A new beginning.Edit
There was no sound but the slight tumble of fragments of rock settling, and the crackling of growing wildfires.
The calamity had detonated the stone pillar, hurtling entire slabs and chunks of it across the globe. From the northern highlands to the southern ice shelf, not a landmass was unscathed by the shrapnel of the explosion. The most immense layers of the structure gravitated to their eventual resting places in the would-be elemental regions of the modern world. The visual reminders of the shattering were everywhere.
Floating above the massive plinth that remained, loose clusters of stone hovered in a columnar fashion, held aloft by their own will and a stubborn refusal to let go of the shape they once held. Below the ruined silhouette, the world was a tumble of upturned earth and strewn debris. Earthen scars radiated from the monument like a multi-armed star, pieces of it entrenched deep in the rocky crust.
There was no sign of the arcane dragon that had manifested this scene. The sisters of plague and nature stared in disbelief as the behemoths that had fused themselves into the barrier now lay beneath its skeletal remains. The wyrms stirred.
~ * ~ * ~
The Lightweaver opened her eyes to the devastation, stricken immediately by the bleak and sorrowful condition of the sky. The sun was rising, but its rays were fettered and obscured by strings of darkness that crept from on high. They faded as they fell, like rivulets of drying ink.
How long did I sleep, tangled up in the spiral of the Pillar? Before she could formulate a guess, a pile of rocks gave way nearby, and a ropy, pronged tail unfurled from beneath the rubble.
~ * ~ * ~
What impressed the Stormcatcher most was that he was still very much alive, and full of renewed vigor. Although their long nap had been cut short by the calamity, he once again felt the warm breezes of the world, and that was enough to shake off any lethargy in him. Kicking off the tumblestone, he surveyed the mess with analytic wonderment. His momentary curiosity was soon doused in apathy the moment he partook in the act of his sisters and brothers waking in the post-catastrophic drear.
“Tragic. But expected.”
So that was it. There was nothing left here; they had failed. The Shade had bested their ward.
“Where will you go?” the Earthshaker called, propping himself up on thick, granite-caked legs. The wyrm of thunder paused, but did not turn, his crested head pointed towards the southern horizon.
“Where I may not be found---this farce is over, and I've plans of my own,” Without a look, he took to the sky, sparks of electricity cracking off his wings at each beat.
~ * ~ * ~
The Shadowbinder waddled to a rocky overhang and spat on the ground. The dark puddle sizzled when it hit stone.
The brightness of day was in full swing, and the burn of the sun was extremely discomforting. The earthen one appeared to be gesturing to her, but she couldn't make out what he was saying. It didn't matter, she supposed. She remembered not really liking him anyway. Come to think of it, she didn’t really like any of them.
She wouldn't last much longer if she did not find darkness enough to obscure this oppressive morning. She hobbled from shadow to shadow until she, too, had disappeared on the horizon.
~ * ~ * ~
The morning heat had begun to wear on the Icewarden, but he could not depart without saying something. The Earthshaker looked pathetic. “This is the way of it. We were resolute enough to keep this world from destroying itself, but now we have another charge. It is evident that we will never hold off the residual darkness together, so we must do so apart. It is time to separate.”
His words withered the mountain drake, he could tell, but with a grim nod, he took his leave.
~ * ~ * ~
I will create thousands of children, thought the Windsinger, the air will be cleansed and painted in a plethora of colored brushes. My flight will carry the stories of the realm, and tell of its history. A pity that the others will never know a similar joy.
~ * ~ * ~
There was no stopping them now. One by one, the Earthshaker watched his kin recede from the landscape, abandoning the post that had solidified their alliance for so many millennia. The Tidelord rumbled darkly about impending strife and the splintering of friendships before slipping into a murky lake. The Flamecaller left without a word at all, though the earth rumbled and issued hot jets of smoke in her wake. By nightfall, the stone guardian was completely alone, staring at the shattered column.
The evening air howled; a solemn noise that reminded him just how deserted this landscape was. Dust moved in combating vortices, blotting out the glow of the moon, and encrusting the great dragon in gravels and sands.
He did not move for several months, addled by sorrow and lethargy. From this resting place, the years passed him by, calcifying his body into a heap of boulders.
~ * ~ * ~
The Eleven founded their eventual homes around the largest slabs of the Pillar that had come to rest across the realm. Although separated and cloistered, they still held a powerful connection to the monument that once shielded their world from darkness.
To further guard these relics, the wyrms used their respective magics to create children in their image.
Dragonkind was born.
They introduced color, pattern, and trait to create tension and diversity. Over many cycles, these children began to form their own primitive societies, like those that had come before the shattering. These new denizens dedicated their lives to protecting their piece of the Pillar, and preserving the strength and significance of their element. Life sprang up around the gods, and dragonkind thrived in this new age.
Furthermore, these clans were becoming powerful. Each new generation was more attuned to their element than the one that came before it, and the saturation of magical energies became increasingly more robust. The recovering realm now hosted a myriad of dragons of all elemental persuasions, all populating and shaping their territories to accommodate a staggering increase in magical affinity.These denizens dedicated their lives to protecting their piece of the ruined column, and preserving the strength and significance of their element. Only time would tell whether this new order would maintain or destroy that which the gods had built.