Author's note: I feel…weird. Just wierded out. Considering I just went out with certain people, got bopped on the head with an umbrella, acted like a total fool in public…just imagine my conscience going like this at certain points:
"Stop it, stupid."
"Why don't you go be stupid over there."
"You just go on making a complete fool out of yourself. I will have no part in this whatsoever!"
"What are you doing? So…so stupid!"
"Hope you've gotten it out of your system, because you're done! No more outside for you!"
I think it gave up about halfway through and shot itself in the head. In other news, I'm running through a bit of writer's block here. I'm not sure whether to skip ahead to the court scene the next chapter, or do one more before that-whatever it is, I've got to start moving ahead the plotline fast-no more diddling around with stuff I'm not even sure doesn't count as filler.
An Arkonese short by Lccorp2.
I love this.
I cannot help but smirk. Well, I would have, if I had anything to smirk with-while I could probably alter my body enough to smirk, I do not wish to expend the energy on such trifles when there are greater pleasures to be had, more important tasks to be dealt with.
And there is always work to be done, always some task which has to be attended to. Such is the fate of my kind, those who labour for the greater glory of…who am I deluding? Much like those I am responsible for, each fleeting moment is a struggle for survival, fleeing from those who would do me and my kind harm.
Which brings us to this lucky little mortal. Engorged with yolk and addled with the warmth of his mother's womb as each nerve continues to grow, each blood vessel extending from the central core of his being, each green scale hardening…
The little squirt knows nothing of his surroundings, the layers of yolk, white and shell coalescing about him as he squirms every now and then inside his mother's enormously swollen belly. His only care is to grow, and the movements that come from somewhere, the annoying, repetitive noises, all those are hindrances to his goal.
A goal of death. Not a single Dragonkin escapes from me. None have. Many tried to escape, only to realize their pitiful efforts only served to hasten their journey to me. When they finally came face-to-face with me, my laughter only grew more bitter before I began the sorting process. Wherever they find themselves in the end, they don't remember me or what happened in between their death and the current state of affairs. I don't know why this is so. I don't care.
Then again, I never expected them to have any kind words for me. This is a largely thankless job and I must find worth in the work I do.
Oh, I can't wait to end this pitiful creature's life. To purge the world of his futile, pathetic excuse for an existence, to savour the moment I sever this mortal's soul from the sack of hide, claw and scale that surrounds him, to rip his life-essence apart into oblivion, as if he had never been.
But I must bide my time and wait for the appropriate moment as I do for every one of the scalebags. Everyone is dying. Everyone will die. There's not too much of a rush, although I like doing my job.
It's said amongst all the Dragonkin Flights that having your egg laid is one of the most torturous events of your life. Hatching doubly so, the agony of your stomach and the desperate need to find food forcing you out of your shell, cheeping and creeling piteously as your own digestive juices threaten to dissolve you inside out. Scrabbling madly and devouring the first thing in sight-the remnants of your egg, shell, sac and all.
Painful as it might be, it's the only time you're actually truly alive. Mortality sets in almost instantly, ticking away till the time it is time for me to collect you. Scales start to loosen, hide starts to crack as your body starts to wither ever so slowly. The very air you breathe through your snout has gone through the bodies of millions now turned to dust, as do the contents of your mother's hide-covered breasts you now suckle at. The reek and taste of death work their way inside your being, corrupting your innards, poisoning you even as they bring life.
Do you like the taste of death, little whelpling? It's exactly the same as the taste of life.
Another saying amongst some of the more superstitious or spiritually inclined Dragonkin is that there are two times in one's life a child of the Sentinels can lay their eyes on me and perceive my presence. The second time needs no explaining.
The first time? The very first time you open your eyelids as you turn away from your mother's breast, as the shards in your eyes flare to life when your soul awakens, look. If you focus hard enough, you can see me staring you in the face, patiently waiting. Forever if need be.
The dragonet does this just this. Flailing his little stubby limbs in such a comically useless manner, he tears his jaws from his mother's breast and begins to let out ear-splitting screeches. Both parents look at each other and I almost pity them.
I remember those whom I have collected by desecrating their appearance and mocking their laughable behaviours. It's very satisfying and if you don't like it, I don't care. This particular green-scaled dragonet sees me in the form of a massive black Great Dragon, all spines, spikes and edges, just waiting. Waiting to tear it apart, that fragile link joining body and mind to soul.
But of course, he doesn't recognize me, just as he doesn't recognize anything else around him; all he knows is that I look like a threat and that he should cry out. By the time of our next meeting, he'll have forgotten all about me, but something within the buried depths of his memory will remember. Most of the newly dead run roaring in terror before they realize what's happened. I don't blame them.
The Blinding Light.
Whatever they want to call me, I am one and the same, my work no different. I do think the last one suits my job description best, though.
"The Wyrmslayer lingers by the dying, waiting for a child of the Sentinels finally lose the light in his or her eyes and pass into the Void to await judgement. If your soul was full of warmth and kindness it will send you off to the Tree of Life to be with the Dragonlord and Dragonmother but if you were full or hate and regret, it casts you down into the Demonic Plane of Fire and the flames will burn your soul to nothingness; it will be as if you never were."
Or at least, that's what the religious folk tell the whelpings, a story to scare them into conforming to social norms. I don't deny it, though, that's the gist of what I do. If I could, I'd help to speed up the process a little-a nudge here, a twist there, a misunderstanding in just the right place…and there'd be a whole lot more draconic souls for me to sort out into their appropriate places. I'd be lying if I said I'd never thought of it before.
But there are rules. There are always rules. My creator was fair-minded and I like to think some of that passed down to me somehow. I've never seriously considered breaking any of them, because I know it can't be done, in much the same way that no Dragonkin can escape from me. Don't ask me how I know this, my creator probably planted it into my mind.
They take the screaming whelpling down, where one of their religious folk awaits. The three of them hold a short conversation and I know what it is about-the dragonet's sudden bout of wailing. Of course, the robed one knows what caused it, but she lies to the worried parents who don't really believe in me. I suppose unlike some other supernatural entities, my existence can't be proven by mostly sane people and therefore I don't exist. No normal person wants to go out and find death. The crazies who do go look for me don't usually come back to tell the tale.
I follow them as they fly out of the hatchery, out into the open air. Eventually, they land down in a small, secluded grove and the naming ceremony begins. I've been an uninvited guest to too many of these, sometimes on business-sometimes not. Wherever the place be it amongst trees, underwater, on a mountain peak facing the dawning sun or under the night sky, it's all the same. I must give credit to whoever came up with these traditions-they've managed to get others to partake of an inane ritual, a feeble attempt to lay some sort of significance on their time alive.
There's no point to this. In fact, I'm beginning to think there's not much point to most things-except my work.
No matter how many times I watch this completely absurd ritual, it never ceases to amuse me. If the scalebags only knew, if they only knew what the gods they worship really are like, they'd probably do away with plenty of these ceremonies, especially those which emphasize that mortal-deity bond or whatever they want to call it. Their ancestors revered most of the Pantheon simply because they feared them, not out of the love and goodness that was showered upon the true believers or whatnot. Then when most of the Pantheon grew bored with this creation of theirs and left, the mortals romanticised them and this is what we have now.
I can only remember three who were halfway friendly and still pseudo-care about their creations. Two of them never were gods in the full sense of the word.
I don't deny the gods exist. All of them have tried to kill-no, that's not the word-destroy me or my fellows at some point in time or the other. Any stupid mortal can simply go visit a few of the places on Arkon and see for themselves definite, concrete proof of the gods' existence. But to think that they're actually controlling their playthings' destinies and watching out for them as they shamble through their pathetically short lives-that takes a level of self-delusion so immense…
In a twisted, sickening way, you have to respect the mortals for being able to believe that, even if it only is for the purpose of comforting oneself. Once they meet me, though, and understand for themselves how the beings they've worshipped so reverently during their fleeting lives truly are…
The whole concept of a higher good, divine righteousness and unending life becomes one cruel, wretched trick. "Good" is what they like, "Evil" is what they don't like. The morally correct thing often isn't the "Good" thing to do and I have to do the dirty work for the gods. Again, if I could change things, I would, but there are rules-and this time anyone fair-minded would break it if possible.
Good thing that those three who give a whit are amongst the deities they worship. Bad thing is, this particular naming ceremony isn't dedicated to any of them. Instead, it's dedicated to a vindictive, malicious, self-righteous bitch, the mere thought of whom makes me extremely annoyed. She hates me personally and to me, that's a big thing.
Unending life with their two patron gods. I fail to see how anyone can take comfort in that.
Thankfully, the ceremony is short and simple. The robed one mutters a few phrases. The parents nod in agreement. The dragonet just lies there with a wonderfully stupid expression set into its jaws and snout, probably thinking of the next meal-that's all they ever think about. Beneath me, the grass is lush and green. I brush my forepaws against a few blades, thinking of the thick, greenish ichor that was spilt here not too long ago. That's why the grass is so green here-the life almost literally flowed from dead and dying scalebags into the earth itself.
"Life is death, and death is life. Things perish so that others may prosper," the robed Dragonkin says before handing the whelpling back to his parents. You got that right, sister. You can feel the grass under your feet, can't you? How warm and thick it is, apart from that little patch over there with the sharp edges? Hungry again, the whelpling paws at his mother's breast and she obliges, nourishing her offspring and killing him at the same time.
Lovely. The little squirt will always be hungry, often wishing the pain in its stomach would go away. If not for the rules, I could help. Might as well put the poor creature out of its misery and spare it all that suffering as its digestive system asserts itself.
Eventually, they leave after much deliberation and I sit down on a rock, watching all four Dragonkin become emerald silhouettes against the sky before vanishing. There's going to be plenty of work for me soon, and I'm determined to savour these last few moments' respite before duty calls.
The she comes, her spectral form sauntering forth and sitting down cross-legged on the grass before me, tucking her tail in, she stares me in the face. Our eyes meet for quite some time before I break the gaze.
When I drop by in the area, she always makes a point to track me down and greet me. It's kind of endearing, really.
"I'm not afraid of you," she whispers.
"Because I'm no stranger to you. Because you'd been trained to expect me since hatching," I reply, raking one talon across the earth. "I'm not trying to mock you. Had I been, I wouldn't still be in this form."
She looks down, fiddling with the hard chitin and spines that encase her arms. "Thank you for reminding me why I'm still here."
"Are you ready to go?" I ask with a little sigh, opening up the leathery palm of one forepaw, inviting her to step in. "For all it's worth, both Dragonlord and Dragonmother are quite reasonable. They were not so when they were…young. You have a chance."
Immediately, she shakes her head and her tail begins to twitch. "No. I can't leave until I've put right what I set into motion."
"I could make you leave with me."
"But you won't, if only because it's for your own pleasure."
She's right. Those who really, really don't want to truly depart, I let be. It's fun, in the same way as some of the golden scalebags catch brightly coloured fish from the mountain streams and take delight in watching the fish ram themselves against the sides of their prison until they die.
"You need a lesson in futility. There are no powerful entities around to intervene for you, not that they would agree to even if they were present."
"I'll find a way, Blinding Light," she says, grinding ghostly jaws together and turning her snout up at me. Her stoic appearance doesn't fool me, though. I can tell what she's feeling simply by looking at her.
Her heart is full of hate and regret.
"So be it," I reply, a twisted grin setting into my jaws even as my visible form begins to dissipate and fade into nothingness. "So be it, T'eremus. I'll be watching."