The Rise of Darkness

In a world of seemingly undisturbed peace, a dark threat rises. Unknown to the clans, there has never been a more prevalent time for the treaty to be in place, but when the treaty is destroyed, unity falls with it. The job of securing the safety of the clans and the eliminating of evil is left to a small group of young clan members.

Together, Karaka, Samil, Takiar and Theodore must fight to regain the peace that has been lost. This is a tale of companionship, adventure, and most of all, betray. Follow a story as it turns into legend.

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5. Chapter 3 - Dragon

Chapter 3 – DRAGON

 

Theodore staggered to the meeting place as fast as he could with his wrecked leg. Even though it seemed like it had stopped bleeding, it was still incredibly painful. It had taken almost a whole day, and night was falling, creating an eerie and strange atmosphere in the area. The ceremonial benches for each clan had already been crafted with symbols and pictures, and had been laid out beautifully amongst flowers and bushes in a circular fashion around the large round fire place. It itself had already been towered with waste branches, leaves and wooden logs. The different tents had been put up for the different clans, all with a banner containing their golden emblem on it. It would be a grand sight if it wasn’t for the circumstances. He hobbled over to the Eagle clan’s tent where he lay down onto the cold and dusty floor, underneath the loosely hanging fabric of the shelter. He attempted to get comfortable, but there was no way that was happening. Instead he gathered some of the mats from the corner, and threw them down. Slowly, he tried to get comfortable again, well as much as possible, and he settled himself on mats on the floor. He looked around for any sign anyone was still here preparing the for celebration tomorrow night, but no luck. He was exhausted, everything had been taken out of him. He was surprised that he actually made it; he didn’t expect himself to survive for that long. He started to drift off to sleep, his leg was still killing him slowly, but he was glad to get any form of rest. He just hoped he was going to wake up again.

 

As it turned out, Theodore did survive through the night, somehow anyway, and as soon as he woke up, he looked up at the sky and noticed the sun was around halfway through its cycle. He must had slept for around half a day without any disruption. He didn’t generally get that, even in his own home. He sat up and felt pain splintering through his leg again, he’d almost forget about it. It was definitely getting even worse. The other clans would be having an early dinner, before having their second ceremonial dinner when the sun had set. He made sure to stay under his clan’s tent so he was able to stay in the shade. It was a hot day, and Theodore drank the last of his little water he carried in his belt, as well as his emergency supply of dried meat in his food pouch. He was sweating and panting, exhausted, but after his miserable meal he felt marginally better. He leant back against the tent, his head up to the skies,

“Why me?” he mumbled, “What did I ever do?”

 

A sudden coldness overcame him, at first it was refreshing. Breezes like that suddenly on a day like this? Something wasn’t right. The chill spread through his skin, right to his heart. A black mist engulfed the camp, it looked suffocating. Theodore could tell this wasn’t any old mist, it felt cold, a little like those where he lived in the mountains with his eagle clan. Strange it seemed exactly like that fog. He realised with a jolt that this was not the mist of the mountains, but of the ice dragons that lived there. But how? That didn’t make sense, dragons rarely moved down the mountains for anything. They were so rare these days you would be lucky to see one throughout your entire lifetime. This was so incredibly far away from the mountains and his home. He wiped the blood and sweat of his face with part of his armour – his black wrist band, fitted with golden eagle feathers - and prayed it wasn’t a dragon. However, as the mist thinned, the shadow of the beast could be seen. Gigantic, with wings the length of 10 metres, a horrible, long spiked tail that was almost long as the centre of meeting point itself. One swing of it would make the entire meeting point fall. It had odd sharp scales sticking out at awkward angles; they looked razor sharp, and deadly. It paused as the rest of the mist disappeared. Its spiked metal plates were deadly, its claws and talons were longer than he ever imagined. It was an electric blue colour, and as it roared, its gleaming white teeth were like giant daggers. Its eyes, pearly white. One drift of its icy breath could turn the place into a partial ice age. As it stood up on its hind legs to roar again, it spread out its tremendous wings, which blocked out the sunlight.

 

Theodore didn’t exactly have the most experience in dragons, in fact little were known as the species as a whole. He knew there were times were dragons were trained by mere people, with such advanced weapons and razor sharp arrows they could pierce even the thickest skin of a dragons flesh. This was back in times when all clans were still in unrest, when such weapons were even turned against humans. Back in the times when magic was the most prevalent force in the land. Theodore wished he had some form of weapon now; he didn’t even have his dagger. He was unprotected and defenceless. Vulnerable.

 

As a flock of eagles cawed over his head, the dragon, frightened or surprised, spun around quickly, destroying the Forest Clans’ tents, Wolf, Squirrel, and Fox. It surprised Theodore that a dragon of that size was so scared of a bird of only that size, another turn and down went the water and Ice Clans, Seal, Otter, Ice Bear, Penguin and Walrus, pieces of wood went flying, splintering in the air whilst fabric fell, ripping at the beasts feet. The dragon shook his mighty head, snorted a bit and regained concentration, he stared at Theodore and called out a mighty roar. Theodore recalled reading something in a book years back. The dragon was sizing him up, identifying his weak spots. Theodore stood up with some trouble and raised his arms in a calming motion. He made gentle noises to try and relax the creature.

“Come on you little bugger, calm the hell down and fly away.” It must not work for a dragon this size as it looked like it felt more threatened and enraged. It turned a few more times, sending the Mountains Clans tents crashing down to the ground, Llama, Goat, Snow Leopard, then another turn, and the Desert tents went flying, Scorpion, Camel and Snake, until the other Sky camps went down either side of Theodore, Vulcan and Sparrow, until only his tent was left standing, the Eagle Clan’s tent.

 

The dragon looked around itself, before reaching Theodore’s gaze, pausing. It shook its head for a while before turning around, roaring one last time before leaping off, destroying the ceremonial fireplace and benches. The mist gathered again as the dragon marched into it, a great flapping of wings, and a dark shape moving against the sky, and it was all silent again. It left as quickly as it had arrived. By the time the dust had settled and mist retreated into the trees, it was almost time for the meeting, and the place was in ruins. Theodore was paralysed with fear and shock. The meeting celebrates another winter of peace. Celebrating the very essence and the rules of the treaty between clans. But now, that was ruined. The punishment for the person who ruined the celebration, becoming clanless. Who in their right mind would believe that an ice dragon came down from the mountains to destroy the meeting place, tents and all? Well the answer was no one.

 

 

**********

 

Karaka, Samil and Takiar froze in the bushes as a shape clad in a long black cape stepped into view. It stepped up to the small abandoned camp, staring deeply into it. They couldn’t see the figure or its face, with its hooded cloak drawn tight around its face. They occasionally caught a glimpse of a pale, white face, but not enough to know what the figure really looked like. The figure stepped out of view as it gathered a few twigs and lumps of wood from a thatched basket outside one of the tents. It clicked its fingers and a fire sprung up, spraying out hot ash. It knelt slowly next to the flame, and started to mutter and chant. All at once hot purple flames roared high, the friends could feel the heat from it against their faces. The man stepped back as more men clad in black walked out of the flame, as if it was a door as opposed to just burning wood. Once a neat arrangement of figures had gathered around the man, he spoke,

“Welcome companions.” It spoke in a deep and rough voice, it boomed throughout the open area as the man paced around the fire. “I have called you here in order to discuss our latest plans and to check up on previous arrangements.” He turned wildly, facing a figure that seemed to instantly cringe as he surveyed them, “Lewernata. Why don’t you start us off? This Lakefur. You have disposed of him?” Lewernata opened her mouth but nothing came out but a high pitched squeak.

“It is done sir. I did it for her.” Another figure said, stepping forward and bowing. A breeze flooded the camp as Karaka froze. He knew the figure. He knew the voice. The figure was tall, well built with arm muscles draped in black patterns. He couldn’t see his face, and his complexion was paler than he remembered, but he knew it had to be him, draped in a cloak of muddy brown. The original figure growled,

“So be it. But be warned, I have no place here for recruits who cannot follow my orders,” The man said, sending a glare over at Lewernata, who cowered. “and my newest recruit?”

“Here sir. I still do not understand why I had to be killed off in this plan but here all the same.” Muttered Lakefur who sprung forward, also lowering his hood. “Why did it have to be me?” the man growled at Lakefur too, who backed down slightly.

“It had to be done. Don’t get sentimental on me. There is a larger plan at work here.” The man whirled around again, sending dust particles flying and his cloak spinning around him. “We have progress on the dragon?”

“Yes sir. All is prepared.” Stated an unrecognisable voice, but Karaka could see a few shiny black feathers of the raven clan under his cloak.

“The trap is set?”

“Yes sir. I did it. Theodore isn’t going to know what hit him.” The friends stifled a gasp as a hood was drawn back, uncovering a face possessed with evil and contorted with happiness. The statement was said with a sense of pride – Matieer, who still acted as himself, cocky and too proud.

“Good. I’m glad I can count on you.” Said the figure, in a pleased tone. “After all, you did me justice from spying on Karaka.” Karaka stared wide-eyed at the scene as Takiar and Samil stared at Karaka, who was just as surprised as they were.

“Is that truly necessarily.” Piped up the figure that killed Lakefur, 

“Whatever I feel is necessary will be. Enough said.”

“But”

“Quiet.” Shouted the leader. “I expect more of you than to go around doubting me. Everything that is done is needed. The next part of the plan is to be put into action.” he looked around at empty faces, he turned to a man with the black stripe of scorpion in his hair, the man just stared at him, “By destroying the celebration it’ll turn all of the clans against each other. With the treaty broken, amidst the chaos we will step in. When they are at their weakness, we will be at our strongest. The treaty keeps these people captive in their own homes, taking away their freedom and planting silly rules to keep them from what they truly want to do. I intend to not only free but to liberate these people, under my rule people will finally be able to work out their deepest desires. You are all excused.” The figure said sharply, and one by one, the figures nodded to their leader and walked back through the fire. The leader stayed behind. He glared straight at the friends, as if he could sense their presence, before turning away and walking back into the fire himself. At once, the fire returned back normal before slowly dying down to nothing, once all was clear the three friends came out of the bushes.

“Ok then. That was close.” said a relived Samil, who was stretching out her legs after being in their cramped conditions,

“Can you believe it.” yelled Takiar,

“They are actually going to try and take over? And Matieer. He’s spying on you Karaka, how is that even possible?”

“Actually, I can, believe it I mean. The way he’s been acting around me, snooping around, and the looks he gives me. But the guy who killed Lakefur…” Karaka was interrupted by Samil,

“And they used the fire I made and the fire wood I collected, How rude.” screeched Samil,

“No one’s ever going to believe us that this happened, they didn’t even believe the foreseer.” Exclaimed Takiar,

“Well I suppose we do have Karaka, he can probably put in a good word.” Said Samil,

“True, true, but we still have no evidence; they are going to think we’re crackpots.”

“You’re really telling me we’re the only ones who saw this?” asked Karaka,

“I guess so, why else would anyone hang around here?” explained Samil.

“Oh great, just great. But they can’t have killed Theodore, they just tricked him right? He can’t be dead, maybe hurt, but not dead...if he was dead surely someone would have found him?” Karaka thought for a moment, “He’s alive, but injured, probably hurt, and dying, we need to find him,” Samil nodded in agreement,

“We need to help him.”

“Sorry, but it’s getting close to night fall, almost meeting time. Karaka you know it’s your duty to be there at the meeting point with Masua. You as well Samil, come on, quickly or else we’ll be late. We can always find him later, Theodore’s strong, he’ll be fine for a bit longer. He’ll manage, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him tonight at the feast” said Takiar,

“Wait” Karaka grabbed Samil's arm and picked out a leaf from her hair, “well...sorry...you just had something in your hair...” Karaka said awkwardly as Samil blushed and patted her hair down, avoiding Karaka's gaze as she did so. Takiar was already ahead of them so they ran to catch up, before they all fastened up and ran into the forest, wondering what had happened to the meeting point.

 

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