Roar to the Skies
Avalon was not sure how Rowena took the knowledge of the Old Blood and she also did not know how to feel toward revealing a secret of the Anexus to a witch. Those closest to her did not know, she did not want to tell them, to have them know no matter how this war ended...Avalon was not long for this world. It was an unnecessary burden for them to bear, yet she was willing to tell Rowena the truth. Why? Why did she find ease in speaking to this witch who she hated and loathed weeks ago when she did not tell those she had known most of her life? Avalon chuckled silently to herself, perhaps she was bewitched by fair Rowena Ravenclaw from the Glen. How silly the alchemist felt in this, but then again she was about to face an Elder Dragon, and anything less seems to pale in comparison.
Throughout the days Avalon and Rowena practiced in apparition; created weapons and armor; enchanting them to better hold against dragon breath. They could not be certain fire-breathing dragons were the only kinds there and prepared for anything. Though deep down, Avalon wondered if any of this would help against the breath of an Elder Dragon...whatever and whichever they were. She continued to wonder why the dragon had made itself known to her, by theorized of this reason: a forest must have a Guardian, since the Elder Dragon was disrupting the forest’s ability to produce its own, it can be thought that some of the abilities of the Guardian were thus absorbed by the Elder. It is only a theory.
“If the prophecy is as it says we have until tomorrow night.” Anne said, when inspecting the crafted and enchanted breast plate.
“I am going to review the plan and the formations now.” Avalon announced looking from the table, “I will remind you all up front, there is not a single one of us that has experience with an Elder Dragon.”
The band looked to each other.
“Fortunately...” Avalon continued, “It is still a dragon and all of us have experience with that, but do not forget dragons are patient and intelligent hunters. One step out of formation and I cannot guarantee your safety.”
Avalon would take the lead: she is the most experienced and is sensitive to natural magic and knowledgeable of the caves. She will scout ahead when needed. Fenrir will be right behind her as he is quick and his senses are even sharper and will alert if there is trouble. After will be Finlay who is familiar with the Dark Forest and the terrain and can get them to and from the mountain without drawing attention. He is also friendly with the centaurs so if something were to happy he could locate them and have them evacuate the area in case things turn south. Rowena will keep behind Finlay as she can cast shields to protect the three sorcerers in case something goes amiss. Her collection of spells both attack, defensive and enchanting will also allow for in-battle advantage as she is versed in movement casting. Anne is a decent healer and will come at the end to ensure that nothing tries to come up behind and can cast first-aid to all in front with ease.
Finlay rose his hand, “How are we going to lure the Elder away again? I seem to have missed that part.”
Avalon had yet to explain it to anyone until now.
“There is a young dragon I believe is willing to help us. He was the one who took me and showed me the Elder Dragon.” Avalon explained, “Hatchlings and adolescent dragons are as rebellious children, they do not listen to anyone.”
“Then why is he here?” Anne asked.
“I do not know, if I had to take a guess he was either a lone dragon or some of his nest were controlled by the Elder and he followed.” The alchemist did not pretend to know she understood dragons behaviors, but understood that this dragon wanted to go home.
“If he helps us, I will use him to get the Elder’s attention and and try to lure it away--”
Rowena spoke up, “Where?”
“Anywhere, but here.” Avalon shrugged, “There is of course a significant chance that none of this will work. If I believe that will happen, you must all apparate back to Hogsmeade and get everyone below ground.”
“And what about you? If the dragon does not help you and you telling us to apparate back--” Finlay leaned forward on the war table, placing his wait on his hands.
The room became quiet as it focused on Avalon.
“I am the only one who possesses an Anti-Magic weapon. If it comes to it, I will fight the dragon and stall for as long as I can until I figure something out or I die trying.”
Before anyone had a chance to protest a rumble in the ground shook everyone of them. They rose from the war room, running to the village square they looked to the mountain and saw the clear sky color black and brown with smoke from the peak. That was no dragon breath, that was a destruction spell caused by a very large crowd of angry sorcerers.
“What do we do!” Finlay asked as he side-alonged with Anne and Avalon with Rowena and Fenrir.
The group began running towards the mountain, unprepared; armored little, and without an idea of how their plan has been ruined.
“Rowena!” Avalon transmutated the ground to scale the mountain with their group on, “If we survive this, I swear I will kill the one responsible for this mess.”
Rowena took the threat very seriously, but gave no answer as to whether she would allow the death to come or not.
The alchemist motioned everyone to don whatever armor and weapons they snatched at a handful. Avalon focused on ensuring she had Caliburn and her parchment and brought little in terms of armor. It was of little importance, she would be more agile this way and her sword nullifies magic making it easier to focus on attack and speed. She did regret however, the enchanted bracer gifted by Godric was left in the village.
“We have three minutes until we reach the cave.” Avalon informed, “When we arrive: Rowena, Anne and Finlay--get the sorcerers off the mountain; I do not care if you have to throw them over the edge, they are making things worse. Fenrir and I will distract the dragons, hopefully the Elder has not escaped its confinement, but if it has I will do what I can to keep it for as long as possible.”
Anne finished dressing first, “Are we still on the plan of luring the Elder away?”
“That is the plan yes, but I will be doing it alone now. You need to focus on getting your idiotic people to safety.” Avalon nodded with frustration.
“Going by yourself is idiotic.” Rowena spoke aloud.
Avalon rolled her eyes, “So is disobeying the Enchantress, but we see what respect your people have of your title and power.”
People were already running from the cave upon the groups arrival. Avalon and Fenrir charged first, witches and wizards threw spells wildly behind them, one hit Avalon knocking her face first into the ground.
“BLOODY HEL!” She yelled angrily, transmutating the wall to her right and opening another path.
Sealing the wall behind her, she sparked a flame transmutation to a root and shirt scrap as she transmutated a way parallel to the dragon’s carved. She and Fenrir ran further and further, finally opening the last break to the mountain’s hollow. Her direction was off slightly, having emerged a few hundred yards away from the original cave. Charred bodies; the scent of burnt flesh filled the air as lifeless sorcerers litter parts of the cave. The dragons were in a frenzy, zooming as they attacked the sorcerers, but their numbers also dwindling because of a few well-placed shots. The only reason the sorcerers have lasted as long as they had was because of the turn-radius of the dragons in the confined space prevented long breathes of attack.
Avalon looked below, seeing the Elder snapping away at the spells sorcerers shot at its face. It pulled hard against its ghostly chain, roaring loudly, summoning the dragons to attack. Smoke was everywhere making the air difficult to breathe and see, the only ray of light came from a hole in the mountain’s ceiling. Someone or something had managed to break thru the hardened and thickened stone and now that same weakness could be exploited by the desperate. The alchemist saw balls of reds, blues, and others come from a group of sorcerers protected by two casting shields as the others attacked. She transmutated the ground to throw her and Fenrir toward them as she yelled on the top of her lungs:
“Stop you fools!”
One recognized Avalon and pointed his wand--Avalon barely managed to draw her sword and block it before a dragon swooped down and knocked her over the edge. She was not sure how long she was unconscious for, but she was surprised to find nothing was broken or punctured. She was relieved for a moment...only a moment as she felt around and found she had landed on something soft...living...and very large. Avalon’s vision was blurred, but she was certain if she was to live she was best not to move to much. Slowly she crept off, and tripped, hitting the ground into something not as soft--bone; metal. As her vision returned, the alchemist looked to her surroundings and saw there were many bones, of all creatures, some new and some not--Avalon saw something shiny beside one of the glowing scales. She could not dwell and glanced only for a moment before looking up: of course she had to have landed on the Elder and thankfully it had yet to notice her.
The loud jingle of chains and strain of them was alarming--there was one line in the way of the Elder’s freedom. Freedom. Why was it here to begin with? Who trapped the dragon and with what power was this possible? Avalon voided her head of questions of a time where the luxury was possible and sought to stop the sorcerers from bringing ruin to the glen. The Elder’s roar shook the mountain, a spell hit its eye and caused it to recoil and drop back into the darkness. That was bad for her. Avalon ran as the dragon descended, hoping to hide behind something; she tripped on Caliburn and snatched her sword while changing direction and running to the Elder.
Throwing her hand down she transmutated the means to be launched onto the Elder’s back as it shook it head and rose again. Avalon rode upward and jumped as she came toward the ledge, Fenrir was busy tearing off the arm of the witch who had aided in Avalon being sent over the edge. She concluded: if they would not stop, they would die. She landed on the edge, tucking and rolling to break the force of her impact. Caliburn pierced the shield as she ran thru, slamming the broadside of the sword into the first victim throwing them off their feet and disrupting the strength of the shield. The attack would not have killed the sorcerer, but certainly would have broken bones and served as a warning. Avalon redirected a casting spell, pushing her arm into the wrist of the wizard, causing him to aim as the wizard in front of him. Caliburn in hand, she slammed her wielding fist into his face and knocked him off his feet.
“Leave!” Avalon threatened as the off-guard sorcerers debated.
The debate was whether they could fight the dragons, keep the shield up, while going against the Chief of the Anexus and her Dire Wolf who was just seen ripped off the arm of a witch. Another ear-bursting roar echos in the hollow as the rattling and strain of chain is followed by the thud of a heavy metal. Avalon went pale as the Elder rose higher, its cold eyes looking to her as the sorcerer fled in terror. The claws of the Great Dragon clenched the side of the ledge, Avalon ran when realizing this was right in front of her--the Elder breathed in, as sparks bounced between its spines and danced around its head. It roared again, furious lightning following the path of sound, chasing the alchemist and sorcerers and hitting the slowest two.
The Elder heard the stationary witch and inhaled again, shooting out another volley. The lightning collided with Caliburn; directing away toward the mountain wall. Avalon lost her balance and fell back, hugged by the witch she saved they appariated to a higher cliff of the cavern away from the Elder’s line-of-sight.
“Why did you come! I told you--!”
A hand came across Avalon’s face leaving her cheek red and stinging.
“Fighting the Elder alone is a death sentence, I will not have you do such a thing!” Rowena shot out, catching Avalon by surprised by her changed demeanor.
Arguing was a waste of time, she would not have it, but even Rowena did not have the means to effectively attack the Elder, but perhaps defending...Avalon had an idea.
“How long will it take you to cast the strongest enchantment, an offensive one you can cast on a weapon?” Avalon tore her sleeves to let her arms move freely, removed her sheath and placed it on the ground.
“Depends on the material, you need high quality--”
Avalon looked behind the bolder they hid behind to the placed where lightning had met the ground, “How about dragon stone?”
When a dragon breathes its ability, whether it be fire, lightning, ice or such, it is the physical manifestation of magic. That magic makes contact with objects and leave behind traces or an ‘imprint’ of that magic. These are often called Dragon Stone or Dragon Breath and are highly prized and sought after. The Anexus sometimes forged weapons from these stones and they are known to be quite harmonic with natural and sorcerer magics. Avalon focused, visualizing where she wanted to be--she vanished with a crack and appeared in front of the stone.
Fenrir snarled at the dragon who took none to kindly to the threat, however small and inhaled again. Avalon grabbed him and apparated the two back to where Rowena was. She clapped her hands together and transmutated the sword long desired to create, but changed as she was exposed to new and strange things. It was a beautiful craftsmanship, even Master Kloog would be impressed by its form. It was the same size and blade-style as Caliburn, but its appearance was vastly different. Its pommel was silver and circular, engraved with the triskele crest of the Anexus; its handle was sprawled with the jagged lines of lightning and yet was easy and smooth to grip and of a darker tiny; the guard was also silver, fashioned in a way that on could believe it was a dragon was taking flight down the blade with wings fully extended. These wings had three slivers of blue to match the veins of the mountain light with a single triangle towards the guard’s ‘head’. The blade was sharp, unlike Caliburn--fully intended to bring death--it held an engraving of the Anexus language.
"How long?" Avalon peered over the edge of the bolder again.
"You just--Ten minutes, eight if you give me your blood--"
Avalon opened the flesh of her left palm without a second thought and squeezed her blood into a transmutated stone bowl. Rowena nearly lost her lunch. The wound was closed, Avalon tore her sleeves further to make them longer as she placed Caliburn in her dominate right hand, gripped it and tied the cloth around both. She knew. She knew this was going to be the longest eight minutes; knew she was going to be running towards exhaustion and knew she was going to use the Old Blood. Aware, her senses heightened, Avalon moved to sitting on the balls of her feet and readied. Rowena waved her wand, magic fluttered around the alchemist in a red hue. This would make her lighter on her feet, make the weight of the world less and enable her to jump higher and further.
The witch turned her attention to the sword and kept quite for a moment longer before speaking, "Be careful."
Avalon and Fenrir disappeared in a crack, appearing behind the Elder whose attention was temporarily to the crack in the ceiling. The dragons dove down, attacking the two, but Avalon was faster, more agile; Fenrir moved, jumping on Avalon's back he gained height sinking his fangs into a wing. The breath of dragons was deflected by Caliburn, but defense was not something she would maintain long with these numbers. She apparated to different parts of the cave, transmutating the walls into pillars that shot out and seized the Elder's limbs. Avalon shouted, calling the Elder's attention to her as she ran the length of a moving pillar--the Elder's head snapped down; its claws and strength demanding freedom. The blue hue eyes were massive, its sharpened pupils sizing Avalon's entire height--the alchemist did not stop. She ran, leaping as the pillar was destroyed.
The alchemist caught herself with a hand full of hair. She pulled, lifting herself to the Elder's muzzle and gripping hard as she pulsed her magic into the Greater Dragon. It must know her intention, it must understand; it must calm down--Avalon's feelings were rejected and the Elder's were far stronger, pouring into the woman as the beast shook its head violently and threw Avalon to be hugged by a wall. She had no time to recover, she apparated away from a shot of lightning, catching the lingering voice. Where? Avalon hesitated, holding her sword up as another shot met its blade and jumped the remaining strength to another direction. She slid back in recoil, her feet digging into the stone with the force.
"Are you done yet!" Avalon transmutated a wall to avoid a dragon and apparated to another place, repeating the same.
Rowena's reply echoed back, "You are more than welcome to try!"
A dragon clipped her shoulder, but a transmutated wall had it run aground. Avalon gripped her shoulder, creating a dome around her and Fenrir. Where have you gone! The voice came again, echoing in her mind. The alchemist breathed heavily doubtful she could keep this pace unaided for much longer. She was out of options and out of time--Avalon inhaled deeply, absorbing magic forcefully against the restraint of Caliburn. Outside lightning cracked, hitting the dome with another roar. Her eyes shifted gold and in the same moment came down the dome as Avalon shot out, defying her limits and nature as she went for the Elder Dragon's head. Cocking her fist back, she threw it forward, meeting the muzzle of the beast, causing its head to jerk to the right, having it loose its balance and fall into the cliff causing its destruction.
Rowena had to steady herself from the quake, "What was that!"
"You do not want to know--!"
The elder came back, its tail side swiping the aerial Avalon into the rubble beside its head. There were numerous bones broken and fractured after that, but they were already on the path of healing as more and more natural magic was being absorbed into the alchemist. Avalon struggled to stand, caught in a daze of lost footing, pain, and over-whelming senses. Where have you gone brothers, sister? Avalon staggered with the clarity of the voice, the Elder now returning its equilibrium. How long have I slept? Where are the guardians? Answer me my brothers, sister! The alchemist absorbed and expelled more magic, but began to find it difficult to tell the difference between natural and the human magic. The Elder stood, its claws coming down upon the adversary. Avalon apparated to Fenrir, dropping to a knee, all that kept her from falling was Caliburn, pressed into the ground.
The Elder spun its tail, Fenrir and Avalon apparated higher, evading its horizon, but they were not the ones effected. The bolder that concealed Rowena lost stability as the edge widened and consumed it, revealing the witch to the beast. Inhaling, the Elder's lightning traveled, a jet shot out to Rowena flashing before her very eyes. Avalon fronted it, taking its blow thru her bind-ed fist, thru her arm, across her heart and chest and out her wielding hand with little more than the force of a jolt. All occurred in an instant, all occurred without a second thought, all occurred on pure impulse, Avalon's impulse and only thought: save Rowena.
The witch saw, but a flash as the dragon's magic came at her, as death stared her in the face, but found it did not claim. Her eyes witnessed Avalon in front of her, her body steaming, sparks of light emitted in different places for a moment. Her form was different--the hand that had taken the blow was deformed, not of wound, but robbed of humanity. For a moment, only a moment, Rowena saw a glimpse of scales on the alchemist's body.
The alchemist jetted back, grabbing the witch roughly as she pulled her forward and threw her in front of her. Rowena vanished, hitting the ground hard beside Fenrir who jumped in surprise as Caliburn landed on the ground before them. Avalon walked to the sword that floated in a glowing circle, gripping it with her movable hand she turned to the roaring dragon. Rowena scurried to her feet, moving to the edge as she called out to the alchemist.
"The enchantment is not compete!" She yelled, "You have to attach a spell to it--any word you seal it with will be its casting spell!"
Magic came into view, glowing golden magic to match the eyes of one possessed by the Old Blood. Tiny orbs flowed from every crevice in the hollow mountain as they came towards Avalon. She absorbed all of this natural magic, the danger of which mattered little now as she now understood what it was she must do. The sword began to glow this same color, absorbing the magic at the same rate of Avalon and absorbing double because of what was taken by the environment and given by Avalon. The dragon shot out lightning, Avalon vanished, coming into sight in the air above the dragon.
"EX-" Avalon roared, the blade's magic danced around in a golden splendor as it new its release was near, "-CALIBUR!"
The golden razor of light left the sword, shooting up into the air, past the dragon and into the ceiling causing its collapse. The Elder saw the light of the skies, the night of the stars high above long sought for these many years. It caught the human's fall; sensed the magic, the call of the Old Blood of Yggdrasil. Avalon was caught, by the massive claws that sought to kill those who would stand in its way and jumped to the sky, gripping the walls of the mountain as it scaled. The first breath of fresh air has its wings extended to their full value as a mighty roared was let out to release the children it had begged for help. The wing had not forgotten the joy of flight and needed no instruction, no time to remember as they were things winged dragons were born to use. Into the air the Elder Dragon and Avalon went, souring above the smoke, having been blown south, higher and higher toward the stars.
Avalon had not the strength to resist to fight and simply accepted she was to die...but what a view her final moments would be. Guardian. The alchemist felt their climb slow until the dragon now fluttered gracefully in the embrace of the starlight, with not a sight of the moon to be found. You kept the promise of your ancestors, Guardian. Avalon believe herself to go mad, but found the claws that held her moved her to the face of the Elder to be seen and spoken to. She thought the Elder was speaking to her, but it is not possible for a human to understand the tongue of dragons.
"Did you...just speak?" Avalon asked curiously.
You as I, possess the Old Blood and with it the original tongue. Thru it we commune with another, with all beasts, is this not what you have been taught by your Volva?
Avalon shook her head, "No...Great Elder, our knowledge on the Ferre--those who awaken the Old Blood is little. It is rare that anyone is able to awaken it...Great Elder...how long have you slept?"
Too long. I was placed under a spell that would allow me to sleep as the wounds I suffered were healed by Mother. Does the war still rage Guardian?
"Great Elder...I fear...you have slept for a very long time...if you speak of Yggdrasil...she fell long ago..." Avalon felt the fatigue of battle wear on her.
Lies. The Elder snarled, bearing spears of razored teeth.
Avalon did not understand the Elder, as it spoke of a war and yet said specifically they were willing placed under a spell. The history the Elder knew and the ones recorded...were very different.
"Great Elder--history has done your time no justice, the world has changed much since the dominion of the Elder Dragons."
The elder pondered for a moment, and came closer, peering at Avalon's bruised, discolored root pattern arm. She had not once moved it, something no doubt attributed to their battle. All is forgiven and to repay the freedom a gift shall be granted.
I will seek out my brothers and sister and seek the truth of what has happened during my slumber.
The Elder lifted a claw of its other hand and gently touched the arm reddened and charred.
For your loyalty to your friend; showing courage in the face of death; wisdom in realizing my desire and your cunning to evade my breath--my blessing will go with you from now on to the end of your days.
Magic entered, filling her arm, swirling and drawing upon its charred and pained flesh.
I am called Gwyndolin and we shall meet again.