*Author's Note* I will add more chapters to this if it gets good reviews.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was just beginning over the endless ocean and the perfect white sand was soft under my feet. The gaping wound in my stomach hurt and I probably wouldn't be able to walk soon, but that was okay. I wouldn't mind dying here next to the sea with the salty ocean breeze blowing against my face.

Finally, I collapsed onto the ground, unable to stand any longer. The bullet wound in my stomach was slowly oozing blood and I felt lightheaded. I would no doubt be dead before the sun rose.

As I sat on that lonely stretch of beach slowly bleeding to death, I noticed something on the horizon. It looked like a huge, red lump of flesh, slowly making its way towards the shore. It bobbed up and down with the waves lifelessly. I watched as it drew closer and closer. It was a good ten minutes before the massive object finally washed up on the shore and came to rest a few yards away. Gathering what was left of my strength, I got to my feet and stumbled over to where it lay.

As I approached the giant red object, I realized what it actually was: it was a dragon. I went up to the massive beast and laid my hand on it without even a trace of fear. Its flanks rose and fell with each breath it took, but hundreds of swords, arrows and spears were sticking out of its back, making it look like some kind of gruesome pincushion; it was dying, just like me.

Suddenly, the dragon lifted its mighty head and stared at me. Its eyes were bright green and eerily human; it was as if the monster were a man trapped inside the body of a beast. We sat there for the longest time, just staring into each other's eyes. We were two dying creatures, completely different. But we would be no different in death. After what seemed like an eternity, the dragon began to speak in a deep, ancient voice.

"Have you come to kill me as well, human?" the creature said, its eyes filled with sorrow and pain. With great effort, I removed my hand from the wound in my stomach so that the dragon could see.

"Why would I want to do that?" I said, my voice shaky and wavering. "We're the same."

"No, human, I don't think we are," said the dragon. "For thousands of centuries I have been hunted by your kind, simply for existing. Why have you been wounded, if you don't mind telling me?"

"I was falsely accused of betraying my kingdom and the empress," I said, even though the last thing I wanted to do was remember what had happened. "But you can't blame them. You're a dragon; it's only natural that people would fear you."

"But that's just it: I'm not a dragon. My name is Skah, and countless ages ago, the people of my homeland worshiped me as a god. I gave them great wisdom and I judged their sinners, and in exchange, they gave me offerings and praise. But they discovered that my power is not all happy and kind.

"I want to make a deal with you," said the great beast. Its breath was coming in short, labored gasps; it didn't have long to live now.

"What is it?"

"I will heal your wound if you accept my responsibilities. If you become the god of wisdom and judgment that my people worshipped, I will grant you eternal life. But you must also become the god of destruction."

"I'll do it."

"Do you understand that everything you have ever loved will fall apart? You will never be able to have a family or friends. Everywhere you go will burn and the people of this land will yearn for your death. You can try to offer people your wisdom and guidance, but they will simply flee in fear."

"I don't care. If you can stop me from dying, I'll do anything you want." The dragon raised its mighty head to the sky and laughed long and hard. When it was finished, it looked at me once more, but instead of sadness, its eyes were filled with warmth.

"Is that so? Well, I suppose that's all right then."

"I will accept your deal, Skah," I said without hesitation. Slowly, the dragon god raised its massive paw and touched a claw to my forehead. Instantly, I felt the knowledge and wisdom of countless ages flood my mind. It was as if my entire being was suddenly engulfed by a shining white light. I felt weightless, completely separate from reality. Then, it was over. The amazing, euphoric sensation I had felt moments ago had passed, and I felt just as I always had. The roaring pain in my stomach was gone now, and my body felt completely fine.

I stood effortlessly and placed my hand on the dragon's smooth stomach once again. Its breathing had stopped and it lay perfectly still, the waves slowly lapping around it. I decided that I would take the god's name as well. The lifeless creature looked lonely and pathetic, despite the great power that it had once wielded. The power that was now mine.

On the horizon, eerily prominent against the pale hues of the morning sky, dark clouds gathered. A storm was heading this way, and I would be the center of it all.