Amulet of the Elements Chosen of the Stone

In Evernia, the planet of sinful creation, it is said that no creature is created equal. The reign of dragons has come to spread over the many lands, while the hatred for humanity and those of Drathellian blood grows. Even still, the wealthiest of monarchs have come to be humbled by the might and danger of a noxious and plague spreading cloud known as the Raxionian Bane. According to legend, only the Keeper of the Elements can restore balance to the doomed planet, he or she that is the Chosen of the Stone. Prophecy states that the era of the dragon and the hell hound shall rise together as one to lead the masses of the lost, but will it stand true when two enemies face each other after centuries of war.
The Embryonic Era left the planet in a state of barren waste, rebuilt on the backs of those know as Tyliquin witches as well as the Wyvern dragons that now rest in extinction. It is unknown whether or not the gods have condemned the planet, or if the Bane has been created by the scor

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8. Chapter Seven

Several Suns had come to rise and fall, leaving the days long, and the nights to fade at rapid paces. The force of victory set ease into the minds of the Bloodclaw hounds. For now, their leader had granted them yet another day of life. Both the clan of Claw and the pack of Skyliners had come to fuse as one. Most came to the realization that this was the new way of living, with Zacura setting the laws of the land. She had made a full recovery; her limbs as strong as they once had been. The scarring from the battle had begun to fade, Zacura hoped at least one would remain in remembrance of the ordeal. Migration was essential to their survival, but with it came new dangers.

"I do not trust this hound. She is of the old blood impure and driven by her foolish pride." Hayloe growled, a young male of the Skyline pack. He was made of beauty and driven by the madness of his ancestors. Like most of his kin, Hayloe was a blinding virginal white, with golden strands of fur sprouting from his even joint. He bore ice blue eyes ringed in sunburst orange and carried upon his left eye a single gash. He was stocky and muscular, once a beta among his own.

"Do not be so judgmental brother, for all we know she could be our salvation." Spoke the sleek and dainty Kayedia. "Salvation, you say? She slaughtered our leader and has forced us to submit and follow her reign. That is not salvation that is slavery. No good will come of this I am certain." Kayedia rolled her eyes and carried on down the trail. "You know I never believed in a race being viewed as lesser due to appearances. You must remember, dear brother, it was not so very long ago that our breed was no different than theirs. None of us know how long we have left perhaps this clashing of families will give the gods joy. After all, they are not so bad; many have shown me kindness and you as well, despite your disposition."

A growl rattled within the broad chest of the male wolf, the sound coming to startle a young pup trotting beside them. His body rolled into a ditch nearby the fall causing him to whimper. Kayedia stopped and grabbed him by the scruff helping him back to his small paws. "Thank you." He said still shivering as his large eyes came to lock on Hayloe. "Oh brother, you always were so utterly cruel to the young ones." She turned her attention to the little hound once more. "You are welcome little one. What is your name?" The young female asked her head leaning down to sniff him.

"I am Halicar. What is your name?" "I am Kayedia, and this is my ferocious brother, Hayloe. Don't mind him much though he is mostly bark and no bite. Come along we don't want to fall behind now do we?" Halicar shook his head but could not help but stare at the female's beauty. His entire life had been surrounded by darkness, and now wolves had been named family. "Why do you look different than us?" He asked padding along underneath Kay's belly. Hayloe bared his fangs and picked up his pace leaving his sister to her newfound burden.

"Well, because it is how the gods made us. But not long ago, we stood as dark and vigorous as your breed." "But how?" He questioned further, his paws batting at hers as they walked. "Well, you see, before a Skyliner is born it is said that each is crafted by the god, Noawrix. It is believed he is the god of wealth and because of that, he forms us with golden markings. Long ago, our ancestors struck a deal with the gods. What kind exactly I am not sure, but in return, they were given eternal beauty. But like all things good and enjoyed, there comes a price. Because our bodies sprout real gold within our markings, many of us were killed. So honestly, I would prefer the simplicity of onyx fur. It brings safety." The young pup dropped his head. "Why would others kill you because of that?"

"Because, to those of humanoid blood, gold is treasured. To us it is simply a marking of beauty and favoring of gods, to them, we are nothing but furs and a statement of wealth. So, within our blessing comes a curse unlike any other." A roar shot into the air, pounding into the ears of all those within the clan. Everyone came to a halt as Zacura came to stand before them. She seemed irritated and worried, her scent proving such to be true. All eyes came to face her as she found her voice.

"Ahead lies a formation unknown to me. My scouts have located it. All of you need to find a safe place to take rest for the time being. For now, you will be left under the commands of my beta, Canavis. Until we have secured the surrounding area, you are to remain here for your safety. I shall take with me four male barrier hounds, who is willing to volunteer?" Many stepped aside, fearful and lacking ambition. "I will stand with you, Alpha," spoke Anjeimas." "So a Skyliner, freshly molded to my leadership wishes to perhaps risk his life to please me?" Zacura questioned. "No, Alpha. I stand with you because it is my duty as your pack member, nothing more." He answered stepping through the crowd and into the open area.

"Then come and join me." He moved to her side, his mind fearful of the judgment his pack members may grant him. Three others came to gather from the masses, their paws planting firmly upon the ground. "We shall return by sundown." The alpha spoke. Without another word, the warriors set off into the woodlands. For miles did they travel, the land seemingly lacking life other than its growing shrubbery. They came upon an open patch of land, the sound of rushing water all around them. The rivers were racing, the wind ever absent.

"It rests just before us; I can feel its heat," Zacura growled moving forward to gaze upon a giant rock of sandstone. Fires burned softly around its entire perimeter. And for some reason, it seemed to be made of several small stones, held together by flame. The small pack did not know what to gather from it. "Perhaps it fell from the sky..." Anjeimas said, moving forward before Zacura in curiosity. "It looks very similar to something that came to collide with our old den not long ago. Heaven's rock our elders called them." He continued.

"I am not a rock, nor am I some formation of soil either." Spoke a dark and brash tone. The five jumped backward growling. "It speaks..." spoke Exolas. The large boulder began to shake and spread. To their surprise, it continued to grow until it became sure that it was a living creature. Within moments it came to stand, and the rock had somehow morphed into that of a dragon. He stood mountains over them, the width of his wings beginning to crack allowing debris to fall from them. From the looks of the creature, he seemed to be made of dried soil with a fire burning brightly within him. His eyes bore no pupils, only the radiance of an inferno wild with passion. His actual appearance buried beneath a cloak of rock and mud.

"I am a dragon. Would you enjoy it, if I saw you as less than what you are? Or perhaps, if I were to lower you to the mere rank of a dog, maybe then you would grow upset." The beast's tail came to coil around his forelimbs as he took rest upon his haunches. His gaze never once leaving Zacura. Something about her pulled at him. "Why is one of your blood here among the grounds of those such as us?" Spoke Anjeimas. "Because like you, I run from death. I decided to rest here before my flight to Crystal Springs if you must inquire." For several moments, the scouting party found themselves backing away slowly from the dragon, all but Zacura. "Crystal Springs? Where is that?" Zacura asked stepping a bit closer to where the dragon sat.

"It is the territory of their graces, King and Queen Talon. I have heard rumors that they are one of the last landmasses untouched by this...plague. I venture there to join their armies. If I am to perish, I will do so fighting until my last breath. After all, I am certain that my cousin will be eager to see me.To what land do you travel great wolf ?"

"I am no wolf, and while I call them my brothers and sisters, I am proud to say I am cast in Drathellian blood. But to answer your question, we only wander in an attempt to outrun what follows us. Though, I fear one day we shall reach an endpoint and have to face the inevitable. This land you speak of, would they welcome us?"

"They may. Queen Hexonia is a being of mercy. She gives love to all, no matter their crimes. I must say to you now that I prefer to travel alone. I travel the sky; you walk upon land. Such would slow me down." Zacura came to stand directly before the beast, her fangs bared. "Show me the way. I have not only elders who hold tales of history but future generations who depend on me. If we are in fact all doomed to die, why should you not lay to rest with a clean soul? Aid another and perhaps your gods will place mercy upon you."

A hearty laugh came to roll from his chest his, head shaking in shock to her words. "My soul is already damned. I have committed more sin in my lifetime than eons put together as one. When I leave this world and travel to whatever may come after, I shall do so marked as a creature of unjust will. Such does not place fear into my heart. If you wish my aid, we will need to speak alone." His eyes shifted to those standing behind the hound. Zacura looked to them and gave a single nod.

"Return to the others and await me. I shall return to you presently." "But Alpha, you should not trust—" Anjeimas began his fangs bared, but his speech was interrupted as Exolas bumped his chest. "Alpha has given the command. Let us heed her words." He spoke, leading them back towards the main grouping. None gave a second look back except the young Anjeimas; his mind tarnished with thoughts of impurity.

As the others took their leave, the grand Drake and Zacura made way toward the rivers below. The walk was long and steep, and while she had trouble keeping up, the hound gave into her wonder and admiration. He was so large and even covered in mud and rock; he remained impressive. The waters below were crystal clear, the breeze brushing past them crisp and refreshing. Part of her wished they could stay in this new found land. It was a place of beauty, but deep down she knew their demise was coming. She watched as the bull dragon sank into the water, his protective camouflage beginning to run down his body. After some time, she could witness the gleam of copper upon his scales. His entire body was covered in the plate-like armor. Hair of golden crème sat between four horns sprouting from either side of his temples. His facial structure was sharp and long, bearing a beak like endpoint. This had been the first dragon Zacura had laid eyes on, and now that she had, she was certain he would not be the last.

"What is your name hound?" "Zacura, and your name dragon?" "I am Maerick Arteinblaze. Do you not bear a clan title? Generally, your kind group themselves under one power?" "I do. We are known as the Bloodclaw clan, though recently we joined with the Skyline pack." He gave a nod and sank his head below the water cleansing his hair.

"So you wish me to lead you into a land of dragons in hopes of securing possibly a few months of life?" "Yes, every living being has a right to fight for their life. If this Queen accepts us, I am sure we could be put to use somehow. Honestly, before I am to die, I would like to get to know a dragon. I have heard so many tales about your kind. Unfortunately, I never got to meet one. I suppose even in the darkest of times there is some good." He stepped from the water and came to lie beside her; his head moved to lean on his large feet. The mass of his wingspan came to lay across the ground, the thin leather like flesh between their bones transparent.

"Well, if you still wish to become my traveling party after I speak these words to you, then I shall take you with me." "And what words might those be?" His head rose as he began. "Have you ever heard the tale of the wars of origin?" "I have. Yes. Though it has been some time since the story passed into my ears."

"Good, then you know why your breed loathes mine. For nearly three hundred years, my father killed your species. I slaughtered them no matter their innocence nor crimes. He taught me in those ways, and thus when I came of age, I too fought in the wars. Only three centuries ago did I stop, but I killed wolves, hellhounds, and witches, anything I was ordered to terminate I did. And back then I enjoyed it. It was who I was, who I was born to be. If you can walk beside me now knowing of my crimes, then you are worth losing a few days travel."

Zacura sat back on her haunches looking up and into his left eye. "Would kill my pack members or me?" She asked, her tone soft. "No. I would not." "Do I have your word?" Maerick pressed his snout to hers. The drastic difference in size, nearly comical. "Yes, Zacura Bloodclaw. You have my word." "Then your past is of little matter. I believe the past is just that, a bitter and jaded thing hoping for remembrance. If we move with you, you shall be our blood kin. Perhaps if we stand together, we shall survive for longer than a few months."

Maerick gave a half body bow. "To our journey then. It will not be easy. It is a half-moon's travel to Crystal Springs from here. There shall be large bodies of water to swim, mountains to climb, and enemies to face." "We have a dragon to fight by our side; I believe nothing shall stop us, Maerick." Turning to take her leave, the giant hound gave a silent prayer of thanks.

"Are you sure you have never met a dragon before, Alpha Bloodclaw?" Questioned Maerick, his tone laced with a bit of sorrow. Her head looked over her shoulder. "I am certain, great Drake, I have never once come in contact with one of you." With her final words, she set off to the others, Maerick following close behind.

 

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