Forged in Dragon Fire

in #steemmonsters6 years ago

I'm like an hour late for this contest. I know, I know, shame. In my defense I'm nocturnal now and I overslept. Which isn't actually a very good defense, but what's a girl to do? I had a fun time writing it though so obviously I can't not post it, ya know? If you'd like to read all the entries, you can find the contest here:

Forged in Dragon Fire

Relnor’s hooves scratched at the coarse dirt as he carefully re-positioned himself. The moon’s light was pale and soft. It barely managed to break through the thick leaves above, but it provided more than enough visibility for the eyes of a centaur. He notched his arrow and pulled back on the bowstring. He took a deep breath through his nose. The deer made eye contact with him but did not run. His ancestors had been protectors of the forest, and so that is what the deer mistook him for. Relnor exhaled and let his arrow fly. The deer crumpled to the ground.

“Excellent shot! And here I thought the tales of centaur marksmanship were just the product of drunken bards taking their poetic liberties. Please forgive me for ever having doubted you.”

Relnor lowered his bow. “Nothing to forgive human. Assuming of course that the job is mine.”

The human laughed in a loud manner that Relnor couldn’t help but notice didn’t seem to contain any actual mirth. “Are you certain you want the job? All the posting mentioned was that it was a hunt. Aren’t you at all curious what it is you’ll be hunting?”

“The post also listed the price you were willing to pay, and it was a good one. So no, it doesn’t matter what I’ll be hunting.”

The corners of the human’s mouth curled up at that. “That’s what I hoped you’d say. The job’s yours. Meet me in the center of town at dawn and we’ll go over the details.”

When the human had ridden out of sight, Relnor walked over to the deer. It wouldn’t go to waste. Birds and worms would make a good meal of it if nothing else. He mumbled a prayer he remembered vaguely from his childhood. He wondered, as he rose from the ground, if it was enough to allow his mother’s spirit to forgive him for straying so far from her teachings. He turned and left the forest to its greif.

He found the human at dawn to receive his task. A dragon. That was the job he had accepted. Relnor tensed. Memories of a burning forest and screams immediately filled his mind. He pushed the memories back. They belonged in the past with the dead. The present was the only reality, and in the present he had been given a job. He reached forward and shook the humans hand.

“Consider it done.”

The dragon had claimed a mountain in the middle of a vast stretch of desert as its home. Relnor wasn’t sure how long he had been walking, but he had to keep moving. The sun was treacherous here. The sands shifted and covered his hoof prints as soon as he made them.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw another centaur walking with him. “You aren’t really here.” The other centaur did not answer him. “You can’t change my mind.”

“This was never our war.”

Relnor stopped. He didn’t turn around to look at the centaur. He didn’t dare. The voice that had carried to him over the dunes was that of his mother. Tears stung the corners of his eyes. She wasn’t here, not really. He felt a soft hand on his shoulder and heard the words in his ear again.

“This was never our war.”

“And yet dragons fire still burned our home to the ground! War and fire spread. Not even a centaur can outrun them.”

The hand squeezed his shoulder tighter. “But you did.”

“No, I didn’t. Not really. I burned with the rest of you.” Relnor turned around then, but there was nothing behind him but oceans of sand. The desert mocked him with it’s sudden silence. He had to keep moving.

The closer he got to the mountain, the hotter and heavier the air around him grew. A single roar broke through the silence. Relnor turned towards the sound and saw the dragon descend on a rock ledge nearby. His prey spread its wings and roared again in warnig, shooting fire into the sky. Relnor did not heed the warning. Instead he steadied himself and lifted his bow.

Like the deer, the dragon looked Relnor directly in the eye. But unlike the deer, it saw him for what he truly was, a killer forged in dragon fire. Relnor exhaled and let his arrow fly. The dragon crumpled to the ground.

Flavor Text:

Centaurs are as proud in fierce in friendship as they are in battle. They are slow to anger, but gods help anyone who does.

Thanks for reading! <3


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