To End What Had Begun
Shadowy wings blotted out the sky, casting darkness across the land. They swarmed through the . And from within the obscuring shadows came the glint of hundreds and hundreds of malevolent red eyes, eyes that hungered for the sight of blood.
Then an explosion rocked the ground, sending a tremor through the earth that radiated to the very shores of the continent. It was a shaking in the very depths of the earth-and it was a calling, a call to battle.
Song gazed in wonder as glittering forms rose into the air from what seemed to be all over the place. Red, green, blue, brown, gold, and silver flashed as dragons responded to the summons. Soon the sky was filled with flashes of fire, screeches, and roars as shadowy black mixed with glimmering colors. The problem was that the dragons were outnumbered fifty- to-one at the least.
I have to help them somehow! Song thought frantically. But what can I do? There has to be something.
Something deep inside her snapped, a barrier she'd always been subconsciously aware of but had never thought about. With that break through came a sudden surge of power that flooded through her entire body. When she glanced at her hands she noticed with a somewhat distant shock, like she was watching herself from the sidelines, that her sleeves had melded with her arms and the coppery gold coloring of the cloth and spread across her skin. Then a diamond pattern traced itself across the hardened skin. She watched in fascination as her nails lengthened, thickened, and sharpened into curved white claws and her hand became that of a predatory reptile. The rest of her had been changing as well. A few seconds later she found herself staring down at Windwing, who was amazingly calm, from a dragon's-eye-view-literally.
Looking into one of the pools near her she saw a young, coppery orange-gold dragon looking back at her. Song expected to feel strange, but it didn't feel felt right.
Then a flash of reflected flame reminded her of the raging battle in the sky overhead. There wasn't any time to waste. She launched herself into the air, spreading enormous, leathery wings.
Diving down into the mass of shadows Song got her first close look at one of the dark creatures. It was large, nearly as large as a full-grown dragon, with huge leathery wings, four legs that resembled those of a wolf, including large paws and cruelly hooked black claws. Its head was like that of a bat's with something of a more wolfish snout and burning, completely red eyes. The color of its thick fur however, was obscured by a shadow that emanated from its body.
She barely had time to wonder about this strange shadowy beast before it lunged and she had a better view than she wanted of its many white teeth. Purely on instinct she rolled over in the air so that she was upside down, looking up at the thing's exposed underside. Her talons raked across its belly, drawing an agonized screeching roar, tearing it open before she dropped, rolled, and struck again, dropping the creature to the ground far below. She hovered there, shocked at what she'd just done, the animal's blood still staining her pearl white claws.
Duck! a voice shouted in her head. Song ducked automatically and a young green dragon shot over her head, dispatching a shadow beast that had been about to strike.
Thanks. she thought back.
No problem! But watch out behind you!
Song whirled around just in time to catch the attacking Shamoliken, as she recalled its name, but not quickly enough to avoid the armor piercing claws. Pain ran like lines of fire through her foreleg as curved claws cut right through her armored scales. Ignoring this, she reared her head back, taking in a deep breath, and felt a tingle of warmth in her throat. Then she shot a blast of searing fire that engulfed the Shamoliken within seconds.
Nice! the green, who seemed to have become her self appointed battle partner, commented with a wink.
That's all well and good, she said, but how are we supposed to fight this many of them?
Raise the volcano of course.
What is that supposed to mean?
He laughed good naturedly at her confusion, It means you should call on the volcano to blow! Lumisarra is one big volcano and there's a spell that can be activated by one of the red golds, like you, to awaken the volcano.
And how am I supposed to do that? she said skeptically.
Just follow me! I'll show you where to go. The others will be fine for a while without me. By the way! My name's Jade.
The two dragons dove into the canyon valley, ancient hove of their clan, and landed on the open ledge outside one of the many cavernous entryways, now Song knew why the halls were so big. She followed Jade as he 'trotted' inward.
The chamber they entered was only large enough for three dragons to fit in without feeling squashed. The ceiling, walls, and floor were made completely of a silver white crystal and tripled the brightness of the sunlight coming down through a crevice overhead. The crevice was just large enough for one dragon to fly through, provided that dragon was very nimble, and the shaft of light cascading through it rebounded off the crystal until the whole place became a world of dazzling light.
"Pretty isn't it?" Jade asked cheerfully, speaking aloud for the first time since they'd met, "it's over here."
Song crossed the room in two strides and craned her long neck over the green's shoulder. She found herself looking down at a fiery red ruby set in the crystal of the floor. It was about the size of her forefoot and glowed with a light of its own that radiated from somewhere deep within its scarlet depths.
"What's that?" she asked curiously.
"It's the volcano's Mahka Stone. Only two have ever been discovered, the other one was for the Waerralian Range, but it got destroyed a couple hundred years ago, if I remember correctly. They can be set to awaken their area by a certain color. The Waerralian Range Mahka Stone was bound to the blues, but this one was tied to the red golds. There used to be a lot more of that color."
"What happened to them?"
Jade sighed, "Well, you see, last time the Shamoliken attacked, they began with stealth strikes. They picked off the ones they knew could call upon the volcano's wrath first, so when the actual attack came, no one could raise the defenses."
Here he turned to look at her, a strange look in his eyes, a mixture of sadness and hope, "You remind me of someone I knew. She was the last one they killed, her name was Brightsong, a friend of of that. The way to activate the Mahka Stone, you put you talons over it and-I'm not sure how to explain."
"I'm sure I can figure it out," Song said crisply, placing her right for talons on the enormous ruby.
The moment her claws closed over the ruby her mind was hurled into a sea of raging flames, the world around her was nothing but fire and burning red light. She burrowed deeper into the sea of crimson and gold, searching for something, she didn't know what she was looking for, but she knew that she would recognize it once she found it.
There! A bright white spark. She 'reached' for it with her mind, driven by determination, and 'caught' it.
The ruby blazed suddenly, a hundred times brighter than before, and the rock beneath their feet trembled.
Song jerked out of the trance she'd fallen into and half spread her wings to keep her balance as the floor shook even harder. Looking around frantically she spotted Jade with his wings almost fully spread.
"What about the other dragons?" she shouted over the rumbling roar.
"Don't worry about them!" Jade shouted back, scrabbling to stay upright on the smooth floor, "Look!"
Song craned her head back and looked through the fissure overhead to the roiling sky. The specks of color pulled out of the mass of shadows and the air shimmered around them, a shield. Song's sigh of relief was cut short when a sudden violent throw of the volcano threw her to the floor.
Molten fire erupted high into the sky from various points around the canyon rim, exploding through the flock of Shamoliken. Shrieks filled the air as the skies themselves seemed to burn. People living in the villages and towns for miles around the Lumisarra Mountains throught that the world was about to end that day, and those who saw will never forget it.
When the sky finally cleared there wasn't a single shadowy creature left in the sky.
A.N. How was it?