Bezzel is stuck. She flew out of Deuce Town in search of us. I can only assume a blizzard or down draft sent her crashing to the snow and two glaciers. She’s between the two, her talons and leg stuck between two ice rocks, one wing looks completely shattered.
The poor Silly Snoot is severely injured from her rough fall, as if she hit both sides of the glacier as she found the violent ground.
Zoraul is circling the area, suspicious from up high, while Rawk is close by me, flying just below me.
I am also hesitating.
Go, Rawk advises me, you alone.
Without explaining much, I know what he means.
So I dive as fast as I can for Minx, as I will be able to fit here in my Dragon Form - but Rawk and Zoraul don’t want to shift forms, just in case.
There was something about this scenario that made me uneasy. It was blatantly set up.
Before I reach Bezzel - I sense an invisible surface suddenly rearing up - glass! Ice, but it’s so clear you can’t tell the difference. I flare my wings and throw my talons forward, attempting to break the wall of glass.
However, the ice is so thick, it’s like hitting a hard rock, it’s no different. My talons crack and I start to slide down until I collapse between the two glaciers, still too far from Bezzel. I mist because it’s so tight right at the bottom, and I kneel between the two enormous glaciers - while my mates fly up above.
They’re far too big to melt with fire - it would take hours if not days and I wasn’t sure we had that time.
The clear ice separates me from Bezzel, who has now collapsed from exhaustion and shock with the relief at my arrival.
I prepare to mist out of here, but I feel I’m standing on something strange. It’s not earth - I kick away the snow until I see the pale grey... is that -?
I lean down and press my hand to it.
A familiar soft texture.
As I kick more shards of ice and snow aside, my guess was it’s a huge Dragon skull - crushed slowly between the two moving ice glaciers. The slow disintegration of bone would release magic for a specific kind of mage...
This wasn’t just an accidental graveyard!
This was a prime place of power for the slaves of Sprites - those pesky Blood Ravens wouldn’t be a simple irritant here! They would be at their peak magic.
Do not come down, I call to my mates, but even I feel my mental signal is hollow - stuck in my own head. They can’t hear me.
However, they haven’t come down yet, so they know by their intuition that it’s too dangerous.
To mist back up would be impossible for me, there was something harbouring me still... and... almost stuck... I was heavy! Almost like a curse was baring me down - asking for my payment.
I see shadows moving near me and I get a fright as I turn back to the glass wall of the glacier to my right. I see dark shapes moving deep within the glacier - through a cave system that’s been manually cut, by magic or otherside.
One dark shape comes closer toward me, until I see Sassy in her dark robes, holding a finger up to the wall - where she melts through a distorted message with a burning finger tip.
S T A Y
Of course, Bezzel had been the bait.
All I ask of you now, is to stand still, little monster, Sassy’s voice in my head is not young nor mischievous. I feel and hear the hunger for revenge. An ancient, almost millennial old grudge against Storm. Blood for blood. The Blood Ravens for his family. Minx, correctly you realise, we won’t be satisfied until his blood line is completely obliterated with no chance of recovery. You’re making this a lot easier for us. I’ve been waiting for this whole vengeance, for far too long.
As she speaks, I see the other mages in her coven walk up and place their hands on the ice, from within the glacier. As they chant, there is a moment of deep silence - before the canyon starts to squeeze shut.
It’s not a slow pull - it’s actually quite fast.
The skull below me, blows out, and shards of bone almost stab me through my feet, as I’m commanded to stand still.
In a quiet panic, I hold out my hands uselessly between each side, already able to feel the glacier ready to crush me.
Rawk and Zoraul now land on either side, causing the canyon to shake and tremble with their weight.
They try to pry the edges apart with their natural power, but even that is barely stopping the power of this coven, rushed to crush me - to kill my mates next.
I glance back at Snoot Snoot and she’s completely collapsed - almost as if the cold is beginning to her.
Seeing her lie so distraught and done, even as I’m about to be crushed, I feel defeated in this moment, “Silly Snoot, I’m sorry!” I sniffle, feeling almost ready to die.
My magic was dampened.
And up above my mates were uselessly fighting against this.
I had nothing left in me to fight back, in fact, I probably deserved this end. I had killed so many. Even my mates would not be immune to the slaughter of innocents. Most importantly, I can’t move with the curse taking my power of mobility. Stay. Until I’m crushed.
Just as I’m accepting my inevitable death and the violent end - there is a crack of thunder from above. The snap in the air is so loud it almost bursts my ear drums.
The glaciers rumble from the noise, a blizzard above seems to become a fury and I notice my mates are now gone.
I halt my breath as I glance up and I see black clouds rolling in - loud tempest thunder crackles again, a rumble of infinite anger. It feels like feeling. Bad, bad, bad feeling.
I turn to Sassy, where the vengeful mage, stands with her mother.
They don’t know the storm is unexpected, so they assume it’s like any other.
The Blood Raven at the centre of it all, is Sassy’s mother, unnamed, but did it matter? That ancient mother comes up now and punches a hole through the wall with a flaming wrist, her hand holds my hand.
She jerks my wrist through the wall, speaking to Sassy, and I can now hear, “The blood will drain through here, prepare to bathe in it, Sasskia,” I feel the ice glacier suddenly hit my back, while I look through the ice to see Sassy kneel, the Blood Raven’s hands are on her daughter’s shoulders, giving her a place to bathe in my eventual pulp.
For a few seconds, within the renewed silence, the glacier manages to push my cheek into the ice and I know any moment it’ll get the back of my skull.
And then I feel a force slam into me.
It takes over my mind - comforting and close.
I’m so sorry, darling, Rawk connects to my mind, I want to promise that you’ll never see this violence again, but I can’t, forgiveness is all I ask, he sounds both monstrous and pained.
And then I see Rawk, and I see Zoraul - within the glacier - and they’re not alone.
My father was no fool - and so he prepared to ambush before we even fell for the lure and the bait.
Lightning from Storm’s power of the Sky, blows a tunnel straight down into the hidden depths of the Blood Raven’s Ice Coven.
This was probably the most dangerous place in the realm for Dragons, as it was the home of Sprites - perhaps a Dragon or two would be slaughtered, perhaps a horde would all fall victim to the spells and magic that rivalled our own, without even knowing they suffered as they fell with no will to fight.
Tempest Horde’s, however, did not exist - not really - except for ours.
My family. Where I came from was the Lost Horde, originating from these plains of ice and cold disaster.
Storm is already inside, and I am at his side.
Silver flanks Zoraul.
Don’t spare any child, Storm advises me, a humoured tone of evil, speaking directly through our father-son bond, In fact, Rawk, focus on them - it’ll break the spell over the Ice sooner and it will save your banshee.
I give Minx my warning and my apology, right before I embrace the wrath inside, a hidden rage so dark and twisted only Tempest Breeds could revel in this feeling and not only survive it, but willingly and strategically use it - for evil.
For nothing else.
I only wanted suffering now. So did Storm. So did Zoraul. Even my own mother.
The Blood Ravens would all suffer the worst fate - and we’d enjoy every single murder.
I’m crushed to the point my breaths halve, and then the ice glaciers stop altogether.
The Blood Ravens don’t see it - the wave of red mist that flies through and contorts and explodes the bodies once formidable.
The whole line of clothed Blood Ravens, tall, short - are completely decimated.
In explosions of blood.
It truly happens in seconds.
It’s a red wave of death.
They all die.
Then Rawk and Zoraul solidify.
They walk back toward me, their golden eyes glow red, while their eyes look to me and then fire starts to leak around them.
Like a furnace - the ice starts to crack and melt.
Once able to move and breath, I gasp as I pull through and Rawk reaches out and grasps my forearm, jerking me in front of him, over the gore at our feet, as his fire doesn’t stop leaking around him.
Zoraul also reaches out an arm, and his fingers claw into my skin, down to my elbow - lightly, but not so gently as you might think. He moves past me then, out into the gap to grab Bezzel.
Past Rawk, I see Storm holding the back of Silver’s hair down the ice corridor, dropping to his knees with her as he bites into the side of her neck and a fire engulfs them from view as they relish in rough love after so much death.
“You’re welcome,” Rawk speaks down to me, without any smile.
I inhale and I look up at my mate who helped save me.
I’ve never been so silent in all my life.
My respect for my mates has found a solid spot within me.
I just feel respect.
I nod at Rawk briefly and he finally lets out a smile, a cruel one, as even the right side of his face, completely broken and full of scars and Broken Fire like his father, still rages with his passion and fury, “Why are you so quiet, little brat?” Rawk strokes my chin with his thumb, while Zoraul reappears with Bezzel. I turn to see her curled up into his chest, her wing indeed broken.
“We need to return to our Horde,” Zoraul nods down to the golden pipsqueak of joy, “This Silly Snoot needs warmth... and meat.”
“Let’s fly,” I gather the courage to speak, and I smile a little at both of them, “...w-will we be cursed now?” I ask it a little terrified.
Rawk cups my whole cheek now, leaning down to meet me at my level, his eyes glittering, he even grins, and it’s more terrifying than the thought of a blood curse, “It’s nothing we’re not used to, sweety . Don’t be scared,” he winks too.
“I’m excited,” I whisper out a huff of a breath over Rawk’s lips, “I thought you’d never impress me. I am.”
Rawk and Zoraul both burst out laughing, even Silly Snoot looks at me with a crazy eye roll, clawing her talons at me in a little agreement.
I giggle a little, still nervous, while standing in a pool of Blood Raven death.
They’re torn to nothing. Pools of nothing.
That’s what they mean to Dragons.
I turn and fly out first, leading the way - into a clear sky as the storm ceases.
To my amazement as I shoot right up into the Tempest white clouds... I get a glimpse of the sun. The actual sun.
A big ball of fire - shooting a strong ray of light straight past me, and onto Bezzel, whom sits poised in Zoraul’s talon as he flies behind. She tries to look tough, as she sneezes in the sun’s beam.
It lights up her golden scales until she glows iridescent; and I know the Sky Gods won’t let her die today.