I’ve been toying with this as an idea to start my NaNoNovel, finally finding the focus and courage to write it up today. ‘Tis only a first draft, so I know it needs work. But I would like to know what others out there think of this. Please, be a beta reader for five minutes, and let me know what you think. All feedback will be gratefully received.
Snarling, lips curled back from sword-sharp teeth, the Dragon prowled, inching its body forward while its golden eyes glittered, focused intently on the … thing in front of it. The nascent Firesoul had not encountered something like this before, but it knew instinctively that it was just wrong. An abomination. Something to be destroyed utterly before it could damage the world.
Iron and the Heart of Fire met in the birthplace of Ice: eternal hatred drove them together to clash for supremacy. But cunning, and a hidden alliance, would be the downfall of one.
The Iron King stood on the furthest shore of the frozen lake, surrounded on all sides by mountains. His face was frozen into a rictus of torment, from the pain his soul still felt, which disguised his anticipation. His foot tapped gently, almost imperceptibly, on the ice.
Fixated on the iron abomination, the Dragon did not see the swift swirls of movement under the ice, tracking his every step. Digging his claws in for traction, he began to increase his pace, angling to attack the Ferrogoblin head-on. A rumbling eructation rolled from his belly as he struggled to ignite his fire; he was still new to the world and his abilities, having only recently discovered that he could produce new dragons from his own Firesoul, diminishing his powers temporarily.
Two of his children followed behind, shifting their paths to flank the Iron King and prevent his escape. So intent were they on impressing the First with their prowess in battle and their fearlessness that they did not see the swirling motion under the ice.
The Ferrogoblin opened his arms, goading the Firesoul to attack. A final foot-tap on the ice.
The Firesoul launched itself at the Iron King, powerful back legs thrusting his lithe body up from the ice, front legs extended towards this hated enemy.
The swirling movement under the ice exploded upwards, directly underneath the First’s belly, and dozens of Ice Demons erupted from the frozen water, latching onto the Firesoul’s back legs and haunches, shrieking of grinding ice filling the air. Fear and disgust for the Heart of Fire, and the promise of everlasting freedom from its threat, compelled them to dare this deed. Barbs of ice scored the scales, shattering and regrowing, as the Ice Demons scrabbled to pierce the Dragon’s armour. With every attempt, the cold and icy waters seeped in, eroding the strength of the Heart of Fire, and burning the Dragon with intense cold.
The Firesoul’s enraged howls added to the cacophony, as the touch of the Ice Demons lacerated his scaled hide. Distracted by the ambush, the First could not ignite his fire to attack, and was helpless as the demons began to drag him down into the depths of the lake. Writhing with his whole body, lashing out with claw and fang and antlers, the First fought to stay out of the freezing water.
His children, terrified at the sight of their all-powerful father reduced to such a helpless state, arrested their own attack of the Iron King. Pausing for a single heartbeat to stare at each other, they abandoned the First to the Ice Demons, fleeing in opposite directions as they laboured in the cold to become airborne. They had to warn their siblings about this new threat, to tell them that their own futures were now no longer assured, and that the First could no longer protect them. Shock urged them away; fear – their new advisor – urged them to hide, to protect themselves from this threat.
As the First thrashed and destroyed the frozen surface of the lake, the Iron King approached slowly, gingerly avoiding any water pooling on the ice. The rictus had altered from torment to glee, as the Ice Demons swarmed over the Firesoul, dragging him under the churning surface of the frozen water. Debilitated by the shards of Ice lodged between his scales, the First weakened and slithered off the edge of the ice, and was swallowed by the waters.
As he sank, the Ferrogoblin began to bind the Dragon within the confines of the ley-line convergence beneath the water; the node began to glow, pulsing to the rhythm of the chant, growing to encompass the mass of the Firesoul and trap it forever. The Iron King’s arms were still thrown wide, hands moving in stilted time to his chant, and the bonds began to tighten around the Dragon.
The last thing the First saw in this eon was the twisted smile of the Iron King, leering down into the darkening waters of the lake as the Dragon was imprisoned. The last thing the First heard was the sound of the Iron King’s hands, clapping together in a final sonic boom that resonated through the depths of the water, sealing him to his fate for centuries.
Teeth grinding in frustration, Maggie buried her mouth in her clenched fists, forcing herself not to scream out loud. She managed to mostly muffle a single low shriek by stuffing her university scarf into her mouth.
Shocked by her own outburst, she glanced back over her shoulder at the department building and breathed a small sigh of relief that the door had closed behind her, further muffling the sound of her rage. She didn’t need to give her supervisor more reasons to be disappointed with her.
She yanked her long coat closed, and cursed the weather that assaulted her from the moment she stepped from the sheltered steps into the lane.