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GeneratorRexDragon
06-02-2018, 05:17 PM
Heyyo it's been dead as a doorknob here, but I wrote a thing and wanted to post it here. But before you read it, you may need to familiarize yourself with the appearance of one of the characters. Or all of them, I dunno anymore. Also some of the text may not show on here; if it doesn't, you can see it in the gdoc version.
CnC is welcome.

Dracustos (http://fav.me/dc7atq2)
Irascor (http://fav.me/dc9zlev)(Normally has no body, but does here)
Caesitus (http://fav.me/dbz6cu0), Draco's father
Wudian (http://fav.me/dc3it5l), Caesitus' asshole brother


Family Matters (https://docs.google.com/document/d/17ZAC32HckUUx6BIQmh23u_dUmClVonejmxvT3N58M_4/edit)

Your father is here.

Dracustos sighed, somewhat annoyed that his meditation had been interrupted, and opened his eyes. Past the ring of Japanese maples he caught sight of a large serpentine form. The red dragon landed outside the circle of trees, then snaked the front portion of his body past them.

“What are you doing here?” the halfbreed asked bluntly. He was given a snort.

“Is my presence not allowed here? If I recall, this is my home as well.” Dracustos opened his mouth to say “You sure do spend an awful lot of time away for this to be your home”, then decided against it. Caesitus tilted his head. “Were you going to say something?”

“No, I just… guess I’m in a foul mood today. Forget it.”

“Well, come on,” the dragon said as he lay down with a huff, “let’s hear it.”

“I said forget it. It was nothing.”

“Oh, I don’t think so. Obviously you need to get something off your chest.” Dracustos sighed.

“Look, I get you’re trying to help, but you aren’t exactly a therapist. If I need to talk something out I can go to David.”

“I’m a bit offended that you’d rather speak with your leader of Nehushtan than with your own family.”

“Well he’s actually around when I need him.” Realising what he had said, the halfbreed looked to the ground. “I'm sorry, I didn't mean-”

“This is about me leaving, isn’t it?” No answer was given, and the dragon sighed. “We can’t keep doing this, Dracustos. If you’re so upset about it, why don’t you just talk to me?”

“Psh, now you want to talk about it?” Dracustos scoffed. “You couldn’t have said anything when you came back?”

“I... suppose I didn’t think about it. But you never asked either.”

“I shouldn’t have had to! You left and didn’t tell me or Mom where you went! Don’t you think that deserves some kind of explanation?” Caesitus shifted, and his voice grew stern.

“I didn’t tell either of you because I was afraid you would try to find me, and what I was doing was too dangerous for you.”

“And what would that be?”

“... I was dealing with my brother.”

“What was he doing that required you to step in?”

“He was going to kill you.” Dracustos was silent for a moment, suddenly feeling bad for holding a bit of a grudge over him leaving. Caesitus continued. “Wūdiǎn isn’t like me. He’s cruel and vile when it comes to humans. When he found out about you, he was furious and disgusted. He believes you’re an abomination of dragon blood. If I hadn’t left, he would have come here and killed you, and perhaps even Leia. He nearly killed me, but I managed to seal him away in his lair.”

“But… why were you gone for so long?”

“I was too injured to attempt coming home right away, and I had to make sure he couldn’t free himself. By the time he accepted his fate, a few years had passed.” The halfbreed turned his gaze to the ground in thought, and there was another moment of silence. “So… can you stop holding that over my head now?”

“Yeah,” Dracustos sighed, “I can let it go.” The red serpent stretched his neck over and around his son in a sort of hug.

“I do what I can to protect you Dracustos… even if it means leaving. But know that I do love you.” Dracustos smiled softly and put an arm around his father’s neck.

“I know, Dad. But if you have to leave like that again… let me know, alright?”
____________

The halfbreed stirred, something disturbing his sleep. He sleepilly opened his eyes, blinked, and sat up, then realized he had fallen asleep on the couch. There was a knock at the door. He stood and went to answer it, then noticed he could sense something. Draco opened the door to reveal what looked like a man, but could feel was actually a dragon. He seemed to be in his early thirties and to be of eastern descent, even wearing a kimono and hakama pants. What threw off the human look was the long navy blue hair that blended to light green towards the end, and the orange eyes. His scent seemed familiar...

“Hello?” The man looked at him, and seemed to take note of the black marks on Dracustos’ scales. He grinned.

“Ah, there you are…” The halfbreed tilted his head in confusion.

“You’ve been looking for me?”

“Well, yes and no.” A tail sprouted from the stranger’s back and whipped the halfbreed in the neck. Dracustos stepped back in surprise, placing a hand over where something had stabbed him. His vision suddenly began to swim as his muscles grew weak. The Draconian staggered farther back before falling to his knees.

He looked up at the sound of splintering wood to find the man’s form had changed into something large and reptilian, destroying the front porch. A large paw forced its way through the door as the halfbreed collapsed, his consciousness faltering.

“Dad…”
____________

His head was pounding. He groaned and shifted, his muscles stiff from whatever poison that had run through his veins. He opened his eyes to find he was lying on a cold stony ground. There was minimal light, but his sharp vision cut through the dark. He seemed to be in a cave.

Dracustos sat up, and found that his hands were shackled and chained to the ground. He pulled and yanked on the chain. When that didn’t work, he tried melting it with his white fire. That didn’t work either.

“It’s enchanted. You won’t get free that way; not even your teleportation can free you. Not that you can teleport when your gem is damaged.” Dracustos looked up. A massive serpentine form slithered into the low light, larger than his father. But unlike his father, this dragon’s sixth pair of limbs was a smaller pair of arms at the front of his chest. Dracustos recognised the beast’s colors and eyes from his human form, and again the scent was familiar. “To think I would find the Dragon of Wrath, trapped inside the body of my brother’s halfblood. I really can’t believe my luck.”

“You’re… you’re Wūdiǎn?”

“Ah, so he does speak of me.”

“Actually, he never did until yesterday. Or was it the day before… How long was I out?” The dragon only snorted.

“I’m not surprised. He’s a disgrace to dragons, breeding with a human like he did. Tainting the bloodline.” He looked at the halfbreed with disgust, then made his way across the cave and began scratching at the floor. “Protecting you and his human female with his life. His magic is strong, I will give him that, but he just gave me time to prepare the downfall of Man. Because now I have something he doesn’t.”

“Aside from poison, what would that be?” Wūdiǎn gave a sinister grin.

“The Dragon of Wrath.” He dragged his talon across the rock one last time. A sigil that he had been carving began to glow, revealing the outline of a dragon’s skeleton. Irascor stirred.

Wait, is that my-

Dracustos felt something pull at his chest, at his Heartfire. His black marks began to glow. He clenched his jaw, feeling as though he were about to vomit, but ended up coughing out a flame. It was nearly white, and very hot. As it drifted to the sigil, Dracustos noticed that his marks were gone.

The Heartfire stopped inside the skeleton’s ribcage, and the sigil glowed brighter. The skeleton shifted. Then it began to move. As it found its way to its feet, the bones blackened and turned to ash, falling apart, and the ash formed itself into another form nearly as large as Wūdiǎn. Black and smoking, somewhat snakelike, supported by six limbs and a pair of large wings sprouted from the back. Dracustos had seen it before, but only in meditation.

Irascor looked over himself.

“I’m… free…?”

“Yes, brother. Free to do as you please, without that halfblood dragging you down. I must apologize though; I was unable to bring your original body back. Hopefully this corporeal form will suffice?”

“Suffice for what, exactly?”

“To bring your wrath upon Man once more! I am sure you know as well as I that those creatures aren’t worth protecting. They are driven by nothing but greed and self-interest. It is time we put them back in their place!”

“You do realise you’ll never return to the Old World if you break the Code, right?” Dracustos informed. He received an angry glare from the serpent, then a whip to the head that sent him to the ground.

“Hold your tongue, halfblood!” Wūdiǎn hissed. He snaked his way to the halfbreed and pinned him down with one of his secondary paws. “The only reason you’re still alive is because you had Irascor’s Heartfire. But I don’t need you anymore…” He placed a heavy front claw over Dracustos’ heart and began to press down, the sharp tip quickly drawing blood. “I can’t wait to see Caesitus’ face when he gets here, when he realises he was too late to save his pathetic ᚻᚩᛚᚠᛒᚱᛖᛖᛞ.”

“Stop.” Wūdiǎn paused, then craned his neck to look at Irascor. The spirit gazed at the mark on his paw. “He’s right. That’s how I ended up the way I did. I broke the Code, and so was denied joining our ancestors among the stars.” He looked up. “Could you live with that? Cursing yourself, and any dragon who followed you, to be stuck here forever? To trap their souls on this planet with no hope for redemption?”

“It will not matter. The humans destroy this world; all they do is take! When we take over, and Man serves Dragon, the Earth will be saved! That is the redemption!”

“No. That’s not how it works.” Caesitis’ brother released Dracustos and turned around.

“Don’t tell me that after your betrayal, you’re still willing to protect Man?” Irascor glanced between Wūdiǎn and Dracustos, then reared his head.

“A knight is sworn to valor.
His heart knows only virtue.
His blade defends the helpless.
His might upholds the weak.
His word speaks only truth.
His wrath undoes the wicked.”

Wūdiǎn stared at him for a moment. Then laughed.

“You think that drivel is going to save you? To save them? The humans are already lost; they were lost the moment dragons stopped guiding them.”

“I am lost as well. I already got my revenge, but at a price. I won’t let others make the same mistake if I can help it.” The blue dragon hissed and began to slowly circle Irascor.

“You’ve certainly changed in the past few years… How disappointing. Since you want to protect humans…” He suddenly tightened his coils around Irascor’s legs, causing him to fall, and pinned him to the ground. “You will die with them!”

A blue-green smoke erupted from Wūdiǎn’s jaws, but the toxic fumes seemed to have no effect on the spirit, and he answered back with flames. The two beasts coiled and reared at each other, striking with horns and teeth and claws. Wūdiǎn may have had size against Irascor, but his toxins were uneffective and he was vulnerable to the heat of the spirit’s fire. Though corporeal, Irascor didn’t bleed. His physical body was made of ash and soot; any wounds that could be inflicted simply sealed.

Meanwhile Dracustos was trying to avoid the swinging tails and stomping paws as best he could. He began to cough as Wūdiǎn’s volatile smoke drifted through the cave, and started pulling on the chain again. It still refused to break. It was getting harder to breathe.

Irascor threw Caesitus’ brother to the ground and clamped his jaws onto the serpent’s neck. As he squirmed to free himself of the spirit’s grip, he caught sight of the sigil. Wūdiǎn managed to shove the ashen beast away, then raked his claws across the carvings. Irascor roared as gashes appeared on his body from the damaged spell, and Wūdiǎn proceeded to smash the sigil. The spirit collapsed and his form began to fall apart.

The toxic dragon got to his feet with an aggravated snarl and watched Irascor for a moment as he tried to stand.

“Hmph… you’ve become weak over the years,” he hissed. “Such a shame you refused to return to your former glory. I have no use for you anymore. Now… where was I?” he turned his attention to Dracustos. “Ah yes, I was about to rid this earth of your filth.” Wūdiǎn made his way to the halfbreed and reached out-

“ᚱᛖᛚᛠᛋᛖ!” The serpent whipped his neck around, hissing in anger at the crumbling spirit for breaking the spell on the halfbreed’s shackles. The metal cuffs popped open, allowing Dracustos to avoid the angry claws that swung at him. He threw up a wall of white fire, and when the flames dissipated the serpent lost track of the Draconian among his coils. Dracustos managed to keep out of sight until he made it to Irascor, then hid on the creature’s side opposite Wūdiǎn. He suddenly heard the spirit’s voice in his head, as if they were still Bonded.

What are you doing? You must leave! Irascor urged. The halfbreed shook his head.

“I’m not leaving you behind.”

You cannot help me. Once this body is gone, my Heartfire will die out. Leave, save yourself.

“Look at you, upholding the Code. Unfortunately, I have to hold it too. You’re not dead yet.” Wūdiǎn peered over the black body, stepping on Irascor as he curled his long neck around.

“You are a fool to follow the old ways. It will only lead to your demise!” The toxic smoke began to seep from his jaws, but before he could unleash it Irascor suddenly heaved himself up and threw the beast off. He clamped his jaws onto Wūdiǎn’s neck again and let loose a powerful burst of flame. Wūdiǎn let out a short shriek before collapsing. For a moment he remained still.

Irascor turned and almost shoved the halfbreed down as he nudged him with his snout.

“Get going!” Dracustos spun around. Seeing that the only way to go was through a tunnel, he sprinted down the passage with the spirit at his heels. It was lit by glowing crystals and led through several chambers of Wūdiǎn’s lair, taking several twists and turns. It soon narrowed, and Dracustos picked up the scent of saltwater. The exit was near.

Something heavy fell behind him. Dracustos glanced back, then skid to a halt and ran back to the fallen dragon. Two of Irascor’s legs had evaporated, and the others weren't far behind. He looked tired.

“We're almost out, Irascor! Come on, get up!” The Dragon of Wrath began to stand, but another leg vanished and he collapsed again.

“This body won’t last much longer. You must leave without me.”

“And let Wūdiǎn snuff your Fire? Not gonna happen.” Dracustos moved to the beast’s side and pushed him to get up. “Come on, you can put some weight on me if you have to.” Irascor gave a light chuckle.

“I appreciate the sentiments… but you cannot stay on my account.” A furious roar echoed down the stone walls, and Irascor pushed the halfbreed towards the exit. “Go! I’ll hold him off for as long as I can!”

“But-”

“Dracustos, I promised your mother I would keep you safe. If it means my permanent end, then so be it. Leave!” Dracustos took a hesitant step back as he glanced down the tunnel, then a few more before turning to flee. Irascor supported himself the best he could and turned to face the furious serpent. But instead of Wūdiǎn, plumes of blue-green smoke rushed down the tunnel.


The Draconian slowed and stopped, then turned around. He didn’t hear anything. Did Wūdiǎn decide he wasn’t worth the effort?

He waited a moment longer. There was a slight breeze, as he would expect being near the lair’s entry… but it was coming from the opposite direction.

Wūdiǎn’s vile breath came surging down, so thick it diluted the light from the crystals. Dracustos was quick to hold his breath, and after another moment of hesitation he turned and continued down the long tunnel. The dragon’s lair must have been very deep in a cliffside.

His eyes stung from the fumes and his lungs were burning from whatever amount he had inhaled. He was starting to faintly pick up the sound of crashing waves and seagulls, but couldn’t tell how close he was to getting out. He was getting lightheaded and dizzy. He felt like he had been running for hours, his muscles tired from lack of oxygen. The halfbreed ended up tripping on his own feet, and the impact with the ground knocked the air from his lungs. Dracustos took another breath to hold, but the poisonous smoke burned his throat and he ended up going into a coughing fit. He got back to his feet and took a few steps before falling again, his throat and lungs tightening from Wūdiǎn’s breath, leaving him gasping for air.

Dracustos was beginning to black out when there was a sudden green light. The polluted air quickly cleared, and a familiar red paw came into the halfbreed’s view. There was a heavy breath, then the paw raised and a glowing green rune faded into existence. The halfbreed’s wheezing steadily eased.

“Are you alright, Dracustos?” Caesitus asked worriedly. His offspring pushed himself into a sitting position and coughed.

“I am now. What took you so long?” he asked sarcastically. He looked up and realised that it was inappropriate. Across the dragon’s face were deep cuts, and many more were scattered all over his body.

“Come, we must leave.”

“But what about Irascor?” Caesitus paused and looked over his son, and noticed the Mark of Wrath was gone.

“You’ve been separated…?” The sounds of battling beasts echoed down the tunnel. The dragon sighed. “After all the trouble he’s caused, you still wish to save him?”

“We can’t just leave him.” Caesitus tapped a claw in thought, then gave another sigh.

“Very well. I’ll take care of my brother while you grab Irascor’s Fire. But we must leave soon. I’ve put a stronger sealing spell on Wūdiǎn’s lair. We need to be out before it activates.”

“Got it.” Dracustos hopped onto his father’s back, and the red serpent ran back into danger. As they rounded the corner where he had last seen Irascor, the halfbreed jumped down and froze as Wūdiǎn ripped the spirit’s head from his neck. The ashen body collapsed and began to degrade even faster, giving off a slight hiss like a dying fire.

Caesitus rammed into Wūdiǎn, sending them both tumbling down the stone passage in a fierce coiling match. Dracustos ran to what was left of Irascor, then after a moment of hesitation he clawed his way into the black chest and gently scooped out the Heartfire.

What are you doing?! the spirit demanded, seeming to be angry. Dracustos simply grinned.

“What does it look like, you old grump? Just shut up and let it happen.” Dracustos turned to inform his father they could leave, only to find that the beast was being bested by his brother. The halfbreed began to rush in.

“No!” Caesitus shouted, making him stop in his tracks. “You must leave before the spell becomes active!”

“I’m not-”

“There is nothing you can do against him! Get out!” The halfbreed hesitantly stepped back.

“I won’t… I can’t...” The red serpent struggled against Wūdiǎn again to shove his son away.

“I will not repeat myself! Leave!” Again Dracustos hesitated.

Dracustos-

“I- I know…” He took a few steps back, then forced himself to turn around and run. Wūdiǎn saw the halfbreed leaving and lunged for him, but Caesitus hooked his talons into the serpent’s side and held him back.

“You will not touch him!” Wūdiǎn gave a ferocious hiss and stomped on his brother’s neck before gripping it tightly, his curved talons digging past the red scales and into skin.

“You may have escaped me once, but not again. And neither will your halfblooded abomination.”


Dracustos could feel his legs becoming weak with each step he took. His legs suddenly stopped working and he dropped Irascor as he hit the ground. He slowly got to his knees. He needed to get up. To leave before they were all trapped. But he couldn’t move other than shifting to sit. Tears began to fall as pained roars echoed down the path.

The Heartfire Dracustos had dropped began flashing, becoming more frantic as the flame began to shrink. The halfbreed turned his gaze to it, then shakily reached out and scooped it up.

Dracustos… what are you doing? We don’t have time for this.

“You think this is easy for me?!” Dracustos snapped. “I’m leaving my own father to die!”

Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for your own survival. Even-

He was given an angry hiss, and the spirit fell silent. The Draconian snorted, and he began to think. Surely there was something he could do. He suddenly sensed a strong presence of magic ahead. The spell was active. Spell… that’s it!

“Irascor, do you remember what that resurrection spell looked like?”

Why does it matter? Dracustos began scratching at the floor. What are you doing?

“I may not be able to do much against Wūdiǎn, but you can. As long as the sigil is unbroken, your corporeal form is next to indestructible.”

And how do you expect to get your father out of here? Or even us? Your gem is damaged and the barrier is up.

“If he can change to his human form, we’ll be fine. The barrier is meant to prevent leaving via physical and magical means, magical being travel portals. My teleportation should be fine; which I can still do, just not well. We’ll need to get close to the entrance to make sure I can make the Jump. I just need you to hold Wūdiǎn back.”

Hmph… very well. … I think that’s right.

Dracustos looked over the sigil before placing Irascor’s Heartfire in its center. Nothing happened. Confused, he looked over it again. Everything seemed right… so why wasn’t it working? The Fire flashed, and he touched a claw to it so he could hear what the spirit had to say.

This isn’t going to work. This particular spell needs something from a dragon for me to use as a body, and we don’t exactly have another skeleton lying around.

The halfbreed sighed in aggravation, then glanced down at the red trail where Wūdiǎn had punctured him.

“Will blood work?”

I don’t see why not… but that’s not a good idea. I’d need quite a bit, and you don’t need to bleed out.

“I’ll be fine.”

Dracu-

The Draconian pulled away and dragged his claws just under his wrist, then held his arm over the carving and let the red liquid run onto the ground. He soon felt lightheaded and the dizziness grew stronger the more blood he lost. He thought he was about to pass out when the sigil suddenly lit up, as if someone had flipped a switch. Like the bones from before, the halfbreed’s blood blackened as it rose up to create the spirit’s corporeal form.

Irascor pressed a hot claw against the Draconian’s bleeding arm.

“I swear you are one part brave, three parts fool,” the dragon grumbled.


Caesitus couldn’t move, Wūdiǎn’s toxins having made his muscles stiff with paralysis. The dark blue serpent was taking his time killing him, taking pleasure in the dragon’s suffering. He was unaware that he was pressed for time in catching the halfbreed, and Caesitus preferred it that way. He just needed to keep his brother distracted for long enough…

Wūdiǎn snorted and looked over his bloodied talons.

“This was fun, brother. A shame I can’t do this again.” He aimed a tail spike at the red dragon’s chest, then paused and turned his head. “Another sealing spell?” he inquired with a laugh. “I broke the last one; what makes you think this time will be any different?”

Caesitus coughed up some blood, then grinned with a weak chuckle.

“Because this is the same spell that sealed away the Dragon Kings,” he replied. His brother hissed angrily.

“That’s not possible! Such magic has been lost to time!”

“Not to those who are under its effect.”

“You sought out one of the Kings so you could seal me away… How cowardly. You could have simply ended this feud by killing me, but it seems you are too weak to do what needs to be done.” Wūdiǎn pinned down Caesitus’ neck. “Goodbye, brother.” The serpent opened his jaws to tear open his sibling’s throat.

Irascor tackled Wūdiǎn, throwing him into a nearby chamber. Dracustos followed in, going straight to his father. He paused a moment, looking over the beast’s wounds and the blood that pooled around his feet.

“Dracustos, what are you still doing here?” Caesitus demanded. He tried to move, then winced and lay still.

“I may not have been able to save Mom, but I’m saving you. Can you go into human form?”

“I can try… but you will have to carry me.”

“That’s not a problem. Just do it.” The dragon closed his eyes and his form began to shrink and shift until a man in tattered clothing lay at the halfbreed’s feet. Dracustos grabbed an arm and pulled his father over his shoulders. He nearly dropped Caesitus when a pain ripped through his side.

“Time to back out, Irascor!” he informed. There was a sudden tremor and thunderous rumbles as the chamber crumbled. Irascor appeared through the clouds of dirt and snatched up Dracustos and his father with a set of arms.

“That won’t hold him for long! Let’s actually get out this time!” Irascor galloped down the hall, hopefully for the last time, with an angry Wūdiǎn shouting curses and insults as he dug himself out from the rubble.

The dragon spirit rounded another corner, and ahead was the light of day. As they neared the exit Dracustos pressed a hand against the paw that held him, and the other on Caesitus’ shoulder. He concentrated on his gem, and before Irascor ran into the magic barrier they were suddenly outside and falling. Irascor spread his wings, letting the seaside wind carry him back up. He heard an angry roar from Wūdiǎn’s lair, and a painful tremor rippled through him as the sigil was broken again. He dropped his two companions and his flight faltered, but he managed to compose himself and catch Dracustos and his father. The halfbreed seemed to be reacting to the same pain, shrieking and gripping his chest before passing out. Irascor banked for the shore and very clumsily landed on the nearby beach. He remained still for a moment before nudging the halfbreed.

“Dracustos? Are you alright?” At first there was no response, so Irascor nudged him again. This time the Draconian shifted, then sat up with a groan.

“Ugh… what was that?” he asked as he rubbed his head.

“I think by using your blood for the resurrection spell, it Bonded us similarly to when a Heartfire is shared.”

“Huh, that explains this.” Dracustos looked over his side where three large gashes had appeared. He glanced at the spirit, then went to tend to his father. “Guess you won’t be sticking around to take us home, huh?”

“Unfortunately not.”

“Welp… I guess I’m taking a vacation. Sam’s gonna be pissed when I get home though. Think you could help me make a shelter while you’re still corporeal?”


Dracustos gently set Caesitus down under the shade of the leaves that made up the shelter’s roof. The old dragon kept insisting he helped in its construction, but his son denied each request and told him to take it easy. He was now in a deep sleep, tired from the battle and his wounds.

The Draconian turned to Irascor. The spirit lay in the sand, his body mostly gone. A gap had appeared in his chest, exposing his Heartfire. Dracustos made his way to the black beast and reached for the flame.

“What are you doing?” Irascor asked weakly.

“Saving your soul, dummy. You think I’m just going to let your Fire die?”

“Just… let me go, Dracustos. I can’t return to the stars, and you can’t help me get there.”

“I beg to differ.” Irascor curved his neck to look at the halfbreed. “I think that’s why you got stuck with me. You’ve said before that we’re bound by fate. Fate gave you a second chance, and that chance is me. You’ve already gotten back on the right path, you just need to stay on it until the time comes.” Irascor stared at the halfbreed for a moment, then gave a soft smile. The first smile Dracustos had seen from the Dragon of Wrath. “Besides, you made my mom a promise. Can’t hold it if you’re not around, right?”

“It has been a long time since someone has cared about me… since I had a friend.” Dracustos returned the smile and gave the spirit a pat on the neck.

“You’re practically part of the family at this point, Irascor. You fit right in, given how dysfunctional it is.” There was a rumble of thunder and the halfbreed glanced at the cloudy sky. “Let’s get this over with, before it rains.”

“Do you know how to assimilate another’s Heartfire?” Irascor questioned as Dracustos reached for the flame again.

“Can’t be any different then putting my own back.” With that he scooped out the Heartfire and placed it in his mouth. He felt it travel down his throat and a warmth sank into his chest, feeling as if he had drank a warm cup of tea. His body temperature suddenly rose and the Mark of Wrath burned itself back into his scales.

A drop of rain fell, hissing at the hot surface of the halfbreed’s plates. It was followed by more, and Dracustos remained in the rain for a moment. It felt nice, helping to cool his body. Eventually he went back under the roof of his shelter and sat down next to Caesitus. He heard another rumble, but it wasn’t thunder. He looked back to the cliff where they had come from as a furious roar echoed out to the sea.

“Don’t worry, he won’t starve in there,” Caesitus said. Dracustos almost flinched, not realizing his father had woken up. “One of his entrances is a cave carved out by the sea. He’ll just be living off of fish and seabirds for a long time.” The Draconian nodded, then looked to the ground.

“Dad… if Wūdiǎn is such a problem…”

“Why don’t I just kill him?” Dracustos glanced at his father, feeling shameful for asking such a question. “The same reason you didn’t leave me behind. We’re family… and it’s not easy to leave family behind. He wasn’t always like this. He was like me once, but his heart became cold when he saw the true nature of Man.” The old dragon winced at a wave of pain.

“You can tell me his history later, old man. Right now you need to shut up and rest,” Dracustos said with a grin. Caesitus gave a humored humph, winced again, and seemed to pass out.

You should get some rest as well. You lost a lot of blood back there, Irascor insisted. Dracustos nodded.

Yeah… good idea. The halfbreed lay down and spread a wing over his father like a blanket. It wasn’t long before he too was in a deep sleep.