Chapter 4: Sound of Silence
“Did he catch her fast enough?”
“No. No one knows what happened to Willow. Rumor has it that the alternate method of time travel either mixed with her powers and sent her back too far, or it damaged her mind so severely that she forgot who she was and how to use her powers. However, fortunately, he ended up exactly where he wanted to be in space and time. He appeared right in his old capital city as his former self was smashing Merp to pieces. Bartender, would you be so kind as to supply me with another drink?”
The bartender smiled, “I have a special treat for you!”
“No way!! You didn’t!!”
The vampire hopped up and down in his chair with excitement as the bartender opened the minifridge under the bar. After what seemed like an eternity to the vampire (which is saying a lot considering that vampires are practically immortal), the special drink was finally revealed.
“SMOOOOTHIIEEEE!!!!” The vampire unhinged his jaws and poured the entire beverage down his throat. His eyes widened and he croaked in pain. ”Braaaaiiiiinfreeeeeeze.” He collapsed onto the floor, cooing and purring. “Ok. I’m good.” He stood up with a smile that was literally almost ear-to-ear. He slowly climbed back into his chair and sat there, thoroughly enjoying life. “Alright, story time.”
note: due to having more than one version of the character,
Khvarikx’s forms will be now referred to as Hvitr and Blakkr
Khvarikx Hvitr saw his younger self obliterating the streets of the flaming city and once again, he was afraid. Khvarikx Blakkr was much larger and more physically fit. After the possession and lack of gold supplements, Hvitr was still a powerful creature, but weak and frail compared to the yet unstoppable dragon lord in his prime. If he had to fight Blakkr, his only advantage was his understanding of magical arts that had developed while trying to unlock the key to traversing inter-universal dimension lines. That wouldn’t really do much considering how healthy and crisp Blakkr’s scales were. They were black as night, but semi-transparent, so you could see his grayish skin underneath where the sunlight reflected. He looked down at his own scales. They were opaque and chipped badly. Whenever he moved, he heard quiet rattling as the scales loosely chattered against each other.
“I thought I killed all of the other dragons.”
Hvitr looked up to see Blakkr standing a few hundred feet away, crouched and ready to strike. “We did and now you’re going to kill all of the humans if I don’t stop you. I’ve come from the future; the wizard set a trap for us. We end up unleashing the demon goddess, Xijan Ol. Trust me, you have to let this one go.”
“Stop saying we, impostor. We are nothing alike. If you and I were the same being, you would help me kill her and then fight me to death for control of this world.”
Both dragons eyed each other warily. It was clear that blood needed to be spilt to resolve this meeting of titans. Every muscle was tense and ready to spring. The overwhelming and deafening sound of silence built tension up like the weight of a thousand dying stars resting upon a single strand of spider web. Hvitr looked deep within himself to repressed feelings he had not manifested since the day he ended all life on earth. He unleashed his old friend, the darkness, the primal wrath of a dragon overcome with lust for glorious victory.
The two beasts launched at each other with furious might. A gust of wind radiated out from the beating of colossal wings, shaking and collapsing many of the surrounding buildings while instantly quelling all of the raging infernos throughout the city. Blakkr and Hvitr collided, shaking the earth to its core and opening fissures in the ground for miles in every direction.
After the initial clash, Hvitr hastily substituted strategies to avoid his weakness and he unleashed his magical superiority. He bit down on Blakkr’s neck, locked his jaws, and expelled a stream of bluish napalm directly onto the damaged area. Blakkr flipped and rolled, dislodging Hvitr’s teeth. No longer contained, the napalm sprayed wildly and as suddenly as the city’s flames were quenched, they rose again with a rekindled ferocity. Hvitr switched to a regular dragonbreath and sent a cone of plasma at Blakkr. Blakkr shrouded himself with his wings, redirecting the energy and thoroughly leveling the city behind him. He returned a similar blast in Hvitr’s direction. Knowing his scales weren’t strong enough to sustain a defense against such power, he dodged to the side, letting the concentrated dragonbreath tear a massive hole in the earth and what was left of the city.
Not sure how effective it would be, but lacking many options, he called upon his black magics. The rubble began to swirl up in several areas, creating giant sand tornadoes. When the dust cleared, there were six behemoth rock monsters ready to crush Blakkr beneath their fists of stone.
The vampire paused from telling the story and look at the bartender. Taking the hint, the bartender opened the minifridge and pulled out a medium-sized ceremonial bowl with various patterns and emblems depicting sorcery of some variety. He placed it in front of the vampire and returned to the minifridge, this time for a large ceramic jar with similar sorcery-related designs. He uttered a quiet unholy mantra and removed the lid. He poured out a portion of the contents into the ceremonial bowl, placed exquisite, golden chopsticks on a decorative napkin, and then offered the dish to the vampire.
“These look like really fat gummy worms,” said the puzzled vampire.
“They are gummy worms...”
“Um... ... ... ... ... ...what?”
“...soaked for a thousand years in blue thunder serpent absinthe!”
“No, only about a week and a half.”
The vampire used the chopsticks to pick up the bowl, tilted it back, and let the slimy salad pour into his waiting jaws of death.
“I don’t feel anything. Was there even any alcohol in that? Why would you dertyjiuop merglee like tharghtsg sfertg asdoploti... optyhgfergie...” The vampire stopped and stared and the bowl blankly for at least a minute and a half without moving.
“Wow. I’ve never seen him this drunk!” exclaimed the amused bartender.
The vampire grumbled, licked his lips, and resumed the story as if he had completely forgotten the last few moments of his life. “The dragons fought for almost a week straight. It was a mostly one-sided fight from the beginning and it became even more so as the days went on. By the end of the fifth day, White Khvarikx could barely stand while the black version was only just beginning to gain momentum. It was right around the 126th hour of their duel that Black Khvarikx finally brought his older self down. The sun was setting, casting an eerie greenish glow through the magically charged combat dust that had arisen throughout the course of the battle. It was as serene and peacefully quiet as it was in the moments before their legendary battle.”
As Khvarikx Hvitr lay in the sand, he felt much lighter. It could’ve been the dizziness from having his head brutally slammed through the side of a mountain by a gigantic dragon. It also could’ve been the realization that he had seen his destiny through to the end and despite failing, he had done everything he could--clearing his conscience and lifting the crushing weight from his shoulders. However, at least 35% of that feeling was the result of losing so much blood. Dragon blood is heavy as hell too. Due to the the fact that dragons have such alternatively designed physiology, their blood is practically dark red, molten gold. It’s why resting on a pile of gold is the dragon equivalent of drinking green tea and eating a healthy GMO-free diet.
Hvitr looked up at Khvarikx Blakkr who was now emanating a blackish aura which seemed to vacuum and devour the remaining the light from the sun as it set on the horizon. The aura was quite terrifying, but what really worried Hvitr was Blakkr’s left eye. Normally, it was primarily blue with a hint of green. Now, it was purple with hints of grey. Hvitr gazed into the metamorphosed eye with alarm. Then, he noticed that Blakkr’s scales were nearly opaque and his wings were a much deeper shade of black. He could barely make out the wrinkles and veins in the once-dark-grey sheets adorning the bones sprouting from Blakkr’s shoulders.
Blakkr pushed Hvitr’s head down into the dirt with one claw and seized hold of his neck with the other. He stretched his wings out, shook the dust from them, and then folded them neatly behind his back. He opened his jaws and bared his fangs. He opened them even further, the bottom jawbones separating and completely unhinging, until the top and bottom halves of his mouth were at almost parallel with each other. He coiled his neck back and snapped, sinking into Hvitr’s neck.
Hvitr croaked weakly. He could feel his entire existence draining from his body. His memories faded from his mind--he forgot who he was, what he was, where he was, and even if he was. One final attempt to raise another mindless shell of an elemental monster proved useless as a pile of rocks came together briefly before crumbling to the earth. His body no longer felt pain, his eyes no longer perceived light, his tongue no longer tasted the blood in his mouth, his nose no longer caught the smells of a ravaged world, and for a split-second, the only sensory messages coming from his nervous system were the sickening sounds of Blakkr tightening his jaws and severing Hvitr’s neck. Khvarikx Blakkr unlocked his jaws, stood back on his hind legs, grinned wickedly, and watched the decapitated head roll away.
“THE GOOD DRAGON DIED?! THAT’S A HORRIBLE STORY!!” Ryssa screamed.
“Neither of them were actually ‘good’ dragons,” replied the vampire. “The white dragon was trying to save humanity, but that just because he felt guilty for killing them. The black dragon was just being a dragon. He didn’t know any better until after he and killed himself and absorbed his future memories.”
“Wait, how did he do that?” asked the bartender.
“The creature that bit White Khvarikx in the other world transmitted its virus to him. Khvarikx had been possessed by a demon already, so he wasn’t affected; he was only a carrier. During the fight with himself, he bit and clawed Black Khvarikx many times, passing it on. The virus went into effect and changed the Black Khvarikx sometime during the third day. After he won, it caused him to perform the leeching ritual and he gained all of the victim’s abilities and memories.”
“So...the black dragon is a vampire?” asked Ryssa.
“It’s the same virus, so I suppose so.”
“That was a cool story. I still wish it had a better ending.”
“Oh, it’s not over yet. The story is actually just beginning.”
The bartender laughed excitedly and walked into a storage closet. He came out holding an odd trophy depicting a golden penguin wearing a flat-brimmed hat that said “SWEG” in bold letters. He handed the trophy to the vampire along with a fancy certificate. The vampire giggled with glee and accepted the trophy. Then he saw the writing on the pedestal.
CLICHE OF THE YEAR AWARD 2015
“That’s just rude,” he growled. “Story time is over! I’m going home to cry about how mean you people are.”
“See you tomorrow night?”
The door burst open and a man passed through, drawing a large handgun. Two others followed closely, holding submachine guns and they slammed the door behind them.
“DO ANYTHING STUPID AND YOU ALL DIE!” The leader shouted, clearly trying to lower the pitch of his voice to sound more menacing. He held open a green bag with a comical yellow dollar sign on the side.
“ALL OF YOUR MONEY. NOW.”
The bartender smiled and emptied a bottle of scotch into a shot glass in front of the vampire. The bottle was still over half full and the glass was only slightly above average, so most of the scotch ended up on the bar itself. The vampire clutched the sides of his chair and frantically hopped up and slightly to the side, attempting to move safely out of the potential crossfire between the owner of the establishment and the intruders without having to leave the comfort of his seat. He didn’t get far enough away to satisfy his tastes, so he hissed and disappeared in a swarm of bats which started screeching loudly and flying around the bar, searching for an exit. The bats merged together as the vampire by the door. He apologized quickly, opened the door, and then reverted to his bat army form, vanishing into the night sky.
The bartender flipped the empty bottle up and caught it by the neck. He narrowed his eyes and judged the distance between himself and his targets.