Red Dragon Codex
Kirak Scene One
Kirak stood in the pouring rain, watching the inn Mudd had entered. He had nothing to shield himself from the falling water, so he ignored it. His human legs ached from the long ride to Palanthas on the dragon’s back.
Twice he’d tried to walk away from his post, but his feet wouldn’t do it. The dragon’s compulsion held him in place. Deep in the night the rain ended and the air turned frosty cold. Kirak shivered and inched up to the door. He found it open and stepped inside. The common room lay empty. He made his way to the fireplace and huddled down beside it. The fire had long since gone out, but the stones around it were still warm.
He dozed and dreamed of Palanthas when he’d first seen it during the war. The great towers of the Old City Wall glimmered overhead. The dragon army had come within miles of conquering it before the knights, mounted on silver dragons and led by their Golden General, pushed them back. Kirak was glad the dragon army had failed.
During the fighting he’d gotten a glimpse of the Golden General and been awed by her beauty. But the sight of the silver dragons swooping through the sky had brought him to his knees. The other draconians nearly trampled him.
His heart had screamed out to him that he must join them in the air above. He leaped up, flapping his wings, but the stubby appendages wouldn’t carry him more than a few yards into the air. A silver dragon sped past above him, attacking a blue. The dragonlance shimmered in the sun.
He cried out and leaped into the air again. Up there was where he was meant to be, with the other silver dragons. He hovered a moment, then floated back to the ground.
Redclaw dove toward him, chivvying him back into the battle. His sword hilts bit into his hands as he cleaved enemy after enemy. Filled with rage and frustration, he held his ground until long after the other draconians had fled.
He might have perished, surrounded by the humans, but Redclaw had plucked him out of their midst and carried him back to the regrouping army.
He’d never been the same after seeing the silver dragons. He knew in his heart, that’s what he was meant to be, what he should have been and would have been if the Dark Queen’s minions hadn’t perverted him. Though it had been a devastating day for Kirak, it had been a glorious moment of triumph for Palanthas.
“Beautiful city,” Kirak murmured, then woke with a start when a door creaked open in the halls above. Pale morning light slanted in through the windows. A thump from the kitchen showed that the cook had already set to work on breakfast.
Kirak Scene Two
Nitere stared at each of them in turn for a moment, her face impassive. Last of all she rested her mercury-colored eyes on Kirak. He winced and took a step back as those eyes bored deep into his soul to the dark places he shunned. They pierced all the way to the darkest place of all, his earliest memory where he first drew breath. A time of terror and pain as dark magic reached past the protective shell of his egg and washed over him, tearing and reshaping.
He writhed in agony, and the shell cracked open. When he tried to rise out of it, other creatures clawed their way out first–hideous beings that walked on wo legs and flapped stumpy wings in the confines of the dark cave they’d hatched into. As they emerged, ferocious devils from the abyss, called abishai, leaped upon them and wormed their way into the bodies. Thus one by one the draconians were born, hatched from the silver dragon egg stolen by the evil dragons.
Last of all, Kirak crawled out of the shell, taking his first breath. His heart pounded. The cave stank of evil and blood and sulfur that wafted up from the abyss. Terror gripped him as an abishai swooped toward him, its sharp claws ready to tear into him, making a path so it could inhabit his body.
Kirak scrambled to get away from it, but his feet slipped on the blood and gore that covered the altar. He fell to the floor, and the abishai’s claws dug into him. Screaming in rage, he fought back, bighting and tearing at the devil with his own claws and teeth, swinging at it with his tail.
The evil wizards who had summoned the devil laughed as they watched Kirak battle his attacker. A movement in the hall outside, distracted the wizards just as Kirak got his claws around the devil’s neck and tore its head from its scaly body. With a searing hiss, the abishai’s body turned to dust.
Kirak lay on the cold stone, exhausted and bleeding. Thinking the abishai had done its job inhabiting Kirak’s body, the wizards forced him up and sent him off with the other draconians.
Kirak came back from his bitter memory and found the beautiful Aesthetics staring at him, her face deathly pale.
“I cannot help you,” she whispered, then turned and fled from the room.
As she passed a bookshelf, her robe brushed the books, knocking one of them to the floor with a loud thump.
Kirak shuddered. Sweat covered him, and his hands shook. He never wanted to relive that moment again.