Author's note:

Years ago, I used to be more active, especially on the Fanfiction net side. This particular story was a fic I had on Fictionpress way back. It got to a point where I didn't like how it was going however. I told myself that I would re-work it, and it's taken me a long while to find the different sources of inspiration to finally do so.

This version may have some re-written characters and scenes from the original, but overall is quite a different story. It's also been years since I've written and it feels like I'm starting fresh all over again. It's going to be an interesting feeling.

I hope you all enjoy!

Bound in Darkness

By nightdragon0

The flash of lightning pierced the blackness of the night like a knife, illuminating the path for a few seconds…enough for me to see that it wasn't good.

Accompanying thunder drowned out the squelching sound of my left foot sinking into the muddy patch, almost causing me to fall. Fortunately, grappling blindly managed to get my claws against a tree, which I used to support myself as I pulled my talons out of the mud.

It didn't help either that the storm had the rain pounding against my scales, or that my heart was pounding wildly within my chest. I was nearly out of breath and already dizzy with tension.

Still, I couldn't afford to stop, especially having lost those precious few seconds freeing my foot.

Branches I couldn't even see slapped me painfully in the muzzle, but I forced myself to ignore the pain for now as I chanced a look back.

The search lights of my pursuers had long since faded into the storm. Perhaps rendered non-functional by the torrential rainwater or simply lost to the darkness. However, I didn't think that they'd give up so easily.

My mind raced frantically for a plan. Flying was out of the question in this weather and the only thing I could do with my wings was keep them folded for now. Either way, I was far too disorientated to know where I was going. Literally speaking, I was running blind.

So absorbed was I in my thoughts that I almost missed him.

A single adversary, most likely a tracker, had gotten in front of me somehow. He thrust his mace out at approximately my head level and I was seconds away from getting it in the face when I jerked my head backwards.

Using my tail for balance, I bent my back further, flipping into an inverted position with my hands on the ground and kicking my legs upwards. My opponent grunted as the attack connected with his forearm, throwing the mace out of his claws.

The sounds of the others were very close by the time I leapt back to my feet and I knew I had no choice.

My right claw instinctively went for the sword in the sheath at the left side of my waist and drew, swinging it in a wide arc to deflect the incoming weapon attack. Genuinely surprised, the attacker hesitated as my sword clashed with his second mace. Another flash of lightning allowed me a second's examination of him.

Like me, he was a Dragonkin. Only he was green-scaled and slightly taller than myself.

The four horns at the top of his head pointed backwards and were arranged in a frill, giving him some protection at the back of his head. His upper body was covered in a light, sleeveless Kevlar that was common mercenary equipment. That also meant he likely had a shielding device equipped too.

Even before the lightning faded, my left fist was already well on the way and caught him beneath the chin. The bluish aura of his shielding technology flickered as he hit the ground, more out of the impact of the blow stunning him than anything else.

My other hand went for the second sword, strapped by my right side, and whipped it out with the blade pointed downwards in my grasp. The rising motion was just in time to deflect another attacker's sword, distracting him enough for me to pull away.

Another burst of lightning allowed me to see the new attackers more clearly. The one with the sword was of the Red Flight, with a member of the Brown Flight backing him up. Both were clad in the same Kevlar mail as the others.

The closer one, the Red Dragonkin, attacked with a forceful backhanded stroke that I ducked under. I thrust my right sword upwards, just missing as he twisted to the side.

His companion drove a knee to my chest, delivering a blow that knocked me off my feet. However, I managed to spin my body as I fell, whipping my opponent's face with the tip of my tail.

A cry of pain rang out, but I felt a sharp sting at my tail as well. The cutting edge of his blade must've nicked the tip of my tail.

My jaw stung as I hit the ground face first. Still holding on to my blades, I rolled over while drawing the incantation motion with my right hand.

Auramancery: an alternative form of traditional magic that drew from magical forces in environment through the use of swift enchanting motions. This one was a simple energy projectile, one that caught the unwary Brown Dragonkin in the chest, his shields flickering on impact. While the spell's effect on him was questionable, he did hit the ground.

I sheathed both blades while in a half crouched position, scrambling on all fours and starting running, ducking into the undergrowth. Dragonkin aren't built to run this way for any extended periods of time, but having digitigrade legs and through use of our tails for balance, it could be done. Unfortunately, I didn't get very far as I went right off the edge of a slope.

Tumbling head-over-heels, branches and plants snapped in my wake, some even bruising the exposed scales of my body. The only thing I could do was fold my wings in tighter and dig both claws and talons into the dirt. That managed to slow my fall sufficiently till I hit level ground again.

At the base of the slope was a small stream that I ran alongside, stopping only when some of the trees and grasses begun to give way to rock formations. By good timing of the lightning in the sky, I spotted a set of ruined stone buildings and dragged myself into their midst without even thinking.

Probably not a very wise choice, but it was the only one I had at the moment.

With no signs of my pursuers for now, I ducked beneath a ruined arch to catch my breath. All I had for armor was a gray leather doublet and breeches, and both were completely soaked. No shielding devices or proper protection...just ordinary clothing Mud and dirt clung to both my armor and scales, with even more added on as I dropped to the ground.

Wet mud rubbed over my chin and neck as I pressed my head close to the cold stone floor and waited.

I started awake, having passed out from the exhaustion.

There thankfully were no signs of life nearby, but the storm still hadn't let up. No way was I getting a fire started, and not like I was willing to take the risk. Instead, I brought out my twin blades and cleaned them with the rainwater that was leaking in through cracks of the stone arch above me.

Both were identical, silver-colored short swords with two sharp edges and a gilded Y-shaped hilt. That gave the impression of a claw with the blade attached to its palm.

By waiting for flashes of lightning, I was able to look over my reflection on the broad edges of the swords.

No major injuries as far as I could tell, just a few scrapes and bruises across my scales. I carefully ran my tongue over my fangs, feeling if anything was broken. It didn't really matter, for any broken teeth would eventually be replaced.

As I examined my wings, all seemed fine. No broken phalanges or torn wing webs. The wing web tends to be more prone to rips, which was why I had kept them folded during the run.

My two sets of horns seemed intact too. One pair being above my eyes, and two shorter horns at the back of my head, all of which pointed backwards. Horn styles are one of a Dragonkin's more identifying features. I made a note to do something about them some time. I had to if I was going to avoid being identified in the future.

The only issue was my tail. The bleeding had mostly stopped, but I ripped a piece off my leather vest to clean the wound, the leather staining itself red with my blood & brown with mud.

A roar rang out in the distance, causing me to drop to the ground on instinct. Slowing my breathing to light breaths, I waited in anticipation. imagination?

But that roar wasn't like anything I knew of. Even the roars of our cousins, the Wyrms, weren't like that. While we may all be Dragons, the Wyrms, or 'Ferals' as we informally call them, were built to naturally walk on all fours.

They say that the ancient Skylords were Great Wyrms, far larger than any normal Wyrm. One of them was supposed to seek out travelers lost in storms. But these were the Gods of Dragon-kind...I wasn't sure if I even believed in...

Then, I caught something reflected in my sword's blade. Silently cursing, I realized that I'd allowed my mind to wander when I should've been concentrating on the situation at hand.

Immediately, I brought my twin swords up and attacked. The armored and helmeted figure blocked both weapons with his massive two-handed sword and countered, forcing me to back off.

I bounded out of the sheltered section and back into the storm. This particular figure was different…he was a Black Dragonkin, like myself. Normally, I would've been able to detect his scent at this range, but the storm was drowning out all my senses.

Despite the force of the storm, my opponent sprang forward. I swung a sword, only to realize I'd fallen for his feint as he sidestepped. I barely deflected the incoming blow with my second weapon. He then moved in with a series of powerful blows, forcing me to defend. I attempted a counter, shoving his sword off and sweeping mine high. My foe ducked under the attack and caught me with a tail strike to the gut.

Wait, his style…no, it couldn't be…

Next thing I knew, I was flat on my back, with the other Black Dragonkin standing above me. With the rainwater in my eyes, I couldn't see clearly if he was about to finish the job, but my instincts reacted first.

I opened my jaws and let loose with a spray of acidic flames, the unique breath weapon of the Black Flight. His shielding device flickered, indicating a drop in his shield power. It was enough to distract him, giving me a chance to spring up and attack.

Shields were more effective against magic and projectiles, but melee weapons were designed to penetrate them.

All he could do was twist his head to the side, allowing my sword to slide across the left side of his visor, rather than catch him in the snout. The helmet's visor broke off, leaving a long bleeding wound from the bottom of the left eye, down to the chin.

Lightning flashed.

It was then that I finally got a good look at his face…and hesitated a moment too long.

I was grabbed and flung back into the ruins, hitting the ground hard. The ancient flooring choose this moment to give way beneath my weight, sending me tumbling into the blackness below.

Even though my wings spread open on instinct, there wasn't time to do anything. I ended up slamming the side of my head into something hard.


It was a faint murmuring I heard when I came to. The next thing was the aches and pain all over my body, followed by the glowing of electrical lights as I opened my eyes.

The voices were much closer now, but I still couldn't make sense of them.

Before my vision cleared, I felt my head and neck being grasped and pulled back. Immediately after, some foul tasting liquid was forced down my throat. Still disorientated, I didn't have the energy to resist.

Finally, the claws released me, dropping my body to the ground. I lay there coughing and spluttering, but whatever it was had already gone down.

"It's done." One of the voices was finally clearer.

"Understood." That second voice was ever so familiar.

"Are you sure you want to go through with this? I was made aware that he's a…"

"It's for his own good every much as ours."

I shivered, realizing that I'd been stripped of all my armor and weapons. It couldn't have been too long ago, for the numerous cuts on my body still smelt fresh. I had a moment in between to take note of the cold stone floor. Perhaps I was beneath those ruins, where I'd fallen into earlier.

My thoughts immediately turned towards a means of escape. Even without a weapon, a Dragonkin is by no means defenseless.

Unfortunately, my struggling had also gotten the attention of those voices nearby. I was abruptly dragged to my feet and punched in the ribs, sending my senses into a daze. The next thing I felt was a surge of magical energy, the result of someone hitting me with some sort of spell.

Numbness that followed and threatened to make me collapse again. Somehow I stayed on my feet. My vision blurred, and yet instincts screamed at me to escape.

I lunged.

My head slammed into one of the assailants. Judging from the confused snarls, he'd apparently collided with the others. Immediately, I turned and ran in the opposite direction.

I was then back in the rain and into the forest again. I didn't know where I was going, but I just kept moving. Feeling of nausea were starting to set in and my body felt heavier and heavier. The search lights however, didn't follow.

I wasn't able to judge how much more blinding wandering I did before I emerged into a clearing. Up ahead was a dirt road, with a bridge leading across a river.

Rain had lightened to a drizzle. The moon was now out and radiating enough light for me to see that the rails of the bridge were decorated by stone carvings of various creatures, Dragonkin included. The decorations weren't uniformly arranged however and many were in various stages of disrepair.

Struggling against the feeling of heaviness in my body, I hauled myself up onto an open spot, standing on a platform that was easily large enough to accommodate me. While I'd intended to use the leverage to gain some bearing of the surroundings, dizziness hit me again.

I dropped to a crouch, desperately trying to shake off the pain. Whatever spell they'd put on me back in the cave was the likely cause of this. I tried to rise again…only to find my feet stuck.

I looked down…and let off a yelp of horror.

The black scales of my feet and white talons and turned a dull gray…a gray like stone. In the moment it took my mind to process the word 'stone', I realized I could no longer move my legs. The grayish color had rapidly crept all the way up, locking my legs in that crouching position. I tried to move my tail, only to see that it had been frozen in stone too, curling to the side in its natural way.

I tried to turn, only to find I couldn't move my waist. The white scales of my chest and underbelly had joined the rest of my otherwise black scales in turning into the stone gray pattern. I felt then stone spreading across my wings before they too froze in their half opened position.

My claws raised in panic, but only the right arm moved. The left was already stuck to the platform, as I'd been using it to balance my weight. The right didn't get too far either: the spreading stone had stopped it in a half raised position, pointed forward.

I wanted to roar out as my neck was locked into place, only to find I couldn't. My muzzle had already been sealed into a sort of snarl. Then, I couldn't even move my eyes.

Lack of senses assaulted me. Seemingly all at once, I could no longer feel myself breathe or the coldness and rain around me. My sense of smell had vanished.

Yet, I could still hear the raindrops beating against my now stone body. I could feel where my limbs were, but could not move them no matter how much I struggled…or imagined myself doing so.

My vision remained, through restricted to a fixed position. In the corner, my raised right claw was barely visible. Facing inwards towards the bridge, I had some of it in my view and some of the river bank, owing to the fact that there wasn't another statue directly facing me.

From the outside, I probably appeared as nothing more than a Dragonkin statue crafted in a ferocious battle pose, preparing to lunge.

The moonlight suddenly began to fade. The clouds must've moved to cover it up again.

All that was left was the darkness. Somehow, I should've been much more terrified at being petrified and left to the darkness, but it was all gently fading away.