Loading...
Menu
Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Romance  ➡  Fantasy  ➡  Sci-fi

The TalonFyre Chronicles: A Second Chance

The TalonFyre Chronicles:

A Second Chance

 

Written By

Ronald Steven Lessiter

and

Casey Thomas Lehman

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE!

This book, series and its characters are both © Ronald Steven Lessiter & Casey Thomas Lehman 2015

 

ISBN: 978-0-692-51419-1

[+                     +]

Copyright will be planned to register upon date of publication 

 

I have strict fanfiction/fanart guidelines going from most to least severe in offense in this order:

 

        ABSOLUTELY NO NON-CANON PAIRINGSESPECIALLY SLASH!!!

        NO FETISH IMAGERY/STORIES!!!

        NO ADULT IMAGES/STORIES WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE CREATORS FIRST!

        No AUs

        No gender-swapping

        No using the dragon characters in fanfiction in any way, shape or form

        Ultimar’s use must follow cannon

     Cross-overs are only allowed with Ultimar/Mian due to the nature of their canon.

Special [+Thanks/Dedication –  +
++
++]Shalone Howard, A.K.A. [email protected]

The talented artist who created the original pictures of TalonFyre, Angel, Flare and Hikari.  Thank you so much for getting me into fanfiction, as this series would not have been possible without the original inspiration of a certain draconic world.  God bless you for your help, Shalone.  Even if it was indirect, you’ve allowed this to come to

fruition.

 

Abby Williams

The young woman who created the inner art for the book.  Thank you, and I hope the drawings you’ve done add a lot of credit to your portfolio!

 

Clare Keating, A.K.A [email protected]

The amazing creator of the “Demon on the Battlefield” comic. She has inspired me to make original stories with her works and has also reawakened and furthered my love for dragons.  She is also a novelist at this time.  I look forward to reading her books as well.  I have also commissioned a comic to be made of War of the Third Demon, the prequel to my book.  This will be published sometime after the second book in the Chronicles.

 

Panthera Arven, A.K.A [email protected]

Another creator who inspired me to make original content and also the artist for this book’s cover/ending picture.  She has a comic by the name of “Chakra: Battle of Titans”, which is very interesting, especially if the reader prefers talking animals as heroes instead of samurai or psychic warriors.

 

[email protected] A.K.A [email protected]

Although I’m without an official name, his stories took away my fear of using religious references in my books.

 

My friend Karen, A.K.A [email protected]

For the inspiration to keep moving with the story and her kind remarks.

 

Gary Gygax and David Lance Arneson, creators of Dungeons and Dragons®

This game had massive impact on War of the Third Demon’s multitude of species and other aspects of the world The TalonFyre Chronicles is set in.

 

 

E. L. James, Creator of Fifty Shades of Gray, for showing a fanfic can be made into a real book and complete universe of its own.

 

Table of Contents

Prologue and History as told by TalonFyre

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

 

 

[]Prologue and History as told by TalonFyre

 

THERE was a war a few years back.  Pretty horrible stuff.  A demon dragon, who went by the name Rayburn, came from a faraway land and declared war or enslavement on every dragon alive, and death to all non-dragons. 

Only thing that can stop a demon dragon is a balance dragon, born fifteen years before a demon dragon comes to call.  The balance dragons have a power called “soul breath” – rips an evil being’s soul from its body and burns them both to nothing.  Name was Electus.  Means chosen or something, I dunno. 

The guy led the Wings of Angelus – a bunch of dragons that fight for peace against the Demon Flame Army.  The guy also had a tail-held obsidian sword the Council gave ‘Im called the “Dark Reaper”.

Rayburn had a daughter called Nocturnal – half demon dragon, half red dragon.  She did a lot of his crap – never complained once. 

When the gal went up against Electus halfway through the war she got her ass handed to her.  Heard he planned to put her head to the “Reaper” as soon as he took her down, but then he got a look at her eyes – said they had pure sadness in ‘em.  Guess he didn’t have the guts to finish the job.  I woulda.  Still, turned out to be a good thing.  The gal turned into the right hand of Electus, a General with all the tactics the Wings of Angelus could use.  Even ended up being his mate near the end of the war.  Mate… word makes me cringe. 

Rayburn had control of golems, black-blooded demon animals, lizard men, undead and a whole bunch of other creepy things.  His worst weapon was the Thanatos Golem.  Thanatos means death, or so I heard – used it to attack the city of Resistance’s main hold where the Seven-Dragon Council lived – Darastrix Charis.  The damn place had fifty-foot thick steel walls that were enchanted to make magic and physical attacks bounce off of ‘em.  The problem was that this thing had the power to rip through then absorb barrier enchantments like they were made by an amateur.  Rayburn thought ahead for that.

The Seven Dragon Council was made up of dragons that represented virtue or something.  The thing didn’t reach ‘em though – ended up breaking down halfway through the fight with Nocturnal’s branch of the wings.  Dunno why, probably ran outta gas… heh.

Anyway, the Angelus ended up cornering the bastard in his castle.  Electus was pissed when he heard Rayburn kidnapped his mate and threatened to have his way with her if they didn’t give up.  Bad idea on his end.

 Electus went borderline crazy after the guy said it and led a full-scale assault on the guy’s castle.  They lost a lot of good warriors that day, but Rayburn was toast.  The asshole didn’t have a chance to do anything to Nocturnal.  Worst of all, she was the guy’s daughter for crying out loud!  Who the hell does that shit!?

Enough about the war, on to me.  I was just a kid when I became a mercenary.  Well, I don’t have enough scales to count all the jobs I’ve done, some good, some bad, some just plain wrong.  One was so bad I just took off when they weren’t looking (wanted me to smash an unborn dragon in its nest!  I’m not that desperate!)

My main employer was Scrape, an old S.O.B. who would kill you so much as look at you.  Heh, he got one of his very best top mercs to come at me my first day.  Rip they called him.   Well, all I said was, “Rip you’re gonna’ need a new arm when I’m done with you.”  Of course, he was at least twice my size and ten times as rough looking. 

He tells me, “You have ten seconds to tell me why I shouldn’t skin you alive, creep.  This is my territory!”  Funny – he only waited nine.  Then he says, “Time’s up, time to die.” 

I stop him and say, “I’ll give you one chance to cut through me and my armor.  You lose; you lose a forepaw, maybe a few other things.”

He laughs making the whole place roar with laughter. “Alright,” he says.

Well, his attack was pretty much brute force with a hidden surprise, a hidden sword under his arm.  Dirty S.O.B.  The minute that blade hits my armor it shatters.  He just looks like he’s seen a ghost.  In fact, the entire place does.

“Well, guess what that means?” I ask him.

He stands there speechless.  Well, one hit of my blade not only takes both his right horns clean off spreading blood on me and the others watching, it takes his forepaw too.  “Didn’t I say so?”  I yell.

I just stand there watching him writhe in pain, I didn’t enjoy it – he just needed to be shown his place.   “I’ll get the medics to fix you up so you’ll live, but not happily.  Mind the lopsided stares too, you’ll creep the kids out,” I tell him.

Scrape just hands me the employer’s deed for the guy, says he’s no use now and he wants me to take his place…….funny.  I point my blade straight at his neck and I swear he stopped breathing, “Please….no,” he begs. 

“Hey, I’m not evil,” I say as I pull it away.

 

When I went to work for Rayburn he noticed my claws, but never asked me why I had flames running through them.  I only did one or two jobs for him, and after he found out who I was,  I barely made it out – almost lost an eye and got a claw knocked clean off which he kept.  Meh, it grew back, admittedly crooked but still works.

 

All I remember was him saying, “You’re just like your parents, but even more foolish.  I will enjoy snuffing your existence clean.” 

Well, he got damn near close, but not close enough.  If you’re wondering why he had all those scars and the gash over his eye – well, that was me.  Didn’t say I wasn’t strong, did he?

Heard Rip is looking for me, probably still mad.  That’s gratitude for you.  If Rip finds me knocked out cold, both of us go down….

As for my home world – well more like home world in hell anyway.  It’s mostly desolate landscape with merc camps dotted everywhere.  Occasionally there’s a camp with Rayburn’s troops that escaped the war.  Gotta’ find my way back, but sitting here thinking to myself isn’t going to help anything!

Chapter 1

Awakening

 

IT was late, and the white dragon was at his wit’s end concerning what to do about his dilemma, which was over a year old.  His mostly white, slightly yellow-tinted, scales were covered in dirt.  His light blue, somewhat plated, underbelly had a slight stain of grass.  His pointed, yet slightly tilted-back; bright yellow horns had bits of leaves on them.  His golden wing membranes were slightly irritated. 

He walked through the dark forest on his golden claws, deep in thought with his emerald-green eyes half-closed.  The noises of the late night didn’t bother him; it was something he was used to by now.  The eyes that stared at him through the forest were nothing but creatures that dwelt in it, after all.  He had gone deeper than he had imagined and the underbrush was thicker.  However, he needed to find what he was looking for…or someone.  Exactly who it was that he sought?  This he did not know.

“What’ll I do about her?” the white dragon said worriedly, head in the clouds, unsure of what his vision meant. 

 He stopped in an instant when he saw a ghostly dragon before him.  It had blade-like spines down his back, and a tail shaped like a scythe, almost like a draconic grim reaper. 

“Well this is awkward – anyway, mind helping me wake up?” the specter asked nonchalantly.

The white dragon looked puzzled. 

 

“Sorry I meant to ask for a name, my mistake,” the specter continued in a slightly apologetic, yet still nonchalant voice. 

This turn of speech put the white dragon at ease.   “My name is Flare.  I’m a light dragon,” the white dragon replied.  He then cocked his head and asked the question he assumed he needed to, “How do I wake you?”

“Heh, two opposite ends of the color spectrum,” the ghost laughed.   He then paused.  “Ok, I’m acting too smart.  I need help getting up,” the specter reiterated in a gruff sigh.  With that, he handed Flare a glowing claw with a sliver of bone on the end.

This puzzled Flare even further.  “What is this?” Flare asked, scratching his head. 

“One of my claws I tore off – has my life’s blood in it,” the specter explained.  Flare knew at this point that he had found the dragon that his vision had informed him of.

A portal opened up behind the specter.  “Where does this lead?” the light dragon asked, slightly curious about what he’d have to face.

The specter looked at him intently, “To another world where I’m laying out cold – and hurry my back itches.”

The portal led to a desolate crater, almost burned to charcoal.  It was evident there was a massive explosion that caused the large indent in the ground.  Flare stepped through, ending up next to the specter’s body. 

“Ah, here we are,” the ghost sighed in relief. 

The light dragon walked up to the slumbering dragon.  Flare attempted to attach the claw. 

“First off, my blood is filled with hot lava so don’t get…” the specter stopped when he saw the light dragon’s incorrect method.  “It doesn’t work that way,” the specter said in a slightly annoyed tone as he looked at Flare, who had pulled back the claw and looked at him, confused. 

“You never explained,” the light dragon replied calmly.  It was true, the ghost never told Flare how to revive him. 

“My body has a shield up and in the presence of my claw it goes down enough to get to my heart.  You bite the end off and stab me right in the heart, mind the spray,” the specter told Flare, taking a warning tone at the last three words.  He disappeared into his body after saying this. 

“Very well – as a light dragon it’s in my nature to take risks in order to protect others,” Flare said seriously, stabbing the claw into the former specter’s heart.  After this he jumped back as the blood sprayed out.

“ Ahhh, there we go,” the dragon sighed happily as he stood up, proceeding to immediately scratch his back afterwards.  “Ohhh man, way better- thanks,” the dragon went on as he pulled the claw out. The hole patched up with lava, hardening to normal within seconds.

This was something the likes of which Flare had never seen – a dragon with blood of lava.  “Like I explained earlier, light dragons tend to help others,” the light dragon reminded the dragon he aided, who was still scratching his itch.  This wasn’t exactly true and Flare knew it.  His vision still puzzled him however.

“Ok, there – sorry,” the dragon mumbled in a slightly apologetic yet still uncaring tone, ceasing to scratch his spinal area.

Flare paused, “I sense you have a troubled past…” he half-lied to the dragon.  It was true, he could sense a dragon with turmoil in their heart, but there was another reason for him to say this. 

“Yeah, well most people in my part of town don’t ask about the past,” the dragon said in a gruff voice.  “Forget it, I need to get back,” the dragon said, quickly changing the subject.

 Flare could sense this dragon was keeping something from him, but replied with a defeated, “Very well,” nonetheless.

After a few minutes of walking through the desolate landscape, the dragon tripped over a rock, resulting in an embarrassing face-plant. “OW!!  Dammit!” the dragon grunted in an annoyed tone then picked himself up, slightly disoriented. 

Flare gathered light in his forepaws and put it on the dragon’s face.  “Healing Light,” Flare murmured softly, calling upon his element. 

The dragon just sneezed in reaction and gave a gruff response once more, “Yeah, not happening.”

Opening a portal, the dragon turned to Flare. “Doesn’t work for me, they tried – had to work it out myself,” the dragon explained as he walked through the newly-created glowing wall, still in a daze. “Come on,” he said in a half-ordering tone as he made a gesture that gave the same impression.

Flare was puzzled, “Hmm… That’s strange… You’re not a normal dragon, are you?” he asked ponderingly as he stepped through the portal, following the mystery dragon. 

This only got him an eye roll and a sarcastic “No, what made you think that?” from him.

All this time, Flare hadn’t asked a question that he should have a long time ago, “What’s your name?” 

The mystery dragon replied, “TalonFyre,” as he began to reach the other side of the portal.

On the other side of the portal was a dust land, void of all life but armored dragons, lizard men, and a few other creatures that clearly belonged in such a place.

“Ah, the crater, home sweet hell hole – Merc City,” TalonFyre sighed in a glad tone, walking over to a towering stone wall.

Flare looked seriously at TalonFyre, “I only do mercenary work if the target is unjust,” he said worriedly.

TalonFyre scoffed angrily, “Yeah, they wanted me to smash an unborn dragon.  I killed the guy who asked me – no one stopped me – guy was a waste of flesh.”

The light dragon flinched, disgusted by the idea of such a job. “Serves the bastard right,” he growled in a hateful fashion.  Flare was easy-going, but not apathetic by any means.

TalonFyre turned to him and looked him directly in the eye.  “Only time I’ve ever eaten dragon flesh.  Never did again, it was pure hatred – horrible crap too,” he said cruelly. 

Flare looked at him warily and replied with, “Dragons aren’t very tasty,” while a bit unnerved.

“Mphh…” TalonFyre smacked onto a hidden doorway and rubbed his snout grumbling.  “Damn door,” he growled as a torch emerged.  TalonFyre took his paw off his snout, “I’ll get the door stand back,” he called to Flare, backing up.

A massive blast of black fire shot from the mercenary’s mouth, opening the door.  “There, finally home,” TalonFyre sighed, walking into the bunker.  “And yes, dark flames – before you ask.  Sort of a gift and a curse,” he went on, finding a smaller torch.  He then lit the end of his claw and set ablaze the torch, revealing a massive cavern.  TalonFyre looked around.

This black fire made Flare question TalonFyre’s heritage, was it truly evil?  If it were such, he would have sensed it when it was first demonstrated.  The fact that his vision told him to help the mercenary added onto his theory about this.  It wouldn’t have been good for an evil dragon to help him out with his current situation.

A splattering sound was heard after the two stepped inside the cavern.  “Ah, great!”  TalonFyre yelled in an annoyed tone once more, stamping a creature with brown and white stripes upon a long bumblebee-like body.  It had six legs, wasp wings, a scorpion-like head and tail with three stingers as well as wide, bulging red eye.  “Vespatites… I hate these things,” he grunted angrily.

Set into the side of the cavern was a smaller, yet still fairly large room, which TalonFyre proceeded to enter.  “Follow if you want,” the mercenary said with an uncaring tone followed by a shrug.  Flare followed him through the doorway out of curiosity.

TalonFyre blasted a pit that was seemingly dormant, lava began to flow.  “Ah, this is the good part,” he said with a smile. 

“The generator, I presume?” Flare asked curiously. 

To his surprise, TalonFyre got into the lava, submerging his body.  “Nope, loosens me up.  That’s why I was half drunk,” TalonFyre answered, as he began to glow a shade of bright red, matching the lava.  “Ohhhhhhh – nothing like it.”

“What power…” Flare whispered, astonished at the spectacle. 

“I’m my own power source,” TalonFyre stated proudly as his claws, eyes, underbelly and wings began to resonate with the same glow as his body.  He stepped out and shook off, splattering his new ally’s tail by mistake. 

“Ah, geeez!!” Flare yelped in alarm, his scales burning off. 

“Oh, sorry,” TalonFyre apologized embarrassedly.

The lava dripped off, leaving a third-degree burn on Flare’s tail.  This wound was no problem for him, however.  He gathered light into the burn, mending his wound without need for medical supplies.  “I’ve had much worse to heal from, it’s fine,” Flare replied calmly, wincing.

As he began to stretch in a doglike manner, the mercenary’s neck made a disgusting crack and his spine followed suit.  “Ah man – way better,” he sighed in a relieved manner.  He then proceeded to unlatch a seemingly invisible hook, a layer of armor dropped off with a massive thud afterwards. 

“Yup, matches everything and absorbs heat.  How do you think I stayed alive in there?” TalonFyre asked rhetorically. 

Flare shrugged, “Your life essence was rather faint, so it makes sense.” 

At that moment TalonFyre’s stomach started to rumble.  As such, he ran off toward the other rooms.  “Just remembered – I haven’t eaten in so long…” he moaned, as he approached a massive stone door.  He then opened it, revealing rows of frozen meat.  TalonFyre looked around for a few seconds for a choice piece and grabbed one with some decent bone in it.  “Good, don’t have to cook it separate or at all,” he remarked with a smile as he bit into the meat, half crunching the bone.  He then held it in his mouth and roasted it with his flame, swallowing part of it and proceeding to eat the rest in the same manner.  The last piece was about to be devoured when TalonFyre began to choke, concerning Flare.  “Hang on,” the mercenary gargled, drooling lava, “There.”

TalonFyre turned to Flare. “You sure you don’t want any?” he asked politely.  He had to repay Flare in some way after all. 

Flare shook his head, “Like I said, I’m good. I don’t need to eat much,” he replied uncaringly, ‘Unlike someone I know’, he thought to himself.

The door was slammed shut upon Flare’s response. “Fair enough,” the mercenary said with a shrug. He then walked over to a heap of scrap metal.  “Where did I leave it…?” he whispered. 

This concerned Flare, “Leave what?” he asked. 

TalonFyre was too busy digging through the scraps to notice the light dragon’s question, however.

Chapter 2

The Letter

 

TALONFYRE dug through the metal until he found a gray 15-foot sword with a three foot wide blade, almost like that of cobblestone.  Its hilt and grip were created from volcanic rock and crudely made.  “Ah!” the mercenary exclaimed as he gave the sword a few waves, getting the feel of it once more.

“A Golem-Flesh sword…” Flare gasped.

“Yup – off of one killed by ‘soul breath’, making it much better,” TalonFyre added smugly as he turned back to Flare.

“So you use any weapons?” TalonFyre asked Flare in a slightly curious yet uncaring manner. 

At this Flare straightened out his tail in preparation while TalonFyre went on talking, “I don’t use this unless it’s another golem or some big idiot who needs a reality check,” his tone still smug.

Flare’s tail started to glow a shade of white.  “Photon Blade!” he yelled as a 9-foot, needle-shaped plasma sword sprouted from the tip of his tail out of nowhere. 

“Nothing I haven’t seen,” the mercenary remarked with an unimpressed demeanor, “Any claw-like weapons?”

Wanting to show the mercenary something new, Flare put his forepaws in the air and to the side, almost making it look like he was trying to scare someone.  After this, two needle-like blades appeared upon his forepaws. “Light blades, the same as on my tail.”

This was indeed new to TalonFyre.  “Oh – well that’s one thing I’m not familiar with,” he replied, slightly impressed. 

Flare continued with his explanation of his powers, “I can also create maces and spears.  It took a lot of practice to be able to focus light energy into photon weapons.”

TalonFyre’s claw began to glow with a reddish-black hue.  He then approached Flare, poking the area around his heart.  After this was done, his powers shut off.  “Never seen this then?” the mercenary asked with a grin. 

Flare backed up, surprised, “Pressure points?” he asked wondering. 

TalonFyre smirked.  “Hotpoint – senses the source of the powers and shuts it down.”

This turn of events worried Flare, “Temporarily or for good? I kind of need those,” he asked, his concern showing in his voice. 

TalonFyre continued his explanation, “It shows the heat signature of the powers and lets me deactivate it simply by touching it,” he went on as his tail turned into a black blade with a red glow.

“Uhm – nice trick, so…” Flare started. 

TalonFyre touched Flare’s heart area again, “Here – too flashy for me,” he said nonchalantly, transferring them back. 

Flare was relieved, but also impressed.  “So, it’s like power theft?” Flare asked.

TalonFyre shrugged, “Not permanent, just gives me a much more powerful version for a short time – almost mimicry.  But it has its disadvantages.”  His expression darkened, “Leave it too long and I start losing my own.  Sort of changes to a permanent version replacing mine – which is why I never use it unless I have nothing left to lose,” the mercenary finished with another shrug.

This caused Flare to ponder for a moment.  “If you found a power that was great enough, would you trade it?” he asked. 

The mercenary walked into a pitch black room and responded with an uncaring, “Nah- I’m fine as is,” as he entered.

Upon his arrival in the dark room, TalonFyre placed a lit claw upon the wall, lighting the room just enough to see. The room was filled and plastered with scrolls and maps upon shelves, boxes, and even the wall.  “Ah, my archives,” the mercenary sighed. 

Flare was astounded, “I didn’t take you for a scholar…” he whispered to his new friend.

TalonFyre walked up to a drawer, pulling it open.  “One thing I found when I was young was a letter from my father.  It said ‘do not open unless revived’.  Since you did that I’m able to open it and here we are,” he explained, reaching into the drawer gently. 

Flare walked up to TalonFyre. “May I…. see it?” Flare asked politely. 

“Oh sure…” the mercenary answered, pulling out a clearly aged piece of parchment, igniting it with his breath.  The letter appeared in front of them as an illuminated message.

 

Dear son, if you’re reading this then you are ready now so here it is.  The reason your mother and you never met…

During laying of your egg she began having heart issues; right after you were laid she died.

She gave you your dark fire and glowing blood and you are the last of your kind.  She would be proud.

 

In TalonFyre’s eyes, tears of lava began welling up.  “It’s not your fault,” Flare told the clearly distraught TalonFyre in a very kind yet assertive tone.

 

The mercenary was silent for a moment, and then stormed off, breaking through a wall in tears.  “I KNEW IT WAS MY FAULT!!” he yelled in a mixture of anger and sorrow.  He ran into his room, locking a large door behind him.  Flare put his paw on the door, sobbing fully audible behind it.

“I knew I was a waste of space…..” the mercenary cried, shedding tears behind the door. A few minutes later, the door unlocked.  “ARRRHHHH!!” he screamed in misery. 

Flare could see his eyes narrow darkly after this.  He was worried – and he was right to be.

Chapter 3

The Pinnacle of Depression

 

THE mercenary began opening his chest after his heart.  “I’ll end it all now…” he said with a sinister smile. 

Flare saw this and punched him in the face, which got him nowhere, as TalonFyre merely bit into his paw, causing blood to flow.  “I’m done with this life.  I’m just a nobody,” TalonFyre sighed. 

At this point Flare knew he had to say it.  “DO YOU REALLY THINK YOUR MOTHER WOULD WANT THIS YOU MORON!!!?” he yelled at the top of his lungs. 

TalonFyre stopped his claw just shy of his heart leaving a gash in it.  “No….” he said softly, lying down sobbing.

Flare gently put his bleeding paw on TalonFyre’s, “She died giving you life – do you really think she would want you to waste it?” he asked in a soft and fatherly voice, although it was a rhetorical question.

Eyes full of tears, TalonFyre looked up at Flare.  The light dragon’s expression showed pure pity.  “Look at me – a merc as tough as me crying like a hatchling.  And how would I know if I never even met her?” TalonFyre wailed, slashing his face.  He then put his head back down after saying this and started crying again.  He was covered in blood.  “It’s all just a mess I made.  All of it,” the mercenary sighed miserably, starting to place holes in his heart.

Blood flowed from TalonFyre’s body, and Flare saw this.  “Well looks like I’m…not so tough after all,” the mercenary coughed, spitting blood.  “Yeah, funny how I thought I was helping with those damn jobs.  All to get rich – to get some notoriety and fame…” he continued, his eyes closing slightly.

The situation looked grim at this point.  Flare knew he had to do something to help, and fast.  “This takes a lot of power to do, but…” Flare began, creating bandages of light. 

“I’ll see her again now…” the mercenary sighed in a mixture of sadness and false joy.

Flare attempted to dress the wound, but a snap of the jaws from TalonFyre destroyed them.  “No, I’m going home.  I’m sick of this crap life – have no purpose,” he said miserably.

“Your purpose is clear – to help Electus through his quest to unite this world in peace after the war,” Flare said capriciously, struggling to find the right words to get TalonFyre to live.

The pleas merely caused TalonFyre to stand, but blood gushed out of his chest. “No….I was just a pawn,” the mercenary scoffed.  Flare didn’t know how to help him at this point.

“Well, it’s over now,” TalonFyre sighed, barely audible as he began to lean over, his eyes closing again as he sadly whispered the words, “I’m….coming.”

By this point, Flare had had just about enough.  “You’re pathetic…. You’re really going to give up like this?” he said cruelly. 

TalonFyre merely smiled.  “Better than be killed by some damn idiot mercs – and no, not me,” TalonFyre growled, attempting to get up. 

At this an idea struck Flare.  It was the entire reason he set out on this quest.  “You could always come with me,” Flare suggested hopefully. 

TalonFyre wobbled.  “Although I do feel kind of…..” the mercenary started in a disoriented fashion, only to be interrupted by Flare. 

“I have a home where you could find peace.  Also, I have a-” he began, only to see that the mercenary had nearly blacked out in a pool of lava-like blood.  His heart was still beating, but was slowing down – and fast

“Uhh…. well……that’s that.  I’ll be at peace soon enough,” TalonFyre sighed in a falsely happy tone. 

Flare knew of only one thing that he could do.  “The ultimate power of the light – donating a part of one’s own life force to another….” he started. 

TalonFyre stopped him short. “It’s fine - no sense wasting it on me,” TalonFyre sighed.  After his words, the dying mercenary teleported himself outside. 

“That light dragon’s got too much to live for – has a lot to do yet – too much to waste on a stupid merc like me,” the dying dragon chuckled somberly.

 “I didn’t even get to tell him my life force regenerates…” Flare sighed, his voice disheartened. 

“Yeah well, it’s not worth it anyway… yes I can hear you,” the mercenary growled. 

Flare was too lost in thought to hear and merely continued talking to himself, “It’s a gift, and a curse – just like TalonFyre’s power.”

The door opened slightly.  Flare then realized the mercenary could hear him speaking.  “We’re alike in that way,” Flare said softly. 

TalonFyre opened the door entirely after this.  “Unless you didn’t notice…” the mercenary partially said.  There in his bloody hands, was his still-beating heart.  “Wow all this just for me – what a mistake,” he whispered with a look of pure sadness.

Taking his claw, TalonFyre began to stab the beating piece of glowing rock as blood gushed out.  “Ugggghhhhh….!” he moaned in agony.  At this point his heart was stopping completely.

“Well – at least someone will have remembered my past.  So long Flare,” TalonFyre said with a sad smile on his face.

DAMMIT!!!” Flare screamed in a mixture of fear and anger.

Even though TalonFyre was trying to kill himself, his paw stopped short of the last puncture.  “Something’s holding me back…” he said with a furrowed brow.  A single look at what was causing the situation, and TalonFyre’s expression turned from a look of frustrated sorrow to pure shame.  There, standing before them, was the specter of TalonFyre’s father.  His angered glowing red eyes seemed to pierce TalonFyre’s very soul. His horns were shaped like a tilted ant’s jaw with a slight curve at the end, moving in unison as his head came down to meet his son’s.  It was impossible to see his coloring, but he seemed to have embroiled markings on his back and paws.

YOU FOOL!” the specter boomed in anger, cleaving TalonFyre in the jaw. 

“Oh man, now I’m in deep crap,” TalonFyre whimpered in fear. 

The specter turned to Flare.  “You, light dragon – help this fool of a son!” he ordered Flare.  Flare quickly grabbed an orb of light out of his head.  “And quick, he’s bleeding out!” the specter continued.  Obliging him, Flare placed the orb upon the heart of the mercenary’s lava-filled heart.  “Yes, that will do,” the specter sighed, relieved.

The orb of light glowed as Flare began the incantation,  “Ini wer vers di mitne, si majak tobor ekess wer ir persvek rigluin.”

TalonFyre gave a disapproving growl – which earned him another smack from his father.  “No – nngh!” he yelled.

“Tobor ekess wer ir ios coi – erekess svabolen vi cirau sepa tepohaic majaktor di astaha ekess shala,” Flare continued.

“Nnnghh!” the mercenary yelled disapprovingly once more. 

”Origato wer mamiss arise vur qe naktada wer ro togofor – Tiichir di Tobor!! Flare cried out, finishing the incantation. 

With this, TalonFyre got up, fully restored.  “Fine, I’ll stay a bit longer then – didn’t say I have to like it,” he scoffed.  

After he said this, another form appeared.  TalonFyre was shocked.  Standing before him was his mother – the one who died giving him life.  Although slightly transparent, her shimmering black scales matched his own.  Her angry yet sorrow-filled eyes were a deep blue, almost like sea next to thick enchanted steel walls of Darastrix Charis on the purest and clearest day.

“I have something to tell you.  I was sent… by these two…” Flare said with a sigh.  “And-” Flare started, but the mercenary paid no heed to him.  Instead he struggled to rise, heading toward his mother – who promptly slashed his face.

“First, that’s for trying to KILL YOURSELFI!” she yelled at the top of her spectral lungs.  After this, she embraced him as they both shed their tears. “And this is for never seeing you,” she continued, sobbing.  Flare watched this and shed tears as well.  He knew it was time to tell him.

 

A/N: The words to Flare’s incantation are,

By the power of light, I give life to the one in need.

Life to the one without it – through which a kind soul has given of themselves to allow.

Let the body arise and be kept from the eternal plane – Blessing of Life!

Chapter 4

The Past

 

THIS was what the vision told Flare to do – “Help a dragon in need.  In return, you will receive comfort from your troubles.  However, it will not come through without effort.  Otherwise it will be for naught.” That was what TalonFyre’s mother had said to him in the vision.  This meant Flare would need to make TalonFyre feel like he was no longer alone in the world, and to do that, he needed to make sure he knew about what had happened to cause Flare to search for him.

“I have something to tell you TalonFyre – about my past,” Flare sighed, looking at the two. 

“What… about… it?” he asked, still crying in his mother’s embrace. 

“When I was young, I decided to venture into a forbidden cavern,” Flare started, looking up with an unreadable expression.

Blood began to seep out of TalonFyre’s heart again through a hole that had reopened.  Upon seeing this, his mother shot the light dragon a glare.

“It was said to contain an artifact of immense power, but carrying a curse,” Flare continued, giving TalonFyre more of his energy and fully healing him.  At this point, his parents disappeared.

“This artifact… gave me eternal life…” Flare went on. 

“What….waitDAMMIT!” TalonFyre cried angrily out as the two vanished. 

Ignoring him, Flare drooped his head, disheartened at the last words that he was about to say, “But as you know, eternal life is exactly that – a blessing and a curse.”

The mercenary stood up, back to normal and fully healed, “Thanks.  I kind of well, lost it all,” he said sadly. 

Flare looked down and shed a tear as he began his next story, “I can see spirits as well.  I was banished from my village, became a vagabond… a wanderer.”

TalonFyre walked up to him and gave a sad smile, “Heh, not a merc then.  Well, not a job for most – hell, or me.  I only took it to get stronger.” 

TalonFyre looked at the spot where his mother was and shut his eyes while Flare continued his tale, “Eventually I found a place where I could live in peace and have a family.  But then – Rayburn came.  He slaughtered the entire village, every male, female and child.  My mate, Angel… she got eternal life from me, but not immortality.  She was his first target.  He killed her in a way too horrific to describe, burning her with demonic fire – then he tore her apart.  We never found her head.” He clenched his right forepaw with an angry look on his face.

During this time, TalonFyre was in thought about what his mother had whispered in his ear.  He decided to tell Flare now that he had finished his tale, “She told me she wasn’t planning on living at all…  She was the Thanatos Golem’s heart.  She made herself have a heart attack to prevent it from killing the seven-dragon council in Darastrix Charis,” TalonFyre sighed, shedding a tear. 

“That’s something she didn’t tell me,” Flare said, eyes widening in surprise. 

This made TalonFyre grin. “Yeah, a hug from your long dead mother says a lot without a word,” the mercenary replied, picking up a necklace.  “My mother’s…” he grasped it, tearing up yet again.  “I cry too much… not very tough is it….?” he sobbed.

Flare put his paw on TalonFyre’s shoulder. “My friend, you have a place… but it’s not as a mercenary.  Your place is helping rebuild the world,” he said, a little unsure of his own words.

 “Yeah, well – Electus finished my job.  He did it for me,” TalonFyre shrugged.

“Your power… you can use it for more practical means than killing,” Flare went on with a grin. 

“Yeah – I guess so,” the mercenary replied uncertainly.

“Did you think of helping to rebuild Darastrix Charis after Rayburn’s last ditch effort to kill the council?” Flare asked in a hesitant voice. 

TalonFyre rolled his eyes. “Well, I did find a souvenir,” he said sarcastically, walking into an armory.  TalonFyre then pulled a lever lowering a crane containing an ice ballista from Darastrix Charis. 

Flare was tired of kidding himself.  He got up his courage and began to tell his new friend what had truly weighed on his mind, “And also… there was one survivor of my family’s slaughter, besides me.” 

TalonFyre wasn’t paying attention however.  “Don’t ask – my merc “buddies” made me.  How do you think my father died?” he asked with a growl.

In his anger, Flare’s eyes narrowed at the question and he jumped to a conclusion, “I’m sure the same way my mate and son died – Rayburn,” he clenched his paw as he said the name.

This thought was dismissed as TalonFyre shook his head and began to tell the real story. “Those wastes of life grabbed him while I was asleep and took him hostage,” his expression showed the same amount of anger as Flare, who loosened his paw slightly as TalonFyre said this, his expression turning less angry.  “Yeah, they said steal the ballista so they’re not as well defended from the Thanatos Golem and my father lives.  I did it and they still killed him!” the mercenary screamed angrily.

 Flare began to put the pieces of the puzzle together about the crater of ash, but he needed to ask a question to be sure, “Are they still alive?” he was already sure of the answer, but he needed to know for certain.

The truth was obtained when TalonFyre confirmed Flare’s suspicions, “The fiery blast I made after that was a mile wide – nothing survived.  I barely did.  Even managed to turn my father to ash.  I saw him leaving – said I was doing well so far but wasn’t finished….he was,” TalonFyre sounded sad as he said this.

It became apparent to Flare that it was hard for TalonFyre to talk about this, so he decided finally to say what was on his mind the whole time.  The problem was whether the mercenary would even accept.  It was now or never.

 

A/N: Darastrix Charis means “Dragon Hope” in Draconic.  It was named this due to the hope that it would never fall, which it nearly did in the War of the Third Demon, as the fight against Rayburn would come to be known.

Chapter 5

A Favor for a Favor

 

“I have an idea.  Do you know how I said there was a survivor… of my family…?” Flare asked, still a bit uncertain of the response he’d get. 

TalonFyre was listening, but said what he wanted to say at the end of his story, “Even thought of going right to Mr. “High and Mighty” Rayburn and ripping him a new asshole.”

Turning to Flare with false hope, replying with, “Yeah – let me guess – me right?”

Flare shook his head no, “It was my daughter… Hikari,” he sighed with a sad look on his face. 

TalonFyre merely gave a semi-interested, “Oh.”

Flare looked down.  “Her name means light,” he explained with another sigh as he thought to himself, ‘You need to help her before it loses all meaning.’ 

The mercenary, however, had trouble paying attention.  “Sorry, I’m still a little dazed,” he said, shaking his head.  TalonFyre came out of his stupor, “Anyway, you were saying?”

After this Flare continued, “My daughter was the only survivor of my family.  Her name is Hikari, it means light.  The death of her mother filled her with grief.  Now she won’t even talk to me.  She says I failed them,” he sighed once more, a depressed expression on his face as he shed a tear.

A Vespatite’s insect-like screech was heard from the corner of the room.  “Oh my God, I am so sick…!” the mercenary smashed it with his foot as he growled.  He then turned to Flare, “Well, anyway – I can try talking to her…”  His helpful expression quickly tuned to a hurt one.  “No – she’ll get scared and run off like all the kids,” he retracted sadly. 

At this, Flare looked him straight in the eyes.  “Hikari needs someone who’s lost a lot to talk to her,” he said seriously. 

“Oh,” TalonFyre said as he grasped the situation.

This response caused Flare to smile hopefully, “And, she’s almost your age.” 

TalonFyre became disturbed at his comment.  “Ah – no!  Before you EVEN suggest that – I literally can’t mate.  It’s well – impossible…” he said with a disgusted look on his face, cringing at the thought. 

“No, nothing like that,” Flare replied with a chuckle, rolling his eyes. 

“Oh – ohhh ok,” the mercenary grinned embarrassedly as he said this.  Flare merely chuckled again.

“Yeah, you’d be surprised how many of the ladies ask me.  I just growl and walk off,” the mercenary’s brow furrowed as he said this.  He then clenched his paw.  “Never again will I even attempt,” he mumbled angrily.  

Flare understood this; however, that’s not what he needed to be done.  “She needs someone to talk to – that’s all,” he reiterated softly. 

TalonFyre nodded.  “I can do that.  Well, where is she?  At your place?” he asked Flare. 

This was a question Flare was glad to answer with, “Yes, she is…thankfully,” whispering the last part.

Making a quick trip back to his archives, TalonFyre returned with a map marking the caves of every dragon in the vicinity that Flare lived in.  “Here you are,” he pointed to the area of Flare’s home as he said this, “The Phosphorus Groves… Yup, I’ve scouted there before,” the mercenary continued, picking up a gem.

“Let’s go now,” Flare suggested hastily.

TalonFyre then slammed the door and the bunker sunk.  “Fine – ok, this portal here,” he said as he threw the gem to the ground, revealing a pearl-white portal in the shape of a 60-foot cylinder.  He approached it only to realize that it was unpowered.

“Huh!?  It won’t work!  Damn merchant’s a liar!” TalonFyre yelled angrily.  “Well, he’s gone now – tried to snatch my sword.  Yeah, didn’t turn out well,” he then paused, “Huh, it matches you – odd.  I’ve been through it before no problem.”

A touch of Flare’s paw opened the portal, revealing an image of Flare’s homeland.  TalonFyre was surprised at this, “Well…that’s handy.  You’re like a generator with legs,” the mercenary chuckled, stepping up to the portal. “You’re leading right?” he asked hopefully.

 Flare stepped through the portal and answered, “Yes, for more than one reason.”

Chapter 6

Hikari

THE portal led to a very thin forested area.  The trees however, were covered in a strange blue, glowing moss.  The foliage had a tint to it as well.  The grass was also covered in a strange white glow.  This was the reason it was given the name ‘Phosphorus Grove’.  It was a beautiful place, especially at night.

 They stepped out of the portal, and as soon as that happened, the mercenary let out a sneeze.  This turn of events resulted in the ignition of a tree. “Uh, oops – air’s different here,” TalonFyre gulped embarrassedly. 

Flare whipped his tail around the tree and put the fire out by smothering it. He then healed his wound with his light powers. 

The mercenary looked around and huffed, “So, where to now?  That map is not accurate.”  Flare was about to say something when a blast of light shot into TalonFyre’s face, “What the- GAH, damn sun!” TalonFyre growled in an annoyed voice as he began to stagger around, dazed and blinded.

“Oh dear…” Flare sighed worriedly. 

“Huh?” TalonFyre grunted as he looked up, his eyes watering and his vision still greatly blurred.

Flare rolled his eyes again.  “That wasn’t the sun,” he started, keeping his worried tone.

“Oh great – another disaster,” TalonFyre interrupted in a half-sarcastic, half-concerned tone. 

Flare put his paw to his face and corrected him, “No, that was Hikari’s light breath.”

TalonFyre became depressed at this fact.  “So… she doesn’t like me,” he sighed.

“No, she thought that was me,” Flare once again corrected the mercenary, who obviously wasn’t listening as well as he should have been. 

“Your point?  Not many people like me…” the mercenary continued.  He then realized what Flare told him and responded simply with, “Oh.” 

Slowly but surely, Flare walked up to the cave.  “Hikari, there’s someone here that I would like you to talk to,” he half-yelled, half-whined. 

TalonFyre then tossed a rock in the general direction of the blast.  “Blinding me….” the mercenary growled as he began to turn his head with a mixture of anger and odd disappointment.   As TalonFyre was walking away, he heard a thud.

The dragoness walked out angrily and looked at the two.  “Um- oops,” the mercenary whispered quietly.  “Great, another injury - at least it isn’t me,” he grumbled, barely audible.

 After this, he started to see more clearly.  A slender, beautiful pearl-white dragoness with a sleek pink underbelly, blue sclera, pink irises, and blue wing membranes with a purple tint was standing at the entrance to the cavern.  TalonFyre then noticed she had a blood spot on her head.  “Uh oh… greatnot a good start,” he sighed in an embarrassed tone, concern showing in his face.

Flare knew he had to do something to make sure his daughter didn’t start off on the wrong foot with TalonFyre, so he did the only thing he could think of and yelled out, “Sorry, I was trying to get your attention!”  Flare placed his mouth near the mercenary’s earlobe after this.  “Just pretend like it was me who threw it,” he whispered. 

“Oh, good,” the mercenary whispered back.  Pointing his claw at Flare, TalonFyre nervously yelled, “He did it,” at the top of his fiery lungs. 

“Sorry about that,” Flare yelled apologetically. 

“Yeah, she’s not gonna’ be happy YOU threw it,” the mercenary continued with the same nervous tone.

Unconvinced, the dragoness turned her head. “Who is this?” she asked, annoyance and spite evident in her voice. 

The mercenary decided to sock Flare in the foreleg to add to the ruse.  “Ow…” Flare moaned, rubbing the spot where he was struck with light.  TalonFyre pointed at Flare again.

A small, sly grin appeared on Hikari’s face, and then faded.  The mercenary noticed this and gave an embarrassed laugh.  “You’re a terrible liar…” she scoffed. 

“Hey, mercs don’t lie much or they get killed,” TalonFyre shrugged.  A Vespatite bit his tail after he said this.  “OW, YOU LITTLE…!” he grunted angrily.

Although TalonFyre would have killed the creature, Hikari sprang at it and slashed its head off with nothing but a three-foot photon blade on her tail. 

TalonFyre ran after it and laughed, “Yeah, it’s still going,” as he ran up to it.  Unfortunately in his haste he collided with a tree, his head becoming wedged in its trunk.  “Mphh… Oh, great…”  His attempt to take it out merely uprooted it.  Although she thought it was a bit funny, Hikari pulled TalonFyre out.

“Thanks,” TalonFyre sighed in relief, rubbing his head with one of his forepaws.  In the other paw, he had the Vespatite by the leg.  He paused for a moment and decided to leave it be.  “Aw, forget it,” he mumbled uncaringly, throwing it into a rock.

The Vespatite skittered away headless.  Its retreat would have been successful, but Hikari had other plans.  Forming a photon claw, she sprang after it, ripping its legs off.  TalonFyre was shocked, “Naw, just…”  Hikari didn’t listen as she mauled it to a bloody pulp.  “Whatever, I don’t care for them,” the mercenary shrugged, hiding his impressment.

“Why haven’t the dragons figured out how to make pesticides?  It’s beyond me.  Even found a few fried in the bottom of my lava pool.”  Hikari giggled at the idea of this.  “Clogged the thing up and it blew up on me.  At least it felt nice.  Sure as hell woke me up,” he continued. 

This story intrigued Hikari.  “You can withstand lava?” she asked curiously.

“Blood is filled with it,” TalonFyre answered in a slightly proud voice as he pulled back a layer of flesh and bled lava.  “Doesn’t hurt,” he shrugged nonchalantly.

Hikari was even more curious now.  “You’re not your everyday dragon, are you?” she continued with her questioning. 

“Nope, I’m sure as hell not,” the lava-blooded dragon answered in the same nonchalant tone.  He thought for a second what to say next.  He then got an idea.  “Actually won a bet once on that.  Guy was absolutely sure I was a regular fire element.  He had a huge cart of gold.  I let him keep it,” he said, finishing his story.

There was something Hikari noticed about the mercenary.  “Your eyes are also… they look sad,” she whispered in a slightly concerned voice, her face keeping her curious expression. 

TalonFyre was confused as to how Hikari could have known about his sorrowful past, or even his current situation of the emotions he was withholding.  “She can read people’s eyes,” Flare explained softly.

Attempting to change the subject, TalonFyre added, “Yeah, not to mention glowing.  Scary as hell to the Vesps in the dark – gives them strokes.”   Hikari laughed upon thinking of it.  TalonFyre continued happily, “If I’m bored I’ll knock the lights down and hide… then scare them to death and watch them run into each other.  Oh man, it’s fun!  One even attacked another and they all killed each other out of fear!”

Picturing this in her head, Hikari burst out into a fit of laughter with TalonFyre joining her soon after.  After it died down a bit, Hikari exclaimed, “That’s so cool!”

Surprised by her reaction to his stories, TalonFyre decided to continue.  “Yeah, well that’s back home and I’m sure they’re actually in the damn bunker again…as usual.  I can never find out where they get in.  I’ve sealed everything,” he moaned disgruntledly.

The outcome of the meeting was better than Flare could have hoped for.  It was at this point that he decided to explain about his daughter’s attitude, “I have to mention she’s kind of… abnormally into violence.  For a dragoness I mean.” 

Upon hearing this, TalonFyre pulled out his sword from his armor, stopping it within a hair’s length of her face.  He got an unexpected reaction – she smirked.  This made him confused – he was happy.  Why was he so happy?

TalonFyre pulled the sword away from the dragoness and put it away.  “I never use it unless it’s either a golem, or a dumbass merc employer who doesn’t know what’s good for business,” he said, the last words having a sly tone to them, “It helps pay the ‘bills’.” This caused Hikari to chuckle a bit.

“Come to think of it…” the mercenary pulled out a smaller version and handed it to her.  “It’s light-infused instead of black fire,” he explained. 

Hikari became ecstatic at this and only managed a happy, “Thank you!” before composing herself.  She felt strange.  What was this feeling she had?  Her stomach felt slightly odd.  It wasn’t that strong, but she still had an unfamiliar feeling in it.

      Flare had an idea how he could make the situation even better.  “Oh, tell her what happened when you were asked to kill that unborn dragon,” he said smugly.

TalonFyre smiled at this. “I ate the guy who asked me to do it.  Damn if that’s how I taste then I’d just throw up – like eating old burnt rocks covered in rancid meat,” he said, gagging. 

“That’s awesome..!” Hikari cried with a look of vengeful joy.  This surprised TalonFyre even more – it was almost as if she was enjoying the story more than he was.

TalonFyre continued happily once more, “He deserved it.  Not nice at all.  Oh man, he had lots of the others actually do it.   He was Rayburn’s second-in-command.  Everyone was scared to stand up to him.” 

Hikari interrupted with a sly remark, “I can guess why he tasted bad – shit tastes really nasty.”

This earned her a good laugh from TalonFyre before he went on, “Five times my size – just a huge ****ing moron.  I ate his damn face first – while he was alive.  The others just ran.  I think I finished half of him before I started puking,” he said, ending his story.

“That’s pretty hardcore,” Hikari laughed mischievously. 

TalonFyre looked at her seriously.  “No one like that deserves life – just killing dragons while they’re defenseless…  Sick,” he growled. 

Hikari’s expression hardened. “You have no idea how much I agree. I would have ripped his head off, put it on a spike and sold it off to the highest bidder,” she hissed, clenching her front paw.

TalonFyre started again, “Even came across his mate who obviously gave me this.”  He uncovered a gash across his eye.  “She was pissed but had an unborn dragon in its egg.   Hypocrites.  I left her alone after she swiped me.  I just told her how her husband tasted, and said she has bad taste in men.  She just started sobbing.  Me? I laughed,” the mercenary shrugged.  Hikari giggled cruelly at this.  “Even left behind a horn of his.  I didn’t care – she deserved to have him killed – but not the hatchling.  No…  I’m no murderer without a reason – I only kill those who deserve it,” the mercenary finished again with an assertive voice. 

“As long as the innocent will be harmed, the evil cannot be either.” Hikari said softly, the fact hinted that she couldn’t bear to see a hatchling grow up without a mother or father.

“Anyway, Flare, what’s new?” TalonFyre asked in a somewhat uncaring tone as he turned to his new friend, although he wasn’t exactly certain as to the meaning of his question. 

“You got her in a better mood, I can tell you that!” Flare answered with a laugh.

TalonFyre scratched his neck.  “Damn, what is making me itch?  Oh, the air – damn scales are going hard.  …Hang on.”  The mercenary walked over to a dried pond and bulked his arm twice as muscular.  He punched the ground, going down an entire layer of earth.  He then jumped into the hole and rode the lava back up.  “Ahhh…” he moaned happily.

“Now that is one hundred percent bad-assery,” Hikari laughed.

“You picked a good place, I’ll give you that.  Lava is actually more earthy – better for me,” TalonFyre said with a smile, relaxing in the lava. “Yeah, I’ll just…” he yawned, falling asleep mid-sentence, snoring a few seconds in.  Hikari giggled again at this.  TalonFyre flicked lava at her and gave a tired, “Trying to nap here,” as a response.  This would have made many a dragoness angry, but not this one. 

“Yep, a total badass,” Hikari said with a smile.  The mercenary’s snout stuck into the lava making bubbles as he snored.

 

 

A/N: Vespatites have the odd cockroach-like ability to live without a head, albeit for a week or so.  They also have two circulatory systems:  one sends blood to the brain, but most of it stays in their body.

Chapter 7

Mothers

 

ROUGHLY an hour later, the sleeping mercenary got up, glowing as normal.  “Yeah, it doesn’t take me long,” he shrugged, once again uncaring.

Hikari felt strange.  She wanted to stay close to him for a reason she didn’t understand.  “Mister TalonFyre…  Will you stay here with us?” she asked him, eyes full of hope. 

“Great, now there’s a lava pool out here burning the…” the mercenary stopped mid-sentence and answered, “Yeah, sure nothing going on at home. But I’ll sleep out here.  I snore – bad,” although he wasn’t entirely sure why he agreed so fast. 

“I know,” Flare laughed.

TalonFyre felt a sneeze coming and was about to say this but it was too late to stop it.  The exhalation sprayed lava onto Hikari’s forepaw, burning it.  “Uh, oh, bombs away – aw crap!” he yelled unnerved.  The mercenary took flight, certain that he had blown his chance to stay.

“Ow!  Ah, well…” Hikari healed her wound with her light powers only to notice TalonFyre had taken off.  “Wait!” she called out, taking off after him.

As he flew, TalonFyre had a strange feeling. Why did he feel guilty?  Why did he feel like he was leaving something behind?  Most importantly of all, why did he want to go back? 

The scenery passed him until he came to an open cave.  The cave was empty all but for the skull of a dead dragon.  TalonFyre walked up to it, unaware that Hikari had followed him.  “Hey, you look scared stiff!” he laughed. 

Upon seeing the skull, Hikari’s face changed to a look of pure despair.  “That’s…. my mom’s…” Hikari gasped, her voice showing hurt. 

TalonFyre’s heart sank as he heard this. He backed away, crushed.  “Yeah, too many dead moms in a day thank you,” he gulped in despair, tearing up once again. 

Hikari gave a sad sigh, “It’s okay… you didn’t know.  Wait – what?”  She was puzzled, but didn’t have time to ask about it – TalonFyre had taken off again, flying back to Flare.

The scenery passed by TalonFyre once more, but his eyes were too tear-filled for it to be visible.  Hikari was following close behind him, full of questions and guilt.

When he arrived back at the cave, the mercenary charged towards Flare with tear-filled eyes, Hikari landing behind him.  “What’s wrong?” Flare asked in a concerned voice. 

TalonFyre put his head in his forepaws, “I’m so sick of it!” he wailed.  Flare was about to ask when TalonFyre continued in a broken voice, “All the dead mothers!  No one has any alive anymore!”

Hikari looked at him sadly, “Talon…” she whispered in a sorrowful and sympathetic tone.

He turned away.  “Just forget it,” and upon saying this, he disappeared.

“I think you should tell her about it,” Flare started to say, but didn’t have time to relay the message. The mercenary had already gone, crying in solitude in a valley a half of a mile away.

“Why did he run – I’m going after him!” the dragoness exclaimed with a worried face.  She took off, following the smell of lava.  She already felt attached to the dragon for some reason.  Why did she want him to stay?  When he threw his blade in front of her face, her heart was racing, but she wasn’t scared.  She didn’t have time to think about such things right now, she needed to find him.

      Meanwhile, TalonFyre had found another cave and began to check for corpses or remains.  “Looks clear finally,” he sighed, relieved.  He then lay down and drifted off into a sad sleep.

The scent of lava led Hikari to the cave.  She entered to find the mercenary.  She looked at him with sorrowful eyes.  He sensed her presence and replied with a growl.  However, Hikari approached him, unafraid of his anger. “Talon… why did you run?” she whispered sorrowfully. 

TalonFyre was silent for a moment, then handed her his necklace. 

“What is…” she began. 

“All I have left of her now…..” the mercenary said sadly.

Hikari began to cry into TalonFyre’s forelegs.  “I’m… so… sorry!” she wailed, tears flowing from her eyes. 

TalonFyre put his wing over the dragoness to comfort her.  “Not your fault – she was the heart of the Thanatos Golem.  She caused her own death to stop Rayburn’s attack on Darastrix Charis – she saved me.” 

This caused Hikari to calm down slightly.  “She saved us all, including Electus and the council.  She was a true hero,” Hikari whispered, her eyes still filled with tears. 

TalonFyre nodded, “Yeah… brought me into this world without my dad….  Gave me my claws, lava infused blood, my scales, everything,” he continued, feeling a bit better.  “Guess my dad kept it all secret to save me,” he finished with a sigh and fell silent.

      “I don’t care what you are. No matter what, I want you to stay,” Hikari said with a comforting smile, drying her tears with her wing.

TalonFyre nodded once more. “Fine by me – I’ve got nothing else going on,” he shrugged.  Hikari smiled in pure joy when he gave this answer.

At this moment, TalonFyre had sensed his bunker’s door bombs detonate.  “Dumbasses – they never learn,” he chuckled. 

“Something funny?” Hikari asked, confused. 

The mercenary grinned.  “Just my door bombs setting off.  Yeah, I’m tied to that place sort of,” he explained with a smile.  Hikari laughed.  “Actually…” he mumbled something incoherent.

After the odd words were spoken, an explosion was heard. “There, now it’s gone,” the mercenary said.  “Aw, hell – archives are gone too,” he muttered.  He thought about it for a second and shrugged, “Meh, nothing I don’t already know.”

What TalonFyre had done shocked Hikari to the core, “You destroyed it all … for me?” she asked softly. 

“Meh, I was sick of the Vespatite infestation in that place – but yeah…,” he turned, “So now what?  I’m homeless, as usual,” he went on with a sense of hope he was unaware of. 

“We go home,” Hikari replied with a smile.

TalonFyre was confused.  Why did he destroy his own home?  Hikari was kind, that was certain – but not someone he should blow up his house for!  Yet why did he say that he did do it for her?  And why did he feel glad when she said those words?  What was wrong with him?  All these questions circled about in his mind as he took his wing off of her, and he had no answer to any of them.

Hikari on the other hand, knew what she felt.  She loved him.  She actually loved him.  This was a new feeling for her.  She never actually loved a dragon until she met TalonFyre, and she hadn’t known him for more than a few hours. Why did she feel so attracted to him?  Was it because he had a tragic past?  Was it because of his hardcore attitude and soft heart?  The only thing she did know is that she had fallen for him, head over paws.  Maybe it was a crush – infatuation and nothing more.  How many male dragons had she met at her old village?  Two?  Maybe three at most?  She hadn’t seen a male besides her father in at least a year.  That would make it likely that it could very well be a crush.  Still, what if it wasn’t?  What if she truly desired to have him as a mate?  She was not aware of any sexual interest in him whatsoever at this point.  So the idea of hormones being the driving force behind her attachment was out of the question.  That could only mean one thing – she really did have a romantic interest in him.  The one thing that filled her with fear however, was her ‘problem’.     No dragon would want her, not even this one.  But TalonFyre was the dragon she needed, she was sure of it – wasn’t he? Whatever the case, she knew it would be better to tell him about her secret sooner rather than later in their relationship.

Chapter 8

Hunting

 

TALONFYRE got up, the entirety of his spine making a crack, “Ahhh – better.” 

‘Maybe Hikari has found someone she can actually be with.  I can tell she’s fallen for him.’ Flare thought, standing outside with a large smile upon his face.

“I can tell you’re there – it’s called sense of smell.  That and I can see you in the damn dark,” TalonFyre yelled to the light dragon with a grin. 

Flare continued smiling, “I have no problems with you staying with us – for good,” he said proudly. 

“Well, that’s great!” the mercenary chimed.

“By the way – around your room there’s a crack in the wall.  It’s a Vespatite nest,” TalonFyre informed them.  They were somewhat disturbed by this – at least Flare was.  “Yeah, I picked it up in the lava.  They’re actually eating something… sounds like they’re eating a lot of food.  Wow, one of ‘em just puked on the food – and now they’re eating the puke,” he gagged at the last sentence.

“We don’t have any…”  Hikari began, puzzled. 

“Yeah, I beg to differ,” TalonFyre replied sarcastically, looking to one side.  He took off following the scent of Vespatite vomit, Hikari and Flare behind him.  Soon, they arrived at Hikari and Flare’s cave.   The scent led them to the crevice.  It was a small, diagonal crack a few feet in diameter.  “Easy smell to find,” the mercenary said with a smirk. 

Flare carved an entrance with his photon tail blade and knocked down the wall, revealing 13 Vespatites.

Hikari made a sly grin and pulled out the dagger. “What do you say I test this bad boy out?” the dragoness asked rhetorically with a menacing smile. 

“Go ahead,” the mercenary answer, smiling in return.

This was all the inspiration Hikari needed.  TalonFyre sat down, eager to see what the dragoness would do.  Hikari charged her light breath to daze them.  Talon covered his eyes this time, “Not getting me twice.” 

The dragoness fired a barrage of light bullets directly into their eyes, blinding the Vespatites and disallowing them from attacking her. 

“And don’t fire one at me – I know you’re thinking it,” TalonFyre went on in a semi-serious tone.

Hikari paid no heed to the mercenary’s comments, slashing them all, stabbing their necks, and ripping their heads off. 

“Heh – nice,” TalonFyre laughed. 

Hikari then proceeded to rip off their legs and cut them up as if they were sushi. 

“You know, you can use your tail to hold it, it works even better.  Mine’s too big for that,” TalonFyre commented.  “Just don’t stab yourself,” he added, slightly concerned. 

She gripped the weapon in her tail, charging it with photo and creating slight spikes in it. She then sliced the Vespatites to ribbons, uncaring that they were already near death.

“There – see? …I’m too damn big for it,” he mumbled. 

Hikari put the dagger away.  “That felt good,” she sighed, once again sounding menacing. 

TalonFyre was pleased. “Yup, first time always does – uh, the sword I mean,” he grinned embarrassedly after saying this.  Hikari, however, laughed happily.

Just then, TalonFyre’s stomach growled.  “I just ate back at …. Oh wait… crap, blew all that meat up!” he moaned loudly. 

“Gold, I don’t need really,” he continued in an uncaring voice.  He threw another gem on the ground, the lava pit from his bunker appearing through the portal.  “Ah, here we are,” he said, then turned to the Flare, “A little help?” he requested.  Flare obliged happily.

TalonFyre lifted one end of the pit, Flare the other. “Put it over the hole I made,” he instructed the light dragon.  Flare did as he was asked, starting to move the pit.   As they were doing this, the portal fizzled out, crumbling to dust.  “Ah, just ignore it – it was a fixer upper,” the mercenary shrugged.

The two dragged the pit onto the lava, fitting it snugly. “Well, that’s one thing fixed,” the mercenary said happily. 

“Our home is your home,” Hikari told the dragon with a kind and hopeful voice. 

“Oh, I was just bringing it here anyway.  Lava here makes me a little tipsy,” TalonFyre replied with a smile.

Hikari was glad he was staying, but was concerned about one thing, something that always drove a male dragon away.  She decided to say what was on her mind anyway.  “Talon, there’s something I need to tell you,” she whispered, unsure of what his reaction would be. 

“Yeah?” he said. 

Hikari began to close her eyes as she sighed, “I’m infertile,” her voice filled with fear. 

“Yeah, same issue.  Drop the subject, I’m starving,” the mercenary scoffed.  Hikari was disappointed, but at the same time extremely happy, when she heard this.  TalonFyre went off after a deer, paying no attention to Hikari’s smile.

“Let’s go kill us some game!” Hikari yelled in joy, running after him.

TalonFyre had caught his deer and was ripping the deer apart as if he were a beast.  “Damn that’s good,” he mumbled, mouth full of deer.

‘Wait… hunting?  This is my chance to impress TalonFyre!’ Hikari thought as she spotted a bear.  It was reaching for food in a nearby bush, and would make a good meal.  She jumped on top of the creature, biting the neck and promptly ripping its head off afterwards.  “Nothing like a challenging kill!”  Hikari bit into the bear after saying this and started to devour it.

Raw bear was enjoyable, but there was a way to make the meal more pleasing, and for some reason, TalonFyre wanted Hikari to enjoy her feast as much as possible.  He walked over to the dragoness, “Hang on – stand back a sec.”  The dragoness took a few steps back from the carcass.  After this the mercenary immersed it in black fire, roasting it to perfection. “There – now eat,” he said with a small grin, returning to his own meal.  After the meat was gone, TalonFyre began devouring the bones, picking his teeth with the antlers.

 “This is great!” Hikari exclaimed, still devouring the bruin.

Unable to hold it, TalonFyre let out a belch, “BUUUURRRP- Oh sorry.”  He thought she’d be disgusted, but instead, Hikari let out a larger belch after hearing him.

“Beat you,” she said smugly. 

This caused TalonFyre to laugh joyously, leading him to choke on a bone.

 “Talon! Careful!” Hikari yelled worriedly.  The bone melted in the lava lining of his throat.  Hikari saw this and was relieved.

      After both of them had finished their meal, they headed back to the cave, “Now what?” the mercenary asked uncertainly.

Hikari only answered, “We live in peace.”

Peace was something that was long unknown to the mercenary, and he was uncertain if he could cope with it.

“I do have some scrolls that you might not have read,” Hikari added hastily. 

“Yeah, all mine are gone, not to mention boring,” TalonFyre shrugged.

“Also, there are a lot of ruins around here that need exploring,” Flare stated, joining the conversation. 

TalonFyre shrugged again, “Better than merc camp.  In fact, everyone I meet I note in my mind and if they’re pure evil….  I can set this off.”  A messy explosion was heard after he said this, causing Hikari to laugh.  “That would be the bombs.  All the evil in the dustbowl is dead.  Didn’t say I had to let it stay that way.  Doesn’t fix the damn dust,” he shrugged.

“You really are something,” Hikari said, once again smiling.

TalonFyre wasn’t sure what to make of Hikari.  Her figure was so feminine, yet her attitude was more tomboyish than any female he’d met.  She was certainly unique, and someone he’d like to know better.  She was also infertile, just like him.  She would never go into heat, and never have a child.  He had one question, however – why did he feel sorry for her instead of happy for himself?  An infertile dragoness was a dream come true for him!  Why did he feel pity for her?  Why did he feel like he wanted her to have a child of her own?  He decided to ignore these questions and focus on the here and now.  After all, he had no desire to mate, let alone have a child.

Chapter 9

Arsenal

 

FLARE looked to TalonFyre, “I didn’t mention this before but… we’re in the field of archeology.”

The mercenary remembered what Flare said earlier, “Yeah, didn’t you mention eternal life or something?

Hikari nodded. “Yeah, that’s the thing – I got it from my dad, but only part of it,” she replied uncertainly.

“Ah – I got the same issue – sort of….last of my kind,” the mercenary looked a bit sad at the last words.

The whole idea of longevity made Hikari curious.  “How long do you live?” she asked ponderingly.

TalonFyre thought for a moment.  “Don’t know – never knew.  I’ve outlived everyone in the merc camp by well, centuries.  Well, no, decades,” he shrugged at his answer. 

Flare spoke in a glad tone, “Something tells me we’re going to spend a lot of years exploring together.” 

The mercenary’s nose twitched, “This air is getting to me.” He sneezed after this, spraying lava, which Hikari dodged.  TalonFyre coughed, “Think I swallowed a fly… protein I guess.”

A few drops of water hit the mercenary’s nose.  It had started to rain.  “Oh, great!”  TalonFyre moaned worriedly as his body began to steam. “Yeah, I’d better get inside,” he grumbled. 

Hikari was concerned when she saw this.  “Are you going to be okay?” she asked the mercenary in a concerned voice, placing her wing over him. 

He felt a little uncomfortable with this, but ignored it.  “Oh yeah, as long as I get inside.  The pit will be fine.  It has a sort of spell on it – reflects rain,” he replied in a slightly nervous yet grateful voice.

“Water doesn’t go well with you does it?” Flare asked rhetorically, tilting his head. 

“No,” the mercenary answered a bit annoyed.

“Lava isn’t that good with water,” Hikari stated, still looking concerned.

“Nope and I’m full of it,” TalonFyre added in a smart yet nervous tone.

The rain started to become swifter and heavier, causing more steam to rise off of TalonFyre. “So now what, are we staying outside?” he asked worriedly, already sure of the answer. 

Hikari’s concern increased. “We’re going in,” she replied assertively. 

Flare nodded, “You bet.” 

The mercenary followed them inside, Hikari’s wing still over him.  When he got inside he cracked his neck, which turned out to be deafening.  “Ow, that actually hurt – not much,” he shrugged, leaning upon a smooth wall.

It was then that TalonFyre noticed something about the wall he was next to. “Hang on,” he rapped on it – it was hollow.  “Uh, guys – do you know there’s a cave complex back here?” he asked in an oddly curious voice, looking back at them.  They shook their heads no, confused.

Without hesitation, he rammed the wall headfirst, revealing a cavern the size of his bunker.   Flare and Hikari walked up to the crevice, surprised this had been there without their knowledge. 

“Well – and OWW!” he groaned in pain.  He then realized it had happened a second time.  “Uh, my head is stuck again – great,” he mumbled, once again annoyed.  Hikari pulled him out once more. He then rubbed his head.  “Thanks…  I need to stop doing that,” he sighed embarrassedly.

“I was going to say that,” Hikari said with a grin.

The three walked inside, finding the cave walls were as smooth as TalonFyre’s scales.  “Well, I can tell it’s just empty, and I don’t sense any residual energies – just a random space,” the mercenary said looking around, “Talk about home decorating.”

 “Do you want to make a lava pit here?” Hikari asked kindly.

TalonFyre shook his head no.  “I have mine outside, it’s fine,” he replied, declining in an uncaring voice. 

Flare had an idea.  “How about we use this to store the artifacts we find?” he suggested happily. 

“And my weapons,” TalonFyre added with a grin, pulling out a shard of gem. 

The mere mention of the word ‘weapons’ made Hikari excited. “That would be nice,” she remarked happily, her face matching TalonFyre’s.  Flare simply shook his head and stood back.

The mercenary drew a circle in the floor and a portal opened, revealing all of his armaments.  “Wasn’t going to blow these up!” the mercenary exclaimed with a smirk, “I’m not that stupid.” 

Hikari admired the weapons in joy, “Kickass gear here,” she said with a sly smile. 

“Yeah – oh careful,” TalonFyre warned. 

Hikari backed away.  Unfortunately she had walked upon a piece of equipment.  Claw shaped shoes then latched onto her feet.

“Great – well, you’re getting new claws.  Try not to move,” TalonFyre instructed her. 

The dragoness stood still as the device stabbed her directly in the tips of her paws.  “OW!” she yelped as the mold dropped off, making a casting of her claws from a mix of golem skin. 

“There…yeah I knew I should’ve thrown that away,” TalonFyre shrugged in a nonchalant voice, masking the fact that he was slightly concerned for her.

“What happened?” Hikari asked, admiring the piece of weaponry attached to her paws. 

“It clones your DNA and matches it with the metal.  Makes it ten times sharper and infuses it with your element,” the mercenary explained.

Returning to the pile of weaponry, TalonFyre grabbed a chunk of golem.  He proceeded to sniff it, gagging at the smell.  “No more left in it,” he remarked, tossing it backwards.  Unfortunately, Flare was in the way of its trajectory and was struck on his nose by the blackish-gray piece of rock.  “Oops – you ok?” the mercenary asked, a bit concerned. 

Flare rubbed his nose and healed himself. “Yeah, I’m fine now,” he replied without anger. 

“Yeah, fancy trick – anyway get it out, it stinks,” the mercenary requested in his usual uncaring voice. 

Hikari grasped it in her tail and walked towards the exit of the cave.

 “I thought I threw these out,” TalonFyre whispered, pulling out some strange, wingtip-shaped pieces of metal.  He examined them for a moment and threw them behind his back, which landed by Hikari as she arrived back inside.

“What a bunch of junk…” TalonFyre mumbled. 

Hikari picked the blades up, “What are these?” 

The mercenary turned to her, “Stabilizes your flying and allows you to use your wings like a sword,” he explained, digging through the pile once again.  “There’s another right…here – catch Flare!” he tossed them over to the light dragon, who caught them on his wings.

TalonFyre continued through the pile until he found his own, then it hit him, “Oh right, I nearly cut a wing with these damn things.  The one time I try to enhance my wings I nearly rip one.”  With that, he bit them in half and blasted them with fire, melting them.

Unnerved by the idea of getting his wings torn, Flare quickly unequipped the armaments.  TalonFyre saw him do this, and realized the light dragon was afraid of the blades.  “It was my fault.  Mine were second hand.  I copied them and fixed the mistakes.  They’re safe,” the mercenary informed him.  However, Flare was still a bit unsure, and left them on the ground.

      After a few more minutes of digging, TalonFyre found what he was looking for.  “Ahh, here it is!” he pulled out a small table, armor dropping to the floor.  “Invisible armor – well seemingly, matches your scales and color. Just put your foot on the plate in the center.  It’ll scan you and make a set of armor to match your style of fighting and level of protection,” he explained, happy with the knowledge that Hikari would find it amazing.

Hikari was indeed amazed at this, but before she could try, Flare interrupted, “It’s getting late… we should head to bed before our next outing in the ruins.”

The mercenary heard him say this and realized how late it truly was and yawned.  “Yeah, I’ll…” he began only to be cut short by his own exhaustion as he fell over in slumber.

The dragoness looked at him. “Dad is it okay if Talon sleeps next to me?” she asked pleadingly. 

Flare nodded and said in a parental voice, “As long as it’s okay with him.” 

Hikari looked at TalonFyre once more, a hopeful expression on her face.  TalonFyre saw her face and uncertainly gave her the answer she wanted, “Yeah, it’s fine.  Just don’t try to wake me up.”  He handed her earplugs after this, which she put into her earlobes.

He moved over a bit.  After this, Hikari draped her wing over him.  “Goodnight Tally,” she whispered contently.

“Night Hikari,” he mumbled sleepily, not realizing what she just called him.  He fell asleep once more with a slight smile, but still snoring.

TalonFyre didn’t know what it was about this dragoness that made him so comfortable.  Was it gratitude, kindness, friendship, or something else?  Why did he allow her to sleep next to him?  Why did he trust her?  These questions were driving TalonFyre insane, albeit subconsciously.  Whatever the reasoning was, he wanted to do something for her, and he knew exactly what it was.

Chapter 10

True Nature, part 1

 

TALONFYRE snuck away in the darkness of the night, headed for the cave which housed the skull again – this time with purpose.  When he reached his destination, he approached the remains of Hikari’s mother. “Well she told me only once and not for my own use – this should help,” he whispered in a kind voice.

  He grabbed his mother’s necklace and began to revive the skulls owner, casting a shroud around him so no soul would see the deed.  Bones emerged from the skull, the bones became muscle, and the muscle became flesh.  The dragoness then opened her eyes.

A few hours later, he came back to Flare and Hikari’s cave.  “Guys come out here, it’s very important!” he yelled happily. 

They both walked out sleepily.  Their drowsiness vanished the moment they saw who was next to TalonFyre.  There, standing next to him, was a pure white dragoness with a yellow, sectioned underbelly and light blue wing membranes.  Her eyes were a deep blue color.  Her upper horns were near the shape of Hikari’s – spiraled like a unicorn.  Hers, however, had a goat-like shape, while Hikari’s were much longer and conical.  Also, she had no horns near the bottom of her jawline.  It was her mother – Flare’s mate.

“I believe you know each other,” TalonFyre said, beaming. 

Hikari’s jaw dropped.  “…Mom..?” she gasped in amazement and near-disbelief. 

The mercenary’s smile grew wider, “Yup – must be she was worried about you – even tried to scratch me – anyway…” 

He was about to say more, but Hikari and Flare both ran up and embraced her.  “How… is this possible?” Flare whispered, tears of joy in his eyes.

It was at this moment that TalonFyre’s mother’s necklace burst into flames, turning to ash upon hitting the ground.  “My mother – her pure soul was in this necklace.  She said only someone who truly died innocently deserved it,” the mercenary explained, albeit softly. 

Hikari was shocked beyond belief at what he had done. “I….! You…Talon… Thank you so much!” she cried gratefully. 

“Yeah, well if I tried using it I’d just waste it.  Besides, she told me to help you guys,” he shrugged, not wanting to show what he was truly feeling.  His claws faded to jet black.  “Yeah, that’s the end of that.  No more glowing claws.  I mean sure, I still have lava infused blood but they were a nice showpiece,” he remarked.

Flare walked up to TalonFyre and took a soft and grateful tone, “You brought Angel back to us.  Thank you.” 

The mercenary merely looked at him kindly.  “Can’t stand to see good people suffer – I’ll take the suffering around here,” he replied, walking inside to his weapons.

While the family enjoyed its reunion, TalonFyre was rummaging through his belongings.  “Ok, now where….Ah!” he exclaimed, pulling out a bag of still-glowing claws.  “Ok, now this will smart,” he complimented himself.  “Nnnnggh!” he snapped a claw straight off with a growl of pain, and placed the glowing one where the end broke.  It started glowing again. “Yeah…that’s better – God, I’m still a bit dazed,” TalonFyre sighed, his head spinning a bit.

      By this time, Angel had walked in and approached him.  She put her paw on his front shoulder.  “You’re not a monster like you thought, TalonFyre, nor are you a waste of space.  You’re a virtuous dragon who took the wrong path,” she said in a loving and kind voice.

“Well, anything to help someone who died unjustly – died for no reason by the hands of evil, I mean,” he shrugged, once again hiding his emotions. 

Angel, however, knew the truth.  “I’m half psychic dragon. I can tell someone’s true self,” she smiled at the last two words.

“Yeah, well, search away then.  I’m not hiding anything,” TalonFyre lied nervously. 

Angel, however, already knew he was.  Placing her paw on his chest, Angel began her reading of TalonFyre’s heart. “You’re a lot softer than people realize. Also, you have a kind heart that was hardened after years of mercenary work. You are no monster; you’re a loving dragon that took the wrong path in life,” she said with a motherly smile.

“Well – nice work,” the mercenary shrugged, both impressed and embarrassed.

  Once again, TalonFyre began digging through more of his arsenal.  “I know I left it…..aw forget it,” he moaned. 

Angel looked at him with a kind smile and said what she thought he wanted to hear, “You have my full permission to be with my daughter.”

The mercenary was silent for a moment.  “Uhhh….” he stuttered. 

Angel continued, “I know about the fact that you both cannot have children,” she sighed, still keeping her kind voice. 

“Oh good,” TalonFyre’s fears were alleviated at hearing this.  He pulled out an inert black quartz orb. “There – eye from the Thanatos Golem – damn thing lets me sense lesser ones.  Not getting anything,” he shrugged uncaringly.

The mercenary was distracted; however, Angel wanted to make him understand what he meant to her daughter.  She took a slightly parental tone, “Have you forgotten my daughter is the same? She never thought that she’d find a dragon who would accept her.” 

TalonFyre started to get the message after hearing this, “Well, that’s good.  I know I’m just used to being the same.  I just let the subject go unnoticed.”  With that, he smashed the black piece of quartz.  “Not gonna’ need that anymore – don’t want memories of that day…”

 “Anyway, you guys should be catching up right?  I’ll be in here messing around, making the usual junk,” TalonFyre shrugged, turning back to his equipment. 

Angel smiled at him.  “You’re going to be doing that with us,” she answered, still somewhat keeping her parental tone. 

“Well, I don’t want to intrude any more than I have,” he started nervously, but was interrupted by Angel. 

“Have you already forgotten you’re part of our family now?” she continued, sounding even more parental. 

“Yeah, my mistake,” TalonFyre replied sheepishly, grabbing Hikari’s armor from the night before. “Well, this turned out nicely,” he stated proudly.  He followed the dragoness outside to where Hikari waited.

TalonFyre was conflicted after Angel said what she did.  Was he really family to them?  Even more so, did he want to be?  He wasn’t sure.  Did he actually love Hikari?  No – it couldn’t be.  He never loved a dragoness, and he never would.  He was sure of it…but would it really be that bad to fall in love?  He was sure it would be.  He was completely certain this dragoness was the same as the others.  Maybe she was even as bad as ‘her’.  Or was she?  Maybe she wouldn’t be like the others.  She had made no sexual advances on him whatsoever.  He was in a war with his own emotions and memories at this point, and no side could get a foothold.  He decided to wait and see where this whole thing led before he made any rash decisions.

Chapter 11

True Nature, part 2

 

THEY walked out of the cavern back to the main area where Hikari and Flare waited.  “Hikari, here!” TalonFyre called out, tossing her the armor, which she promptly grabbed.  “I worked on it while you slept,” he said with a grin. 

The dragoness quickly strapped on the piece of equipment and gave a joyful, “This is badass!” instead of thanking the mercenary.  He strangely appreciated this more.

“I see your tomboyish attitude hasn’t changed Hikari,” Angel sighed in a disheartened tone. 

TalonFyre smiled happily, “Yeah I…” he stopped, losing his train of thought as he realized his own armor was missing.  “Oh, guess mine is gone somewhere.  Meh, I don’t need that stuff – too heavy…. cooks me like a damn potato,” he shrugged.

A few seconds later TalonFyre spotted the armor on the floor.  He thought for a moment, eventually deciding he had no need for it.  He handed it to Angel and the color changed to pure white.  “There, new owner,” he said, then he turned to Flare, “You want any?  I made it all overnight.”  Flare nodded to the mercenary in acceptance.

“Oh my…this is surprisingly snug,” Angel stated in a slightly amazed voice. 

“Yeah, fits to match your shape and size,” TalonFyre explained, tossing Flare a set as well.  “Go nuts.  I actually made them while I slept,” TalonFyre stated proudly. 

“If we’re going to be exploring ruins, we need all the protection we can get,” Flare remarked seriously, putting the piece of equipment on.

Once again TalonFyre cracked his neck making a disgusting sound. “Ok, that’s definitely better,” he moaned happily, stepping outside.  “Well, we going exploring or catching up first?” he asked, ready to go.

The family had been broken apart for so long they needed to spend some time together, along with TalonFyre.  Hikari did adore him after all.  Her parents both knew this. “Let’s catch up first,” Flare replied in a slightly parental yet kind voice. 

Upon hearing this, TalonFyre laid down in the lava pit.  “Yeah, I’ll multi-task,” he sighed uncaringly. 

The mercenary’s nose twitched – he knew what was coming, and Hikari and Angel were right next to him!  He didn’t want to cover them in lava!   He turned his head, sneezing away from them this time.  This caused Hikari to chuckle a bit, at which TalonFyre gave a fake frown.  This however caused her to laugh even more.

Angel approached him and softly asked, “You’re in more peace now than you have been in a long time, are you not?” reading his expression.

TalonFyre smiled at this.  “I have to say you’re pretty sharp – yeah,” he sighed happily, closing his eyes.

Overjoyed at this, Hikari went into a daze, ‘I hope he stays forever.  He’s the only dragon I ever want to be with.  I’ll never go into heat or have a child, but maybe just to become one with him we could…’ she was taken out of her trance by a snapping of her father’s claws.  He had noticed she was looking at the mercenary longingly and wanted to keep her from scaring him off.

A few minutes went by as the family conversed and eventually TalonFyre opened his eyes again.  Thankfully Hikari was no longer looking at him as she was earlier.  It wasn’t a lustful look per say, but it may have been enough to drive him away permanently.

“For being only half psychic dragon her powers are very potent,” Flare explained, seeing that TalonFyre was once again aware. 

The mercenary was no longer paying attention, however, and was rummaging through his armor’s satchels. This confused the family, but there was a method to his madness.

TalonFyre brought out a small tree the size of a grass blade, tossing it to Hikari, “Plant that anywhere barren and it’s green the next day – the whole land.  Learned it from an old-as-the-earth mountain dragon,” he remarked with a smile.  The pun earned a small giggle from Hikari.

Upon hearing this, an idea formed in Angel’s head, and she quickly suggested what was on her mind, “Let’s use this where you father died.  He deserves it.”

This was something that was in the back of TalonFyre’s mind, but he never had the strength of heart to do it.  Somehow, seeing the three of them gave him the drive he needed –most of it being from Hikari.  Why did this dragoness make him feel so strong – so powerful?  When he looked at her he felt as if he could take on the world – everything seemed possible.  It was as if he felt like nothing could stand in his way.  He cursed his mind – What was it?  What was happening to him!?  Why was he feeling like he was so invincible!?  Most of all, why was this one dragoness causing these feelings?  It confounded him how a single being could give him so much drive; let alone the fact that it was a female.  Whatever the case, he knew he was able to do what he desired to do long ago – to mark the grave of one who cared for him.

The mercenary emerged from the pool and shook off, once more raining lava upon the ground and a plethora of other areas.  “And I do it again.  Lovely,” he sighed, checking to see that the family wasn’t hurt. 

“It’s okay Tally,” Hikari replied in a forgiving tone.

The mere mention of that name caused TalonFyre to cringe.  “Please, just Talon is close enough,” he gagged disgustedly.  The very idea that the tomboyish dragoness could come up with such a name for him baffled the mercenary.

“Okay, sorry,” she apologized, an ashamed and embarrassed look on her face.

Paying no heed and throwing yet another gem down, TalonFyre created a new, faintly white portal – unpowered.  “Flare, you mind..?”  TalonFyre started, once again taking an uncaring tone. 

Hikari walked up and touched it, opening the gateway.  “Oh – well, I guess this works,” the mercenary shrugged.  He headed through, and the family followed suit.

The portal led into the half-mile wide crater which Flare had seen before, at which time TalonFyre ended up face-planting onto the ground.  “Watch your step,” he advised, spitting rocks out.  This, of course, earned him a giggle from Hikari as she and her family swooped down.

“Yup, this crater is all me.  Get me mad enough, I can do this stuff,” TalonFyre laughed as he walked to the center of the detonation zone, Hikari behind him.  “Well…” his gaze wandered to the charred armor, “I learned armorsmithing from the best.  Yeah…” he whispered, starting to cry slightly. 

Hikari hugged him upon seeing this to comfort him.  This time he hugged back – he had to.  For some reason, this dragoness made him feel at ease.

After TalonFyre composed himself, he placed the small twig-like piece of greenery in the center of the blast zone – the exact place where his father had perished.  “And right now we should take off,” he warned.  The family took to the sky, and the mercenary took off hovering over the crater.

The crater started to turn green as a blast of cool air hit them.  “And here we go….” TalonFyre said happily as grass appeared across the horizon.  The next thing that happened made TalonFyre desire to leave – the center turned into a pond.  “Ugh, water – only thing that can make me weak,” he cringed, “Let’s get going…. it’ll finish off.”

With that, he went through the portal, and the family followed.  “Heck, there’s gonna’ be trees, rivers, the whole thing – too nice to watch,” he added as he exited the portal and the family followed.  After they had gotten out, the portal then turned to dust.

“Your father would be proud,” Hikari said in a sweet and comforting voice, nuzzling TalonFyre. 

He smiled at the thought of this, “Yeah… so anyway, catching up – everyone knows me I’m sure.  That and I’m sick of explaining it.”  He placed himself in his lava pit after saying this and yawned.  A few seconds later, he was asleep, snoring once more.

“He sure does sleep a lot, huh?” Angel whispered quietly. 

“I was awake all night,” TalonFyre mumbled, rolling over in his sleep. 

“Yeah, he made that armor for us,” Hikari added gratefully.

TalonFyre continued snoring and his snout fell into lava, creating bubbles. Hikari snickered at this.  They were about to re-initiate their conversation when TalonFyre snored again, spraying lava upon the ground.  “…sorry…” he murmured, rolling over once more. 

“It’s fine – no one was hurt,” Flare replied in an uncaring tone. 

Although TalonFyre was sleepy, he was awake enough to put his snout out of the lava to snore so that he didn’t spray the molten rock on his new friends and… whatever Hikari was to him.

Chapter 12

Bonding

AS he remembered what Angel had said, TalonFyre felt the need to wake up.  “Oh, right – sorry,” he apologized. 

“What is it Talon?” Hikari asked, wondering why he decided not to sleep. 

“Catching up, I forgot – well, you guys are.  I’m just spectating – and cooking,” the mercenary answered, his voice taking a joking tone for the last two words.  He started to glow once more, got out, deciding against shaking off this time.  He then sat down beside Hikari.  Why her, he had no idea.

Beginning the conversation Angel asked, “So, what have you been doing while I was gone?” but TalonFyre had spotted a Vespatite. 

Angel would have just ignored it normally and continued on, but after seeing the looks on TalonFyre and Hikari’s faces, she couldn’t resist helping further their relationship.  This mercenary was the only dragon her daughter had ever loved – she had to help them, or rather him, realize the fact that they should be together.  To do this, the first thing she had to do was appeal to their personality – to show the similarities between them.

Suspending it in front of them telekinetically and rolling her eyes, Angel waited for the mercenary to take whatever action he desired. Wasting no time TalonFyre pried its scorpion-like jaws open, placing a small fireball inside, and finally tossing it into the air. 

Boom-time!” Hikari yelled happily as it exploded.  TalonFyre sneezed from the ash and green goo.

When TalonFyre looked up, he spotted five more Vespatites hunched together, their fear paralyzing them.  He put his face to theirs with an evil grin.

“BOO!” was the only thing that emerged from TalonFyre’s mouth. This was all it took for them to scatter, trampling each other with their bee-like legs and emitting spider-like screeches as their vast amount of fear took hold of their entire psyche.  The display caused Hikari to burst out laughing. 

TalonFyre laughed as well, “I swear they should make a game out of this,” the mercenary said as he walked over to his former place next to Hikari.  “Who says they’re not fun,” he added.

      Flare looked at his mate.  “In case you were wondering Angel, Hikari has been training nonstop to get stronger ever since you died,” he said with a small, sad smile.

Angel was curious as to the time that had passed and asked, “How long was it?”

He was about to answer but TalonFyre called out, “Hey- Hikari!”  With this, he tossed a dummy Vespatite in the air.  Hikari bit its neck and slashed it to bits with a photon claw.

The surprise came when meat rained down from the ‘slain’ Vespatite. “It’s actually filled with meat, so you can eat it.  Stuffing wasn’t very tasty,” TalonFyre snickered at the last sentence.  Hikari devoured it like a slob, jumping from one piece to another.

“Dear!” Angel yelled, about to scold Hikari, only to be intercepted by TalonFyre.

“Well she worked on that, too,” he stated with a grin. 

Hikari then let out a resounding belch, causing TalonFyre to laugh.  “Hey, guys like gals who eat,” he laughed. 

Angel shook her head back and forth and sighed, “You two… are perfect for each other.”

This phrase gave TalonFyre a shock he was unaware of as he capriciously agreed, “I guess so.”

He was about to retract his statement when an odor wafted to his nose, causing it to crinkle.  “Yuck – I thought I was bad,” the mercenary gagged as he smelled the air exhaled by his new potential ‘lover’.

The mercenary got up after this, taking off after a deer.  “Just remembered I’m hungry,” he yelled back.  He caught it within moments, roasting it alive as it screeched.  He decided to mimic Hikari, ripping it apart, eating it like a beast, devouring the skeleton and all.  Once again he got a bone stuck in his throat, but again the lava-drool took care of it. “Ok, now I can think straight,” TalonFyre sighed, sitting upon the ground covered in blood. 

Flare finally answered Angel’s question, “It was about one and a half years since Rayburn killed you.  Hikari has been training nonstop since then.”

TalonFyre decided to make their day by informing them of his defeat.  “Heh, Electus kicked his ass good – only time I saw fear in his cold, unfeeling eyes,” he laughed, licking the blood off. 

Hikari’s eyes narrowed. “Serves him right – I wish I could have seen that bastard’s face,” she growled cruelly. 

TalonFyre grinned at this. “Well….” he said as he pulled out an orb, “Heh, I sent it in when they were busy fighting.”

Hikari’s face turned to a sinister smile. TalonFyre saw this and gave it to her. “Here, I’ve seen it too many times,” he said with a smile. 

Hikari gave a vengeful “Thank you!” with the same sinister grin.

The orb’s illusionary capabilities projected the battle at Rayburn’s castle where he had fought Electus.

Rayburn was a monstrosity.  His four eyes were sunken and glowing red.  His jagged, sword-like scales were black as night and his six horns like that of a goat.  He had six legs with long, sharp claws.  His saggy underbelly was a dark red.  His six thin wings were a pale, sickly greenish shade and nearly bone.  His tail-tip was like that of an old-style pitchfork, but blood-red.

Nocturnal was chained to the wall, her blood-red scales and two bull-like black horns chipping off from her struggle to get free.  Her onyx-colored underbelly was cut at the top.  Her dark black, pitchfork like tail-tip was also dulled.  Her sharp, long claws were filed to a point where they were stumps.

Electus however was in top form.  His muscular and trained body was both black and white, separated in a linear wave.  His left foreleg was black, complimenting the white part of the wave.  His right foreleg was white, complimenting the black part respectively.  His back legs were the opposite.  He also had a black and white underbelly with plates that transitioned from white to black for each segment.  His head had an odd symbol upon it that matched his body coloring.  His eyes were golden.

After teleporting behind Rayburn, Electus clawed a soft spot at the back of his neck and severed his spinal cord, taking away his ability to move. The black and white dragon let loose a large blast of golden energy as the demon looked on in horror. The blast collided with his head as his body began to glow gold as well.  After this, his soul came out of his vaporizing body and erupted in flame. After that, the demon dragon was no more.

“Even if he didn’t get his soul burnt to a crisp, I would have kicked his ass,” TalonFyre said with a smirk as he pulled out his sword, which was now twenty-five feet long.

Hikari laughed at this.

 “Even worked on the golem part – sharper now,” he said, then he put it away, “Oh, reminds me – nah, I’ll wait till later.”

Vast amounts of weaponry flashed in the dragoness’s mind.  Hikari couldn’t wait until later.  She couldn’t contain herself until then. “Heh, a new toy for me?” she asked smugly.

“Maybe…” TalonFyre winked.

TalonFyre was confused again.  Why in the world did he agree so quickly with Angel’s statement?  Had he really ended up falling in love with this tomboyish dragoness in such a short time?  No, love was out of the question.  Why would he keep giving her gifts and doing things for her if he didn’t though?  That was it!  He liked her more than anyone he’d ever met!  He didn’t love her!  Or did he?  He never had been in love, so how was he supposed to know what it felt like?  Whatever it was, it felt good, and he wanted to stay with the family – for a long time.

Chapter 13

New Powers

 

SOMETHING was bothering Flare about Hikari’s training for a long time, but he never got a chance to question her about it.  Now was a better time than ever.

“I never got to ask you this Hikari.   Why didn’t you ever work on your psychic powers?”

Hikari’s head drooped at her father’s question.  “I figured with only a quarter blood in me they won’t be good enough,” she sighed. 

TalonFyre nudged her, “Better than no blood.”

This caught the dragoness’s attention.  “You’re saying I should try?” she asked a bit hopefully. 

TalonFyre nodded.  “Well, yeah – it’s better to try and use them instead of letting them waste away,” he replied in a somewhat kind tone.

At this, a twig was tossed to the dragoness by her father.  Hikari gazed at the twig and concentrated. It first began to rock back and forth, eventually standing upright, and finally snapping. 

“See?”  TalonFyre smiled as he said this. 

“I… I did it,” Hikari gasped in surprise. 

Angel’s mouth dropped. “You… you got it right on the first try. I couldn’t even do that,” she whispered. 

The mercenary then had an idea to make her even more inclined to train with her powers and gave a happy, “I’m going to go get you something,” as he walked inside.

Entering the cavern, TalonFyre searched through his scattered belongings until he found what he was searching for.

“Ah…” he pulled out a pure white shard, grasped it in his tail and walked back out.

The family saw the shard and wondered what the mercenary’s intention could be – Hikari especially, since he had handed it to her.

“What’s this?” she asked curiously. 

“Don’t break it.  It’s pure psychic energy – balances it out.  Dug it up one day when I was building that damn bunker,” TalonFyre answered with a joyous grin. 

“How do I use it?” Hikari asked with a curious yet excited expression. 

TalonFyre was surprised she hadn’t heard of dragons eating gems to get stronger, but decided not to wait upon asking if she had no knowledge of it. “Well… you eat it – it’ll melt. Don’t know why everything I have is edible,” he shrugged. 

Hikari placed the gem in her mouth. 

“By the way – it tastes like rotten Vespatite, so just put up with it,” the mercenary added. 

After a few seconds Hikari’s eyes widened in disgust, but she continued to hold the gem in her mouth.  “That would be the center – yup, it’s nasty.  Makes you feel like everything is significant, kind of like a drug – so it’s gonna’ get weird,” he continued.

This word confused Flare, as he had never heard it before.  “What’s a drug?” he asked, a little concerned.

“Oh, strength enhancers, magic boosts, some are just plain for relaxing.  Even saw one old guy take a past-date one of those.  He was spinning around in circles. Actually passed out cold but woke up feeling really giggly.  I never take that crap but it helps when it’s the right type,” the mercenary finished the explanation. 

TalonFyre looked at Hikari’s face and asked, “Feeling a bit zoned yet there?” as her eyes widened even more. “Yup, it’s hitting her.  She’ll be fine.  Might even have fun,” he laughed.

A minute later, he decided to see if the gem had taken effect.  “Hikari, you feeling it?” he asked.  He didn’t need an answer, because as soon as he had asked, her eyes changed shade to a glowing blue. 

“Yup, there it is – now the best part,” he grinned at what he was going to say next, “It’s called carbonation.  The thing is loaded with it, meaning….” he continued covering his ears and nose as Hikari let out a giant, resounding belch. “Meaning all ladylike things go out the window,” he laughed and gagged at the same time.

Hikari’s body began to shine with a blue light.  “And now the glowing starts – meaning the powers are being doubled,” TalonFyre explained.  The shine intensified after this, and the dragoness’s aura grew exponentially. “Holy crap, that’s some power!  I feel that right here!” the mercenary exclaimed. 

Flare was a bit scared. “Shouldn’t you have given it to her after her powers matured?” he asked. 

TalonFyre shook his head and replied, “No, it’s safe.”

The glow increased in strength, causing the cave to shake slightly.  “Uh-Oh!  Great, I didn’t think…!” the mercenary began. 

Flare looked at him. “What is it!?” he yelled angrily. 

TalonFyre looked back at him and answered, “Well, one word – unstable.”

This caused Angel to panic, giving an angry, “WHAT!?” causing the mercenary’s own worry and guilt to heighten.

TalonFyre knew he had to do something, and fast.  “Hang on, hang on!” he gasped tensely as he approached the dragoness and pointed his glowing claw at her chest. 

“This should…” he whispered fearfully as he pressed his claw against her chest.  The glowing died down and then halted.  “…and stable.  Yeah, I feel it now, they’re perfect.  She should be fine,” he sighed, his fear alleviated.

“The more you train with them, the stronger they get, and you should feel pretty dizzy,” the mercenary informed Hikari, looking her in the face. 

The dragoness then started to wobble.  “Get ready to catch her!” he called out to the dragoness’s parents.

Angel propped herself against her daughter as she fell to her side, exhausted. 

“Yeah, she just needs a nap – anyone else?” TalonFyre offered with a laugh.  The two shook their heads no.  TalonFyre walked off after this.

It was strange – TalonFyre had never been that worried about anything in his life!  Why did have such concern over her?  He should be more worried about himself, because that’s what mercenaries do!  Why – why did he care about that dragoness so much?  Why did he feel she was so much more important than him?  He didn’t love her – he didn’t!  How could he bring himself to love a female after what happened!?  But if he didn’t love her, why did he care about her so much?  Why did he feel so scared?  The fear that gripped him when Hikari became unstable… it was overwhelming!  If it weren’t for his mercenary training he might have been paralyzed due to it!  It was odd to say the least.  Whatever the case, he decided to help the three with their archaeology.

Chapter 14

The First Adventure, part 1

 

A/N: If text shows up in ()’s or parentheses, it means they’re using telepathy

 

HEADING to the family’s archives, TalonFyre prepared to mark down his parents’ hoards. He knew his old maps like the back of his volcanic paw, and decided to make use of that knowledge to help out with the couple’s hobby.  Pulling out a map that showed treasure caves buried in the land, he put down a new mark.

“Well, he wants to explore so…” he then handed the map to Angel without finishing. 

She was astounded. “This looks promising,” she remarked. 

“Here, take it, I’ll watch Hikari,” TalonFyre instructed, tearing a claw off of his paw.  He then gave his signature glowing talon to Angel.  “Here’s the key.  It was my dad’s treasure cave.”

Knowing his father’s mercenary history, Angel decided to ask the normal question, “Is it booby trapped?” 

TalonFyre shrugged and answered with, “As long as you don’t step on the marked traps – pitfalls mainly.  Some spells, but nothing harmful.  Good luck.” 

TalonFyre then thought of Hikari. “Where is she now anyway…?” he asked the dragoness’s mother ponderingly. 

“She’s in the cave resting.  She’s still a bit tired from the whole affair with the gem,” Angel replied, her tone a bit concerned. 

The mercenary was a bit worried at this, so he decided to see her.  He entered Hikari’s room and lay beside her. Angel had followed however; as she had something she wanted to suggest to the mercenary, “You deserve to explore it… with her.”

TalonFyre however had no desire to leave.  “Not how she is right now, she’s too dazed.  You guys go.  I have my mother’s yet.  That will be for later,” he replied, grinning at the idea. 

Angel walked off after his answer, Flare following.  “Also, try to duck when you go in!” he called after them. 

He closed his eyes after this, draping his wing over the dragoness and falling asleep next to her.  Strangely, his snoring problem hadn’t occurred.

Nearly two hours later in a rocky clearing littered with grass, Flare and Angel were looking around the general area where the spot was marked on their map.  Sadly their search led to no avail. 

“(Hey, you find it yet? Yes, I have some telepathy – not much)” the mercenary both asked and stated using his psychic powers.  They shook their heads.

At this point, TalonFyre decided to help with the search. “(Hang on…)” a projection of him appeared beside the two mates as he said this. “(Remember this Flare?)”  he asked smugly.  The light dragon merely rolled his eyes.

“Astral projection…. I suppose you’re part psychic dragon too,” Angel stated in a gasp. 

TalonFyre gave an unsure, “(Very minimal, but I guess so)” as he gazed at the map. 

He then proceeded to check the scenery. “(Ok, should be around….  Ah, there we are!)”  With this, he pointed to an engraving on a rock with the same crest as his father’s armor.  Taking to the skies with the two mates behind, he headed for the piece of terrain that bore his father’s crest.

The three landed beside the marked rock. “(I think Flare knows the procedure)” TalonFyre said with a grin. 

Flare walked up to the marked piece of stone.  “This is it, huh?” he rhetorically asked, placing the claw into the marking. 

The mercenary sighed, “(Same one that revives me.  Just drip the blood on the mark – you have to bite the end off.  Watch it though, it’ll melt teeth,)” explaining once again. 

Flare repeated the earlier procedure and quickly moved his mouth away.

“(Ok, now just drip the blood over the mark,)” TalonFyre instructed.  Flare did as he was told, and the door revealed itself and opened.

“(DUCK!)” TalonFyre warned as cannon fire was heard.  There was no need to do this however, as the shots stopped short before they hit them – this was due to being blocked by telekinesis.

“Angel, do you really have to show off like that?” Flare moaned in a voice of false anger.  TalonFyre laughed at this.

“(Hang on.)”  The mercenary disappeared for a moment to check on the slumbering dragoness next to him, “(Looks fine.)”

Angel smiled warmly upon hearing him say those two words.  “You really care about her don’t you?” she asked the mercenary sweetly, already knowing full well the answer. 

“(Yeah…)” he sighed, reappearing once more.

After sidestepping a few traps, they arrived at the treasure room. “(Ok, time to see what he left me, I mean us,)” TalonFyre said, walking in and laughing at the last three words.

When he saw the hoard, he was amazed. “(Holy mother of-!)” he gasped, astonished at the sight.  Before them was a room twice as full as his own hoard and full of jewels and gold.  “(I think money won’t be an issue,)” he remarked, his jaw open wide. 

“Yeah, some of it we might not even need,” Flare said, mouth agape as well.

TalonFyre composed himself after a few seconds, as he didn’t truly desire money anymore. “(Take whatever,)” he shrugged.

“Make that a lot of it,” Angel added to her mates comment, making a giant light tray.

“(Fine – anyway, I’m off to see how she’s doing.  Good luck and happy looting.  Also, some stuff in there is encrusted with jewels so…)” TalonFyre disappeared without finishing.  

“We know what to look out for,” Flare replied, shrugging. 

Angel was smiling again, happy that her daughter had found someone who accepted her infertility and tomboyish attitude.

TalonFyre knew he cared about Hikari, but love was another matter.  But if he didn’t love her, why did he feel happy instead of uncomfortable lying next to her like he was at this very instant?  Why did he feel so happy giving things to her?  Most of all, why was he actually enjoying every moment he spent with her?  He kept asking himself all these questions over and over; unable to come up with a single answer besides ones he did want.

Chapter 15

The First Adventure, part 2

 

GETTING back into his body, his wing still over Hikari, TalonFyre lay back down with a smile on his face.  ‘Why am I always tired for crying out loud?’ he thought to himself.  He sighed and made the decision to see how Flare and Angel were doing now that they discovered the treasure room.

“(How’s it going over there?)” TalonFyre asked.

Flare replied with, “We got a pretty good load,” as he brought the treasure out. 

“(Great, now lock the door – normal lock.  No one’s gettin’ in.)”  Flare heard this and locked the door behind him.

“(Thanks – anyway, bring it all back so we can see,)” TalonFyre finished happily. 

Angel knew what they were going to do with the money and replied, “Okay, but we’re not going to keep it at all.  Darastrix Charis needs all the help it can get,” once again using a parental tone. 

“(Hey, if we had to, we could give it all to Darastrix Charis, it’s my dad’s anyway,)” the mercenary shrugged.

There was something TalonFyre had forgotten about, “(Aw, shit – left the ballista in the bunker.)” With this, he opened a portal in the other room, dropping it and shaking the cave.  “Ah, there it is! Good thing I left a portal open near it! ” he exclaimed, looking at the ice-enchanted piece of war machinery. 

“You’re going to return it, aren’t you?” Angel asked the mercenary in a caring tone. 

TalonFyre nodded. “(Well, not broken.  Firing mechanism is shot, the whole thing is bent.  So, yeah…)” he sighed in a disheartened manner, realizing he had a lot of work ahead of him. 

“(Another sleepless night fixing it, right?)” Flare asked, concerned. 

TalonFyre replied with a sigh, “(I guess so.  I don’t need sleep really – only gives me a tiny bit of energy.)”

A few minutes passed and flapping was audible from outside the cave.  “(Well, have fun guys,)” the mercenary said with grin, ready to see the spoils.

“(Is Hikari up?)” Angel asked hopefully. 

TalonFyre wanted her to see her parents return and gave a concerned, “(I don’t know,)” as a reply.  He felt movement on his side after he had said this – it was Hikari.

“Ah, perfect timing sleepy,” he whispered, taking his wing off of her.  “You probably feel like you’ve been smacked by a golem,” he chuckled. 

She looked at him and smiled.  Her voice was soft at the time, but she had to ask it, “You were here the whole time I was out?” already knowing what he would say.

 Just as she thought he gave a soft, “Yeah…” as an answer. 

This made the dragoness so happy.  She was at a loss for words and could only manage, “You’re the greatest Talon…” in a sigh. 

This made TalonFyre uncomfortable, or maybe it was another feeling.  Whatever it was, he had to change the subject.  “Yeah, well, don’t try anything power-wise for a bit.  It can hurt – mainly headaches,” he warned, pointing to her head. 

“Okay, I won’t,” she replied in an understanding tone. 

TalonFyre began another story, “Yeah, one guy tried a flame booster and actually tried his powers too soon and cooked himself alive – guy was an idiot,” cruelly saying the last words. 

Hikari didn’t need psychic powers to tell he was actually informing her of this to prevent her from hurting herself, or to know that he was worried about it.

      By this time, Flare and Angel were almost back.  Hikari walked out with TalonFyre to meet them.  The two looked for Flare and Angel.  “Heh, must be a heavy load,” he joked.  After a few minutes, Flare and Angel appeared over the horizon with a 30 square foot box of gold and treasure.

“Heh, not that much.  Go nuts – take whatever,” the mercenary shrugged, once again in an uncaring tone.

Angel shook her head. “There’s no artifacts here, and we mainly live off the land. This is for Darastrix Charis,” she informed him.

If the treasure was all for charity, TalonFyre had one thing that would make the deliverance much easier, “Oh – hang on…” he created a portal to the treasure hoard with another gem.  As he said this he motioned for them to follow.  “Could’ve made that earlier,” he reminded himself as the three trailed behind him.

Confused about why he didn’t merely create a portal instead of staying inside the cave, the mercenary was about to ponder his reasoning.  However his train of thought was interrupted by Hikari. “You just wanted to stay with me, right?” she asked smugly. 

TalonFyre was taken aback by her bluntness and replied, “Your words not mine, but maybe,” not certain if it was true or not.

      TalonFyre looked around for a few moments, attempting to find what he needed. “Ok, let’s see…. Ah!” he exclaimed, pulling an odd lever.  The mechanism caused every bit of treasure to be lifted into a metal crate – gold, jewels, and all.  Knowing he was possibly a wanted dragon he wrote a letter saying “from anonymous” and threw it on top of the pile.  He then pulled the lever again and it disappeared.

”Yeah, I don’t need them chasing me around,” TalonFyre remarked with a worried face. 

“You’re right. Peace is best enjoyed with people you know,” Hikari said with a smile. 

TalonFyre began to step back through the portal to the family’s cave.  “Anyway, we going home or what?  Oh, and your powers should be ready now.”  Hikari looked happy that TalonFyre had said this.

“Try them out Hikari,” Angel suggested, nudging her. 

Hikari was more than ready, but needed something as a test subject.  She looked around in an attempt to find a suitable target.

“Try that,” TalonFyre instructed, pointing to a boulder in the far left of the cave.  Hikari focused on the boulder as it levitated above the ground and exploded.  “Hikari keep practicing, I need to talk with Flare and Angel,” the mercenary said with an unhappy sigh.

“Okay!” she replied happily.

What TalonFyre was about to do made him upset for some reason. Why, he didn’t know.  He wanted to see Hikari happy, and he knew of only one way that he could do it.  He just hoped the three wouldn’t take it the wrong way, especially her.  He knew he couldn’t satisfy her after what he did.  He was dense, but he knew Hikari had a deep emotional attachment to him.  He couldn’t keep lying to her.  It was impossible to keep a secret forever, and he knew this.  She could never be his, and he could never be hers.  Even though she desired for him to take her with all her heart, he knew it could never be.  He had to end this and make her let go before it became any harder on her.  He had to stop her advances on him before they began.  Mating was impossible for him, let alone something he desired.  If it became a fact for Hikari that it was impossible for her virginity to end at his hand – if it was impossible for him to break the literal wall that bonds two mates for life… she’d have to let go.

Chapter 16

The Cure

 

THE three walked to the back room, the door sealing.  “I think we need to talk,” TalonFyre sighed in a sad tone, pulling out a small, bright orb. 

The sadness in the mercenary’s eyes told Angel all she needed to know, “It… it’s about Hikari’s infertility, isn’t it?” she whispered, her pain showing in her voice. 

The mercenary nodded, “Yes – I have a solution.  This orb contains the purest form I can create.”

This was something that the two mates knew Hikari would never accept.  Flare shook his head no, “She won’t want a child with someone else.” 

The mercenary looked down sadly at the comment.  He knew he couldn’t hide it forever, and now was the time to tell them.  “Only once in my life.  No I….  I did a job once.  She was the most pure evil dragoness ever born.  Basically she tried to force me over,” the mercenary growled.

***

Visit: http://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/620393 to purchase this book to continue reading. Show the author you appreciate their work!


The TalonFyre Chronicles: A Second Chance

TalonFyre - A mercenary dragon who has spent his entire life killing, betrayed king and country by working for the demon dragon 'Furher' Rayburn, and numbed his heart. When awakened from a dormant state by a (seemingly) 22-year old light dragon named Flare, he quicky turns him away - until he finds a letter which details the reason he never met his mother. After a near-morbid scenario and learning of Flare's secret, TalonFyre introduced to the light dragon's tomboyish daughter, Hikari, who falls for the mercenary within a day. However TalonFyre is wary of any female due to an 'incident' in his past. Can a mercenary who has spent so long with his heart closed to the prospect of becoming mates with a female even begin to think of a peaceful life with one? Moreso, will he be able to escape the ghosts of his past even if he decides to? If not on his own, but with the help of an unusually powerful (human?) male and his extraterrestrial wife, it may be possible for TalonFyre to move on. However, will this odd man's help truly convince him to give up on his mercenary and accept Hikari's love? (Pictureless)

  • Author: Casey Lehman
  • Published: 2016-03-05 01:40:14
  • Words: 75994
The TalonFyre Chronicles: A Second Chance The TalonFyre Chronicles: A Second Chance