Black ink. The vast expanse of nothingness stretched across the edge of forever. Lyana could never escape that midnight place, where the punishment for her failure had become so very real. But they were all gone away…all but one. Hers.
Lyana padded quietly along her rocky precipice, carefully feeling out the tiny scratches in the rock beneath her toes. Each nick was precisely placed to serve as her guide path along the treacherous cliffs of shale and brittle stone. The old dragoness’s talons clicked rhythmically with each step, and she walked with an energetic swing in her silver tail and a shimmer in her milky blue eyes – good news today? It was all she could do to hope for such.
The path was long for an old one like Lyana, though a younger dragon could have trotted the road in minutes. For two hundred years past, Lyana made the trip daily, and daily she would be disappointed. Though her eyes were blind and saw only darkness, a shimmer of light, of hope, always glimmered in her heart. All these years, the blindness served as a curse to her, so that Lyana relied on others to accomplish what she could not. And being cast into darkness was her reminder, that she should carry the past until the day she died.
But the walk today felt…different. Lyana’s tongue flicked, tasting the air for the location of her companion; she heard the soft wingbeats approaching steadily, hidden in the mist. Innocently, a vine of ivy drifted to land at her feet, and she raised her tail to allow her envoy his perch. The golden eagle alighted on his scaly branch and ruffled his feathers – so this was it. The end of Lyana’s life-quest, and everything she had ever dreamed since that day, was so near that it seemed…unreal.
She’d found him.
With a grateful nod Lyana dismissed her companion, who had taken up the search for her after she was struck blind. But the ivy strand was all she cared about now – it was taken from the very spot where he was; right at this very moment, he was there! Just waiting…waiting to be found again.
The dragoness sniffed at the leafy plant at her feet, at first catching only the scent of her eagle envoy. Then, more scents became clear. The smell of smoke, with an undertone of blood and a very metallic smell. The pieces of the puzzle came together all too quickly for her. He was in trouble. Perhaps…no, she wouldn’t dare the thought. Dead.
Without a second thought, Lyana sprang from the cliff and slapped her wings into the air. She was close, and nothing would stop her now. It wasn’t hard to find the way. In the air, she could “see”. Scents carried by the updrafts, the subtle whistle of the wind, they all painted a perfect picture for her to follow.
Her past, swamped in blood and pain, flickered through her mind like a horde of angry insects. The attack on her nest…
Her mate, the killer…
Four hatchlings, slaughtered…
Horrid pain, his tail-barb ripping across her face…her eyes…
And the one who survived, vanished…yes. She’d called him ‘Little Red’.
Ever since those horrific days, she’d been looking for him. And now, here he was, just at the horizon! Her ‘Little Red’… her baby boy. Found, at last.
At the smell of blood, she quickened her pace. Surely it couldn’t be her boy who bled! Smoke wafted up to her, and it drove her down to make an ungraceful landing at the tip of a rocky precipice. A vast, open field stretched before her, and, although she could not see, she knew its appearance.
Fire raged out of control. No spot of grass was green; it was all choked by crimson blood. This field, the last home of the last dragons, burned. And the dragons themselves…lifeless in the rivers of gore.
Her son…she wouldn’t admit it. Surely he too was dead in the field, slaughtered at the hands of whatever sick creature brought on this butchery. She felt movement, far off in the distance. The murderer approached.
It came straight for her without fear, hesitation, or regret of any kind. A steady beating sound, as of a drum. A hiss like water on fire. The howl of a demon incarnate.
She heard it coming. The first, sudden blast of searing heat ripped across her body, tearing her flesh with a relentless hostility. She knew, even as the flames exploded around her, ate her scales away, she knew. As her wings caught up in his blazing fire, Lyana knew. This was her son. Murderer of dragonkind. Her death angel.
She felt the core of his soul through the hatred of his flame upon her skin. His untamed rage against his mate’s murderer...a human. The rage that turned his mind upon itself, that drove him to give in to the demons of murder. She saw it all.
Lyana’s blue eyes were black from the burning, but she couldn’t tell through the haze of pain. Finally, sending a cloud of blood shooting into the air, she reared and cried out her first and last resounding call to her Little Red. And as her limp body fell to the blood stained field, she had but one final moment of thought. It was my life…I searched for you…
The journey of her heart led only to a place of sorrow. Forever blind…it was her curse. Wasn’t it?