Snow bustled and blew in all directions as the wind swept it high and low, as though the pair were entwined in a wild midnight dance they spiralled and spun fiercely.

The deafening sound of the wind was the music to their movements; as all around frost clasped tightly to anything that became victim to its icy grip.

As was always the sight here, here where the sun shone brightly but its warm rays never touched and soothed. The land and all that grew upon it was forsaken to be forever trapped beneath layer upon layer of smooth snow. The few trees that grew here befell the same burden, and just as the land had grown cold, so had its inhabitants.

The people of this place were known for their brash mannerisms and seemingly black hearts. They were feared for their keen sense of justice and zealous rituals and in a time long past of the magic that was bestowed here.

To a sky full of stars that were once prayed to by people for the sanctuary and redemption of their family, they now prayed for their own greed and grew angry as their prayers were not answered.

But the hour was late and no stars blessed the sky this night; all that blessed its infinite darkness was the waxing moon, glistening with enchantment.

“Unbearable…this pain is…unbearable,” Sorrow lingered on these words, like poison it dripped off each syllable that was muttered weakly with deep rasping breaths.

His lips curled in a fierce snarl as he looked up into the sky, meeting the steel black eyes of what had brought this fate upon him. His lips began to part as he called out to the Gods of his people his final prayer:

“Verity…my sister, may you serve your destiny, as I have mine, and may we be victorious.”

With this, death took his final grasp for life and crushed it mercilessly before him.

In the night’s sky, patiently waited a magnificent creature, its emerald wings spread far, the scales shimmering with an unnatural glow, its intelligent Orrakan eyes glaring down with satisfaction upon its prey.

Opening its large mouth to reveal dozens of tiny sharp teeth it lashed out its tongue swiftly and licked over its coarse lips tasting on the air the life that fled the broken body below.

Smoothly it made the smallest movement with its wings, so small yet so great, it could not be seen but only felt on the wind, and landed heavily upon the balconies edge.

Flexing its huge black talons before it, it felt the coldness of the snow and let out a deep sigh that echoed against the marble pillars which were decoratively placed upon the snow covered balcony.

A low growl swept through the empty sky and the firs on the trees far below shuck with a knowing fear, and whispered through their leaves of the turning of time before them.

Blood swept before the great beast from every pore of the man’s body. It seeped onto the gleaming blanket of snow which covered the grand balcony he lay upon. It stained it deeply as it flowed, twisting and turning like a stream towards the black talons which flexed carelessly in the snow.

As the blood drew nearer the beast sunk its head low to the ground, spreading its large wings out behind it, leaning its head down so its long serpent tongue could touch the icy snow before it.

The cold which wrapped around the black tongue was soon diminished as the warm flow of blood swept upon it.

Overwhelmed with the liquid the Orrakan’s scales began to shimmer between emerald and a deep blue; glistening like an ocean.

Overlapping themselves softly, its gleaming scales shone brighter until slowly the Orakkan opened its eyes, there colour a deep powerful crimson.

When the blood no longer ran the dragon paused, its eyes wide and cold it stared forward at what was left of the victim.

Its jaw still ajar, and eyes fixed upon the flesh and bones, it appeared to be nothing more than a magnificently detailed stone carving.

Minutes past and the dragon did not move, did not blink, and to anyone who saw, did not breathe.

The night was silenced: no animal dare move, nor bird call out, nor tree rustle quietly in the wind.

Time was still and between the layers of lands and times an Orrakan’s soul twisted and fought to resist and yield callously to its bearer’s will.

An age passed until upon the chill balcony a sharp long cry was called out into the still night, as the Orrakan dropped its body heavily to the frozen stone, shaking and shuddering as its once gleaming eyes now shone dully as they rolled upwards and the Orrakan, in such a form, took its last breath. For where the Orrakan had fallen now lay a man, his form and features identical to that of the body which was beside him.

Fingers twitched and slowly palms met the floor as they pushed the body upwards to lean shakily back against the borders of the balcony.

Breathing deeply with his head now resting firmly in his hands and back against the cold stone, the Orrakan opened his new eyes. Violet shone brightly as they stared down with satisfaction at the new hands which it bore.

Pulling himself up stiffly and leaning upon one of the small pillars which made the wall between the balcony and the great drop below, the Orrakan flexed its human knees and listened with an Orrakan’s senses to the sharp cracking the bones made. He stretched his arms out wide, his fingers slowly and his legs fully. The confinements of his small human body were something he would need to get used to, but his soul was within him, and along with it his mind and senses. All of which he was grateful for, as the senses of a human, compared to that of his kin, were pitiful and weak.

Naked, the man moved towards the body before him and quickly began to undress him. His small nimble fingers were in this situation an advantage although there were slightly difficult to use at first.

He pulled upon him the deep violet tunic and black leggings followed by, but with much nuisance and irritability to him; a black leather belt which took longer than he hoped it would in the future to put on.

Scanning over the human’s now naked body he saw the signet ring he must obtain and with much effort he tried to remove it from the man’s binding finger, but to no avail.

He took from the ground the sword the man had tried to use against him in their final battle and using it he lopped off the man’s finger. There was no blood left to flow and so the ring came off easily once the knuckle was no longer there to confine it.

Pushing it onto his own hand he looked upon the violet gem which sparkled with life fastened tightly within a golden band.

He spat to the floor with great disgust as he knew he must wear this binding to the kin of the people who destroyed most of his own.

Grabbing hold firmly of the man’s wrist he dragged him roughly to beside the balconies edge, dropping him down he sat slowly upon him, the bones of his new body still cracking with his every movement. He knew now that it was only a matter of waiting until his own body would be impossible to differentiate from that of the one he sat upon.

A demon in the guise of a man is what they were. There were few Nekhlim, but it took only few to slaughter entire cities.

He waited, staring down fixatedly at his wrist until slowly the markings of the Nekhlim’s kin appeared.

Black curves began to spiral and curl upon his wrist, moving upwards slowly they continued the pattern to end just below his elbow.

The dragon hissed deeply to himself as he stared down at the black markings of the sacred city of Tiian. This brought back many horrid memories of the same marking brandished on the flags and shields of those who had come to kill so many of his people. The tattoo was deep as though it was of his own flesh from birth, as was speculated of all kin to the pure blooded family of Tiian.

Which now he must live among as their prince: spoken of by the people of Tiian as a god, the son of a cast out angel father and a sorceress mother.

One of the only few remaining Nekhlim was now dead.

There were few left but they were already being hunted and with the alliance he would bring to the Orrakan and Tiian people they would be found.

His kin would rule Tiian and with that gain access to the domain beyond. He would follow their will and take the title of Prince Karitch of Tiian, and he would make certain to bring suffering to all who opposed him.

And I’m sure he would do it smoothly, swiftly, greatly and grandly. Sheesh, how often did those little buggers show up? I think, at this time, I was really big on making sure every word had a friend. That and I guess I thought the only way to make something seem important was to add such descriptive words to it. Never mind the fact I’m talking about a shapeshifting dragon who is hell bent on righting the wrongs done to his people centuries past, that’s not quite big enough! Or grand enough, or great enough… sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

I think I was 19 when I wrote this. It’s actually pretty interesting for me because these characters (or at least their story) will be a part of the trilogy I’m writing, just not a major part until book three where we’ll meet Verity. Because yep, that’s where this story was leading: to be all about Verity! I’ll probably write it in the future. I think I have some of what happened next in with the rest of these papers so I’ll be sure to post it up if I find it.

There were a few things in this that I still do now. I still write in threes because I like the sound of it and I absolutely drag my sentences. The thing is, I grew up reading high fantasy and classics and in those sentences more than a few words long were hardly uncommon. For a long time I was also splitting sentences though, which I’ve only recently learned that it may sound pretty and come naturally but it can be confusing to the reader. That kind of thing comes with editing I think. I’ll talk more about that in a separate blog post because boy oh boy was I in for a surprise when I reread my book. I thought it was finished, it wasn’t. No sirreeeee!

Lastly, there’s using the same word twice while it’s still in the reader’s memory. I do it with the word wind at the start of this, and with snow quite a lot. It bugs me, it really does. I don’t know when it is that practicing writers start to despise doing this but it happens, and when you look back on something you’ve written and see it you itch so badly because you’re desperate to change it. Oh, there are also the inconsistencies that occur. Identical to the man beside him but then has to wait to become what? More identical? And then it’s night time but somehow still supposed to be shocking no birds are calling from the trees. Both of those are pretty easily fixed, nearly identical, owls instead of birds. Which is probably why it’s annoying they’re even in there.

I’m not going to nag at myself too much because just like with Valentine’s Day (and just like I am now) it’s all a part of learning to be a better writer.

I think next week it will be another poem because this took quite a while to type up and I have a few projects I need to be moving forward with.

Until next writing time machine!

– A

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