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Thread: Trial by Fire

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    Order Instance of Istaria

    Default Trial by Fire

    (I believe it was Mark Twain who said that history doesn't repeat, but it sure likes to rhyme.

    When faced with the enormity of his power, his origin, and his destiny, what can one hatchling do but deny it... or embrace it?)

    Osearir glided from above into the cliff-side lair. His silver eyes were filled with dark hope as they scanned the entrance way. This was the place. He had never been here before, but Maekrux had spoken of it a few times as the home of his daughter, Aerioch – and the home of his grandson, Ausixen. Here would he find exactly what he sought.

    Slinking into the lair as quietly as he could, he passed by a machine chamber, a second one, and then he froze. Directly to his left lay a peppermint hatchling. He furrowed his brow. Was this some sort of squatter? No, Osearir recalled that Maekrux had mentioned Ausixen had taken a student to mentor. He frowned and grinned at the same time, his face contorting back. She would do. Quietly he stalked forward, pausing again when she flexed a wing in her sleep, ignorant of the approaching black hatchling, keeping his emerald-spiked claws from tapping against the ground as he came near.

    He pounced. In seconds, it was over – Osearir had immobilized her with his weight, and a claw at her throat, poking at her roughly and walking her from her sleep quite suddenly.

    “Wha-” she began before Osearir squeezed her throat a bit to silence her. She couldn’t believe it – she had never been threatened in her teacher’s lair!

    “Do not move,” Osearir warned with a hiss. “I need your help. Where is your teacher?” He did not hold back his words now. It wouldn’t matter if some random hatchling knew, given his plan.

    “What? Why? What do you want with Ausixen?” Seryan demanded with a low growl.

    “He has something I want. And I’m going to get it. Now if you want to be able to fly someday, you’re going to call out to him.” In warning, the black placed his free claw against her wing, pinning it to the ground. A cold energy, dark as midnight, followed. She shifted a bit below him.

    “Now why would I want to do that? I can take care of you just fine.” With this bravado, the hatchling tried to buck the black from her, tearing her sensitive wing membrane under Osearir’s claws, though the damage was not as extensive as it should have been for some reason. Perhaps because Osearir was far stronger now, than he had been as a content, hermit-hatchling in Maekrux’s lair during his Ash. Recently, he had learned the value of power, and hated himself for it.

    Osearir forced her back to the ground with ease. “Do you really want me to give you a reason? If you aren’t going to help me, I have other options.”

    Seryan bared her sharp teeth, seeing that physical force alone wouldn’t dislodge him. “Options?” she asked, no louder than before.

    “I see Ausixen chose well - he found someone just like him: hot-headed and smart as a rock. You weren’t even the one I came here for. This is wasting my time.” Osearir reared his claw back and slapped the side of her head with the flat of his paw against, stunning her. She bit at him wildly, but in her dizzy daze she caught nothing but air as he fled from her.

    There was no pretense of stealth now. He had to find the resting place of Aerioch in an unfamiliar lair before Ausixen arrived. He ran forward, turning left – dead end! He growled, turning back around and finding a recovering Seryan barring his way back out. His scales bristled. This hatchling was more trouble than she was worth.

    “Stay out of my way!” Osearir demanded.
    “And if Iea don’t?” She crouched down, teeth bared, as though she were about to pounce.

    With all the effort he could muster, Osearir grinned. “Then you’ll suffer. Go tell Ausixen that.” He then turned to walk past her, intentionally exposing his flank to her, hoping she would take the bait.

    Seryan’s claws started to glow with streams of sliver that poured out of the tips of her talons. The silver energy encircled her arms, fading inward as she prepared to strike. “Iea can handle you just fine by myself!”

    Osearir wasn’t about to let her attempt to connect with the silver strike, and hopped forward, summoning a powerful gust of Primewind, blackened by his power so that it seemed a cloud of shadow had washed over her. It pushed her back, but she held her grip on the floor and charged as soon as she was free, aiming for his throat. The black hatchling had seen this technique before – indeed, he had done the same many, many times. Simply pulling his head back, he turned the whole of his body and slapped his tail against the side of her face. The resulting force of his muscular tail, stronger than most hatchlings would ever be, stronger than many early adults, subsequently planted her face-first into the ground, the rest of her body soon joining her in the dirt. She lay stunned there and Osearir shook his head, hoping the purple was as stupid as she was.

    “Oi-” she exclaimed in pain, head swimming. Osearir ran off again, however, and after a time, she stumbled to her feet, once again chasing him. The two ran by a white saris who had been summoned by all the commotion. Seeing the blood and the angry silver eyes of the black, he immediately ran to get help. Osearir grinned at this, before hopping down a shaft and finding a very large lair chamber. There he glided by the watery Helian architecture – how odd for a Lunus of Dralk to have so many Helian rooms – and spied the one he really sought: the red dragon, Aerioch Firebourne, still in her torpor.

    Seryan was fast to follow, but he had already put himself into place, using the red’s neck as a shield between him and the peppermint dragon. His emerald spikes dug into Aerioch’s neck in warning, the metallic smell of dragon blood wafting up through the chamber. The trickle was hardly noticeable on her crimson scales.

    “Stay back, or I kill Ausixen’s mother,” he warned.

    Seryan froze, still bleed from the landing she had taken against the ground. She was panting and out of breath. “What are you after? We’re not supposed to be down here!” Her claws dug into the ground, chest puffed up to make herself look larger than she was.

    Osearir’s only reply was to dig his claw a little deeper.

    “What do you seek? Surely it’s not worth killing one of Drulkar’s daughters?” she tried, attempting to talk him down.

    Osearir grinned that same frowning grin. “D’na. Just one of Drulkar’s sons.” Cold, shadowy energy came to his paws again, but it spread over the red like a falling shadow in the setting sun. Aerioch did not even stir, but she took on the appearance of death, pallid and weak.

    “You will not kill my teacher!” she snapped.

    The sound of heavy footfalls of an adult dragon and the rattling of a biped in armor soon echoed down into the large chamber. It was not long before the white saris, Janys, clad in his outdated iron plate mail and wielding his steel broadsword arrived under the wings of the purple and blue dragon, Ausixen Firebourne. Osearir leaned forward over the red’s neck in warning as the two came beside Seryan, joining the standoff.

    “What is going on here?” Ausixen demanded. He tried not to show it, but he was terribly worried about Aerioch. Janys, on the other hand, trembled in fear.

    Seryan apparently though Ausixen was just as mad at her, not realizing that the Purple Phoenix and Osearir had a history, dating back to before Osearir’s birth. “He - he… Iea am sorry for coming down here but this hatchling was trespassing!” she exclaimed. Ausixen did not reply to her, but he was quite aware of her.

    Osearir glared and, in single-word style with all the poison he could muster, he uttered a single word. “Revenge.”

    Ausixen wanted to charge him right then, but he couldn’t risk Aerioch’s life. He needed a distraction. He glanced sidelong at the saris below him. “Make yourself useful and go,” he said roughly, as though the cat were in the way. Janys’s ears fell back and he turned without a word, rushing up the ramps as though going for help. Once he was out of the way, Ausixen looked into the black’s silvery eyes and spoke calmly, snidely. “You think that killing my mother will set things right? You think they even need to be set right? Your father was a monster. I see you haven’t fallen far from his tree.”

    “Iea do not know much about you... but, Iea do not like you!” Seryan added.

    Osearir was hurt by this – both of them. But he tried not to show it. He gave a sad sneer and pressed his talons deeper into the red’s neck – though no more blood actually came. He punctuated his action with the simple word, “Kill!” Oh, how he wanted that, so badly.

    Seryan couldn’t take it anymore, and tried to leap over Aerioch’s neck to attack him – it would have surely ended poorly, but fortunately Ausixen grabbed her tail and pulled her right back down before she got Aerioch killed. Osearir’s tensing claws at the sudden action did draw more blood.

    “Let me handle this, please,” Ausixen said with an extreme note of displeasure.

    “Iea deserve to get a good hit on him! He attacked me in my sleep,” she explained, turning to glare at the other hatchling.

    “The spawn of Maruger is my responsibility,” he said, his scales bristled in warning.

    “Iea want to do good on my role,” she said evenly, though her voice was quiet. She licked the blood from her snout. Ausixen wanted to explain why, but he couldn’t let Osearir believe he had a bargaining chip by threatening Aerioch.

    Ausixen looked back to the black. “You might think you have something clever here, but you don’t understand. I disowned my mother years ago. She was terrible to me. I was a stranger to her from the day I was born. Do you really think I care if you harm her?”

    Osearir looked at him with no small amount of disbelief. Where was the rage that had killed his father? If he really didn’t care, then he would have already snatched – Osearir realized it. This was a ruse. He stopped listening to them, and listened to the rest of the chamber. Above him, he could hear armor rustling. This was it. With his grinning frown he lifted his paw as though he meant to plunge it through Aerioch’s neck. “Now die!”

    “Now!” Ausixen shouted. Janys fell from the rafters, sword pointed down. The steel tore through the black’s sensitive wing membrane, pinning him back from the red. Ausixen lunged forward, seizing the black by the neck and tearing him free of the sword. Seryan moved back and forth, wanting to get in on the action, but the action was already over.

    Osearir knew it. He smiled and did not resist.

    “Now meet your father in oblivion!” Ausixen shouted. Janys ran clear of him, as the Soulflame Nail erupted into intense flame, igniting the hatchling. The holy fire did not burn Ausixen, Aerioch, or Seryan at all, though the temperature of the chamber rose to the point where the nearby water began to boil. Janys protected himself with his tower shield in the corner, quite uncomfortable by the holy flame of the fire god. Seryan stared wide-eyed at the blaze. It was the first time she had ever seen the Soulflame being used and it was far past anything she’d ever seen.

    At last, the hellish holy fire faded – but Osearir was not turned to ash.

    Indeed, except for the cut wing and bruised neck, he was quite uninjured. Osearir’s smile had faded as his silver eyes look about himself in disdain and agony. “No. No, no, no…” he repeated again and again. This couldn’t be happening! This wasn’t what he wanted!

    Ausixen was no less confused than Osearir or Seryan. Had Drulkar somehow failed him? Was his faith in him not strong enough? His head turned back to his mother, looking at her – and then he saw it. The fire had burned away the shadowy illusion. The aura that she had been surrounded with was nothing more than a healing breeze, undoing all of the damage that Osearir was apparently doing to her neck. She had even been isolated from the sounds of battle by it, free to continue her torpor in peace.

    The Purple Phoenix put him down carefully, as though he might turn to ash at any moment. It didn’t’ make any sense. Why should Osearir suddenly arrive here, in his mother’s lair, and falsely threaten Aerioch?

    It had happened only a few days ago. Osearir had made the commitment to try to contain and control his power. Prior to that meeting, he had met a certain silver ancient, who had taken an interest in him. Naively, he had revealed that he could speak to her, and told her of his conflicting views of himself – the constant shadow of his father hanging over his head, and the evil that created him. She had promised him a story, but it was too late to begin it then.

    Osearir’s plan required taking a mentor, and he had found one in Verinax’s father-figure, Slee. Slee, however, had been allowing this same silver ancient to crash at his lair, as her own had collapsed during her last sleep. Knowing that it was possible that he would run into her a lot if he lived with Slee and Verinax, he agreed to meet her again. He wanted to hear the story she had to tell – believing it would help inspire him to continue down this hard path.

    He was largely unprepared for the story to follow.

    She told him of a terrible mistake: the creation of a dragon through necromancy, using the souls of murderers. The resulting new soul that spawned from this creation was largely innocent, but due to the magicks that birthed him, he had only caused a lot of heartbreak and pain to those close to him. In time, those murdering souls which acted as his life support took complete control and had to be forced back into the gem that supposedly contained them – but this only precipitated the creation of something even worse, the pure amalgamated evil of those doomed souls. Even worse horrors were committed by this new creature before, at last, he was destroyed, freeing the homoculi-dragon to finally have a life free of his own horrific creation.

    Osearir could not understand this. He saw that the homoculi should never have existed in the first place, and that his continued existence was a burden that was unjustifiable. And because he identified with his homoculi – being a creation of evil himself – he could not justify continuing his own existence. He had a single friend left in the world: Verinax. He would not put him through the very things that this silver ancient had suffered.

    He asked the ancient to kill him permanently, hoping that she would be discrete about it, so Verinax would never know what had happened to him. She instead took his soul and subjected it to her memories and emotions directly, trying to force across the message she had tried to relate in the story: that Osearir was innocent, and would determine his own fate. Osearir tried to resist, but her magicks were too powerful, too strong. He began to panic.

    And then he longed for it. The power. He wanted to kill her. He wanted to kill all dragons like her. Only the strong determined anything. That is what his father always told him. And now he felt the same as his father felt, sitting as a pile of goo in an urn in his sire’s hoard, reduced to a state of near-nothingness.

    And so Osearir hated himself even more.

    When at last she relented and released his panicked spirit, he looked up at her, eyes full of betrayal. He had trusted her, and she had harmed him more than he thought possible. She had taken from him his hope for a better future, the possibility of living with Verinax, his will to live. And she had not even had the dignity to make his death quick and painless.

    There was only one other he could trust to kill him.

    None of this, of course, was articulated to the confused purple, who had no idea to deal with the weeping black hatchling that he had just tried to kill mere moments ago. Osearir’s silver eyes rippled with the water that leaked from them.

    “Why?” Osearir asked, as though that single word could convey all the mixed emotions he had at that moment.

    Seryan was still in shock, remembering something. “Iea think…” She couldn’t come to words. She had seen something in the fire, the way that Drulkar communicated to her, but she was still young and unskilled in the arts of the Judicator. She could not even grasp that vision granted, so enrapt she was at seeing Drulkar’s power unleashed.

    Ausixen looked to her momentarily while Janys quickly checked his beloved owner for any damage, finding none. When he looked back to Osearir, there was only one answer he could come to. “All I can figure… is that Drulkar doesn’t think you deserve death yet.”

    Osearir blinked. Not yet? Was Drulkar some kind of sick deity that he enjoyed the hatchling’s suffering? A sadist who intended on unleashing some untold calamity once more onto Istaria? Or did he really have a chance at controlling himself, his power? Was it worth it to suffer, so long as everything was all right in the end?

    “Iea think Drulkar has something more planned for him,” Seryan finally said after a time.

    Janys still stood between the red and the hatchling, ready to fight if he had to. Ausixen shook his head to him, and the white saris eventually relaxed. “Whatever the case, you’re lucky I didn’t really kill you. I won’t tell Maekrux, just... get out of here. Don’t come back,” Ausixen said.

    In a daze, Osearir did. He walked around the purple, head drooping and tail dragging against the ground. He soon passed up the ramp and beyond their sight and hearing, leaving behind him a trail of tears to follow. He no longer knew what was right anymore. No longer knew who to trust. He needed to isolate himself. There was only one place he could go.

    Behind him, Ausixen still stared at where he disappeared from sight, as though expecting him to reappear. “I don’t know what Drulkar plans, but... I don’t think he meant my mother or you any harm. I’ll try to figure out something to do... without asking grandfather.”

    “Iea should not have been so relaxed,” Seryan said, shaking herself off and rubbing her snout clean of the blood. Ausixen discretely motioned his head to Janys, who was sitting protectively against Aerioch’s side; recognizing it, the saris got back to his furry feet and walked over to Seryan, treating her head with his life magic. Her wing was fine; Osearir had used that same hidden healing when he held her wing, preventing damage to it even when she tore it under his claws.

    “You should have been safe. Where were you Janys?” he asked. The saris’ ears fell back as he worked, but he did not answer. “Come to think of it, grandfather put wards on this place, to keep out those who came to cause...” he paused, frowning again. “I almost made a terrible mistake.” Osearir would not have been able to enter if he had intended to do anyone inside harm.

    “Iea do not understand-- he said he was here to kill someone...”
    “And indeed, he was. It seems his intention was to kill himself.”
    Seryan’s maw fell open. “What? Why? Why would anyone... want to kill themselves?”

    Ausixen looked once more to the ramps above. “I don’t know. I will ask grandfather about his current state; see if he has any friends. Perhaps they might be able to tell me more.” He sighed. “Let’s retire for the night.” Seryan agreed once Janys was finished, declaring that she would train twice as hard. The two left, though Ausixen looked back to his mother and the saris protecting her one last time, his head low, missing the mother he never had.

    (Osearir is a character still in flux, pulled in many different directions. Worse of all, he's a child - he doesn't understand the message that the silver was attempting to get across, and indeed, everything is so enormous to him. Such romantic and passionate feelings sometimes lead to destructive ends. Normally I don't add anything at the end like this, but I felt compelled to. I don't think what he attempted to do was the right thing, but it was the only thing that he was willing to let himself see. My hope is that as he progresses he will once more open himself up to the options he once believed in.

    On a lighter note, if this doesn't wake Aerioch up, nothing will! I miss you Aerioch~ ::snuggles:: )
    Last edited by Kaerisk; April 12th, 2012 at 10:34 PM.
    Maekrux Vythulhar, the Blue Phoenix

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