"The Fate of the Dragon" Ch. 3

~*By Shawna*~

The wind, still a bit chilly from the night, whipped Trenna’s hair around her face as she stood high atop one

of the Xargoth Mountain cliffs. Leoric was at her side, tightly gripping her hand.

They had been up the rest of the night, laying traps and planning strategies to use against the dragons.

While most of the ideas were Leoric’s, he had placed Trenna in the most pivotal, but safest, positions for each strategy. They had found a map of the intricate maze of tunnels scrawled on the wall in the Dragon Cavern, and had used it to help them. Now they stood, awaiting the sunrise, and inevitably, the arrival of the Dragons of Evil.

Leoric turned to Trenna, placing his hands on her cheeks. They had discussed all the aspects of one, or

both, of them dying during the night, and it felt as if there was little more to say.

"Trenna," he finally brought himself to say, "I…I want to give you something, should you survive and I

not." He reached slowly into his shirt, and drew forth from under it his Medallion of Magi. All mages

received one when they reached a certain level, to certify them as users of magic. All were custom, engraved

with the mage’s name and symbol of power.

"Take my Medallion of Magi. Not only will it help you with your spells during this battle, but, should I not

survive, it will be all that remains of my power. You should have it."

Trenna fought back tears as Leoric slipped the golden medallion around her neck. Then, she grabbed the

other golden chain around her neck and slowly removed her own Medallion of Magi. "And you take mine,"

She said, as the tears she had tried to hold back spilled from her eyes. She contained her sobs as she put her

Medallion around Leoric’s neck. "For the same reasons."

Emotion bubbled up in Leoric, and he encircled Trenna with his arms, pulling her to him, crushing her

against him. The top of her head barely reached his cheekbones, and as her thin frame rocked with sobs in his arms, he realized something that he had known for at least two years, but had never been able to accept.

"I love you, Trenna. I’ve loved you since I met you, when you were a petulant child, and I’ve loved you

more and more as I’ve watched you grow into the intelligent, capable, and beautiful woman you are now. I

don’t know why I never accepted it before. I should have told you so long ago. Now, here we are, on the

thresholds of what could be our deaths, and this feels so wrong. Like, a beginning becoming an end."

Leoric swore that he could now feel Trenna’s tears soaking through his shirt, so much had she cried.

Slowly, her sobs died away and finally she spoke.

"I love you, too. I just realized it, but I think I’ve loved you forever. I wish it hadn’t taken a life threatening

situation to bring it out of us, because you’re right. This is like a beginning gone awry, gone wrong, and

coming to an end too soon."

She raised her head slowly, looking into Leoric’s eyes. Blue eyes met hazel, and Leoric reached up, wiping

the tear-streaks from her face. He leaned forward, saw her eyes slip closed as he shut his, and then he pressed his lips firmly to hers. He kissed her with all the passion he had pent up inside of him, kissed her with all the tension he had for the upcoming battle. Everything else left his mind, and for just a moment, he let himself believe that they were kissing back at their camp in the foothills, and that they were not about to die, and the fate of the world was not resting in their hands. He simply let himself kiss her.

Trenna buried her fingers in Leoric’s hair as they kissed. At that moment, even as she let herself revel in the

passion of the kiss, her fear for the battle, for death, for losing Leoric was more intense than any fear she

had ever felt in her life.

Trenna finally pushed Leoric away, gently. He looked into her eyes, and she faltered. "I-I can’t…" Here

she broke into sobs and Leoric pulled her back to him, and she buried her face in his shoulder and wept.

"I’ve waited so long for that…" Leoric whispered, so quietly he did not think that she had heard him. But

she had, and it only intensified her sadness. Minutes passed, Trenna weeping on Leoric’s shoulder, and him

silently watching the horizon.

"Here they come," Leoric said abruptly, his voice tight. Trenna raised her head in alarm, and scanned the

horizon. She saw nothing.

"I don’t see them. You can?"

"I can see the sunlight reflecting off their scales," Leoric said, face grim as he watched the five glints of

light steadily grow larger. "They’re moving pretty quickly. They should be here in only a few minutes."

Trenna clutched Leoric as the five creatures came into her view, recognizable now as five dragons of iron,

gold, silver, bronze, and copper color. "I’m so afraid."

"I am, too," Leoric said, holding Trenna tightly in his arms. "Just remember our plans, Trenna. Be brave.

They can see us now. The leader, must be Tyrannix, is laughing and pointing. Quick, first plan into action."

They disappeared into the cave mouth that led into the tunnel maze.

Trenna gasped for air as she and Leoric ran through the tunnels. She prayed that they hadn’t made any

wrong turns. Finally, they reached the tunnel that went up, into a second level of tunnels, and they climbed it

quickly. They then had to double back on their tracks for several hundred feet, until they finally reached a

hole in the rock that allowed them to see into another tunnel, one on the lower level. Trenna crouched before

it and Leoric frantically set up the final components to a spell trap they had set last night. As she watched, she

heard the voices of the Evil Dragons as they approached.

"I can smell the humans…they went this way."

The voice was low and raspy, but she didn’t know who it belonged to. It made her shudder as she sat. Finally, after what seemed an eternity of waiting, the first dragon came into view. Trenna ducked and held her breath. It was Tyrannix, scenting the air and swiveling his head in all directions. Her heart thudded in her chest, and she swore it was loud enough that it would lead the dragons to them. But Tyrannix walked past, followed by the gold Kalamar, silver Dyluck, bronze Kronne, and copper Calpicorn. As soon as Calpicorn came into her view, she gently tapped Leoric, signaling that all the dragons were in the tunnel. Leoric very quietly chanted the words to a spell, and then threw some dust gathered off the ground into the air. It settled slowly.

The tunnel the dragons were in collapsed, rocks pounding over their bodies. Trenna and Leoric ran, as

dust came billowing in through the hole Trenna had watched the dragons through. They ran to a different

hole, farther down in the tunnel, and watched the rocks.

"Three of them should emerge. Only three. That should have taken care of Calpicorn and Kronne."

As Leoric had predicted, the rocks began to shake and Tyrannix emerged, coughing, choking, and

cursing. He was shortly followed by Kalamar and Dyluck. Much to Trenna and Leoric’s dismay, Kronne

followed them. But the rocks no longer stirred. Brown blood ran from beneath the pile.

"Calpicorn is dead," Kronne said bitterly, shrill voice rasping. "I saw his neck crushed by a rock."

Tyrannix swore. "This was no accident," Dyluck said, his low, raspy voice being the one Trenna had

heard. "I felt the magic. We are not dealing with just humans, Tyrannix. We are dealing with high-level


"But, they are still just humans," Kalamar said, his voice clear and deep. "We are much more powerful

than they are. They shouldn’t be too much of a problem."

"No," Dyluck said. "One of them is a half-elf. But still a weak species." His voice sent shivers down

Trenna’s spine as she listened. "Besides, Calpicorn was weak, a thorn in our sides. We should thank this

puny human and halfling for ridding us of him!"

The other dragons nodded their assent, and then continued on their way through the tunnels.

"Step two of the plan," Leoric said, when the dragons were well gone. "Kronne is in the back, it should be

easy to distract him and separate him from the group. You know the plan after that. Come on." Leoric

slid into the tunnel through the hole they had used as a vantage point only minutes before. He held up his

arms, catching Trenna as she jumped down after him.

They hurried off down the tunnel, moving stealthily. Presently, they could hear the dragons talking in

front of them. Leoric, able to see Kronne although Trenna could not, let out a single whistle, and then

pressed Trenna and himself against the wall of the cave. Kronne’s head snapped back, alert green eyes

scanning the darkness.

"Tyrannix. Tyrannix, I heard something back there…"

"Not now, Kronne."

Kronne gave one last look into the darkness, and began to turn around to follow his companions. Leoric

whistled again, longer and lower. Kronne peered into the darkness, and casting a final look over his

shoulder at the other dragons, began to move away, following the sound of Leoric’s whistle. Kronne was

tiny, at least in comparison to the other dragons. He was the youngest of the group, barely more than 20

feet long, but with an ego three times his size.

Leoric moved silently along the wall, tightly holding the shaking Trenna’s hand. They backtracked far

into the cave, away into one of the tunnels that branched off from the main one, and finally into a small

cavern. Leoric grabbed a rope he had tied to a hanging stalactite the night before. He climbed it rapidly,

his elven agility and human strength combining well. When Kronne entered the cavern, now hot in pursuit

since he had found their smell, he saw Trenna standing in the middle of the room, hands glowing a flaming

blue, chanting as she cast a spell. In her hands she clutched a gleaming short sword.

An evil smile lit the dragon’s face as he looked upon an easy kill. He threw back his head, letting out a

screeching sound, showing his rows of razor sharp teeth. Then he charged forward.

Leoric dropped onto the dragon’s head from his place on the stalactite, the force of his fall driving his

long dagger into Kronne’s eye. The dragon let out a banshee shriek, even more jarring than the first, and

attempted to throw Leoric off of his head. At that moment, Trenna let loose with her fire spell, striking the

dragon in the neck. The blue flame spell melted the dragon’s scales, and Trenna jumped forward as Leoric

jumped back, and she drove her short sword through the melting scales and into the dragon’s neck. Hot,

brown blood washed over her hands as she pulled her sword out of the dragon’s jugular vein.

Kronne staggered for a second, seemingly amazed that the human girl had stabbed him. Then his eyes

rolled up into his head, and he fell to the ground with a loud crash, blood and melted scales still flowing

from his neck.

Trenna stared at the blood on her hands. It was uncomfortably warm on her skin, and was more brown than human blood. She wiped it on her tunic with distaste. Leoric approached her from behind, his breath heavy.

"Well, that wasn’t so hard, now was it?" He said with some sarcasm, breath ragged. "Did you have any

difficulty with that spell?"

Trenna shook her head absently, staring at the deep brown stains on her green tunic. She had never killed

anything larger than a bear, and that had been self-defense. And she had certainly never killed something

intelligent, something that spoke her language. It felt strange, knowing that she had taken the life of something

that actually knew she was taking its life. Did this dragon have a mother somewhere? Did he have a family

that would mourn his death?

"Trenna, he was a Dragon of Evil. The dragons are here to destroy the world. Don’t forget that. We are

not killing in cold blood."

Again, Trenna nodded absently. Leoric was right, of course. This killing was not cold blood, and these

dragons were not innocent creatures. They were Evil, the very essence of it.

Leoric squeezed Trenna’s shoulders. "The other dragons probably heard all his bellowing, and should be

doubling back to look for him. We have to leave now," he said, gently helping her to her feet. "Come on, this

way." They left through a different tunnel than they had entered through, and, just as Leoric had expected, the other dragons’ voices could soon be heard as they backtracked, following the sound of Kronne’s screeches.

"I don’t hear him anymore, Tyrannix. He would not stop his victory call until we had found him.

Something must be wrong." This was Dyluck’s scratchy voice, and it sounded frighteningly close to Trenna.

Leoric placed his fingertips lightly on the thin rock wall that divided this tunnel from the next, and his eyes

widened slightly. He motioned to Trenna to be absolutely silent, and she knew that the dragons were in the

tunnel right next to the one that she and Leoric were currently in. They stepped lightly, booted feet barely

whispering on the rock floor. The dragons’ talking ceased for a second and Trenna froze, but then they

continued as before and she resumed her tiptoeing.

She and Leoric walked about fifty yards, and yet it did not seem that the dragons’ voices were any fainter.

They should not be able to hear them at all anymore, with the dragons heading one direction, and them

heading in another…

"And the humans are right through here!" This was Tyrannix’s voice, and even as these words were

spoken, and a section of the rock wall caved in, Leoric had already yelled, "Run!" and taken off down the

rocky corridor. Trenna was several steps behind him, being less fleet- footed than the half-elf in front of her.

The three remaining dragons burst through the rock wall as if it were little more than paper, and immediately

gave chase. Trenna’s breath came in ragged gasps as she ran, and she tried to call to Leoric, only to have her voice come out as a harsh croak. He heard her though, and turned, grabbing her hand and nearly pulling her off her feet as he dragged her ahead of him. Pure adrenaline kept her running, and several times she faltered, only to have Leoric push her back in front of him. Soon she knew that even her adrenaline would fail her…

Then, abruptly, her feet were lifted off the ground, and there was something scaly under her hands. She

nearly fell off whatever it was she was on, and Leoric grabbed her around the waist to steady her.

"It’s a wyvren!" He called into her ear, in explanation to the 12-foot long scarlet beast she was now riding

atop. "I summoned it during the run!" Trenna was properly impressed with his show of concentration.

The wyvren was like a miniature dragon, but its lithe body was thinner and more snake-like. It had short,

spiny little wings but it used them very effectively, careening through the narrow tunnel at break-neck speed.

The other dragons were, ever so slowly, falling behind them. There was only one problem.

"This wyvren is just going anywhere it wants!" Trenna called over her shoulder. "I don’t recognize these

parts of the tunnels anymore! Can’t you control it?"

Leoric tapped Trenna sharply on the head. "You know the tunnels better than I do! I put you in control!

Just think about which direction you want to go! This wyvren is linked right to your mind!" This flustered

Trenna, and for a second she couldn’t think of which way to go. The wyvren flew on right in to a wall, but it

was thin rock, like all the walls, and the creature burst through it, and into a wide, open cavern that Trenna had not seen on the map. The three Evil Dragons entered the cavern shortly after.

Trenna observed the way the cavern was shaped: there was a large arc of rock that concealed one half of the cavern from the other. If there was some way…

"I’ve got an idea!" Trenna yelled. "Just hang on to the wyvren!" With those words, Trenna let herself

fall from the back of the scarlet creature. Leoric cried out after her but dared not let go of the wyvren. If she

had an idea, than perhaps she could take care of herself.

Trenna landed heavily on a rock, and for a moment she was stunned, her leg bruised. When she recovered,

she saw that Tyrannix and Kalamar had come after her, and Dyluck had gone after the wyvren. She fought to control the wyvren with her mind, while also paying attention to what was going on around her. Kalamar now perched above her, glowering down at her, cold ice blue eyes glimmering with his bloodlust. His golden

scaled maw opened, and he spat the words to a spell like venom. Trenna listened intently, and then she

recognized the spell: it was Deathtouch!

Then Trenna didn’t know what to do. She could not combat the dragon’s Deathtouch with her own, she was

not yet powerful enough and there would be no time to read from the scroll. Trenna cursed herself for not

memorizing the spell last night â€"had it only been last night? â€" when Leoric had wanted her to. Kalamar’s eyes opened, burning, a black cloud forming before him as he prepared to release his spell.

And then the idea hit Trenna, and she redirected the wyvren’s course for it to fly under and straight up from

the massive rock arc. This it did, and as Kalamar released the spell with the final word, Trenna rolled over the edge of the rock she was on, and she fell.

Kalamar’s spell went awry. The wyvren flew past Trenna just as she fell, and Leoric deftly grabbed her

hand, the force of her fall swinging her up on to the wyvren’s back. Dyluck followed right behind them, and

as he cleared the rock arc, Kalamar’s Deathtouch shot out, striking Dyluck squarely in the side.

The Silver Dragon fell, hitting the cavern floor with a sickening crunch. For a moment, he lifted his head,

and stared at Kalamar in disbelief and hatred. Then, the more powerful Gold Dragon’s spell took effect, and

Dyluck’s eyes misted over as his head slumped to the ground. Brownish-red blood trickled from his mouth,

pooling on the cavern floor, and his once-bright yellow eyes slid shut.

Kalamar stood, staring in disbelief at what he had done. Trenna and Leoric shot out of the cavern, Trenna

urging the wyvren to all the speed it could muster. A resounding echo, as of flesh on flesh, passed through the cavern and followed them down the tunnel, along with Tyrannix’s voice calling, "Fool! Tricked by humans!" And then their voices were no more.

It took several minutes of searching, and wondering if the two remaining dragons would catch them, to get

them back to familiar settings. Trenna knew that they were now getting dangerously close to the nest, she told this to Leoric, and they knew they would have to act fast. "Do you have any ideas?" She asked him, a touch of bitterness in her voice. The wyvren was now perched on a rock in the middle of one of the tunnels,

preening its wings, and without a plan of action, they had now become sitting ducks.

"Well," Leoric said slowly, "I was thinking of using my own Deathtouch to kill the gold one. But as for

Tyrannix, I don’t know."

Trenna was alarmed by this. "Do you really think you can defeat the Golden Dragon with your own

powers? Kalamar is extremely powerful."

"I know that, Trenna. I think I can, though, but it will take your help as well. I have your Medallion of

Magi, that allows me to tap into your power, but I will need you to cast the spell at the same moment I do, for the spell to be doubly powerful. Surely our combined magic will take out Kalamar, and probably Tyrannix too. At least, I hope it will take out Tyrannix."

Trenna nodded. "Me too."

It was then that the sounds of the approaching dragons reached Leoric’s ears. "They’re coming. Take the

wyvren over there. I will meet Kalamar here. When I cast Deathtouch, you’ll need to do it, too, so pay

attention to my words and watch me."

"What about Tyrannix?" Trenna asked, wondering where the black Iron Dragon came into all this.

"Pray that he’s distracted," Leoric said, moving to the center of the tunnel.

"That’s a great plan," Trenna muttered, but she did say a silent prayer that Tyrannix would not interfere.

Kalamar, gold scales flashing, appeared around the bend of the tunnel first, his obvious dejection poorly

concealed by pride. When he saw Leoric standing in the middle of the tunnel, however, his eyes lit with the

same bloodlust Trenna had witnessed just a few minutes before. He charged forward, headstrong as always,

and then stopped short. He seemed to sense some sort of plan, for he knew that this half-elf was not stupid.

Not stupid enough to stand in the middle of his path completely vulnerable.

Leoric had already begun to mutter the words to Deathtouch under his breath, so as not to alert Kalamar too

soon. Trenna was muttering the words as well, clutching Leoric’s Medallion of Magi, which she wore around

her neck. The black cloud was beginning to form, and that was when Leoric and Trenna both realized that

Kalamar was glowing. Too late Leoric recognized the glow as a Magic Protection spell, and he released his

Deathtouch. It shot toward Kalamar, only to ricochet off the magical barrier and shoot back toward Leoric.

Trenna let out a scream, but Leoric deftly reflected the spell with a Magic Protection barrier of his own. The

spell headed back toward Kalamar, and then back at Leoric. Deathtouch was not a spell that dissipated

quickly, and both the dragon and the half-elf knew that this could last for a long time. Leoric angrily cancelled the spell, and the oily, sinister black cloud vanished. Kalamar’s Magic barrier vanished as well.

"I have taken down my shield now, half-elf," he said with disdain. "Why don’t you do the same, and we

will fight this battle for real, with a real test of our strength. Of course, since you already know I am much

more powerful than you, you can just give up now and I will make your â€" and the girl’s â€" death quick and

relatively painless."

Leoric cancelled his barrier, jaw set defiantly. "Let us test our strength, then, dragon. We will see just who is stronger."

Fear bubbled up hot in Trenna’s stomach. They had had the element of surprise during the first attack, but

now it was to be a real test of strength. She knew that Leoric was powerful, but this Golden Dragon’s magic

exceeded any she had ever seen before. How could Leoric possibly win?

"Leoric…" Trenna whispered, clutching the Medallion of Magi. "Don’t fail me…"

Leoric and Kalamar both launched into their own spells. Trenna recognized Leoric’s choice as the Blue

Flame spell she had used earlier, only on a much more powerful level. She couldn’t tell Kalamar’s choice

from here, but she dreaded it whatever it was.

Leoric’s spell was released a split second before Kalamar’s, a huge ball of blue flame heading straight

towards him. Trenna’s heart leapt, Leoric was going to win easily after all, but then Kalamar released his

spell. A beam of pure electric energy shot out, intercepting the blue flame midway to its destination.

Then the real battle began. Control of the battle leapt back and forth. One minute, the fireball would be

about to consume Kalamar, the next, the energy bolt would be threatening to burn Leoric. Trenna watched

helplessly, unable to do anything to help Leoric. Beads of sweat were forming on his forehead, and his hair

dripped with perspiration. Increasingly, the energy bolt seemed closer to him. Leoric fought on valiantly.

Through it all, there was no sign of Tyrannix. Trenna suspected that he was farther back in the cave, behind

Kalamar, perhaps being smugly confident that Kalamar could handle Leoric on his own. This thought made

her angry, and she said another prayer that Leoric would emerge from this fight victorious.

The glow of the two opposing spells had been growing steadily larger as they battled, and it was now

painful to look upon the fight. Trenna didn’t know what this could mean, but Leoric was becoming

increasingly agitated as the fight raged on and the spells became more luminous. He knew that something was definitely going to go wrong if the magical power continued to increase.

A low rumble reached the ears of every living thing in the tunnel. Leoric recognized the sound, as did the

wyvren, who let out a cry of alarm. Trenna did not know what it could mean, but the wyvren began to stamp

its feet, snorting, hissing, and sidestepping in agitation.

Then the bolt of energy and the inferno of blue flame both exploded outward and the cave began to shake

violently. Trenna was forced to shut her eyes against the glow of the exploding spells, and despite her tight

grip on the wyvren’s neck, she was thrown from its back as the rocks heaved upward, and the shaking of a

violent earthquake began. Everything was in chaos, and Trenna dimly heard Leoric cry out, just before an ear-shattering screech echoed off the walls, contributing to the din in the caves.

As abruptly as it had begun, the chaos ended. The earthquake stopped and the spells dissipated. Trenna

choked on the flying dust as she struggled to her feet, her whole body aching. She felt warm blood flowing

down her back from a cut on the back of her neck, but she was otherwise unharmed.

The dust settled slowly, and when it did, it revealed Kalamar’s dead body. His golden scales still shone,

blue eyes still open in an expression of surprise and imminent death. In places, his scales were melted from

the flame that had consumed him, and they ran slowly off of him like dye, mixing with the brown blood

oozing from his body. Leoric had won the battle.

But not uninjured. The settling dust also revealed Leoric’s still form, lying on the ground not far from

where Trenna stood. She gasped and hurried to him, kneeling beside him, gently lifting his head into her lap.

His eyes fluttered open.

"I beat him," He said simply, pride welling in his eyes. "I defeated a dragon, the most divine of magical

beings. My magic…and yours…overcame."

Trenna nodded. "Yes, yes," She said, a smile of relief splitting her face. Leoric gripped her hand, and

Trenna was surprised to feel that it was covered with blood. Then she gasped as she saw the deep wounds,

blistered by hot magic, on Leoric’s sides and down his legs. Her smile slowly faded.

Leoric grabbed his Medallion of Magi, which still hung around Trenna’s neck. He whispered faint words,

and the medallion glowed blue in his hand. "My power still lives in that Medallion," he said, releasing it.

"Use it to help you in the battle with Tyrannix. I wish I had a plan for you, but I know you can do it on your


Trenna shook her head, tears beginning to spill from her eyes as she realized what was happening. "Don’t talk like that, Leoric. I won’t have to fight Tyrannix on my own. You’re going to be fine, and we’ll come up with something together, and we’ll fight him together, and we’ll win and we’ll be heroes and…"

Leoric cut Trenna off by gently placing his fingers on her lips. "Don’t say that, Trenna, don’t make this

harder on yourself. You have to go now. The fate of the world is in your hands now."

Trenna continued to deliriously shake her head, and she collapsed weakly, head on Leoric’s chest. She wept

bitterly, and Leoric put his hand on her back, whispering "Shh…" softly. Presently, Trenna wept her eyes dry

and she raised her head, staring into Leoric’s eyes. She gently wrapped her arms around him and placed a soft kiss on his lips. Her fingernails instinctively dug into his skin, as if she could hold his life to him. But she

could not, and as she watched Leoric’s eyes became glassy. "I love you," she whispered, swallowing her sobs.

"I love you more," he whispered so weakly that it was barely audible.

And then he was gone, his body going limp in Trenna’s arms, and a cry of anguish that she could not hold

in wailed from her throat. She tasted his salty blood on her lips, blood that had been on his fingers when he had silenced her. Her tears surged anew and she wept for what seemed an eternity, rocking Leoric’s

lifeless body in her arms.

Slowly, her sharp agony dulled to sadness, and then melted into anger. This anger borne of sadness quickly

grew to rage. She stood up, teeth clenched. "Tyrannix," she whispered in a low, deadly voice. Tyrannix

would feel her wrath. Tyrannix would pay for Leoric’s death.

Trenna stalked over to the wyvren, climbed onto its back, and urged it forward. She didn’t know where

Tyrannix was, but she knew where he would eventually be. She led the wyvren on to the Dragon Cavern, the location of the Good nest.

The first thing that happened to her when she entered the Dragon Cavern was that she was nearly knocked

out again by the intense heat now radiating from it. She led the wyvren slowly back into the cavern, and saw

with horror that a wide crack had been split into the earth, during the magic-induced earthquake, she supposed, a scant 10 feet from the nest. Molten rock had seeped into the bottom of this new chasm, and the heat in the chamber was stifling.

She heard a low growl, and looked across the chasm to see Tyrannix slinking into the cavern through a

narrow crack in the wall. She stared, hatred bubbling up in her, and spurred the wyvren forward. She stopped her mount on the edge of the magma- filled chasm, putting herself between Tyrannix and the nest. Tyrannix’s eyes fell on her, and hatred to mirror her own flashed in his blood-red irises.

"Human!" He called, voice echoing off the cavern walls. "Your half-elven mage is dead now. You stand

alone, an apprentice, and already exhausted from your wounds and previous battles. You cannot defeat me!

Surrender yourself to me now, and your death will be quick. Attempt to battle me, and I will force you to

watch the destruction of the good eggs. And then I will not kill you, no, that would be too easy for you. I will

turn you loose into the world, to watch as evil takes over, and you will know it was caused by your failure!"

His words hit home for Trenna. She only feared living in a world of evil, nothing else. To battle the dragon

in her weakened state was sure to bring on failure, and his threat echoed in her head. "all caused by your

failure." She broke into a sweat, realizing there was nothing she could do.

She clutched the Medallion of Magi around her neck, praying silently to the gods for help, and then she

discreetly pulled the Deathtouch scroll from her spell bag. She looked up at Tyrannix, glowering down at her, awaiting her surrender, and unfurled the scroll. She screamed the words loudly, quickly, "Il et keth sarle othas! Nill pas ons trath!" She released the spell before Tyrannix even knew what she was doing, the black cloud racing towards him. Her heart raced, would this really work?

Tyrannix held up his clawed hand, and the cloud of oily vapor ceased its motion mere inches from him.

"You are a foolish girl, Trenna! You think you can beat me with this?" With a wave of his hand, he sent the

cloud flying back toward Trenna. She screamed and ducked, the cloud racing over her, and dissipating as it

struck the rock wall behind her. She raised her head slowly, fear mixing itself with her anger. There was

nothing she could do, no spell she could cast that he could not break. Only a few spells existed in the world

that were unbreakable, and Trenna only knew one. It was a spell that turned objects into gold. She would

never be able to turn the dragon into gold, however. The spell was only unbreakable once it was cast, and he would surely break the spell before she could finish. There were no options left to her.

Tyrannix spread his wings in triumph. "You do not surrender! Then you know your fate!" He released the

rock wall, and began to glide across the chasm, hurtling towards Trenna at an alarming speed. This was

unreal, could not be happening to her, there had to be another option.

It struck her with sudden clarity â€"why hadn’t she thought of it before? â€" and she jumped from the wyvren’s

back, beginning to cast her spell even as she commanded the creature with her mind. The wyvren shot

forward, straight towards Tyrannix, but he ignored it, knowing that it could do nothing to harm him. The

creature seemed to fly past him, but then it abruptly it turned, landing on Tyrannix’s back, wrapping a large

part of its body around his neck, biting in with its teeth.

And then the wyvren turned to gold.

Tyrannix immediately faltered in his flight, wings not able to withstand that much added weight. He was

close to the rock where the eggs were; he stretched out his arms, grabbing the rock with his claws. He dug his powerful iron claws into the rock, stopping his fall. He looked up into Trenna’s searing eyes.

"Very clever human," He choked, straining with the weight of the 12-foot gold statue around his neck. "But

still you have not won. I will climb to the top of this rock, merely a few feet, and I will crush the eggs. My

own life is insignificant. I will destroy the eggs, and then we can both die of starvation in here, together."

Trenna was frantic. The dragon was right, he would be able to climb those few feet and destroy the eggs.

What could she do? She needed more weight on the dragon, she needed to push him farther down. And she

knew how she could.

"I’m not finished yet, Tyrannix," She called, eyes burning. "You’re right about one thing…we will die

together!" And then she jumped off the rock, landing on the dragon’s back, forcing him to nearly lose his

balance. He howled, and strained to grab the rock again. She wrapped her arms around his neck, casting the

spell, positioning her legs over Tyrannix’s wings.

She turned herself to gold.

Tyrannix tried to dig his claws into the rock, but the weight was constantly pulling him down, and he

could not seem to flap his wings to help himself. The girl had sacrificed herself, he realized, turning herself to gold, and putting her legs over the bases of his wings. He cursed her, cursed her simple yet irreversible spell, as he slid further down the rock wall and closer to the molten rock beneath him.

He let out a howl as several of his claws broke off, brown blood flowing from his fingertips, and he was

falling. He couldn’t grasp the rock, he couldn’t flap his wings. He could only fall.

His body hit the magma, bursting into flames.

* * *

The pendulum froze, dead center of the spectrum. Life on Earth went into chaos. Then, somewhere on

Earth, in a mountain chain called the Xargoth, ten gemstone-colored eggs, their hatching brought about by this freezing of the pendulum, began to shudder and crack. Ten tiny, four-foot baby dragons emerged from the gemstone shells, and the pendulum was pulled wildly to one side.

In another part of the world, under the plains called Lorgon, ten shiny, metal-colored eggs began to shiver

and crackle open. Ten tiny, four-foot baby dragons emerged from the metal shells.

And the pendulum began to swing both ways.

~*The End*~