The sun hung low in the sky, casting feeble rays that didn’t penetrate the dense fog. For being late summer, an unnatural chill permeated the air. Dark clouds drifted close to the sun, as if fighting for dominance over the sky. Keilerious landed with a soft thud, the fog swallowing her.
I still can’t find anything. It’s like they all have just vanished, she said through the mindweft.
How many of them, I asked.
All of them, it seems.
I shifted uneasily, my wings fluttering. A chill ran through my scales that had nothing to do with the air. The last rays of light were finally swallowed by the clouds, plunging the earth into total darkness.
I looked at Keilerious. Her tail twitched in a slow circle. Her eyes stared past me into the faint remaining glow on the clouds.
‘The darkness arrives just before the sun,’ she muttered out loud. ‘But no matter what, the dawn always comes. It’s just a matter of waiting and surviving the dark.’
Her eyes focused on me.
‘No matter what, we will see the dawn.’
I merely nodded and opened my wings. One beat and I was airborne, another, and I was above the tallest trees near us. Keilerious joined me a moment later. We flew off, following the winds. We had no real direction, we just wanted to move. The fog valley had been our home for the past week. If we lingered in one place for too long, the humans would find us. I hoped that hadn’t befallen the others. To them, we were just beasts to be domesticated and bent towards their will. They had ways of blocking the mindweft, though as far as we knew they never realized that we had such a thing. Humans, in their arrogance, believe that all sentient life must resemble them in all forms; communication, action and appearance. Nothing had to be different. Someday, I mused, such thoughts would lead to their destruction. All things that rise fall again. If they learned anything from their fall is an entirely different matter.
I noticed the icy presence in the back of my conciseness that indicated Keilerious was listening. A sudden thought occurred to me.
Tell me, how do I feel in your mind?
The same as almost everyone else. It’s that strange, cool sensation of another mind touching yours.
As she finished speaking, a strange scent filled my nostrils. I angled my head down to see where it came from. A convoy of the humans was passing below us, their strange vehicles floating above the ground. I was tempted to dive at attack them, but a warning from Keilerious stopped me.
They don’t come here normally. Something’s happened.
I had to agree. From where we were hovering, I could see the entire convoy laid out. They couldn’t see us because of the lack of light, so we were mostly safe. Black and purple never really did show up well at night. I tilted my wings and dove a bit closer.
Mir’Shann, Keilerious said warningly.
Just getting a better look.
Were it not for my enhanced eyesight, I never would have seen Keilerious above me. I was probably more visible, being dark purple, but it was probably dark enough to hide me. The convoy was moving further away by now. I followed it, trying to get a better view of it. Something just seemed wrong about it.
Have I mentioned how much of a bad idea this is? Keilerious asked.
No, but you implied it enough, I answered.
I had a good view on the last few vehicles. There was nothing interesting about them, just the pathetic tank cars. The ones in the middle had my attention. I moved a bit closer to them.
What I saw made my breath catch in my throat. In the trucks were my kin. That is to say, dragons. I wasn’t sure if they were from my flight or not, but it was irreverent. Keilerious called my name, but I ignored her. I felt the energy building inside me. A roar escaped me and echoed across the valley. The attack cars stopped and begun to turn towards me. I didn’t give them the chance. The last two in line were destroyed by a beam of white-gold energy. The third I personally tore apart. The heat from the burning vehicles threw the air into chaos, making it hard to stay airborne. A blue beam shot past me from one of the escorts. I road the thermals to a higher altitude in order to move around and attack again.
A curious sensation spread though my body, followed by an intense chill. My wings stiffened and wouldn’t obey my commands. I slammed into the ground next to one of the transports. Keilerious screamed my name, and I barely managed to send a faint though in response.
‘So much trouble for such a simple creature. Load it up, let’s get back under way!’
The first thing I noticed was a slight pain in my side. Not sharp, like I expected, but a dull ache. The next thing was the fact that I was hanging upside down. The third was how I could move very little. Only my head, and even that barely. I opened my eyes and looked at a human. He was leaning against a railing, looking at me.
‘Hello,’ he said.
I had no idea what he was doing. It was probably just another of the humans’ idiotic habits. The human sighed.
‘Dunno what I expected. All the others have been the same.’
He picked up a rifle and slung it across his back and paced a few times, continuing to mumble under his breath. Guessing from everything presented to me, I figured I was in one of their facilities, probably for research. I’d heard stories about places like this, but I’d assumed they were just that: stories.
‘Goddess, this isn’t right. Regardless if they can reason or not.’
That statement annoyed me. I focused my mind on him, and after a few tries, managed to find his. It was very, very tiny.
You’re damn right it isn’t!
The human jumped and spun around, looking for the source of the voice.
In front of you, I said.
His eyes focused on me again. His mouth opened, a word beginning to form on his tongue. I nodded slightly, which seemed to provide the answer he needed. A few seconds later, he opened his mouth again.
‘But. . . how?’
How what? How can I talk to you? It’s not easy, let me tell you that. But the hard part is finding your minds, they’re so small. After I did that, it was simply a matter of projecting my thoughts into your mind.
As I said that, I hunted for Keilerious. After some time, in which more senseless talk was exchanged with the human, I managed to find her.
MIR’SHANN! Was the only thing she said.
Where are you, are you safe? I asked.
Look who’s talking. But yes, I am safe, and I’m outside the building. I’m working on a way to get in. But why, WHY did you do that?
I expect you would have done the same if you had been in my position.
No, I wouldn’t have. And you’re a fool for doing what you did. But the past is gone, and regrets won’t help us now. Now, just don’t do any more stupid things. I’ve almost found my way in.
No need, with luck I’ve found my ticket out.
I returned my full attention to the human. If was I was planning was going to work, I would need to carefully manipulate him. I thought of exactly what I was going to say, then the possible variations. It probably would have been better if I had asked Keilerious for help with this part, but I didn’t.
You’re against this, aren’t you? I asked.
‘I am, but I have no real choice other then be here.’
If you’re as against it as you claim you are, then you should help me.
‘Alight, how can I?’
My plan stumbled to a halt. I wasn’t expecting such willingness to help, so I had to quickly rethink everything. It took several seconds, which the human noticed.
Step one; find a way to release me.
He walked over to a console next to the door and pressed some buttons. The clamps loosened enough for me to worm out. I grabbed the ledge before I fell and pulled myself up. The room had seemed a lot bigger when I was suspended.
I don’t know. I had figured convincing you would take longer and give me time to formulate an escape plan. I’m thinking, give me a moment.
Mir’Shann, what are you doing?
Working on getting out of here.
Don’t do anything stupid, I’m finalizing everything.
It’s a bit late for that one, love.
I focused Keilerious out and back on the situation at hand.
‘Where exactly are we?’ I asked, speaking out lout for the first time.
The human seemed startled but answered regardless.
‘Block R, three stories below ground.’
That complicated things and defeated a new plan I was forming. If we were at the surface, it would be a simple matter of smashing the roof or a wall and getting out, but since we were this deep, it would be a lot harder. Without saying anything, I smashed part of the wall near the door and squeezed out through the hole. That was a bad idea. Four men wearing white coats saw me, then turned and ran away, screaming.
‘This is bad. Emergency teams will be here to subdue you.’
Then I suppose I we’d better not get caught.
I tore through one of the doors down the corridor, and had started on the third when an alarm sang though the air. The human listened to it for a moment.
‘Perimeter breach,’ he said.
I pushed through the door, tore open the next one and stopped.
Up, NOW, I said.
‘Anti-grav cargo lift, two doors up.’
I ripped the doors off the wall where he had indicated. The lift car, however, was full of guards. They looked at me in fear before firing their weapons. A dozen blew beams hit me in the chest, and the same tingling sensation began to spread.
‘I will not be captured! Not again! Not by you!’ I roared.
My body took on a different feeling, like a shell. I moved forward, or I thought I did. My body slammed into the ground behind me. All real sensation stopped. The humans shuddered and dropped to the ground, dead.
‘Do dragons normally become walking lightning . . . things?’ the one asked me.
At once I knew what happened. And I knew there was no going back. Inside of us, we are energy. In extreme times, some of us will choose to become that energy, to shed our physical form and be an entity of that energy. Sometimes it happens by our own will, and other times by emotion or accident. In all cases, the outcome was the same. Once the energy has been used up, our souls go to rest in the gem embedded in our faceplate. It is certain death to become the energy, but in this form we are capable of almost limitless destruction.
I threw myself out, filling the level with my presence, taking care to avoid the human who had helped me. All other humans I found, I killed. There were several dragons here as well. Those close to death, I put out of their misery. The others I freed. Once the level was clear, I moved to the next, filling the entire facility, slowly killing off all the humans. After some period of time, for time seemed to speed by and crawl, every last human in the facility was dead. I felt myself weakened, and knew I didn’t have much time.
‘Thank you for your help. Please, remain here with my body,’ I said to the human.
Using much of my remaining strength, I traversed to Keilerious.
What . . .what have you done?!
It was not intentional. I knew you were in danger. I heard the alarm. The humans were blocking me and preventing me from getting here to you. It just . . . happened.
Mir’Shann . . .
You know me. I never thought much in the long term. But I never regretted things either. I am not long in this world. You need to survive. For the future, and for our legacy. This might be night, but dawn is coming. Deep in this facility, there is one last human. He is by my body. He helped me, so please, return the favor.
Mir’Shann . . . why? I was coming . . . I was going to get you out . . .
And you would have been captured the same as me. I would never allow that.
I nuzzled her gently, the energy too weak to cause any harm. There was barely enough to sustain me.
I will miss you, I said.
And I you, she replied faintly.
I felt her sorrow overflow into me when she said those words. Before I could say anything else, there was a tug on my essence. I was back at my body. The human seemed startled by my sudden appearance. Another tug and I was inside the soulgem. The warmth enveloped me, calming me. My last thoughts echoed in the recesses of the gem, all saying the same word. Keilerious, they said, before the warmth carried me away.