Prophecies And Dragons

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'That's what happened.' Arkadiusz Fringe, a blond, skinny young-looking man almost coughed out his lungs in front of an overbearing presence of ash and smoke.

'A dragon? A dragon ate the diamond blade--' the presence spoke but before it finished the sentence, it was cut off.

'--Yes. I said that already.'

'You mean the prophesied weapon forged by the mighty “Those-Who-Came-Before” in case when the “World-Eater Zaurron” returned with his “One-Earring-To-Bring-Death-On-Them-All” so he could bring forth the “Reckoning-Last-Z-Day-Of-Judgment”?'

'That is correct.' Fringe replied.

The ash and smoke rose high into the air, then dissolved into nothingness. Fringe found himself standing on a brow of a hill overlooking fields of golden long wheat. There was a sweet scent of honey in the air as the sun descended beyond the trees on the horizon. He looked up into the orange-bleeding sky and fell to his knees.

'What a perfect day for the end of the world.' he whispered to himself.

'God of nature is a no-go?' a black and white magpie swooped in from a nearby tree and landed before the kneeling man. 'What did you expect from a god plagued with pollution?' It jumped a little towards him and drew up its beak.

'I'm in no mood for your lectures, Melgoriuth.' Fringe snapped.

'We still have a way to fix this. Just use locator magic to find the dragon.'

'And what do we do once the dragon's found? Politely ask it to spit the sword out?'

'Of course not, Fringe. That would be stupid. We obviously need to wait for the blade to pass through its digestive system.'

Fringe cringed, but the magpie flapped its wings and asked:

'Have you got any better ideas?'

'In that case,' Arkadiusz paused in thought—he wore a purple over-coat, a white shirt and from his back trouser pocket he took out a folded map of Hampshire County. 'I shall teleport there, will you fly?'

Melgoriuth then lifted its wing and told Fringe to pluck one of its feathers, 'this way wherever you appear next, I will know and be able to follow.'

Then Fringe unfolded the map and brushed it with his fingertips, eyes closed, he imagined the five-meter dragon that attacked him and stole his sword earlier that day. The black v-shaped scales upon its back, its white belly and neck that turned orange whenever it opened its jaw with rows of shark-like teeth. Once he had the image of the beast in his mind, he let the wind and chance direct his finger about the map and once the wind ceased he whispered “Vanailv” and when he next opened his eyes, he found himself in between two hills on a motorway.

Car wreckage surrounded him, some of the cars were on fire, all of them abandoned. In the distance towards town he saw the bright blue lights of police and the fire-brigade.

'I see the mundanes keep their distance.' Fringe smirked.

His confidence shattered when he felt hot, sizzling gust of air brush against the back of his neck. He turned around to see the dragon, tall, like a swan stretching its neck down towards him, spreading its wings into a likeness of a willow tree. Maw opened, a mighty roar revealing teeth and tongue.

Damn! Thought Arkadiusz Fringe, if he hadn't solely focused on the dragon's location, he wouldn't have teleported right next to it, instead he could've used the opportunity to scout the area nearby and prepare some kind of a strategy. The things people think of in hindsight!

'Alas,' Fringe sighed, 'I must bid thee farewell.' he raised his arms—as he did the dragon cocked its head and a flicker of flame appeared erupting out of its throat.

He focused on a safe place, his stepfather’s mansion perhaps? No, his apartment above that Indian restaurant in a quiet sea-side British town… He didn't need a map for this spell, just the remainder of his energy, maybe just his sanity.

'Don't do it Fringe!' screamed the magpie Melgoriuth flying down at Fringe, hitting him in the shoulder it fell to the ground.

'I made haste, you coward!' Melgoriuth's voice was rough, 'you were planning another teleport! The strain alone could kill you!'

'What else am I to do, talking bird?!'

The fire blazing within the dragon's mouth was put out as its teeth clasped shut. There was a deep croaky echo in a tone of amusement—the dragon was laughing.

Fringe stared at the beast, afraid to do so little as blink, 'What's the plan Magpie?'

'I suggested patience, but you just had to rush in.' the magpie got back on its stick-like legs and hopped towards Arkadiusz.

'Oh god.' cried Fringe, 'I'm gonna die.'

'Yes.' the dragon's maw unhinged, but there was no fire.

'You will die, human. And you bird? Why do I sense a human soul within your fragile dying body?'

Fringe shook, then through the silence of the moment far behind them he heard the crowd of cars and people on the other side of a line of police lights—he was gaining an audience.

Then with a jolt of courage Fringe's legs stopped shaking and his fast breathing calmed into a rhythm not too dissimilar to the calming waves of the ocean near a sandy beach in June or July, specifically in those months and none other. Because to him, there was a difference in those things.

'Fuck this!' he screamed as he ran away from the beast, leaving Melgoriuth to fend for himself.

'I'll remember this, Sorcerer!' screamed the magpie.

But when Fringe ran far enough that he could no longer hear the tired cries of the bird, he noticed that with the sun sinking beyond the horizon came a blue haze that swallowed him and everything surrounding him whole into a darkness. Then he heard a flap of large wings and soon realised he was upside down, mid-air flying above the motorway, past the hills towards fields and the town.

'Hey, Melgoriuth, when did you get strong enough to carry a whole person while mid-flight? Hmm? Melgoriuth? No hard feelings about me ditching you just now, right? Melgoriuth?'

Fringe would repeat the magpie's name over and over but refused to look up at whatever was carrying him in the air, mostly due to fear.

A brutish burp came from above and shook Fringe to the core, then a sardonic voice spoke:

'Your friend was a fair appetite; know I savoured his cries of pain.'

It took him a while, but Fringe knew he couldn't let his emotions get to him. The loss of his friend hurt him in ways he never imagined, but now was not the time for panic. He focused all his energy into the palm of his hand, and though his fingers recoiled at the sting of the terribly familiar pain, he created a flicker of flame and struck the beast with a fireball. The beast was hit on the head without much effect, though its grip over one of his legs tightened as a result.

'I'm not dead yet.' Fringe heard a muffled voice of the magpie, 'you bastard!' the voice ringed in his mind as if but an echo—obviously the man was in such distress he was hearing voices.

'You're hearing a voice, Fringe, you're hearing me!'

Then the dragon thrashed in the air, throwing Arkadiusz up so for the moment he could see the dragon descend down into the heart of the buzzing town as its wings ceased flapping and its body shivered. Very soon though he found himself following suit in the dragon's fall.

From the black ball that was the dragon's body silhouetted against the orange glow of the town's lights, Fringe noticed a blue spark strike from within its belly. Then a sharp light protruded out of the scaly thing—a black ooze gushed as it did. The blue light was, Fringe realised, the sword the dragon had swallowed, the diamond blade. It flew in the air, and as the dragon crashed into the people-filled market street, the blade sped up towards him.

It was held in the beak of none other than Melgoriuth, but the bird appeared larger, stronger, it rushed past Fringe, the sword cutting him in the shoulder.

'That was on purpose!' the man managed to scream before the bird took grasp of his shoulders in its claws and took flight away from the scene of the beast's folly.

In the dark crevices between the buildings on the edge of town, Melgoriuth's strength lessened and the bird dropped Fringe to the ground from a height of only two meters.

Though the man was let go, the magpie managed to hold onto his purple over-coat, then drop it on his head. Before Fringe got up on his feet, he took the over-coat off his head and threw it on the dirty ground. He barely had enough time to cry after realising what he had done before avoiding the falling sword that hit the pavement—shattering into pieces. The man screamed in agonizing frustration but Melgoriuth perched on a plastic bin beside him.

'I didn't mean to do that.' Melgoriuth was back to his normal bird size, and he sounded tired.

'You didn't?! I fought a dragon and you just destroyed the only thing that could stop the “World-Eater” from laying waste to the entire world!'

'I killed a dragon. You were falling to your death.' the magpie's beak turned to the shattered remains of the blue blade on the ground.

'I was improvising!' the wizard remarked, then turned away from the alley onto the open street and saw that further in the town a ray of white lighting roared from the sky and struck the ground.

'Damn it!' Fringe ran towards the weather anomaly.

Melgoriuth meanwhile inspected the broken shards of the diamond blade. Upon a closer look, the magpie saw runes etched onto the light glowing glass-like remains of the sword. And the ancient, cryptic runes could roughly be translated to: “Made in England.”

'That makes sense.' the bird flapped its wings and followed Arkadiusz.

Flying over the city, Melgoriuth noticed panic-stricken citizens running about as if without a sense of direction. In all the chaos there were still magazine-peddlers standing around trying to make a sale. Now that was some dedication—the magpie thought.

Fringe on the other hand had less to admire about these “mundanes”. They blocked his way, but instead of trying to pass through the masses he detoured around them. He jumped from alley to alley and avoided them at every opportunity, until in great speed he fell onto a road full of them. Then his feet froze in fear and panic. His forehead excreted sweat and he found himself become a pole—completely still—among a river of running bodies. Countless souls brushed against him; with each passing person he felt his sense of self slowly chipping away. When one person apologised for hitting him on the shoulder, all he could say was “you too.”

***

The light from the lampposts went out, the courtyard along with the glooming cathedral overlooking it became shrouded in darkness. Though it was at the heart of the booming town and surrounded by buildings, the cathedral seemed then as if in the middle of nowhere. Thunder rolled from above and a streak of lighting crashed into the pavement, splitting the very earth beneath. The origin of the lighting was a bright white ball of energy that created a vortex of wind around it, shaking the green leaves off the trees.

Melgoriuth perched beside the devastation and could only stay silent as the wind died down, the ball of energy disappeared and from beneath newly formed cracks in the pavement came a tall figure clad in black armour with skulls decorating the knees and shoulders, with spikes jolting out from every piece.

'World-Eater-Zaurron…' murmured the magpie.

'Who defiles my honour by speaking that name!' the figure screamed in a deep bass. It turned towards Meloriuth and, wielding a big black war-hammer, pointed it at him. Then there were echoes bouncing off of the great cathedral walls as someone was running towards them.

Melgoriuth looked at who it could be, imagining some hero from the prophecy overcoming all odds and rescuing the world.

It was just Arkadiusz Fringe.

When he finally ran in between the magpie and the Dark Lord, he was so out of breath he leaned on his knees, gasping for air. He looked up at the tall villain, stood upright and for a moment seemed like he was going to say something. Then he ran past Zaurron who, confused, followed him with his gaze turning his entire upper body (Due to the limitations of the visor in his helmet, he had to turn his body to look anywhere else but forward).

'Who was that?' whispered Zaurron.

'The worst sorcerer in the history of this dimension.' sighed Melgoriuth.

Blue flashing lights took the magpie's attention away from the Dark Lord and towards where Fringe just came from. With an agonising siren, two police cars drove towards them. They stopped just a few feet in front of Zaurron, their tires shrieking like a banshee in heat. Before the policemen even came out of their vehicles, the Dark Lord ran, his heavy armour clanking with every long stride.

Melgoriuth flew up and followed the Dark Lord, staying close enough for them to converse.

'Aren't you Zaurron “The World-Eater”?' asked the magpie, 'What are you doing running away from the cops?'

Then the Dark Lord replied, 'What? World-Eater?! I'm The-World-Champion-Hamburger-Eater!'

The magpie froze mid-flight with a gaping beak, almost hitting the ground it flapped its wings just in time to stay in the air.

'But the “One-Earring-To-Bring-Death-On-Them-All”'

The Dark Lord took off his helmet, revealing a chubby face. With tears in his eyes he pointed to his ear and said:

'Death? This is my Hearing-Aid!'





THE END

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