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Tue Dec 1 02:30:05 PST 2009


With a wordless cry of unbridled fury, Matt charged towards the guards, breaking free of the circle of men previously surrounding him by sheer surprise. A few feet away from Serenity he lunged towards her, but another pair of guards barred his path with surprising strength, strength that was made understandable as their human forms twisted and stretched until a pair of Draconic centaur-like beings stood in his way. The other armed guards shifted form as well. Matt continued to struggle despite the change, to no avail.

The Leader chuckled. "Well well well, It seems we have a set: The heart of the group," he motioned towards Serenity, "the brains," he nodded at Kyle, before turning to smirk at the restrained Matt. "And the muscle."

Kyle ignored him. "Oh, Serenity... what did they do to you?"

Serenity's red-rimmed eyes met Kyle's for a second, her mouth opening to say something, but before she could, she shuddered, eyes watering up again at the thought, and she felt her legs give out, the two guards holding her supporting her weight as she went limp in their arms.

Turning her gaze back to the Leader, Kyle's voice dropped a few octaves. "You. You will die."

The Leader laughed, the mirth echoed by the various dragons around the room. "Me? Die? I fear you're gravely mistaken. Gravely mistaken, indeed." As he spoke, his voice grew deeper, even as his form wavered and stretched. Where before a human had stood, now there sat a huge black dragon, wings wide enough to span the room from entrance to throne, and reptilian yellow eyes the size of dinner plates focused on the night elf who stood in front of it before he continued.

"Know that your death was brought to you by Kcalbanihc of the Black Dragonflight, and all your useless gestures to stop me were for naught!"

Matt finally stopped struggling against his captors as an idea occurred to him. It wasn't a very good one, but just waiting around to die didn't sit well with him. "Um, hey, don't you want to explain your evil plan before you kill us?" 'And buy us a few more minutes to figure out how to defeat you?' he thought but didn't add. Though that was admittedly looking pretty hopeless at the moment.

The dragon rumbled. "I know that trick, mortal. But I suppose there's no reason not to play with my food... even as I play with my food."

Kyle blinked, unsure what to make of that. "What?"

Instead of responding, Kyle suddenly felt the world around her twist, and a rather intense pain in her chest as the black dragon's tail slapped her hard enough to send her flying right out the side of the mountain.

"Ha! I love this game!" Kcalbanihc cried, diving out after her. "Look at this world, Mortals!"

Kyle was too busy trying not to pass out from the pain of multiple shattered ribs and impending death by 'sudden-stop-at-the-end' to appreciate the view. At least, she was, until a new pain flared up in her legs.

Kcalbanihc had caught her in his teeth, and now plowed through the air back towards his throne room, intent on prolonging her suffering. Spitting the elf out on the floor towards her friend, he continued. "Azeroth is divided by you petty mortals into ridiculous kingdoms and factions... and all of them desire one thing."

Groaning, Kyle tried to sit up, large holes in her left thigh making that difficult, even as the shattered ribs from earlier made it impossible.

"Can't have you bleeding out," Kcalbanihc muttered, before snorting and sending a jet of flame to cauterize the wounds. It was enough to make Kyle scream in anguish, even as she felt the world fade. Only to be pulled back by something hard poking her and making broken bones grind. "Don't die just yet, little one. Your friend asked what my plan was, and I can't have you dying until you hear it, now can I?"

With that, he pressed down on her foot, smiling toothily as he felt the bones shift, then creak, before snapping and sending her screaming in anguish again. "Ahh, that's better. I have your attention again, I hope? As I was saying, all those factions, all those insignificant mortals killing each other all seem so interested in this," he waved his hand at the piles of gold, "this useless metal."

He sat back, watching his captives as he continued. "From the earth they dug it up... it is only fitting that the brood of the Earth Warder give them exactly what they asked for."

"You... pay them?" Kyle asked between gasps. Nothing in Jae's memories could have prepared him for the beating she'd just taken, and Kyle's own memories had only one painful incident to draw from, which didn't hold a candle to the blaze of anguish this dragon had so casually dished out.

"Pay them? To kill each other? Of course not. They'll do that regardless of gold. Horde versus Alliance. Human versus Elf. Dwarf and Troll... without their beliefs, I bet even the allies would fight each other. Humans certainly did before the orcs came. No, I intend to do much worse."

Despite his distance, and the pair of dragons currently holding him fast, Matt did his level best to heal Kyle with what spells he could bring to mind. They apparently didn't care or notice, as no one made move to stop him. "Worse? What's worse than this?" he muttered darkly.

"Imagine all of this gold, spread to everyone, and each piece cursed to drive its holder into a bloodthirsty frenzy defeated only by death! Imagine children murdering their parents in their beds, parents turning on confused children and choking the life from them, friend slaying friend, strangers tearing others apart... and then suddenly realizing what they've done! The few unaffected will be left with no other choice than to put down those who were affected. And those who survive will take their own lives in grief."

The dragon chuckled. "Oh, it is far far beneath me to waste my time killing you stupid mortals by the cartload. So you can do it to yourselves, and then we, the dragons, proper rulers of Azeroth, can take back what is rightfully ours."

"Horrible," Serenity said, looking at him with eyes large with shock and revulsion. Despite her own turmoil, she couldn't help but fear the situation this beast had so casually described.

"How..." Kyle coughed, wincing at the blood that came with it, before continuing, "...how can you expect to curse..." her voice failed her, but Kcalbanihc got what she was trying to say. Or really, Dax did.

"Oh, that would be my part."

"You!?" Matt spat with obvious venom while still trying to treat Kyle's injuries. "Your part?!"

"Indeed. Who would suspect the magekiller, the rogue, to be a magician?"

"You... mage?" Kyle asked, incredulous.

"I'm sorry, did I fool you? Not that I didn't mean to, but it was a pretty good job, wasn't it?" Dax smiled at them, before shrugging. "You Mortals. So quick to believe your eyes."

"Another dragon?" Matt asked, frowning.

"Indeed! Daxglaucous, at your service!" Dax paused, before shrugging. "Or at his, at any rate."

"Blue," Kyle hissed.

"Indeed! Lord Malygos has had it with you lesser beings and your blatant disregard for the magics of the world. If Kcalbanihc can remove the majority of you from the equation, then it is my duty to assist him in whatever way possible!"

As the world grew dark, Kyle smiled softly. "Malygos... fails."

Incensed, the blue dragon in blood-elf form stepped forward, before stepping on Kyle's broken foot, drawing a blood-flecked scream from the wounded Night Elves' raw throat. "What do you mean by that, worm!"

Kyle's eyes narrowed as the blinding agony from her foot settled to a dull agony. "In the Eye of Eternity atop the Occulus, yes? Saphiron still..." Kyle shuddered, "still has a key. Malygos falls."

"That's... that's not possible!" Dax cried, though his pale features and furtive glances at nothing in particular gave Kyle's words far more credit than a simple dismissal would.

"The Life-Binder helps," Kyle said, with a small nod.

Dax howled, "NO! She cannot interfere!"

"Calm yourself, Mage. This little one cannot possibly know the future," Kcalbanihc said.

"Calm yourself, Black! I've got to report this to Lord Malygos at once! I will return to poison this gold, but this information must be brought to my master now."

"You cannot leave! Not now!" Kcalbanihc roared.

"I must!" Dax replied, making his way towards the edge of the room and transforming into an oversized blue drake.

"Kill them, Kcalbanihc. What they know..." Dax didn't bother to finish, merely pushing off with a flap of his scaly wings and disappearing.

"Well now," Kcalbanihc muttered, turning towards the two intruders, then at his earlier captive. "I had plans for you, but it seems you're all now too knowledgeable to use... you know what that means, don't you?" The question rather rhetorical, he brought his head down to look at Kyle, scaly lips pulled back to expose foot long teeth in a mouth big enough to fit a horse with room to spare.

Kyle just rolled her eyes and turned her head, suppressing the groan the motion caused. Matt's healing had actually started to help, but with that mouth her next destination, she wasn't in the mood for any more banter.

"Let them go!" A voice called out from the entrance, before a throwing blade sunk into the flesh of the dragon's neck with a meaty chunk Unfortunately, it was far too small to be anything but a minor annoyance to the fully-grown dragon.

"WHO DARES?" Kcalbanihc roared.

"I do, as does all of Stormwind, and the Alliance behind it." A man replied, his voice carrying without shouting.

"And who are you, to presume you speak for the Alliance, little man?"

"Mathais Shaw, of SI:7. I'll say this once: let them go, and you'll have enough time to try to escape before you're brought down, dragon," Shaw announced. The Leader of SI:7, Stormwind's network of spies and assassins, he wasn't willing to show fear to anything. At least, not to anything that could die.

"I see," Kcalbanihc said, nodding. "But... you seem to have forgotten something."

"And what is that, foul beast?" Mathias said, raising a brow inquisitively.

"An army with which you may try to defeat me!" he shouted, rushing forward and spreading his jaws to finish the impudent human with one bite.

As he was about to reach his target however, something large and heavy slammed into his head from the direction of the window, a harsh shriek in his draconic ears even as sharp claws scratched at his scaly hide.

"WHAT?" he roared, turning to look. A gryphon, ridden by a dwarf, circled the room, and suddenly the room was full of figures, knights in armor streaming in through the entrance, as gryphons flew in through the open wall to deposit their riders.

"How DARE you! Insects!" Kcalbanihc cried, as a wave of fireballs impacted his thick flank.

Matt felt arms pulling him away from Kyle, and suddenly realized he was surrounded by robed figures wearing priestly garb and already going to work to heal his wounded friend. They were quickly relocated to the alcove behind the Throne, where Kyle's healing progressed rapidly.

Serenity, who had been dropped by her minders when the alliance forces had rushed the room, was lead over to them, and a pair of priests went to work on her as well.

"You seem to know quite a bit, young rogue." Kyle looked up into the stony eyes of Mathias Shaw, wincing slightly.

"It would seem, Mathias, that I merely knew enough."

The rogue leader matched her gaze for a moment, before barking out a quick laugh. "That you did!" There was a moment his smile lingered, before it faded. "You've wounds to heal, and I have a dragon to slay. But after, we must talk. The King should know what you know."

"And I suppose you should know, before him?" Kyle asked, grinning even as she felt bones shifting back into place.

Mathias nodded, pulling a pair of curved daggers from his belt. "Aye, you've the right of it," he said before leaving to join the fight.

After a moment of relative calm while Kcalbanihc was under attack, Kyle turned to look at Serenity, who, despite looking healed physically, was still an obvious emotional wreck.

"Oh, Serenity... what did they do to you?" Matt asked, all traces of mirth in his voice gone.

"I... he..." Serenity paused, taking a ragged breath before closing her eyes. "I no longer have to fear for my little one... she's... she's been taken from me," Serenity explained, doing her best to sound professional. Despite that, however, her voice was shaky, and she cursed herself for showing such weakness before others, especially after what she'd seen Kyle go through.

"Oh, Serenity... highness... I'm so sorry," Kyle said, shocked. Usagi was... dead? What did that mean for the Silver Millennium?

Matt slammed the ground with his gauntleted fist. "Fuck!"

"I... No. After what you just went through, I'm not... I can't..." Serenity broke down, then, unable to contain herself anymore. Kyle, still somewhat broken inside, ignored the pain and the protests of the priests around her and pulled Serenity into a hug, suppressing a wince as every sob jostled broken bones slowly mending, and knowing that the pain was far more transitory than her distraught friend's.

The whisper of sword on stone alerted those in the immediate area of Matt rising to his feet.  "Excuse me. I need to take care of something." He turned his back on the two women, and placed his focus squarely on the black dragon currently fighting for its life.

"YOU WILL DIE!"

The cry echoed through the hall even as Matt ran towards the beast. He chanted every damage-boosting, pain-inflicting spell Tannim's memories could supply him with, and when those failed he settled for severing the major tendon of Kcalbanihc's front left leg as he reached the creature

Without support where once he expected it, the black dragon fell onto his side, nearly crushing Matt and half a dozen attackers. They were all agile enough to escape the descending beast.

He struggled to stand again, despite his numerous wounds. Kcalbanihc muttered to himself in astonishment through the haze of pain. "What? This isn't... How is this...?"

"I'll tell you!" Matt shouted as he ran towards where the head now lay. In his obvious rage other, more seasoned warriors stepped away from the fight to let the figure glowing with righteous fury pass. "You don't. Mess. With. FAMILY!" Matt punctuated his statement by reaching the head of Kcalbanihc's draconic form and stabbing him in the eye that was currently looking at him with surprise.

In his pain, Kcalbanihc lifted his head from the ground, taking Matt and his sword with him. The weapon dug deeper into the soft flesh near his brain as the paladin stubbornly hung on, attempting with every fiber of his being to angle the sword just right for the killing blow.  Something struck a nerve, and a final toss of Kcalbanihc's head threw both man and weapon from the dragon. The dragon fell back down to the ground with a heavy crashing of scale on stone, and did not rise.

Matt's brief moment through the air terminated when he impacted the far wall and was accompanied by a pained grunt. He fell to the floor in a heap. As the world spun and grew dark around him, Matt shot the convulsing form across the room a final glare, and muttered "...too quick a death for that one..." before letting the darkness engulf him.

Xxxxx

Author's Notes for Magus: I'm tired. This chapter was brought to you by General Motors, the Letter 'F,' and the Mass Effect 2 Trailer, which was epic enough to inspire me to write. I'm sure Matt is glad (Tannim: I am!) I got off my butt and did something. Stay tuned for more.

Author's Notes for Tannim: We hope you've enjoyed the ride so far. ^_^


      


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