It started some hours ago, maybe days. The dark, desolate shell that incased me had become my only reality. Small patches of light where the shell was thin illuminated my world only slightly. But it was enough to know that it was daylight outside. I knew I had been confined for at least a day, for it had been night when the shell had been completed, and morning when I entered.
I was told to take no food, no water, no items, no clothing into the shell with me. The ritual would last of all of one hundred hours; a little over four days. By now I had become hungry, but it would pass. I would be allowed to eat when the ritual ended. For now, though, I would have to meditate.
The Dragon god's magic was strong, I knew, and he used it for noble purposes. I wanted to serve him like the true dragons, his followers. I wanted to be like them, have the wings and soar. But moreover, I wanted fix the damage I had done.
My guardian, an old alchemist, had taught me much in the way of magic, but he had been corrupted many, many years before I had came into his life. He claimed that his deity had chosen him to destroy the Dragon god. And for so long, I had believed him. We would crusade against the metallic dragons, destroying them in fell swoops. Entire forests were ridded of them.
And then I met Gao Fith. His strength could not be bested even by the alchemist's schemes and his warlock armies. The dragon defended his forest, and defended his cave, and destroyed the alchemist. And then he turned to me, and with the toothy smile that all dragons have, he offered me one clean shot at his heart.
At that moment, I had no idea why I did not take that shot and thrust my blade into his chest, save for the wounds I had suffered in making it to his cave. Instead I collapsed, nearly dead from loss of blood. The next thing I knew I was lying prone on a mound of soft leaves.
From then on, it seemed, my life was filled with ancient dragon texts meant to reeducate me. Gao Fith deemed me worthy of redemption in the eyes of the Dragon god, and trained me in the legends and histories of the dragons. And so my eyes were opened to the damage I had caused. I wept…
How many more days had passed? How many more hours? The minimal daylight I received was slightly different now, like the sun had switched angles. There was just enough light to see by now, too.
That was a good sign to me. The ritual was working and the Dragon god had claimed my servitude. He was changing me. My eyes were keener, and strange appendages had sprouted from my back. Softly, I could hear Gao Fith humming one of the ancient dragon tunes in his own language, now mine. I strained to hear better, not being able to make out which particular song it was.
And then like a crack of lightning, the shell split. The song was a ritual one, signaling the end of the Dragon Born rite. The sudden luminosity hurt my eyes, now fully accustomed to the dark. I squinted, trying to make out Gao Fith in the mess of colors, now fully vibrant and too dazzling to look at. The sun beamed off his golden scales and he toothy smile broadened farther.
By his gesture, I stood, shakily and awkwardly testing the weight of my new wings and tail. The shell had cracked in half completely leaving me standing naked in the open air outside Gao Fith's cave. My body had changed, my life had changed… Altogether, I had changed into something remarkable. It was the second birth, a new beginning.
My old armor was waiting, polished and fitted for a full blooded human. I shook my head heavily and pulled on a loose pair of trousers. There would be no need for my old shell any long. Tomorrow I would go to town and buy myself new weapons, a new shield… That old stuff did not belong to me. It belonged to someone who had been a villainous brute, not worthy of redemption.
This new armor would belong to someone who had been redeemed by grace.