Brenna R. Singman
Feyr Wingslayer watched the dragon swoop through the air. He braced himself, his muscles contracting below the scratched metal plates that covered his body. Even in the dragon's weakened state, dripping gobs of golden tinged blood like deadly rain, Feyr kept his guard. Patience, something his father and grandfather had taught him well in his seventeen years, would save his life. In this moment, one way or another, his life would be complete. Fulfilled was a different matter.
Finally, with a shriek, the red scaled beast tipped his beak and began his rapid descent. He curled his scaly lips back into a razor sharp sneer before opening his devastating maw. The back of his throat glowed as magic embers coiled together creating a web of flame. The fire storm launched downward in a swirling funnel. Feyr closed his eyes and let the magic beacon enclosed over his chest take over. The small glass bubble in the center of his chestplate burned bright red. The metal suit over his padded tunic and trousers grew warm, but stopped shy of unbearable. Since he was old enough to garble words, he had been training to handle pain, and his level of unbearable was different than anyone else's in all of New Victoria since its own rebirth. The soldiers of Old Victoria were the warriors he was bred to emulate.
In his mind's eye, Feyr could see a golden silhouette of his attacker. He had been told since the day he was born that he had a special connection to their enemies. The dragons were beasts of carnal influence that would stop at nothing to conquer his people. Not just drive them from the lands but to vanquish them entirely. He had yet to be proven wrong upon his journey to slay every last dragon. Now Feyr stood before the final one, the Elder dragon, and even with his dying breaths, the Elder showed no mercy. Feyr would honor him with the same respect. The roaring flames and the gust of the dragon's wings deafened Feyr, but only his magic sense needed to feel.
"There you are," Feyr said.
The silhouette flew through the flames unharmed, and the dragon tilted his neck to keep the steady flow of destructive heat striking Feyr's armor. Sweat beaded at his brow. The Elder dragon soared just feet over Feyr's head.
Feyr thrust his sword upward. His gauntlets grew bright with magic and heat. The energy from the glass orb rose through Feyr's arms, up into the hilt of the sword, and beamed through the blade, creating a shaft of light that struck right into the belly of the beast. Feyr opened his eyes, but he was lost in a sea of white hot fire. A terrible quake shook the cavern followed by a second, powerful impact as the Elder dragon struck the rocky ground. The blaze died away.
Feyr turned around, sword still firm in his grasp, and waited for the cloud of dust and debris to settle. He started approaching the fallen dragon with reservation in his heart. He never imagined this moment as anything but powerful triumph for himself and his people. As he looked over the still body, he trembled in wonder at fulfilling his destiny. Then Feyr tensed as the slit in the dragon's belly began to pucker, and a golden, skeletal arm reached through. He gasped and stepped back, sword raised. A familiar, golden-scaled, pygmy dragon crawled free of the carcass. It shook its leathery wings, and with each movement, Feyr's chest felt cold as if the magic of his armor were draining away. The armor that had been his birthright now felt like no more than a training weight.
"You set me free," the pygmy dragon said. For a creature so small, his voice brought the stone cave to quaking. "You've set us free."
"Dragon spirit?" Feyr asked. The creature's lips curled in a snarl as it nodded.
"I am the soul you harvested to end my people," he said. "The death of the Elder brings my birth...and the death of your world. It is my purpose. My sole purpose."
"And mine is to end the dragons," Feyr said. "You are the blight of my people since the dawn of days."
"I see." The dragon's wings fluttered uncomfortably. "Then one shall win the day and both shall die."
"Die?" Feyr asked. Never had he questioned his destiny, but without the weight of the dragon spirit against his soul, something gave him pause, allowed his mind to see that his journey truly ended that day. Beyond that was a complete unknown.
"What purpose does either courier of fate hold when the other dies?" Feyr watched the dragon spirit begin a manic circular walk like a turned about house pet, its wings twitching, spreading, collapsing. Bits of blood sprayed out. "If I walk away, I am alone. I have no purpose. I am no one. If you walk away, you are no better than that shell of armor. And I am dead. I am alone. I am purposeless. I am alone. I am dead."
Feyr watched the pathetic movements with a small ache in his heart. Never had he felt sympathy for his truest enemy, and with his own mind clear with inevitable victory, he saw that this was not a wound that could heal. He stepped forward, ignored by the dragon spirit that fought inner turmoil, and slashed his sword in a great, sweeping motion across the beast's small neck. Its glittering skull rolled towards the center of the chamber.
"Be at peace, brother in purpose," Feyr said. The dragons were mere beasts who fought for survival. They wouldn't understand freedom if it were gifted to them by their own grandest royalty. But Feyr was a man, and a man could seek purpose when old visions died. He was no longer Feyr Wingslayer. He was Feyr of unseen destiny.