A Champion's Soul

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Grandma Sagaeliapheith

When she screamed that most of the dragons we passed came our way… It got really busy, but mama managed to get the attention away from me. I played with Eimrass before we went to sleep.

I woke up the next day to the sound of a loud thud, and breathing… “Wake up child.” Who’s that?

I opened my eyes and looked up, it was… it was grandma? I think it was. I haven’t seen her for a long time, but she looks familiar. I looked around, but I didn’t see Eimrass or mama… Eimrass slept under my wing last night, where would he have gone? Unless… Unless they’ve left already… I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

She spoke a bit a louder now. “Child, do you hear me?”

I got up and stretched. “Yes, I heard you.”

She seemed really stern. “Why did you not speak when I first addressed you?”

Well I was confused. “I thought Eimrass was sleeping next to me, but I don’t see him or mama.”

She stared at me a moment before answering. “I supposed that is a reasonable excuse. Next time you will reply to me when I speak to you.”

She’s rude. “Okay.” There’s no reason to be rude.

She relaxed a little bit at least, and sat on her back legs. “Do you know why I’m here child.”

I can’t say I do. “No?”

She nodded. “I supposed you couldn’t have known then. You made quite a commotion last night, er well not you, but Demmyrth’s mother. I came to check for myself. I must say I’m rather disappointed in your mother’s choice, but I have a feeling she did it merely to spite me.”

What? “I don’t understand?”

Now she smiled. “Don’t worry, this is nothing for you to concern yourself with… yet. For now, I’ve come to see how you’ve grown… I must say quite a lot, as you seem quite bigger than most others your age. At this point I could see you towering over a horse, but perhaps not quite an elephant.

I know what a horse is, but not an elephant. “What’s an elephant?”

She answered. “A large four-legged grey creature. It has tusks, and a rather spindly nose. As far as mere animals are concern they are quite intelligent, but only just for animals.” Oh… okay. She started walking around me. “Let’s see, you seem rather well developed. Strong legs, and a good back. I don’t see much muscle in your tail, but perhaps that’s because you haven’t used it for much more than flying. Now, where did you get that injury?”

Oh, I forgot about that. The bandages fell off, but it seems to have closed. “I was attacked by a girl with wings. She has a sword that cut right through my armor.”

That seemed to have caught her interest. “Wings you say? Did she have feathers or scales?”

Scales. “She had red scales, and her wings were on her back.”

She stopped walking around me and sat down again. I turned towards her. “Ah, a dragon hybrid then. I would assume you killed her?”

No. “I was going to step on her, but some other people with wings snatched her up and flew away.”

She was smiling now. “Well, then I suppose they were probably testing her. It would seem she failed, but their reasons for going after you are unknown to me. Now I’ve heard about your fight with another dragon? An Ice dragon native to the Norse lands?”

I guess. “I don’t know who he was, and mama did most of the fighting really.”

She was still smiling. “Yes, well knocking the teeth out of a dragon is no easy feat. I applaud the effort, being so young.”

How did she know? “How do you know about that?”

She snickered. “Why your brother Zaivrer. He is a loyal member of the World-Breakers. He’s been doing his best to guide you towards us, but it would seem your mother had other ideas.”

Okay then. “So, does this mean I’m part of the Man-Eaters?” She nodded. “What do the names mean?”

She answered my question, but she didn’t seem happy about it. “The names ultimately mean nothing. The Man-Eaters are a splinter faction of the World-Breakers, but we remain on good terms. We handle ourselves differently and have different requirements to join. World-Breakers must prove themselves and challenge our top members, those that survive more than ten minutes get in… The Man-Eaters are a bit more lenient. They will let most in, but only if they are of benefit to the clan. Meaning defending, hunting, or consoling other members. The young need to eat, and everyone is expected to do their part. You though, are given exception. Being the chosen mate of Demmyrth you are expected to help him lead, rather than perform more menial tasks. Though with your age they may give you such tasks to help you form a bond with the others…”

I heard a voice in the distance, and it sounded like Demmyrth’s “Tesyrir, are you out here?”

Grandma looked over, and then back at me. “Well it seems that is my cue to leave. Child, do not refer to me as your grandmother. My name is Sagaeliaphieth, but instead call me Sagaelia. You are welcome to the World-Breakers, should you bore of this life. We’ll gladly allow a wyrm into our ranks.” She flew away after that.

I heard, and then saw Demmyrth running over. “Did she hurt you?!”

Huh, no? “No? Why would she hurt me?”

He looked down. “That is good. Just listen to me, that is a cruel dragon you spoke to. Do not listen to her forked silver tongue. She intends to bend you to her will.”

She didn’t seem that bad? “Okay… Where’s mama and Eimrass?”

Demmyrth waited before answering… “Well, your mother thought it would be easier for you if they left before you woke up.” Oh… For some reason my chest hurts… “Follow me, the others would like to meet you, since your mother managed to shield you from them last night they didn’t get a chance to get a good look at you.”

Okay… “Alright.” I hope it’ll be good here. I already miss mama and Eimrass though… Zaivrer might come by, hopefully?

I followed Demmyrth for a little bit. I wasn’t sleeping too far off from everyone else so it wasn’t that long. Everyone was looking at us, and some of the bigger dragons were flicking their tails around. Are they anxious?

Demmyrth said something to me. “I know this might be sudden, but they wish for you demonstrate your strength.”

Oh? “Why?”

He answered. “They are nervous. Wyrms are rare, and they are unsure if you are actually one. Many of them feel your mother was lying.”

Okay. “What do they want me to do?”

He waited before answering… “Well that’s the strange part. An old minotaur has issued a challenge. The behavior is out of the ordinary as is, let alone one of them being able to speak. We’ve decided that you should be the one to fight it.”

A minotaur? “Those are the man cow things, right?”

He laughed. “That is a rather insulting description of them but yes… Man cow thing, I’ll have to remember that.”

Demmyrth nodded towards the crowd and they cleared out of the way… We walked past them I saw a large, man cow… No minotaur holding an axe. It was standing upright, and some of its fur was turning grey. As we got closer I saw something interesting. This minotaur was eye height with me. He was big, very big.

Demmyrth motioned for me to step forward. “Be careful… I will protect you should the need arise, but it would surely hurt your reputation here. Do your best, and try to win.”

Okay then… I stepped towards the minotaur. His breathing was weird… I wasn’t expecting him to speak. “Greetings young dragon. I see they choose one of equal size to me.”

His voice is deep. “Hi? I was just told to fight you but I’m not sure what’s going on.”

He answered me. "Well I wish to challenge a dragon for my final fight in life. I don't have many good years left, and I can feels my bones creak as I lift my axe."

Strange? "Why wouldn't you want to live out your life in peace?"

He shook his head. "It wouldn't be right. I don't deserve a peaceful death." Now he pointed towards a small hole in his neck. “I was once an arrogant young bull. Going through life mauling and crushing anything that opposed me, but a human taught me a lesson. He was sickly young lad. I could taste the illness in his blood, but he did not go down without a fight. Nearly killed me in fact. Unfortunately, the human died; but they taught me a lesson. It is one I passed on to my children, and their children after. It is the reason I learned to speak these languages… Arrogantly going through life will only get you killed, knowledge and skill is what makes you great.” He raised his axe. “Now, let us get this over with. I hope I’m not rushing you. I just, I just need to speak with that boy again. If possible. I need to apologize for what I’ve done and thank him for the lesson he’s taught me.” Now he pointed his axe at me. “It was a simple lesson, but one that changed my entire life.”

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