Ahhh, internet fasting is awesome. Regillion was tormenting my imagination… but that’s a good thing! I got a ton of writing done! Here is another snippet.
Regillion stomped through the forest, his sword-knife bumping against his leg at intervals from his vigorous walking. His sharp, eerie dark eyes scanned the ground in front of and around him, picking up on barely visible trails made by the forest animals.
He kicked savagely at a stone and watched in grim satisfaction as it whizzed through the air to collide with a tree trunk some half dozen yards away, a dull, deep ‘thud’ resulting from it.
He looked ahead, trying to see through the trees as they slowly began to thin out. He was heading for those mountains up there. He didn’t know how many miles away they were, several days journey he knew. He didn’t know what he would do when he reached them. Cross them, probably, and see what was on the other side.
The skin on the back of his neck prickled. His gate did not change, but all his senses were on hyper-drive trying to find what the cause of the warning sensation had been.
Sunlight began to filter through the treetops above him. The edge of the treeline was a couple hundred feet ahead. He quickened his pace.
A huge shadow covered him for a moment, a silent whoosh as something passed over him. He jerked his gaze to the sky.
He couldn’t see it clearly, but it circled around and passed over him again. Something black, something with wings. It was so low it almost brushed the highest leaves and branches of the trees.
Regillion jogged toward the open plain, his mind tumbling around for an answer. The shadow passed over him again and right before he ran out into the sunlight it dropped onto the ground in front of him with a menacing,
He jerked himself to a stop and stared at a half matured black dragon. It tried hissing again, but instead a fit of coughing took it for a moment.
“Smoking causes lung cancer, you know.” Regillion said before he thought better.
The worm tossed his head to the side, pearing at the seventeen year old with one large, green, slitted eye. Regillion stared back, not backing down.
The dragon shrieked, a pitiful replacement for a roar. He whirled his tail around and it snapped around a tree a yard or two in front of and to Regillion’s left. A five point mace adorned the reptile’s tail and it slammed into the tree trunk.
With a backwards jerk it tried to uproot the tree. The tree groaned and leaned over under the strain, half of it’s roots snapping.
The dragon huffed and jerked at it again. The tree suddenly gave way and the worm squeaked in surprise, stumbling backwards.
Regillion grinned and stepped out of the trees. “Bit off a little more than you could chew, eh? Where’s Mama Dragon?” He taunted.
The black dragon spit a scrawny ball of smoke at him and flung the uprooted tree at him. Regillion ducked and the ill-aimed projectile flew over his head, thudding to the ground behind him.
Regillion drew his weapon with his right hand, a slim, wicked looking knife sliding out of his left sleeve into his hand. He took a step forward.
The dragon coughed at him again and stomped toward the human that had dared insult him and wasn’t even scared of him. He paused when he saw the gleaming blades, his sharp green eyes darting back and forth between them. He took another cautious step forward.
Regillion swung the sword in a lazy arc, in turn surveying the dragon’s weapons. Sharp, long claws on each toe of his feet, four rows of razor sharp teeth, and the mace on the end of his tail. But the dragon was young and inexperienced. So was Regillion, but he calculated that they were just about evenly matched.
The dragon batted weakly at Regillion, testing him. Regillion sliced his sword at the huge paw-like hand, the tip bouncing off the underside of the dragon’s palm.
It squealed and leaped back.
“Sissy.” Regillion said. “At least you have armour.”
Enraged, it leaped forward, mouth open, neck outstretched, aiming for Regillion’s middle. Regillion ducked and rolled under it’s head, jumping up and stabbing at the scaled neck beside him.
Surprised at the quick comeback, the reptile jumped back again, surveying Regillion more carefully. This human might be young, but he was quick and lithe, his mind sharp and cool under pressure.
He circled, his tail catching on weeds and bushes, leaving a rut in the ground behind him. Regillion turned so he was always facing his opponent, his feet set apart.
He saw the tail whip toward him out of the corner of his eye. He ducked again, letting it fly harmlessly over him.
Regaining his feet quickly he faced the dragon, waiting. Mouth agape, it lunged toward him again. He held his sword outstretched in front of him and drove down from above with his dagger. The sword caught the dragon in the roof of it’s mouth, and the dagger plunged into one of it’s nostrils.
It shrieked, stumbling back. Regillion lost his footing but clung to his blades. The worm dragged him, twisting it’s head back and forth, trying to rid it’s face of the stinging, biting metal.
Regillion, hanging several feet in the air, hauling himself up by the dagger hilt, driving it farther into the dragon’s face. It whined, smashing the side of it’s face into the ground. Regillion staggered to his feet, shoved the sword farther into the dragon’s mouth, leaning into the leathery-black nose, glaring into the slitted green eye.
“Stop. Writhing.” He ordered.
The worm whined, rooting his nose into the ground again. Regillion stomped on his jaw.
Another whine. It kept it’s head still, but it’s feet and claws scratched at the ground.
“Shut up. You attacked me when you know you were inexperienced, don’t whine like a dog when you lose.”
A half snort, then another sniffling whine from the pain that lashed through it’s sinuses.
“If I let you go, will you promise not to harm me?”
Regillion stomped onto the forked tongue. “Promise! Not! To harm me!” He yelled.
It nodded. Regillion slowly and carefully withdrew his dagger from it’s nose. It jerked back, dropping Regillion to the ground, throwing itself around, clawing at it’s mouth to get the sword out.
Regillion sat calmly on the ground. “If you hold still I’ll get it out.”
It backed away, coughing and gagging, spitting blood on the dried grass.
“Get over here, you wimp, and I’ll take it out!” Regillion said.
It dragged itself back over and plopped it’s head on the ground, mouth open. Regillion grabbed a hold of the hilt and jerked it out. The dragon screamed, spitting blood all over Regillion.
“Idiot.” He muttered. “Calm down, it’ll heal in a bit. Can’t you take a little pain? That’s what fighting is all about.”
The dragon sniffled.
“What’s your name?”
It whirled it’s tail around, slamming it into the ground a few feet beside Regillion.
“Please don’t tell me you want to start this thing all over.”
It shook it’s head, wiggling it’s tail to dislodge it from the ground.
“Mace?” Regillion asked.
It shook it’s head, pounding one of the points into the ground again.
“Very well. Your name is Thorn. What are you doing out here? How old are you?”
Thorn reared his head up, peering down at Regillion.
“I thought dragons could talk.”
Thorn stuck his tongue out at him.
“Your mother needs to teach you some manners.” Regillion said.
Thorn snorted. He turned and trotted off, stretching his wings. Regillion rose to his feet and threw his knife at him. It tumbled end of end through the air, sinking into the flesh beside Thorn’s tail.
Thorn screamed and whirled around, clawing at his rear end. Regillion watched, arms crossed.
“I beat you fair and square. You can’t just walk away like that.”
Thorn glared at him, trying to chew the knife out from under his scales.
“Stop it, that’s one of my best knives.” Regillion came forward and slapped Thorn’s mouth away, tugging the dagger out.
Thorn huffed, licking the wound beside his tail.
“Serves you right. I beat you in a fight you started, you have to serve me now.”
Thorn squawked in surprise.
“Yes, and you knew it too. Don’t pretend you didn’t know.” Regillion wiped his knife off. “I’m not afraid to use this again.”
Regillion grabbed his jaw and pulled him away from the wound on his rear, forcing Thorn’s head down on the ground. The two green slitted eyes looked up at him, begging him not to hurt him again.
“Wimp, I won’t hurt you anymore, unless you act stupid again.” He gave him a gentle slap on the side of the neck. “Put your wing down, let me mount you.”
Thorn shot a blast of hot air onto Regillion’s legs. Regillion kicked his jaw. “LET ME MOUNT YOU!” He roared.
Thorn whined and put his wing down. Regillion climbed up onto his back. “Where do you live? Where’s your cave?”
Thorn turned his head to look at the human sitting on him. He shook his head.
“No home? No cave?”
Thorn shook his head again.
“Fine. Take me over those mountains over there.” Regillion ordered.
Thorn turned toward them and trotted a little ways, flapping his wings and rising in the air.
He must be very young if he can’t even start flying from a stand still, Regillion thought.
Thorn landed on a ledge in the mountains as the sun ducked below the horizon. Regillion slid off his back and into the knee-deep snow. Thorn paused, watching his new master, waiting for a command.
“Let’s find a cave to stay in before we freeze to death.” Regillion said.
Thorn nodded and began rooting through the snow against the mountain side, shoveling it away as he looked for hidden caves and hollows. Regillion shivered as he watched the dragon. He didn’t have any warm clothes or even a cloak.
Thorn wormed his way through a tunnel he had dug in the snow, his head reappearing a few moments later. He whined to Regillion and the human came over. He crawled on his hands and knees into a pitch black cavern. At least it was warmer in here, even if he couldn’t see a thing. He put his hand out to feel for Thorn. The dragon was standing right beside him.
They nestled into the back of the cave together. The cold didn’t bother Thorn, he couldn’t feel it really, but Regillion was shivering almost uncontrollably. Thorn offered some heat, but his scales kept most of it confined to his body.
Regillion ate a few bites of stale bread. He offered a piece to Thorn but the dragon only sniffed and snorted at it.
The next morning Thorn nudged him to awaken him. They crawled out of the cave and Regillion mounted him. Thorn leaped off the edge of the mountain, his wings outstretched to catch the air currents swirling around him.
They passed over the mountains and descended toward the rolling plain on the other side. Regillion looked around for a town or city to stop at. He needed food and a cloak.
Thorn stumbled in an ungraceful landing and looked around. Regillion couldn’t see anything nearby that could help them. He sighed. He was getting tired of running and wandering. He leaned against Thorn’s neck while the dragon rested from the flight. Thorn made a rumbling, growling sound in his throat.
“I know.” Regillion answered. “I don’t know what to do. I didn’t see a town or anything anywhere nearby.”
Thorn snorted and trotted off in the direction they had been flying, away from the mountains. Regillion let him do his own thing, not really caring what happened to them. He glanced back at the mountains they had crossed. So, they were on the other side now. In a different land, different people, where he didn’t have a reputation for stealing and conniving. He had tried to work honestly, but he always seemed to get himself in trouble.
The dragon came to a sudden stop and snorted for his attention. Regillion looked up and saw that they were on the top of a rise, looking down a little at the land before them. A town sprawled out in front of them, farms dotting the surrounding landscape, houses and workshops built closer to each other in the center. There was no order or method to the way they were put, just randomly wherever there was room.
“Come on, let’s go. I’m starving and I don’t have any food left.” Regillion said.
Thorn hesitated, one foot held above the ground.
“You don’t want to go near people?”
“Alright, stay here. I’ll be back as soon as possible.” He slid down from Thorn’s back and headed toward the collection of buildings.
They were at least three miles away, so it took him the better part of an hour to reach them. Every time he looked back he could see Thorn perched at the top of the rise, his sharp, green eyes following his master’s figure across the grassy plain.
It gave Regillion a strange comfort, knowing there was someone watching him, waiting for him. He wasn’t all of his own now, he had someone to look after, and someone to look after him.
When he reached the town there was no one in sight. He sighed. They had probably seen the dragon and wanted nothing to do with him. He stopped in the middle of the square, if it could even be called that. He waited several minutes but no one came out.
“Look, people, I’m starving and all I want is to buy some food and a cloak from you!” He called, peevishly. “My dragon is not going to fry you like bacon if you show your cowardly faces to me.”
Still nothing. He crossed his arms and tapped his foot impatiently on the ground.
He heard something moving to his right and turned to look. A middle aged man with a tanned, weathered face cautiously stepped out from a shop and approached him. More than once he shot a nervous glance behind him toward the rise where Thorn stood.
“Well?” Regillion asked.
“Yes, sir,” The man said quickly. “You wanted food…?”
“Yes, food that will travel well, and a black cloak, if you have one.”
The man nodded and ducked back into the building. Regillion heard low, hushed voices speaking. He grinned smugly to himself. The townsfolk must be too shaken up about Thorn for them to see he was only seventeen. Maybe he looked older. He didn’t know, and he didn’t care.
Two women and the man came out. The women hurried off to other houses, and the man came forward with a cloak. Regillion inspected it. It was black as Thorn’s slitted pupils, and of medium weight.
“How much do you want for it?”
“Oh, just take it sir, we don’t have a need for it. It’s nothing, really–”
“I will not take this for nothing just because I can!” Regillion yelled, his temper bursting. He shoved his hand into the purse on his belt and brought up a handful of coins. He snatched the cloak from the man and shoved the money into his hands.
“Th-thank you, s-sir.”
“Shut up.” Regillion muttered.
The women came back, one of them holding a canvas bag. She handed it to Regillion. “Bread and dried beef, sir, with some nuts and dried fruit. Will this be–”
“This is perfect. Thank you.” He said curtly. It had sounded more polite in his head, but he was in a foul mood by now. He pinned the cloak around his shoulders and slung the bag over one shoulder. He turned and stalked out of the town, heading for the rise.
Thorn wasn’t there, and he frowned, wondering where the black worm had run off to. Then a shadow flew over him and landed a little ways off to his right. He ran toward Thorn and scrambled onto his back.
“Come on, boy, before these people think you’re going to turn them all into marshmallows.” He grumbled.