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Is This Real Life, Or Just Fantasy?


The Aurora Dragon of Dark Wing

Kendarah


The one thing he knew about her was that she was dangerous. She stood there, arms crossed, one eyebrow raised, like a queen passing judgement. A very dangerous queen.

He’d met queens before. This one made him shudder.

“You have a reputation that precedes you” she said stoically. “You’ve never failed a job and have only ever refused to take a job once.”

“Yeah, well that one job is why I’m a little more selective now. The thieves’ guild doesn’t look to kindly on those who take jobs without their permission. Or those they’ve blacklisted. You ask a lot of questions for one who said discretion is paramount.”

Again, she eyed him with that dangerous judgement in her eyes. “For this job, how its stolen is just as important as why.”

“I’m a thief for hire, why do you care how the mark gets stolen?” he asked, amusement touching his tone.

“Why did you refuse the job that cost you your position in the thieves’ guild?”

He hesitated briefly; he hadn’t talked about that since it had happened. “Sometimes a man takes a job and doesn’t look too closely at the details. Sometimes he doesn’t want to know. And sometimes when a man learns those details anyway, he has second thoughts about what’s ok and what isn’t. I’ve stolen from a lot of people. Some deserved it, some didn’t. The guild has…had…rules. This time, they ignored them. Maybe the guild leaders could still look themselves in the mirror, gold all but spilling out of their pockets, but all I would have been able to see is the bloated bodies of those children whose cure mysteriously vanished in the night.”

The look in her eyes changed. She was ready to pass judgement.

“It seems I’ve found the right man for the job then. Here is your first payment.” She held out her hand, a small silver ring, studded with tiny aurora crystals. “Put it on.”

He took the ring, looking it over in his hand. “I haven’t accepted the job yet,” he said hesitantly. Looking over the ring it was a simple piece. A nice piece of work, but worth considerably less than what he charged for any job now.

“Put it on” she said again. “If you still refuse the job after, you may return it and leave.”

Her voice said the choice was his, but her eyes said that if he refused to put the ring on, well…maybe best not to think about how every instinct was telling him that she was the most dangerous woman he’d ever met.

He slipped the ring on. He had thought it would be too small to fit on his right index finger, but somehow it slipped on and fit perfectly. When he looked up, something in her eyes had changed. They were the same pale ocean blue, but now they seemed to shine, as if all the light in the room were being collected by them and radiating out in beautiful sparkles. When she spoke, her voice also was not the same. “I’ve chosen you to be my warrior. To aid me in my quest.” Her voice sounded majestic. It was majestic before, but now it seemed…grander. Like a great river tumbling the stones beneath its surface, her voice moved him.

He looked up at her…up? She was no taller than him, and they’d been standing on flat ground. She shimmered and seemed to blink. All at once he realized she was transforming. Those beautiful blue eyes grew, and the circular pupils became narrow black slits. Her skin which had been a fair but rich blue, like all the elves in the area, seemed to segment into tiny pieces, scales he finally realized. Each as smooth as a polished gem and sparkled with a deep blue inner fire. Her hair seemed to raise and then become a circlet, no, a crown. A crown made of the purest aurora crystals he’d ever seen. The shards making the crown seemed to float and rotate about her head, an ever-changing crown that pulled light out of the air and seemed to send it back out with even more radiance. She leaned forward and he realized she was growing; she was over 20 feet tall and still growing! Her hands hit the floor, but when he looked down, razor sharp claws dug deeply into the stone, cutting through it as if was moldable clay. And then, her wings unfurled. They should have blotted out the sky but instead made the sky seem almost brighter as deep brilliant blue light came through her translucent wings.

She stood before him in all her majesty, in all her mystery. He didn’t know how long he stood, staring, but he finally realized he was standing before a dragon.

The dragons head came down, the maw of teeth seemingly made of polished impossibly sharp crystals stopping before him.

“I am the Aurora Dragon Kendarah of Dark Wing” she said, each word booming in his mind as well as in the air. “And you will help me prepare the world for what is to come.”

-by Karl Williams

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