Inner Strength ( Part I )– Bitter Destiny
By, Flamedramon Lover
Darting eyes, crisp flames filled the room, as a small creature looked around not sure what to do. Hiding under the bed everything was so dark and smoky, he could barely breathe. Gasping for air he peaked from under the bed his eyes trying to see through the smoke overhearing the voices that had attacked his peaceful home. “He isn’t here let’s go.” “Lord Byron isn’t going to be happy when he finds out we weren’t able to wipe out the Dramon Brood.” “Well we’ll have to deal with that later, what isn’t here isn’t here. I just don’t get it, why does Lord Byron want them dead anyways?” “Something about a pendant…”
Blinking his eyes he dives back under the bed hearing what the soldiers were saying. Wondering what was going on, and what was this pendant he heard the door slam as a heavy thump hit the door. Waiting for a moment seeing it was safe, he dashed out from under the bed pushing against the door. It had been locked in place! He was trapped inside his building house… he had to get out lest he was burned to death, searching around the creature scrambles from here to there trying to find a way out.
Spotting a window he judged he could probably get out if he jumped through it, grabbing the only thing that was of any value, a sword that he had hidden under the bed he jumped against the window tumbling out onto the scorched grass. Picking himself up he took off from the burning house leaving the place forever, wanting to forget the memories that it had given him, it would be forever be buried in his memory.
10 years later…
Smiling Flamey gave Exxy a big hug. “Exxy, I’m so happy here with you, I never want it to change.” Nodding slowly Exxy smiled hugging Flamey closely giving him a quick lick on the muzzle playfully. Laughing in happiness Flamey danced around the room, he was far away from the past… the past that haunted him. He was now happily living with Exxy in which they were very close. The sword was well hidden, away from all view… only Flamey knew of its location, or he thought he did.
Their moment of happiness was interrupted by a knock on the door. Blinking Flamey turned around and walked to the door opening it, standing in front of the doorway was a tall dark shadow, wide wings expanded from the back of the large dragon as its tail swayed back and forth. “Vimmy!” Flamey cried out in joy leaping into the dragon’s arms. Smiling Vagrant caught his younger adopted brother and stroked his head fondly. “So Flamey have you been good?” Smiling and nodding up and down as he rubbed his face against Vagrant.
Vagrant chuckles, smiling at Exxy as he holds Flamey tightly, Exveemon walks over and invites Vagrant into the house as Vagrant half carries Flamey in and closes the door behind him with a quick flick of his tail. Setting Flamey down gently he looks at Exveemon as his face changes from the smile to a different look. “Flamey… maybe you should go out and get some water from the well, Vagrant will be staying with us tonight. Nodding obediently Flamey leaps and runs out the back door a bucket in his right hand.
“Well Vagrant what is it? News from the East?” Exveemon inquired slowly looking at Vagrant. Shuffling for a second Vagrant nods, “Yes, Lord Byron has gotten word that there is a Dramon around in this area.” Exveemon looks at Vagrant slowly, “Are you telling me Flamey has to leave?” Nodding slowly Vagrant sighs letting out a puff of smoke as well, “He is so happy here, I hate to take him away to someplace new.” “I understand Vagrant, but for Flamey’s safety as well as everyone else…”
Sitting down heavily on the sofa Vagrant looks up at Exveemon. “Flamey is going to be disappointed you know… he might even disagree with us.” “Yeah, plus, Flamey and I are really close now, I really don’t want to be away from him.” Vagrant raises an eyebrow at Exveemon, “Meaning?” “Huh?” Exveemon smiles nervously, “Well just because I have been caring for him all this time… I feel strong love for him…” “I understand that…” Vagrant replies slowly, “But he must leave here.” “I understand.”
The back door slams as Flamey comes in with a bucket full of water. “Exxy, Vagrant! I’m back!” Flamey calls setting the water in the kitchen and running into the living area giving Exxy a big hug, “I love it here, it’s so peaceful and quiet.” He said, his eyes always shone with a bright light, representing his happiness.
Exveemon gave Vagrant a look shaking his head slowly just long enough for Vagrant to understand before turning to Flamey giving him a big hug. “I know you like it here, that’s why we are here.” He said to Flamey as Flamey flounces of to somewhere else, probably his room to do something. “You can’t take him away from here… he just won’t be able to handle it, look at how happy he is…” “I know… I can see that… maybe we can elude Lord Bryon for a while… until Flamey gets older and understands.”
Nodding slowly Exveemon walks to the kitchen, leaving Vagrant to his thoughts alone in the living area. Inside his room Flamey digs under the bed for a small black box he had put there a long time ago, he had kept it hidden for a long time, but now he had to look at it… he was guessing the time was near. Pulling the black box out he opens it slowly looking at the golden color gleaming from inside. A small chain was attached to a round amulet with the small inscription of a dragon, a blazing fire, with a sword in the middle.
Flamey had often spent time looking at this amulet, it was important to him like the way the sword was important to him, one day he would learn to use it, for a good cause and help the world. Until then he would keep his hidden away. Closing the box slowly he lowers his eyes as he slides it back under the bed putting it back into hiding for now. Unaware to him was a pair of eyes watching him.
A tapping is heard on the doorframe as Flamey turns around slowly blinking his reddish brown eyes looking up at the person who tapped the doorframe. “Oh hi Vagrant, what are you doing here? Spying on me?” Giggling Flamey gets up and gives his brother a big hug. Stroking his younger brother’s head gently Vagrant shakes his head, “No, just wondering if you would like to go on a picnic with me… Exxy has everything prepared.” “Really? Can we go sit under the trees in the forest?” “Anywhere you like Flamey.” “Yay!” Flamey cheers running to the kitchen almost running into Exxy. “Flamey, slow down, you could get hurt.” Giggling with joy Flamey nuzzles into Exxy’s chest, “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine, plus, you’re always there watching me right?” “Yeah…” Exxy says with a slight blush looking to Vagrant for help.
Vagrant just smirks and leans against the wall watching Flamey. Flamey pulls away from Exxy and flounces back to Vagrant smiling happily. “So when are we leaving Vagrant?” Vagrant slowly casts a gaze at Exxy and nods slowly, “Tomorrow morning Flamey, better say goodbye to Exxy too, this picnic will be a long one…” “W…What… do you mean Vagrant?” “Flamey… you’ll know soon enough… just go out and have some fun… I’ll call you when dinner is ready.” Flamey looks at Vagrant blinking his reddish brown eyes as if confused slightly… nodding slowly he walks outside closing the door, hearing the door close Vagrant looks at Exxy seriously.
“Ex…” “Yes I know, he has to leave as soon as possible, he isn’t safe here anymore.” “That’s right, you’re going to have to say goodbye to him, tonight. We may never be back…” Exxy looks at Vagrant in horror, before looking down towards the floor, “Vagrant you know that…” “It’s possible Exxy, I’m telling you because I know what you feel towards Flamey…” Exxy raises his head and looks at Vagrant surprise in his eyes, “You… do?” “Yes… and that’s why I’m telling you…” Sighing slowly Exxy turns and walks away from the room into the kitchen looking out the window at Flamey playing in the flowers.
Vagrant walks to the kitchen standing behind Exxy slowly putting a hand on his shoulder. “Vagrant… just look at him…” Exxy says slowly tears coming to his own amber colored eyes. “He’s so happy here, what is going to happen to him? He loves it here…” “I really don’t know Exxy… I really don’t know… but I can’t let him get hurt, and he isn’t safe here…” Sighing heavily Exxy turns to Vagrant, “Vagrant, you know how much this place means to him, he might grow up with a extreme hatred for those who ruined his happy childhood.” Vagrant blinks his eyes slowly never considering that, “Exxy, we can only hope he won’t… we can only hope…”
Later that night…
Flamey snuggles down in the warm sheets in his soft bed laying his head gently on the pillow feeling his ears push slightly up against his head. Hearing the handle of the door turn he opens his eyes looking at the door. As the door opens a cold wave of air seeps into the room making Flamey curl down deeper under the sheets. A large creature steps into the room walking over to the bed as he sits down slowly he pulls the covers away from Flamey’s face. Looking up slowly Flamey sighs in relief seeing that it was only Vagrant.
“Vagrant, you scared me.” “Oh… I’m sorry Flamey, I just wanted to talk to you about something.” “Really? What do you want to talk about Vagrant?” “Well… Flamey, tomorrow you and I aren’t just going on a picnic…we are going on a long trip… away from home.” “But why Vagrant? I like it here…” “I know you do Vagrant, but you aren’t safe here… just trust me Flamey…” Vagrant says slowly as he places a warm hand on Flamey’s head covering his eyes slowly, “Just sleep and trust me… “ Flamey reaches out and grabs Vagrant’s other hand with his own blue hands squeezing down tightly, “I trust you Vagrant… I do…”
Exxy lays in bed thinking about what happened just a bit ago with Flamey and him, it was the last time… Thinking about these brought tears to his eyes as he brushes them away with a large hand turning in bed laying his face in the pillow crying softly. “I’m going to miss you Flamey… I really am…”
The Next Morning…
Chirping birds and bright rays of sunlight shine down into Flamey’s room waking him up. Hearing voices outside he crawls out of bed shivering from the slight cold of the morning as he walks to his door poking his head out. Looking around seeing Vagrant and Exxy sitting across one another. Vagrant notices Flamey and stops talking turning to him smiling, “Good Morning Flamey, did you sleep well?” “Yeah thanks Vagrant, what were you two talking about?” “Just about the trip you and Vagrant are going to take.” “Okies.” Flamey walks out of his room running to the kitchen to grab some breakfast… maybe some fruit.
3 hours later
Vagrant and Flamey stand outside the small warm cozy home Flamey had lived in for many years. “Goodbye Exxy, I’ll come back!” Exxy smiles and gives Flamey a big hug as Vagrant hefts up the large pack containing their supplies. “Flamey, you be good now on the trip and listen to Vagrant.” Flamey nods, nuzzling Exxy gently against the neck, “Don’t worry Exxy… I’ll be good.” Smiling Exxy pulls out a small round disk about 1 cm in diameter the top has a small hole where a chain can be run through. “Here Flamey, take this to remember me by… it’s made from the strongest metal in the world, nothing could ever pierce it…” Flamey hugs Exxy tightly, “Thank you Exxy…”
Flamey unfastens the chain around his neck slipping the small shimmering white metal disk on it next an amulet of the same color and luster. Vagrant taps Flamey lightly on the shoulder… “Let’s go Flamey…” Flamey looks at Exxy tears in his eyes as he clings to Exxy crying into his chest… “I don’t want to leave… please…” Vagrant blinks his eyes holding back tears, as Exxy tries to stay strong for Exxy smiling and trying not to cry. “Don’t worry Flamey, you said you would be back right?” Exxy asks, stroking Flamey’s ears gently. Flamey nods slowly as Exxy pulls him away slightly brushing the tears away from Flamey’s muzzle. “Just think of me… when you look at the emblem I gave you…” Exxy smiles and gives Flamey one last hug as he walks inside the house closing the door.
Flamey blinks not sure what to do… turning to Vagrant he looks up at him. “Will we ever be back?” “I’m sure Flamey… we will.” Vagrant says… not really believing it… but he didn’t have any choice. Nudging Flamey gently he walks down the path towards the forest, Flamey walking next to him quietly taking one last look at his home… brushing a tear away. “Don’t be sad Flamey, we’ll be back one day… trust me…” Flamey takes hold of Vagrant’s hand and squeezes tightly, “I trust you Vagrant…” Flamey says rubbing his face gently into the hand, making Vagrant feel guiltier and more resolved than ever… Flamey must come back home one day…
Holding onto Vagrant tightly Flamey casts his gaze across the long road that lay in front of them, a dusty pale brown road that seemed to stretch on forever. “Vagrant… are we going down there?” Caught in his moment of thought Vagrant misses what Flamey said, “Huh? Flamey what did you say?” “Are we going that road?” Flamey says pointing at the road that was in front of them, shaking his head Vagrant looks at Flamey, “Too dangerous, you see when we are on this trip we have to be careful, we will take small roads…”
Nodding slowly Flamey allows Vagrant to lead him to the small road into the forest. “Woo, I haven’t been here for a long time… it doesn’t seem changed at all…” Flamey remarks looking up at the trees and the leaves, the leaves seemed to glimmer with a waxy luster. The leaves crunching underfoot was undeniable, even if it was summer, the leaves from the previous years were still there. Waving his tail to and fro behind him Flamey inhales the fresh forest air, enjoying the smell.
Back at home Exxy watches from the window as Vagrant and Flamey disappear into the forest. “Flamey… I love you… please come back to me soon…” Exxy whispers out quietly before turning away from the window his eyes glimmering with tears, walking to his room he presses his face into his pillow trying to ease the pain as his tears flow from his eyes down his muzzle into the pillow. After nine years of being with Flamey he never thought he would have to leave one day. His heart aching from the sadness of losing his dearest one of all… he passes the time…
Stopping in a small clearing where the sun shone down like a bright beacon Vagrant pats Flamey gently on the back. “We can rest here a bit, are you sore from all this walking Flamey?” Shaking his head and smiling he nuzzles Vagrant gently in the chest, “I’m fine, I’m going off to play, I’ll be back in a bit!” Flamey dashes off into the forest leaving a dumbfounded Vagrant. “Flamey come back!” Seeing no Flamey Vagrant, dashes after him.
Laughing and rolling Flamey runs through the forest feeling free and relaxed, in moments of playing he forgets about the pains he had been carrying with him. Coming to a large tree he looks up at its sheer size and massive trunk. Blinking his eyes slowly he shakes his head feeling something from inside the tree calling his name… Walking closer he circles the tree once making a close inspection of it. Finding nothing he blinks brining his cheek against it pressing his ear to the trunk listening for any sound at all. Hearing nothing he shrugs and dives into the leaves at the base of the tree.
Peeking out from under the leaf pile he watches as Vagrant dashes into view. Trying to stifle a giggle, watching Vagrant search around for him, “The tracks end here… where is he…” Vagrant examines the forest floor carefully noticing two blue ears poking out from the leaves. Holding back a chuckle he walks slowly towards the bump in the leaves, almost stepping onto it. “Boo!” Flamey leaps out from under the leaves catching Vagrant in a tight hug. Vagrant smiles and strokes Flamey’s ears, “Don’t go running off anymore, we have to be careful…” “But why Vagrant?” Flamey says with a slight whine in his voice. “Because…it is dangerous…” Blinking Flamey shakes his head. “Nuh Uh… It’s safe here.”
Vagrant shakes his head knowing there wasn’t any point arguing with Flamey, just hoping Flamey would listen to him. “Now, Flamey… you should listen to me… remember what Exxy said?” Nodding, “Yeah Exxy said to listen to you.” “Good… then listen to me.” “Okies.” Vagrant releases a sigh relief thinking to himself how easy that was. Flamey glances down looking at the chain around his neck noticing it was missing. “Vagrant! Exxy’s gift… it’s gone!” Flamey starts to sniffle afraid he had lost his gift on the first day.
Vagrant looks around seeing a slight glimmer on the trunk of the large tree, “Flamey would that be it?” He says with a slight smile. Rushing to it Flamey grabs hold of Exxy’s gift and strings it on the chain again putting it around his neck. “Bad tree, stealing Exxy’s gift.” Flamey shuns the tree and smiles as he turns around, his tail brushing the amulet that was still on the tree trunk down as it hits the base of the tree a small wind blows by.
Shivering slightly, Flamey turns and looks around at the tree for a moment. Vagrant stares at the tree for a moment perplexed feeling a strange energy radiating from the tree. “Flamey get away from that tree… something is not right about it.” Vagrant walks to Flamey and wraps his wings around Flamey pulling him away from the tree. The tree lets out a deep groan as if from the deep confines of its center as the amulet opens casting out a strange blue, silvery light.
Floating slightly into the air the amulet hovers above a small indentation in the tree as it floats there Vagrant walks forwards to reach out and grab it. As soon as his hand comes near a bright blinding blue light erupts from the amulet, causing Vagrant to fall back shielding his eyes. Flame blinks his reddish brown eyes as the amulet glows watching the marvelous spectacle. The amulet slowly floats back and clicks into the indentation of the tree.
A sharp cracking sound is heard as from the place the amulet pressed in a thin blue line starts to appear moving straight up the tree, the thin blue line gave off a blue eerie glow. Suddenly the amulet twisted the small S like shape connecting with both ends of the blue line that had gone up and down the tree as the cracking stopped and a low moan was heard as the tree split… Falling down like two massive towers the sides of the tree hit the ground with a deafening crash. Watching in amazement Flamey breaks free of Vagrant’s wings and walks up to the base of the tree watching a small silvery white object form.
Blinking his eyes slowly as he reaches out slowly with his hand, slowly he inches his hand forwards as his fingers touch the white silvery substance it makes his body feel warm and strong. Behind him Vagrant stares seeing that the amulet did not send Flamey back with its power. His mouth closed tightly his eyes glimmering Flamey wraps his hand around the object as it slowly begins to solid forming a silvery blue metal, the sheen shining like a clear pond. From the metal bar it extends down intricate dragon carvings cut into the metal as it swirls around two metal bars jut out on each end a bright blue sapphire stone.
Flamey blinks his eyes in surprise as the metal slowly glides down forming a bright blade, double edged on both sides it glowed with a bluish white light. Feeling like almost nothing in his hand he turns his hand so the sword is pointing up as the sunlight shines off of it. Glimmering like little diamonds on the blue blade the energy pulsates from the blade. Flamey reaches through the blue wall of light around a second silvery white shape as it quickly forms into a sheath. Sliding the sword into the sheath he turns it and looks at the side as the light subsides.
Noticing some strange script he rubs his hand over it slowly trying to determine what it was… Vagrant fully recovered by now runs up to Flamey and looks over his shoulder at the script. “Flamey that’s written in ancient dragon script… loosely translated I can only see a few words…” “Vagrant what does it say?” “Let me read it… Elsydeon I am… I am yours…” Shaking his head slowly, “I can’t read the rest, it’s too blurred out…” Flamey holds the sword tightly in his hand gripping the sheath as he repeats the name…” Elsydeon… Elsydeon…”
Vagrant nods, “Flamey we should leave now… someone could be after us… they must have heard the tree fall.” “Okay Vagrant.” Bending down Flamey picks up the amulet that had fallen to the ground, winding it around his neck again he looks at Vagrant, ‘Okay… I’m ready to go…” Vagrant turns and walks through the forest, Flamey holding the sheath of the sword in one hand and catching up with Vagrant to hold onto his tail with his left hand. “Vagrant… how far do we have to go today?” “Well… after the sun sets… we can rest… I don’t want to push you to hard the first day.” Nodding slowly, “Okay Vagrant, after the sunsets we will.”
Leading the way Vagrant watches carefully through the trees for anything that might be of nuisance or danger. Seeing nothing he led Flamey through the forest, as the sky slowly got darker and darker. Flamey holds onto the sword tightly in his hand as he looks up at the sky which was painted brightly with reds, oranges, purples and other colors revealing a beautiful sunset. Flamey smiles looking at the sky enjoying the view as Vagrant leads him through the forest. He felt safe and secure with his brother nearby.
As the sun slowly creeps under the horizon Vagrant looks around deciding that they should stay the night there he stops. “Flamey we can rest here tonight, and we get back moving tomorrow.” “Okay.” Flamey sits down on a tree trunk and stretches his leg looking at Vagrant and the pack on his back. “Heh, Flamey you’re hungry aren’t you?” Nodding slowly he smiles and reaches out towards the pack. Vagrant smiles and sets the pack on the ground opening it up as he pulls out some bread and salted meat as well as a canteen of water. Handing it over to Flamey, Flamey takes it and smiles taking a big bite out of the bread. Shaking his head Vagrant pulls out a loaf of bread out of the giant pack and starts to eat.
Munching on his loaf taking a small bite of the meat Flamey looks around and then back down to the sword on his lap. Blinking still not sure what to do with it he sets it down on the ground covering it with some leaves until tomorrow. If he couldn’t figure out what to do with it, he may as well just bury it and think about it the next day. Vagrant watches Flamey for a moment deciding not to question him as he slides a piece of meat between his bread taking a big bite chewing contentedly.
Flamey finishes his bread and hands back half of the uneaten meat to Vagrant as he takes a drink from the canteen coughing for a second. “Vimmy, this isn’t water, it’s alcohol.” “Whoops… I guess I gave you the wrong one…” Taking Flamey’s canteen he switches it with another one. Flamey takes a small sip finding it to be water he takes a few deep drinks enjoying the fresh flavor. “Thanks Vimmy.”
Yawning Flamey walks over to the pack pulling out a small pad spreading it out on the leaves right over the buried sword as he lies down on the pad. Vagrant smiles and pulls out a blanket covering it over his younger brother. Flamey curls his tail under the covers and closes his eyes snuggling down onto the pad falling asleep quickly. Vagrant glances at his small brother fast asleep, deciding to keep watch for a bit he leans against a tree while sitting on his own pad waiting and listening.
A silent Vagrant snoozes against the tree trunk as his eyes closed from the weight of sleepiness. His wings folded behind him, his ears unmoving and silent as a distant owl sounds it’s call. From deep within the forest… another group was moving slowly small clinking sounds move from the group. Two scouts up ahead carefully map their way through the forest unknowingly heading towards Flamey and Vagrant. One of the scouts spots two figures in the darkness, the moonlight giving them away. Dashing back to the leader of the group, a hushed order is given out.
Slowly the men moved towards Flamey and Vagrant, five in all, each one armed to the teeth and ready to do what they were assigned to do. Crawling closer they ducked under a trunk watching Vagrant and Flamey. Casting an eye on Flamey the leader of the small group whispers something, which is passed by from one to the next. Nodding slowly to each other they advance on Flamey, the leader pulls out a small white vial pouring a bit of it on a white cloth he presses it to Flamey’s muzzle hard.
Flamey opens his eyes in surprise and is about to cry out as the chemicals take effect knocking him out. One of the men cast a wary look at the massive dragon to one side and looks at the leader. Shaking his head the man nods as they pick Flamey up and slowly make their way back to the main group. Once arriving the men dash water on Flamey’s face as he blinks his eyes waking up slowly, looking around at the people around him noticing it wasn’t Vagrant he opens his mouth to yell… yet something stops him.
Looking down he looks around at the sniggering men around him and the brown leather straps over his muzzle keeping it closed tightly. Two men come from behind Flamey and grab him tightly. Flamey turns around struggling as he kicks and lashes his tail at his captors, more pile onto him as he is held down fast and 4 sharp clicks are heard before the men back off, one had a large bruise from where Flamey had head butted him. Flamey looks around and down at his hands and feet seeing something he thought he would never see.
Black repulsive rings around his limbs were attached to a main chain line weighing him down as he struggled to stand up straight. His tail whipped from side to side tired and sleepy. Glancing from side to side with his slightly dimmer reddish brown eyes looking at the other young creatures chained up to the slave line. A jerk from the chain in front of him signified the start of movement as the creature in front of him started to move, unused to this Flamey tripped and fell over hitting his face on the ground. A slaver near him getting angry pulled out his whip lashing it across his back, the 9 separate tails cutting into his fur and flesh.
Searing pain ran through his body as he winced from whip slash, struggling up he followed behind the creature in front of him not wanting to get whipped again, feeling something trickle he knew he must be bleeding. All those years with a protective life with Exxy had made him soft… and his skin was anything but enduring. Walking slowly and weakly he did his best to keep up with the rest of the slaves chained up around him, him being the newest to this he kept stumbling each time he was rewarded with a heavy whip slash.
6 Hours Later
Walking through the darkness he had grown weary and could barely see anymore, he just looked down careful not to trip and kept walking without ability at all. Deep inside he was waiting, he knew Vagrant would come save him, it was only a matter of time, the men wouldn’t have a chance against his brother, heck, they would probably run from him when they saw such a huge dragon descending on them in pure fury. Allowing him a glance up he saw he was no longer in the night sky, no wonder it was so cold, all around him was rock, heavy rock walls.
His eyes looked from side to side, streaks of black coal ran down the sides of the tunnel as torches here and there kept things alight. Shivering slightly his fur slightly not enough to keep him warm as he walked on feeling the rocks underfoot, the cold trickling of a stalactite hitting his head. Glancing at his slavers he noticed there were exceptionally quiet and seemed to leave the slaves alone even if they did stumble… something wasn’t right here.
The torches flickered as the shadows curved around corners casting eerie images inside the tunnel. A sharp yelp of pain came from somewhere behind him, as the yelp of pain echoed through the tunnel was filled with the sound of sharp clicking as if something was running towards him. Turning his head back he noticed 5 dark shapes running towards the main slave chain, large reptiles, definitely not intelligent, they communicated with a series of roars, screeches and growls. “Run for it!” The head slave driver yelled as the chain was jerked heavily knocking him off his feet. Being dragged along the monsters gained on them. Struggling to his feet he ran forwards as fast as he could passing a few of the slaves in front of him.
His eyes glimmered as he was running for his life, suddenly a sharp pull on his chain almost knocked him back as a scream of dismay echoed through the cave. Turning behind he saw that the monsters had gotten one of the slaves and was in the process of devouring the pour soul as the 4 other monsters advanced wanting a meal as well. Yelping in fear he leaped forwards nearly jerking the dismantled slave out from the monster’s mouth. Roaring in anger the monster advanced speedily.
Flamey took this advantage and dashed forwards pulling the rest of the slaves with him as he ran as fast as he could, the monsters following at their fastest. Heavy pounding was hear from up ahead as he glanced around wondering what was happening now, suddenly a bright flash of light filled the tunnel as the slaves ran through a heavy stone door. Running out onto the soft green grass as the last of the slaves came through the heavy rock door was slammed closed, followed by 5 separate thuds and the wailing of the monsters.
The dead slave was tossed away somewhere as the rest of the slaves panted and looked around inside the mountain. There were apparently inside a dead volcano, over the years grass had grown and bandits must have been using it as hideout. Hearing clinging he looked to one side seeing at least 45 miserable slaves chained together hitting the wall of the volcano with picks guarded by slavers who whipped them if they went to slow. At first he wasn’t sure what they were doing, but as a large gem popped out he nodded. The volcano had substantial pressure in the past with the heat many of the carbon items had been pushed together compacting them into the diamonds.
Somewhere in a land about 3500 miles away, a dark form stands on a balcony, everywhere else is shrouded with darkness, nothing is visible but the figure and the 3 large birds on his arm, if you could call it an arm. Hissing he gives his orders to the birds, “Find me a Dramon, he holds the key to what I need… find him and report back to me.” With a loud screech all 3 birds took off into the dark sky as the dark figure releases a dark laugh knowing soon it will be time.
The dark figure knew the creature was in the west, but where he wasn’t sure, and these birds would be his eyes and ears, and he would find where that Dramon was… and then seek and kill…
Panting heavily Flamey swung the pick at the hard stonewall toiling away next to the other slaves, the chains attached to him limbs made the work hard and tiring. Holding out his strength and hope trying to keep his courage he kept hoping that Vagrant would come soon. Glancing around from side to side he didn’t see any way to get in except from the top of the mountain… he hoped Vagrant would fly down… Wincing as a rather hard stone caused his pick to quiver in his hand.
As he glanced around between each strike he noticed that the sides of the mountain were lined with watchers… if Vagrant came down through the top the arrows would get him… with or without his armor… there were so many of them. Shivering not wanting to think about it anymore he returned back to his forced labor. He had lost count of the times the whips had hit his back, each time only leaving scars upon the scars before… it had only been a few hours but everything seemed like an eternity already.
Stretching and rubbing his eyes Vagrant wakes up looking around nudging where Flamey was sleeping gently. “Flamey, time to get up, we have a long day ahead of us.” Blinking his eyes not seeing anyone there he looked around for a note or something, Flamey wasn’t really the kind of brother that just gets up and leaves. Feeling around under where Flamey had been sleeping he found the sword gently covered with some leaves. Thinking for a moment he takes it in his hand only to be blinded by the same blue flash from before.
Dropping the sword back down he covers it again, apparently whatever the sword was, it didn’t like anyone else holding it except Flamey. Leaning his head back he calls into the air, “Flamey!!! COME BACK NOW!” He calls out waiting to hear a reply, or usually Flamey’s style would be to run out of the woods and pounce on him. After listening for a few minuets he notices that there was absolutely no reply at all.
Sniffing the air for a moment he smelled something strangely familiar… a stunning draught… looking around he carefully inspected the area for anything that could have brought on the strange smell… usually it was some plant, but strangely there was a twig broken here… Vagrant’s keen tracking eyes kicked into action as he looked around spotting a small strand of blue on a nearby tree. Suiting up and strapping everything on he carefully wrapped the sword in a cloth careful not to touch it and places it in the bag.
Following the small trail he finds a large amount of tracks, these people didn’t even bother trying to cover their tracks, broken twigs, foot prints and everything else were here and there. Walking along the tracks he noticed something else… between the tracks there were grooves as if something heavy had been dragged along, thinking it must have just been a large set of sleds, but it made no sense…
His eyes caught sight of something else that gave him a clue… a carelessly thrown away wooden rod that was leather bound… on the end it appeared to be 9 leather strips that stretched out. Thinking for a moment he guessed it… a slaving band had been through here… so they took Flamey? Most likely… Becoming alarmed Vagrant runs along the tracks quickly trying to find where Flamey was, the tracks were clear enough to run through as his eyes looked around trying to spot a flash of blue anywhere.
A glimmer up ahead caught his eye as he ran forwards stooping down as he picks up the small glimmering object attached to a silvery white chain. All his worst fears were confirmed… it was Flamey’s gift from Exxy along with the amulet. Strengthening his resolve to find Flamey and bring him back safe and sound with him. But where could he be? The tracks would lead him to Flamey, bending his head down he follows the tracks…
The winding trail went around large trees over a small pass and onto the main road. Glancing around for a second, Vagrant doesn’t see anyone present, giving himself a reassuring second look before following the trail. The sun was starting to set in the sky, he had been following the trail for almost six hours now and he still hadn’t seen any sign of Flamey or his captors.
As the sun slowly sank lower and lower under the horizon the long shadows bent around the trees, the wind rustled the leaves, and Vagrant was getting very worried. He had come to the end of the trail, usually this would mean the discovery of Flamey… but this time there was no Flamey or anyone at all. He couldn’t locate a single living thing that would communicate with him in the area. All that was in front of him was a large mountain, and nothing else. “Dang it… where is he?” Vagrant mumbled to himself giving the rock a kick.
Far on the other side of the rock that Vagrant just kicked, Flamey was toiling hard under the watchful eyes of cruel slavers. “Get working! No slacking! You there! Get back work!” The slave master yelled as he lifted his whip snapping it against the back of the poor creature that was resting just slighting panting hard from the day. Flamey glanced over at the cruel Slave Master… wanting to do something… he bared his teeth and growled as other slavers crowded around the poor horse-anthro. “Hit him harder! Show him not to slack off work!” The guards yelled in encouragement.
“Stop it!” Flamey yelled not able to bear anymore, he had never been part of violence but beating a poor defenseless slave was too much for him. Forgetting his own predicament he leapt at his the slave master sinking his small Dramon teeth into the man’s neck. “Arrrgg!” The Slave Master screamed out as he fell to the ground. Flame clung on doggedly ripping at the cruel man’s neck over and over again with his teeth. His white muzzle fur was stained with something it had never been stained with… human blood. The blood of another living thing had never entered his mouth, and he didn’t know what to do except continue fighting.
Now… the guards had become fully aware what was happening… as the other slaves began to revolt as well using their picks as weapons slamming them against the head of their tormentors. The guards fell back as the Slave Master gave one last gasp for life and passed away, his throat wholly cut away by Flamey’s sharp teeth. Further up the mountain the alarm was sounded as guards rushed out from the deeper chasm of the cave armed with large whips and shields. Beating down anyone that got in their way, they proceeded to break up the riot as the leader walked out from behind the wall of shields.
Flamey stood up slowly and looked at the man he was tall, and quite lean, with a heavy layer of chain mail over his body. “You were the one… who started this weren’t you?” He asked pointing an accusing finger at Flamey. Flamey glares at him, “Yes I did. I couldn’t let your guards beat a innocent slave to death.” Hearing this the leader laughed, “You think those slaves are really worth that much to me? Ha… I could have you all fed to the birds if I wanted too.” Flamey looks at him not sure what to say, he had never really faced up to anyone who didn’t value life…
“Take this worthless slave and send him to the pole, we’ll see how much fire we can take out of it.” Turning around he walked back into the confines of the cave as the guards leapt on Flamey dealing him a rough hit to the skull. Everything when dark for Flamey… as he blacked out for now…
Several Hours Later
“Wet… tight… cold…” “Wet… tight… cold…” The words kept repeating in Flamey’s head. Opening his eyes slowly he looked around, it was all black in front of him, lifting his hands as if to push away the dark covers over him he found he couldn’t move them. Looking down and around he found that he was… tied to a pole at the top of the mountain. Eeeping in fear he pushes against the pole but having nothing to stand on he only manages to cause some pain to his tightly bound body.
Another realization hit him as he noticed he was wet… and cold. Looking up, the moon was barely visible behind the dark black clouds that covered the sky. Everything was so cold and soggy as the water soaked into his fur and the ropes causing them to tighten to an almost unbearable degree. Closing his eyes and slumping his head down to his chest he waited for it to be all over… lightning danced across the sky as shadows and light flashed over his body, he looked much like a living sacrificed… ready to be given to the void.
In the sky a large bird winged it’s way across the sky, a flash of lightning startled it as it turned to fly for safety as it’s keen eyes caught view of something tied to a pole at top of the mountain… It was exactly what it was assigned to find, squawking loudly it turned and flew back for home, with news of his discovery… with all speed his wings flapped faster as his body cut the wind flying faster than any normal bird could… he was a bird… filled with magic, given to him by his Master, Lord Byron.
He hung limply there… for many hours… he didn’t know how long but it was surely a long time as the sun started to show itself over the horizon once again. The storm slowly calmed as the chilling winds turned into soft breezes. Everything was coming to life… life after the storm they say… as Flamey slowly opened his eyes… they were bright red… he had cried so much that night, cried for lost friends… lost home… everything was so sad to him… he wasn’t sure if he wanted to live.
With the sun came new hope for Vagrant as he stretched shaking off the loose droplets of rain off his wings. Looking up at the mountain he noticed… there was a pole protruding there… why hadn’t he noticed it yesterday? Something else was on the pole; it was a blue and white form, with long blue ears and a blue tail. Then it dawned on him, it was Flamey. “Flamey!!!” Vagrant called out loudly to his younger brother tied tightly to the pole above.
That exact same moment Lord Byron murmured out quietly, “Flamey…” Stroking the bird gently that brought the news. “Esnie?” He called quietly into the darkness. “Yes my Lord?” A voice returned from the pitch-black room. “The Dramon has been located by my birds, you know of its location?” “Yes I do my Lord.” “Good… go there and kill the Dramon, and bring me its amulet.” “I will do what you command.”
Smiling in the darkness Lord Byron slowly walked over to Esnie bringing a gentle hand to her face. “I don’t know what I would do without you.” “Byron… you are everything to me, I would do anything you wish.” “I know that… after this… we can live together in happiness… we can finally show our love for each other.” Smiling up at Byron Esnie gave him a light kiss, “Don’t worry, this will be done soon.” “Just be careful my love… I don’t know what I would do without you…” “Stop worrying… Goodbye my love… plan the wedding for us!” Smiling Lord Bryon nodded and turned back to his chair. Esnie disappeared in a flash of bright white light… “Esnie... Who would have thought? I would fall in love with one who works for the light…”
As the light fades away from the room, Lord Byron looks down to the floor… “I sure hope she will be all right… things aren’t going to be easy for her…” Thinking slowly over the situation he looks up and beckons for another. “Sir Astral!” “Sir Astral!!!” Heavy clanking of armor against cold stone announced the Dark Knight’s arrival as he stopped at the foot of Lord Byron’s throne. “Yes milord?” “Sir Astral… I need you to do something for me.” Glancing at his lord pensively for a moment he nods and replies, “What do you ask of me?” “I just sent Esnie on a mission to exterminate the dramon…” Interrupting with excitement, “You mean the Dragon Blade?” “Yes… the very one.” Lord Byron replied casting Sir Astral a cold glance. Sensing something, “I’m sorry for my rudeness milord.” “You are pardoned.”
“Allow me to redeem myself, what do you ask for me to do?” Sir Astral replied quickly. “I want you to go and protect Esnie, and make sure no harm comes to her.” “Won’t she be angry for your mistrust in her skills?” Shaking his head slowly, “That doesn’t mater, I just can’t let her get hurt now, and I would never be able to forgive myself.” Nodding slowly, “I see… I will do as you ask milord.”
Sir Astral turns and walks away from the main chamber leaving Lord Byron to his thoughts. Lord Bryon watches as Sir Astral leaves, walking to his small table he poured himself a small glass of red wine sipping it slowly. Rolling the fluid around inside his mouth as he walked to the window the thin wine glass held in his middle and pointer finger. His thumb resting at the bottom holding the base up, looking out the window through his dark tower he looked around at his domain. Soon with the Dragon Blade in his possession… all of the world would be his. Not only that… but he would have completely exterminated anything… or anyone that could stand in his way… the last of the brood of Dramons.
Vagrant spreads his wings letting them come to their full span as he flapped them slowly catching the air under the strong muscle/flesh areas between the strong thin bones of his wings. As he flapped his wings the dust rose up in clouds as he gained more and more lift, leaping off the ground he seemed to float for a second before his wings came down pushing him further off the ground, his powerful wings beat down on the air raising him to a higher altitude.
Deeper from inside the mountain a sentry guard had been watching Vagrant all this time, as Vagrant took flight he became alarmed. “ALERT! There is a massive dragon coming up the side of the mountain, I think it means to save the slave on top!” The sentry called out as he began to ring a heavy brass gong hanging next to his post. Moments later the leader of the slave guards rushed out calling to his guards higher up in the mountains, currently hiding in dugouts. “Everyone to the top, arm yourself with arrows! I will not have dragons interfering with our mining process!” Grabbing his bow and arrows he ran towards the top of the mountain.
The guards at the top of the mountain had heard the order loud and clear as the lined up on the outside of the mountain at the very top armed with their bows and arrows. They pulled back the strings as far as they could. Then held the strings taunt as their leader rushed up behind them. Notching an arrow in his bow the leader trained his eyes on the dragon, his arrowhead sparkled brightly, and it was small diamond chip strongly fastened to the thin lightweight metallic shaft.
Vagrant flew higher up the mountain as he noticed the glisten of arrowheads near the top of the mountain. Smiling inwardly he reaches behind himself and draws out his long sword as the blue blade twirls forwards it flashes with bright blue fire burning brightly. Swinging it aloft in the air it sent a series of fireballs at the top of the mountain causing rocks and dirt to detach from their mountain home.
Ducking down beneath a thick layer of stone protecting them from the fireballs as they flew into the mountain covering them with a layer of dust and debris. This moment was all that Vagrant needs as he comes to the top of the mountain, roaring he slashes his sword right across the top of the mountain as the entire ledge dislodges from the mountain revealing the guards and the leader crouching behind it. The guards look up at the tall coffee colored dragon flying in front of them wielding a flaming blue sword, they’re eyes expand in fear as the begin to back up.
There was no mercy for them as Vagrant swung his sword forwards cutting through each guard like butter as they fell from the top of the mountain thudding at the bottom. The leader was still alive and quite safe; he had hidden away inside a small enclave away from Vagrant’s eyes. Vagrant turns and flies to Flamey looking at him slowly holding back tears he slices in the cruel ropes holding his younger brother. Without the ropes holding him in place, Flamey falls forwards into Vagrant’s arms. Vagrant hugs his younger brother closely as he turns to fly down from the mountain.
Landing at the base of the mountain he sets Flamey down gently, brushing his cheek with his hand. Flamey blinks his eyes slowly, as he opens them he looks at Vagrant, his eyes were still bright red from the crying he had done the previous night. Vagrant blinks his eyes holding back tears as he watches Flamey’s eyes filling with tears again. Vagrant feels himself pulled into a hug as Flamey pushes his muzzle into Vagrant’s chest crying hard. Vagrant lowers his head and rests it gently on Flamey’s shoulder rubbing his back gently and soothingly. “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry Flamey…” That was all that he could say to comfort his crying brother.
After a while, Vagrant pulls his younger brother away from him wiping away his tears with a soft slightly furred wing. “There, there, Flamey, don’t cry anymore, it’s all over now, you’re safe now.” Vagrant said pushing back a few tears with his own hand. Flamey nods slowly, “Vagrant, there are other slaves in there, we can’t just leave them.” “Flamey, you’re right, I’m going to go liberate them right now.” Vagrant stands up and spreads his wings flapping them as he takes off again, flying towards the top of the mountain.
The leaders slowly stands up to see the dragon flying at him again, he gasps and notches an arrow into his bow, the metallic shaft, and arrowhead glimmers in the sunlight. Vagrant catches this glimmer as the leader pulls back on the bowstring letting the arrow fly at Vagrant. Vagrant flies to one side as the arrow flies by, causing no damage at all. Down on the ground, Flamey notices a bright flash of light and then; it disappears for a brief moment…
Vagrant lands at the top of the mountain just as the leader reaches for another arrow. Swimming his claw forwards he snaps the bow in half growling maliciously at the leader giving him a kick backwards. With a scream the leader falls down from the top of the mountain hitting the bottom with a sickening thud. Flying down to the base of the mountain, three quick swings take care of the remaining guards as he severs the chains of the slaves quickly. He turns to the boulder blocking the way out as he gives it a shove. Seeing it not move at all he curses inwardly to himself as he grips his sword with both hands swinging the sword down hard against the boulder watching it crack and split in two only to be greeted by two snarling beasts that leap upon him.
Pain flashed through Flamey’s body as the shiny thing drove into his upper chest. He turns his head to see a bright metallic arrow sticking out of his upper left chest, he had been lucky it didn’t pierce his organs but the pain was excruciating. He lets out a scream that echoes through the air, reaching the ears of Vagrant as well. Vagrant had his sword out; flat blade against the creatures attacking him to parry the blows as he backs up he flaps his wings and flies up into the air. The creatures seeing their initial prey had fled they turned to the huddled slaves at the other side. Roaring they charge at them, their teeth bared as the let out a sharp whine their body’s falling from their heads. Vagrant lands his sword flecked with green blood as he glances at the slaves. He had beheaded the monsters with a quickly down slash.
Turning quickly he leaps over the boulder and runs through the tunnel, as the boulder comes into view, he swings his sword once again, cutting right through the rock. A heavy slam from his body breaks it open as he leaps out of the tunnel into the sunlight. Blinking for a second getting used to the sunlight he looks from side to side for Flamey. A broken metal arrow lies on the ground, small drops of blue blood lay next to it, as if being carried by someone.
His eyes follow the blood trail as he runs behind it, his sword out slicing down trees and overhanging brush that get in his way. Running into a clearing he glances from side to side seeing a pair of eyes. “Ssstay away, he issssss mine…” the creature hissed out. Vagrant walks towards it slowly, “Ssstay away, I have been watching him… he issss rightfully mine.” Shaking his head Vagrant throws his sword straight at the creature’s head watching it impale right through his skull. “Haaaasiiiii You sssshal pay!” With that the creature dies. Vagrant smirks and walks over to Flamey shaking him gently. “Flamey? Are you all right?” Vagrant tears a small piece of his cloak off as he binds up Flamey’s wounds gently. Flamey smiles and nods, “I’m just fine, today has been pretty exciting hasn’t it?” He smiles at Vagrant for a moment before fainting from exhaustion.
Picking up Flamey gently he walks back to where their equipment was set down. He lays Flamey next to it and takes a small canteen of water from the pack sipping it slowly as he looks at his sleeping brother. Things were getting dangerous; everyone knew Flamey was here if he didn’t take Flamey away from this area quickly, his chances of losing Flamey were becoming greater and greater with each passing day.
A bright flash, followed by a layer of black mist caused Vagrant to stands up defensively, “Now what?” He questioned himself as he looked through the black mist. “Give us the Dramon.” A voice rang out from the mist, it was female, and Vagrant could tell that. “Never, if you want him, come take him from me.” Vagrant reaches down and grabs Flamey and his equipment flapping his wings as he flies away from the mist.
Flapping his wings high in the air he looks down into the black mist waiting to see who was after Flamey this time. From within the mist a voice cries out the words, “Asen, Taki, sou!” as a blast of orange colored energy flew from the dark mist coming right at him. He makes a note of the magic and flaps his wings flying away from the orange blast. He watches it fly by them and curve and come back around at him, “Dratted magic.” He curses and flies in circles trying to elude the orange ball of magic. He turns his head and opens his mouth spewing forth of blast of fire, the orange ball seems to retreat for a second before cutting through the fire like a water spell hitting Vagrant forcefully in the head. Instantly his entire body was enveloped in the orange blast, the shocks of electricity somehow drained his energy as his wings gave in and he fell to the ground. His eyes roll back into his head as he blacks out. Flamey blinks, he was unharmed because Vagrant had broken his fall. He turns and looks at Vagrant in the orange electric shield as he shakes him getting no result.
Noticing a blue tinge inside the bag he grabs it as he pulls out the long sword he had found not long ago. He grips the hilt and whips it out the long blade shining brightly in the air. He shivers and holds the sword tightly in his hand the amulet around his neck glowing brightly; the same color the sword was glowing. The blue light illuminated from the sword as he walks towards the black mist slowly, the mist parts away fleeing from the blue light. He faced Esnie, her hands came together as she whispered the words, “Madu, Rata, Istaka” A green blast of light flew at Flamey, Flamey wasn’t sure what to do as he swung his sword at the blast, cutting it out of existence.
Esnie chuckles for a moment, “So little Dramon, using the Legendary Sword, Elsydeon. Be careful it’s double bladed, don’t get cut.” She smirks as she flashes away in a bright flash of light. A flash behind Flamey alerted him as he turns quickly, not quick enough as a hand presses against his right neck temple then his sides as he becomes paralyzed. “I see you have no resistance against pressure points, I’m so sorry about that.” Esnie says, slipping a small blade between the chains, it glimmered of a strange white light as it cut through the chain easily. The amulet falls to the ground as the sword instantly stops glowing. Esnie bends down picking up the amulet and taking the Elsydeon from Flamey’s hands. “There we go, don’t worry about it, you’ll be able to move again in about an hour or two.” Laughing she strode off into the mist leaving Flamey paralyzed into the dark mist.
“On second thought…” The voice ran out clearly through the mist, “You are the only one able to bring about the end with the Elsydeon…” Vagrant shakes his head and blinks his eyes as his senses return. Glancing out of the electric orange shield around his body holding him down he sees Flamey. Listening to the words, instantly he knows what the lady means, even if he had nothing to do with it… Flamey was his charge. Reaching out to Flamey he gasps out, “Flamey, get out of there! She’s going to try to stop you forever!”
Flamey swallows hard and replies, “I can’t move Vagrant… pressure points.” He says calmly now… his eyes closing as he takes a deep breath. Vagrant watches his brother, his eyes starting to glisten with tears; unable to hold them back… as he watches his brother, standing there still, his tail to one side almost as if waiting for what was going to happen. Five seconds later, Flamey’s joints seem to give as his entire body collapses on the ground. A high-pitched laugh rings through the air as the orange shield disappears as well as the dark mist. Vagrant rushes to Flamey taking his body in his arms, the limp form made little response.
“Common Flamey, you have to live, a little magic can’t hurt you! COMMON FLAMEY!” He cries out at the form shaking it for a moment in desperation. Taking his hands to Flamey’s chest he holds it over his chest as he starts to mumble a small incantation… Flamey had just been silenced… if he could bring him back with a simple Gires spell. Flamey’s body glows brightly as there seems to be hope… Vagrant concentrates harder as he finishes the spell he waits for the breath of air that all of the victims of a death take.
Flamey neither breathed or sighed… his body’s light fades, as his form remains limp and frozen there. Vagrant closes his eyes and shakes his head slowly as he feels the ears twitch against his chest. Vagrant brushes his tears away excitedly as he brings Flamey’s head up, Flamey’s eyes open, slowly barely open but enough for Vagrant to see the still glistening eyes. “Vagrant… don’t feel sorry…” “But Flamey, I’m so sorry… I was supposed to protect you…” Flamey shakes his head weakly and gives his brother a gentle nuzzle with the remainder of his strength… “It was out of your control… its destiny…”
Vagrant blinks hugging his brother close to his body feeling the fur push against his soft scales as Flamey let out a final sigh… and went limp again. “I… I tried everything… Flamey… I’m so sorry…” Vagrant manages out; a dark wind seems to blow from the forest as mists surrounded Vagrant and Flamey their shadows contrasting against the dark mist… Vagrant holding the body of his lost brother tightly in his arms, crying softly… “I’m sorry Flamey… I’m so sorry…”
Here is the area for the Author’s Note. I have taken a rather new turn of plot, rarely do you kill the main character, but it has a stunning effect in the story. I am waiting for everyone’s responses and comments. If all goes well, I will continue with the story, moving onto part two. But this does conclude part one of Inner Strength. Questions, Comments and suggestions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org