The young horned humanoid half-dragon breathed deeply bringing the scents of the grasslands into his essence. He could smell the yellow of wild flowers, the herd of wooly mammoths, and the evil that lurked nearby. His archenemy, the one that was truly responsible for his parent’s death was at hand. The son of Grendel blamed Beowulf, but that was his first impulse, the instinct of his human side. His dragon half helped him rationalize what really happened and who was to blame. Already, the Saurian god’s spells had twisted the Dragons into large reptilian lizards with wings and a wild feral mentality. Dragons had never needed wings to fly. A close friend was already losing his identity and could soon revert to an animalistic creature with no memory of his true heritage. He must reclaim the Orb of the Pantheon so he could restore their true form. He was their last hope.
He focused harder on the scent of malevolence trying to forget that he too may be the last of the Drakes. His superior senses told him the evil was still present and unmoving. Focusing harder, he could hear the blood coursing through the veins of the mammoths and almost taste it on the tip of his tongue. His mouth watered when the prehistoric Dark Lord struck.
The Drake fell to one knee feeling his life force partially drain. He winced in pain and dodged another dark blast by dropping flat to the earth.
“Kae’lee meckdain?”
“Who else would I be looking for?” He growled clenching his teeth and ignoring the exhaustion that washed over him. He rolled to the right and flexed his metacarpals. He felt the sinews stretch, releasing his natural claws. The half-dragon loved fighting; a battle of wits, strategy, and strength had always invigorated him. His mother blamed the sensation on their race’s human traits.
“Kae’lee montor?” The dark god said raising a cloudy opaque sphere, The Orb of the Pantheon, with his gloved hand.
The naked Drake straightened up standing more than eight feet giving him a slight height advantage. “How carelessly he displays the object of power,” he thought. “He underestimates me.”
The Dragons had always fought the Prehistoric gods. They were a plague, a bane to earthlings. They secreted the truth from the evolving humans. Drakes had an ancient lineage and history of assisting the Dragons with their Holy Jihad. They too had been decimated by the dying spasms of this most ancient pantheon. The younger Titans had been worse than Zeus and his allies. Fortunately, Zeus ended the rule of Titans and in turn, the Dragons ended theirs. Other pantheons always sprang forth to fill the power vacuum. Worship of the faithful gave power to the upstart deities and subjugated the blind faith. Without the Truth, the souls of mortals would forever be adrift in the vastness of the multiverse. The ancient Saurian gods were the worst. They have existed beyond time forgotten. They were thirteen strong once. Now only their Mastermind of Chaos was left. Any filling of the power void after today would not be as powerful as what came before. Hopefully, his lineage or that of the Dragons would survive to meet those future challenges.
“I have routed your minions and none alive today will consider your mendacious lexis,” the half-dragon spat.
“Imprudent half-breed. If I fall today, I shall return. Measures have been taken to ensure this. If you fall, your name will fade from the lips of those you protect. No one will remember you and your soul will forever wander the Higher Planes.” The Dark Lord waved the Orb emphasizing his point.
Grendel’s son struck. Faster than the single flap of a humming bird, he lashed out and grabbed the crystal orb. The god’s grip was stronger than he estimated. He held on with his entire dragon-inherited strength flinging his body against the corrupt god and leaped backwards. The god lost his grip and stumbled backwards, surprised at the speed of the half-breed. The Orb fell harmlessly upon the earth.
The half-dragon back flipped in midair and landed upright with an unnatural grace that would make a cat jealous. He watched the Dark Lord fall several feet back from the Orb and crumble to the ground. He grunted, his human blood allowing him to feel pride at out maneuvering the Saurian deity. He flexed his powerful legs and jumped, his humanoid form sailed to the Orb like an eagle soaring the great air currents above. He landed on top of the Orb when a black mist burst from the ground beneath him. He reached down to grasp the Orb, but he was drastically slowed. The air had thickened with the black mist forcing him to exert his dragon strength to only move a few inches.
“Your challenge was admirable, young one,” the Saurian god said easily stepping though the black mist and snatching up the Orb once more. He left the thickening black mist and gestured the Orb toward the herd of wooly mammoths. A dark lavender light burst from the object of power and focused around the heads of the beasts in the distance. It quickly dissolved into bubbles and evaporated.
“Try stopping a stampede.”
The Drake looked on in horror. He sneered revealing small fangs. “Is this the extent of your followers now,” he yelled.
The Dark Lord chuckled and moved away from the target of the stampede.
The half-dragon tried to leap to freedom, but the black mist was slowing him too much. The muscles in his legs bulged as he fought the thickened air. He moved slowly. The deceived beasts quickly closed the distance. The half-dragon concentrated on his dead family and the Dragons that depended upon him. From that memory, he drew inspiration. He let the instinct of humans wash over him. His vision became tinted with lavender then shifted to red. Here it ends, succeed, or fail, the eternal struggle of the Dragons will end upon the Northern Plains.
The mammoths kicked up a massive dust cloud. The lead animal was heading right for the young half-breed. He still saw red, and did not realize his movement was too slow to avoid the beasts.
The black mist faded.
The half-dragon jumped up and backed flipped unleashing his claws upon the lead mammoth. The eviscerated beast traveled another thirty feet before coming to a rest, its entrails painting the grasslands red.
The Drake moved swiftly, his naked form blending perfectly inside the dust cloud. He deftly dodged the stampeding mammoths. He smelled his true target and honed in on that scent. The instinct of human blood that coursed through his veins guided him now.
The Dark Lord dared to laugh with glee watching the stampede crush the last of his enemies. The half-breed struck from out of the mist much faster than he had earlier. He snatched up the Orb and crushed it against the Saurian gods head shattering it into a multitude of shards.
“No…” The Dark Lord’s form melted away and an explosion of pure frost and ice shot forth from the remains of the Orb…
The son of Grendel awoke and bolted upright in the hospital bed.
A Crey Biotech technician working on his new robotic limbs stepped back startled. “Are you okay, did I hurt you? The procedure shouldn’t have.”
“Be not afraid. I am at ease,” he replied. The dream remained with him. It was his last memory before he awoke among humans. They had explained how they found his frozen body at the Artic Circle near some wooly mammoths. His body had been remarkably preserved, except he had lost his entire right arm and his left arm below the elbow to frostbite. He was glad to be alive, the Dark Lord had been wrong. He fell, but was now reborn.
The Crey technician again continued working on his new right arm. Amazingly, his arm felt almost real, but was numb. They said the nerves would regenerate over time and the arm would feel normal. He made a made a fist feeling the numbness and sighed at the loss of the feeling he once felt when he extended his claws.
Three blades sprang forth from slits on the back of his hand startling him. “So this will help me fight the evils in your city?”
“What?’ He responded getting annoyed about being interrupted. He looked up from his work and saw the claws, the half-dragon’s question finally registering in his head. “Yes, yes.”
The technician finished his work and gathered his tools. “Alright, very well. Done.”
“That’s it?”
“Yes. Have you decided on a name yet?”
The half-dragon looked down at the book of philosophy on his lap. Humans had indeed advanced and that pleased him. There was one idea that he was fond of, the idea of simplicity. He decided then to base his new name around the philosopher, William of Ockham.
“Yes, call me Occam’s Razar.”
A Simple Ending
by Anthony Harte
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Stories # - L |M - Z | Authors
TO:
SHADES OF CREY
ISSUE ONE:
REVENANT DRAKE