The Dragon Between

A Deep Breath

The vision began the same as it had before…

Xentril looked a little worse for wear. So, everything was as usual. Her weapons were the only thing on her not covered in blood, she had obviously had a few moments to clean them. They were often the only part of her equipment that shone.

She was walking cautiously down a dark corridor, alone, an everburning torch crammed into the buckle of her hide armor. It’s dim light illuminated the dragonborn completely. Both weapons were drawn, her flail’s chains making barely audible, musical clinking as she walked. The walls and floor of the corridor were smooth as obsidian, seamless, like blown glass. Warmth radiated from the stone.

Cuinas recognized the determined glint to her friend’s eye. This path, Xentril surely thought, would lead to her death. Finally.

Suddenly, the light from the torch wasn’t the only light. Two scones (lawl!) flanked a door. The end of the passage. Richly sculpted, the door bore three symbols, Siberys, Eberron, Khyber. No handle, no obvious way to open it. Stopping paces away from the door, Xentril looked closely at the ceiling, the floor, the walls. Finally, she looked behind her, shrugged, then stepped up to the door. She touched it with more reverence than she typically displayed, but after all, these were her gods, her religion, if it could even be called that. She pushed on the door, pulled on it, looked over it carefully, trying to figure out how to open it. Finally, she drew back and threw her shoulder hard against it.

A swirling wind erupted from the door, hot, smelling of fire. It pushed Xentril back, then abruptly stopped. The dragonborn was furious. “Breathe at me you thrice blasted door will you?” She bellowed at the door, “Well let’s see how you like it!” A whirling vortex of cold erupted as Xentril unleashed her breath weapon. It swirled around the carvings, a rime of frost appearing, then disappearing quickly. Nothing happened, and Xentril grunted in disgust.

Hefting her axe with reluctance, she approached the door again. To her surprise, it dissolved before her. No crumbling stone, no wind, no magical dust remained. Just an open, and dark chamber. The light from the sconces and the torch lit enough for Xentril to see that the chamber was vast, but not what was in it.

Mumbling under her breath, Xentril entered the chamber cautiously. It seemed to be built of the same dark, smooth, seamless stone. Carved into the floor, however, were rings of script. Draconic script, which was made of what looked to be dragonshards inlaid into the stone. The vernacular was ancient, but a few words stood out: Failure, Death, Destiny. What Xentril missed, that Cuinas’ scholar’s mind saw were the words: Scion, Rebirth, Hope and Empire.

The circles of words spiralled into the center of the room. The center was marked by a Siberys shard in the shape of a smooth, slightly convex disk. It was large, wide enough for Xentril to stand on. She did just that.

Bright light engulfed Xentril as a dazzling array of fires snaked up the walls. They burned in streams from floor to ceiling, revealing what was previously hidden by the darkness. The room was a vast domed circle, stretching to a great height. Five huge statues of dragons perched upright, set on ledges carved into the walls about twenty feet off the floor. Their heads nearly met in the center of the room, and in their forelimbs they each carried an orb. As Xentril watched, the orbs changed from opaque to transparent, and in each manifested the powers of the dragons: Flame, Poison, Cold, Acid, and Lightning. Xentril was awestruck.

A chorus of booming voices echoed through the chamber, speaking in archaic draconic. “You, kinkiller, dragonborn of disgrace, will meet your fate in this chamber, through the cleansing power of dragon breath. It will release you. If you accept this fate, stay. If you do not, you must flee. Choose.”

“I will stand and meet my fate.” Xentril said immediately. Cuinas knew that her friend was expecting to die, and truly the first time she had this vision she thought she was seeing her friend’s final moments. If that was the case, Cuinas knew that it was a better death than Xentril would have hoped for.

Light began to shine from the eyes of the statues. A wind swept in from the tunnel, swirling around Xentril. From the maws of the great dragons poured the weapons of the ancients. Fire, bright and hot, rippling down to consume her. Acid, hissing and deadly, poured over her. Lightning, arcing with white light, shot through and around her. Cold, unforgiving and relentless, rooted her to the spot and gripped at her heart to stop its strong beat. Poison, drifting down in a slow but inevitable cloud, choked the air out of her lungs and made her skin burn.

Xentril had never felt pain like this before. Individually, the attacks would have made even her cry out. Together, they made her speechless. Motionless in agony, she waited for her conciousness to blink out, for her unworthy spirit to leave her tormented form.

Though it seemed endless, the dragon breath that encompassed Xentril only lasted moments. When the pain lifted, quite suddenly, she staggered. Amazement was written across her features. Her wounds, and the dirt and grime covering her had disappeared. Her axe, which she had wielded at her last moment, was sheathed. In her hands instead appeared a large book. Exquisitely wrought, it was large and heavy and written in draconic. Cuinas’ vision did not reveal the details of the book to her, but she knew what it contained. It contained the knowledge that would redeem Xentril to her people, that would make her a hero to all dragonborn. Like it or not (and probably she would not like it one bit), Xentril would become a prophet to her people.

Cuinas’s vision slowly faded, this time not interrupted by the pyschic pain of her friend in the throes of a nightmare. She knew that it would only come to pass if Xentril expected to meet her death in that chamber. Wondering how to make her friend keep going without telling her of her destiny, Cuinas lay awake for a while, wrestling with her options. Something in her felt opened, and she knew that this was the last time this vision would come to her. That it would not be her last vision, she knew with as much certainty.

Comments

splint

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.