The Color of Ambition


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    The Color of Ambition

    Post by Trevlac on Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:20 am

    A cold leather boot mercilessly crunched the bones of a fallen warrior from a millennium past and shuffled the dust in its wake. There was a stillness to the air of this underground reservoir that uneased the one who invaded its den. Along the smooth, circular walls there played the intricate dance of light from the water's surface, the glow originating from something at the bottom of that clear pool. Inside this cave was a coat that stood upright, swishing with movement, the boots that propelled it sneaked onward, the golden strands of hair atop the trench coat fell past the collar. Hands also accompanied this ensemble of parts - white and viciously so. It was a lone figure, he was stalking his prey, hiding mostly in the shadow of the cave.

    It was a vampire who's name was Trevlac Victor Ehrgeiz, a man of odd-jobs; a cracker-jack. This was a hunting commission, possibly the most ambitious of any he had taken on before. A sliver of light moved past his crystal eyes and down the smooth face which had frozen his youth in time. The pointed chin and square jaw vanished back into the shadows a moment later. This man rethought his current task. For over one thousand years there has lived a horrible thing within this cave that plagues the small rural city-town of Felbaen, Greenland. The pay was going to be immense for the simple task of bringing back the head of a dragon, a real live dragon, probably one of the last of its kind still alive in the modern world. Living in secrecy. Telepathically, it communicated with the local residents and demanded food or it would terrorize their town with its horrible breath of fire. It identified itself as Uthgardr, an ancient dragon of the north. The Guardian of Fate.

    Fear clawed and choked at Trevlac more than any encounter with any foe of the past. So many with countless unique abilities, some even immortal vampires like himself and not one made him actually feel primal terror for his own life. But a dragon, all of the legends could be true or there could be something secret they could do that he was not aware of. The gravel on the floor was rattling so violently a few chunks plunked into the aqua lake to his left. Trevlac steadied himself, the dragon was snarling because it could sense his presence. Now it would be a fight between beasts. Vampire and Dragon would collide in a duel of wits and strength.

    In the tongue that he could understand, Trevlac heard an overpowering guttural voice belch into his consciousness, echoing loudly, "This is the home of the mighty Uthgardr. Leave at once or be eaten." crowed the mind intrusion. Clearing his mind of all thought as Trevlac had practiced for a month after accepting this job, he continued to step forward, thinking only of the surroundings. The plunking gravel, the flickering shadows on the ribbed walls, the cool aquamarine of the underground lake beside him. The dragon intruded once more "You smell of man but your mind is as primitive as animal. What be you?" it spewed. Carefully, Trevlac focused his mind to the present, ignoring the voice completely. If that fooled the dragon into thinking he was a large animal, so be it. There was nothing chivalrous about the fight to come and this vampire did not intend to extend any courtesy to his prey.

    Focusing ten times harder of the swishing of the water, he absentmindedly withdrew a zweihander from a frosted-over scabbard on his back. The blade itself was also frosted and it fugged the air in the humid cave like a smoking torch. Feeling his body temperature slowly drop to freezing as the blade changed the atmosphere around him, Trevlac lowered his breathing tempo to disguise his misty breath. He was now stalking a prey smarter, wiser, and many times stronger than him. This would not be won by running headfirst in and challenging the mighty beast to a duel. At last, the cave crept into darkness as the lake was put behind him. The den was close by.

    Enchanted, the blade was, it cooled the air around Trevlac, lowered his body temperature beyond that bearable by man, and effectively disguised his smell as simply moist air. The ruse was one that took little time to devise, but Trevlac feared it may be too simple to work on such a formidable enemy. He hoped that the dragon could not feel his body heat, he prayed that it could not hear his steps or his breath, he wished that it could not smell his sheen flesh, and he put all of his faith into the ability of his mind to close out the dragon's intrusive presence.

    Taking steps more carefully than a trained ninja, Trevlac moved toward a large dull brown animal resting with it's massive tail curled into a ball. The light of the lake briefly flickered into the den and he caught a glimpse of the beast. It was clearly a Welsh dragon with the characteristic bat-like wings and elongated snout that didn't have overlapping teeth. The tail was thick but tapered off quickly, and the belly was ribbed with longer scales than the hide. Its massive eyes were closed and he could hear the steady rhythm of its breath, in and out, in and out. It would have been almost cute if it wasn't a ferocious animal with a primal rage.

    Suddenly, Trevlac was reminded of the poem 'Jabberwocky' and had to fight desperately to keep from giggling a little. It was the joker side of him, and it had never been his undoing before but this time he must fight to keep a straight and level head. Just as he approached the exposed underbelly of the dragon and found the position of the heart, his mind erupted with a sewer sloshing rhythmic puking sound. The dragon was intruding but this time it was laughing. "So, " it said, "Are you ready to make your vorpal blade go snicker snack?"

    Trevlac jumped back several feet and assumed an armed stance. His breathing resumed normally and he eyed the still resting beast wearily. "I have to admit, you almost had me until the Jabberwocky, human. Very clever hunter you are. It is shameful that I should rid the Animal Kingdom of one so clever as yourself." it spewed mirthlessly in his brain. Trevlac still fought to ignore everything but his exact surroundings. If it could communicate, there was a chance it could read his movements if he thought about them. He trained night and day since accepting the extermination job to make his body move without plan. He could only trust in his own muscle memory now. His reflexes needed to be at peak condition for the confrontation ahead.

    Suddenly, and without any warning at all, the dragon was instantly on its feet and staring him down. It was too fast for such a massive creature, and Trevlac couldn't help but flinch backward. He held his ground in spite, and the zweihander roiled mist away in front of him as his two-handed style sprung into action. He fought silently, only regulating his breathing, he did not cry out or yell. The dragon did the same. The only sounds in the cave were the shuffling of wings and claws on gravel and the clunk of boots on gravel. Trevlac was not going to attack haphazardly, that would be suicide. He only needed one stroke to win and consequently the only stroke that could win: the heart.

    Contrary to his beliefs, the dragon did not roar or spew a line of flame. He must not have gathered any palladium that day for that was how dragon's created their searing heat. The bone inside of their mouths would knock against the palladium and it would act as a catalyst for an inferno. All it had to do then was excrete the oily substance in the glands under its tongue to spread it like a flamethrower. This will put me at an advantage he let his mind slip and think consciously. The dragon grew furious at his deduction and confidence. It began to attack less skillfully and more desperately, lashing its front claws like lightning. Three times a claw with razor talons came arcing toward Trevlac's head, and three times he shifted the blade of his sword to catch it as he stepped back to parry the blow and allow the claw to keep moving where it ultimately crashed into the loose rock floor. Blocking it head on would be suicide, and trying to dodge would just make the beast change direction and keep attacking. He had to dance with the dragon, have it hit something but then get out of the way quickly, he had to lead the dragon on.

    It was impossible to win by endurance, the dragon consumed far more calories a day than a vampire. It was impossible to win by brute strength by blocking direct attacks or attacking ferociously to its hide. It was impossible to out maneuver the dragon because its highly toned muscles made it faster than Trevlac. And it was impossible to form a plan to outwit the dragon because he could read the hunter's mind. Even still, Trevlac continued his dance and charade. His lungs were doing well still because the air around him was bitingly cold, soothing his bronchi and warding off asthma. He knew what he was trying to do from the beginning but it was proving more difficult. He needed to really piss this dragon off to win.

    It wasn't a matter of making the dragon slip up by fighting without thinking clearly, after all it was older and much wiser than any human alive and would not fall for such an obvious trick. And Trevlac could tell that it was reluctant to fight how he wanted it to. Not allowing his frustration to creep into the deep corners of his mind as the dragon continued his all-on assault physically and mental taunting, the vampire finally made a mistake. A sharp talon came at an unusual angle that it had not before, and the series of repetitive tasks that he used to take advantage of his muscle memory worked against him; for the dragon deduced that he was not indeed thinking and changed the angle of his swipe, but Trevlac still blocked normally.

    The result of this was a horribly agonizing scream by the vampire and a jet of blood shooting at high speed across the den and finally splashing upon the opposite wall. His chest was mauled beyond immediate repair. The body the vampire was in now ached and seared with fiery pain but he clamped down on his jaw and tightened the cords in his neck, staring down the beast with a look of concentrated fury. The grip on his sword redoubled, and Trevlac started the process over again. This time his reactions were slower so his body adjusted due to the pain and ripped pectoral muscles. The dragon again changed to an odd angle but Trevlac caught the talon, and instead of taking a full slash, he was only knocked headlong into the wall by the force. Collapsed to his knees, the vampire ripped off a dangling bit of leather from his coat and bit down hard on it. He was gagging himself to keep from screaming and letting the pain enter his body. He had to hold it off for until the end.

    The warrior did not sweat hardly at all despite the epic duel because of his cold atmosphere. The hair on his head was now matted with blood though and his shoulders were sagging under the weight of his own body and blade. If he couldn't make the dragon do that soon, he would die; no questions about it. In a fit of desperation, Trevlac pretended to give up hope and rushed forward screaming at the top of his lungs with his sword held high. The dragon fell for it, he finally took the bait and slipped up. Rearing upon it's hind legs, the dragon slashed ferociously at Trevlac, mauling his back horribly as he stepped under the towering beast and smashed headlong into its rippling belly. He heard the beast yowl in pain far greater than his and vomit profusely, splashing his stomach contents and acid all over the floor and walls and part of the ceiling. Orange bile oozed from his gullet as the poor beast wretched and twisted, writhed and carried on. Before it stopped breathing it reached out with its consciousness and touched Trevlac's mind, there were no words but it gave him the feeling of defeat. He pitied the beast and its eyes smoked over and grew dull. The lids stayed open and it finally crashed down as Trevlac rolled out of the way of the towering beast.

    Its heart was frozen. Taking his chance, Trevlac had finally been exposed to the underbelly and thrust the blade into the dragon's most vital organ. When it froze the organ it stopped beating and he died. The hilt was sticking out from under the pitiful dead corpse and he slid it out, wiping the innards and liquids off of the blade before they froze and became too stuck-on. Re-sheathing his (now) dragon slaying sword, Trevlac retrieved two large shield-like falchions that were shining in a glossy black finish and limped haughtily to the neck of the dragon. Crossing the blades over its throat, Trevlac pulled both of his arms in the opposite direction, severing the beast's skull from its body, the sinew snapping and the orange bile and red blood spraying copiously onto his face and wounds. They seem to steam up and close quickly as the dragon's blood touched them. The white-hot pain was gone now, and the only sign that he had been mauled at all was the light pink shape of talon scratches and his ripped shirt and coat. Grabbing one horn, Trevlac stowed away his weapons and unceremoniously hauled the blasted monster's head from the cave.

    It was a difficult path to walk but he did it. As he continued to walk free from the den of the beast, Trevlac looked down at his body and saw the orange bile still stuck to his coat. He realized now that it was the color of ambition.


      Current date/time is Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:13 am