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The girl with the Dragon Slayer's sword

By The Invisible WriterPublished 5 months ago Updated 4 months ago 24 min read
The girl with the Dragon Slayer's sword
Photo by Roksolana Zasiadko on Unsplash

Vatra moved through the forest his long body weaving through the trees bending with the grace of a snake. The ease of his movements came from decades spent in the forest. The footfalls of his clawed feet landed soft and soundless on the fallen leaves of approaching winter. Sweat glistened on his scales. His thundering breath heaved in and out of his chest. His heart raced with anticipation. He was close. Closer than any dragon of the Emperors Fireguard had ever been.

If he was to have been true to his oath he should have risen above the trees and sent a fire signal long before now. He should have summoned the other dragons, but, Instead he had kept his snout close to the ground and worked to be unnoticed. Even the timid rabbits had not scurried at his passing. His tall body had remained below the canopy of tree limbs. Part of him cursed that he was not in the air. That Orpheus and the rest of the Fireguard were not already with him. If he had been true, they would have been.

But, he was betraying his oath. He would not be true. Only last night his oath had been as it always had been, more important than his own life. But, he had fallen asleep like he had done every night before and betrayal had come to him in his slumber. And, when he opened his eyes in the morning he knew exactly where to find what he'd spent centuries looking for. Not only did he know where to find the girl, dragons had been searching for since before he was born, he knew the prophecy was true. The dominance of dragons was over.

In his mind he knew he could not turn back. Still his betrayal weighed heavy on him. He told himself it had to be done. The rule of dragon emperors had become cruel even to their own kind. Dark magic had been woven into their beliefs. No longer did they sacrifice only the humans they captured, but servant dragons as well.

When the girl had looked into his eyes even asleep in his dream he knew he was the one who the prophecy said would turn against all the rest. He would be the one who helped the girl bring an end to the rule of dragons and usher in the time of humans.

In the beginning times a great war was fought between humans and dragons. The entire populations of both species were caught up in the struggle. Clashing battles and bloody campaigns ravaged the land before the humans were finally beaten at the Rhinestone by the first dragon emperor, Marcius.

The humans who survived Marcius's final attack were banished to the caves of the Cliffstone. For many passing's of tens humans were largely forgotten by their dragon masters. Only occasional menaced for entertainment with a few unfortunate souls burned alive in large breaths of fire on the anniversary of Marcius's destruction of their Kings Army. Until one years new beginning when the dragon sage Luthean came down from the peaks of Dragon Stone with a prophecy. In his prophecy Luthean foretold of a human girl who would bring about the demise of all dragon kind.

In the heart fires that burn eternally from the Dragon's Mouth Luthean saw the downfall of the emperor dragons. He saw a girl born with the blood of a Dragon Slayer come into the world. He watched as her father taught her the ancient ways of combat with a sword whose blade had tasted dragons blood in the great war. He watched her grow into a woman. Watched her slay the last emperor dragon. Watched hoards of humans pour over the Dragon Lands. Watched great temples crumble to the ground. Watched cities fall into the seas. Watched dragons burn alive. Watched the last surviving dragons scatter to the farthest reaches of the world.

Luthean could not say when the girl would be born or under what emperor's reign her rise to power would begin. He only knew that she would be born in one of the many forests beyond the Dragon Lands to a family living outside the caves of the Cliffstone. He knew the girl would be marked by the image of dragon on her body at her birth. He knew her family lineage would descend from one of the Dragon Slayers killed in the battle at the Rhinestone. He knew the girls father would train her with her ancestors sword in the ancient ways that had not been allowed since the first war ended.

The girl would be a rebirth of the ancient powers once held by humans. But unlike the warriors of the past her power would not reside in the sword alone. The girl's power would be more powerful than any witnessed by a dragon before. Her power would not be matched by the fire of any dragon. The worst part. The part no dragon wanted to fulfil was that all of dragon kind would be betrayed by one dragon who could have killed the girl before she gained her power, but that dragon would turn against the rest and Shepherd the girl away until she was ready to return.

Every dragon emperor since the time of Luthean sought to find and kill the girl with the sword before she could fulfil his prophecy. In the thousands of years since Luthean first came down from the Dragon Stone the girl with the sword was hunted. Any human girl suspected of possibly being the prophesied girl was killed. Burned alive upon the moment of her discovery. Every family of a girl who was suspected was killed as well. The histories of the Dragon Slayers were outlawed. Any human caught speaking of them was ordered put to death.

Vatra had been searching for three hundred years. From the time of his twentieth making his life had been devoted to finding the girl. Countless human families had befallen his presence. The blood of many who had ventured outside the caves of the Cliffstone were on him. He never thought about the innocence of their lives before the dream came to him, but he thought of their innocence now.

In the dream the girl stood in the Greenshire forest calling to him. White light shimmered around her body radiating out from her. Her amber eyes held his. They grew bright and dimmed every time she called to him. "Vatra, Vatra". He could feel the heat of her presence warm against his scales. Images flooded into his mind. Glimpses of what was to come. For him, for the girl, for humans, for the dragons, for the cruel emperors.

Dragons society, his society was separated into three classes. The ruling, the warrior, and the servant. The first two classes being served by the last. Dark magic had woven it's way into the ruling class since the time of the first war. In the last two centuries sacrifices of servant dragons had become regular occurrences in the cities of the Dragon Lands. With each emperor's reign the warrior dragons had become more blood thirsty and vicious. And the emperors had become more murderous than the last.

Vatra moved his wings slowly up then down again rising just above the trees. In the brief moment he was visible in the sky line he searched for other dragons in the distance. Slipping back down below the line of trees he sniffed a large breath of air. A human smell was faint on the wind. The pace of his heart quickened. He would be with the girl soon. Trunks of trees passed inches from his scales. He thought of Orpheus somewhere behind him.

Orpheus had been his rival since the Fireguard trials that determined which of the dragons would enter the elite service and which would be a part of the mindless warrior class and which would be servants. Orpheus would be looking for him by now. He had no doubt about that. His treachery would have been noticed when he had failed to report. His wings rose up and down again as a fresh jolt of fear made it's way up his spine. He could handle Orpheus on his own, but Orpheus would not be alone. Other dragons would be with him.

He had first sensed their presence an hour ago. They were still far behind him, but he knew they would gain quickly when he stopped after he found the girl. He hoped that they had not sensed him yet. If they hadn't it might give him precious seconds more to do what he needed. It was likely they hadn't. They were just in the range of his senses and his senses were more developed than most dragons. His muscles ached, but he kept pushing himself at the edge of his ability. If he hurried he might have enough time to convince the girl to go with him before they got to him. Risking a flap of his wings he rose briefly above the trees and glided above the tops.

Orpheus felt rage burn hot on beneath his scales.

"FORWARD!" He bellowed.

Vatra had finally done what he knew Vatra would always do. Since their youth Vatra had been a pain. Always the golden one, always the favored one. He would put an end to that now. Vatra would not be the leader of the Fireguard anymore. Vatra would not be anything anymore. He would lead the Fireguard as he always should have done. And when this was done he would throw Vatra's head at the feet of the Emperor and proclaim.

"There is your great Vatra. There is your great betrayer." He couldn't wait to shout the words as the Emperor looked at the burned eye sockets of his favored son. He flapped his long black wings feeling the blood sacrifices of a thousand humans and a hundred servant dragons running through him. Before he left Vasha had compelled him to not drink but gulp from the caldron of time. It was there deep below the foundation of the sorcerer's tower that Vasha had whispered in his ear that he, Orpheus would rule in place of the Emperor. Vatra's death would only be the beginning. Killing the girl would give him the power he needed.

On the wind in front of him he tasted the first tendrils of the essence left from Vatra's power. A fresh twinge of energy pursed through him. He did not look back for the rest of his guild as he increased his speed. They would follow or he would throw their heads along with Vatra's at the emperors feet.

Samantha cut through the air with the sword. Her father would be upset if he knew she was alone with the it in the forest. If anyone saw her she could be put to death for possessing the sword. The movements of the blade in front of her felt natural in her arms. The skills she had learned with the sword had come easy to her. She could already best her father with the wood practice swords they used. Sweat trickled down from underneath her long brown hair. Her tall body moved with grace. The slender muscles of her body tensed and relaxed with each swing of the sword.

Turning the sword downward she put the point to the ground and rested her weight on the hilt. She listened to her breath as she recounted the session. She loved the practices sessions, but part of her regretted that that's all they ever would be, practice sessions. She would never face the dragons the way her ancestors had. She would never have the knowledge of standing against one of the beasts. Her eyes studied the intricate leather wrapping over the dragon steel hilt. She knew the history of the sword. The power it had once held. Her father had taught her the forbidden histories as his father had taught him. He had also cautioned her to be careful. She could never speak of the true histories or of the birth mark on the right side of her stomach to anyone.

Just knowing the history was enough to be put to death. The real past had been erased generations ago by the ones who had betrayed their race to the dragons. The history's now taught that the dragons had won battle after battle before finally culminating in the battle of Rhinestad. The opposite was what was true. The humans led by the Dragon Slayers were on the brink of defeating the dragons. The Rhinestad would have been their last battle before they had defeated the dragons armies. Most of the dragons had already fled to Dragons Stone. Only the Emperors Guard was left to stand against the kings army.

On the eve of the battle the kings army had camped a ridge away from the entrance to the Rhinestad with only a single valley separating them from the beleaguered dragons of the Emperors Guard. When morning came the Kings Army had marched across the valley to meet the dragon lines. In the ensuing battle every human in the Kings army including every Dragon Slayer met their death. The dragons charged from the Rhinestad after the battle into the lands ruled by the king of the humans. The captain of the Emperors Guard burned the Palace of the Kings to ash in one mighty breath. The last true human King, King Armaus was killed standing in front of the palace before it was burned. With one motion of the dragon captain's head the king was lifted from the ground. With the dragons teeth closing around the king's stomach. With an up turn of the dragon's snout and opening of the cavernous mouth the dragon pulled his teeth from the dying king and swallowed him whole. But, the Kingdom of the Humans did not fall in that moment. It fell days before when the magician Balthasar met with the dragon emperor and betrayed his people.

A spell had been cast by the dragon sorcerer Alatar that took the power of the Dragon Slayers. The power that had allowed the humans to defeat the stronger dragons. Balthasar had revealed to the emperor the secret of the magic infused in the weapons blades. The power of the swords lay in the eternal fires burning deep in the core of the world. The same fires that burned hot in the chest of every dragon. Alatar found it amusing when he realized all he had to do to block the swords magic. He couldn't believe he hadn't thought of it before. He laughed a loud snorting dragon laugh when Balthasar told him. The night before the battle of the Rhinestad Alatar stood on the other side of the kings army. He cast a spell more powerful than any other he had ever cast, and it cost him greatly. He was forever weakened by it's casting. A piece of his dragon soul was cast with it to ensure it's strength. In it's making he created an invisible shield of ice around the swords so powerful that no heat from the eternal fires could escape it.

When the battle began and the last of the Emperors Guard faced the mighty Kings Army led by the Dragons Slayers. The dragons prepared themselves and instead of fearing using their dragons fire they took in a great breath of air from the valley and bellowed out as much fire as they could garner. The Dragons Slayers held out their swords as they had done many times before. When the fire reached the swords it was not repelled as it had always been before. The fire instead flowed past the swords and burned the Dragon Slayers and the soldiers of the Kings army alive.

Samantha picked the sword up and twirled it's blade in the sunlight. Her ancient Dragon Slayer ancestor had named the sword Draco Ignem, Dragons Fire. She tilted the blade in front of her from side to side to reflect the light. She wondered at the power it once held. The swords did not only repel the fire of the dragons. They bestowed immense power on the wielder. Her father had said that one swipe of the mighty swords in the Dragon Slayers hands had been powerful enough to cut even the largest dragons head from it's neck. She drew the sword down by her right side and swooped it up again in a wide arching motion imagining the sword's gleaming blade passing through the neck of a dragon.

At the end of the blades arch she froze. Her breath caught in her throat. A new smell floated on the wind below her nose. A smell she had not come across before but on instinct knew what was. A dragon was on the wind. A branch somewhere in the woods broke. She twirled bringing up the sword at the same time. Her eyes focused on the place in the tree line where the sound had emanated. Every muscle in her lean body tensed. Inside her a resolve was born. She would not let this dragon pass. She knew what a dragon being here meant. A dragon meant death.

Sweat beaded on her forehead. Slowly, quietly she began taking steps backward not taking her eyes from the trees. She needed to warn her family. They had lived in secret for generations in the woods of the Greenshire hiding from both dragons and her own kind. After the first war all families of Dragon Slayers had been ordered to be put to death. Only a few had escaped from the kings cities to flee into the many forests that separated the Cliffstones from Dragon lands.

Vatra cursed himself. He had known his scent would alarm the girl, but he had hoped to be closer when that happened. The branch catching and breaking in the sail of his middle wing had lost him any chance of that happening. With a flap of his large wings he rose above the trees. To his surprise the girl stopped taking steps backward when she saw him. He had expected her to turn and run.

A gleam of sunlight on Vasparian steel caught his eye and he turned his focus on the sword. There were Dragon Slayer swords incased in petrified fire in the Dragons Keep but he had never seen one in a human's hand. With a thud that shook the ground he landed sending a cloud of dust rising into the air.

When the dragon rose out of the trees Samantha thought her heart was going to burst from fright. Standing frozen she slowly took in the dragon's massive heaving chest watching as the red scales covering the space between two tree trunks that were supposed to be legs expanded and contracted with each breath. Her eyes moved up to look at the dragon's long snout and she instantly wished she hadn't. The dragon could swallow ten of her in one gulp. Her vision focused on a drop of moisture clinging to the tip of one of the dragons giant teeth. Even at the distance she was from the dragon she could feel the heat of it's breath. The smell overwhelmed her. It was a smoldering burning charcoal smell that left a taste of ash in her mouth.

She brought the sword up in front of her. Her fingers flexed around the hilt. The leather felt reassuring under the skin of her palms. Beads of sweat broke fresh from her pours. She wanted to run. Her body was telling her to run. But she knew she had to stay. If she ran she would lead the dragon to her family. Maybe if she stood long enough against the dragon she would give them time enough to run. They had to know the dragon was here. The vibration that shook the earth when it landed had to have registered in the farm house where her mother, her father, her sister who was barely three, and her grandmother where. She felt a choke in her throat. Her knees felt weak. In that moment she knew she was not going to see any of them again.

Her focus went back to the dragon. She watched in horror as the dragon raised one clawed foot into the air and began advancing toward her. She braced herself for the battle that was now coming. Struggling against her fear she strained to keep her voice steady as she called out to the approaching dragon.

"Stand Back Beast! Fly back from whence you came. I am Dragon Slayer born. You will not pass the blade of my sword." The dragon stopped advancing and raised to it's full height. The pit of her stomach dropped. The dragon was over twenty feet tall. Forcing herself she stepped forward to face what was going to come.

"Relax, girl. I have not come to be slain by your sword." The wind from the thundering voice of the dragon bellowed through her long brown hair blowing it back from her slender shoulders. "I am not here for harm, girl. I am here for you. I can not explain all, but you must trust that my purpose is good. You must trust that the fates have destined we go." The dragon glared down at her. "You must go with me, girl. We do not have much time. More dragons are coming. Dragons that do mean you harm. Your sword does not hold the magic it once did. It will not slay them."

"My family is here. I will not leave them. Now go or make your fight dragon!" She moved forward toward the dragon drawing the sword back as she went. A strange heat began to radiate from the sword. She could feel it seeping into her. Tendrils of power from the sword began to pulse inside her. The blade in front of her glowed amber then orange. At first the energy coming from the sword felt strange and she instinctively pushed back against it but as she came closer to the dragon she put down her defenses and allowed the power of the sword to wash over her.

"Stop, Girl!" She kept moving forward determined not to let this dragon do away with her quickly. She would strike first. Pulling the sword back behind her shoulder she prepared to open the dragons heaving chest with one pass of the swords Vasparian steel blade. Still ten feet from the red scales of the dragon's chest she froze in her tracks. The dragon had done something she had not expected. In one flash of speed the dragon had brought it's massive snout down in front of her so that she was staring right into it's cavernous nostrils. Hot wind nearly knocked her over when the dragon's mouth opened and it's bellowing voice came out.

"I am not here to hurt you girl. I am here to save you. You are the child that has been prophesied for a thousand years. The child who will bear the Dragon Slayer sword. The child who will bring an end to the reign of dragons. Is that not a Slayers sword in your hands?" Samantha did not answer the giant dragon. "If you want to live. If you want to save your family, your home, you will come with me now." She still did not speak only backed away centering the blade of the sword between herself and the dragon. "You have to trust me, girl. We have no time left. Other dragons are coming. If we are not gone they will kill you. They will kill me. They will lay waste to everything that is here. Your family will be burned alive." Finding her resolve she looked up focusing her gaze into the center of the dragon's black diamond shaped pupils and spoke.

"I will not leave my family. I must save them." The dragon drew so close that the scales between it's nostrils were touching the blade of the sword.

"That is why we must go. That is your families only chance. If you leave with me the dragon's will fly over this place in chase. If you stay they will lay ruin to this place." For the first time Samantha considered leaving. She started to speak when the words caught in the back of her throat. Fire erupted in the sky behind the dragon racing down from the clouds to the forest line erupting it with fire. She saw two more dragons then three gliding across the sky. The dragon over turned one of it's clawed feet and laid it on the ground. "Quickly, girl we must go now." Instead of answering she turned around in a slow circle. All she could see in any direction was fire. Coming all the way back around to face the dragon she could only manage two words.

"My family." A tear made it's way from the bottom of her eye.

"You will have to hope they are still alive. If you want any hope for them to stay that way you will come with me now." From the sky above them came another booming voice shouting only a single word.

"VATRA!" Samantha felt fear run all the way down her. In her hands she felt the sword glow hot again.

"Come now, girl we have to go." She looked up at the dragon resigning herself to the fact that she no longer had a choice and asked the only question left to her.

"How will I stay on?"

"My magic will hold you to me." Looking back once more at the wall of fire where her home had stood she stepped forward onto the dragon's foot and held onto one of the curved black claws. More tears made their way down her cheeks as she felt the dragon lifting her. She sheathed the sword at her side. At the top she pulled herself onto the dragon's back and straddled her legs on either side of the dragon's raised back bone.

When Vatra felt the girl finally in place he wrapped his magic around her. Lowering his belly to the earthen soil he tensed all his muscles at once then shot straight up into the air. His body rose in a vertical line from the end of his snout to the tip of his tail. Wind raced around him. Orpheus was the dragon he had to worry about. He could out pace the other dragons Mansa, Orthon, and Tomias easily.

Where are you going, Vatra? Orpheus's thought invaded the corners of his mind. He ignored it and thought only of speed. What he needed was just above him. He could sense Orpheus below him. The dragon was coming up fast, too fast. Orpheus must have partaken of the blood from the Caldron of Time. The clouds were too far above him. He would not reach them before Orpheus would bathe him in fire. He flapped his wings with every once of power he possessed. He only had to make the clouds before. His thoughts cut off abruptly. He could sense Orpheus building fire in his throat. He had mere seconds before the fire would cover him. He might be strong enough to fly out alive but the girl would be burned to ash. His eyes focused on the clouds just out of reach. He had to do something or the girl would die.

He broke his vertical flight tucking his wings in close to his body he glided down and to the right. Fire from Orpheus enveloped the sky. He felt it's heat singe the tip of his long tail as he moved just out of it's breath. Then flapping his wings he surged back up. Orpheus would still be behind him but it would take him several breaths before he could breathe fire again.

Reaching the clouds he disappeared inside. Lost in the cumulus mist he leveled off and turned north. Working in his mind to conjure magic that would shield him and the girl from Orpheus's senses he flew on. They were free for the moment. Orpheus would not know where he was going, no dragon would. They would be safe there long enough for the girl to grow and train. But, safety would not last forever. Every dragon in the known lands would be looking for them. Rising above the clouds he looked around for any signs of the chasing dragons and then disappeared back down. With his magic he put the girl to sleep. She needed rest. They were at the beginning of a very long journey.

The End


About the Creator

The Invisible Writer

"Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words."

~Mark Twain

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