The Iron King

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    Few dared to venture toward the Kalvark Mountains, and with good reason. Not only were there dangerous creatures, the very ground threatened to kill, making it almost entirely inhabitable. There were a few brave, possibly foolish, beings who made their home at the base. However, the peaks of the great mountains were home only to one: the Shadow Dragon.

    It wasn't so bad, or so she reminded herself. Though the volcano was dormant, heat still radiated from the core and kept her warm. Not that she needed it; being a dragon had its perks. However, her home was slowly becoming a burden rather than a haven.

    Once, she had been mighty, worshiped by all races alike. She was revered as a wise and powerful being, always able to provide the right words or actions. It had been the life everyone aspired to have, but only dragons received.

    That time had long passed, and while hiding away her artifact protected the world from evils, she longed for the grace she once reveled in.

    Puffing out smoke, she stretched her massive wings and yawned. She never stopped growing, which lead to her current size. It was becoming problematic, as she was outgrowing her claw-marked cave of a home. She'd carved the place herself, but she hadn't quite anticipated the growth she experienced almost daily.

    With a smoking huff, she pushed herself forward and out of her cave. At least on the precipice of her home, she could extend her extremities to their full length. From head to tail, she was over three hundred feet long with an equally sized wing span. Her claws curved into dangerous death tools, as did her teeth.

    But while she had many ways to kill, she rarely used them. She considered herself a diplomat and scholar, if dragons could be knowledge seekers. It was no reason to underestimate her. Then again, she hadn't seen any man or woman of any race for many decades to even be underestimated.

    Perhaps they'd all died and she hadn't heard about it. Then at least she would be revered by the non-sentient organisms surrounding her.
    #1 Saren, May 21, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2015
  2. Slowly, but surely the man hiked through the mountains, it had been a long difficult journey, but he was getting closer to his destination. Hazards of all kinds had hounded him through his journey here, traversing inhospitable terrain, and surviving with difficulty off the land, that and fending off ork attacks.

    Viscous, warlike brutes, the only thing stopping them from posing a real threat to other races was the fact they were often all too busy killing and fighting each other to really unite, which was fortunate for everyone else involved. Kaine hated them with a passion, they were like animals, nay worse.

    Most animals didn't kill members of their own species for sport.

    The Mountains themselves were desolate places, mostly rock, magma, and metal, with patches here and there that could sustain life, dangerous predators prowled the ranges, feeding mostly off of orks, but hoping for the rare prize of sweeter meats to devour, so far the knight had avoided all of them.


    Kaine was a calm, tranquil man who sought one thing, he'd searched through hundreds of texts and books, many of them ancient, all for some mention of the location of a particular dragon, and her hoard of treasure, the dragon that was the crux of his plans and ambitions, without her there was no plan.

    Apperance under armor (open)


    He needed the Staff of Vaul, with it he could easily forge a new empire, one sovereign to his rule...and above him, the rule of dragons, long ago in the history books, those he could find that hadn't been rewritten to suit certain lords and nobles, dragons had ruled over man, and man had prospered.

    Dragons were better rulers then humans were, they were able to see the big picture at all times, and look at things from a centuries or even millenia long perspective, though he didn't know of any proof of it. Kaine was fairly certain that dragons were immortal unless taken by violence.

    Thus far he didn't know if it was true, but the dragon he sought may be able to confirm it, if the records were right she was ancient, having been around long enough to have seen that time when dragons ruled humanity, and peace flourished between all races(except orks of course).

    And at long last...he could tell he was getting closer, and...

    The breath of the knight was stolen away, there she was...beautiful beyond words and he knelt and murmured a brief prayer of thanks, he had done it, the hardest part was over, he'd found her at last, but the rest of it was still going to be difficult. Kaine had to also convince her to help him, and to not incinerate him the moment she saw him(if she hadn't already), though he doubted that would happen.

    Slowly he approached, it was obvious he had no weapons ready, and the sword at his side would hardly be a threat to such a great wyrm such as herself, as he got nearer he called out "Kreinvokunkulaas! I come in peace! Will you speak to me?"
  3. The sunlight glistened on the already warm rock beneath her, but as a dragon, she was used to such heat. Stretching her wings again, she found herself settling in the dirt. Her home provided a wide look upon the rest of the land, her gaze catching all. She could see the swaying trees in the breeze, the clouds wafting in the distance, and the lack of any Razorkin or orck. Today was shaping up to be fine, but boring. Every day was the same: she would wake, see the quiet and serene world, and wonder what life would be like if anyone found her. The orks were no friends of hers, and she'd eaten a fair share of their race and been stabbed by their weapons, but the battles between dragon and ork were far and few between. She found that as time passed, she grew bored of her own existence.

    Suddenly, a small thing itched at her senses. A voice came from below, the noise gentle and tickling. Glancing down, the dragon found something new in her routine: a human male, wearing armor and a sword by his side. A knight, or a well dressed mercenary, or maybe he was failing to blend in with the trees. Either way, he was asking for an audience. Well, how noble of him.

    Deciding that she had little better to do, the dragon stood back up, sharp claws gouging the rock. The human was standing on a plateau below her own, but with a simple stretch of her neck and a few steps forward, she was on the edge and leaning down to eye him. She lay down, one massive paw hanging off the plateau with a lazy flick. Her tail curled around her back legs, twitching much like a cat's tail might.

    Well met, human, she said, speaking within the confines of his mind. Her voice carried a commanding authority, yet she demanded nothing of him. I see you have traveled a great distance to find yourself here. You come armed, yet you do not try and strike me, and you speak nobly. I grant you the honor of speaking with me. You know my true name, something that has been lost to history, but I sense that you do not desire to control me as others might. Tell me, what is your name, and what do you seek?
  4. "Your pardon noble dragon, but may we speak verbally?" Kaine felt extremely uncomfortable with the intrusion in his mind, not caring at all for the telepathy, let alone anything else the dragon might have done, the last thing he'd expected was her to invade the privacy of his brain.

    It wasn't pleasant to think the enormous creature in front of him could pick out anything in his mind as far as he knew, perhaps see the darkest corners of his spirit even, he hoped if she could do more then speak into his mind, she could see how intensely her being inside his brain made him feel.

    After an awkward silence he spoke again "I've searched for you for a very long time, at least a decade, and since you're no fool you know there's likely another reason I've hunted you down, searching through so many old manuscripts and bits of writing." Kaine looked around, he couldn't see anywhere she might have a hoard, but for now "I'm here for one thing, I want a treasure you're keeping, it will serve to aid me in my ambitions."

    He held up a hand to forestall any angry objections "Now before you turn me into ashes for my insolence, here is what you get out of it, my desire is simple, with the Staff of Vaul I can forge an empire, one where dragons such as yourself, are held in their proper place in the order of the world...the top, and I will provide you with anything you desire for your hoard once I have readily prove my honesty, I will agree to swear to the Blood Pact, and bind myself to my word."

    Silence fell, as he merely waited now to see what the dragon would say to Kaine's rather audacious offer, wondering what the majestic being was thinking now.
  5. The dragon set her piercing gaze on him, as if she might smite him for requesting such a thing. Telepathic communication was the common and preferred method of speaking, but she hadn't seen a human in so long, she'd forgotten about their weak minds. She dipped her head in agreement to his question, allowing him to continue. Even without her connection to his mind, she could still sense his will, his intentions, and even the emotions roiling around in his heart. Humans weren't so good at hiding those sorts of things, and the knight before her was no exception. However, his words were becoming more interesting than his emotions. He wanted something from her, and no one dared asked for anything from the Shadow Dragon without expecting an exchange.

    The man knew this, silently asking her to hold her words so he could finish. He desired the Staff, as many humans before him had. However, she hadn't given up her possession, which led to heated arguments and battles over the damned thing. Still, she had ended up with it in her claws each time. It was something that could not easily be taken.

    He was waiting on her patiently, and her tail twitched in thought. She had the idea to make him wait longer, but humans tended to be impatient things when it came to negotiations. "Your offer is... tempting," she said, respecting his request and using her mouth rather than her mind. Her voice sounded exactly the same, and she barely had to move her massive jaw to form words just as well as he had. "However, you have neglected to answer my first question. What is your name?" she repeated."You know of the Blood Pact, so you are important in the human world. Not everyone remembers what we... I... am capable of. Tell me more about your hopeful empire. It may convince me that you are not hiding evil from me."

    Her head lowered, and she inspected him with her glowing, golden eyes, making sure he had pure intent by seeking her out. That, and she enjoyed the unsettling feelings that often rolled from those standing in front of her. Being in the presence of a dragon was unnerving, to say the least, and it was easy to see why. Her head was longer than the knight was tall, and ivory colored horns twisted and curled into sharp points above her head. Her razor-like teeth, contained within her mighty jaw, were mere feet from his body, and his armor would do little protect him from a snap of her maw.
  6. Kaine looked at the looming face if the dragon before him and said calmly "If you are seeking to frighten me noble dragon, your efforts are wasted, if you meant me harm you would have done it already." He was feeling much more relaxed and calm now that she wasn't in his brain anymore.

    "As for my being important, I am not, I merely did my research, some people still hold true to the old ways, and as for my name...I assumed you picked it out when you intruded on my mind." A faint rebuke was in that "My name is Kaine, I have no other name worth mentioning, all I have with me is what you see, I have no home, no loved ones, and nothing to lose."

    As for his empire "You wish to know more about what I'm trying to make, I thought it simple, as I said, once I have crushed my enemies, I will forge an empire where dragons are revered as gods once more, where elves, dwarves, and other races will be respected, where the weak will no longer be trampled by the strong, I intend to unite humanity in a golden age of prosperity as far as I can."

    Now hopefully her questions would be answered "Besides, if you are concerned about evil intent, the blood pact will reveal any, I will not be able to hide secrets after that."
  7. While he had a point, he knew too little about her kind. Many dragons were quick to change their minds, and some had been known to eat other races in the blink of an eye, even in the middle of conversation. She rarely ate other races (Razorkin were too pointy and orks too bony), but it didn't mean she wasn't capable of it. The young man standing before her had no fear, which garnered some respect. However, she did narrow her eyes at his assumption. "I could have, but unlike humans, I show respect for those who treat me fairly," she snapped, one claw digging into the cliff face beneath her.

    Kaine, as he was known, was very much like her. They both shared the loner aspect: no family, no love. She had the home over him, but the Kalvark Mountains were not her true home. She belonged in a place where she was revered and respected, not buried underneath iron and stone.

    She canted her head at his repeated description, thought it sounded just as glorious as before. It was still a tempting offer, that much was true. With the Staff of Vaul, Kaine would be able to forge a mighty empire for all, including herself. There was an opportunity here that she couldn't deny. He seemed honest enough from what she could tell, though their bonding through the Blood Pact would reveal all. There didn't seem to be a way she could lose in this situation.

    The blue and gold dragon lowered her paw face up so he could step up and be lifted onto her plateau. "Come," she said, "perhaps we might learn more of one another before the Pact is made. It is a contract that binds us for life, as I'm sure you know. Are you still sure you wish to do this?"
  8. Kaine responded immediately "There was never any doubt in my mind, it is this or nothing." Stepping onto the enormous platform that made up her hand, and claws, without any hesitation he was lifted upwards, marveling at the ease with which she lifted him upwards and onto her plateau, stepping off he looked up at the grand visage of glory itself, feeling the urge to kneel then and there, it was easy to see why dragons had been worshiped.

    There was an ulterior motive for the blood pact as well, if what he'd learned was true, what he'd heard...when he attempted to use the Staff of Vaul, there was an extremely high chance it would kill him, burning him from the inside out, in a contest of wills, the tool had once been wielded by a god afterall according to legends, so it would not willingly accept just any mortal's hand.

    If he drank of her blood, that too...would result in a struggle for survival, dragon blood was potent stuff when fresh from the wound, and also had the potential to outright kill Kaine if he faltered for even a moment, that was why he had mentally conditioned himself for this point, his will was resolute, and stared ever forward, never looking back, he was committed to this body and soul.

    "Give to me your blood, noble dragon, I have nothing to lose, and nothing to gain if I go back, this is my path, and I am bound to it as surely as by fate's decree." With a swift motion, he drew his blade and slashed it across his arm, with enough skill to ensure he didn't sever any vital arteries, his crimson lifeblood flowed from the wound, ready to mingle with hers and be drank, before she could potentially add anything else to make sure he was 'sure' he added "I know of the risks, both of the pact, and of even touching the Staff, I am resolute Kreinvokunkulaas!"
  9. His voice certainly carried power, and he gave off an aura of strength and vitality. He'd prepared himself for this moment, and it seemed like he'd done so for many years before finding her. He wanted what the Staff would give him, above anything else he wanted. For a man with nothing to lose, the Staff was easy to desire. The dragon studied him, watching him dig his blade into his arm. Blood spattered the rocky ground beneath them, staining the stone red. The scent of his blood hit her nose; it had been a long while since she'd smelled anything but ork. She could have made a meal of him there, but he had made her quite the deal.

    Kaine the human, her voice boomed in his head, I accept your offer. Know that if I sense even a shred of evil intention inside, you will be slain. Her conscious was all around his own, but his thoughts were left inside. She could have easily punctured his mental defenses, but she refrained. The Pact would reveal all. If he did go through with it, the Pact would link them telepathically, and he would have to get used to such a voice inside.

    She reached a thick claw forward, prying back one of her deep blue scales. She snapped her claw back, dark blood coming forth from under the scale. As the drops of their blood mingled on the ground, audible fizzles and pops echoed on the walls. It was the only warning given before her non-bleeding paw took his arm and turned it over. Both his and her blood dripped out into her paw, pooling and mixing. The color turned deep red, almost black in the low lighting against the mountain.

    Her long, serpentine tongue flicked forward, lapping up the mixture of their blood. A pleasantly painful shock ran along her spine. She hadn't felt real pain like this in centuries, making her realize just how bored she'd been of lounging around the mountains. Kaine's opportunity would provide her of a life she would thoroughly enjoy.

    Kaine didn't have the luxury of sticking out his tongue to take part in his side of the Pact, but humans were resourceful. Now is your last chance to turn back. Drink of my blood, or leave. Should you stand your ground and continue, there is one rule. Fall prey to your consciousness, and the Pact will fail. The price you will pay is death. Make your choice and pray to whatever you worship, for you'll need all the strength you can muster.
  10. The knight did not hesitate, pulling forth a chalice of iron and silver, and began to collect the dripping blood from the rivulets that ran across their bodies, it hissed and sizzled, and he knew the first true test was about to come, nonetheless he didn't hesitate, once the chalice was full he took it and downed the blood in one gulp.

    From there, came the trial by fire.

    The chalice fell to the ground from his nerveless fingers, he stumbled, vision going blurry and a red haze covering his vision with a film of bloodied pain, he gagged, feeling like he wanted to vomit, his throat felt like he'd just literally swallowed fire, suddenly he realized the reason his vision was red was because his eyes were bleeding, as was his nose and ears.

    He fell to the ground, on his knees, struggling to stay afoot, to remain strong in the face of what was happening to him, that was when the screaming began, Kaine had experienced many unpleasant sensations, but this one was by far the worst, he had never felt anything as unbelievably agonizing as this, waves of searing hot fire burning through his veins straight to his bones, he screamed and screamed and only stopped long enough to take a breath to keep screaming, soon he could not remember a time when he wasn't howling in tormented suffering.

    Kaine's heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest, it was pounding so hard and fast he felt like it was on the verge of imminent failure, maybe it was. Blood was everywhere now he realized, muscles rippling and twisting in violent spasms, skin ripping in a few places and bleeding forth, he now understood why so few people in his research were unwilling to perform a blood pact with a dragon.

    The understanding that it would be miserable had been with him, but clearly what he'd read had understated what it would do, he'd understood that a blood pact changed a mortal, they became partially a dragon. He fell forward onto all fours, blood vomiting forth, splattering forth, before finally he collapsed, darkness claiming him.

    For a while, he lay there unconscious, unaware that the pact had been a success, the dragon blood now had changed him to a sufficient degree that it wasn't trying to kill him anymore, and had infused his body with new vitality, repairing the damage done by the traumatizing ritual.

    Within an hour, he'd wake up just fine, he'd completed the first step, and now Krein could wander the depths of his mind, memories, dreams, and thoughts, to see what kind of heart the man she'd made a pact with.

    The next trial would come when he even tried to touch the Staff of Vaul, but this was part of his plan, the blood pact would if he survived it, make him more able to hopefully claim it and survive grappling with an artifact that would not willingly let an unworthy soul wield it.
  11. The mighty dragon looked down at the struggling human, her mismatched eyes holding nothing. She could feel similar pain sliding through her muscles, threatening to lock her up and take her down, but her body was much more durable than his. Besides, she was already a dragon. The Pact hardly changed her. She gained little from it in terms of physical attributes, but the mental capabilities were what really interested her. She and Kaine were linked in both body and mind now. She could see into the darkest recesses of his mind and pull whatever she liked from the depths. However great a power it was, she wouldn't abuse it. It was a terrible experience to be mentally attacked, something that she had endured several times. Wishing that upon a lesser being wasn't right.

    Then again, he had wanted a Pact, and he'd gotten quite the shock for it. She didn't think he would survive, but the draconic blood coursing through his veins didn't kill him. The experience would haunt him for a time, but he would move on from the pain eventually. He was passed out in a pool of his own blood, but he was breathing. She would have known if he'd died. She'd been through the Pact a few times in her long life, but no one had survived the encounter... Until now.

    She took the opportunity to peer into his mind, scouring for any hint of evil. If he harbored any dark desires, she would find them and then kill him, for she didn't tolerate a twisted heart. However, as she searched, Kaine, the human with nothing to his name, appeared to be clean. Not everyone was pure, and Kaine wasn't without his sins, but true evil was something he had never thought about or committed. Satisfied with what she'd witnessed, she sat down and nudged his weak body with her nose.

    "Rise, human," she said both out loud and inside his mind. Now that the Pact had been made, Kaine's mind could handle her telepathy, and now her voice came out smooth as silk, losing the incredible volume from before. She was his ally now, and there was no need to frighten him with such a tone, especially not right after he'd endured the Pact.
  12. Fire, it was everywhere, flowing across and around his body, yet he did not fear it, for it touched his flesh not in searing agony, but in warm gentleness, then...he heard a voice calling to him, waking his body from it's dormancy, and Kaine opened his eyes, the dream fading, unaware that his eyes were the most telling sign of the changes, glowing golden with slitted pupils, the touch of the dragon was clear on him now.

    Blood soaked his armor and clothing, having spilled out to the ground around him, shakily he got to his feet, somehow understanding instinctively that if it were not for the new vitality of dragon blood in his veins, he wouldn't even be conscious, let alone standing, he felt weak...but strong at the same time, power surging in his veins, he took in a deep breath, smelling the tang of blood, and fire, he was changed now.

    "Bloody hell, this is going to take a while to get cleaned up." He grumbled out loud as he observed how covered in his own blood he was. Then looking back at the dragon he said plaintively "Also, is there something I could call you that's a bit easier to pronounce? I mean no offense, but your full name is quite the mouthful."

    (OOC: And I can't ever remember it most of the time)

    Thinking further he said "Before I do anything with the Staff, there are two things...firstly, you've no doubt perused my very spirit now, so may I assume the fact that I'm not dead yet means I meet with your approval? And then I need to find some water and clean off, you wouldn't happen to know of a nearby source would you?"
  13. He stood, though he was shaking and wobbling. For a human, he was strong, but for what he was now, he was weak. With time, he would grow into the draconic side of him. For now, he would struggle to even move or speak. It wasn't all bad though. Kaine would be powerful as the days passed, and he would have a full-blooded dragon ally on his side. She watched as he tried to brush off his own blood to no avail. The thick crimson liquid stuck to his armor like tar, which would have been amusing if he hadn't almost died in front of her. She had seen much of death, so it would have been nothing new, but if he'd been so weak as to die from the Pact, she might have given up on the human race entirely.

    As it stood, she decided that mortals could produce at least some strong humans, so she was pleased for the moment. Her ears flicked and her eyes narrowed as he asked for a nickname of sorts, as mortal tongues weren't designed to speak the language of dragons. Kulaas, she answered, though her voice didn't hammer in his skull. It means 'Queen' in my language. There was no reason to add that last bit other than to sound proud, for the dragon had once been the very thing her name suggested.

    Yes, she continued, answering his next question. You are like other humans. Impure, but you do not harbor evil in your heart. You have done what you felt was right, even when your choices did not allow for right or wrong. You have a strong mind, even as the Pact rendered you weak. The pride had left her voice from earlier, and while her voice was neutral, she didn't sound upset. She sounded like she was speaking nothing but the truth, and she was, for she had seen into the darkest recesses of his mind, scouring his memories and everything he'd ever thought about anything.

    You wish to find water? she asked, lifting her head toward the mouth of the cave. There was a lake not too far from her home where she spent some of her days, and it would serve Kaine's purpose well. Come, I will take you. Kulaas opened her paw to him again, and once he was holding onto her claw, she bunched her muscles and leaped out of the cave, taking to the air. She wouldn't lose her grip on him, even if he was frightened. Not many had had the opportunity to fly with the great dragon, and to look upon the world from such a height was truly a sight to behold.

    Kulaas wheeled around, flying close to the tops of the trees. The area suddenly opened up to a wide expanse of water, a hidden oasis of sorts. She landed, lowering Kaine to the ground on the bank. She feared nothing in the forest; a whole slough of orks could have tried to take her down then and she wouldn't have batted an eye. Do what you must, and then we will return to my home. You will not be strong enough to survive the Staff's test, so I will allow you to see it tomorrow when you have regained some strength.
  14. After a moment, Kaine sighed, realizing that with the link, they were already as intimate as lovers at this point, she'd be able to know what he looked like without his clothing whether he willed it or not, so attempting to worry about modesty was utterly futile, he hadn't really tried to explore any of her thoughts or memories yet, what little he could sense was alien enough that he hesitated to get near it at the moment.

    So after a while of stripping sticky clothing and armor off, he dived into the water, feeling a flush of embarrassment, normally he wouldn't care, but he knew enough about dragons to know they could, and had taken human forms in the past, so it was all too possible that Kulaas had taken part of a few trysts with mortals in the past, and would be interested in his naked form.

    Soon he was washed up, and after an hour managed to get the blood out of his armor and clothing, and grabbing his pack got into a change of clothes, wondering what to do about his armor, and everything else, after a moment he decided to put the armor back on, he could take it off to dry when he got back to wherever she was going to take him to rest.

    Finished he looked up at Kulaas, and said "I'm ready to return noble dragon, thank you for your patience with my mortal concerns."
  15. Kulaas's mind was a labyrinth to say the least. While Kaine hadn't made any attempts to peer inside, he wouldn't make it far even if he tried. Centuries of living gave the dragon ancient knowledge about the mind and how to protect oneself from a silent attack. She had learned how to defend her thoughts, memories, and general knowledge about the world. She knew a lot about everything, and she wasn't about to trade her knowledge for anything in the world.

    Her head rested on her massive paws as Kaine shed his armor. Mismatched eyes blinked slowly while she studied his frame. For a human, he didn't seem unattractive, and any strong looking frame was something to be appreciated by many. Kaine certainly had the physical prowess to back up his mental strengths, but like anything, there was more to learn. At present, she was more interested in resting her mind rather than watch her Pacted human bathe himself. Her webbed ears twitched at every sound in the forest: the wind picking at the leaves, small creatures tripping over twigs, birds fluffing their feathers against the breeze. Despite Kaine's near death on the mountain, life was moving on.

    Kulaas cracked open her left eye at his voice, the orange iris inspecting him. While he still smelled of blood, he was clean enough. Good. Let us be on our way then. It's best not to linger when night approaches. Hefting herself to her feet, the great dragon dipped her bloodied paw into the water, watching the red wash away into the clear lake. It was as if the Pact had never happened, but the memories would stick with both dragon and human for the rest of their days.

    Let us leave this place. Kulaas opened her paw for Kaine, and once he was secured, she took off. She might have let him ride on her back, but her scales were as sharp as her teeth and claws, and Kaine would find himself with ribbons for his skin before they got high into the sky. Killing her Pacted human didn't seem like the smartest thing.

    The flight back was uneventful, as nothing could touch the dragon while she flew over the land. She was queen of many things, and that included the horizon. You will rest inside my home with me for the night. When you are well enough, I will allow you to see the Staff. To even look upon it now will ignite your mind and burn you from the inside out with pain that is a hundredfold of what you felt earlier.
  16. "It may take more then a few nights." Came the dry response, his body still ached horribly from his trial by fire so to speak, and a worse one was coming up, Kaine knew his whole plan reeked of intense arrogance and ambition, to even think of trying to master an artifact once(supposedly) used by a god as a mere mortal was sheer insanity, yet the dragon seemed to accept it so easily.

    Once inside of her cave, which he noted she seemed a bit cramped in, and he said calmly "If my plan succeeds, you won't ever have to hide in a cave anymore...speaking of which, I suppose it's time to fill you in on the full measure of my insanity that I call a plan."

    From there he explained "Currently, war is rampant across the land, it has been for many years, and tensions between humans, elves, and dwarves have been rising steadily, right now, the dwarven kingdom has a vast store of gold and wealth, but...their mines have begun to run dry of other metals they need to create their weapons of war, they're having a hard time replacing armor and weaponry used in the fighting, however...I can solve that problem for them."

    Looking at her he said thoughtfully after a moment "The Staff is said to be able to shape vast amounts of metal effortlessly, or even stone, but only you would know the veracity of the claim at the moment, Vaul knows, but I highly doubt he has any intention of telling, essentially with the Staff I can...there is, I'm sure you're familiar with it, a vast lake of magma in the mountains here, with the Staff I can shape the vast quantities of metal inside of that lake, to form new weapons for the dwarves, or just bring the metal out of the lake for them and they can do what they will with it, in exchange they'll give me access to their coffers...with which..."

    Kaine smiled "I can hire vast armies of mercenaries, and begin to use them to sweep my opponents from the field, there are other human kingdoms, and while I don't really have a grudge against them, they're in my way, once I've flattened them and formed my own empire, I can draw the elves and dwarves to my standard with your help, or more specifically, the help of you and your kind."

    Then the final pieces of the puzzle fell into place as he elaborated "Maybe you know this already, but it's a way to pass the time, once it's clear my kingdom is a haven for dragonkind, you will be able to convince your kin to come here, I can reinstate the mighty dragon riders of old, and then the elves and dwarves, who are the only major civilized races left who still revere you, will trust my offers of alliegence."

    "From there, I can set up the rulership of the Empire, normally dragons would be suspicious of me, but since I'm now bound by the Pact, they'll realize that my rulership is effectively your rulership based on the contract we have made, then I can form a grand council of dragonkind, I have no intentions of allowing men to rule." He made a derisive, amused sound at that notion.

    "You already know from looking around inside my head, that I don't consider humans to be good at this ruling business, some of us are, but for the most part, short-sighted, greedy, power-hungry, and the mad or just flat out evil are in control, Dragons can always see the big picture, and see things from a long view, you're..." He paused, and momentarily probed the depths of her mind and then shook his head.

    Kaine looked up at Kulaas and said "Amazing, you've been around even longer then those moldy texts thought you were, you've been around since the times dragons did rule over mankind, you...amazing..." The knight looked thoughtful for the time being, feeling simply astounded he was in the presence of such an ancient and long-lived creature.

    Kulaas had been there with the original Dragon Emperors.
  17. Kulaas settled herself into a smoothed out corner, evidence that her scales had worn the stone around her. She'd been in the cave for far too long, but dragon hunters still existed. There weren't many left, but they were trained to take down dragons of even her massive size. Kulaas only knew of few other dragons who lived, and it was possible there were more, but she had never checked. She wanted to live and explore the world, even if she couldn't do that from her cave.

    Kaine's plan, as he explained it, seemed like the best way to give her the recognition she deserved. It would also provide protection from those who opposed dragons. All she wanted to do was teach and languish in the respect she was supposed to be given. Instead, she was huddled near a volcano in a place so remote, it was a wonder Kaine had even found her in the first place.

    Hm. Perhaps that ideal may come to fruition, and perhaps it will not, she commented at the idea of a council of dragonkind rather than mankind. Not all will respect what you are trying to accomplish. It will indeed be a difficult task. She paused as she felt a small sharpness worm its way into her conscious. Few dragons and even fewer humans had been allowed to peer into the vast depths of the dragon's mind, and she could feel Kaine scratch the surface of her memories. Her knowledge ran far and deep into her mind, and it would take years for any Pacted human to truly know what she knew.

    At his awe, she snorted. Of course. I am not called a Queen for nothing, you know, she replied, internal tone taking on an air of smugness. I was among the greatest, but their pride was their downfall. Dragons are not known as creatures who stop when they are ahead, and rightfully so. Too ambitious they were to control all they could that they could not see what lay in front of them. This is also why any creatures who have tried to craft a Pact with a dragon have failed. As you discovered, determination is not the only thing that should drive someone to act.

    Lifting her head up toward the ceiling, her mismatched eyes closed as she reminisced. I, and few others, left before the true collapse began. I did not seek domination; I sought knowledge and a place where I could be worshiped for the being I was, as is my right. As you now see before you, this did not come to pass. However, if you feel up for a short walk, I do have one thing from my past that remains with me that you are allowed to see, should you so desire. Kulaas moved her head and peered down at him, a strange action for such a large and regal creature.

    If not, you may speak to me more about you expect other humans to follow your lead and defer to me as some sort of ruler, she said, putting her head back down on her paws. Her curved talons dug into the stone, leaving gouge marks among the many other mars on the ground, evidence of how long she'd truly been there.
  18. Kaine smiled grimly "Who said I was going to give them a choice? I will establish my rule with a fist of steel, they might call me a dictator, but I don't really care, once I'm King, and you above us all, it won't matter anymore, humans are foolish, selfish, stupid creatures, and they require the hand of a powerful, immortal being to rule them, someone who can take the long view of things."

    Looking at her seriously "I've seen it, in both history and in the times we live in, people fight pointless, stupid wars, they hurt each other, they're greedy and...well they're human, and that's not say I don't believe there are good people, there are, but they don't tend to flourish with human leaders." Kaine walked around the chamber, circling Kulaas, his gaze locked onto her body, he was obviously admiring her splendor. "Occasionally, the rare individual comes along who is a genuinely good and decent ruler, but they're so very rare, the way humans behave, being good and decent doesn't tend to work out very well in terms of gaining power."

    Then he looked up into her eyes "That's why, why if I am to seize power, the power alone shall be mine and yours, no choices shall be given, no alternatives, people will yield to your rule and the rule of dragons whether they will it or not, and come decades down the line, they will grow used to it once they see that we are benevolent dicators, perhaps my view is naive, but I've seen from history all too many times that humans can't be trusted with ruling their own fates completely, they'll be largely free to do as they please, but in terms of who controls will and yours will be absolute."

    Kaine looked away, his expression sad "It's harsh and ruthless, but I don't see another way to obtain true and lasting peace, prosperity, and happiness for the people, I've thought about this long and hard, while they'll still be free to a degree...the old dragon reigns ended due to humans stupid shortsightedness, your people were too kind to us, and look how we repaid you..."

    Shaking his head "No, there is no other way, I believe in the goodness of mankind, but I'm also pragmatic enough to recognize that the bad parts win out more often then the good, it will take a strong and firm hand to crush the badness and guide people towards being good."

    Looking up at her again he asked "You've been around for such a long time? Does my belief seem naive and shortsighted to you?"
  19. It was not only the fault of humans that brought our end, but it made the downfall that much quicker, she said, watching as he circled and came to stand before her. She turned her head, her deep blue eye inspecting him. He had a grasp of his goal, but many things were easier said than done. He had a pure heart, despite any wicked acts he might have done in his past, for no one was without sin. Not even a dragon as noble as she.

    Naive... Well, I suppose in any good person, there is a sort of innocence. The belief you hold onto is innocent, because seeing the good in any man or woman takes the mind of someone who holds onto a shred of naivety. It is not a bad thing to hold onto, and perhaps it might be that very belief that keeps your heart free of the corruption that infects other humans. She paused, looking up at the stone ceiling of her cave. It had been centuries since anyone had asked her for advice or knowledge, and while she welcomed his question, digging into her vast stores of wisdom often took a toll. As for shortsighted, certainly not. You have a large goal in mind, and it will take many steps and a long time to complete such a task, but so long as you put your trust in the right people and never let go of that which keeps you good, you will see it to the end.

    Another pause, and finally, she sighed, light smoke curling from her nostrils. Come, follow me, she ordered, hefting herself to her feet and turning. She was careful not to crush Kaine with her tail, and she stuck a wing out partially to guide him to her side. The cave becomes narrower, and it would be a poor way to die if you were killed simply by walking.

    She maneuvered herself and Kaine farther down the cave until the top of the cave began to brush the dragon's wings. She pushed the human in front of her as the cave suddenly opened up into a wide area, where the ground was cracked and the air was much warmer. All around the two was gold and riches unlike anyone had ever seen. There were ancient tomes falling apart at the seams, fine jewels holding glowing magic, and coins from fallen civilizations. Somehow, the open area was lit up enough to see in, but in the center of a golden pile, both could see why the cave glowed.

    A egg half as tall as Kaine perched in the gold pile. It looked smooth to the touch and appeared to be reflective like glass. The egg's color was a mix of blue and gold, as if the dusk and dawn had collected and formed a single hue. There were flecks of bright gold and white, almost like stars in the night sky. It was beautiful, but it was perfectly still, like there was nothing inside.

    I come to you now and ask a favor, Kaine, Kulaas said. When your empire sits at its height and you are strong, I ask that you strive to protect my last child. The others have died away or disappeared, never to return but this one... this one has barely stirred. If you open your ears and truly listen, you will hear the faintest of beats. My child is alive, but I am old, and I may not live to see the last of my offspring born. She stopped speaking, bending her head to nudge the egg. True to her word, the egg twitched as she pulled away, but nothing more. Please... some humans would seek to destroy something that cannot protect itself, even if some still have goodness in their hearts. I can rely on only you to keep my child safe. Would you do this for me, should I fail to see it through?
  20. Kaine's breath was stolen away, if she was waiting for a response, she wasn't getting one as he stared in enchantment, he walked towards it slowly, and then placed a hand on the egg gently. After a while he looked at Kulaas and said "With my life, and by the life of my progeny, by the blood pact I swore I will but...I was planning on doing so much more then that." Kulaas looked intrigued and so he explained.

    "There is a reclusive, secretive, and powerful sect of mages who have the ability to...create, or manipulate life itself, I was planning on obtaining their services, for the purpose of creating a kind of superhuman warrior, elite bodyguards, whose initiation would be to drink of dragon blood, and swear themselves to a pact of guarding dragons forevermore. As you can imagine not only would they be superior to regular mortals, but unfailingly loyal, and since the initiation would cull the weak, only the strongest and most elite men and women would be able to become part of the Dragon Guard, as I've imagined them, if dragonkind is to prosper, they must not be vulnerable to the blades of assassins again."

    Looking up at her "It's funny you showed this to me already, but this was already part of the plan, to safeguard your kind's progeny was going to be the top priority." Letting his hand slip from the egg, for he'd indeed felt the slow, but steady heartbeat inside.

    "So what now Kulaas?" He inquired "Do I need to rest a few more days?"
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