not about to try attacking him again.
         I guess I should check their bodies for anything useful since I have the time. He decided to check the orc’s first.
         Not much except his crude weapon and armor. No gold either.
         Next he looked over in the direction of the deamon’s partially eaten body.
         “Ugh, I don’t know if I want to try.”
         Fortunately he spotted a small pouch that had belonged to it and had apparently been dragged aside by one of the dogs when they were tearing at his body.
         Opening the pouch he found a small book.
         Strange thing for him to have had. as he looked over the ornate leather bound little book.
         “The art of creating magical fireballs” was what the cover read. Opening it up it he found it taught the basics and principles of a simple fireball spell and how to cast it.
         Could be useful, I’d need a teacher to learn how to use magic in the first place. It the least it should be worth some gold. He tossed aside the blood stained pouch and carefully placed it in his bag.
         Before he left he pulled the orc’s body against the cliff wall then covered him in rocks.
         You might have been and enemy but no one deserves to be betrayed by their own like that.
         Afterwards he returned to his climb down the path eventually returning to where he fought the orcs.
         Hmm. Figure I should check them as well.
         Clovis checked the smaller ones first finding nothing but primitive items not worth carrying. The larger one though had a few primitive gold rings as well as a few gold coins.
         Continuing to check him he found something else.
         “Hello? Why would you have this?” it was an ornate little dagger made of silver and copper, He must have taken it from someone else he either mugged or killed. Well he doesn’t need it now.
         Continuing down the mountain he finally made it back to his ruined village a some time after noon.
         After finishing off his food from the previous day away from the smell of burnt flesh, he started the grim task of digging graves for everyone he could find. Placing them to rest in graves marked only by simple wooden crosses. Except for the dragoon who’s he marked with the word dragoon.
         During the time he wasn’t doing that, gathering food, or resting he searched the village for any surviving items he could use including the villages meager treasury.
         It took him a few days to finish this somber task.
         Once it was done, he stood in front of the mass of graves promising them that he would not rest until the dragon who did this was dead for good. After his quiet memorial service he headed in the direction he thought the dragon flew off too.

Word count: Approximately 6987
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