Chains of the Dragon (Part 3)

Written in response to: Set your story in a nameless world.... view prompt

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She skirted the dead Dragon and walked down the tunnel on the other side of the cave, leading to the Wizard Cormac. 

This time, the sound of water trickling was louder as she walked deeper into the belly of the earth. Her breaths came out as wisps of cloud, and she clutched her shirt around her tightly as the temperature slowly plummeted. Teeth clattering, she emerged from the tunnel into a dimly lit cavern with a deep pool in the center of it. 

The lights seemed to come from within the pool itself, making the cave's ceiling reflect the water ripples. 

Kelia walked farther into the cave and gasped when she saw the Sword sticking out of the stone, its golden hilt shining with strange magic. She strode towards it when a flash of light made her cry out and cover her eyes. 

“So, you made it past Ragua.” 

The strange voice sounded dusty and creaky with age. If Ragua’s voice was blazing infernos, Cormac’s was lichen-covered stones. 

“Unfortunately, Ragua will no longer be stopping anyone else from entering this cavern,” she replied. 

The Wizard’s orange beard twitched as he studied her. She, in turn, looked at him. He was misty at the edges as if he was fading from this world. His eyes were bright, however, as he motioned to the now-empty cavern behind her.

“Luckily, my dear, I do not believe anyone else will be finding this cavern after you either fail or pass.” 

“Is that why you’re fading?” 

Kelia's teeth chattered as she spoke, and her breath came in white clouds. 

Cormac looked at himself as if seeing his body for the first time in a long while.

“Ah, yes. I have been on this earth longer than I had intended this spell to hold. The afterlife is calling my name and I no longer have the strength to decline.” 

He turned and pointed a wizened arm at the Sword.

“Take the Sword if you wish, but it is no easy feat. You must overcome your darkest memory in order to wield it, and neither of the Maidens before you have managed to do so.” 

He sounded as if he were reading from a script, wearily going through the motions as the years passed him by. 

“I can do it,” she said confidently. Cormac shrugged. 

“Then I am not stopping you any longer.” 

Kelia walked past him and to the Sword. The hilt was inlaid with runes of a language long forgotten by the people of the world, and it seemed untarnished with age. Taking a fortifying breath, she stepped closer. Wrapping her hands around the hilt, she pulled. 


Cold, deep, unflinching winter. 

Snow piled ten feet high on top of homes, smothering the life within. 

The baby wailed as her tiny fingers froze underneath her threadbare blanket, her mother’s cold dead hands no longer able to warm her. 

The bodies of her family around her were gray and frozen and didn’t move as she cried and cried. 

For three days, she was trapped in the frozen home. Only once a villager heard her dying cries through the melting snow, was the baby rescued from her mother’s last embrace. 

The baby was quiet after that, and didn’t wail, didn’t cry, and didn’t speak until all the other kids were yelling at each other. 

The cold froze her heart, the kids sneered, and she couldn’t feel. 

But the truth was, she felt too much. 

For when she was pulled out of the frozen home, her heart thawed too fast until she was no longer guarded against the evils of the world. 


Kiela couldn’t breathe as the cold stole the air from her lungs. Her body was numbing, and she could no longer feel her toes or fingers. 

Her chest tightened as her last breaths of air escaped her lips. 

Aryzath, I need you, she thought as her vision darkened with lack of air. She collapsed to the ground and her fingers dipped the cold water of the pool. Black spots floated in and out of her line of sight. 

Dimly she heard the outraged roar as the cavern’s ceiling exploded and a silvery shape burst through, breathing fire. The Wizard bowed to the Dragon as he faded from existence, his last expression one of relief as he could finally rest. 

Heat licked her frozen fingers as they stuck to the Sword, but she barely felt it over the numbness. Gentle claws wrapped around her and lifted her and the Sword up until they burst into the open air. 

But Kelia was so cold. She felt her breaths shortening, and she could feel her systems shutting down. 

“Stay awake,” the Dragon roared as he flew furiously towards his home. He set her on the ground almost reverently and drew back, eyes watching in concern as she struggled to stand up. He extended his leg to her, and she blinked at the golden chain. 

She couldn't feel her fingers and most of her arm, but she raised the Sword with the last vestiges of her strength and sliced in the general direction of the chains. With a clang of metal on metal that vibrated through Kelia’s very bones, the chains fell off Aryzath’s ankle.

The Sword fell out of her hands, the spark of magic fading as the Wizard had.

The Great Dragon looked at the broken links for a long moment before he launched off the ground with a joyous roar, the sound filling Kelia’s heart with warmth. 

Her legs buckled, and she fell to the ground in a graceless heap as she watched the Dragon soar above her, finally free. 

Kelia’s breaths came slower now, and she could feel her strength giving out. With a whimper of pain, she lifted her hands to Aryzath as he landed beside her, eyes sorrowful. 

He nuzzled her chest with his great nose, settling beside her. She stroked his face, breaths rattling in her chest. 

“Aryzath, I-” she began, but he snorted a tiny wisp of smoke into her face.

“You can call me Ary,” he rumbled. She smiled wearily. 

Ary. Re-” she broke off with a cough, her body wracking with pain. The Dragon’s ears flattened as a singular tear leaked from his melted blue eyes. The sparkly tear dripped into Kelia’s hand, and she held it up, feeling it hardening. 

“Look at that,” she murmured, watching the light bounce off the gemstone in her hands. “Dragons do cry diamonds.” 

Aryzath lay his head gently on her torso, a keening noise rumbling deep within his chest. She stroked his scales as her vision tunneled and her heartbeat slowed. 

“Remember your promise,” she whispered as she sighed in relief and her last breath fled her body. 

The Great Dragon raised his head and roared, the sound as pained and heart-breaking as any that had emerged from within Sky Mountain. Trees trembled, rocks shuddered, and animals fled into their holes and burrows at the sound. 

Far away, in Kelia’s village, the people who had once terrorized her felt the sound deep within their bones, and for the first time in their lives, felt true abject terror. 

Aryzath keened as he lifted the young woman’s body gently in his claws and carried her to an alcove where the moonlight and sunlight would stream directly. With a soft whoosh, he blew a stream of blue fire over her body and watched as it crumbled into ash. He curled up on the floor, watching over her, as a single gust of wind carried the ashes up, up, and away, out of the skylight. 

Out of the alcove, a single flower bloomed. Tall and slender, the magical plant rose, seeking the sun, and the Dragon watched as it unfolded into a singular Dragon Tear plant, its blue petals heart-shaped. 

The village never heard or saw from the Great Dragon ever again. 

Although, every year on the same day, there was a roar that sounded from Sky Mountain, a painful heartfelt sound that struck their hearts. 

The sound made them remember a young woman who crashed their Festival of the Dragon Moon and provided them with donkey meat.

January 25, 2022 12:10

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1 comment

Graham Kinross
07:48 Mar 02, 2022

It’s great that you’re keeping this going. Keep it up.


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