Hope for an Era: Chapter One: Beginning of The End Revised

“Hear that, my friend. It is
the call of the war drum. Thump,
Thump, a heartbeat and
it summons me to war”
-Arajuan to Socrates

A man with icy blue eyes and short salt and peppered hair gazed from a dark, tall, and jagged throne. He held a cherry wood scepter with carved woody thorns and a large garnet stone. The gem itself pulsed with cloudy swirls as if alive. He wore a deep navy robe with a dragon clasp at the neck and silver thread lining the sleeves. His aged face twisted into a bitter grimace as he tapped the armrest of his throne with impatience.

The room was a dismal, bare space; on the wall to the right hung a painting of a dark oily Asian Lung and its partner, a young man with dark brown-black hair and similar piercing eyes. Displayed in a corner was a mannequin dressed in an elaborate inlaid silver breastplate with a blue jeweled dragon design with an attached black roman style war kilt. On the mannequin’s head was a helmet with ornate blue and silver feathers.

A long, burgundy carpet led to the throne from the large oak wood entry doors. Two sturdy looking dirty-blonde haired identical twin elf-orc guards, their armour jagged in a way that appeared covered with needles and thorns, stood on either side. Their noses were semi-flat and their lower canines jutted over their top lips. When the doors opened, the grey-haired man

turned his attention to the one who entered.

The monstrosity sauntered into the room proceeded by a rotting sulphurous mist. He had dark feathering hair, and a red tattered cape which draped his spiked shoulders. The brute held his head high and his gait loose, with confident smirk on his lips as he approached the throne. As he walked, his legs made a scraping sound. The cracked lava skin of the creature’s face highlighted the eyes that glowered as embers upon the man.

“You summoned me, milord?” His growl echoed.

“Arajuan,” The man said, “I have an assignment for you. Go to the nest of the dragon called Rork. The mate is soon to lay her eggs. Crush them and get rid of the parents. Mika Tsuki cannot raise a single child, understood?”

“Yes, master.” The creature replied.

He turned as if to leave. His leather war kilt made a silent wisp sound as the fabric hit his cracking skin.

“And Arajuan,” the emperor called.

“Yes, milord?” Arajuan answered.

“If you fail, I will deliver the most severe of punishments. Pain and suffering will be your only friend. I cannot trust anyone else to with this mission. This is vital to our success.”

“Understood, milord, not a soul will survive.”

Arajuan’s smile was wicked to gaze at as he walked toward the doors. His burning blind eyes locked on to the door guards, his keen sense of smell alerting him of where they stood.

“Tsuke and Tuk, you are coming with me.” He said to them.

“At your service sir!” the twins answered in a military fashion.

“Gather a few of my men.” He barked, “No need to bring the best, just take non-magicals. Our target is simple and if we fight they will die. One way or the other, eventually, we all die. At least they ought to fight an honorable fight before they die.”

“Yes, Sir!” the twins replied.

They placed a balled fist to their hearts. This was the traditional Aldarian salute. Arajuan returned the gesture with force.

“Dismissed,” He hissed.

Arajuan pushed past the doors and the two guards followed. The twins headed to the training grounds where the newest recruits were. He turned left by instinct, toward the barracks A large raven swooped from the rafters and landed on his shoulder.

What is our mission Lord Arajuan? The bird thought.

Destroy Mika Tsuki and what she holds dear, her children.

Sir, if you do that, the raven trailed.

Arajuan knew the bird’s concerns. In recent years, he had been running covert operations involving the nests of dragons. If he killed these dragons, would it undermine his secret mission. It was best not to dwell on the matter.

Don’t worry Socrates. It will work, these dragons are meaningless. Rork is nothing but trouble. I will not have any issue defeating him.

Socrates bobbed with understanding. Arajuan opened another door at the end of the hall. He descended a winding staircase into the barracks. Tsuke was lining up the men making sure they were mortal just as Arajuan ordered. He assessed each man. They were strong, capable and fresh from training.

“All right men it’s time to march. We have our mission: destroy the dragon Rork! He and his mate are a plague killing your children. Let’s crush their offspring; dragons will no longer slay our people!” Arajuan commanded.

They raised their swords and cheered. Arajuan gave the Aldarian salute and a rallying shout to encourage the men.

“Odcięte lowry żadne ogoni!”

“Odcięte lowry żadne ogoni, sir!” The soldiers echoed.

Arajuan left the barracks, standing on the lawn, the winter sun warming his scales. This mission would be simple, after all, he was an accomplished general. He lifted his eyes to the heavens and muttered a phrase under his breath. The sky darkened if only those dark skies foretold what he was about to face. Crimson blood poured down from the stormy skies. The blood of his prior kills rained down. He opened his mouth in a willing grimace allowing it to drip into his toothy maw. Turning to his men, with blood a covered face and mouth, he shouted the command.

“Onward we march! To Lenagard men!”



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