The sun had passed over the horizon hours ago, yet the five weary travelers did not slow their pace. They had been walking for four months, and yet had still not reached their destination. The men were Iberians, wandering through the steppes of Mongolia. Each was armed to the hilt with swords, bows, daggers, and murderous, profiteering hearts. As the dark men made their way across the plains, rocky outcrops stood on either side of their path.
They were not to know what surrounded them.
Glittering eyes glowed in the darkness of the overhang of the rocks. The pain and hunger they felt filled the air with their desire and want. The scent was so heavy it would be practically overwhelming to most creatures.
But the humans carried on, unaware of their destined fate. They wore thick pelts, rucksacks, and had scarves around their faces. Perhaps this was why they did not sense the danger that was approaching. For as the group of hungry wyverns snuck up on them, they seemed completely oblivious. Easy prey, the wyverns thought.
They would have had a difficult time being more wrong.
As the first wyvern snuck up on the man bringing up the rears, it began to salivate, drool dripping from its jaws. It was about to bite down on the man, when he said quite jovially "Quite a breeze, eh, mi amigos?", and whipped around, drew his sword, and stabbed it into the roof of the wyverns mouth, the blade piercing up through its brain, instantly killing it. As it heavily collapsed, the others turned, and drew their weapons. The remaining seven wyverns hissed in shock, and then lunged at the group of humans.
"Rule numero uno of tactics!" One of the Spaniards called. "Never sound like a banshee when you are sneaking up on prey!"
He then let loose a volley of 3 arrows, let loose seconds after one another, into the beast he was yelling at's eyes, and one into a chink in its breast armour. The snarling dragon retreated into the shadows, blinded.
The remaining 6 creatures were starting to feel a bit uneasy. Usually prey shrieked, ran away, and then died. This prey was a lot harder to kill. One of the wyverns opened its mouth at the prey, and a glowing light appeared in the back of the throat.
"Fire, fire! Move!"
They mostly got out of the way as the roaring lilac flames shot from the beast's mouth, but two of the men were caught in the flames. The flames melted the skin off their bones, and for about three seconds, two skeletons hung in the air. Then they two melted away into nothing, melted by the flames. Dimly, the light faded away, leaving the steppes in darkness once more.
"Dear god." One of the men whispered, and then they looked at each other, filled with a new heart. They could not die. They had a goal to complete, and if they did not attain it, their whole journey would be for naught. They had faced worse during their journey.
They had started with nineteen men, seven of them explorers, the remaining twelve porters. Each rode a horse, either pack or battle. They had traveled through France, Italy, and The Northern Ottoman Empire practically undisturbed. However, when they reached Tehran, they had been set upon by a flock of thirty wyverns. They had taken all of the porters, and two of the adventurers. The horses, terrified, had fled, and it had taken hours to round them up.
Once rounded up, all but five were sold, and the remaining men were on their way towards their destination. Five months later, there were only three against five wyverns in the dead of knight.
The three remaining Iberians rolled out of the way of the second blast, and as one raised their bows. Twang-twang-twang. The bows went of thrice, each half a second apart. Three arrows arced through the air, and each found a separate target. One went down the throat of the dragon about to spew flame – with a gurgle, its eyes widened, and its jaws instinctively snapped shut just as the flames shot. The dragon let out a deathly scream as its own flames burned it from the inside out.
The second shot went into a chink in a different wyvern's neck armour, and hit a major artery. The dragon bled, but not much else happened. It was, however, infuriated, and as it lunged forward, a bolt of flame shot out of its mouth, and hit one of the men's pointer finger, for he had been pointing to the top of an outcrop, where the blind wyvern stood still. With a scream, his finger melted off.
The third hit a wyvern straight in between the eyes, and burrowed its way into its brain. The wyvern froze, and then crumpled.
There were now three wyverns (not counting the blind one), and three men. Each had a wounded, and both were furious. With a cry, the wounded dragon lashed forward with its tail, but one of the Spaniards leapt on, ran up the tail onto its back, and raised his sword to kill it. He was, however, thrown off, and landed on one of the other dragons. He regained his breath after a second, and grabbed onto a scale just as the violent lashing started. He crawled up towards the head, raised his blade, and with a swing, took off the beast's head.
As the body fell, he leapt towards the remaining uninjured Wyvern. But this time, he was not so lucky. The Wyvern reared up - and was hit in the face by an arrow. The Iberians, however, fell to the ground. Luckily, the body of the dead wyvern had fallen far enough that it was a mere 6 foot drop. He landed, kneeled, and then stood. The wyvern blew fire at him, but he rolled to the side, and then backed up to join his countrymen.
While he had been performing his feats of grandeur, the other two men had been trying to take down the injured Wyvern. But no matter what they did, it wouldn't go down. Finally, the injured explorer had developed a last minute, desperate plan.
"Get it to lunge." He muttered to his companion, and then backed away. The other Iberians fired a volley of two arrows, and the dragon rushed forward, and tried to snap the man up. Clearly, it too had tired of ranged attacks. But it found it had a bit more than it had bargained on in its mouth.
The injured man rushed forward, leaped in between the gnashing jaws, and landed on the beast's giant tongue. He ripped his knife out of its sheath, and stabbed up. He got a brief sight of the outcrop and his stunned companion as the wyvern roared. With its jaw widened, he had room to raise his sword. He got it into an upright position just as the dragon's mouth slammed shut, right onto the blade. The Iberians felt the body drop, and then it landed with a thud. He pushed the jaws open, wrenched his sword out of the roof of the dragon's mouth, and sauntered out. There was only one wyvern left, and as it looked at the three men, an emotion it hadn't felt in many years.
The wyvern backed away, one step at a time, and then flew up to join the blind wyvern, and then they were gone into the night.
About an hour later, the plains began to slope up into foothills, and the trio found a cave. Exhausted, hurt, and barely conscious, they set up camp inside. The darkness surrounded them, and one by one, they drifted off to sleep, too tired to even set a guard.
It was a fatal error.
In the early hours of the morning, a great snake slithered out of the depths of the cave. Its scaly body crackled against the rocks, but the devastated travelers were deaf to the sound of the scales on stone. Only one of the travelers was awake, and he sat outside his tent, sharpening his blade, which had been dulled in the fight against the wyverns.
He heard the crackling, and froze. He slowly stood and called out, "Tenemos problemas…" We have trouble…
The other two men came out of their tents, and watched in horror as a tail lashed out of the shadows, and wrapped around the man who had called the warning. Then a snout appeared, and then…
"Turn away!" the injured man screamed, and he and his free companion turned away. There was a heart-renting scream, and then the sound of flesh being torn apart, and teeth snapping together. Backs turned on the madness, the two Spaniards made their way rapidly out of the cave, shaken, and in near shock. They had suffered three losses in one day, and while they had endured greater losses in Tehran, it had been mostly porters, who were the servants of the journey.
As they made their way along the trail, their uneasiness grew. They knew that their destination, if it even existed, was somewhere immediately ahead of them, and they would soon reach it.
The trail wound on for at least another 4 hours, but eventually, they neared the peak of the pass. And as they passed the top, the gazed down into the valley below. Trees and fields spanned the mile long valley, and at the far side was a waterfall. And among the trees, and fields, and water, was the prize the men had been searching for.
Flying below were giant black Drakons.
The injured man turned to his companion, and said, resolutely, "We have found a great treasure this day."
"It will bring us great riches."
The injured Iberians whipped out his sword and ran his countryman through. The astonished Spaniard looked down at the blade, and then his eyes rolled up, and he slid off and collapsed to the ground. The murderer glanced down at his friend, wiped his blade on the grass, and then kicked the body over the edge of the cliff. He then pulled a set of tools from his rucksack, and determined his exact location. He then put them away, and turned around to begin his long journey back to Spain. He was about to make his fortune.
And the prospect of the moral consequences of the destruction of the last Drakon settlement didn't mar his outlook on the affair in the slightest.