Drakonians had a unique military system. Soldiers filled the ranks of the army, led by a general appointed by the Elders. The general had a few admirals under him, who in turn had a few colonels, under which were the lieutenants, who led the main body of soldiers. In addition to the soldiers, who followed their leaders, there was also a warrior division. The other races considered soldiers and warriors to be the same, but in drakonian culture this wasn’t the case. Warriors were the elites. They were the strongest, most skilled, quickest thinkers, and best fighters in the army. Most leadership in the army was chosen from the warriors; generally those who showed exceptional leadership skills. The warriors answered only to the Elders, and the Elders kept out of military business as much as they could. This left the warriors largely independent. Shryn was one of these warriors.
Shryn had very few friends. There was only one person who he was even remotely close to, and that warrior died three thousand years ago. The warrior’s name was Svitcon, the famous drakon who sacrificed himself to fuse with a human and pushed back the demons, ending the war. Shryn kept tabs on Svitcon’s niece, a drakon girl named Maia, but he rarely spoke with her. Shryn was very independent, and quite a loner. As a tall, muscular, and powerful drakon, it wasn’t from lack of options. The women loved him. His cold, hard, ice blue eyes added an air of intrigue to him, and his brown hair served to draw further attention to the coldness in his eyes. That was when he took a human form. Drakons could take the shape of a human, a dragon, and anything in between. It was common for drakons to stay in human form, some choosing to sprout a pair of wings from their backs, unless there was need for a different form. The human form was the smallest and easiest to maintain. The more a drakon resembled a dragon, the stronger and faster they became, but the more difficult it was to maintain that form. The army was trained to be able to maintain a scaly, dragon-like humanoid form for up to two weeks without needing to rest, as that was the preferred form of combat. That form had plenty of strength and speed, while still possessing amply amounts of dexterity, allowing great skill with various weapons.
Shryn was able to maintain a humanoid dragon form for nearly two months. Svitcon had shown even greater skill, lasting three months before needing to rest, but Shryn’s feat was no small matter. It was very impressive, and if Shryn had shown any signs of leadership and teamwork he would have been promoted in the army years ago. But teamwork wasn’t something Shryn understood. Teammates only served as a distraction and liability, and underlings were even worse. Shryn fought alone.
The drakons lived in a place they called the Sky City; as its name implied, it was a city located high in the sky, on a floating island that was above the clouds. The island was small enough that any drakon could fly across the whole island in about three hours, but large enough to have plenty of space, even housing a large volcano, behind which the drakons had built a temple in Svitcon’s honor.
Shryn was hiking his way over the giant volcano, known as Mt. Kapoosh. The area around the volcano was made entirely of rocks. There was very little flora in the Sky City, due to its high elevation, and even less around Mt. Kapoosh. Shryn often wondered who thought of the name “Kapoosh” for a volcano. It seemed ridiculous, but that had been its name for millenia, and no one was about to change it.
Shryn’s destination, however, wasn’t the volcano, but the temple behind it. Svitcon had left something in the temple and a riddle for Shryn to try to solve. The answer to the riddle opened a door, which led to Svitcon’s hidden treasures. Shryn had tried several times to answer the riddle and open the door, but had failed each time. He was determined to try again.
Utgan was an older drakon. In fact, he was the oldest drakon alive, having lived for 698,257 years. He was once a mighty warrior, but had lost much of his skill with age. What he lost in skill he had gained in weight; he was quite hefty. His face was scarred from countless battles and he was balding, losing much of his now gray hair. Due to his history and age, Utgan was the Grand Elder of the drakons. This left him as the leader of the Elders, the governing body of the drakons. He wasn’t like a king in that he made the laws and held absolute power, but he was very influential.
Utgan walked up to a door of a small home, almost a hut. Due to their ability to breath fire, drakons made their buildings out of stone. Utgan knocked on the door. He was searching for Shryn; he had a matter of utmost importance to discuss with the younger warrior. Shryn wasn’t in the barracks, training grounds, or in his own home, and since Shryn had so few interactions with anyone else Utgan was at his wits’ end trying to find him. The home he was visiting belonged to Svitcon; his niece Maia lived there now. If anyone knew where Shryn was, it would be Maia.
The girl opened the door. Maia was young; she was only two and a half thousand years old. She wasn’t born until after the war with the demons. Her mother had died a mere fifty years after her birth, leaving Maia an orphan for most of her life. Shryn was the closest thing she had to family, which was why Utgan thought Maia might have some idea as to where Shryn was.
Maia’s brown eyes widened in surprise. The Grand Elder didn’t make it a habit to regularly visit people, so her surprise was understandable. Maia was a pretty girl, though very small, and not yet fully grown, comparable to a sixteen year old human girl. She had dark, straight hair and a small nose. She had a pair of blue dragon wings sprouting from her back, though they were neatly folded and tucked against her back. She was wearing a simple dress that was just a shade lighter than her wings.
“Grand Elder! What brings you here today?” Maia asked.
“I was hoping to talk to you about Shryn,” Utgan replied. Here goes nothing, he thought.
“Oh, okay,” Maia said, stepping aside. “Please, make yourself at home.” Utgan walked past the young drakon and entered her home. Her walls were the same blue as her dress, and had only a few pictures on it. Most of them were of her parents. Utgan didn’t know them very well.
“Would you like something the eat or drink?” Maia offered. Utgan shook his head and looked around some more. There was a large table in the middle of the room with ten chairs placed around it. Utgan found this a bit odd, as the young drakon rarely had company, but didn’t comment. He sat himself in one of the chairs, Maia took the one opposite him.
“I’m looking for Shryn. There is something I need to discuss with him,” Utgan said. “Do you know where he is?”
Maia shook her head. “No, I only see him every few months or so. And when he does come, he never says much or stays for long.”
Utgan sighed. “I kind of figured as much, but thought it was worth a shot. Any guesses as to where he went?”
“Uh, he might be climbing Mt. Kapoosh,” Maia said.
Utgan sighed. Someone really should rename the mountain; Kapoosh sounded ridiculous. Mt. Kapoosh was known for being difficult, and the Grand Elder really didn’t want to climb it. And if Shryn was already climbing the mountain, the Grand Elder would have to work double time to catch him. “Well, if you should see him, please tell him I need to talk to him,” Utgan said. Climbing the mountain wasn’t worth it. The matter was very important, but it could wait until Shryn got back.
“I could go look for him, if you want,” Maia offered. Utgan looked at her. He wasn’t completely sure she could find Shryn any easier than he could. After a minute Utgan decided that there wasn’t really anything to lose by letting the girl go, so he agreed. He then stood up, thanked Maia, and left. As he was walking away he saw Maia fly off towards the mountain.
“Someone really needs to rename that mountain. Mt. Ordeal, now that would be a good name,” Utgan muttered as he walked away.
Shryn was descending Mt Kapoosh when he heard wings flapping. The dark haired drakon looked up and saw Maia flying down to where he was. She was sweating and out of breath. Shryn stood there and waited for her to catch her breath.
“Shryn,” Maia said. “The Grand Elder is looking for you. He said it was urgent.”
“Wonderful,” Shryn said. He couldn’t care less. Why should he care what the Grand Elder wanted? If it was really that important then he would’ve come himself.
“Well, come one, then,” Maia said. “You’ve got to go talk to him.”
Shryn resumed climbing down the mountain.
Maia followed him. “What are you doing?”
Shryn ignored her.
“Shryn, seriously, where are you going?”
Shryn kept walking.
Maia had to jog a bit to catch up with Shryn. “Shryn, we need to go back. The Grand Elder needs to see you.”
Shryn turned to Maia and gave her a look that said “I’ll go when I’m good and ready.” Maia sighed and followed Shryn, suspecting that they were going to the Temple of Svitcon.
Shryn and Maia continued traveling down the mountain. After a while they saw the Temple of Svitcon, as Maia suspected. The temple was very large, with several columns out front and a few stained glass windows. It was made entirely of marble. Shryn was heading towards the temple.
Shryn entered the temple. Inside was a large amphitheater with a kind of seal on the far back wall. Shryn went directly to the seal. Shryn knew that in order to open the seal he needed to hit it with both fire and icefire. His best bet was to blast it with one then switch to the other as quickly as he could. He blasted it with fire then icefire. It didn’t work, so he tried again in reverse order. Again, it didn’t work. Shryn frowned and blasted it with fire again. This time, as he was blasting the door with fire, Maia sneezed and shot out a blast of icefire right at the seal. When both touched the seal, it disappeared and part of the wall faded away, leaving an opening to a small room.
Shryn walked inside and saw a chest sitting in the middle of the room. He opened the chest and saw that it contained an ordinary-looking steel sword handle, an electric-blue medallion with a lightning bolt on it, and a piece of paper. Shryn grabbed the paper and started to read it. It said Shryn, I hope that the fact you have this letter means you’ve abandoned your independent ways, though I doubt it. Odds are you managed to bring another warrior here and ordered that warrior to assist you. Anyway, I leave you these two gifts, in hope that you may become a greater warrior than even I with them. The sword handle is the legendary drakonian sword, Grimholg. It is one of the four ancient drakon weapons given to the four races on the Main Land after the drakons left the Main Land. It can form a blade out of any material, even air. All you need to do is point the handle at the material and will the material into the shape of a blade. A blade will grow out of the handle, and the blade will be made out of whatever you pointed it at. If pointed at something that isn’t solid, the blade will harden so you are able to hit and slice with it.
The medallion is the ancient human artifact, the Thunder Amulet. It is one of the five Amulets used by the humans during the War of Separation. It and the other four Amulets are the only human artifacts usable by all races, and are also the only human artifacts without a finite number of uses or limit caps on power. While wearing this Amulet, you can create and control lightning. I leave you these items because I sense in you the potential to be a great warrior, and also because you always were my best friend.
I also leave you with this information. The other three legendary drakon weapons are a staff that can change shape and never breaks called Gameleon, an indestructible ax with the power to blast small waves of energy from its blade called Vulgarson, and a spear with the power to pierce anything called Darvandon. The whereabouts of these three weapons is currently unknown, but perhaps one day the portals will open again and you may go search for them.
The other four Amulets are the Strength Amulet, which gives whoever wears it greatly enhanced strength; the Speed Amulet, which gives whoever wears it greatly enhanced speed; the Teleportation Amulet, which can enable the one who wears it to teleport anywhere that person has already been; and the Time Amulet, which allows whoever wears it to slow down or speed up time in a small area around them. I know that one of these Amulets lies in each of the four territories on the Main Land, but I do not know the specific whereabouts of any of them. Again, perhaps the portals will one day open and you will be able to search for them.
This is the last thing I have to say to you, Shryn. The path of the loner is rarely a happy one. You must make friends, you must learn to work with other people, and you must learn to accept and even ask for help when you need it. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, I did, and though the help I will be receiving will most likely destroy me, it is still necessary. Please, remember these words.
Shryn jammed the letter into his pocket and grabbed the sword handle. He had his own sword, made of a very fine steel. But the blade required sharpening, and this other sword didn’t. Shryn pointed the handle at the stone wall and tried to summon a blade. He couldn’t get anything to come out of the sword handle. He frowned and slipped the handle into a loop on his pants. The loop was designed to hold battleaxes, but the old sword handle worked just fine. Maybe it ran out of magic, though Shryn doubted this was the case. He’d keep it, for now, and try and figure it out later.
Shryn grabbed the medallion. It had a chain on it that could easily fit over his head and let him wear the medallion hidden under his shirt. Shryn did so, and tried to fire a bolt of lightning out of his hand. Again, nothing happened. Shryn frowned; these amulets were designed specifically not to run out of magic, so surely there was some way to get it to work. But how? Shryn slid the medallion under his shirt and decided to figure it out later.
Shryn left the small chamber back into the main part of the temple. Maia was still there, rubbing her nose. She saw Shryn and said “I think I’m getting a cold.”
Shryn ignored her comment. “I’m heading back,” Shryn said, and headed towards the entrance of the temple. Maia jogged a bit to catch up.
“So, what was in the little chamber?” she asked.
“Stuff,” Shryn grunted.
“What kind of stuff?”
“Stuff kind of stuff.”
“From my uncle?”
Shryn said nothing.
“Okay, I’ll take that as a yes. Was it cool stuff?”
Shryn was about to answer when he saw a blast of icefire come towards him from the corner of his eye. He leapt back and sprouted a pair of wings. The icefire hit Maia, knocking her to the ground and covering her with a layer of frost.
Shryn turned towards the source of the icefire and pulled out his sword. There was another drakon standing in the corner of the temple. He was the same height and build as Shryn, though this drakon had blonde hair and a wicked glint in his eyes. “Jershyn!” Shryn yelled.
“In the flesh, hatchling,” Jershyn said. Jershyn pulled out a crimson battleax. “And this time, I won’t be losing.”
Shryn and Jershyn had been rivals since they actually were hatchlings. Neither had ever been able to best the other in combat. Jershyn viewed it as losing, whereas Shryn saw it only as a reason to get better. He wasn’t going to simply allow himself to be equal with his rival.
Jershyn swung the ax experimentally. Jershyn had his own dark purple set of wings sprouted from his own back, though they weren’t in use at the moment. Shryn held his sword up, preparing to attack. Both stared at each other for a few minutes.
Shryn saw the ready look in Jershyn’s eye and rushed him, sword raised. Shryn approached Jershyn and swung down. Jershyn blocked the attack with his ax, and quickly swung it horizontally. Shryn had no choice but to jump back; the battleax was far heavier than Shryn’s sword and would easily knock the blade out of Shryn’s hands. Shryn took the opening Jershyn left just after the swing and jabbed him with his sword. The blade struck Jershyn’s arm, drawing thick, dark red blood. Jershyn snarled and punched Shryn in the gut. Shryn had no time to react, and had the wind knocked out of him. He fell on his hands and knees, gasping for air. Jershyn lifted up his battleax and was about to crush Shryn with it. Shryn quickly rolled to the side, the battleax hitting where he had been mere moments ago. Shryn used his leg and swept Jershyn’s legs out from underneath him, sending him to the ground. Shryn stood up and swung his sword. Jershyn quickly blocked the sword strike with the shaft of his battleax.
Shryn blasted Jershyn with fire, who responded in turn with icefire. The two attacks met and reacted. When the two attacks mixed they released a ton of energy, resulting in an explosion that sent Shryn flying into the air. Shryn quickly began flapping his wings, working to stay airborne.
Shryn flew out of the temple; it wasn’t large enough for two drakons to fight in it. He saw Jershyn quickly fly out after him. Shryn led Jershyn to an open part of the sky, a part with no ground beneath it. Jershyn followed.
Shryn prepared himself to attack Jershyn when he sight of something down below. He quickly glanced down, only to see a ray of what seemed to be pure darkness shoot up towards him. It traveled so quickly Shryn had no time to dodge it. The ray enveloped him, knocking him out of the sky and paralyzing his muscles. He couldn’t move. Shryn began falling, falling below the sky island, falling down, towards the Main Land.
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