Wingless Dragon

      Today’s snippet, titled “Wingless Dragon”, is a piece I wrote about my PC in Mark’s Pathfinder Campaign.
      Be forewarned, there are mature themes and naughty language below.
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      “Oh, I think that’s a lovely idea!”
      Nyx rolled her eyes.
      “You’re such a big, strong man, after all, I’m sure it will be no problem for you!”
      Nyx pursed her lips to hold back the surge of bile.
      “I am just super excited to be here! Oh, Nyx, do you mind terribly if I go ahead of you here?”
      Nyx forced a pleasant smile onto her lips and nodded benevolently. The new girl, Kyra, bobby by way of acknowledgement and stepped past her. The little thing was all bubbles and light, perky and pretty and graceful as any jungle cat.
      Nyx disliked her on sight.
      But that wasn’t fair to Kyra; it wasn’t her fault that Adelind had gotten herself enveloped in that damned mirror just when Nyx had started to warm to the prickly dhampir’s chilly personality. Fortunately, Marcus had not followed her. The Old Ones alone knew what sort of hell lurked beyond the shimmering silver glass. Of all the objets d’art they had come across since entering Ip, none had escaped the eons unscathed. None, save this single, enormous mirror.
      Why in like, all the freaking Hells did she have to touch it? Stupid!
      And now they were cursed with this eyelash-batting-princess, dancing about with those blades as if she were some frilly, foofy little bard. A Sarenraen-type. Nyx chuckled to herself, following the group up the corridor. She knew that was not true though; the girl may seem sweet, but there was murder in those lavender eyes and Nyx was not fooled by the act.
      They came to a room that split off in two identical halls; its walls were lined with ancient baskets and hooks from which hung the moth-eaten remnants of what appeared to be fluffy robes. Above the opening of each door, words were scrawled in ancient Azlanti and Nyx was pleasantly surprised to find that none of the others could read her mother tongue.
      The right read “Women”, or more literally, “Females”, and the other, “Men”. Marcus and Kyra went right, leaving Hefe and Rikk to the left door. Someone called back that there was a huge bathing chamber below.
      “I imagine this was an amazing bath-house, you know, before,” Sarey was saying. She and Nyx had hung back to await reconnaissance before moving into the unknown. “All these sea creatures look sort of… strange though, right?”
      She paused, glancing around. “Yeah, they’re like, not quite right.”
      “Let’s go down. I don’t hear any screaming yet.”
      Nyx smirked, nodding. The two of them sauntered into the bathing chamber and took a long moment to look around. There were statues in here, a line of big, beautifully rendered figures. Nyx stood before the central one, her nose wrinkling in disgust.
      “Lamashtu,” she whispered. She had recognized the bloated, pregnant female immediately. All of the Mother of Monsters’ iconography was repulsive, filled with demonic, twisted offspring crawling from betwixt her thighs. “Ick.”
      “C’mon, Nyx,” Sarey shuddered, also aware of the identity of the goddess portrayed in the stonework. “They’re heading out and I don’t think you want to be left alone in the dark with this nasty bitch.”
      A few – or many, Nyx had long since given up paying attention – steps later, they turned into a hall that opened into a vast chamber. The ever-present mist still clung to the ceiling, but as Sarey sent her sickly swamp lights out into the room everyone gasped.
      A trill of pleasure pricked at her secret places as gold and silver and platinum, more than she could hope to estimate, glimmered in the distance. It was the single most gorgeous thing she had seen and she had to remind herself to breathe.
      “Its like, a dragon’s hoard,” she murmured to herself, so quietly that not even Sarey at her side could make out the words. “I want it.”
      Hefe was moving into the room with Rikk, the pair moved slowly and methodically, painfully aware that where there was evidence of one trap, there was likely to be others.
      Suddenly, movement in the back corner caught every eye. Nyx had stepped into the chamber, her gaze locked upon the gilded pedestal there, when a line of magma illuminated the entire room with a hot, orange glow. A creature unlike anything Nyx had ever seen spewed it forth and though Hefe and Kyra managed to evade the worst of it, Marcus took the full brunt of it and was rocked.
      Their half-hearted defense lasted mere moments; Hefe had fallen, but Sarey, in a fit of bravery that was uncharacteristic, ran forward into the dragon-thing’s reach to help him. Marcus was wounded – scorched almost beyond recognition – and even the spritely new girl had been injured.
      For herself, she had been prepared to flee, and though she would never admit it, sheer terror nearly made her moisten her underthings. Rarely, even with all the awful things she had experienced since joining up with Mysterious Stranger’s comrades, had she been so utterly unmanned by anything but in that instant, all she could think of was never seeing Dae again, leaving Sapphire behind, and never reaching a pinnacle of power that would allow her to travel amongst the stars with her astral lover.
      “Your Majestic Highness, is there-” Marcus’ rumbling voice caught in his throat, a byproduct of the agony he was in after being so badly burned, “Is there not a deal to be made? Our lives, for- say, ten percent of our wealth?”
      The wingless dragon peered down at him with angry, burning eyes. Its serpentine neck extending to allow it to capture each person’s gaze in turn. She could feel it appraising her with an alien intelligence and she cringed.
      It will bargain! She thought, and hope surged up from her belly. An instant later she nearly wretched at the realization that in exchange for their lives, it wanted an enormous percentage of their belongings.
      Marcus was emboldened by the dragon’s reply and stood straighter. “Twelve.”
      “Fifteen percent.”
      A long moment as it considered, flicking its tongue disconcertingly. Nyx wondered if it could taste their money somehow; was he estimating how much they were worth?
      The big dhampir shook his handsome head. “Twenty-two.”
      “Twenty-five,” Marcus said. He glanced back at his companions. Nyx was not sure how everyone else felt, but some dark part of heart wanted to scream that the bastard could keep the damned dwarf but he wasn’t going to get a copper groat of her coin. “Agreed. Twenty-five percent of our coin.”
      The beast laughed and its great head wove side-to-side. “No. Twenty-five percent of everything.”
      Nyx gripped the pendant at her throat so tightly that its sharp points drew pinpricks of blood. No way, not a freaking chance. That thing is never getting its hand on my things! And the deck – never! NEVER!
      “Three days. Bring me my tribute in three days, or I shall hunt you to the ends of the earth and extract the price from your pathetic hide.”
      Edging out of the room, grateful to be alive but absolutely horrified at the way negotiations had progressed, Nyx wanted to throttle Marcus. Then, he opened his mouth again.
      “Is there any place you cannot go, Your Highness?”
      “Is there any foe who has vexed you, whom we can kill for you? As tribute.”
      A hissing pause. “There is a bastard copper somewhere nearby; bring me his head.”
      “Three days,” it growled. “Now go.”
      Nyx pursed her lips until they were a bloodless slit in her porcelain face.
      Three days. Twenty-five percent. And another fucking dragon… this day can NOT get any worse.
      Somehow, the instant the thought crossed her mind, Nyx regretted it. She knew she had just jinxed herself.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Signed, Josie
Note: Image is “Coins” by (mzacha) from

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