The Silver Wolf-The Honor Of The Crown: Enter The Dragon
Date: Wed, September 15, 2021
Topic: Stories & Fiction

As Lady Babylon opened her mouth once again to bite at him, her eyes burning with anger, Ma’non’go honestly wondered if it would be enough.

Chapter Nineteen

Enter The Dragon

The fire in Lady Babylon’s eyes was just as intense as the cone of murderous orange, red and white flame she breathed at the companions. The companions could feel its heat from down on the ground even when it was still in Lady Babylon’s maw.

Seline’s heart pounded frantically as she reached into her pocket and retrieved her magical wand, which allowed her to conjure great blasts of steam and fog. Pointing it in the air, Seline chanted and released a great blast of steam at Lady Babylon’s fire breath. The steam and flame collided in a great burst of smoke, which formed a screen that separated Lady Babylon from the companions.

It took Lady Babylon only a few moments to blow the smoke away with her wings and swoop down among the companions, but they used those few seconds to scatter. They were all around the park, and Lady Babylon realized she wouldn’t be able to slay them all with her fire breath. Instead, she lashed out at them with her deadly fangs and claws, which were as deadly as any human or dwarven sword.

Ma’non’go leapt back as Lady Babylon’s maw lunged towards him. To his immense relief, her jaws slammed shut scarcely five feet from him. He didn’t let his relief weaken his resolve, as he slashed at Lady Babylon with his trident. It tore a vicious-looking gash just beneath her mouth, leaving a trail of purplish-red blood dripping on the ground. Ma’non’go had poured a dose of one of the potions Seline had made in Naerie on his weapon. The potion enhanced the sharpness of any edged or pointed weapon, giving it temporary magical properties. That potion’s power, combined with the power Ma’non’go received from the Crown of Arumdina’s blessing, made his blows all the more powerful.

As Lady Babylon opened her mouth once again to bite at him, her eyes burning with anger, Ma’non’go honestly wondered if it would be enough.

Lady Babylon hadn’t had to use her full powers in decades, preferring the guise of a human wizard and enhancing it with her magical spells. Not all dragons could cast magic, any more than all dragons could speak, but Lady Babylon was skilled enough to do both. She often passed her fire breath off as magic, but she could cast a few true spells.

She used the first of those spells now, as her entire body seemed to glow fiery red. The enchantment she was using caused anyone it affected to age a year from the strain it often put on their systems. Most lesser races were reluctant to use the spell, but dragons like Lady Babylon grew more powerful as they aged.

Lady Babylon started to move with a surprising speed for a creature so large, her limbs flexing with a catlike grace. She whirled in place, turning her face away from Ma’non’go and slashing at him with her left foreclaws. The Olman warrior tried to dodge, but Lady Babylon’s strike caught him along his back and down his leg, knocking him flat. Lady Babylon led with her right foreclaws, hitting Weimar in the shield and knocking him onto his back, but she fixed her glare on Luna, who was grasping her holy symbol and chanting a spell. Lady Babylon wasn’t having it, as she caught Luna in her jaws.

Luna screamed in agony, her spell lost. Fiery pain tore through her back and into her limbs as Lady Babylon’s teeth tore into her. She’d managed to get her shield up in front of her right before Lady Babylon struck, and that kept her from being torn in two. Lady Babylon tried to apply some more pressure, intending to finish her opponents’ healer first, but suddenly she was the one screaming in agony as Revafour hacked into her rear flank. Luna fell out of her mouth, leaving her fangs stained with blood, as she turned to the right again, intending to face the Flan warrior.

Airk struck at her with his morning star as she turned. His attack skidded harmlessly off her steel-hard hide. Her counter, again with her right foreclaws, was blocked by his shield. The blow was so strong, however, that it sent Airk flying back to crash into the broken remains of a statue and roll past it to the ground. The gnome barely managed to get to his hands and knees, his head throbbing from the blow, as Lady Babylon continued past him to face Revafour.

The Flan warrior returned her hateful stare. He slashed at her again, aiming just below where Ma’non’go had struck her first blow, but again her hide proved tougher than her enemies’ weapons. Lady Babylon lunged at Revafour, seemingly ready to bite him in two the way she nearly had Luna. Seline wore a determined look as she chanted her next spell, but the dragon had keen hearing. Seline cast a powerful lightning bolt at Lady Babylon, but the dragon retaliated with magic of her own.

As the lightning bolt streaked towards her, Lady Babylon seemingly vanished as her own spell took effect. The bolt flew right through where she’d been standing, streaking past Amyalla. The halfling cried out in alarm, as much by Lady Babylon’s disappearance as by Seline’s lightning bolt. Amyalla had nearly gotten into position for a good strike at the thrashing dragon, but now the dragon seemed to be gone.

Then, Lady Babylon suddenly reappeared, as Amyalla realized what kind of spell the dragon cast. She lunged again at Revafour, who was too startled by her sudden reappearance to get his defenses in line. Swallowing hard, Amyalla charged in, driving her dagger up to the hilt into Lady Babylon’s side. Her attack was strengthened by Seline’s sharpness potion and the Crown of Arumdina, and did enough damage to force Lady Babylon to stop short of biting Revafour.

Unfortunately, it also angered Lady Babylon enough for her to lash out and catch Amyalla with her claws. Lady Babylon only struck Amyalla a glancing blow, which was further weakened by the Crown’s power, but Amyalla felt a wave of hot agony as her lifeblood streaked across her torso and arms.

Airk’s head spun as he struggled to his feet, his entire body aching from the Scarlet Woman’s blow. To his surprise, the Crown of Arumdina was still on his head, and didn’t seem at all damaged from the hit he took. Its gems continued glowing brightly, and his body still radiated the golden light the Crown originally imbued him with.

But out of the corner of his eye, he saw Weimar frantically tending to Luna, who lay in a bloody heap. Directly across from him, he saw Amyalla drinking one of the healing potions Luna had brewed back in Naerie, in an attempt to stanch her bleeding.

Airk picked up his morning star and shield and ran to help Revafour, who was facing Lady Babylon head on. Revafour swung a mighty blow, one that would have cut even Lady Babylon’s tough hide, but she briefly vanished and his sword slashed nothing but air before she suddenly reappeared and lashed out at him.

Revafour’s heavy plate armor gave him better protection from Lady Babylon’s bite than Luna’s chain armor did, but his cry of pain still tore at Airk’s soul. He finally caught up to Lady Babylon and slammed her left foreleg, the enchantments of the Crown and a dose of Seline’s sharpness potion strengthening his weapon. Lady Babylon winced at the blow, and lashed out at him with the claws on her left foreleg. Those claws viciously cut Airk, but they didn’t take him down. He retaliated with another blow to her foreleg, but it didn’t seem to matter.

Airk realized that it truly didn’t matter when Lady Babylon turned to look at him. Her eyes seethed with an inner fire, and Airk could see it welling up in her throat. She was going to breathe her fire all over him, killing him in one blast.

Without a wearer, the Crown of Arumdina’s power would fade, and Flinthold’s defenders would lose its blessings.

Airk knew then that all was lost, as the voice he’d been hearing in his head started to speak to him again.

And this is how it ends, doesn’t it?

First you brought death and despair to your brothers in arms because Kalrek Burunne played you for a fool.

Then you murdered Laessar Bradon because you let Kalrek escape.

Then you divide your kin and let them suffer at this monster’s hands.

And now you’ve led your so-called friends, people foolish enough to spend more than a day with you, into the literal jaws of death.

Garl Glittergold must be so, so proud!

Airk saw the golden light around him start to fade, as the Crown’s gems started to lose their shine.

Weimar worked frantically to pour one of Luna’s own healing potions into her mouth. Her bite wound wasn’t mortal, but Weimar knew the companions needed her back in the battle as soon as possible.

Luna coughed as she rose to a sitting position, and her wounds closed rapidly. Unfortunately, Weimar’s relief turned into alarm as he saw the look of dismay on Luna’s face, as if she’d lost something important. A moment later, Weimar felt it too, as the strange sensation he’d felt since the battle began, a sensation that gave him courage and determination, faded away.

Weimar and Luna exchanged worried glances, realizing that the Crown of Arumdina was losing its power.  

As Airk realized what was happening, that his wavering resolve was weakening the Crown’s power, he felt something break within him. Rage at Kalrek Burunne for his betrayal, rage at the Steelheart dwarves for massacring his brothers in arms, rage at Lady Babylon for what she and her minions had done to his home, rage at the thought of his kin and his friends dying, and rage at himself for allowing it all to happen.

Despair gave way to white hot anger within Airk as he charged forward. He didn’t care if Lady Babylon killed him-it was no less than he deserved-but he’d be damned if she slew any of his friends.

His body glowed brighter than ever as the Crown of Arumdina’s power returned. Lady Babylon breathed a horrific cone of flame at Airk, but he raised his enchanted shield above him. Airk’s shield and the Crown’s power protected him from the worst of Lady Babylon’s fires, but those flames still raised painful burns on his face and scorched his plate armor. Emerging from the flames, his armor gleaming red with the heat, Airk slammed his morning star into the side of Lady Babylon’s neck. She roared in pain from his blow, and blinked out of sight to avoid his next strike.

Lady Babylon started to leap into the air, intending to breathe on Airk again, but then Seline completed her next spell. A large bluish-white wall of glacier ice appeared above Lady Babylon, landing squarely on her head and neck with a sickening crunch. Lady Babylon screamed as she fell back to the ground, and her scream turned into a roar of anger as Weimar, Ma’non’go and Revafour each charged her from a different side.

Weimar was the first to strike, chopping into her left flank, and Lady Babylon’s speed allowed her to strike him back. She blinked out again as Weimar fell back, leading Revafour and Ma’non’go to miss with their blows, but as she moved to counter them she felt herself slowing down. Luna dispelled the spell Lady Babylon had cast to speed up her movements, and she couldn’t react as Airk, Amyalla and Ma’non’go all struck her again.

Roaring once again in pain and rage, Lady Babylon prepared to breathe on Airk. Seline cast another blast of steam from her wand just in time, snuffing out Lady Babylon’s flames and raising a large cloud of smoke in front of her. Airk charged through the smoke to attack her, but Lady Babylon expected that. She recoiled and blinked out of sight, causing him to miss his blow. When she reappeared, she plunged her head back into the smoke, intending to bite Airk in two and be done with it.

Lady Babylon was so focused on Airk that she didn’t notice Revafour running into the smoke from her right.

The rest of the companions heard her snarling as she lunged down at Airk, but that snarl turned into an ear-piercing shriek. Lady Babylon recoiled out of the smoke, thrashing violently as the companions fell back. They realized Lady Babylon was dying, and they saw the cause when they noticed Revafour’s sword protruding from her throat.

Gilduros’s breath ran ragged as he severed the head of the hobgoblin he was battling. His fatigue nearly caused him to drop his axe, and he wondered how much longer he could go on. Even with the Crown’s blessings, he’d suffered several painful wounds. It was all he could do not to collapse.

He shuddered when he heard a loud, bloodcurdling shriek, a scream of despair and death. The scream unnerved him, but its effect on the monsters was far greater as they realized what it meant. They seemed to lose all heart for the battle, as some of them turned to run while others simply sank to their knees in despair.

Lady Babylon’s death destroyed her minions’ will to fight, but it gave new heart to the gnomes and the Kutunachke. The gnomes who’d suffered and lost so much to the monsters, exacted a brutal revenge on them. The Kutunachke, horrified by the destruction and death they’d seen the monsters inflict on Flinthold, were more than willing to help the gnomes avenge their pain.

Weimar was gasping for breath and soaked with blood from the wounds he’d suffered fighting Lady Babylon. He was grateful for the healing spell Luna cast on him, but his gratitude was quickly replaced with worry for Airk’s fate. Luna shared his worry, and they joined their other friends in running towards Airk, who was on his hands and knees.

Airk looked up at his friends. They were shocked at his injuries, from the burns on his face to the bloody gashes he’d suffered from Lady Babylon’s claws. What disturbed them most, though, was the exhaustion and pain he was clearly in.

Luna knelt down next to him, casting a healing spell that filled him with cool, soothing energy, but if he felt any relief he didn’t show it.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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