Dragon Lore

Lorelei wakes up one day to find she has turned into a dragon! But the story goes much deeper than that. Much, much deeper. Lorelei must overcome her fears and own wants to prevent the dark shadow known as Bhaal from causing another great war between the humans and dragons. Follow her as she grows stronger and learns about herself in this epic adventure of a lifetime.

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12. In which a flood occurs.

          The dark mist approached the hold in absolute silence. The sun had set hours ago, leaving nothing but the soft inner glow from the sleeping caves. The watch had long since been asleep, his duties abandoned. He had figured there would be no danger - nothing travels this time of year.
          Moving like an insubstantial snake, it curled around the rocks in an effortless glide, feet forming as it reached the snow-covered floor of the plateau. With unseen eyes, it peered through the dim light, stepping over the watch, and into the cave.
          The first hallway was nearly empty. The cold weather had caused the residents to move deeper into the cave to save body heat. The stone ramp to the second floor was lit by a collection of torches, one of which the shadow picked from the sconce.
          As it took on a more solid form, it slowly became a rather large, black dragon, its wings folding against its back. The torch was transferred to its tail for easy walking, and two flame-red eyes formed it what was its face.
          Throwing the light of the torch into each room, it turned away silently when the resident was not its quarry. The next room contained a pair of dragons, sleeping up next to each other, one of golden-red, the other of green gray-blue. It huffed to itself, rather amused by their affection.
          The next room made it stop in surprise. A small, softly glowing orb hung around the smaller, icy-blue dragon’s neck. Its excitement grew as it silently approached. A dark claw reached out, attempting to steal it, but it grew red hot and glowed brighter as it did so.
          The dragon groaned, and the shadow stopped. She rolled over and went back to sleep.
          Second attempt. It reached again, only to be seared by the intense heat the orb gave off. The dragon groaned again, this time, her eyes opening.
          Initially, she didn’t see anything. The dark shadow in the dark was obviously hard to spot. She suddenly became aware of two glowing red orbs and a floating torch. She stood up, confused.
           “Hello?” Lorelei said quietly. The torch bounced a little.
          Something was there, she could feel it.
           “Hello?” she asked again, this time a little louder.
           “Lorelei, are you ok?” Juniper asked from the room next door.
          The shadow’s head jerked sideways, glaring at the second dragon.
           “There’s something here, June!” Lorelei said.
          Suddenly, without warning, Juniper was elevated into the air and thrown against the stone wall with a force greater than anything Lorelei had ever seen. Juniper struggled to breath - the force held her against the wall.
           “June!” Lorelei cried. She tried to dash out of the room to help her friend, but another force lifted her up.
You are not going anywhere, a dark voice echoed in her mind. It sent chills down the young dragon’s spine. She felt herself being lifted and she struggled, her legs flailing below her.
The orb around her neck began to glow red hot and the thing cried out in agony, dropping her as quickly as it had picked her up. Taking the brief time she had, Lorelei dashed out to her friend, who lay unconscious in the floor.
           “June!”
          Aldesh groaned, slowly waking up.
           “What’s all this blasted commotion?” he growled.
          Just like his twin, Aldesh was tossed, much like a small pillow, against the cave wall. He fell to the floor, gasping for breath.
           “What are you?” Lorelei cried.
          Juniper’s eyes opened again, watching the sight before her. She gasped at what she saw.
That does not matter, fool! I came for The Light, and I shall have it!
          The dark shape became more solid now, scales growing from the form of the dark dragon. Slowly, as if shedding a skin, the scales appeared in the dim light until a large black dragon with glowing red eyes and a tail with four sharp spikes along the end.
          One word escaped Juniper’s mouth before she fell back unconscious.
           “Bhaal.”

 

          The scent of something odd woke Wrench up from his slumber. The small mattress he had found in storage all those years ago was the perfect size for his small, plump body. He blinked through the darkness, seeing his toes stick out from the blanket he always used. The tattered old thing had seen many a century and he was surprised it kept for so long.
          The smell grew stronger as he became more aware. He couldn’t place it, but for some reason he knew it well. With a yawn he sat up, deciding it was a good time for a late night snack.
          His scaled feet touched the floor with an odd sound. Something flowed around his feet and instantly he knew what it was.
          Water!
          He yelped in surprised as the steaming liquid scaled his feet. Why was there water all over the place? In all his years as cook, the only water he had ever seen was from the faucets in the kitchen and on the plateau outside as snow.
Taking a deep breath he stepped down into the scalding water and dashed over to the light switch. He flipped it on, but was answered with a flash of electricity and a bzzzt-phssss. A chill ran down his spine, for not only was he lucky for not being electrocuted (if he had hair, it would be on end right now), but now there was no power in the only building that required it.
          Without thinking, he rushed to the main dining hall, bursting through the chase doors. The windows allowed some sparse moonlight through as it reflected off the increasing water levels, making it appear black like ink. The water seemed to be growing higher in level and temperature, and with a yelp, Wrench leaped atop one of the massive table, the cloth grumbling in protest. He wasn’t in the greatest of shape, having a secret stash of human food, but he knew what he had to do.
          With a great leap, he found himself rolling like a pill bug through the aisles of the hall only to come to a crashing halt at the massive entry door he’s forgotten wasn’t like the other. Now nearly under the water, he treaded until he could reach the handle. He had to hold his breath against the heat and prayed he could get used to it fast.
The door swung open with a Fwoosh! as the water cascaded out. However, the effect was minimized do to the already steaming common grounds, now turned into a massive hot spring.
          A loud roar erupted from the sleeping caves, followed by a deluge carrying a large number of upset dragons. The two little ones, just graduated to the sleeping caves, were nearly in tears. Grimat, in her rare motherly condition, slung them up on her back and began to coo to them. They sniffled and held onto her neck.
          Another roar erupted from the second floor, followed by a crash.
          Lorelei’s ice shield wasn’t going to hold forever. In an act of quick thinking, she had sealed off the beast using its own force, creating a crystal clear window that protected her and two groggy twin dragons.
           “Go, go!” she hissed. Aldesh, not sure what else to do, followed the water down the ramp and out to the courtyard. Juniper was a tad slower, but she managed to make it. Lorelei, her necklace glowing golden, breathed a second layer on the ice seal before she followed suit.
          She was not ten feet from it, when she heard the sound of ice shattering.
          Give it to me! the beast called, its voice like a thousand needles in her mind.
          Lorelei turned to face the beast as it stormed down the ramp, its jet black scales hard to see in the flickering light. She didn’t even notice the rising levels of steaming water that, in the light, appeared just as dark as the beast was.
          In an effort to stall it so the remaining residents could escape, she tried a question.
“Who are you?!” she shouted over the roar of the water tumbling down the ramp.
          How do you not know, fool? It seemed rather insulted that it was not known through the world. I am your doom, child. Bhaal has returned. Now give me your necklace or I shall rip if from your cold, dead claws.
           “Straight to the point, I see,” she observed. “Well, Mr. Ball, I’m sorry but...” She took a deep breath and let loose another stream of ice, freezing him in place where his feet were immersed in the hot liquid. “...I can’t let you have it.” With that, she dashed out into the courtyard.
          Now furious, not only at his quarry escaping, but also at being called a round child’s play toy, Bhaal roared once more, freeing himself with ease. He planted his front feet in the stone floor and took a deep breath.
          Liquid death I bring on thee, he said towards Lorelei’s rear as she dashed outside. Follow thine path and come to me. Water free from down below, hear my call and free you flow!
          A loud groan erupted from the floor and large cracks appeared in the ground all around the hold. With might greater than any of the dragons had ever seen before, scaling hot water burst forth, catching all those unaware to be rocketed into the air. Most took to the sky, carrying who could, or who couldn’t fly.
           “What is going on?” Juniper yelled over the roar. “What is he doing?”
           “From what I can see,” an old familiar voice replied. “He’s trying to get The Light.” Juniper and Aldesh turned to see Felstam and his mate fluttering next to them. “Aldesh, you must take the Rishata away from here. We will meet you at Southern Hold and discuss what is to be done,” he instructed.

          The hold below was a flood now, thousands of years of work destroyed in seconds. All that remained were the caves, now pierced full of extra holes from the epic force of the water.
Juniper growled, baring her teeth. “I won’t let him do this!”
Aldesh knew what this meant. Much like himself, she wouldn’t change her mind when it was made up.
           “June...don’t. You can’t.”
          She glared at him. “I won’t let him destroy our home, brother.”
          There was only one other time she had called him brother.
           “June!”
          It was right before she made the leap off the plateau to save a young one.
          Without another word, Juniper shot towards the beast, yelling a battle cry. She sent a massive jet of flame towards the shadow dragon in her flight, her wings folded against her body for extra speed.
          That was all Lorelei needed. With a great breath, she froze the beast in place once again, this time using the force of the geysers to form a massive ice block around its hind claws. It fell forward and roared again, flailing its tail out.
The spikes caught Juniper in the side, sending her flying. She hit a stone wall at the side of the hold with a sickening crunch. She was dead instantly.
           “June!” Lorelei cried. Her mistake was repaid with a slap to her side, sending her sprawling.
          Imagine: if you had just given me what I wanted, none of you would have to worry about this. Lorelei could have sworn she heard it chuckle.
           “You, get out of here, you monster!” Lorelei yelled. Her reply came in the form of an ear-splitting roar of rage from the beast. It raised its dark head, its tail lashing about.
Lorelei, her side aching from the blow, tries standing up, but was knocked aside by an angry foreclaw. The ground rumbled and she swore she saw the beats grinning.
          A rumble from the caves behind it slowly grew louder and louder as if the entire hold was approaching a massive waterfall.
           “Lore!” Aldesh cried. “Blast it! Lore, get out of there!”
          His call was smothered by the sounds of the roaring tsunami as it crashed through the second level window, knocking back the hold members that flew from the geysers. It was as if someone had released a fire hose as big as an army tank, Lorelei observed. She felt herself being swept up by the waves and she screamed to Aldesh.
          He, despite the roaring waters, heard her, almost as if it had been sent to his mind. With a grunt of determination, he dove at the waters, grasping her extended foreclaw, and pulled. She yelled in effort, her wings free from the water and pumped them as if her life depended on it.
          The hold was now a roaring, gushing, geyser-lake, the high walls surrounding it keeping the water in. Aldesh searched the skies for Felstam, but could not find the old dragon amidst the chaos.

           “Lore,” Aldesh said, flapping for both of them. “Lore, we have to get to the southern hold.”
          Lorelei said nothing. She struggled, flapping her wings in effort against her fatigue. She was panting hard.
           “We can find the rest of them there,” he explained.
Another roared echoed across the now flooded hold, the sound of the water dying down.
           “We don’t have time, Lore. We have to get out of this blasted place!” He was answered by a shot of rage through his mind.
          The dark figure rose, its wings extended in a pose that reminded Aldesh of a falcon denied a meal one too many times. Without a second word, he clutched Lorelei’s arm as tight as he could and prayed to the wind gods for speed. Her breath caught in her throat at the massive increase in velocity.
           “We can find a safe place to rest later,” he explained as the roar of the beast faded in the distance. A long trail of dragons flew ahead of them, then veered southwest, heading toward one of the last remaining holds left in the world.

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