Degorath and the Other

Submitted into Contest #130 in response to: Set your story in a nameless world.... view prompt

9 comments

Adventure Fantasy Fiction

This story contains sensitive content

CW : {Violence, Language}


“What happened to it? The other sexed being that dwells with us?” Brilliant blue tresses were hanging like curtains over fractured purple irises and young almond skin.


“Very thoughtful choice of words. It was arrested and is being detained for a hearing.” An older creature, obviously her senior, reached out to brush back the ocean of curls hiding the little one's eyes.


“Is it because Malrez is a warlock?”


“Shhhh! Dare not speak such heresy!” Her hand reared back, ready to plant it across the tiny inquisitive face.

“I'm sorry.” A tiny smooth arm lifted to block the blow. “The scribes were teaching us about magic users in class yesterday, they used to be called that name.” Cowering as the large female towered over her, the fear caused her to make herself even smaller.


Dropping her hand, the larger one heaved in a deep breath, trying to regain her composure. “Of course the scribes taught you the word, what else did they teach you?”


“Names divide us, thoughts unite us.” The words erupted from her thin lips staccato, like a chant.


“Very good young one, you do listen. It is not well enough to act appropriately, we must also watch our speech, lest we offend others.” Her feathery tail coiled around her waist, flowing down to the floor like an iridescent dress. The females' tail was a barometer, moving and changing colors with her mood.


“How should I refer to the other one? Can I refer to it as the one who uses magic?”


“It's not very imaginative, yet it is acceptable.”


“Will the one who uses magic ever come back to us?”


“I'm not sure. It is not a first offense. We have options. I am still fertile and there is no shortage of docile mates.”


“Why did you mate with it if there were better choices?”


“Our lineage has a defective gene, one that seeks thrills. The other one was powerful, defiant, some said dangerous. Anyway, let us move on shall we? Why don't we practice your speech. What do we call the creatures outside that shield us from our native star of life?”


“I call them the woody things with appendages and leaves of gold.”


“What do we call this enclosure that keeps us safe from the environment?”



“I shall call it the structure that shields us from the elements.”


“What do you call me?”


“Mo......” The little one caught herself. “You are the one that gave birth to me.”


* * *


Malrez mumbled under his breath, incensed by the lack of respect shown him by the citizens in the market. Being half sub-human was enough of a challenge. Limiting his magical powers and cutting his tongue was enough to set his brain alight with poison thoughts. How dare they suppress one's very essence?


“Pardon me.” Realizing he had bumped into someone, he was quick to apologize. Was it enough? They were executing peasants for not excusing themselves. Obtaining food for the table had become a battleground of correctness.


“Are you in line?” An elven female muscled into the line, pushing a full bag in front of her.


“I was...”


“Letting me in front? Thank you. I have given birth and appreciate your kindness.”


“Your welcome.”


“What did you just say?”


“I said your welcome.”


“Listen, I don't need your condescension. I know I'm welcome. What is your problem?”


“I don't have a problem.”


“You will have one referring to others like that. Can I have a guard? This creature is questioning me.” A soldier with the coat of arms on his breastplate shuffled into earshot.


“What's the problem?” The sentry rested a hand on the pommel of his sword.


“This, whatever it is insisted that I be welcomed. I'm offended and I want him reprimanded.”


“Sir, can I ask you to put your products aside and come over and resolve the situation?” Being half-beast he knew he must comply or be arrested.


“Why did you insist on offending and upsetting this one with child?” The rank on the collar gleamed in his eye.


“I was just trying to purchase my food, when she took offense to me saying she was welcome.”


“Is there a prejudiced reason you keep referring to the victim as a she?”


“No! She has breasts and a child. I assumed her gender.”


“So you think you have the right to call names and label others in public?”


“NO! I was trying to be considerate.”


“Calling others names is not being considerate. I am placing you under arrest for slander. The court will decide your fate.”


* * *


“You spineless bag of shit! I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire you cowardly fuck!” The beast rattled the bars of the cage door, claws gripping iron, fire flickering in its eyes. A torrent of blasphemy roared from a hairy jawbone lined with sharp teeth.


“I think you upset it.” A tinge of laughter was in the guard's voice.


“I might start stinging it every time I catch it napping. I've never heard such vile words.”


“Me neither. I am recording the rants on parchment. It will get a death sentence for going on like this.”


The one in the cage flared its nostrils and heaved and huffed. Spitting at the feet of the guards, defiance radiated from it. “You best burn me at the stake. If I get released I will hunt you down like animals.”


“Burning in public is reserved for common criminals. I think the one on the throne will have you drawn and quartered, so the little ones can play with your guts in the street.” The guard giggled and prodded the creature in the cage with the end of a club.


After the guards grew weary of tormenting their prisoner, they sat down for a game of cards. Malrez laid down on the cold stone floor and scoured his brain for a way out of this. If a death sentence was the only way out, he had to escape, quickly. There was only one last option. He must summon Degorath.


* * *


An eyeball the size of knight's shield appeared as a slit from behind a scaly lid that cracked open. The wyvern coughed out a puff of smoke from large horned nostrils as it woke from its decades long slumber. Stretching leathery bat-like wings, attached to muscled front limbs, it spit a small fireball at a mountain giant's skull on a rock ledge that held a misshapen dormant candle.


A flame flickered to life, reflecting like tiny fire flies in the heavy obsidian scales that covered ancient reptilian skin. A hunger began gnawing at the pit of the enormous flying lizard. The symbiant was calling and wherever he was, tasty little mortals were sure to be as well.


The cavern's roof was lined with dripping stalactites. An acrid smell of sulfur was dampened by the musty odor of mineral water that pooled in a small depression in the center of the cave. Crawling on its belly to the water the creature lapped rhythmically with a long red forked tongue. Bitter water rushed into its flesh, flooding it with strength and vigor.


Lifting its head, the wyvern roared into the space with a fierceness that rattled the bones of the mountain like an earthquake. Snaking along the rock floor of a tunnel, its snout poked though sheets of cobwebs, sniffing for fresh air. Seeing the burning light of day, Degorath galloped and jumped from the rocky edifice and beat its wings, taking flight over a range of craggy gray hills dotted with lonely evergreen trees.


Climbing high into the sky it dove back toward the ground, careening around puffy clouds, gliding. The fresh air filled the monster with a breath of life. Malrez was imperiled, having been mystically entwined since their simultaneous births, Degorath knew that its life was in danger as well. If either one died they would both perish.


Sensing him near, the winged beast scanned the ground for threats, nearing a rock wall, two men at arms aimed a cocked ballista and fired. Drawing the wind into its lungs, the serpent let loose a stream of fire that incinerated the large spear as it hurtled toward its soft underside. Degorath plucked one of the men from top the garrison with a hind claw. Beating its wings and hovering in mid-air, the giant pulled the tiny human up to its mouth. A blast of flames simultaneously burnt off the soldiers' armor and clothes and cooked him to a crispy texture. Tossing the hapless human into his maw, it chewed him into paste.


Resuming the search, telepathy was leading the creature to a tower on the corner of a castle. Wasting no time, the monster whipped its tail at the wall. An explosion of rock and mortar blasted from the blow. Digging claws into the wall, the creature pressed an eye to the hole. Inside the guards were armed with spears ready to shove iron into the diamond slit of its pupil. The magician was locked like an animal, meditating in an iron cage, their minds connected.


Pulling back to avoid the glint of steel aiming to blind it, the wyvern poked in a digit and fished the guards out of the room with a talon. Flicking them into its mouth, it crunched them with dagger like teeth, its stomach aching for metal and bone. With the point of a claw, Degorath popped the padlock off the cage to free Malrez. He climbed out the hole in the wall onto the back of his steed and with a mighty bound the reptile soared into the sky. The mind of the magician lead the beast, back, past the forest to rolling hills, speckled with manors and cottages.


“Gwyneth!” Hopping off the shoulder of the scaly creature Malrez pounded on the ornate door of the single level stone structure.


Opening the door she peered past him, her brows knitted with concern at the massive lizard laying in her yard. “Well, look who decided to show up in time for the dinner bell.” She folded her arms and tilted her head awaiting a retort.


“We have to hurry. I need you to bring Lilith and leave with me right now!”


“You think you can just come home on a dragon after a stint in jail and what, we ride off into the sunset? What is it this time, prison break? Capital murder? Don't come at me with your name calling and brutish braggadocio.” Anger was welling up causing Gwyneth's tail to vibrate and pulse in swirling orange and red, flaring behind her like that of a peacock.


Softening his expression Malrez decoupled his mind from his symbiotic steed and closed his eyes.


Gwyneth could feel his magic prying into her, bending her thoughts. Digging into a well of feminine strength she walled off her mind.


“I want to ride a dragon!” Lilith pushed past to wrap arms around her father's leg, the undisciplined mind of a little one was no match for the warlock.


An uneasy stalemate developed. He broke the silence, “They were threatening to kill me. If I had not escaped I would have been flayed to bits by the king.”


“If you would bite your tongue and stop with the labels, you wouldn't be in this mess.”


“Across the mountains lies Aggorah. If we leave this land we won't have to limit our speech and actions, explaining things in the most convoluted ways. They want control of your thoughts. The king's clerics have the magic to lead us all like a bull with a nose ring. Once they control the way we talk, our actions will not be far behind. Names divide us, thoughts unite us. What that means, if we don't all think the same we will be singled out and eliminated. I don't want to live under that sort of tyranny.”


“Compliance is not equivalent to tyranny.”


“Our daughter's name is Lilith. A word I'm not allowed to utter. I'm not supposed to refer to her as my daughter. If we cannot speak freely about our own flesh and blood, what freedom do we have?”


“You are a blasphemous fool. We try to unite and yet you divide us with name calling. Our survival depends on inclusion. You should be banished. I should summon the throne's minions and have you dismembered.”


“They will have to catch me first. Don't give up Lilith, they will be coming for you next.” Malrez mounted the wyvern as Gwyneth turned to their daughter.


“Will we ever see the magic user again.” Her purple eyes were quivering with hope.


“I hope not.”


The giant lizard's wings gave birth to a cloud of dust as it rose into the air, turning to the mountains. The gray and green range was the boundary. The sun silhouetted the pair as the reptile flapped into the horizon, chasing the sunset.

January 24, 2022 21:12

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9 comments

Anna Nonymous
03:34 Jan 26, 2022

A lot of good stuff going on here, Kevin. Love this as a social commentary, smacks of the present compelled speech debate: "Once they control the way we talk, our actions will not be far behind." That and "Names divide us, thoughts unite us". Love seeing these kinds of contemporary themes set in a fantasy world. Well done!

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Kevin Marlow
13:56 Jan 26, 2022

Thank you. I was trying to imagine a world where nameless meant using any names or labels was strictly forbidden.

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Anna Nonymous
14:46 Jan 26, 2022

Nailed it.

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Shaylynn Skinner
05:13 Jan 27, 2022

Do you like music?..............................I have 0 followers on Spotify but have two accounts #1 Ariana Grande #2 Mi Música both only have English music btw! I would be very grateful if you checked it out. =)

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Bonnie Clarkson
03:20 Mar 12, 2022

Gentle way of showing how stupid political correctness is. Unfortunately, reading thoughts is not that far off. A scientist on TV news said they would have the brain mapped for words in 5 years. Quadriplegics would be able to think words onto a computer. Can reading thoughts be far behind?

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Graham Kinross
06:25 Feb 01, 2022

“You think you can just come home on a dragon after a stint in jail and what, we ride off into the sunset?“ if someone with a dragon suggests it then it’s probably better to do as they say right?

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Shaylynn Skinner
05:06 Jan 27, 2022

Hello, love this story your tough competition! In a good way. =) Thanks for the like btw i am going to follow you................................do the same for me?

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Kevin Marlow
15:08 Jan 27, 2022

I follow back, and try to read/like/comment on new stories from people I follow.

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Shaylynn Skinner
20:53 Jan 27, 2022

TYSM

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