Part 86: Duality

11 to Burning Sun, Goloris, 34 days remaining

The dragon was not reasonable. Not even slightly. What a shame! Here’s how it went down.

We arrived at the top of the volcano, in the caldera. It’s quite hot up here right now, though I don’t expect the volcano is going to be blowing its top anytime soon. There is a little bit of land for us to walk on, all encompassing a pit of lava down below. Perhaps the dragon was in the lava right now and would be coming out soon? We were not entirely certain of it. To be prepared, Actaeon tied a rope around one of his javelins and hurled it across the pit. Should any of us fall in, we can try to cling to that and avoid an overly warm bath.

There was a tortle up here. His name is Agniya and he’s not as… silly as the rest of the tortles in Ahoyhoy. Rather, he’s quite wise and is actually one of the shamans here on Shell Island. According to him, a tribute was recently given to the dragon here – something that should not have been given. Agniya was searching through the dragon’s still-meager hoard to find the trinket when we heard a roar in the clouds and smoke above us. The dragon was coming!

It was almost funny how Agniya approached us with helping him. See, he hadn’t intended on fighting any dragons today. Agniya simply wanted to sneak into the caldera and take the trinket back with him, hopefully going entirely unnoticed. Our arrival ruined that as we had been causing enough noise (I blame the ancient elevator). When we heard the dragon coming, he asked us if we were capable in a fight. Obviously, that’s a yes, hehehe. Then he asked us if we ever had the misfortune of fighting a dragon before. That was a yes, too, which I think surprised him greatly. In fact, we have quite a lot of experience fighting dragons.

The dragon appeared above us and roared again. The roar echoed in the caldera, but not because of the tight space. This dragon had two heads! The dragon was split down the center, with one half covered in bronze scales and the other in brass scales. Each head screeched at seeing us, and the heads bellowed: “Uninvited guests, you’ve entered the throne of the king of dragons. Kneel and die!”

Clio very quickly put a speed spell on Shadow and let him start firing arrows. The dragon was hard to hit, though, as it appeared to be magically shifting around to evade us. I used the golden staff from The Golden Heart to give Rendu, Actaeon, and I a little blessing. Briar and the dragons stayed in the back to cast protective spells on us as necessary, casting an enlarging spell on Actaeon. Gigactaeon, as we called him, charged at the dragon, swinging his weapons wildly. Torag attempted to jump onto the dragon. Well, actually, he succeeded. He was on the dragon. But the dragon saw that we very quickly were swarming it, and it tried to evade by transforming into a shimmer of lightning and fire. Torag fell into the pit but nimbly caught the rope Actaeon had put there earlier.

Lightning and fire followed as each head began to target us individually. I got shocked so bad that my hair is still standing up on ends! It might take some pretty serious hair styling to get it back down, and I’m afraid I took the brunt of the attacks. Rendu stood by me and protected me with his shield the whole time while each of us fired out blasts of radiant light as often as we could.

Torag attempted to jump onto the dragon, and it once again transformed into lightning mist to evade him. Our minotaur brother was honestly quite bothered by this and began to fume. “Come at me, dragon!” he bellowed, goading the heads. But before the dragon could react, Actaeon and Clio did a really neat combo attack. Clio warped Actaeon high into the air and he fell down – spear first – onto the dragon’s back. The dragon tried to reach its heads to bite him, but not before Actaeon transformed himself into a large (read: heavy) triceratops instead.

We heard a cracking noise. Either the heavy Actaeon popped the dragon’s back – kind of like how Actaeon popped my back once and I could breathe better – or Actaeon, with his much heavier form, managed to crack a few of the dragon’s ribs. Either way, it howled and foamed at the mouth, furious. It flapped its wings to heave Triceractaeon off before flying away and aiming some deadly fire and lightning breath.

I’ve seen this so many times. The haughtiness, the pride, the confidence that our enemies display. That wicked behir, Gaius and Lachesis, Chondrus, and so many more. Even those of lower status who fight us have that same light in their eyes. They see themselves as invincible, as the heroes of their own stories. And I’ve watched that fury in their eyes turn to panic. It’s sad to see, honestly. In a way, I pity our enemies when I see that happen. When the lowly soldiers of the League of Storms learn that their beloved titan will not save them. When Gaius watched his dragon Lachesis succumb to her injuries, when they all see the tides turn against them. Their demeanor changes. Haughtiness becomes fear. Pride becomes shame. Confidence becomes skepticism. A look of desperation comes to their eyes, replacing that light.

The dragon, desperate, tried to breathe its fire and lightning on us. Effective as it was, it was never going to be enough. This king of dragons was reduced to nothing more than another obstacle in the way of peace and life for the Emerald Isles. Maybe if the dragon was wise, it would have seen how allying itself with us would have been for its benefit. Now, nothing remains. Despite our injuries, we won. Clio cast the final strike against it by teleporting herself high in the air and slamming down like a wine-red bolt of lightning directly onto its back. The dragon cried, miserable and frightened, before succumbing to its wounds.

Our clothes are singed, our injuries are terrible, but we will press on. Another obstacle has been removed. The titans cannot win against us. They’ve thrown dragon after dragon after dragon against us, each more powerful than the last. And each time, we emerged victorious, again and again and again. But lest we become boastful, I’m saying a lot of thank-you’s to Kiora and the Morninglord tonight!

While Briar patched us all up, we asked Agniya what he was looking for in the small hoard. He had the trinket he was looking for, a small charm with sigils on it. As we searched through the hoard and took what we could, we began heading back to Ahoyhoy. Agniya was quite impressed with our skills and we asked if he would want to come with us on our journey. Our plans for war intrigued him and he agreed to leave instructions for the other tortles to build ships and come to Ellandyr’s aid.

Ellandyr gains a new ally today with the tortles joining in her defense. And the titans lost an ally today, a fearsome two-headed dragon. That could have caused a lot of havoc in the city. But now, a few more lives may be spared in the upcoming war. We’ll keep doing whatever we can to save them all. At least, that’s what I’m praying for.

But goodness gracious, I need a drink!