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Dawn, Blood and Absolution [DRG 2015]

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posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 05:10 PM

Dawn, Blood and Absolution

The public house, near the end of the silk road, was astir with people from the world over. The smell of meat, mead, and humanity filled the large building, the myriad of travelers each engaged in their own private distractions and rituals. Drunken bravado meshed with the seductive whispers of women whose job it was to distract men from anger and into something even more primal. A chorus of lust and gluttony, sung in more languages than one could number, filling the night with defiance.

After all, that is what it was in effect. A defiance of the night. Drunken men, fueled by the presence of beautiful women, raising their voices to the darkness to show that they did not fear. To make it clear that they did not fear.

But the quiet and aged man in the corner knew the truth. He knew that they did fear. He knew their bravado for what it was, tricks meant to disguise the fear that they all suffered under. The oppressive knots and spasms that caused men to soil themselves and to freeze in the face of what the night had to offer them. Only in groups and in the artificial light of countless candles could they act this way. Outside of this environment not a single one of them would dare make a sound... Choosing, instead, to hunker down and hide in some shadow in an inpatient pursuit of the dawn.

The old man knew, all to well, that this was not cowardice he was thinking about. It was simply the way of things. In his many years he had come to terms with the harsh truths of the world. He had seen plagues ravage entire nations into graveyards. He had witnessed entire populations evaporated into a collective of death. He had stared into the eyes of pure evil without flinching or fearing.

Evil, you see, is banal. It has a purpose and function. It is no different than us. But chaos? Randon chance? That was a creature more heartless than any evil the Gods ever visited upon humanity. The old man often wondered, in silence, if even the Gods could be victims of the great wrath of chance.

Such thoughts, he reminded himself Would really anger my patron. And with that he stopped for his patron was not one to anger. This was a lesson learned long ago, and from then on, again and again. Never enrage that which one cannot comprehend.

One of the nearly naked beauties approached his table, offering more mead. He waved his hand over his cup, as he had been doing all night, choosing instead to toss a bit of copper onto the table. If she possessed the language to question why he was sitting in a public house without seeking liquor or women, she apparently chose not to use it. That, in his estimation, was worthy of reward. As worthy of reward as is anything in this wretched world.

Besides, his time for revelry was long past. In fact his time for everything was long past. He had lived more years than any other human that he was aware of, though he often wondered if Cain still walked the lands. Only his patron was his elder, and to call that being human would be blasphemy - a sin that already saturated the old man to the core. How long had he sought to make it right?

He laughed silently but visibly, as the nubile young woman walked away with her free coin. What would she say... what would any of them say if he were to confess his real age and to tell his true story?

A pause came upon him with this thought. Why not? This is my last night. Why not confess to it all? Priests? Bah. Drunks and whores are as Holy as the ones I have met...

Sauntering over to the bar he dropped a large bag of coins - silver, gold, copper, bronze, and a few that he could not even begin to identify and he spake loudly.

"Friends, at least those who understand my native tongue, allow me to buy you all a drink and share a story with you."

The truth was that he was not speaking in his native tongue, but the native tongue of this area, so many looked up in acknowledgement at his words and stared momentarily. As they did the old man turned his head to the publican, saying "I've paid you fair. Start pouring for my friends."

With that, the mead began to flow and the room calmed a bit as a handful stopped to listen to the crazy old man...

"Tonight, we sit at the base of a range of mountains known as the Kush. Of this we are all aware. Of this we will all speak. But I will say what none of you has the courage to say. In the foothills of these mountains lives a being called Fut's-Lung - the devourer of human flesh. The flaming guardian of the Underworld. A dragon. In the morning I shall take my fathers sword and slay Fut's-Lung. What is more, in doing so I shall slay the last living dragon... the last of his kind."

At this a young and impetuous man stood and laughed.

"Gray beard, not only do your words endanger us, but you speak lunacy. Here we are all traders and we know the tales of many lands. There are more of that breed than just one. Brag to the bushes you old fool, because we will not listen to your fantasies. Not even if you pay for it."

Pulling his cloak back, and showing his facial scars the old man stared a hole right into the young traders soul. His blue eyes cutting like knives into the younger mans courage, leaving it gutted and empty like a fish prepared for cooking.

"When I was born there were thirteen dragons left alive. Twelve have I killed. Kur, Naga, Gyo, Wyvern, Y Ddraig Goch, Zmey, Balaur, Evren, Apophis, Fafnir, Guivres - all from the lands you know. Across the great seas I slew Quetzalcoatl. Now I have returned to finish the work and slay the last dragon."

With that the old man began to stare off, as if his mind were elsewhere. As he did a voice rose from the crowd asking "Why? Why would you take on such a task. Assuming that your words bear any truth?"

And with that question the old man knew it was time for his confession. A public house as a surrogate for a Church, and drunks portraying the Priests of the new religion.

"Because, child, a very long time ago I was a Prince. The Prince of a kingdom that brought light to the world and which promised to change the very nature of what it means to live. But my inmaturity was manipulated by those with evil in their hearts and I was led to slay my father, to kill the King. In doing so I brought down the work of God himself. I brought down the wrath of a powerful being. I brought down the darkness that has, since, filled the world. Plagues, wars, the fall of civilization. All this because of my single moment of envy. I have lived for hundreds of years. I bear the unspeakable curse of immortality and the only means of removing it is to destroy a darkness to balance the scales... to make up for the light I extinguished so long ago."

The laughter and mockery that followed was expected. The tender and caring touch of the woman who kept trying to bring mead was not. As the drunkards went back to their debauchery, the old man and his new friend walked upstairs for what he insisted was his last night in this realm.


posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 05:10 PM
When the rising sun broke through the veil of the open window, the woman was gone. That was good. What needed to be done now required focus and commitment and the allure of love would be a distraction to the aged man. He was thankful that he'd know comfort for one last time and that was enough. He said a quick prayer of thanks and set about his work.

His armor was very different than the sort he once wore. In the old times his metallic armor shone like diamonds in the sunlight. But his years of fighting had taught him that the safety it afforded him was too costly to justify the loss of mobility. Dragons were not killed by slow moving men, regardless of what the legends had to say. It took speed and guile to best a relic of the world that once was, not plate. What he now donned was mostly leather with a bit of mail across the chest and neck. If Fut's-Lung were a breather of fire, a shield of metal would be in order. But Fut's-Lung was not a fire dragon... He did not have wings nor take to the air. He was a creature of the land and his tail and teeth were his weapons. Later legends would hail the fire breathers as the most awesome and fearful but, in truth, the Earth dragons were far more dangerous. They lived like worms in caves barely large enough to contain them. They were serpents in every sense of the word and the only way to attack them was head on - to charge right into their waiting maws.

As the old man finished dressing, he opened up the cloth that held his fathers sword. This was something he only did when facing a dragon and the sight of the shimmering blade still held a deep fascination for him. Closing his eyes, he allowed himself to picture his father holding the sword and nearly began weeping at the thought. The only true King I ever met... and I slew him in cold blood...

Walking out of the public house he stopped just long enough to drop the remainder of his coin on the table of a young woman who sat sipping tea. She would be polite enough not to open it until he had been gone for a fair amount of time - and only then would she realize that he had handed her a fortune in gold that not even local royalty could match. She would forever remember his shadowed and cloaked figure as it filled the door and then became smaller and smaller until it was gone. A life of luxury granted by a stranger who never even looked her in the eye.

A last sacrifice to try and destroy the curse... Well a next to last sacrifice.

Walking into the heart of a valley the aged man realized that his prey was not hiding away in a cavern today. Fut's-Lung was laying in the valley, feeding on what was left of a caravan of traders who had made the tragic mistake of trying to shave a few days off of their journey by taking the valley route. Apparently they either did not know the local lore, or opted to ignore it. But none of that mattered as they were just as dead either way.

There was no stealth in the old man's approach. He knew that Fut's-Lung expected him. This was all destined to happen one day or another and the old man and the dragon were both quite aware of this fact.

"FUT'S-LUNG! I HAVE COME FOR YOU! TODAY IT ENDS!" cried the man as he cast off his cloak and unsheathed the broadsword from his side.

The dragon, almost sedated, turned toward the old man with a look of pain and sorrow in his eyes. In this instant the old man knew... The creature was as tired as he was. The curse had lasted too long. Yin and yang, black and white, good and evil... all equally as exhausted and ready for what was to come.

Fut's-Lung spat out half of a trader, turned and said "I have been waiting for you for so very long. I had almost lost faith that you would come. I feared you dead - or worse - a fiction. I can see it in you, as it is within me... the pain. The never ending pain of age. I am ready for this to be finished. Are you human? Are you prepared to sacrifice yourself to allow the world of men to have their light back? I am."

The old man paused. Tears filled his eyes. Never had any of the others spoken to him in such a tone. They had threatened him with all manner of death and torment, but never had he seen pain or humanity in such a being as this. Was this a trick? Could a serpent feel as a human does?

Almost as if Fut's-Lung could read the old man's mind, he said "I have no lies for you human. I am tired. Take your fathers blade and find my heart. But know that balance requires that my teeth find yours at that same moment. There is nothing left for us now. Our world is dead. We no longer belong. Your master knows this. He has spoken to me through the ether of it many times. So come Mordred Pendragon, sink Excalibur into me as you sank it into your father and end this curse for both of us. Let your right undo your great wrong"

Moments later that is exactly what the old man did. Once the most beautiful child in all of the world, adorned in golden armor - now a wrinkled old man in leather rags, he felt the serpents teeth enter him as he weilded Excalibur one final time.

Thousands of miles away, deep in a cave, a being of light once called Merlin briefly smiled and then dissolved into nothingness. The curse of the ancients had been lifted. The curse of the King had been righted. And the light could shine on man once again.

edit on 1/18/15 by Hefficide because: missed a freaking word... again... again.... again

posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 05:29 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

I knew it!

This is a fantastic story, Heff, utterly amazing! That revelation gave me chills! Just excellent, excellent work!

posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 06:06 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

This is so Entirely Awesomely Amazing, I am nearly speechless Heff!!!
Such a Fantastic Tale Woven with Your words!!
Well deserving of More than the one Star and Flag I can offer!!!

Very well done indeed!!!
edit on 18-1-2015 by SyxPak because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 06:10 PM
a reply to: SyxPak

Its kind of a travesty this story only has four flags, mine has seven and this story disembowels mine with a garden hoe. What the heck people!?

posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 06:22 PM
a reply to: CagliostroTheGreat

I know right? I think time of day, day of week all matter on how much these stories are exposed, and to who reads them. Ya know? So give it time. This one should by rights take the Prize!!! I'm just in this one for kicks. Being of Dragon Avatar I had to enter something!
LOL!!! Wouldn't be right for Me to Not do so......

posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 06:29 PM
a reply to: SyxPak

I just enter them for fun, practice and to entertain a bit. But this is quality stuff, if it doesn't take first something is seriously wrong here...

posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 06:43 PM
a reply to: CagliostroTheGreat

I agree on All counts Cagli!! Totally Agree!!!

posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 09:32 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

I just realized why your story might not have as many flags as it should, lol, you forgot to link to the contest thread. I believe it needs to be linked to be an official entry as well.

edit on Cpm9Sunday3220154131Sun, 18 Jan 2015 21:32:41 -06002015 by CagliostroTheGreat because: cannot abide a typo

posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 09:59 PM
Yes you must link your story to enter the contest!!!!

Oh Heff, you have always had a wonderful way with words and I knew this would be something impressive! You have amazing story telling abilities!!!!!!!!!

Now go and link this so you are properly entered.

posted on Jan, 19 2015 @ 04:28 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Gosh, that was a bit of a bodice-ripper, sir! Very manly.

Seriously though, that was beautifully written. You write like someone who reads a lot, if you know what I mean. It's such a privilege to join in these contests with writers like all of you, I learn so much from you all.

Definitely some S and and definitely a F!

B x

posted on Jan, 19 2015 @ 05:13 AM
Nicely done Heff. I really enjoyed it.


posted on Jan, 19 2015 @ 07:51 AM
A blessing to read, Heff.

Thank you.

posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 11:44 PM
You really should consider getting this published. What a great story!

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