Marakyn was tall, musclebound, and proud. His dragonscale armor was shined with finest oils, and his Dur’kha Lance was tipped on both ends with doomwyrm claw blades. His eyes shined with a confidence that came from youth. Marakyn Doomrider had been born in the Aerie of the IceWryms on the doomwyrm side.
Seeing one of his parents slain at a young age during a corridor war, made him distrustful and hateful of the IceWyrms and anyone who served them. His only true friend was the Doomwyrm Savon, and they had grown up together. When the heroes Grim and Lurtor arrived to broker a peace, Marakyn had thought they would uphold the peace and allow the Doomriders to finally focus on their true enemy the Quall N’drone.
Instead from his point of view the “heroes” of Jemison Post had convinced them to give up their ancestral home to the IceWyrms, and then found “proof” to take away their honor as Children of the Falosini. And that wasn’t enough, he obsessed, then the heroes stole away the mother-dragon driving the old guard insane. When the old guard, Opileth Wayren, tried to get them some retribution on the “heroes” who stole the mother-dragon, the heroes dragged him back to S’vana and interrogated and broke the old Baribur.
Marakyn had pierced Opileth with his spear in anger, but now he felt a more nuanced shame over the entire situation. He understood fully why Opileth attacked Jemison Post. He felt the same. But Marakyn would not lose his name over a decision made thousands of years before his birth.
Marakyn heard a noise from down the hallway. These late nights in the Aerie of the Doomwyrms it was always so quiet. No revelry, no rejoicing, just shame for all the remaining people.
Earlier in the day, Dahelein had made an announcement which had broken Marakyn’s heart. The Archwing had offered hundreds of their fellow Children of the Falosini the right to leave before the armies of S’vana arrived. And left they did. K’iou left their forge stations, Bastards left bomb assembly piles, and Kumfei left springshot parts. In fact it was only the true Doomwyrm Riders, those who had a direct relationship with their Doomwyrm mounts who did stay.
They lost so many of their numbers before the first battle had even started, and Marakyn Doomrider thought it a tactical error. He knew there were at least fifty bastards still down there, gathering things and preparing to leave. If HE were ruler, he would demand they stay, and if they refused, he would strap those bombs to them, tie their hands and hurl them at the enemy himself.
Again a noise, this time louder, and obviously the sound of struggling. Marakyn charged down the hall and kicked open the door to the Archwing’s quarter. Inside was revealed a pair of K’iorn Dra’koons holding Daehelein Archwing, while a third clapped a zela collar onto the beaten baribur. The Dra’koons were dressed head to toe in fully concealing living Khaz’gha wood armor.
Marakyn couldn’t see their faces, but he knew they were S’vana folk. He charged the one closest, the one who had dared to clap a collar on his archwing’s neck. The blade of his Dur’kha spear came up and severed one of the Dra’koon’s outstretched arms. The arm flicked away, still clad in armor.
The K’iorn backflipped away and upon landing commanded, “Dra’koons, take the Archwing back to S’vana on my orders. Return to either of our basecamps, and take the Energy Bridges. Use the old ways so these criminal nngao cannot find your steps.”
The Dra’koons holding Dahelein stepped back through the shadows. Marakyn watched as one secured a loop of nightmare hide over the exposed zela so that the metal only touched Dahelein’s skin. Then they were gone, and Marakyn’s last bit of restraint left him.
He roared as fire burst forth around him, and the remaining Dra’koon rolled away to avoid the flames. The Dra’koon began to regenerate his severed arm, and the Khaz’gha armor grew out to cover it. The K’iorn stepped forward and delivered a pair of brutal Nnghai strikes to Marakyn’s ribs that shattered the left side of his ribcage and began filling his lung with blood.
Marakyn stepped backwards and swung again with his Dur’kha striking the Dra’koon and delivering a mortal wound. But again the Dra’koon just regenerated, and Marakyn received a broken nose for his effort.
As he fell against the wall, he wondered if maybe they were right for considering him a Nngao. Here he was thinking he could go toe to toe with a K’iorn Dra’koon with centuries of combat experience. He was wrong.
But then there was a strange wind, and a wave shimmered through the air. And the K’iorn Dra’koon disappeared with a terrified yell.
Marakyn looked towards the doorway and peeking its head in was none other than the Doomwyrm Savon, his personal mount. Savon smiled a large Draconic grin.
“I guess that Dra’koon didn’t expect to face Annihilation breath in the Aerie of the Doomwyrms,” he said snarkily.
Marakyn smiled, a pained smile, “Yes, my dragon-brother, I guess he didn’t. The S’vana army must be here…”
“I came up to alert you they have been spotted at base camps at both Jemison Post and McGraw Harbor, but they haven’t set forth across the ice yet,” said Savon.
“Then it was a covert attack. But how did they know how to get in…” said Marakyn. As Savon began to convert his own lifeforce to heal Marakyn, Marakyn lifted up the severed arm of the K’iorn, holding it aloft and shaking it. From inside the guantlet of the Nnghai blade fell a small wrapped cylinder. Marakyn opened it and unrolled it and recognized its handwriting instantly.
“Lurtor…” he growled, “We have been betrayed by Lurtor. These K’iorn were given maps of our Aerie. Maps by a supposed ally who opens his doors to our people in a fake sentiment of honor. All to distract us from their plans…”