A/N: Sorry it took so long to update!


Scene 2- Falthir

The brawny youth leisurely looked upon the grave fortress of Cryptbarq with a leer upon his tanned features. The place had been in a state of disrepair ever since that Dark lizard had come upon it, leaving the bridge only two stone pillars and the stone guardians in the black river that surrounded the place. Yet, ever since his father had taken the rule of Cryptbarq, a new light had befallen it. The fortress was no longer a dark, gloomy residence of the Armedan warriors, but a full, thriving battle house, completely full of trained swordsmen, horsemen, and all other organized battle groups.

Falthir allowed himself an arrogant smile. His father had created such a city. Not the strongest man, not the most noble, certainly not the man who had killed the most. No, he had been the smartest. What else could beat wit? You did not just rush into battle without a plan, even if you were the strongest. No, you needed the plans, and Lord Ralcon had the brains to create such.

Falthir's smile faltered at his father's name. Blood warrior? The name certainly didn't suit the cripple. It would have been better if he had been named 'Kylan' meaning 'wisdom', or 'Gylarth' meaning 'conniving'. Either would have suited the stony, cold-hearted brute. Better yet, have him renamed as 'Calerth' meaning 'warrior by words'. Any would have been better than 'blood warrior'.

Falthir paused in mid-step and glanced briefly over the rebuilt bridge. It was a sturdy build, not apt to breaking under a dragon's weight again. The stone pillars would support many dragons! Or so the builder had said.

They had better, Falthir thought threateningly. We paid a good price for the building of that bridge. A good hundred men had died while building it. Between dragon attacks and angry Gryflen-dweller rebellions, it had taken a year and one rebuilding. That stupid Dark drake had landed upon it in mid-construction. The so-called sturdy stone had crumbled like a forced rockslide- tumbled right into the dark mote! That man had paid for his lies though….

Falthir stepped upon the bridge haughtily, knowing that as he did so he was stepping on the many rotting bodies of the builders that had failed. The others that had tried to attack Cryptbarq had had a less noble death- by far. Dragon sacrifice had never been a delightful thing to witness. Bear it? Falthir, even in his corrupt ways, could not imagine the torture in even its minimal styles of pain. Not that having your arm ripped off was minimal.

Falthir stopped before the new iron gates and gazed at them in interest. A rather different way of building- but if they worked…. He shrugged inwardly and gave the door a rough pounding with his large knuckles. His metal rings collided with the iron doors and a high-pitched clanging resounded about lightly.

Moodily scuffing his foot upon the bridge, Falthir awaited the opening of the gates. As they creaked inward, Falthir strode in briskly. He glanced over the cobblestone courtyard with dislike flickering across his gaunt face. His dark brows creased as he looked over the area. As highly as he thought of his father, the stones had been too much. It gave Cryptbarq the look of Galahan or one of the other unconquered towns.

He pulled off his black cloak and handed it to a servant. The Armedan preferred to attack as the 'black plague' they were known for bringing. All was concealed except the deadly blade in battle. While in Cryptbarq, or any other holds that were run by the riders, cloaks were thrown aside and luxuries were taken.

Beneath the cloak, Falthir wore a suit of dragon hide; deep brown, leathery clothing. He had a metal belt with dragon claws upon it around his waist and a helmet with a tassel of his brown hair coming through the back in a small ponytail. His rapier was sheathed at the moment, though even in its resting place, one could see how deadly it was. No one wished a quarrel with such a weapon as the doubled-edged rapier wielded so expertly by the Armedan.

The servant quickly took the helmet from Falthir's head and mopped the sweaty brow. Falthir waved the man away irately and glared at his retreating back piercingly. How had his father found such dimwits? He could do better! Catch some high rebels, cut their Achilles' tendon so they couldn't run or rebel, and use them as examples for all the other stupid nimrods. They had to learn someway! Why not by examples? Pain didn't bother the ruling Armedan!

His blue eyes glittered as he walked past the watchtower and the staircase that led to the underground dungeons. At least his father hadn't forgotten such punishments as starvation in a five by five cell of mildew and stone! Certainly, his father was smart and battle-sensed, but his wits did seem a bit addled in his rage of revenge against that Dark, black dragon! The beast was probably already dead. It had not been seen for a half year now!

He passed the stables with a quick glance and walked to the main hall where the throne was located as well as the main dining hall and an extended slave quarter where the food was made. He kicked open the massive mahogany doors and gazed at the stone-like figure of his crippled father at the far end of the hall.

With a light clatter of boots upon the marble floor, Falthir made his way to the

form of his father and bowed deeply, the smirk gone from his lips and replaced with an

emotion of feigned calm. His hands grasped the hems of his father's blood red robes and murmured a deep greeting.

"Falthir."

"Good day, Father."

"Excuse me?"

Falthir cursed inwardly. "Good day, Lord Ralcon."

"'Tis not indeed!"

"Lord?"

"The beast is not yet slain, aye? It still flies freely and mockingly, insulting me in my place of inadaptability to kill it- face it in a battle that would never be forgotten in history!"

Falthir rolled his eyes when his father looked away in a boiling rage. This greeting was typical and expected. "I presume it will be soon killed."

"That is what you say every time to come!"

Well, what do you expect me to do if you keep asking me the same question and telling me the same story? "It is what I have heard."

"Then hear differently."

"I have one pair of ears to use."

"Use them then!"

Falthir grumbled apologies under his breath. Ralcon frowned slightly and looked around the room wistfully. Falthir followed his father's gaze until their eyes met. At such

a point, Falthir lowered his eyes to the rug upon which he was kneeling.

"Such information you always bring makes me think that I am doing all wrong," Ralcon muttered fiercely.

"Nay, Lord-"

"Silence!"

"Aye."

"Did I not just tell you to be silent, boy?" Ralcon hissed angrily. "Allow me to finish before you interject a comment!"

Falthir only nodded and almost gave an exasperated sigh when he caught his father's intense gaze and growing frown. Why couldn't he stick to one command?

"Yes, Lord Ralcon."

"Good. As I was saying, the time has come that I must send one to accomplish the task I wish so dearly to fulfill. Nothing will happen if we stay cooped up like chickens! No, I appoint you, my only son and faithful servant, to find the beast and slay him!"

Falthir gave his father an appalled look that said all on his mind. "Father- this is a task you are fated to complete! Why give it to me?"

Ralcon looked at Falthir witheringly. "Look at me." Falthir obliged. "What do you see?"

Falthir contemplated the question for a moment before answering carefully. "A man stuck in his rage."

"Add crippled and you will have it correct," Ralcon answered dryly. "You know I can't just get up in my cloak and grab my rapier, followed by a full out charge to meet the beast that ruined my life and slay it!"

"Who says?"

"I say. What I say goes, does it not?"

"Yes, Lord."

"Exactly. If such is true, then why are we having this pointless conversation?"

Falthir lowered his head. "I do not know-Sir."

"Very well. In such case, you know your task and you will complete it or be killed."

Falthir snarled under his breath and stood. He bowed stiffly and quickly to his father and stood tall and arrogantly once again. His pale eyes flashing, he spun on his heel and strode swiftly from the hall. His back tensed as he heard his father's deep, mocking laughter and he turned angrily.

"Yes?"

Ralcon looked at Falthir with a steely gaze. "If anyone steps across your path or gets in your way- kill them."

The mahogany doors slammed shut and Falthir was gone.