Insanity

by Blake

A man called Blake leaned on the bar and glanced around the tavern. There wasn't anything about this place to separate it from any other tavern hes been in. He figues hes been in just about every tavern around. Even though he hadn't been a dragonmaster for over a thousand years (had it really been that long?) he still liked to travel. Espesially lately... Althena, in her infinite wisdom, decided to seal up a tribe of creatures calling themselves the Vile Tribe in his land. Her light had also been taken away... reducing the frontier to a desert. He didn't agree completely with Althenas decision, figuring that innocent people were suffering needlessly... but who is he to question the goddess? A few other important things had happened even more recently. Some demi-god or something had threatened the land. A group of young people had come to him and to one of them he had given his armor... what was his name again? Dyin? Well, something like that. A few weeks later he and his friends had managed to defeat the demi-god. The Dyin fellow had brought back the armor to him, saying he hoped that it wasn't needed anymore... in fact... this was the first time he had managed to get out of his cave in a few years. It was nice to be out and about again... nice to be human.

SMACK!

"No means no!"

Blake was distracted from his reminiscing as someone went flying by him. He turned to see a woman standing and looking aggrivated.

"Next time listen when a lady talks to you buddy..."

Blake smirked slighty, she had spirit... and she was beautiful. He stepped over the unconscious guy who can't take no for an answer and bowed to the lady.

"Greetings, I am called Blake."

He bowed to her, throwing his cloak aside. She turned to look at him.

"Great... another one... nice tail."

Blake looked up at her and smiled.

@ @ @

A few hours later they were still together talking. It turns out her name is Anna and she is from a town called Saith. She has an adventuring spirit and has been travelling around exploring for the past two years. Blake laughed as he told her he liked to travel also... and had been doing it for a little while longer. Blake felt comfortable with her... he felt like he hadn't since... no, it was best not to think of her now, that was over a long time ago.

"You know Anna... maybe we could travel together for a little while, I haven't had a travelling compainion in... well it seems like centuries."

Anna looked over at him with a small smile.

"I would like that Blake... your differant than all the other men I've met."

"You don't know the half of it."

@ @ @

They were still together the following week... and the next month... and the next three after that. The more time they spend together the closer they got. Blakes skill with the sword and magic kept they both safe, and Anna swung a mean whip herself. Together they explored the sewers to Merbia, they stood atop Vane and survayed looks out over the land, and they cuddled together for warmth in the ice north of Burg. Each day that passed brought them closer. Finally Blake thought it was time to tell her something... in fact two things. But last time he told someone... he lost her... he didn't think he could survive that sort of rejection again.

"Blake... somethings wrong... I can tell."

"Anna... I've been thinking... I have to tell you something."

Anna looked hopeful. Blake took her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes.

"Anna... I love you... no wait..." he put his hand over her mouth "don't say anything yet... stay here."

Anna looked confused but stayed and watched him as he walked away from her.

He turned and made a few gestures, suddenly Anna was looking up at a large black dragon.

"Anna" he said "I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner... but I was afraid... I told someone before and she left me. Anna I am the black dragon."

Anna just stood there. Blake sighed and lowered his head, it didn't seem to be going well. Anna let out a cry and ran forward, throwing her arms as far around his head as they would go.

"Oh Blake, I don't care WHAT you are, its WHO you are that I care about... that I love..."

Blake was suddenly embracing her. He took her chin and tilted her head up.

He leaned down and they kissed.

@ @ @

Anna didn't let the fact that he was a dragon get between them. In fact, they rejoiced in it. Blake would turn into a dragon and let Anna ride on his back. They would fly over the land and plan thier travels out. Anna said that she wanted to explore the frontier, that they were running out of places to go. Blake warned her about how dangerous it is, but she was adamant. Finally Blake promised he would show the whole world to her, he would do anything for her. But first things first, there were still places to go first. Their journey brought them to the village of Pao. From a young boy they learned about a cave nearby that everyone was forbidden to enter. It was just the kind of challange they both enjoyed. They took off for the cave the next day.

@ @ @

They had been in the cave for an hour. They had run into lots of monsters, but had managed to take care of them. Until...

"More of these floating skin things..."

"You know love..." Anna knocked one of the things right in a face with her whip "this is getting monotonous."

Blake slashed through another, dead skin feel to the floor of the cave. Blake turned to answer, but was distracted as a few skeletons holding swords turned the corner.

"Anna, we should get out of here."

"Maybe your right."

"We just need to get though these things."

Blake stepped forward to take on one of the undead warriors. He made short work of it and looked to see how Anna was doing. The other creature lay on the ground, but Anna was holding her arm.

"Are you alright?" he asked, worried.

"Oh sure... just a scratch... lets go."

They made it out of the cave without too much trouble. They stayed the night at Pao and discussed what they would do next.

@ @ @

The next day Blake awoke and looked over at Anna. Her brow was covered whith sweat and she seemed to be in pain.

"Anna?"

Anna didn't answer. Worried Blake ran to get the village elder. He came immidiatly and looked her over... his expression was grim.

"I have read about this... did you go to the cave?"

"Yes... we were there yesterday."

He shook his head "Then I'm afraid theres nothing I can do. This is a plauge that once threatened our people... I'm afriad there is no cure."

Blake grabbed him. "There has to be!"

"I'm sorry... I can only make her end more comfortable."

"No, I refuse to believe it."

Blake gently picked Anna up.

"You will only make her end more painful..."

"Get out of my way," Blake said in a dangerous voice.

"Fine, have it your way."

@ @ @

The elder watched the stranger carry the poor woman out of Pao. A boy walked up to him.

"Whats wrong with her?"

"Oh, hello Tempest... I'm afraid shes very sick."

"Will she get better?"

He shook his head sadly. Tempest watched the two walk out of sight and felt sorry for the poor lady.

@ @ @

The black dragon landed outside of Althenas temple. Cradeling Anna in his talons. He reverted to his human form and gently carried Anna inside.

"Someone help me... please."

The head priestess hurried forward and looked over Anna.

"Lie her in front of the statue of Althena."

The priestess worked over Anna for a few hours, but Anna only continued to get worse. Finally she approached Blake.

"Theres nothing we can do... I'm sorry."

Blake clenched his fist. "I know someone who can help."

@ @ @

The dragon landed in front of Althenas tower and gently laid her on the ground. He raised his head to the top.

"Althena! Mistress, you must help me please..."

He waited, but the goddess didn't appear.

"My lady, you are the only one that can help me."

"Blake..." Anna said weakly.

Blake resumed his human form and kneeled by her.

"Blake... don't feel bad... you tried... your best."

"Anna... please... I need you... don't leave me."

Anna coughed a few times.

"I'm sorry... my love... I wanted... to see the world... with you..."

"Anna..."

"I love you."

"I love you too Anna... Anna...? ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNA!"

@ @ @

He buried her behind the tower and walked around to the front of the tower and looked up.

"Althena... I have been your loyal servant for thousands of years... and I never needed anything from you. But the one time I needed your help, you turned your back on me. If that is what you wish, fine then. I'm turning my back on you! This world has done nothing but take from me my whole life! Its time I take back! Fairwell... forever."

The man named Blake died at that point, all that was left was a dragon. A dragon filled with grief and rage. Rage at himself, at the world, at Althena. With a roar he threw himself into the air.

The dragon alighted on a mountaintop near the entrance to the frontier. He looked out over his land, emotions running through him and blinding speed. He lifted his head to the sky and let out a roar, releasing control of his Earth magic. Land for miles around shook with the release. Houses collapsed, trees feel, streams were diverted. With a loud cracking sound the land near Pao was ripped, a large canyon forming. He looked over the destruction he had caused and laughed. It felt good. This world has destroyed everything he loved... isn't it only right he destroyed the land in responce? He continued to laugh, yes... it would all be gone.

The dragon continued to ravage the frontier, picking targets at random. Here he would destroy a small forest that had managed to start growing, bathing the area with acid from his breath weapon, the trees dying and the land soaking up the acid so that nothing else would grow. There he would knock down a barn, simply with the force of his mighty wingbeats as he passed. A few towns were completey destroyed. He didn't even think about the lives he was taking, he wasn't capable of that type of thought anymore. The frontier, a land made miserable by the lack of Althenas light and the precence of the Vile Tribe was made into a time bomb. Where would he strike next? Would I suvive this day? The other dragons took notice.

The blue dragon banked slightly to the right, searching the frontier. She didn't know what had happened to her brother, but she couldn't allow this senseless destruction to continue. She just wanted to talk to him, perhaps a friendly voice could snap him out of whatever spell he was under. There, below... she saw him chasing a flock of sheep. It seemed his targets truly were at random. He seemed to attacked whatever he happen to feel like, with no rhyme or reason. She landed behind him. The black whirled with a hiss and she gasped at the look in his eyes... he seemed to be... gone.

"Well sister, has Althena sent you to stop me?"

"No... I just wanted to talk."

"I do not want to talk, go away."

"Please, I want to help you..."

"Help me? Help me!?! No one can help me! That time has passed!"

"What can I do?"

"You can give THIS to Althena!"

The dragon's eyes seemed to glow red and he threw himself apon her, knocking her down. He lowered his head and sank his considerable fangs into her throat. The felt the shock of the pain all through her. She lie under him, but did not struggle. She couldn't hurt another dragon... her own brother. Not even if it meant...

"Please... brother..."

He didn't answer, his teeth bit deeper into her flesh. She felt her strength fading, but all she felt was an immense sadness. For herself and for her brother. What had driven him to this? She wished that she had been able to help him...

"I'm.... sorry..."

The words hit something in him... he paused and looked down at her. She let out a breath, blood draining from the large gash in her neck.

"I'm... sorry... I couldn't help..."

With that her head fell limply to the ground. Dragon had killed dragon.

"What have I done..."

A piece of him felt horror, but it was quickly drowned by the insanity that had consumed him. THIS would show Althena! Lets see her ignore him anymore! The dragon turned and walked away from the large blue corpse. Inside of him, a part of him cried... but he didn't listen to it.

@ @ @

A few days later the red dragon came to him. She was angry at him for what he had done. She didn't want to, but she would fight him to avenge the deaths he had caused, to end it. She tried to talk to the black one, but it had less effect than the blues attempt. When he attacked her, she fought back. Their battle lasted for hours. Fire burned black fur, acid ate away at red, talons and teeth dripped with blood. Both had hurt each other. They fought on the land and in the air. But the battle had to end, and only one of the creatures would survive it.

The red dragon looked around, her wings beating. She had lost him somewhere, he had to be around somewhere... suddenly she was his from behind, she felt talons sink into her back. She turned to see the black attached to her, both dragons plummeted towards the ground, interlocked. She released a burst of flame directly into his face, he didn't seem to feel it.

"So long dear sister," said a voice that chilled her.

The black raised one of his claws and sliced into her back, causing her to cry out on pain. Then he let her go. The ground continued to come towards her. She tried to extend her wings and pain filled her right side. He had damaged the muscles to her right wing... it was useless. She tried to slow her decent with her left but she knew it was useless. Shutting her eyes she said a small prayer to Althena. The red dragon impacted against the side of a mountain with a force that shook the land. The black dragon looked down on his handywork. The small part of him that still rebelled was almost completely gone now.

@ @ @

Two men stood before the cave entrance. It had been a long journey, but they had finally reached thier goal. However, the hardest part was still to come. One of the men wore a blue robe and held a staff in his hand. He turned towards his companion, who was staring at the cave entrance.

"Ready Dyne?"

Dyne turned to look at his long-time friend.

"Ghaleon... Althena ordered me to do this, you don't have to..."

"I am in this to the end with you, you know that."

Dyne smiled.

"Yes... I thought so... thank you."

"I still think we should have retrieved the other dragon equipment first."

"Theres no time, every day that passes more lives are lost to the creature, I will have to made do with what I have."

"As you wish, my friend."

Together they entered the cave.

@ @ @

They had traveled far, thier skills more than equal to the creatures protecting the place. Finally they reached a large room, half of it lost in shadows. Dyne turned to Ghaleon.

"Do you think this is the dragons lair?"

"Indeed it is," a deep voice boomed from the side.

They both turned to see two red points shining in the darkness. A wave of acid came towards them. Ghaleon held his staff in front of himself and spoke a few quick words. The acid seemed to split and go around himself and Dyne as it reached the shield he had erected.

"Not bad... tell me humans, why are you so anxious to die?"

"Dragon, I am Dragonmaster Dyne, Althena has ordered me to put a stop to your madness."

"Dragonmaster?" bitter laughter "I remember you now, I'm afraid I'm not giving you my armor again."

"Armor or no... I have my mission."

"Yes, 'your mission', Althena doesn't have time to help me but she sure seems to have time to order my death."

Dyne could hear the insnity in the dragons voice... insanity and pain. Ghaleon closed his eyes and began a spell. Dyne glanced at his friend and thought about the dragon's words. Was this really the cause of it all? He thought that Althena had abandonded him? Althena had assumed human form, that is why she had not been there. He had promised not to reveal that to anyone, even his friend Ghaleon, so he had made the story that Althena ordered him to stop the black dragon. In truth, he was doing it of his own accord, he couldn't stand by and watch people suffer. Dyne was returned to the present by a quick motion. A long tail whipped out of the darkness, almost carelessly flicking Ghaleon into a wall, his staff fell to the ground and the spell he had been working on shattered.

"Keep you magic to yourself, mage."

All this... because of a misunderstanding? No, it had to be more than that.

"Dragon... why have you done this?"

The voice continued to come from the darkness, the creatures eyes the only thing that could be seen, glowing menevolently.

"This world has taken everything I love from me... more than once, and Althena did not lift a finger to help. I was her servant , and what does that get me? Nothing but pain."

Ghaleon returned to Dynes side, having retreived his staff. He was holding his side but he seemed alright, Dyne turned back to the eyes.

"So dragonmaster, are you truly going to end my pain once and for all?"

"I must... for the sake of the planet."

"Then... behold your deaths."

A large taloned claw came from the darkness, followed by another, the cave shaking with each step. The dragons head came into view, still scarred from his battle with the red dragon. He looked down at them, acid dripping to the floor and making small hissing sounds as it hit. The dragon spoke again, for the first time without the edge of insanity, but instead with infinite sadness.

"Come then... let us end this."

Dyne drew his sword and turned to Ghaleon. Ghaleon nodded to him. Dyne reached out and they clasped their hands for a moment.

"Together."

"Until the end."

Dyne and Ghaleon, dragonmaster and wizard, turned to face the black dragon. This was going to be the toughest battle either of them had ever faced. But for the sake of Lunar... there could be only one outcome.

Back to the Library of Vane.

Back to the Shrine to Ghaleon.