Apologies for not posting this here first...somehow I missed it.
I imagine I'll get a pair or two more reviews where it is, and thank you for the sticky admin, since this forum doesn't seem so active. Nehh, sorry again, but of course, enjoy the story (fragment).
I'm new and I'm not sure how much reviewing this forum does, but all the same, here.
From the book "Duran" intended to be one of several books in a series. The story focuses on the world of Odessa, a world constantly wartorn and changing. Duran is a story about the meddligns of an evil wizard trying to barter with evils as old as the earth, and the consequences it has for the rest of Odessa.
The first of many longwinded chapters to come. =)
Some grammatical/punctual errors, I'd appreciate any critique, corrections or reviews.
I seperated the paragraphs a little randomly to be more readable on a forum...
Perhaps you might find it easier to read in Word.
Cold wind whistled around Drakarâ€™s Peak, and Peon, servant to Lord Mevron of dragons, shivered through his scales. He bore in his scroll case a message of great concern to the dragon people; he had traveled for leagues, across burning sands and tall mountains to return to his master with this information. Information the likes of which he didnâ€™t know or understand, all he knew before it was imparted to his care was one word at the top of the parchment: Duran.
Peon had never been so interested in what messages he carried read, but what was in this bound scroll teased him. As he clambered up the massive stone steps of Ulan Tower to his Lord Mevronâ€™s audience hall his mind wandered to the story of Duran, the father of dragons. It was a legend all the dragon people knew; long ago, at the roots of a beginning age a powerful and immense dragon reached a point in his existence where all things were clear to him and he was ready to transcend mind and body for a greater purpose. He was the strongest and oldest of their race, he had led them with wise passion through all things that impeded them and soon, their proud race was in a golden age. Seeing his people near to perfection, he decided it was time for him to accept his destiny and leave his world for the legendary Transcendent Plane. The enormous magical dragon prepared himself a portal that would begin his journey beyond when great calamity struck.
Mysteriously Duranâ€™s powerful magic failed him and as he tried to pass through the portal, it collapsed cataclysmically in a wave of immense energy and their most beloved leaderâ€™s body was broken and strewn across the landscape. Any of the dragons who bore witness to what had happened had perished, and the now directionless dragon people looked for anyone to blame. Two of Duranâ€™s closest friends, Bahamut and Tiamat found reasons to think of one and other as Duranâ€™s murderer; a rift grew between the two and the dragon people divided into factions.
Their people's magic was controlled by population and each individual's varying inherent strength, with the death of Duran the most immense source of their powers, they were greatly weakened as a whole and left vulnerable to the malevolent intentions of other races. Bahamut, who led the Drowororth decided that, if the dragons were ever to reclaim their place as proper leaders of their world and to eventually attain perfection and transcend as Duran had attempted, they felt they had to cleanse Odessa of all other beings, as to permit no interference.
As the Drowororth made war across the land, making an effort to exterminate other races and move towards their old powers their counterparts, the Ilovth, believed that they should subjugate the other races of Odessa and be revered as their rulers, rather than their killers. As the dragons moved across the land, conquering some races and exterminating others they encountered true opposition. After dominating the Clovrun, a race of bull people, they began to explore and ravage their underground passages and caves, and in a great labyrinth beneath the ground they found a sleeping civilization of spider-like creatures.
The expedition was too small to slay all the hibernating monsters so they set fire to the underground city and destroyed the great entrance to the labyrinth, barricading the spiders in to die in the flames. The spiders awoke to the sounds of their young screaming and quickly tunneled to the surface to find their servant race of Clovrun slain and the cities and temples they had erected in ruin.
They set to battle with the dragon people, in an unending war both races ravaged the land, one side only holding victory for a short while as the other regrouped. This carried on for millennia gradually weakening each of the races as a wholeâ€”
Peon slipped in the dark on the moss covered steps, rolling a distance, losing his train of distracted thought and coming to a halt against a great statue to one of their former lords. Panting and perspiring, Peon held up a wing to the window where beams of moonlight shone through, inspecting it for tears or damage. Not all dragons were as strong as their legendary leaders, in particular not the dragons delegated to be messengers, but being only shaken from his tumble he continued the arduous task of climbing the granite steps made for dragons of a much larger stature.
Finally he reached the oaken doors of his masterâ€™s hall. Hoping to make a dramatic, fashionably late entrance, and make some impression on all the court gathered at Drakarâ€™s Peak, pushing open the strangely unguarded doors he marched from the sparse bare rock of Ulan Tower into the contrasting beauty of Lord Mevronâ€™s hall. Here gathered aristocrats and Mevronâ€™s court, feasting on the stolen cows of the nomadic men that traveled near the base of the dragon mountain ranges. There was festive music performed by a traveling band of satyrs, flickering torches and a magnificent chandelier lit the room, Peon lowered his head as he moved along the paling red carpet, it seemed some distance to Lord Mevron.
From opposing sides of the room the stares and whispers of both the Ilvoth and the Drowororth began, guests were never late to dinner in Lord Mevronâ€™s hall. Up a small flight of steps and Peon stood on embossed dais looking up at the massive frame of his master whoâ€™s cat-like eyes bore into him.
â€œPunctuality is a virtue, Peon,â€ rumbled Lord Mevron.
â€œMy most abject apologies master,â€ came the stuttered reply, Peon
wasnâ€™t sure whether he was going to be rewarded for bringing a message of importance or punished for bringing it late.
Peon could tell the entire hallâ€™s host of eyes were fixed on him.
â€œI come bearing a message from shaman Camius, he said it was of the greatest importance,â€ Peon nervously mumbled.
Lord Mevron assumed that it was simply another argument between the civil caste and the Drowororth, this thing was common between settlements, and he was always asked to intercede.
Civil war had rarely broken out amongst the dragon people, and Lord Mevron felt it never should. He was born of an Ilovth, or as they considered themselves â€œcivilâ€ family, and held himself against the idea of disputes within the race of dragons being solved with violence.
â€œYour tardiness is forgiven Peon, please, the scroll.â€
Peonâ€™s hand was dwarfed by the size of the claw that extended to take the scroll from him, Peon was a very small dragon, roughly the size of a human, but given his small stature was better suited to discretely carry messages, he even found himself able to a cloak and hood and blend in for a short while with the hubbub of other races.
Lord Mevronâ€™s black lips moved slightly as he read the hastily scrawled message, in the back of his mind he assumed that the writer, Camius, was of the barbaric caste, unwilling to learn proper dragon calligraphy. His luminescent green eyes widened as he read the letter, which he then read once more in disbelief. He made a heavy growling noise and stood up from his magnificent carved throne, and kneeled to eye level with Peon.
â€œHave you read this message, servant?â€ he rumbled.
Under the rule of Lord Mevron untrustworthy couriers and curious messengers met with unpleasant fates ranging from clipped wings and removed eyeballs to ghastly deaths. Peon had seen many of his fellow servants make the fatal error of prying into their scrolls and they were always made to regret it.
â€œN-no lord,â€ he stammered in honesty.
Mevron seemed to concede and he swept down the short stairs and across the formerly festive hall to the oaken doors, his tail almost knocking Peon to the ground.
â€œCouncil members, join me!â€ he commanded, and moved out of the hall.
For a moment the hall was silent, and Peon feared that he had just done something wrong. Then from the two tables sitting beside Mevronâ€™s throne several large dragons, the elders, leaders and advisors to the current dragon lord stood and wordlessly followed Lord Mevronâ€™s footsteps.
The dragons had assembled in conclave, in the cramped circular room there was a large stone table with seats for the sixteen current members. Lord Mevron was already seated in the morosely lit room, moonlight washed over his troubled expression and the other dragons moved to their seats.
â€œMy most trusted associates, a messenger has brought us a letter, a letter that may change the fate of the dragon people for all time,â€ Mevron began, although his voice was musing, as though he were lost in thought. â€œThe seer Camius believes, within a shadow of a doubt that the bones of our former lord Duran have been found.â€
The fifteen other dragons remained silent, they knew that the eon old remains of Duran contained a potent magic, the kind theyâ€™re peopleâ€™s broken form couldnâ€™t begin to imagine, but after his death, there were no fragments to be found and all that remained of him was thought to be lost. The dragon people were currently undergoing a phase of rest and healing as they had recently fought their war with the ancient enemy to a standstill, and had returned to their mountain shelters to tend to their wounds. The barbaric caste had insisted on continuing the fight, assaulting the very stronghold of their arachnid foes, but the gentler Ilovth and Lord Mevron agreed it to be in their best interests to regroup.
â€œIf this is true, we can use the magic within his skeletal remains to aid our soldiers in their fight, we could crush any who stood in our way, and pave the way to a gilded age for all dragonkind!â€ spoke the representative of the Drowororth, Baron Nevus, an ugly hulking part dragon.
â€œYes, this could be a great boon for our people, the site of the most of the bones lay clustered in the human lands, I shall dispatch envoys to the humans to barter for the land our beloved Duran rests inâ€¦â€
â€œBarter! The dragon people do not trade trinkets for land we should rightfully have! We will take their territory by force; after we have the bones none of the pathetic young races could harm us!â€ Nevus exclaimed, his scaled clawless hands pounding the stone table.
The civil and barbaric factions had over the years reached a point where they worked with a certain degree of tandem, the mixed council would elect a dragon from amongst themselves to power and they would follow him with little question, as the lord required the advising of the council, and often would leave them to run the more menial tasks of society while he would pose more as a figurehead and leader. Although at times, the council, all of which were prospective leaders for their race would clash with the current dragon lordâ€™s administration, such times as these. The council sat with curious looks on their faces, and Baron Nevus and Lord Mevron stared each other down from across the round marble table.
Nevus was a part dragon, or half dragon, although the proportions varied greatly between individuals. Long ago a tribe of powerfully magical men had begun to worship the then-great dragon people and became so absorbed by them that the dragon society essentially adopted them as servants, as an act of devotion they warped themselves with their sorcery to look more like their idols as well as becoming compatible mates, eventually their twisted half-human half-dragon forms were accepted by the pure blooded dragons and interbreeding occurred, although relatively equal, part dragons were usually a small bit shorter and less powerful, bipedal and retained many of their human characteristics.
Neither lowered their gaze and all the other councilmen looked nervously at each other as they worried about taking sides should the two dragons be at each others throats.
Lord Mevron touched a nerve, â€œFilthy half-bred barbarians do not speak for the dragon people!â€
Baron Nevusâ€™ wings tore out from under his skin and he flapped the powerful appendages propelling across the room, him a hairâ€™s length from Lord Mevronâ€™s snout. His human fingernails lengthened to razor sharp claws and as he spoke puffs of raged flame spat against Mevronâ€™s face.
â€œYou dragged us back to these mountains on the eve of our victory! Coward, and now you go beg for land that would be rightfully ours! You are unfit to lead our glorious people! Bellus-tai!â€ he roared.
All of the dragons seated around the table stood at the utterance of the dragon challenge, a duel to the death between dragons of opposing castes for leadership of their race. The councilmen knew full well it was a potential spark for another civil war.
â€œYou would cause such unrest Nevus?â€ asked Sussu, an Ilovth advisor to Lord Mevron. â€œThe intensity of our current war is great enough as it is, would you cause our people to die out over your desire for power?â€
Baron Nevus sneered and moved to the door, â€œBellus-tai Mevron, you will die before dawnâ€¦â€