Thursday, October 2, 2014

Online Novel Chapter 3 - The Dragon Flight

The shadow's baritone voice filled the room.  "Dragons have always roamed our world, but they've been isolated.  For the most part, they've left us alone, and we've left them alone.  Sure, there have been intrepid adventurers who've sought them out, but most don't survive.

"In recent years, the dragons have begun encroaching further and further into civilization.  It was merely a nuisance at first, composed mainly of tiny green dragons.  The corrosive gasses they exhaled killed a few, but we learned to protect ourselves.  Unfortunately, they were but the first.

"Grey dragons next appeared, with their flammable spit.  Numerous towns on the outer edge of Maldonia have been destroyed, and only the heroic intervention of the Gerican Army stopped their advance.  Our scouts have found evidence of dreaded red and white dragons.  There is even talk of a mighty silver dragon, and there is only one place that type of dragon has ever appeared - in the Prophecy of the Dragon Flight."

The room went silent as the shadow smiled.  It was as if he expected the group to know what he was talking about.  Into the silence, Ray asked, "What does this mean to us.  What is this Dragon Flight?"

"Everyone knows of the prophecy," the shadow said, confusion creeping into his voice.  "I realize that your land is far away, but surely even tales of the end of the world have found your kingdom."

"Um, afraid not," Pat said.

The shadow sighed.  "Very well.  Two thousand years ago, an ancient seer foretold of an invasion of dragons, come to reclaim a world they fled long ago.  They would bring with them death and give no quarter to the sentient of our realm - humans, dwarves, elves, and fairies would be driven from the land.  Even the orcs and wraiths of the east would not be spared from the dragons' wrath.  Once the land is purged, the prophecy tells of a mighty silver dragon that would establish a dragon kingdom until the sun itself winked out."

"Sound like fun," Lisa said.  "Just what do you expect us to do about it?"

"The prophecy contained but a single hope.  It spoke of a band of adventurers from a far off land, a band with skill and power unrivaled in our world.  The task to defeat the Dragon Flight would fall to them.  They must slay the silver beast and bring peace back to our land, for if the king is killed, its minions will retreat once more.  However, the prophecy is unclear as to the success of this group - it says the fight could go either way, and its outcome will determine the fate of us all."

A new silence fell over the group.  This one was less the confused silence from before and more a dreadful one.  Finally, Tucker said, "Do you expect us to fight these things?  How'd we even get here?"

After a slight hesitation from the shadow, it said, "I confess that we unlocked ancient and forbidden magic to scour the realms for those who might be worthy to take on this quest.  We followed your adventures from afar, and the results have been impressive."

"That was role playing!" Chris exclaimed.

"I know not what this 'role playing' is, but no one can deny the monsters you've slain or the treasure you've scavenged.  If anyone is worthy to assume this burden, it's you."

Before anyone could object again, Dan said, "Why am I blind?  I can't see anything.  And I was the storyteller, not a character.  Why am I even here?"

"Your powers of foresight are legendary.  True seers are rare indeed, but your powers to see the future arise from your spirit, not your eyes."

Dan was on the verge of tears.  "I can't see anything.  I'm a goddamned storyteller!"

"The burdens of a seer are fierce, and I feel for your plight, but you will be able to warn your team of danger in advance so they can prepare.  Just open your soul as you've done so often and the future will emerge."

Dan was dumbstruck and suddenly mute.  Before the rest of the group could say anything else, the shadow said, "This map" - a scroll appeared from thin air - "will show you the way to the dragons' land.  Our scouts haven't found their strongpoint, but we believe it's somewhere near Mount Tabor.  You should find solace in most of the towns along the route, but be wary of strangers, for not all hold your best interests at heart.  And avoid devilish creatures like wraiths and the undead, for their motives are domination, and they remain our sworn enemies.  You have sufficient gold to make it to the edge of the forest, and you are free to whatever else you can scavenge within the law.  We will be monitoring your progress, and we will return you to your land once you've rid our world of this apocalyptic threat."

"What if we don't do anything?" Kurt asked.

"Then our world will die, and you along with it.  Success is your - our - only hope."

The shadow disappeared into mist, and the group looked at each other(at least those who could see looked at each other).  The silence was so brittle that it felt as if a single word could shatter the air.  Without speaking, Tucker made his way to the scroll and plucked it from the air.

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