“How do I keep finding myself in situations like this?” Sigthyme thought as he soared through the air. He would have muttered it out loud, but it would have just came out as screech of a giant eagle.
“Eagle versus giant, fire breathing lizard with wings. I wonder who will win this one?” Sigthyme let out a eagle screech and dived toward the dragon below. He knew it was a crazy plan but he had to take down this dragon. And all his plans were crazy.
The dragon roared as it made another pass over the city. Ballistas shot at the beast below but most were missing the dragon or the bolts deflected off the armored scales. To Sigthyme it felt like he had been fighting this dragon for weeks even though it had only been a few minutes. Battles like this had a weird affect on Sigthyme making it seem like time was slowing down.
The dragon let out another stream of fire upon the city catching roofs of buildings below. The dragon barely missed the clocktower in the center of town and Sigthyme followed close behind in his eagle form. The dragon was much faster and its wings beat harder than the eagle, but Sigthyme could make sharper turns and dives than the dragon. Eventually Sigthyme got close enough to embed the eagle talons into the dragon’s wings and then hang on for dear life. He pecked at the soft flesh of the wings and the dragon flapped harder trying to knock Sigthyme off.
“Hurry!” Riffen yelled up at Juniper.
“I am hurrying,” Juniper yelled down and then muttered a few Elven curses.
“You know just because my ears are not as pointy as yours, doesn’t mean I can’t understand Elven. I speak Elven,” Riffen said.
“Just shut up! You’re really getting on my nerves,” Juniper yelled down.
The two were in close corridors climbing up an old, rickety ladder up the inside of the bell tower. The plan was to get to the top of the tower and use the tower as a high point to give some advantage to the adventurers over the dragon. Juniper could use her superior archery skills and Riffen and Tak could hopefully get close enough to it to do some melee damage against the dragon’s armored skin.
Eventually Juniper got to the top of the ladder and forced the door open. She pulled herself out of the hole and helped Riffen get out as well. They looked around and saw that there were several blocks of buildings on fire. The dragon had been making its rounds and blasted the city with several blasts of its fiery breath.
Tak sat at the top of the bell tower. His legs hung over the side of the tower and he was holding his warhammer across his lap.
“You two slow,” Tak said swinging his legs back and forth like a child.
“Well thanks, Tak. I’m glad you didn’t do too much damage to the building,” Riffen said peering over the edge. Down below were several sections where Tak had punched a hole in the building in order to climb it.
“No problem,” Tak said with a toothy smile.
Juniper was busy readying her bow and looking at the arrows in her quiver.
“You two ready if I get this dragon to come near us?” Juniper asked.
“Always ready to smash,” Tak said raising up his warhammer with one arm.
Riffen pulled a sword from the sheath on his back, “Yeah what he said.”
Juniper rolled her eyes and went back to preparing her bow and then she knocked an arrow.
“Look. Birdy!” Tak pointed out towards the dragon.
“What are you talking about, Tak?” Riffen said looking out towards the flying beast.
He saw the scaly lizard flying in the sky, making another circle around the city. His vision then went to a plume of white smoke pouring off the dragon’s side. As the dragon turned towards the city, Riffen saw that there was a large Eagle following the dragon.
“Riffen, what do you see?” Juniper said.
“Tak is right. There’s some kind of eagle following the dragon,” Riffen said.
“You don’t think its Sigthyme, do you?” Juniper asked.
“I’ve seen that man do incredible things. He may be an idiot, but he’s an idiot gifted with magical powers,” Riffen said.
“Siggy! Birdy! Siggy! Birdy!” Tak said raising his warhammer with each shout.
“Ok Tak, enough shouting! Get ready because I think that dragon is coming our way,” Riffen said.
Sigthyme had managed to plunge his large eagle talons into the wing and then attack the soft parts of the wing with his sharp beak. He was beginning to tear a hole in the wing. His mouth filled with a little bit of flesh and dragon blood. The dragon flapped its wings harder and harder, but Sigthyme had managed to hold on. The wind was picking up and it took all of Sigthyme’s effort to hang on as his talons tore through more dragon flesh. The dragon let out a roar and then snapped out with its large jaws. It had a long neck and it managed to reach Sigthyme’s eagle form. The eagle was fast but the dragon’s jaws were faster. It snapped out and it’s jaws went around Sigthyme exposing only the top half of the eagle body.
Suddenly there was a flash of mist, the eagle was gone and Sigthyme’s small, Halfling body was stuck in the dragon’s clenched jaws. The teeth stuck into Sigthme’s body and he felt the warm, sticky liquid pour from the puncture wounds. Sigthyme struggled to break free from the teeth and the more he struggled, the more he felt the warmth of his blood. Sigthyme reached into his bag and ruffled through his stuff.
“Come on Acid, where are you at?” Sigthyme muttered to himself through clenched teeth.
He eventually found the small vial similar to the ones he used earlier. He was careful to not break anything and leave the larger vials alone because those were healing potions. No need to heal the dragon instead of hurting it.
The dragon’s jaws clenched tighter and Sigthyme’s head spun. He saw little black spots in his vision but he was able to keep conscious.
“Not today you big, overgrown pile of flaming rubbage!” Sigthyme shouted.
He wasn’t sure whether or not it was effective or not, but he also managed to pop the cork off the vial and he dumped its contents into the dragon’s mouth.
Juniper and Riffen both watched as the Dragon approached closer and closer to the city. Through his vision, Riffen was able to witness as the Eagle plunged its talons and beak into the dragon’s wing. Then with one chomp of the Dragon’s jaws, the eagle was gone.
Riffen let out a small gasp.
“What’s wrong, Riffen?” Juniper asked.
“Nothing, just… just get ready for the dragon, it’s on its way,” Riffen said.
Juniper looked Riffen up and down with disbelief, but she chose to drop it. Instead Juniper readied her bow and unleashed a arrow from her bow. It soared over the edge of the dragon’s wing. She unleashed a second which struck the dragon above the eye and imbedded itself in the dragon’s skin.
Sigthyme felt the dragon’s jaws open a bit as the acid poured down it’s throat. Billows of smoke poured from the dragon’s mouth and blocked part of Sigthyme’s vision. However, out of the corner of his eye, he saw an arrow zip past the dragon and then another strike the dragon right above it’s right eye. The dragon let out a roar and Sigthyme pulled himself off a dragon’s tooth. Suddenly he was falling through the air, free from the dragon’s clutches, but on a fast track to hitting the ground.
The dragon let out a roar and smoke poured from its mouth obscuring most of the dragon’s face. Juniper unleashed another set of arrows which disappeared in the cloud of smoke.
“Come here dragon!” Tak screamed.
Sigthyme fell and was able to turn himself around so that he was facing the ground. He heard a scream which he knew came from his buddy, Tak. His mind went immediately from ‘Hey my friends are nearby’ to ‘Hey, remember you’re still falling.’ This was another moment where things seem to slow down for Sigthyme. In a fraction of a second, Sigthyme started rubbing his hands together and began casting a spell. Sigthyme went from falling as fast as a rock to falling as fast as a feather. His speed slowed as magical energy wrapped around his body and he landed on his feet like a cat. Sigthyme landed gracefully and took no additional damage to his body from the fall, which was a good thing because he was already worried about the large puncture wounds in his torso.
Sightyme took a step forward and almost toppled over from the pain. His shirt was stained completely red and the blood continued to pour from his wounds.
“Guys I think that Dragon is getting closer,” Riffen yelled.
“Too close,” Juniper said.
The dragon continued to descend without slowing down. The smoke began to clear, but it was too late. The dragon was on a collision course with the bell tower and there was no stopping it. The dragon flapped its mighty wings trying to slow its descent, but there was nothing to be done.
“We need to jump!” Juniper yelled.
“Are you crazy?” Riffen asked.
“JUMP!” Tak yelled.
Tak lept into the air at the incoming dragon and readied his warhammer. The two collided in midair before the dragon smashed into the clock tower and the building below. The whole structure of the building buckled under the dragon’s weight. Juniper grabbed Riffen’s hand and they both jumped off the bell tower as the dragon smashed into it. Juniper believed that the fall would not be enough to kill them, but landing underneath a dragon would, so she took a chance.
There was a loud crunching sound followed by the sound of the bell chiming. The dragon let out a roar as the building fell down around it. Juniper and Riffen both prepared to hit the ground hard and roll, but instead they escaped the dust cloud and landed softly on their feet.
“Ta-duh!” Sigthyme walked up to meet them, “Just another day where I save both of your lives.”
“You’re alive?” Riffen exclaimed. “I saw you get eaten by the dragon!”
“You what?” Juniper asked.
“Yeah you know me, I don’t let a little ol’ dragon bite keep me down,” Sigthyme said with a huge smile.
He took a step forward and he almost stumbled. He grasped his stomach and his smile was replaced with a look of pain.
“Woah, buddy,” Riffen rushed forward and caught him before Sigthyme hit the ground.
“I’m ok, honest,” Sigthyme said as he slumped into Riffen’s arms.
“Here drink this,” Juniper said pulling a healing potion from her bag.
She opened it and helped tip the contents into Sigthyme’s mouth. As the contents filled his belly, there was a glow of magical energy and the wounds on Sigthyme’s stomach closed up. He wasn’t completely healed, but his face was full of color.
“Thank you my lady,” Sigthyme said trying to pull of his best Sir Francis impression.
“Needs some work,” Riffen muttered while he helped Sigthyme to his feet.
“Have you guys seen, Tak?” Sigthyme asked looking around at the rubble.
“I KILL DRAGON!”
There was a yell that cut through all the noise and the three turned to see Tak standing on top of the dragon’s corpse. A large, bell laid amongst the rubble and underneath was the lifeless body of the red dragon. The falling rubble, the arrow damage, the ballista bolts, and the acid all reduced the dragon’s well being, but it seemed that the large, iron bell crushing its skull was the death blow. Of course if you ask Tak, he will claim that his hammer is the thing that killed the dragon.
“That’s…impressive, Tak,” Riffen said a little dumbfounded by what he was witnessing.
People started emerging from their homes to see what was going on and the military and guards pounced on the scene building a perimeter around the dragon’s corpse and the destroyed clocktower.
“Tak! Will you get down off of there?” Juniper asked.
“I SLAY DRAGON!” Tak yelled as he raised his warhammer high. There was a few patches of applause from confused villagers flocking to the scene.
A Dwarf carrying parchment and a quill approached the scene.
“Excuse me, Heroes of Xylon,” The Drawf called to Sigthyme, Juniper, and Riffen. “Tell us what we may call you.”
Juniper and Riffen looked at each other and Riffen began to speak.
However, Sigthyme jumped in and spoke first.
Sigthyme jumped up on a piece of stonework nearby and shouted out loud for everyone to hear, “Well mighty Dwarf. I am Sigthyme Bolger of Terrahnzia. This here is Riffen Selorn, son of Rialen Selorn, from the Northern Forests of Frost Havens. To my left is the fair maiden Juniper Duskmere from the Elven City of Perralyth. And up there on the mound of rubble is the mighty Goliath champion, Tak. Together we make up The Xylon Marauders. Champions of Xylon. Prodigies of The Titan’s League. And slayers of dragons!”
With this there was applause from both the townsfolk nearby and the guards stationed around the dragon’s corpse. There were cheers and whistles as Sigthyme took a bow.
“Xylon Marauders?” Juniper asked Riffen in a quiet voice.
“Yeah I’m not sure if that name is going to stick,” Riffen said.
Tak laughed as he ripped a large chunk of dragon flesh and scales from the beast and held it up for the people to see.
Sigthyme looked around in amazement. He and his friends had killed a dragon and saved the day. Now they were no longer lowlife mercenaries. They were heroes of the city. They had a group name and everything. They were somebodies now. He just hoped that this path would not be a dangerous one and he would make it out alive.