10. The Red Lord

AN: Read at your own risk! Might include bad language or disturbing images. The 10th and last story of the 10 small stories. You can find the rest at my blog. Enjoy and comment!

The Red Lord looked the destroyed place through his visor. The rough mountains had been turned into a red waste, as red as the blood of his thousand enemies that he had slain. He wondered whether the soil will obtain its original color someday in the future. He doubted that day would come soon enough, it never rained more than three times a year on this part of the mountains, transfiguring the landscape into sole rocks and further below into a dessert that was stretching for thousands of miles. The mists of the mountain tops, where his home was located, would transform into life giving rain that would grace with its presence the other side of the mountain.

A thunderous noise alerted him of his partner’s arrival. At last, thought the Red Lord gloomily. The huge dark dragon was gone for far too long after the battle. He was sure that he was feasting on the flesh of their foes and friends alike, with no discrimination. His best friend was a beast, literally. The Red Lord had him since he was only a tiny small egg that could fit perfectly on the inside of his ear, and he was not a Red Lord but a nameless child of five. Soon afterward after many days of care and protecting it from becoming part of his father’s scrambled eggs, the dragon had finally hatched. At first, he was no longer than his middle finger, with black leather wings and dark purple veins. The scales would sparkle on the light. Fast, but not as fast as he would like, his dragon grew in size and strength. His appetite grew in correlation, too. He was so growing ever day more and more hungry and nothing could really satisfy its hunger, up until he ate his father alive. Not that the boy had felt sorry to lose his abusive father.

Twenty years later, the Dark Dragon was still devouring men, even though he liked to roast them first. The thunderous noises produced by its flapping of the wings, approached steadily but relatively slow. His dragon was growing old and heavy, but the Red Lord could do nothing about it. Soon, it would come the time for both of them to retire and find a hoard of gold to sit upon and each of them a beautiful wife to produce some loud offsprings. But not yet. First they had to confront the Gem Lord. As soon as the Dark Dragon landed next to him, he hoped onto his saddled back.

“Come on, my boy, it is time for us to hit the skied again. Let’s go and drink our last enemy’s blood.” the only answer that he got was a loud roar that cracked some rocks nearby. He let himself observe for a while their tumble downwards; they crashed with each other braking into smaller pieces and sometimes more blood stained rocks followed their path downwards.

After a while he kicked the dragon’s sides and flew off in the air. If anyone could see him at that moment, he would think that death had acquired flesh, bones and wings. His long red cape was blowing behind him, as did his silvery, long blond hair. He wore chainmail, boots and gloves as black as his beast’s leather wings; his helmet in the shape of his dragon’s face was black as well. Even his sword had a black glamour on it. They flew towards the east, over the green land, full of small orchards, flowers and busy bees. The Dark Dragon would flap his wings leisurely to navigate through the air currents. Twice he chased a flock of birds and once he ate an eagle; no beast could withstand a dragon. The Red Lord let him to his sport; they were in no hurry.

When the sun was setting, they reached their destination. They landed in the middle of a pavilion full of primroses, daises and other wildflowers. The colors were vivid here, they sang of merry work and the smells in the air whispered of lovemaking. The two of them in their black and red colors were out of place. Everything was so merry here that made him to want to fly away. He hated that part of the mountains. But now, they had to stay and confront the huge dragon in the middle of the pavilion.

The dragon was a blazing gold color that the sun rays only made it more dashing. The dragon was older than his own and thus larger and stronger, but also heavier and slower, less agile. He couldn’t see its dragonrider, but the Gem Lord was near, he could almost feel his golden rings rattle against the breastplate decorated with fine gems. He dismounded and approached the dragon. The dragon tried to snap at him and Dark Dragon roared protectively. His foe immediately subsided, he was seriously injured and couldn’t go up against the much younger and healthier dragon.

The Red Lord walked around the dragon keeping a fair distance, looking for his enemy. He spotted the Gem Lord under the dragon’s golden wing. He drew his sword.

“Hello, again” he called to him.

“You, again” said wearily the other rider. He was exhausted, pain and grief was marked on his face. “What do you want? It isn’t enough for you that you spilled the blood of my friends? That your beast caused so much pain to my dragon with its ugly nails?”

“No. You know what I want, you know why I am here” he replied steadily. He stopped some meters away from him, the tip of his sword aiming his breast.

The Gem Lord didn’t answer. He was focused to his bleeding dragon. Finally, after a long time during which both his enemies became restless, he answered. “All those dead, massacred dead and for what?” he said in a voice that he could barely listen to, “Are you sure it is worth your time? Because I am not sure anymore”.

“Yes” he said sure of himself.

“Do you know how old am I, boy?” asked the other rider. He had turned now and he was facing him. His arms were soaked in blood up to its elbow; blood was on his face, where earlier the Dark Lord had sliced him with his sword.

“I don’t know, old” he shrugged his shoulders.

“I am five hundred years old, and that beast over there” he patted his dragon gently on its wing “is a few years younger. During all those years I managed to win every single claimant, apart from you, Red Lord” he pouted his lips. “You have something in you… something dark and twisted, blood is in your future, and I can see it”.

“I don’t care about your ramblings, old man” he answered hotly. He was getting tired of him, he wanted the gem, and he wanted it now. “Just give me the Source, or…”

“Or what?” snapped the older rider, it was he turn to be angry now. “Will you hunt me down for the rest of my life? Will you rob me of my wealth, lands and daughter? You already did that, you have already spoiled my beautiful daughter. Will you kill my minions? You spilled every gallon of their blood back there. Will you kill me?” he laughed bitterly.

“I’ll kill your dragon” that made the other man stop laughing and watching carefully. “Or, you can give me the source and I will be gone, and you and your dragon will live the rest of your life in peace. You won’t be challenged again; by me at least”.

The Gem Lord looked him steadily. His eyes were the same gold shade as his dragon’s scales, as his daughter’s eyes. His lips turned into a thin line, his whole body tensed as he made his decision. Speechless he reached into his breastplate and drew out a small gem. It was gold in color, as gold as his eyes. It looked like it was made out of gold, with beautiful patterns on its surface. The other Lord reluctantly gave him the Source.

When he picked it up, he felt it heavier than it looked. A sudden energy run through him, reaching every single cell of his body, making his heart beat faster, his eyes see clearer, his ears hear better. And then he felt it, again and again and again. Pump, pump, pump. A small irregular thunder inside his heart was beating next to his own. He had two hearts now. He looked the gem into his hand, it had changed. It was small, still, but now it was dark red, like a ruby and its surface was rough, like it was made out of a thousand cutting knives. Slowly, it fainted and disappeared, all the while the thunder next to his heart had turned slow, strong and steady, fueling a new force inside him, the force of the Thousand Dragons’ Lives. Dark Dragon roared happily behind him.

“And, so it is done” the Gem Lord looked somehow diminished, tired, less vivid. He was like he had lost his color, his blood, his life. “The previous Keeper of the Source told me that the shape it took before settling beside your heart reveals something about you and something about your future. He was happy when he entrusted it to me, it was prettier than his or than his predecessor’s shape. Bountiful and happy will be your life; others will live through your life, too. You will bring sunshine into the world and I can rest in peace. Those were his words”.

The last rays of the sunlight faded away. Twilight was upon them, his favorite hour of the day when all the shadows and the foul creatures could lurk on the earth alike. He wondered what his shape meant. Blood and death. What else? Had it ever been anything else? He cast a last look into the other man’s eyes. The sorrow in them confirmed his suspicions.

The younger man said nothing; he turned around and climbed onto the back on his dragon. They flew away into the twilight. He didn’t care of his ominous future; of the Blood and Death within it; after all, he was not named the Red Lord without reason0

AN: I hope you have enjoyed reading this very random collection of stories. I was not always at the same mood when I wrote them, it took me almost 2 years to finish them. Please comment and thank you!  😀

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