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Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Young adult or teen  ➡  Sci-Fi & fantasy  ➡  Fantasy  ➡  Epic

Birth of the Guardian

Birth of the Guardian

 

Birth of the Guardian

The Eighth Dragon

By

Jason Daniel

@authorJMD

Published By: Jason M. Daniel

ISBN: 9781310064883

*****

Shakespir Edition

  • * * * *

© Copyright 2016 Jason Daniel

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or eBook or portions thereof in any form whatsoever without the permission of said, author. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, are coincidental.

My name is Jason Daniel. I primarily write YA, new adult fiction with focus on fantasy science fiction, suspense and thriller genera’s. I live in Maryland, near the Chesapeake Bay and I spend a lot of time writing, hiking and hanging out with family.

People often ask how I come up with my story lines. The answer is simple… I use my very active imagination. I truly believe anyone can write. Stories are meant to told. So, if you have an idea or a story in your head, you should take the time to write it down and share it with the world.

If you like what you have read, please take a moment to follow me on Twitter @authorJMD ( https://twitter.com/authorJMD) or Facebook @ www.facebook.com/jason.daniel.756. Following has its benefits. You could win personalized autographed copies of books, learn about upcoming title launches, receive advanced copies, and much more.

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Concept Image

The Eighth Dragon

Since the birth of humanity, good and evil have been locked in a struggle. Locked in an unending conflict. Unlike the conflicts of man, this ancient battle is fought by the forces of good and evil. Good, or what man has come to know as God chooses one champion — the Guardian. Evil, or what man has come to know as the devil selects seven — one warrior for each continent of the world.

Book of Revelation

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit[a] and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended.”

BIRTH OF THE GUARDIAN

They first appeared two years ago; small creatures, thought to be relatively harmless by most people, they, in fact, turned out to be a horrific plague on humanity, which unleashed death and destruction upon the world. Dragons: not the creatures of myth — they were small, but once they completed the arc with their chosen human, they became unstoppable. In all, seven men from around the world were chosen by evil in those first few days. The men were already monsters — the worst of humanity attracted the spirit of the dragons. The way a flame attracts a moth.

The Nations of the world quickly rallied their Army’s to fight the scourge, but a human army had little chance against the godlike power the dragons and their newly bonded humans held. Their ability to rain down destruction was unequaled. Within a few short weeks, the strongest nation, the United States of America, fell to Armaros. He claimed to be an archangel; he also claimed the North American continent as his domain. Shortly after Armaros claimed victory, the entire world surrendered. People lost hope as well as their faith. If a powerful nation like the United States of America couldn’t defeat a single dragon and its host then what, possible, chance did smaller countries have?

In the six days after the world surrendered, Lucifer, the strongest of all the angels, came forth. He traveled to each of the other six continents so he could secure his dominion over the earth. Performing an ancient ceremony, he consecrated the ground of each continent with his blood. Then he would offer his blood to the angel of each continent, anointing each of them as his emissary and granting them dominion over the land, each claimed.

Lillian’s opened her eyes, and she sat up, in her makeshift bed. Sweat rolled down her forehead, and her hair was soaked. Are you kidding me, she thought to herself, still panting as she fought to catch her breath. She looked toward the corner of the room, checking on Derik, her younger brother, before standing.

“Lillian, are you okay?” Jessica, Lillian’s childhood friend, asked.

“I’m all right. Just thirsty,” she said. Lillian eased around her and then stepped over the huddled mass of kids that filled the small, makeshift, cabin.

“Are you going to the well?”

“Yes,” Lillian said, whispering so she didn’t wake anyone else, “do you want me to bring you back some water?”

“If you don’t mind,” Jessica said.

Lillian walked over to the shelf and grabbed two tin cans. They were old, and a little rusty in a few places, but they still held water. “I’ll be right back.” She turned and smiled at Jessica, before pulling the rickety wooden door closed behind her. Outside, the night air was cold. Lillian reached up to the back of her neck and lifted her damp, matted hair away from her moist skin. That feels good, she thought, as she gazed up at the never-ending blanket of stars, and wondered about the date. She knew it was close to her twenty-second birthday, but she wasn’t sure just how close, or if it had already past. What the hell, it doesn’t matter anyway?

“What are you doing awake?”

Lillian swiftly turned around; the sound of tin can’s clinking together broke the still silence. “Jackson,” she said, somewhat irritated, “you scared me half to death. You’re an asshole!”

“Calm down, Lillian,” he said, rising to his feet. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Well, you did.” Lillian’s eyes narrowed in disgust before she turned and stomped away.

“Lillian, wait,” Jackson said, quickly catching up to her. “Was it the same one?” He asked.

“Yes.” Lillian rolled her eyes. “It’s always the same one. You know that.”

“Stop!” Jackson grabbed her by the arm. “You have to find a way to get over it, Lillian. It’s not healthy, it’s wearing you down.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Lillian said. Tears welled in her eyes. “I can’t help it.” Her bottom lip quivered as she fought the urge to give in to her heartbreak. “I watched them burn. They were my parent’s and I watched them burn.” She cringed at the picture in her mind as she dropped to her knees. The weight of such a horrible memory was almost too much for Lillian to endure. Nevertheless, she found a way to survive.

“Slow down…breath.” Jackson knelt beside her and tried to comfort her. “In and out — in and out. Go slow,” he said as he attempted to stop Lillian’s panic attack. Lillian’s, frantic, breath’s slowed, and she stopped crying, but the deep pain and horrible memories were just under the surface. She made it to the safety of the river the day her mom and dad burned; she shielded her brother’s eyes from the horrifying scene, that was now, scorched in her memory. However, that meant little to her; her only thoughts were of her parent’s, and knowing that they died refusing to swear allegiance to Armaros, as well as protecting her brother and her.

“I’m okay,” Lillian said. She then rubbed away the tears and forced herself to smile.

“Yea, I know.” Jackson pulled her close, kissed her on the forehead, and then helped her to her feet. “Now, let’s get that water.”

“I don’t need help getting water, Jackson. I’m not a kid.”

“I didn’t say that you’re a kid, but it’s almost dawn, and we need more than just two cans of water.”

As much as Lillian didn’t want to admit it, she welcomed Jacksons company. It wasn’t that the well was far away, only one hundred yards or so, it was the fact that he made her feel safe. After Armaros had attacked, Jackson kept them together; he kept them moving west. Without him, they would have never made it to the mountains. Years spent hunting, fishing and scouting prepared him to live off the land and helped keep their small group alive.

Lillian leaned against the moss-covered rocks and looked out over the valley. The sun had just started to rise and the tiny buds on the trees glistened with the morning dew, it reminded her of a happier time in her life. Every year, on May 2nd, going back as long as she remembered her family would set the picnic table under the oak tree in her back yard. All of her friends and family would come over, and they celebrated her birthday. For Lillian, that special day wasn’t just about her; it was about life being reborn in a way that made the world seem more beautiful in her eyes.

“Lil… Lillian,” Jackson said in a low, cautious tone as he tried getting her attention. “Lillian.” He tossed a small pebble, hitting her in the arm. “Get down!”

“Huh?” Lillian turned. With her attention sheltered deep in thought, Lillian failed to hear what Jackson heard. The subtle sound of brush rustling, along with the sound of rushing air overhead.

“Someone’s coming,” Jackson whispered as he motioned to Lillian to crouch low to the ground. Frantically, she pressed her body against the cool, damp ground and glanced from side to side; but she saw nothing. Nothing, until they appeared from behind a small outcropping of rocks. It was the only direction from which, the two men could approach unseen.

“There they are,” yelled one of the men.

“Lillian, run!” Jackson ordered her as he jumped to his feet, and prepared to take on the two men. He knew he could beat the men, but he could slow them down long enough for Lillian to escape.

“You will submit to him,” said the smaller man as he reached to his side and grabbed a pair of iron shackles. “He’s your God.”

Jackson took two steps back and pushed Lillian behind him. “Lillian, go now,” he said as he shielded her with his body. “Run!”

Lillian hesitated for a moment but then broke into a full sprint. Countless branches smacked against every part of her body as she crashed through the thick brush. Lord, please help me, she thought as she looked over her shoulder. Then she heard the most horrible sound, a gust of air directly above her. Lillian looked up; she expected to see Armaros, but the sky was empty. In the distance, she heard one of the men behind her. He was loud, and his heavy footsteps trampled through the thick brush, letting Lillian know just how close he was.

He wasn’t far behind her, and in a split second, she made her decision. Lillian turned and started running to the cliffs. In her mind, she didn’t have a choice. She couldn’t lead the men to her brother, and she couldn’t turn back. Her only option was the jagged rocky cliffs that towered over the gorge. It was close to a thousand feet deep, and impossible to climb down, but it was her only option.

Lillian reached the cliffs and collapsed to her knees in tears. She was exhausted, and more importantly, she realized her life was over. With her decision made, she clasped her hands and began to pray. “Dear Lord,” she said, “please, forgive me for what I am about to do. I cannot give myself to him. I won’t do it…I just can’t.” Lillian’s prayer was interrupted.

“You little bitch.” The man stood gasping for breath. “You made me chase you.” Lillian looked up at the man. He was tall, massive and looked as if he was born to inflict punishment on people. His face was scarred and disfigured from countless battles, and his shaved head was covered in sweat. Other than Armaros, he was the scariest creature Lillian had ever seen. Weak, scared and without hope, she pushed herself to her feet.

“He can’t have me!” she shouted as she tightly clenched both fists in defiance. “I die free.” Lillian stretched out her arms and stepped backward, to the edge, letting herself fall gracefully from the edge of the cliff. In her heart, she was at peace. Her soul would be free, and she honestly believed she would soon be reunited with her parents.

“Stupid girl,” the man muttered as he turned and walked away.

The sound of wind rushed by Lillian as she fell. For some reason, it was oddly calming to her; it was pure, peaceful and reminded her of an afternoon storm. Then she felt it, a searing pain that burned like fire throughout her entire body. It felt like a fierce flame had consumed every inch of her. Hell…I’m in hell, she thought. God, please, she prayed, forgive me, Lillian begged, the sound of wind rushing past her limp, falling body stopped.

“Lillian, you are safe now. Put your feet down.” She heard a voice drift through her mind. Confused and dazed, she opened her eyes, and then screamed in terror. She was twenty feet off the ground.

Oh, my God, what is happening to me?

“Not God.” The voice answered. “I am called Ariel.”

Calm came over Lillian and she listened to the voice, putting her feet down as Ariel lowered them to the ground. No! Dear Lord, not me, she thought, seeing her reflection in the still water of the small stream at the bottom of the gorge.

“Be calm, my dear,” the voice said. “You are safe now.”

Lillian stared into the water, captivated by the fierce eyes gleaming back. They were her eyes, but different in every way possible; no longer were they a dull shade of brown, her eyes had changed color; they were brilliant blue, the color of a beautiful ocean. Then she noticed her chest. Her tattered shirt was covered, covered by what looked like scales. Lillian looked closer; she poked, prodded and picked at the diamond shaped pattern with her fingers, but they wouldn’t give. Ariel’s scales were designed by God himself. They served as protection, like armor, and they formed an impenetrable breastplate when Ariel joined with Lillian.

“What are you?” Lillian stumbled back. “What have you done to me?”

“As I said before, I am called Ariel,” he answered. “And I have done nothing. It is our Lord, our God, who has joined our fates.”

“God,” Lillian screamed as she spun around and tried to pull Ariel from her back. “Get off me!” At once, Ariel released his razor sharp talons from her ribcage and his arms unwrapped from her chest. Lillian screamed out in agony as Ariel’s talons ripped through her flesh for the second time; Lillian’s legs buckled, her body gave way and she fell to the ground, overwhelmed with pain. Resting on her hands and knees, she looked up to catch Ariel landing on the boulder in front of her. She was stunned. Stunned at how breathtaking and beautiful Ariel appeared. Diamond shaped scales covered most of his small body. They were the same colors of the eyes Lillian just saw staring back at her from the stream. A spectacular array of brilliant blue and emerald green scales that gave way to feathers that swept down from his back, flowing to the tips of his wings that folded neatly against his side.

“Lillian.” She heard Ariel’s voice within her mind. “Time is not our friend this day. Lucifer has consecrated this land, both he and Armaros may have already felt my presence,” Ariel lowered his head trying to appear less threatening.

Your presence, she thought, rising to her knees.

“Yes, my presence.”

“You can hear me?” Lillian asked aloud.

“Yes.” Ariel’s words echoed in Lillian’s mind. “I can hear you, and you can hear me.”

“How is this possible?” She asked as she leaned forward, her eyes wide with amazement.

“I am truly sorry, but there is no more time.” Ariel’s wings swept outward and with one downward thrust, he leaped twenty feet above Lillian. “He is coming for us.”

“Who is coming?” Lillian asked just as Ariel dove towards her.

Once again, Lillian screamed out in agony as Ariel bonded to her back. His arms wrapped around her chest, his talons sunk deep into her ribcage. The searing pain of fiery flames tore through her body quicker than before, but the sensation of being consumed by flames was still high enough to drive the air from her lungs as her back arched from the shock. What are you doing to me? She thought as the light faded, and she passed out.

“Saving us,” Ariel answered.

Lillian’s eyes opened slowly, and for a moment, her new world appeared blurry and distorted. She could tell she was in complete darkness, yet somehow, she could see. It wasn’t sight, as she knew it to be, it was something more, something different. Everything appeared to be in shades of gray and blue. Then she realized where she was — she was under water. Immediately, panic set in and she tried pushing for the surface.

“Be calm, Lillian,” Ariel’s voice drifted through her mind. “I am breathing for the both of us,” he said.

Breathing for the both of us, how is that possible?

“Trust in me, it is possible,” he answered. “We are Ariel; we have dominion over all that is sea or ocean. All waters of this earth fall under our power, our influence. We are the Lion of God, the tip of his spear, the deliverer of his vengeance and justice.”

“Please,” Lillian pleaded, “tell me what is going on? Who are you? What is this? I can’t handle it anymore.”

“You have been chosen as the Guardian.” Ariel’s voice echoed with reverence in Lillian’s mind. “And I am your dragon. Together we will fight to restore peace and harmony to this world.”

“This world is dead,” said Lillian, in her mind. “There is no saving it or us.”

“You are wrong, girl!” Ariel said. “Let me show you.”

All of a sudden, every muscle in her body contracted at once, convulsing under the immense strain as Ariel shared the whole of his knowledge with her. For hours, the two floated beneath the sea as Ariel completed the arc — joining with Lillian. All his understanding and knowledge would become hers; and when completed, they would be one. Both, their bodies and mind’s would become two halves of a whole. The pain she felt when joining would stop, the fear and ignorance would disappear, and most importantly, they would be ready to fight the evil that plagued the world.

Lillian stared at her reflection as she skimmed over the glass-like surface of Sargasso Sea. The water was a bright aqua blue, and as smooth as glass. Gliding over the waters mirror-like surface gave her a chance to see what she had become. Once again, she fixated on her eyes; she fixated on the color: a beautiful shimmering blue. Ariel’s arms wrapped around her chest, his talons, firmly anchored in her ribcage, creating a lifesaving, protective breastplate. Ariel’s hind legs wrapped around her hips, from her back, and molded over her thighs with his talons clasping her flesh just above her knees. Together, they completed each other, they transformed each other, and even though it had only been one day; Lillian had been reborn. Reborn into a warrior that would soon fight to save humanity.

“Ariel,” Lillian spoke in her mind, “you’re sure we can track my brother and the rest of them?”

“Yes, Lillian,” Ariel said, calming Lillian’s fears.

“When do we go back?”

“Tonight,” Ariel said, “just after the sun sets.

The sky was dark, covered in a thick blanket of swirling gray clouds, as Lillian and Ariel swept in from the coastline. Thunder and lightning filled the air around them as the wind driven rain pelted their bodies. From five hundred feet in the air, the first town came into view. It was a wasteland and clearly abandoned. The buildings were destroyed by fire; many of the cars had been flipped over and torn apart as if they were nothing more than a child’s toy.

“My God,” Lillian looked on with sadness.

“Focus, Lillian.” Ariel’s words distracted her from the destruction below. “It is your blood that flows through your brother. Allow that connection to guide us.” Ariel’s right wing dipped slightly and they banked to the right, changing their course.

“I feel him,” Lillian smiled. “He’s scarred, but he’s alive.”

“Good.” Ariel’s soothing voice answered. “I also feel him. Our bond is strong, and will grow even stronger with time.” It didn’t take Lillian long to realize where she was headed. Her brother was in the mountains, in the tiny cabin that Jackson built.

“How long will it take us to get there?” Lillian asked Ariel.

“Not long,” Ariel’s wings, pushed harder, driving them even faster. Lillian smiled and became excited as the wind and rain swept over her body. At their speed, the rain was like thousands of tiny stones striking her eyes and skin, but she felt no pain, no discomfort, only the sensation of water and wind flowing over her. Ariel didn’t have to convey his thoughts, she knew it wouldn’t take them long to reach her brother. As they drew closer to the mountains, rain turned to snow. The air was cold, one might even say bone-chilling, but it had no effect on Lillian. She felt strong, unstoppable, and pushed on even harder.

“There it is,” Lillian pointed to a ridgeline in the distance, “go down, Ariel.”

Ariel ignored Lillian’s request and banked to the left, flying higher. “They are not alone, Lillian. Look closely.” He urged her, his tone was cautious and she knew Ariel was concerned.

Lillian’s eyes focused, her vision was clearer and crisper than she had as a human, and she zeroed in on what Ariel saw. One of the men that attacked her and Jackson was sitting on a log in front of fire while he sharpened a large knife. The curved blade was almost as long as his arm and the light from the fire leaped from the razor sharp edge as he ran the small sharpening stone across the deadly blade. Like a damn bursting, fear and anger flooded Lillian’s thoughts. She was overwhelmed with concern for her brother, as well as her friends. They were in grave danger and she needed to act, and act fast.

“Ariel,” she called out in her mind, “we have to help them.”

Ariel growled, baring his sharp teeth and snapped at the air; his roar was louder than thunder and shook the trees, causing snow to fall from the branches. Then he tucked his wings tightly against his side and dove toward the ground. Wind and snow screamed by blazingly fast, as Lillian’s stare remained fixed on her adversary. Her mind was focused, locked on one objective, the threat below. She wanted him dead. He was a hunter. The lowest of the low, he captured runaways and brought them back to Armaros. If they refused to swear allegiance, they were killed, or worse, held like cattle and feed to his dragon.

In mere seconds, Lillian and Ariel dove several thousand feet. With only feet to spare, and at the last possible moment, Ariel unfurled his wings, catching the air, and slowed their speed. A gust of wind slammed into the ground throwing up an enormous veil of snow and ice around the hunter. Then, with great force, Lillian hit the ground; a loud, thunderous crack rang out over the ridge.

Expecting to see Armaros, the man rose to his feet, his eyes squinted as he struggled to see through the cloud of snow and debris that Lillian’s landing threw into the air. Silence fell over the ridgeline as the man cautiously stepped closer to Lillian and Ariel. He was about to kneel, to whom he thought was Armaros, when the cloud of debris partially cleared. Shocked, the hunter couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Just twenty feet away, knelt Lillian; with one knee on the ground and her head down, her hair fell over her face, hiding it from view. Her fists were tightly clenched, her impact so strong it fractured the large rock on which she had landed. Ariel’s wings were swept forward, curving around her in a protective shield. The hunter, immediately, noticed the color. They weren’t the fiery red and black he expected to see. They were the color of the most beautiful ocean waters — shimmering aqua blue and emerald green, tipped with hints of gold.

“Give-me-my-brother,” Lillian demanded, her soft, gentle voice conveyed her implied threat, and she slowly rose to her feet. Ariel’s wings parted and folded beautifully against his body. They were long and slender, following the contour of Lillian’s body flawlessly, they stopped just below her knees.

“These souls belong to Armaros.” The Hunter announced, his deep raspy voice showed no fear, no hesitation, and both Ariel and Lillian knew his devotion to Armaros was absolute.

“Careful.” Ariel urged Lillian, “He is more than human. He has been claimed by Armaros. Anointed by consuming his blood; he will be stronger, faster and much more dangerous than expected.”

The man’s posture changed as he squared off to face Lillian and Ariel in battle. “I know what you are… Guardian!” The man sneered as he fondled his razor sharp blade, tossing it from hand to hand. He welcomed battle, and the chance to measure his skill against the Guardian was an invitation he couldn’t refuse. “Brother,” he shouted, calling to the second man, “it’s time.”

Suddenly, the sound of heavy footsteps burst forth from the shelter. It was the second man, the man who watched Lillian fall from the cliffs. In his hand, he held a long chain, five feet or so, and at the end was a solid steal ball covered in four-inch spikes. Swinging the ball, the man slowly stepped closer, his eyes locked on Lillian.

“Interesting,” he said. A sarcastic grin came over battle scared face. “She’s much smaller than Armaros.” He laughed, confidently.

Lillian stepped back, her heart pounded deep within her chest pumping fear throughout her body.

“Easy,” Ariel said. “Have faith in our bond, Lillian. We must fight as one, or we cannot fight at all.”

Lillian closed her eyes for a brief moment. She understood — Ariel gave her the strength, the power, but it was she that must put it to use.

Our left, Lillian thought, her beautiful eyes shimmered in the light of the fire as she and Ariel leaped into the air, bounding over the first man, she landed directly behind him. Instantly, the man twisted around to face her. His blade raised high, it sliced through the air on a direct path toward Lillian’s neck. Ariel’s right wing unfurled and swept around to shield them from the man’s blade. A loud, screeching sound pierced the air as the razor sharp edge raked across Ariel’s wing. Twisting at the hip, Lillian turned toward the hunter, and extended her left arm, striking the man in the center of his chest. Surprised by her own strength, Lillian watched as the man’s body flew fifty feet into the forest.

“You bitch.” The second hunter screamed and swung his weapon at Lillian. Lillian reacted quickly and raised her arm just as the massive spiked ball struck her. The four-inch long spikes tore through her forearm, ripping through flesh and crushing bone. Excruciating pain raced through her body and Lillian screamed out in agony as she stumbled back. “I’ll have your head, Guardian.” The hunter yelled confidently as he pulled on the chain, dragging Lillian closer. Blood poured from Lillian’s wound, covering the clean white snow in a river of dark red. She had only seconds to defend herself, or her life would end.

“I’m sorry, Ariel.” Lillian struggled to think. “I’m sorry that I’ve failed you.”

“Faith, Lillian. Have faith, and trust in our bond.”

With one hand dragging Lillian closer and the other reaching for a blade, the man smiled, proudly, at the thought of his, impending, victory. “A Guardian, huh,” the man said. “Your kind is weak.” Lillian closed her eyes. She was ready to accept her fate, ready to die. Until she realized, she couldn’t just give up. She couldn’t leave her brother to suffer at the hands of such a monster. She pushed herself up and spun around.

“Now, Ariel…now!” Ariel’s right wing extended out; and the razor sharp tip of one feather brushed delicately across the man’s neck, just under his jaw.

The man’s eyes opened wide in shock, his grip on the chain weakened, and it dropped to the ground, link by link. For two, terrifying, seconds, he stood there, just staring, then blood burst from his throat and he dropped to his knees.

“Oh God,” Lillian screamed out in terror as she watched the hunter collapse. “What have I done?” She fell forward on her hands and knees.

“We did what we had to do,” Ariel whispered in Lillian’s mind.

“But we killed him… I killed him.” She cried, the man’s blood continued to flow—gradually pooling in the fine white snow, until it enveloped Lillian’s fingers.

“He was already dead.” Ariel tried to sooth Lillian’s heartache. “His soul died the moment he was claimed by Armaros. We, only, destroyed the body.”

From behind, Lillian heard the other man stumbling from the tree line. She turned and watched as he stumbled, struggling to run for his life.

“We must stop him,” Ariel said.

“No.” Lillian sobbed, her heart fighting to accept what she had done, “There’s been enough death tonight. Let him go.”

From her left, Lillian heard the creaks and groans of the cabin door opening. She quickly turned away and labored to pull herself into the darkness of the shadows.

“They can’t see me like this,” she said, her fear filled Ariel’s mind. “They won’t understand.”

“They will,” Ariel assured her.

Ariel’s assurance didn’t matter. Lillian was convinced that her brother and her friends wouldn’t understand. They would fear her and either run or maybe even attack her. In their experience, there was no such thing as a good dragon — a guardian. Surely, they would panic at the very sight of her and Ariel.

“Lillian.” A voice shattered the sound of Lillian’s sobbing. “Is that you?”

Lillian couldn’t bring herself to turn around and look, but it mattered little. She knew the voice well. It was her brother Derik. Only twelve years old, Lillian would do anything for him. She would endure any hardship—suffer any anguish. She loved him with all her heart and soul, but she couldn’t face him like this.

“Derik, don’t.” Lillian whimpered as she, desperately, tried to clean the blood from hands, using snow. “Don’t come any closer.”

Ariel’s head turned to face Derik and he let out a low rumbling snarl.

“Don’t scare him,” Lillian said aloud, her words meant for Ariel. “He’s my baby brother.”

“I’m not a baby anymore. None of us are.” Derik ignored Ariel’s warning and rushed to his sister’s side, kneeling next to her. “What has happened to you?”

“Get away from that thing,” Jackson screamed as he held Jessica behind him, thinking he needed to protect her from Lillian and Ariel.

“She’s not a thing.” Derik turned, yelling at Jackson while still trying to comfort Lillian. “She’s my sister.”

“That monster is not Lilly.” Jackson took several steps away, pushing Jessica back as well. “That’s not your sister, Derik.”

Lillian struggled to her feet and turned to face Jackson. “It is me, Jackson,” she said, tears ran down her, soft, pearl shaded, checks; and blood poured from her arm and trickled along the chain to the ground. “It’s me… I promise you, it’s me.” Lillian’s eyes glistened brilliantly in the light of the fire—almost glowing. The beautiful mixture of colors caught everyone by surprise as they stood in astonishment. Jessica gasped, her hands rose, covering her mouth in dismay.

“Your eyes,” Jessica said, almost whispering the words to herself. Lillian stepped forward; the sound of the chain dragging caught her attention and without looking, she reached down and pulled the spiked metal ball from her arm, and then dropped it to the ground.

“It’s not what you think,” she said. “We’re not evil.” For the first time, Lillian thought of her and Ariel as one being—two creatures, one mind.

“Lillian, there is no time for such nonsense,” Ariel pleaded with her. “Armaros would have felt the loss of a claimed soul. He may already be on his way.” Ariel snarled at the thought.

“What about them? We can’t leave them here?” Lillian said aloud.

“With your injury, we can carry only one.”

“Then we make as many trips as it takes,” Lillian silently answered.

“You’re not taking us anywhere,” Jackson yelled. “Jessica, run,” he said as he turned and ran, pulling Jessica along with him.

Lillian understood that time was short, and she reached out for her brother and pulled him close to her body. “Hold on.” Lillian glanced down at her brother with a smile. “This might be a little scary.” Ariel’s wings unfolded and rustled twice. Then with one forceful downward motion, they leaped up, over one hundred feet in the air.

“Yes, I’ve heard of them,” Lillian answered Ariel’s unspoken words. “We call them the Great Lakes.”

“That much water will, certainly, hide us from Armaros,” Ariel said. “We’ll be safest there.” Ariel banked and headed north.

“Armaros, my Lord.” The man knelt before him. “A hunter has returned. He is requesting an audience.”

Armaros stepped down from his throne. At one time, it was a statue of Abraham Lincoln, but the searing heat of Armaros’s fire scorched away any remnant of the once great President, and it was reshaped into an alter where he was to be worshiped, and where his subjects came seeking favors while he held court.

“And just how many souls did this hunter bring us?”

“None, my Lord.” The man’s voice trembled as he lowered his head in fear.

“None!” Armaros screamed furiously. “Bring him to me.” The man glanced to his right, and waved, motioning for two guards to escort the hunter before Armaros. The hunter was tired and looked broken as he limped into view. “You,” Armaros said, as he pointed at the hunter. “Why are you here? Why have you returned empty handed?”

“She’s here, Lord Armaros,” the man announced as he lowered himself to one knee. “The Guardian has been chosen.”

Armaros turned and walked back to his throne. “And how is it that you have come across such information?” He asked. His tone filled with rage and his fierce eyes with anger as he focused on the man.

“My brother and I saw her,” he answered. “We met her in battle, five days walk from here, in the mountains.”

“In battle,” Armaros stood once again, “and yet, somehow you survived your encounter with this Guardian,” he said, as he laughed, doubting the hunters story.

“Yes, my Lord. She let me live.” The hunter looked up at Armaros.

“I suppose she did.” Armaros leaped to the hunter’s side, and then grabbed him by his throat. “Unfortunately, for you,” he said, as he lifted the man off the ground. “I’m less forgiving.” Armaros slowly tightened his grip around the hunter’s neck, and then violently jerked the man’s neck to the left, breaking his spine. “Feed, my friend,” he said. And from the shadows came an earth-shattering roar, followed by the sound of razor sharp claws being raked across solid marble as the dragon crept forward. Little by little, the dragon emerged from the shadows. He was larger than Ariel. His wings had no feathers; they were just thick leathery skin and bone. His scales were solid black with scorching red edges, and a row of sharp, dagger-like spines ran from his head to the end of his tail. He was a fierce, battle-hardened creature who lived to unleash death and destruction.

“Keagan,” Armaros called to the commander his guard, as he turned and walked back to his throne.

“Yes, Lord Armaros.” Keagan stepped forward and bowed before Armaros. “Command thy servant,” he said.

“Bring me a child,” said Armaros, as he slammed his fist against his throne.

“Yes, my Lord.” Keagan stood and set forth to carry out his orders.

Armaros, impatiently, sat on his throne of destruction while he waited for Keagan to return. I will end her, he thought, his jaw clenched at the thought of meeting the Guardian in battle.

“Lord Armaros,” Keagan said as he returned. “Here is the child you requested.” Keagan pushed the young boy to the ground. “Kneel before your Lord,” he commanded the terrified child, who couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old. The small boy was weak and frail with spindly arms that trembled as he looked up at Armaros.

“Please,” the boy begged, “don’t hurt me.”

Armaros leaned forward, “look at me boy,” he said, as he sneered. “Do you not wish to please me, to serve me?” Armaros rose up from his throne and stepped closer to trembling child.

“Yes,” he cried.

Armaros stretched out his arms and slowly closed his eyes. “Then accept your fate, my child.” Dragon, he called out in his mind, commanding the creature to bond with him. Without hesitation, the dragon vaulted into the air and onto his master’s back. The creature’s arms wrapped around Armaros’s shoulders, crisscrossing over his chest and his long, jagged claws ripped through his flesh, sinking deep into his ribcage, completing the arc with his human master. Armaros unleashed a raspy sigh and looked down at the boy.

Although he was too young to comprehend most of the world’s perils, the boy, instinctively, understood his fate. “No,” he screamed in terror as jumped to his feet and ran. Armaros smirked, then launched himself into the air, landing directly in the young boy’s path.

“Come now, boy,” Armaros said. “Do you really think you can outrun me?” Armaros reached down and seized the boy by his throat, and lifted him into the air. “Your sacrifice is crucial,” Armaros grinned at the thought of taking the boy’s life. With a single powerful thrust, he drove his hand into the boy’s chest and wrapped his fingers around his pure heart. “This will get her attention,” he said as he tore out the, still beating, organ and dropped the child’s lifeless corpse to the ground, a tempered thud filled the silence.

“Oh God,” Lillian screamed out in pain as she clutched her chest and fell to the ground. Her back arched as an agonizing sigh wafted from her lungs and the pain spread to every part of her body. “Make it stop,” she cried out, gasping for air as the pain raced through her. Ariel, some hundred feet away, erupted from the calm, cold waters of the lake; a trail of water followed him as he raced to Lillian’s side.

“Lillian,” he called to her, with his mind, as his wings unfurled and he landed by her side, “roll over.” Ariel prodded Lillian, and pushed her to her side, then quickly bonded with her.

Once again, his razor sharps claws tore through Lillian’s flesh. But now the arc was different. There was no pain. There was no blood. Lillian felt only relief—only comfort, as the dark loneliness and pain lifted from her body. “He killed him,” she said, sighing as she fought to catch her breath.

“I know,” said Ariel, “he performed a culling.”

Because of their bond created during the arc, Lillian knew what a culling was; the murder, the sacrifice of an innocent, or a genuine believer at the hands of Armaros. The act of such a slaughter took its toll on Lillian. As the Guardian, Lillian felt the young boy’s death. She experienced his pain and suffering as if it were her own.

“He won’t stop,” Ariel said. “His goal is to force you to face him before we are ready.”

“Face him,” Lillian said. Her eyes drifted towards her younger brother. “How many will he kill?” She asked.

“As many as it takes,” Answered Ariel. “As many as it takes.”

The End

Book Extras

Ariel

Source: Wikipedia.com

Ariel (Hebrew: אריאל, Ari’el, Arael or Ariael‎) is an archangel found primarily in Jewish and Christian mysticism and Apocrypha. The name Ariel, “Lion of God” or “Hearth of God,” occurs in the Hebrew Bible but as the name of an angel, the earliest source is unclear.

Fallen Angels

Source: Wikipedia.com

Armârôs (Aramaic: תרמני, Greek: Αρεαρώς) was the eleventh on a list of 20 leaders of a group of 200 fallen angels called Grigori or “Watchers” in the Book of Enoch. The name means “cursed one” or “accursed one”. The name ‘Armaros’ is likely a Greek corruption of what may be an Aramaic name; Armoni is possibly the original. Michael Knibb, Professor of Old Testament Studies at King’s College London, lists the meaning of his name as being “the one from Hermon”.

“Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it.” – Book of Enoch

Source: Wikipedia.com

Asmodeus: one of the most evil of the fallen angels, being an archdemon.

Asmodeus (/ˌæzməˈdiːəs/; Greek: Ασμοδαίος, Asmodaios) or Ashmedai (/ˈæʃmɨˌdaɪ/; Hebrew: אַשְמְדּאָי‎, ʾAšmədʾāy; see below for other variations) is a king of demons1 mostly known from the deutero-canonical Book of Tobit, in which he is the primary antagonist.2 The demon is also mentioned in some Talmudic legends, for instance, in the story of the construction of the Temple of Solomon. He was supposed by some Renaissance Christians to be the King of the Nine Hells. Asmodeus also is referred to as one of the seven princes of Hell. In Binsfeld’s classification of demons, each one of these princes represents one of the seven deadly sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride). Asmodeus is the demon of lust and is therefore responsible for twisting people’s sexual desires.

Source: Wikipedia.com

Barbatos: a fallen angel who is a great count, earl and duke of hell.

Barbatos is an earl and duke of Hell, ruling thirty legions of demons and has four kings as his companions to command his legions. He can speak to animals, can tell the future, conciliates friends and rulers, and can lead men to treasure hidden by the enchantment of magicians.

Source: Wikipedia.com

Beleth: fallen angel who is a terrible king over 85 legions. When appearing he looks very fierce to frighten the conjurer or to see if he is courageous. The conjurer must be brave, and holding a hazel wand in his hand must draw a triangle by striking towards the South, East, and upwards, then commanding Beleth into it by means of some conjurations.

If he does not obey, the conjurer must rehearse all threatens the conjurations said and then Beleth will obey and do all that he is commanded. But the conjurer must be respectful and do homage unto Beleth due to his rank, and hold a silver ring in the middle finger of the left hand against his face, as it is the use of hellish kings and princes before Amaymon.

Source: Wikipedia.com

Andras: fallen angel marquis and appears raven-headed.

Andras4 is a Great Marquis of Hell, having under his command thirty legions of demons. He sows discord among people.

According to the Goetia, Andras was a Grand Marquis of Hell, appearing with a winged angel’s body and the head of an owl or raven, riding upon a strong black wolf and wielding a sharp and bright sword. He was also responsible for sowing discord, and commanded 30 infernal legions. He is the 63rd of the 72 spirits of Solomon.

Source: Wikipedia.com

Botis: fallen angel who appears as a viper.

Botis is a Great President and Earl of Hell, commanding sixty legions of demons. He tells of all things past and future, and reconciles friends and foes.

He is depicted as an ugly viper, but when he changes shape, he puts himself in human shape, with big teeth and two horns. When in human shape he carries a sharp and bright sword in his hand.

Source: Wikipedia.com

Kokabiel (Aramaic: כוכבאל, Greek: χωβαβιήλ), also spelled Kôkabîêl, Kôkhabîêl, Kakabel, Kochbiel, Kokbiel, Kabaiel, or Kochab, considered the ‘angel of the stars,’ [1] is a fallen angel, the fourth mentioned of the 20 Watcher leaders of the 200 fallen angels in the Book of Enoch.2 His name is generally translated as “star of God,”3 which is fitting since it has been said that Kokabiel taught astrology to his associates.

Concept Art & Sketches

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Birth of the Guardian

In a world consumed by evil and the fallen archangels of hell, comes a girl. With the, smallest, glimmer of hope, she is chosen to fight for humanity, and all that is good in the world. She is the Guardian. The Eighth Dragon is a unique blend of his imaginative interpretation of historical mythology, religion, and dystopian world science fiction. The Eighth Dragon plunges the reader into the classic conflict between good and evil where the world is consumed by death and destruction: a world of fallen angels, dragons, and deadly adversaries. The Eighth Dragon is filled with a sense of non-stop excitement and suspense as the reader watches a mythical world unfold before their eyes.

  • ISBN: 9781310064883
  • Author: Jason Daniel
  • Published: 2016-03-21 21:20:12
  • Words: 7576
Birth of the Guardian Birth of the Guardian