The Dark Empire, Page 212-218 by Wolfenshire ()
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The Dark Empire, Page 212-218
The ship had been built in real space on the Creator’s home world three and a half billion years ago, but had been kept in stasis much of that time so was practically brand new and even had an advanced inter-dimensional drive. Activating an ID drive within a planet’s atmosphere was very dangerous, but could be done. Much of the danger was to the surrounding buildings as they would be destroyed, and she would likely kill all the dragons in the vicinity if she ignited an ID engine, but they weren’t giving her much choice. She would never make it through the bombardment from above on standard thrust engines.
She glanced out the window and could see the Fire Dragons were still trying to cut through the hull with a plasma torch, but this was a Creator built Splinter ship and wasn’t going to crack open that easy. The whole thing had happened so quickly. She had made up with Dragon Dreggo and had been with him at the armory. He was showing her the little metal balls that if activated, would form a set of permanent living metal wings integrated with her body; she wiggled the metal wings that were now part of her.
She hadn’t intended to accept the wings, and hadn’t really accepted them at all. The trouble started when the doors to the armory suddenly exploded inward and Sky Dragons assaulted the armory and ordered them to surrender. Dreggo reacted quicker than Jasai could stop him. He grabbed one of the silver balls and slapped it between her wing-blades; the pain had been excruciating as the living metal flowed into her body and formed the living metal wings.
“I didn’t think they would actually go through with it,” shouted Dreggo. “I’ll hold them off, you get back to your ship and get off the planet.”
Dreggo shifted into a large and fierce looking Shield Dragon. Jasai collapsed on the floor in pain as Dreggo rushed at the Sky Dragons and threw himself against them. He wouldn’t have lasted long against the Sky Dragon assault if it hadn’t been for three hidden Shield Dragons rising up out of the metal floor.
She had been immobilized from the pain for several minutes waiting for the living metal to finish the process of becoming her new wings. She saw a Sky Dragon coming at her from the side and did something usually only attempted by older Temple Ravens when in danger of serious injury, death, or capture; she disconnected her mind from her nervous system. She was still numb from using the technique.
If the Sky Dragon had thought the tiny Darai would be no match, it had obviously never fought a Temple Raven before. The Darai were the smallest sentient species in the known universe and had spent hundreds of thousands of years perfecting their ability to fight and survive against much larger species. She dodged under the dragon’s swipe of its lethal claws and in one swift movement drew her Talon dagger.
She hadn’t been surprised when her dagger cut through the dragon’s metal skin. The Dragons hadn’t thought to disarm her from a weapon they thought harmless, but they didn’t know that all Talon daggers were forged by the Raven Goddess, and though Jasai didn’t like to think about it, she knew the Raven Goddess was a Destroyer, which was really just a radical faction of the Creators’ race. It had only made sense that the Raven Goddess would have the technology to forge metal capable of fighting a creature they had created.
The dragon roared and jumped back. Jasai used the opportunity to run past the fighting dragons and outside. She beat her new wings but they were still working on integrating with her nerves and muscles. She fled down a street filled with dragons fighting. A wave of fire came at her and she pulled one of the only battle cloaks the Ravens still had around her. The flames rolled over her and she changed directions and chose a less occupied street to escape on; the Fire Dragons must be on the Sky Dragons side. This was a full blown coup. She saw Shield Dragons and Seed Dragons fighting Fire Dragons and Sky Dragons.
There were five basic races of dragons; Seed, Sky, Shield, Fire, and Water Dragons, but she didn’t see any of the Water Dragons yet. Two small Dragons jumped out of a metal pole, Jasai held her dagger in front of her.
“We’re on your side,” shouted one of the small dragons, holding his wings out to his side. The Shield Dragons had wings, but not Seed Dragons, but she hadn’t seen any Shield Dragons in the sky and didn’t know if their wings actually worked for flight. The sky was filled with Sky Dragons, giving them an advantage for the moment.
“Who are you?” demanded Jasai.
“I’m Avron, this is my brother Brython,” said the little dragon with his wings spread out. “Our father, Lord Rotathian, sent us to help you.”
Jasai decided to save that mystery for later. “Why is this happening?”
“The Sky and Fire Dragons want us to take Aestar by force from the Crystal Palace, but we don’t do that kind of thing. The Sky Dragons have sent an attack force to take the Crystal Palace. We have Shield Dragons on the way and should get there first. We’ll help the Ravens defend the Crystal Palace.”
“I think our side is losing,” said Jasai. “Where’s the Aidens I came here with?”
“Father is fighting north of the city with the Shield Dragons, Governor Santi is up there with the Seed Ships fighting the Mathor fleet, and King Madious is coming with Urgoth and the Water Dragon army.”
“What? If you’re fighting the Mathors, then I’m not on your side” asked Jasai.
“They attacked us,” said Avron.
“Father says they might have a secret alliance with the Sky Dragons,” said Brython.
Jasai shook her head. “I don’t believe you.”
Avron and Brython both shrugged. “Do you want our help?”
“You know I’m on the Mathors side, why would you help me?”
Avron looked at Brython. “She doesn’t want our help, let’s go.”
The two small dragons turned and ran to a metal pole, leaped into it, and disappeared. Jasai didn’t try to stop them, it was probably a trap anyway. But at least she knew what the metal poles were for now, she would have to stay clear of them.
She ran towards the end of the street. A Fire Dragon appeared from around the corner and saw her. Jasai beat her new wings and effortlessly rose into the air. The wings responded unlike anything her prosthetic glider wings were capable of. She only had a few minutes of getting used to her new wings before several Sky Dragons spotted her. The Sky Dragons came at an alarming speed, but they weren’t really an avian species, or even actual dragons. They were living machines that had chosen the fantasy dragon form. It barely made sense that they could even fly, they hadn’t developed naturally to become avian and could only fly because of a flight sub-routine programmed into them. Jasai on the other hand had a millions of years of slow evolution and instincts behind her.
She dodged, weaved, rolled, and flew circles around the dragons too large to have any decent flight skills. She laughed at how easy it was to avoid them. They were faster on a straight glide path, but they couldn’t hover; they were too heavy and had to stay at speed to maintain lift. The moment they began to slow, they lost altitude. Jasai however, was feather light and had evolved to avoid predators in the sky. It was like jet fighters trying to slow down enough to grab a balloon casually floating on the breeze; the dragons over-flew her again and again.
She dropped down and used her maneuverability between the buildings of the city to get away from them. She looked back to see if any of them were still perusing, but they had given up the chase. She even felt a little embarrassed for them to even be calling themselves Sky Dragons.
On the way back to her ship she passed over a city park. She could see a group of small dragons huddled together at a play area for little dragons. Jasai didn’t see any adult dragons with the children. She searched the ground and sky, there were five Fire Dragons just entering the park from the west. She dropped down and landed next to the group of little dragons. The little dragons recoiled back from her, they’re eyes wide with fear.
“It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you, I’m a friend,” said Jasai. “You can’t stay here, there are some Fire Dragons headed this way.”
“Why are they mad?” asked the oldest girl.
“I don’t know, is there anywhere safe you can go?” asked Jasai.
“Our school is safe, I think,” said the girl dragon.
“Okay, I’ll take you there, everyone hold hands,” said Jasai.
All the dragons tipped their heads to the side and looked confused. They didn’t have hands. The little girl dragon must have been used to being in charge and barked orders to the group. “Line up and clomp on,”
Now the little dragons were in familiar territory and knew what to do. The little dragons lined up and each clomped onto the tail of the dragon in front with their mouths. The little girl dragon looked at Jasai, trying to figure out where she was supposed to clomp on. Jasai held out her wing. The girl clomped on to the tip of the wing feathers.
“Which way is your school?” asked Jasai.
The girl dragon let go of the wing to speak. “That way,” she pointed with her head. “There’s a gate that goes into the back of our school.” The little girl clomped back onto Jasai’s wing.
Jasai led the procession across the park and away from the approaching Fire Dragons. She found the gate and entered a big field at the back of the school. It hadn’t been far, for her, but for the little dragons it probably had been too far with all the explosions and fires raging in the city. They could have run back to their school, but had been too frightened.
Just before Jasai reached the backdoor of the school, a dragon woman ran out and beckoned for the little dragons to come to her. The little dragons un-clomped and ran to the woman. She shooed them inside and then turned to Jasai.
“We can hide you,” said the woman.
“I’m part of the cause of all this and they’re looking for me, I can’t put your students in danger like that.
“This isn’t your fault,” said the woman. “The Sky Dragons have been looking for an excuse to revolt for a long time.”
“I still can’t put you in danger,” said Jasai. “I’ll go now.”
“Good luck, child, you have friends here and are always welcome.” The dragon woman went back inside the school and pulled the door shut. Jasai could hear furniture being shoved against the door on the inside.
Jasai ran back to the park and circled around the Fire Dragons looking for her. She lifted into the sky and made sure the Fire Dragons saw her. She didn’t want them seeing her near the school or they might take their anger out on the school.
She made her way back to the landing field where her ship was. Two Fire Dragons were guarding the ship. She landed about a half mile away and walked towards the two dragons. They saw her and leaped into run. She waited until they were nearly on her and took to the sky again. She flew safely past them and dived for the ship. The Fire Dragons were faster than she thought and barely got the hatch closed before they bathed the ship in fire.
One of the Fire Dragons left and returned ten minutes later with a plasma torch. She was ready to take off, but didn’t want to…yet. There would be significant loss of life if she engaged the ID drive. A lot of people thought the Temple Ravens killed indiscriminately, but that wasn’t true. The Temple Ravens never missed their target, and were never defeated, but they were a weapon of last resort when all other negotiations failed. She guessed Zil and the Time Walkers were the same way, they were a weapon of last resort. That was probably why Zil wasn’t here yet. He had probably been ordered to remain neutral.
Jasai held her hand near the interior hull and felt the heat from the plasma torch the dragons were using. The hull was good, but it wouldn’t hold forever, she was going to have to launch. She lifted the safety cover to the launch button and put her finger over the button.
“Don’t push it,” said a familiar voice.
Jasai turned her head and shouted. “Zil!” She closed the safety cover and jumped out of her seat and wrapped Zil in a hug. “Why did the Mathers attack?”
Zil nuzzled his face against hers. “It will be okay.” Zil reached for the hatch controls. Jasai grabbed his hand, but he gently pushed her away and opened the door. The two Fire Dragons weren’t moving.
“You’ve frozen time,” said Jasai.
There were at least a hundred Mathors arriving and gathering into groups. Jasai tried to look into one of the portals they were coming through and was immediately nauseous. Zil turned her away from the portal.
“That place isn’t for you,” said Zil.
“What’s going on, who are all these people?” asked Jasai.
An older man walked up and handed Jasai a blue bracelet. “Hello, Jasai Raven, you’ve made quite the impression on young Zil, put that bracelet on, we’re about to begin.”
“Zil?” said Jasai.
“These are all the Time Walkers,” said Zil.
“We’re going to fix this mess,” said the man. “You didn’t think Zil was going to do it all by himself, did you?”
“Are you going to kill the dragons?” asked Jasai.
“Of course not, Zil can handle a small area, as he did when the Sherata attacked your farm, but there are too many people and planets involved in this event. Big task here, lots to do, probably will take us a few years to sort it all out.”
Jasai looked at Zil. So he did have something to do with saving them when the Sherata had attacked. Zil pushed the bracelet onto Jasai’s wrist.
“Don’t watch, you’ll get sick. Watch the bracelet, it will protect you.
“When we’re done, you will have to stop this madness from beginning,” said the man. “The Time Walkers usually stay neutral and don’t answer to the Mather Council, but we cannot allow the Dragons and the Mathors to war. They are equal in technology; nobody would survive such a war.”
The man walked away and the sky started to spin. Jasai almost fell over from vertigo, but Zil pushed her wrist with the bracelet up to her eyes…and then…
Jasai leaned against the Splinter ship waiting for Dragon Dreggo to come pick her up. She had made up with him and he was going to show her the armory. She told him she still couldn’t accept the wings, but he said he might have a solution. She idly played with the blue bracelet on her wrist.
“Huh? Where did I get a blue bracelet from?” She looked down at the bracelet and everything flooded back into her memory. “Oh my gosh!” She looked up and saw Dragon Dreggo walking towards her. She pushed off from the Splinter ship and ran towards him. She had to stop this day from happening.