|The Martaan Trilogy: Book I - Genesis
Author: Sir Areis Lionheart PM
Piermont, a young forest dragon from the island of Martaan, was like any normal dragon until that one fateful night. In the blink of an eye, he is alone, afraid to go back home, and he instantly learns the truth of how delicate life really is as three different enemies lead up to the final confrontation that could change the life of the dragons forever. Rated T: For War ViolenceRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Suspense - Chapters: 20 - Words: 55,849 - Favs: 1 - Published: 02-05-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3098687
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
SOMEWHERE AMONGST THE WILDLIFE OF THE MODERATELY-SIZED ISLAND OF MARTAAN, LIVED SEVERAL SPECIES OF DRAGONS. Hidden by various means of cover or shade, whether that be large and beautiful forests, the tall grasses of the fields, or the strange and yet beautiful rock formations of the desert, dragons roamed free. Martaan was located somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Where? Nobody knew. On this uncharted island were many different species of plants and animals, each thrived in their own climates.
You see, the island was divided into three main sectors: the tropical forests, as green and beautiful as you could possibly imagine where humid and rainy weather barely affected the warm-but not too warm-temperatures, the life-filled fields with many different species of plants and animals, the great grasses of the fields were perfect in hiding the different creatures from predators, and the great and mysterious deserts with various mountains and large cliffs that dotted them. As a matter of fact, Montanus Spikus, or translated to the Mountains of Spike, was the largest mountain range and divided the desert and the field.In most of these areas, the weather was decent and of course, no snow or ice threatened the natural beauty of Martaan.
Also located on this magnificent island, was an estuary that was shrouded in mystery. The inhabitants of the island knew it had secrets, but none could figure them out. It was like the most complicated combination to a safe that contained secrets vital to the preservation of Martaan. There was also the ancient land in the heart of the island, known as the Bloodgrass Battlefield where the three species of dragons: Forest, Field, and Desert-collided once every ten years.
The large, black, carnivorous Desert Dwellers were a monstrous thirteen feet long with a tail length nearly as large as a forest dragon. From their feet to their heads, they were about fourteen feet tall. They had maroon eyes and two crooked, black horns that completed the fierce battle-hungry look. They had the very unique ability to change their color, like a chameleon, to blend in with the environments of their greatest enemies, the other species. It also enabled them to hunt their prey, the smaller animals that lived and thrived in the forest and field regions. Several important things made it impossible NOT to tell the difference between a desert and a forest dragon or a desert and a field dragon, but the most important was the distinguishing red mark on their bellies and backs. The symbol represented and upside-down V or an A without the center dash like this:
The forest dragons were a deep, army green in color, with emerald eyes and two, tan, slightly curved horns, like the field dragons. The average adult size would be about nine feet long and ten to eleven feet tall. They and their fellow field dragons were herbivores, feasting on the elderberry patches that happened to grow on the island. Unlike the desert dragons, forest and field dragon females had no horns, only stubs that barely protruded their heads.
The field dragons were a beautiful shade of gold with golden eyes. They were the smallest of the three species, being only six feet long at the most, maybe seven, if they were lucky, and about seven to eight feet tall.
Amongst these three tribes, lived a young forest dragon by the name of Piermont. Piermont was twenty-eight years old which in human years is about the same as late teens. His scales were a darker shade of green. He had two curved tan horns on his head. He was about eight feet long. He did act as a teenager; mischievous, a prankster, always getting into deep trouble, and he was extremely adventurous.
Little did he know of the life-changing events that would soon take place.
As previously stated, he loved to play pranks on the unsuspecting older and younger dragons. For this, his friends gave him the nickname 'Prakmont' or Prankmont in our language. Sometimes his pranks would get so out of hand, that he was forced to leave his den and wait until he had settled down a bit before he could reenter it. During these times, intended to be a sort of punishment, he would sneak off to one of his friends' homes to relax and play around before he would return. These angered his parents greatly.
Piermont faked eating his breakfast, waiting for the perfect time that he could separate from his family and explore. The fields weren't too far away.
As if sensing his intentions, his father said, "Don't go wandering off again Piermont."
He did not reply, he just growled softly to himself.
As he turned to head for the small river that ran by their burrow, he noticed a beautiful field dragon named Cherub out of the corner of his eye. He turned towards her and began to walk to her but stood rooted to the spot.
In Piermont's eyes, Cherub was the most beautiful dragon on the earth. He admired her beautiful golden eyes and the way her golden scales reflected the sunlight. He loved her beautiful soft-spoken voice. When he looked at her, all his troubles were forgotten and were replaced by the overwhelming feelings of love for her. He loved her, so much, but he couldn't admit it for he thought that if he told her, she would hate him forever and never speak to him again.
As if sensing his feelings, his father spoke in a soft, understanding voice from behind the lovestruck dragon, "You really love her, don't you son."
He started, as if his father's seemingly accusatory words (in Piermont's mind), broke him from a trance. "What?" Piermont asked, speechless and embarrassed.
"I said you love that little field dragon, don't you son."
"Yes, I do," the young dragon replied, unable to lie, "I really do."
"I understand. Do you know what I did when I first met your mother?" the father replied.
"I talked to her."
"Yes but...I...I can't, what if she doesn't love me back?"
"Who said anything about admitting your true feelings for her? Just say hi, you know. Just say hi," and with that he was gone.
Piermont hesitated for a few moments, but then gave in, "Hi Cherub."
"Hi, Piermont. How are you doing?"
"Fine, just fine. Just thought I
would say hi, that's all." Piermont tried to conceal his grin.
"Okay, bye Piermont see you later."
As Cherub walked away, Piermont uttered a slow almost silent, "Goodbye."
Piermont ran through the forest and caught up to his mother and father. They were drinking from a tributary to the Phoenix River that ran throughout the island. Martaan contained two large rivers, the Phoenix River, of which ran throughout the entire island, and the Red Blood River, running primarily throughout the arid wasteland of the desert region.
He slowed to a stop, gasping for breath. His father looked up and at him, saying, "Did you talk to her?"
Piermont nodded, "Yeah."
"What did she say?"
"We just said hello, nothing more, nothing less."
Arradox laughed, Piermont could not pinpoint why. He turned the words he had just said in his mind, nothing he said seemed to strike as funny to him. "Hello? That's it?"
His parents stretched and continued to walk to the burrow, Piermont at the rear of the group. His parents were talking to each other up front. He tried to listen in to their conversation, but they were speaking in hushed tones and he could not understand. He knew they were talking about him though, they occasionally glanced back at him.
Piermont could never remember being so humiliated and angry in his life. When his parents talked quietly between each other and the topic of whatever conversation they were involved starred him, he hated them and wished they could just go away and never come back. If he would have been familiar with our sayings, the phrase "Careful what you wish for" might stand out for him, because it is true. You should be careful what you wish for, else your wish might just come true...
Cherub caught up with her parents, talking rapidly. Piaceese, always loud-mouthed and outspoken, was yelling out his hatred of cross-breed relationships again. Cherub rolled her eyes, he was at it again.
Many dragons on Martaan despised Piaceese for his religious-mania, and for his cowardice. Yes, long ago, Inferno did not like cross-breed relationships, but that was out of context of how he felt. In reality, Inferno had a desert dweller mate, and when she died while dueling with another dragon who had insulted her by saying that she was cursed (for cross-breed relationships were indeed frowned upon at that time), Inferno cursed their relationship in his grief.
"You love him, don't you Cherub?" her father queried once he noticed Cherub's arrival.
"Love who Dad?"
"You know very who I am talking about."
"Who?" she asked innocently enough, knowing where her father was going.
"The forest dragon."
"A little. What's wrong with that?"
"You know Inferno frowns upon cross-breed relationships, right?"
"If I find out you mated with that forest dragon, I will curse you and all of your heirs. You understand that, right?"
"Leave her alone Piaceese," Cherub's mother...Cherub's savior...interrupted.
"You know how I feel about cross-breeds."
"They haven't done anything."
"Not yet anyway."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because I see the way their glances meet. If I find out my daughter became a relative to a dragon from a race from somewhere other than the field, then you know very well what I will do."
Cherub scoffed, annoyed. She pretended not to listen, but she couldn't control herself. Besides, she hoped that maybe she and Piermont could become relatives. In the dragon's religion, when two dragons mate, they become relatives, or mates for life.
By the way the conversation was going, Cherub knew tonight was going to be another one of those nights, and she wished desperately that she was with Piermont. Piaceese, upset and angry as per usual, walked away. Cherub's mother looked back at her and shrugged her shoulders. She then whispered, "If you love him, then I understand. If you two become relatives, I will gladly accept him as part of the family, what's done will be done, and I can't change where your future lies, or what you will make of your future. I doubt though your father will hold true to his promise, even someone as cruel as him wouldn't reject their own daughter because of what he calls a mistake. If your father does hold true? Then at least you still have me. Understand?"
Cherub nodded vigorously, and she felt relieved that her mother was here. She had never loved her mother more than she did now.
Back at his family's burrow, Piermont's parents left, off to who knows (and who cares) where. Piermont was left alone, which he didn't mind. He liked being alone, the whole burrow to himself, he could do what he wanted when he wanted, and no one could tell him not to.
Strangely however, he too went for a walk; late Spring, a wonderful time of the year. The sun topped at noon and began to descend in the west. He found himself entering the foothills of the forest region's single lonely mountain, Inferno's Peak. There were many legends concerning it, one of the most popular being that the mountain served as a kind of staircase between Heaven and Earth. The mountain, though alone, towered over any other on Martaan, and the world. Piermont stopped on a cliff overlooking a mile and a half around the mountain, and the base itself. The mountain was jagged, relatively thin, and as black as coal.
Piermont craned his neck to see where Inferno's Peak vanished above the clouds. He saw one of the three aquifers within the mountain that fed the immense waterfall. It was the lowest, but it was still half concealed by the misty clouds. The tunnel, lined with stalactites and stalagmites so that it appeared to be a hungry mouth, was about four to five feet high and seven to nine feet wide. A toucan flew into the dark mouth, seconds later, three bats left. Piermont eyed the waterfall from the mouth, down the roaring waterfall, and to the watery fog that concealed the rendezvous point of the cascade and the rapids that sped past the dragon and gradually lost velocity as it traveled farther.
Piermont looked around, confirming that he was alone, and arose into the air, sailing on the fair wind until landing just inside Devil's Mouth, the tunnel. The swish of his wings as he pulled them to his side was amplified a hundred times by the great acoustics of the mountain. The wind whistled and moaned as it blew through the cracks and crevices and slipped between the stalactites and stalagmites. The wind blew much faster and much harder up here than down at his observation point. He began to descend deeper into the cavern, fright and nervous joy seeping into his belly and bringing mild nausea.
His parents had forbade him to come near the mountain alone, let alone to explore Devil's Mouth. As he advanced further into the depths of the cave, the nervousness of illegal spelunking was replaced by the joy of a new adventure. He was already surpassing the farthest he had ever gone before. His footfalls echoed off the cold and slimy walls and he heard the rushing water. Apparently there were rapids within the cave as well.
He continued on, following the hills and valleys of the tunnel carefully. At some point, luminescent crystals began to grow, because he was now traveling in the sickly green light of thousands of tiny green crystals, glowing with their own supernatural light. He deactivated his night vision as he left the blackness and into the light, and he saw one of the most amazing and beautiful sights in his entire life.
He had entered the inner sanctum of the cave, a sanctuary for bats, birds, and other small animals. Three waterfalls, all at least one hundred feet above Piermont, were spewing crystal clear water into a massive and massively deep pool. Some points of the pool were hazy and did not match the rest of the water. He had to be careful here, there was a rich blend of salt and fresh water in here. Down in the water, he could see more crystals, illuminating the spring and the small, blind, albino, cave dwellers; fish, frogs, and other creatures. The cavern room was lined with green and yellow crystals. Black and white crystals lined the ceiling of the heart of Inferno's Peak.
He flew over the pool and continued another five minutes, stopping at a dead end. There was a path, a fairly large path, but this sector was flooded by a hot spring containing a dangerous combination of salt and fresh water. He turned and left towards Devil's Mouth's exit.
He emerged from the tunnel two and a half hours later, he had literally spent all day inside the mountain, and when he exited, the sun was half gone below the western horizon. Fear spiked his veins, turning his blood cold, he had succeeded in enjoying his secret expeditions before, but never had he spent over five hours in a place forbidden to all including him. Inferno's Peak was the second most sacred place on the island, second only to the historic Bloodgrass Battlefield.
He jumped off the ledge, free falling a hundred feet before spreading his wings and leveling a yard over the rapids. He felt the spray on his belly, enjoying the coolness. The cave was hot, hotter than the rest of the island. He sailed home, and literally made it seconds before his parents appeared in the entrance, still talking. He crawled to the back of the burrow, catching his breath, and began to hurriedly clean his grimy scales. From across the den, he heard his parents call for him.
That night, Piermont thought about Cherub, and as he was enjoying a nice peaceful sleep, something aroused him. He shot up and heard it again, a sort of humming sound. He glanced toward his parents' beds, empty. He thought he heard a scream as if from far away. He recognized it almost instantly, his mother! He shot out of the den, the horrid screams pierced the eerily silent night. Distant thunder bellowed, announcing its stormy arrival. He ran, faster, faster, before slipping and falling down a waterfall into a lake. Instant pain flared in his hind leg, red flowers bloomed in his vision. A deep, searing, painful heat began in his calf, spreading like a cancer.
The pain hit his foot first, then spread to his groin, and finally stopped in his thigh. When the harsh pain receded, complete numbness overtook where the flowers of pain had once been. He felt where a dull throb ached, and felt a slimy, jagged, stick protruding his leg. He pulled his paw away and looked at it, the dark green had been painted black. He knew what had really painted his paw. Nausea threatening to overcome him, both from the shock of the compound fracture, and the disgust at seeing the blood on his paw, he trembled uneasily and fell again.
He got up and what he saw in the field would haunt him for years to come, a bright light shining off of his mother's scales, caught in a net, the struggling in the net containing his father stopped. Tiny things were flying through the air at his mother before, finally, her struggling stopped too. Then the strange flying machines with the strange blades rotating above them disappeared over the horizon. He saw someone fly up and shoot down one of the flying machines with a jet of bright flame.
It landed in another lake just a few hundred yards ahead of him, with a huge ball of flame. The shock wave of the impact of the machine blew Piermont backwards. His back and head connected painfully with a tree trunk. The explosion ignited the foliage, and the clearing caught instantly. He stood up, colorful shapes dancing across his vision. He felt cool warmth on his skull and back and he looked around his feet as the green vegetation grew dark with his blood. He touched his lacerated skull, pain stabbed him and he pulled his paw away. The green was now a rich black.
He stared in silent hysterics at the object burning in the distance, about 85% of it visible in the shallow waters of the small lake. The fields were ablaze, the fires burning with a brightness that distinctly reminded him of a mostly forgotten memory of his first Tre Tribus Estat experience. Occurring only once every decade, and being an underage child witnessing the celebration from only one viewpoint and seeing only one small crumb of the actual confrontation, the memory was a mere still of the forests and fields ablaze, burning day and night for almost seven days before a steady rainfall had extinguished the flames. He looked and saw that the dragon who had just shot down the deadly machine was hovering above the field.
He couldn't see who it was, but he saw it was a forest dragon. Another one of the machines flew over his head, and he flinched with fear as the machine leveled ahead of him. The dragon charged again. There came a strange sliding sound and Piermont saw a ghoulish figure, small, standing on his/her hind legs, lean out from the machine, holding a long tube.
"What's happening?" Piermont asked himself, nausea gripping him. The thing in the machine put the tube to its head and a sound, louder than a burst of thunder, appeared, deafening and frightening Piermont worse than what he already was. A cloud of dark liquid and bits of flesh and membrane appeared from one of the dragon's wings as he stumbled uneasily. There was another boom and the wing became a stub following another cloud of blood and membrane. The dragon began to spiral down uncontrollably, that was when the true nightmare happened. The hero dragon plummeted into a tree and fell down the branches. His weak grip was able to grasp the last branch before a fatal hundred foot drop. The dragon, clinging desperately for dear life, pulled himself onto the branch, despite the thick branch's groans of protest.
Even from here, Piermont could see his muscles tremble as the hero began to lose strength, he was bleeding out. Piermont could only imagine the grimace of pain the hero wore, and the pain and terror that the hero felt as the machine lowered until level with the dragon. Piermont looked away, but still saw several fiery flashes appear from the machine. There came another series of booms, chanting in a brief staccato, one after another. The tree was shredded by the invisible projectiles, and the dragon stood no chance.
A series of clouds of blood appeared and Piermont looked away as the machine unleashed a very long tube that exploded when it hit the tree and engulfed even more of the forest in flame. The machine still fired its 'ping-flashes' at the already dead hero as another machine crossed the path of the ping-flashes. The ping-flashes from the first machine struck the second, causing it to explode. The spinning blade of the second machine spun wildly out of control and tore through the center of the ping-flash machine, slicing it into two almost clean halves with another explosion. The last of the machines destroyed, Piermont paralysis broke, and he limped as fast as he could into the forest. The thunder now closer, bellowed again, and the sky opened, unleashing a torrent of rain. Piermont quickly limped through the downpour and into the dismal cover of the forest, but not after taking one last look at where the deadly machine crashed.
Alone, and scared, Piermont limped farther into the forest. Tears began to well in his eyes as he stumbled over uprooted trees and fallen branches. The horrors he had just experienced still played in his mind, in front of his eyes. He was scared that the evil people who had just taken his family would have found out about him and would be following him. He couldn't go back to his den, or he would never be safe hiding there again.
The tears were really flowing now. He was cut and bruised and homeless. He had nowhere to go. He was no longer safe.
A heavy branch snapped loose and whipped him. His severely broken leg was unfelt as he limped. When the pain did catch up to him, he paused only to reset the protruding bone before continuing his quick limp. The screams of his fallen family echoed in his brain. He felt warm on his leg; looking down, he saw blood trickling down from where the branch had whipped him. His foot became tangled in some underbrush and he tripped, landing face first in the mud.
It was raining through the canopy now, drenching him. He had been through tropical storms before, but always with his family-never alone and always in some kind of shelter. "Help me Inferno! Please help me!" he cried, "I'm sorry for going into Inferno's Peak! I promise I will never do it again if you just HELP ME!"
The rain continued to pour as lightning struck a nearby tree, engulfing it in flames.
A huge blast of thunder sent Piermont jumping. He continued to run until the tree fell in front of him, he hopped over the felled tree and slid down a small, slippery slope in an avalanche of mud and grass, tumbling into a deep cave.
He looked around and saw a pile of dead leaves and twigs, still dry. "Thank you Inferno!" he cried as he gathered them into a small pile on the floor and started a fire with one small exhale.
He laid down and cried himself to sleep, the screams and now the storm echoing in his ears; feeling like a young infant, helpless, abandoned by all he ever knew.
His sleep that night was haunted by nightmares.