Blood and Bane – Chapter One

“The Old Codes and Dragon Laws, written and sealed within the Book of Days, shall be appropriate to the mountain Dragons as well as the Otherkin who reside in the Realms of Arydd. From this day forward, The Book of Days, shall be upheld, adhered to and honored. Forged in fire and the essence of the land, at the very beginning of Dragonkind, the Book of Days shall be respected as a sacred entity, as the lands in the Realms of Arydd are held sacred.”

– Articles of Integration, Book of Days The Old Codes and Laws of Dragonkind, translated to Old Common 2935 AX


Chapter 1 – Defiance

They knew better than to defy one Dragon, let alone the three Elders of the Realms, who now stood in their path. Yet that didn’t stop them from trying…

The old, slender man standing alongside the Sovereign Mountain Dragons stepped forward and gazed upon them with crystal blue eyes. “Then let us part in peace,” he said with a curt bow. He tapped his long, gnarled staff on the ground and straightened the braid on his long, silver beard draped below an upturned mouth, like the cord of a curtain.

The king jutted his long chin and sniffed. He waved his hands in the air, which appeared to imitate a bird flapping in the gentle breeze. What is that supposed to mean? “Yes we will go, but I swear, someday, we shall return. We colonized Arydd’liss. It was…is…our right to rule here.”

The Dragon with a worn face and wilted scales snorted and dipped his head to a human’s eye level. He cocked his brow. His amber eyes faded into a deep orange and his tongue clucked deep within his jaw. When he spoke, his voice sounded like the echoes of a dozen wise old men with the softness of a father who speaks to a child.

“Do not be so quick to dismiss your baneful acts, King Boldinar. Yes, you colonized Arydd’liss, with our blessings, but you were also warned. To take the life-energy from Her for acts of selfish bending violates the highest Dragon Codes in the Book of Days,” Kalvedorix rumbled.

The king lowered his head and snarled, “Do not compare us to your race. It is not for you to decide how we live our lives, Kalvedorix. We, too, must survive. Dragon laws and ancient codes do not apply to humans. Our magic, or bending, as you call it, serves our way of life. It has been so for many generations. According to our customs and beliefs, the land, the female, is secondary to men. She lies at our feet and does our bidding.”

Kalvedorix’s eyes blazed and he snorted a stream of smoke from his nostrils. “Survive, yes, take away from another’s right to exist…no!” The Dragon leaned in close and bared his worn teeth. The heat from his breath ruffled the thin, gray hair on the king’s head.

The king’s face remained stoic, his gray eyes determined. “The land will go on as before, we have done no long-lasting harm. We take only what we need,” he said, with a slight gesture toward the orange grass at his feet.

Kalvedorix breathed deep like the sound of a forge bellow, allowed his shoulders to sag and exhaled as if winded from a long conversation. Deep, dark brown rings framed his eyes and his lids slid down as if he hadn’t slept in days. Then he puffed his chest, rose to his full height, which towered over the handful of humans before him, and contemplated the castle nearby. His heart pounded against his chest as his eyes scanned the twisted trees and orange grass around the failing structure, a ghost of its majesty; a sick artist’s rendition of Arydd’liss. Mortar trickled from broken stones and horrific masonry, scattered carelessly along twisted trees and purple shrubbery. Wooden tiles poorly sealed and painted slid off the half-built roof and shattered on the stone floor. The soil appeared as dry and cracked as the dirt in the western deserts. He rolled his eyes toward the king and shook his head in such a manner the fins under his jaw slapped against his cheek.

“In time, you would have twisted the land in such a way, She would not recover. And that we cannot allow,” Kalvedorix said. The golden-brown scales on his face grew darker and his nostrils flared. “And what of those creatures you created from the innocent animals that thrive here? Hm? The goblins you use as slaves? Do they not have the right to live off the land as you claim? If that is not a product of dark bending, then what name do you have for them?”

“We call them Gutulins, Elder. Servants. We created them out of necessity, not malice,” the king said. He hunched forward and gave a curt nod. “Yes, on occasion they have caused …problems, however…”

“Savages. They have removed themselves from your control and multiplied in the forests of this land. Unfortunately, the land accepts them as they are and we must let them run rampant as they once did in their previous forms…abominations, though they may be.”

The old mage appeared at the king’s side and tapped his staff on the stone floor near his feet. He gazed at them almost apologetically and waved his hands toward the Elders. “The Sovereign Dragons do not rule the Realms of Arydd for mere pleasure or spite, My Lord. Their life force is tied to this land, as She is tied inexorably to them. If the land is defiled, changed, or destroyed, the Dragons will cease to exist.

“And for that reason, but not that reason alone, over the past two thousand years the Sovereign Dragons have watched over this land and lived in peace with those who call the Realms of Arydd their home; the Mid-Landers, the Dragons of the Sea, and even the reclusive dwarves. The outcast Dragons who live in the forest also keep their place,” he paused and glanced at the Elder. “Mostly.

“So you see, My Lord, they have been very fair to all who follow the essence of their codes and laws. Your family has been that rare exception.”

“And why should you be the exception to those laws where others are not?” Kalvedorix said, a hiss of steam emphasized the last word.

The king thinned his lips, crossed his arms, averted their gaze and remained fixed on Galddor. “Why did you betray us, Galddor? Power? All that was needed of you was be a part of this family, provide counsel for us and the Dragons, and treat us with respect. How can you do this to us, your own kind?”

Galddor’s face flushed and his lips turned down. “King Boldinar Lurean. You did not heed my counsel the first time, nor the second, nor did you heed the words of the Sovereigns. We have been more than patient. But, the land has been defiled, twisted, and you are responsible. What more can we do but banish you from the Realms of Arydd…forever.”

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