Synergy - June 1998
The Middle - ShadowCat
Feathered Dragon - ShadowCat
(page 10/15)

The Middle

Feathered Dragon, by ShadowCat

The smell of smoke drifted through the air, carried by the gentle breeze. Ash carpeted the road and settled on the burnt out shells of houses, their blackened beams stark against the snow. The village seemed deserted except for a lone horseman, his horse trailing dark foot prints behind him in the snow. A helm hid his features and his shield bore no crest. His worn leather armour made no sound as he moved into the village, one gloved hand on the reins the other resting on his sword hilt. Cautiously he guided his horse between the ruined houses, the acrid smoke bringing tears to his eyes. He blinked them away angrily and continued on. He appeared to be searching for something and as he rounded the almost intact remains of the town hall he found it.

The still smoking bodies of the villagers lay piled in the centre of the town square, besides the well. Men, women and children thrown indiscriminately together, blackened bones poking through the scorched remains of clothing. Their sightless eyes stared at him accusingly.

"Why weren't you earlier," they seemed to say "Why didn't you stop this."

He looked away, fighting tears, then turned back to meet the golden gaze of the creature sitting on the steps to the town hall. The red-gold dragon stared back, its eyes seemed tired and resigned It shook its head sadly as the knight drew his sword and started towards it.

"Why?" He demanded, his voice thick with grief. "What had they ever done to you?" The dragon shook his head again, then drew it back to avoid the knight's sword. He avoided the knight's slashed with ease but the knight showed no signs of stopping.

"Coward," he said, "stop dodging about and fight me!"

The dragon drew his head back, a trace of a smile at his mouth and laughter dancing in his eyes. He drew a breath. His roar echoed around the square. The horse reared, its eyes wild and threw the knight to the cobblestones before bolting. The knight fell against the well, the back of his head striking the edge, knocking his helmet free. Long red hair tumbled loose as the knight slumped unconscious to the ground. The dragon stopped in surprise, He half walked, half flew to where the knight's body lay and pushed a lock of hair back from her face with a claw.

"Why wouldn't you stop and listen to me, Kalsharra," he whispered, his voice hoarse from disuse. "This was none of my doing." he sighed again and picked her up gently in his foreclaws, careful not to injure her further, before leaping up into the air and flying away.

ShadowCat

"stop dodging about and fight me!"