Disclaimer: This story has some graphic descriptions of violence. We do not intend to offend anyone with any part of our story telling.
Schneebedeckt soared through the warming air. As he flew, he could smell smoke in the air. He veered towards it, his scales glimmering like diamonds in the sunlight. Smoke meant a higher chance of other creatures. He gave a stroke of his powerful wings, propelling himself forward, and soon was landing in a clearing.
A man was cooking over a fire. Long black hair hid his face from view, but he wore loose fitting green robes. “Excuse me.” Schneebedeckt said. He watched as the man looked up, crimson eyes locked onto him. The man smiled.
“Hello. How can I help you?” he asked.
“I have heard rumors of torture. What do you know of this?” Schneebedeckt growled, he paused, “Who am I speaking to?”
The man’s smile disappeared, “I am Austinus of the Moor. I am the… spiritual leader, if you will, of the Winter court.”
“You are the high druid?” Schneebedeckt questioned.
“Indeed. You asked of the tortures. It saddens me to say it is the queen’s doing. A curse has befallen the mortal realm, and her majesty seeks to consolidate her power through fear while the human knights who could defeat her are occupied with their realm. She does this using a young centaur. Rumor has that he is spellbound.” Austinus said, his face showing his sorrow.
The ancient dragon snarled, how dare the queen take advantage of her subjects that way. Torture was the most despicable act a monarch could force a subject to commit.
With a roar he launched himself into the air, crimson eyes watching him.
Schneebedeckt soared through the air, searching the forest for signs. Hours passed before his ears heard a scream. He turned sharply and dove, crashing through the foliage, branches snapping against his thick hide.
He landed on the forest floor and moved swiftly towards the sounds, winding through the trees. He could see the centaur in the distance, he was covered in blood, old and new. He held a dagger and was slowly dragging it across the skin of a young male Yeti, barely out of adolescence. He knew the yeti; he was one of his.
“Algin!” he hissed. Algin was pinned to a tree by arrows through his shoulders. His white fur was stained crimson. The centaur was skinning him alive. Long bloody strips of exposed muscles bled freely. The centaur wore the strips of bloody skin over his shoulders like a macabre vest.
Schneebedeckt roared and lunged at the centaur as he finally was in reach. He swiped out with his claws rending trees in half as the centaur dodged.
The dragon paused long enough to touch the yeti with a single claw, freezing him solid. He could fight without worry now. He watched the centaur laugh at him. He drew air into his lungs, filling his chest as his breath mixed with his magic, then quick as a snake Schneebedeckt struck his head forward and forced the air from his lungs, shooting razor sharp ice shards out at the centaur.
Trees and dirt were impaled as the centaur moved, but he wasn’t quite quick enough as one of the foot-long shards sunk into his flank causing him to crash to the ground as his hind leg buckled. Laughter continued to emit from the centaur’s mouth. He truly was spellbound, he didn’t feel the pain, Schneebedeckt thought, then he saw the tears.
No, it wasn’t that he didn’t feel it, it was that he had to laugh at all pain, even his own. He could see fear, remorse, and helplessness in the centaur’s dark eyes. A terrible cold feeling settled in the dragon’s gut. The centaur was aware, he knew what he was doing but couldn’t stop.
Best to put him out of his misery, Schneebedeckt thought, and raised his paw to end the victim’s life. Inches from the centaur’s torso an arrow glanced off his scales. He turned around with a hiss.
There, sitting upon a unicorn covered in dried blood, was the queen. Her eyes were cold. She didn’t even glance at the wounded parties, her eyes stayed on the dragon. Ire rose in him, how dare she. He roared and charged. Another centaur and a knight galloped in front of her. The centaur nocking arrow after arrow, but none penetrated his thick hide. His magic swirled around him, lashing out at the centaur. Blood spurted as gashes were torn into the creature’s skin from the raw magic.
Casington ignored the pain. He aimed his arrow at the soft skin between the dragon’s leg and torso. The arrow flew true and sunk into the joint, sending the ferocious creature crashing to the dirt.
The dragon roared and yanked the arrow out, black blood splattering the Earth.
Graylen charged and swing his sword. The steel barely missed the dragon’s neck, instead slicing through the creature’s side. A pained roar shook the air even as razor sharp claws lashed out at Graylen’s charger. The horse danced out of reach as an arrow slammed into the dragon’s soft spot again.
The dragon shot ice shards at the centaur. One of them slammed through Casington’s shoulder disabling his arrows, and narrowly missing the queen. He grasped the dagger he rarely used and charged the dragon, attacking in sync with Graylen.
Schneebedeckt launched himself into the air, his strength shattered the trees, sending spears flying. A pained cry let him know that he hit someone. He turned and dived back. He opened his jaws and aimed for the queen. She dove out of the way as his teeth pierced the unicorn, tearing it in half. Blood flooded the ground. He spat the mutilated torso from his mouth, entrails covering the dirt.
Fury and sorrow mixed inside him as the queen looked at him, not even caring that the unicorn had died for her. He would mourn the brave creature later. He spat ice blades at the party and grabbed the frozen yeti while they were distracted. He couldn’t let Algin sit any longer. He’d be back for the queen.
He flew off towards the North Mountain as his enemy regrouped.