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 Enter the Dragon

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GoldenDrakon
Weaver of Tales
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Male Number of posts : 1500
Age : 46
Location : Usually right where I'm needed most...

PostSubject: Enter the Dragon   Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:42 pm

Baghdad, Iraq - Rout I, BIAP (Baghdad International Air Port)

It wasn't really an airport in the most traditional sense, sure it had airplanes, runways, air traffic control towers and all of that, but BIAP was more than just that nowadays. It was a lifeline. A lifeline providing food, medicine, supplies and much much more for both the Iraqis as well as the Coalition. More than that, it was a symbol, a symbol of the continuous flow of life into a country that had never known Democracy, had never even known much more than Saddam Hussein for more than 30 years.
Because of it's importance, straticically, tactically, politically and symbolic, BIAP was surrounded by US and Coalition support bases while the airport itself remained in the control of the Iraqi government. It made a sort of doughnut shape with BIAP in the center. The airport was built away from the bulk of Bahgdad city due to noise, polution, the risk of accidents, etc. Much like most modern airports all around the world are. The only accessable road to and from the airport was a highway, code named 'Rout I', a stretch of asphalt heavilly patrolled by the Coalition and Iraqi Police forces to keep this lifeline to the lifeline open.

Unfortunatly, the terrorists, insurgents and criminals knew the importance of this lifeline as well. As such, Rout I was the deadliest road in Iraq, littered with ambushes, bombs, snipers and worse.

Technical Sgt. David Kincade was one of many Air Force personnel working in Iraq to support the American-led Coalition. Having spent two months in Iraq, he was already just about halfway through his current tour of duty in the country. The Air Force, unlike many of its sister services, only deployed the bulk of its personnel for four to six months at a time instead of a year or more. However in contrast to this short time, there was often an extremely grueling high-pitch ops tempo. The idea was that the Air Force teams hit the ground running, and never stopped until they were on the plane and heading home before total burnout could be reached. Sgt. Kincade was not a rifleman, nor even really a 'shooter'. That was not his job. He had been trained for a variety of roles, but this time, in this place, he was actually an accountant for one of the D-Fac's, or dining facilities, on one of the military bases around the airport. Hardly a glorious job to be sure. He was not, nor did he consider himself to be, a hero, but he was important. One of the many 'logistical support' people that made the military function and work. The civilian world could scarcely understand the massive machine that was an army at war. For every person who caried a rifle, who stood a post or who took part in a patrol, there were often three behind him, making sure things happened for the rifleman. For example, when the rifleman comes back to camp, where does he sleep, eat or just wash up? What does he do to relax or de-stress from the patrol? How does he know what the next mission will be and where does he get his ammunition for it? Who gets the fuel for his vehicle and who delivers his all-important mail from home? THAT, was what Sgt. Kincade was trained to do. Answer those questions and make it happen, before the rifleman ever needed to worry about having to wonder about the question himself. This time however, he did it as an accountant, someone who ordered the supplies and paid the bills while tracking and monitoring the money his government had entrusted to him.

Volunteer was something else that TSgt Kincade did. Time in Iraq was harsh, but often the best way to stay on top of it and keep going was to stay busy and have something to do. All along Rout I, there were security checkpoints to protect the base perimiters, the airport, the highway itself and the people, not to mention interdict terrorists and weapons. These checkpoints were usually joint operations between the Coalition and the Iraqi Police or Army and appeared at random here and there along the road ways to confuse would-be attackers.They were often dangerous assignments but critical in their operations. For the men who manned such positions, there was no rest or lowering of one's guard until relief arrived or the checkpoint was dismantled. TSgt Kincade offered the men one little respite. He brought them lunch. Lunch was something that the average person took for grantit. The ability to sit down to a nice, hot meal was not available to those on duty more often than not, never to those standing post. The typical meal offered to such a person was usually an MRE, a processed meal developed by the military as a field ration served in a heavy, plastic and sealed bag, spork included within. Effective and functional...but not exactly the most preferred meal. TSgt Kincade brought them a tiny little bit of comfort, even if it was a rushed meal with your M-16 assault rifle sitting beside you while scanning the horizon in all directions. It was a reminder that better things were still out there and that someone cared.

It was already afternoon when he arrived at the checkpoint, the second such checkpoint he had visited today. A handful of US Army personel were on post, providing a bottleneck on the road where vehicles could only access a single lane of the highway under the ever watchful eye of security. Ahead of the checkpoint were several concrete battiers placed across the road in a 'serpantine' formation. The serpantine forced a vehicle to slowly through a series of S-turns before being able to move through the checkpoint itself. A line of cars paused before the serpantine where a pair of Iraqi Police and American riflemen randomly selected vehicles for search or notified them about what to do to pass the checkpoint.

"Hey Sarge!" called an Army Specalist, whom Kincade recognized from the day before. "What's for lunch today?"

"Beef stew, rice, green beans." Kincade replied, opening the tailgate of his truck and pulling out a heavy, sealed box, specifically designed to transport food. "And these." reaching into one pocket, he tossed the Specialist a blue foil wrapped Rice Krispy Treat.

"Fuckin' A!" he said, catching the treat and stuffing it into his own pocket, then moved behind the truck, dragging out a second box.

With some assistance, TSgt Kincade set up a quick line, placing his transported food onto paper plates and passing them out along with the treats and Coca-Cola cans. The soda was warm, but so was the food, so such minor things were easilly overlooked. As they came up, each man smiled in gratitude as they were made available to eat, swapping out their comrades from time to time so that the security and integrity of the checkpoint never wavered. TSgt Kincade made a point to make sure that everyone had something to eat, rationing the food so that the other checkpoints behind this one would not go without. TSgt Kincade walked up to one of the many HUMVEE's stationed to oversee the perimiter, the serpantine and the checkpoint, handing up a plate to the man sitting in the turret.

Count with me...
One...

There was the screech of tires from farther down the roadway. Six vehicles down, an old, white car pulled away from the line of cars, tires smoking at the driver stamped down on the acellerator pedal toward the checkpoint.

Two...
Three...

The car accellerated rapidly towards the checkpoint. The Iraqi Police, seeing the vehicle barreling towards them, both sprinted and dove off the road, out of the path of the onrushing car.

Four...

"Kiff! Kiff!" Cried one of the lead American riflemen, 'Kiff' being the traditional Aribic word for 'Halt' or 'Stop' Seeing his Iraqi counterparts nearly being run down but now out of the way, the rifleman raised his weapon, screaming out 'Kiff' a third time.

Five...

With the driver failing to yeald, the American fired two rapid shots towards the vehicle's engine block before he too was forced to escape from the oncoming car. Reacting to the iminate threat, one of the alert soldiers pulled back the trigger on his turreted M-60 machine gun a fraction of a second later. The chatter of the heavy weapon was evident as a hail of lead and steel burst forth, spattering the front of the onrushing vehicle with 7.62mm ball rounds.

Six...

Because of the damage the vehicle had endured under the withering fire, or perhaps because the driver was dead or wounded, the car struck the inside corner of the first barrier. Concrete bits and metal fragments flew off in all directions as the left side front of the car was smashed to bits by the high-speed impact with the barrier, ruining the engine and bodywork, all while the continuous rain of American weapondry came to bear on the vehicle. The forward momentum of the car was disrupted by the impact, but it also lifted the car up and spun it to the right.
The 152mm artillery shell was a Russian made-variant of the 155mm shell, the largest artillery shell used by most modern day militaries around the world. Fired by any number of long range, heavy artillery pieces at an enemy targets from a maximum range of over fourteen miles, the 152mm shell was a high-explosive, armor piercing killer full of explosive 'Composition B' material, packed into a thick shell which causes a large blast, sending razor-sharp fragments at extreme velocities of 5,000–6,000 meters per second. The kill zone for such a shell was approximately a 50 meters radius and with a casualty radius of 100 meters.
There were four such shells wired together in the back of the car.
The IED, or VBIED, (Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device) was the terrorist's favorite and preferred weapon against the Coalition, Iraqi Police, the legitimate recognized government or just their fellow Muslims going to weekend market. Most of the world just referred to VBIEDs for what they were; car bombs.

Seven.

Seven Seconds. That's all.

For whatever reason, the explosives in the car detonated, vaporizing the car in a massive fireball. 'Vaporizing' was not actually a proper term for what happened, as vaporized suggests that the car was converted into vapors. Instead the car, the concrete, the driver and everything near it, was converted into bits and fragments, becoming more razor-edged shrapnel to fling at so-called non believers.
TSgt Kincade barely had time to recognize what was happening and his now precarious position. He, like all other American servicemen in Iraq, had his heavy Kevlar vest and helmet on but what was that compared to the unknown threat that lurked in the approaching VBIED? Kincade dropped the Coke he was carrying and turned to dive back behind the nearest Humvee or baracade. There was a thunderous noise, a shockwave which lifted him off his feet, then a wave of heat passed over him...

...then nothing.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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Wraith
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Location : CrazyTown. It exists. Really. It Does.

PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:28 pm

Wraith was sitting in the communal townhouse, idly flipping through some scraps of writings she had written in the last hundred years or so when she suddenly felt a familiar tingle up her spine. She blinked, straightening on the bench and gathering up the sheets of paper she had accumulated over time. Stacking them neatly, she distantly asked someone next to her, she couldn't remember their name for the moment, to place them back into the archives building under her name.
She left before they could acknowledge her request.

Walking, she closed her eyes breifly, taking in a deep breath and then continuing on her way. It was some time before she needed to feed but for some reason, she knew that this would be a long journey. The latest arrival to the Vale seemed distant, wavering somehow. She only hoped that they weren't hurt.

Wraith had never examined her ability to sense when others entered the realm she had made her own. She knew that somehow she was tied to the world around her, that somehow the Vale had become as much a part of her as she had become a part of it.

Choosing a short detour, she gathered up one of the younger 'sheep' that were gathered off in one of the pastures. Again, she didn't really question where they had come from, just that they existed and even though they were of a slightly different breed then what she had been used to on earth, what with the twin heads and soft fuzz that just fell short of being able to be called wool, she had taken to them as naturally as they had to her.

Leading the young sheep away, she continued on her way, murmuring works of welcome and hello to those that she passed. They steered clear of her in general though, as they all recognised the look in her eyes. Soon, they would be welcoming yet another person to their ever growing population. They watched as, leading the sheep, Wraith disappeared into the desert haze to the south.

*************************

The meal behind her by one day, Wraith trudged up the side of the mountain. Her body did not ache, though she knew that by now it ought to have, and her breathing was steady. Her muscles flexed as she kept her balance on the loose scree or gripped the rock face as she climbed.

As always, she didn't know exactly where her destination lay. She could only pray it wasn't at the top of the mountain. Not for any concerning reason, she just hated the idea of having to climb back down all that way.

Gritting her teeth as a gust of wind threatened to pluck her off the side of the cliff, she dug her claws deeper into the rock, gouging out her own hand holds. Her fangs extended, she pulled herself up another inch and abruptly felt a ledge above her. Sighing in relief, she scrambled onto the rock ledge and looked to see where she would go next.

Before her was the entrace to a cave. She assumed it was a cave. She had never actually been here before, the mountains had always brought her up short when exploring. Unreliable food sources being the main reason, but for now she had enough reserves for at least another week. She would be fine, as long as the latest encounter didn't deviate too much from the standard kind.

Blinking and shrugging her delicate shoulders, she moved forwards to the cave entrance and entered, discovering a tunnel much further back. She knew she needed to go there. Though she could naturally see in almost pitch darkness, she knew that she would have to rely heavily on her sense of touch and smell for this journey.

Sighing, she bent slightly and entered the tunnel. Her senses on alert as she counted her steps while trailing her fingertips along the moss ridden walls.

Where she came out held some light. There was a type of crystal that seemed to be emanating a faint glow, enough that her sharp eyes could pick out particular details in the enormous cavern which she had entered. She knew that there was a name for such crystals, actually for the moss that grew over them.. phos... phoss... something, but her memory of her old life came and went in fits and starts.

Her eyes roamed the cavern, seeking out what ever it was she had come here looking for. Something in the middle of the cave caught her attention, along with an acrid burning in her nostrils.

Switching back into 'normalcy', her fangs receding and her claws disappearing, she stepped up the slowly heaving mound of flesh at the center of the cave. Reaching out to touch it, she discovered something hard that plated the figure and followed it to one end.

There she saw the head.

Her eyes widened as she gasped, "A Dragon?!"

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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:04 am

He just lay there, for long, long moments, he lay silently in the dark. The darkness was very peaceful, very still even comfortable. The air was cool. He couldn't remember the last time he had felt 'cool', there simply wasn't such a thing in Iraq, at least not at his pay grade.
He was keenly aware of feeling his chest and sides heaving and contracting with each breath. He listened to the sounds as they echoed in his head, felt and savored in the way that his exhale gently stirred the air around his face. It was ...serene. There was no sweat, no worries, no anything really. He was just, well, he just was

There was the click of hard leather on stone, a slight disturbance in the air around him. As attune as he was with his surroundings, despite being in the dark, he followed the progress of the other thing as it neared. His sensitive nostrils caught a whiff of something not quite normal, something that smelled like, like.... death.
The scent triggered something else, memories from a few seconds ago, or maybe a hundred years ago... His ears were ringling from an explosion,... fear, shock, adrenalin... the taste of metalic, salty blood in his mouth, was it his blood?... Voices... voices far away....

"...traumatic amputation... severe lacerations.... blood loss...."

"...Sarge! .. Sarge! .. C'mon man, stay with me now... keep breathing...."

How log ago was that?

Then something touched him, ..
************************************************

He did not move at the touch but heavy, ridged eyelids opened, revealing great, golden orbs which shone in the darkness. As they opened, a second, nearly transparent eyelid, peeled bacl from the front corner to the rear allowing the Y-shaped pupils to swivel momentarilly to seek out the visitor. It was a woman, a woman wearing nearly all black. Despite this, he saw her quite clearly and her look of suprise at his being there. His head lifted slightly, moving forward on a long, serpantine neck until the woman was staring into golden eyes, each nearly as large as her torso. The heavy, scaled eyelids blinked once, slowly, as they regarded each other.

"Am I dead?" he asked quietly, but even then his voice sounded rough and loud in the cavern. "Is this Heaven?"

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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Wraith
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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sat Nov 10, 2007 10:33 am

Wraith quickly rearranged her features into a semblance of calm as wide yellow eyes flicked open and the dragon's massive head moved towards her, speaking for the first time.

Am I dead? Is this Heaven?

The vampire answered in the only way she could. Honestly. "I am not sure. You may be, in your old world. But here, you have been given a second chance, as it were. This is far from Heaven, Dragon, though it is far from Hell as well."

She smiled, her red lips curving up gently as she extended a hand and trailed her fingertips against the curve of his massive jawline, seeing as he couldn't just shake hands. "I am named Wraith here. I'm... the caretaker of this place, if you'd like to give me title."

Cocking her head to the side, she went on, "and what may I call you, oh lordly Dragon?" There was no trace of mockery in her voice and neither was there any more trace of bewilderment or awe.

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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:18 pm

Wraith wrote:
"I am named Wraith here. I'm... the caretaker of this place, if you'd like to give me title. And what may I call you, oh lordly Dragon?"

A fragmented mass of memories and feelings rolled through his mind, leading to a long silence to Wraith's question. His first impulse was to shout out; 'Lord? Lord?! I'm not any damn lord, I work for a living Airman!" but that didn't seem to make any sense, so he remained silent, thinking.

A title? A name? He had them...several in fact, he thought. He finally said something, something that just rolled off his tongue, but what came out was little more than a series of growls and hisses. He stopped halfway through, seeing the confusion on Wraith's face and the realization in his own mind that she didn't understand his words. Somewhere in his fragmented memories, he saw himself, his -other- self, typing a title after his name, 'TSgt, USAF, Accounting NCOIC' but that made no sense either.

"Sorry," he said. turning his head slightly, so that he could better see her tiny figure so close to him, and so that she wasn't standing directly next to a row of curved, scimitar-like teeth as he spoke.
"My Draconic name cannot be pronounced in your tongue;" he continued, speaking slowly, just letting the words flow out as if he had spoken them a thousand times before. They had the feeling of having been oft repeated, almost ritualistically, like the many training exercises he knew by heart... "but it means: 'Heart of the Mountain'. I am TrueBlood Dragon of Earth and Spirit and I greet you, Caretaker."

"My common name is... is..."
he faltered, his eyes unfocusing for a moment as he tried to remember.

"I don't know..."

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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Wraith
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Location : CrazyTown. It exists. Really. It Does.

PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:01 am

'Lord? Lord?! I'm not any damn lord, I work for a living Airman!"

Wraith plucked the surface thought from the air with as much thought that she took to breathing. Blinking, she looked slightly startled at having recieved such a strong minded thought. She knew instinctively that this Dragon could not be forced to give up his mindly secrets.

'TSgt, USAF, Accounting NCOIC'

Yet another of his thoughts came as easily to her as water flows through a canal. Her eyes turned wide and she gave an audible gasp. "You're from Earth!" she whispered in wide eyed wonder. She had not met one from earth for so long... the others had long been dead before her, their graves marking the little cemetary she had been forced to build.

Then she realised, as he grunted and shuffled around slightly, that he was actually speaking a different language. One that she did not know inherently. How could there be another language in the Vale? Her forehead creased lightly as she continued to get more and more puzzled at the mannerisms this Dragon exhibited. Most of the things he did were not in accordance to the Vale rules at all!

She started suddenly as he actually spoke to her. "Oh..." She took a deep breath and then plastered a smile on her face. Her maternal instincts kicking in finally. Some baby....

"Come now, its alright." Her eyes were lit with genuine warmth, those the pain and sadness etched so deeply in her gaze could not be erased so easily. "Most people, when they come here, have troubles remembering their names as well. I like to think it helps if you just talk it through. Or think it. Either way, I'm here to listen and to help, if I can."

Her tone was soft, motherly and kind. Yet it carried with an authority that could not be robbed from her. It was clear that she was used to being in charge, ultimately. Though it was also clear that she no where near a bully.

"Think slowly, order your thoughts. Center and calm yourself. Then you will find the answer to everything about yourself." She smiled in encouragement and dusted her skirt off before seating herself onto nearby rock. It was also clear that she indeed would be right there with him, all through his self discovery. It seemed she was willing and patient enough to wait forever, if need be.

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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:50 am

"You are too kind." he said, genuinely appreciative of her support.

He was confused and then some. Things were jumbled and muddled, but he laid his head down on the cave floor angain, heaving out a great sigh which stirred the air within the cave enough to whisk Wraith's hair and skirt about a bit.
He relaxed, breathing deeply anf let the mess of memories flitter through his head. It wasn't that he couldn't remember anything, it was more that he seemed to remember too much. A flurry of bits and pieces from a score of different perspectives and images. Even from different lives...but that wasn't possible...was it?

As he contemplated this, it actually occurred to him for the first time, that he wasn't a dragon for the latest bout of memories, the time just before he was here. He wasn't a dragon, he was human. That made no sense, like so much that sifted out of the blender that was his mind. Of course he was a dragon, he was a TrueBlood dragon, he remembered being a dragon! Just like he knew, he just knew stuff about dragons.

So then what was this other stuff? This time before now?

It was hot there, and dirty, sweaty but he had a job to do...no a duty to do.... it was a hard time in a hard place....it was... war....and he was a soldier...and there was...

His head lifted up suddenly, his forlegs flicking out to support his massive bulk as he halfway lept up. His wings opening partway in startlment.

"Where is my wife?" he asked, almost in a whisper but his voice carried quite well in the enclosed space. His head swiveled around until Wraith was again looking into his golden eyes.

"Where is my son?"

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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Wraith
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Female Number of posts : 2116
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Location : CrazyTown. It exists. Really. It Does.

PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:58 am

Wraith sat quietly still for a moment longer, staring into his large golden eye as best as she could, her pale face blank from all emotion. She flicked an errent strand of hair from before her face and settled her begloved hands in her lap with care and fuss.

Then she looked up at the bewildered Dragon once more. "Where you left them." She stated, slowly and simply put, her voice soft and kind, yet hard to ignore. "For what ever reason, they did not follow you into this world." She spoke slowly, making sure that the dragon heard every word she said, "I'm sorry, but it will be most likely that you will never see them again."

She got up then, stepping lightly up to his massive bulk and reaching out a hand to slide along one of his neck scales. "I'm sorry, truly, I am," her eyes beheld the despair she felt and the heart ache she experienced every time she was forced to answer this question.

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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:45 am

"Never...." he repeated in a distant voice.

"I.." he began again, but suddenly stood and moved forward, towards the cave opening.
The cave itself was very large, but the space filled very quickly as the massive body of the dragon rose up, blotting out the phosphorous light from above. He was a huge beast and Wraith was forced to move quickly to one side as he passed, his size letting him cover the distance rapidly. In only a few short moments, the dragon exited his solitude and for the first time came into the light of the Vale.

His scales were a briliant red-golden color, glittering like the sky at sunset. Massive, leathery wings unfolded, instinctivly tilting into the wind and deflecting the air currents up and over them. The smooth membrane of those wings were a much deeper golden color, which seemed more like a burnished red than gold color. An equally red colored set of ridges rippled aling the entire length of his back, from the tip of his spaded tail to a final ridge at the base of his skull. A pair of short, forward curving, goat-like horns jutted from his forhead turning this way and that as the majestic head surveyed the land about him for the first time. His golden eyes sought out the minute details of the mountain around him and the land below him. His fingers clenched the rock cliff, razor talons gouging deep despite the hardness of the stone or else cracked and splintered underneath his grip. He inhaled deeply the sides of his long and muscular, reptilian body heaving with the intake of breath. Far away and faint smells were absorbed from the wind, despite the solitude of the mountain.

And he understood none of it.

His instincts were telling him that part of all this was as it should be, that he was what he was meant to be, where he was meant to be, but another part of him warred with that reason. He left that he had lost something, something very important that was left behind and it threatened to rip his heart open and drown him in that loss. He wanted to run, to fly high and far. He wanted to take up his rifle and charge, guns blazing, headlong into the middle of the fanatics who had stolen his life. To rip and kill, to scream and weep, everything and nothing all at once.

Instead he just sat silently and watched the horizon without really seeing anything.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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Wraith
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Location : CrazyTown. It exists. Really. It Does.

PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sun Nov 18, 2007 5:30 pm

Wraith blinked and smoothly slipped out of the large beast's way as he began to move. She silently allowed him to fill up the cavern entrance with his bulk and only moved to follow him once she was sure he was out of the tunnel and out in the fresh air.

Exiting the tunnel and getting the opening of the cave was swiftly done, using her superior speed. She whisked out, knowing the way to be narrow and straight from her recent foray into its depths.

Once out in the fresh air and at the entrance to the cave, Wraith paused to admire the sheer briliance of the light playing across the Dragon's magnificent scales. She blinked, tilting her head to the side as she watched him watch the sunset. She occassionally skimmed his surface thoughts but reserved her strength for the inevitable and long trip back, revealing a confused young, yet ancient mind.

She walked forwards when his thoughts were no more and he was simply content to watch as the last rays of the sun dipped below the distant horizon. She moved to the left side of his neck, reaching up and touching an emblazoned scale, watching as its glimmer receded with the sun.

"Golden Drakon..." she whispered, having a rare fit of memory and remembering an ancient earthen term for a Dragon. Then she stopped, realising what she had said aloud. "I'm sorry... I never presumed..." her air of command was suddenly gone and her manner was reminded of a gawky teenage girl on her prom night.

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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:30 pm

He was silent for long moments as the two of them sat and watched the sun set. Waves of confusion and sorrow rolled off the massive dragon in palpable waves as he considered the dramatic changes in his life and tried to cope with them. His only change in his reaction was a barely perceptable nod at the name Wraith offered.
The light faded away quickly, becoming little more then a firey strip on the distant horizon. Above them, stars began to peek out from their daylight hiding spots and sparkle down at the Vale far below.
He could feel the subtle changes in the air currents, sense the drop in barometric pressure and the rise and fall of air currents and eddyes as they swirled around the mountain and their ledge. The tempeture began to fall with the sun, but neither of them seemed bothered with its change.

"Yes I am." he said finally.
Wraith looked up at him, questioningly.
"From Earth. At least I think I am...I get ...confused. What about you? How did you get here?"

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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:40 pm

Wraith suddenly laughed, "Oh that is a tale best told at another time, friend Dragon." She looked up at the golden scaled beast before her and marvelled at his sheer size and the power that emanated from him.

"Lets just say that I too am from earth but have been here for so long that I care not to remember the world I come from," she dismissed her comment with a wave of her hand.

"So, Golden Drakon, it looks like you have a new common name. At least, for the Vale. It is truly interesting. It is almost like in your mind you have thousands of voices and identities, but they are all separate from your own unique mind,"

She suddenly turned pink, "I can read surface thoughts, most often I don't do it consciously, I'm sorry. I can train you to block my mind if you'd prefer." She smiled again, her embarrassment gone just as quickly as it had come.

"I fear that you may have the time you need to fully understand your new heritage," she sighed, regret clear in her tone.

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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:37 pm

This time it was the dragon's turn to snort with laughter. "Heh, as if reading my mind would help you. 'I' don't even understand any of it."

There was another uncomfortable silence between them as GoldenDrakon sifted through another jumble of thoughts, few which made sence to his still-reeling mind.
"My son is only three years old. My wife is still waiting for me to make my weekly phone call this Thursday night."

Again there was a pause.

"You can't send me back, can you? I can't go back..."

His eyes looked down at Wraith, sadly.

"I am dead." he whispered. A great tear slipped along his golden scales, falling with a splash onto the rocks between them.

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"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:32 am

Wraith shook her head vehemently. "No, we cannot know that for sure." She looked up at him in a beseeching way, touching a golden scale lightly, "I may not be able to get you back now, but someday I will find a way. Someday I will... I promise!" her tone was so sincere, her voice almost pleading for him to believe her. Her heart, however, was heavy with the knowledge that she herself had been trapped here longer than any other had survived in this place.

She could only hope that in death, people returned to their lives as if they had never left.

"There is so much we do not know yet. So much for us to understand." She looked contritely up at the beast, "Will you help me? Or will you mope around here and refuse to acknowledge the magnificent being you are? The potential good you could do in this world?"

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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Mon Dec 03, 2007 5:24 am

Drakon's head snapped around to peer down at the woman at his feet. Sparks seemed to fill his vision as a wave of blood-boiling anger churned up from inside him. 'Mope?!?' he growled, low between his teeth, almost hissing. "Mope?!?

His tail swished in sharp slashes with his agitation, he snorted, sending whuffs of smoke out from his nostrils to disapate in the wind. He turned away, practically stomping a few steps along the ledge before turning back towards Wraith, his golden eyes glaring.

"I have been torn to pieces, cast onto some mountain top and remade into something other than I was! I can remember only bits and pieces of who I was, I cannot make sense of much of anything, but the one thing that I *do* remember is that I have a wife and a son back there, and now I will probably never see them again..."

He snorted again, this time sorrow tinged his words as well as anger. Inside his head, the dragon's mind was screaming in anguish as he attempted to come to grips with his new reality.

"Heaven forbid, oh Caretaker of the Vale, that I actually have to take a moment to deal with that first...."

Sarcasm practically dripped from his words, but before either could add anything else, the Dragon turned back towards tha valley below and taking a deep breath, roared out across the empty evening sky. His bellow encompasing all his rage, frustration and anguish even as it shook the very mountain, until there was just nothing left. All the energy just left Drakon as the roar finally subsided and the massive dragon just seemed to wilt down onto the rocks again.
He heaved a great sigh as he lay there, exausted.

"Who are you really, Wraith? Where am I? There must be more that you know.... and I do not wish to be left unknowing...not now. Not if I have nothing left to go back to."

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"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Mon Dec 03, 2007 7:09 am

"I have been torn to pieces, cast onto some mountain top and remade into something other than I was! I can remember only bits and pieces of who I was, I cannot make sense of much of anything, but the one thing that I *do* remember is that I have a wife and a son back there, and now I will probably never see them again..."

Wraith's eyes went wider and wider as his tirade move on and on. Her hands curled into fists at her side, the paleness of her alabastor skin seeming to drain even further, her face almost translucent with the anger that whitened her blood filled lips.

Then suddenly the change was upon her, her fangs lengthened with a savage growl, her nails ripping through her fingers to form wicked claws, her eyes filling with a deep black that seemed to hold the void in her glassy orbs. She at once look both more savage and yet more beautiful than before.

"Heaven forbid, oh Caretaker of the Vale, that I actually have to take a moment to deal with that first...."

"You! Have you no consideration for anybody else? Who the hell cares about your pain?!" she practically spat, hissing between her teeth as her back arched and she drew herself up to her full height, still not impressive but at least her aura of power had grown triple fold.

"Spare me this! There are hundreds of others like you, scores of people displaced and lost! They all have the same story, they all have lost ones left behind, they all wish and cry for their former lives!"

She was actually panting with her rage now, her eyes that glassy black as she paced back and forth in front of his snout, a single claw jabbing at the air, "Who care for their pain? Who takes the time to care for them? Who tries to get them back, to make their dreams come true?!"

Suddenly she screamed out, her lungs filled with air as she gave a shriek that rivalled even the dragon's roar, though it was of a softer level. Then she turned around and drove her fist into the nearest hard object.

Which just happened to be a boulder, her fist making a neat indent in the hardened stone. She panted then, standing and staring at her anger manifested in the small crater in the boulder.

She sighed and just as abruptly sat down, her legs dangling over the edge of the ledge. "We have all lost, we have all left lives and people behind..." she whispered wearily. "Some longer than others,"


"Who are you really, Wraith? Where am I? There must be more that you know.... and I do not wish to be left unknowing...not now. Not if I have nothing left to go back to."

She looked up into the glowing golden eyes of the Dragon at her side, her voidal gaze seemingly empty and lost of all hope. "Who are you?" she whispered... her manner suddenly frightened, "Who are you to make me say..." she gestured aimlessly, "... all that... I never..." she turned away from him, the pain of her outburst showing in the lines that etched her face. "I'm sorry..."

Then her ivory hands came up the cover her face and she began to weep.

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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:52 am

Drakon stood his ground, at Wraith changed. The air around them flared to life with an unnatural energy. Drakon felt that too and it fired the heat in his own blood as adrenalin charged into his limbs. He was ready to fight, even longed for it, the chance to just lash out, at anything. He had the urge to simply snap down on this little thing raging at him, to sweep her off the edge with one swipe of a wing, to kill...

And then it was gone. Just as the gloom had aflicted Drakon, so it aflicted Wraith too. Drakon settled again, letting the uncomfortable silence linger, broken only by Wraith's sobs.

Then, Drakon chuckled. There was no mirth in the laughter, no warmth or joviality. Only the recognition of another lost soul.

"I see now. You are just as damned and trapped here as I am, yes?" Drakon said, choking off his anguished chuckle. "What are we to do then? What is there to do?"

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:05 am

"I see now. You are just as damned and trapped here as I am, yes? What are we to do then? What is there to do?"

Wraith choked back a few more sobs before she chanced to take a quick peek over her shoulder at the massive beast hovering near her. Nodding and then standing, though a little shaky, she tried to smile.

"I'm... I'm sorry..." she sighed and looked up at the dragon against the backdrop of the ever darkening sky. "I have devoted my life here to making sure others like me have a place, have a home while I devote my other energies into governing a burgeoning society as well as trying to find a way home," she sighed again, dropping back down onto the ground, her knees folded beneath her.

"I don't really know our purpose here. All I know is what I've been given to work with. A simple oasis in the desert gave me a home and the people sent here, though they have different abilities, have not been able to give me any clue as to why they are here."

"They come from all over. Places and worlds I have never even heard of as well as the more standard ones. Earth seems to a popular one, though I don't see why."

She looked up at the Dragon as a the final dark of the night fell around them. "Are you bothered by the cold? Can you see in the dark? If not, I can make a fire for you." The way she spoke gave the impression that she had no problem with the things she had just listed.

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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sun Dec 23, 2007 1:21 am

Drakon actuallt had to think about her question for a moment. He could feel the cool night air on his hide, sense the subtle changes on the wind and smell the condensing moisture on the wind currents but he did not feel cold. Likewise his eyesight was notably keen, picking up the minute light there was and seemingly amplifying it. Not that there seemed to be much to see. While the scenery was rathr nice, there was little outside of the great wide open to look at.

"No thank you, I think I'm fine." he said. Almost absently, his mind flickered, thinking back to a time on a hill, back...wherever he was from. Standing on a hill with a couple of other guys looking out over the wall into the nearby slums of Sadr City.

"Can't have a fire up here anyway. Snipers'll see it." he added absently.

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"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:50 am

Wraith arched a finely shaped eyebrow. "Snipers?" she knew well enough what they were and there was a further inkling of where this dragon was originally from. Earth, she was sure of it. Though, truth be told, militarian units could but only be the same, no matter which culture or world you're from.

She sighed... "There are no snipers here. However, without adequate food, I fear that you will not survive. Just as silent a death is waiting in that, be sure of it."

She shook her head and stood, banishing the dark tears that had previously flowed over her alabastor cheeks. "It is a long journey back to where I came from. For both our sakes, I suggest we make a move on and get on our way."

She looked askance at him, "I would not suggest flying at night. Not until you are more comfortable with it. There are creatures in this world that are... less than friendly."

She patiently waited by his side then, waiting for him to voice an agreement, suggestion or arguement. Which ever one he could think of first.

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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sat Dec 29, 2007 4:32 pm

"Hmm? What snipers?" He asked, her comments snapping him out of his almost absent daydream. "Oh...yeah."
He shook his head violently to clear it, keeping him in the here-and-now. His long neck craned out over the edge, looking down the mountain side as he pondered Wraith's words.
"Well, I think I could fly if you wanted to try it, but considering the only thing I've encountered since waking up is you and I, just what else is out there?"

"Besides, I'd have to fly, if just to get down to the valley floor. I'm too big to climb down, unless you'd rather stay here in the cave till daylight."

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"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:03 pm

She herself looked over the edge, her head tilted slightly as she reassessed their position. Blinking owlishly in her naivity, she ducked her head as she turned back to him, a grin on her face.

"Too true, my large, scaly friend. It would seem that my scale up here is simply too steep for a creature such as yourself. Forgive, I wasn't thinking,"

Then she looked out, a frown furrowing her face. "I've not been this far from the Vale in a long while. I do not know if the Flaringales range this far into the mountains..." she trailed off, evidently into her own, silent musings.

Suddenly she turned to him. "Very well, it seems that we will have to test your flying ability...." then a thought came to her... "Can you breathe... anything?" the tilt to her head was evident to her curiosity and the furrow in her brow also bespoke of unspoken concern.

For if he could only breath fire, he would be of no help should Flaringales also prove to be in this part of the world.

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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:00 pm

Drakon pondered for a moment again. Things just sort of ...came to him. Ways to catch air currents and motions of the wing to use to change directions. Then as his mind wandered, he caught glimpses of other things.

A metalic, disembodied voice; '..the captain has turned off the no smoking sign, please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts.' ... The thudding, rythmic pounding for the helocopter rotors above him. ... The feeling of heaviness as he was pressed back into a seat while the ground dropped away as he watched through a tiny window.

"Why," he asked. "why do I remember things that can't be true? That can't possibly be right? Why do I remember knowing how to fly, and what my draconic name means? Even how to breathe fire at whatever threatens us. I remember BEING a dragon...I just ...know stuff."

"But then I remember things like snipers and forms and that I like tomatoes and relish on my cheeseburgers. Other things the I just know are home, but they don't make any sense to me. I remember my wife, and my son, but that they are definatly NOT dragons."


His golden eyes came back to Wraith. "Was it this way for you? Back when you first arrived?"

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"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:58 am

Wraith shook her head, aware that even in the dimness, his draconic eyes were more than capable of following her movements. "No, I did not have memories of a different time, or place, or beings as I can see that you do." She refrained from mentioning that all he thought about was clearly open for her to see and interpret. She was forming a small inkling of what he had been before coming here and her heart skipped a beat as she realised that he would have come from the same time frame she did. It was surreal.

"I have been here 340 years. That is, 12 cycles of Little Sister which turns full once a month, as far as I can reckon. Never have I had the visions that you have had. However... I know things. It is not so with the other Valians. I just simply... know."

She sighed, seeking to explain to him what seemed her unique gifts. "I can understand all languages in the Vale and even differentiate between them. Give them names and speak it if I wish. I have had to teach many people here English, or what I take to be English. Its not quite... but its close enough. When I came here, I knew Earth English. And also knew instinctively that this version of the language could only be found here, in the Vale."

She sat down once again, this time on the boulder near his shoulder. "I know that to the south lies desert until it reaches the sands of the sea. That is a journey of many months, however and there's nothing between here and there to replenish supplies... I have never been there. The only thing I cannot feel is what is beyond these mountains."

She smiled up at him, curling a wisp of her dark hair back behind her ear, "This is as far as I've ever explored before. And when new Valians come to this world... I know. I feel their presence and know where they are to a few hundred meters." she shrugged, "I don't know why I know these things, but there is no pain or confusion anymore. I simply accept it when the Vale sends me information now. It has been too long."

Then she sighed sadly, "The only thing I don't know is why we are here and how to get back."

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PostSubject: Re: Enter the Dragon   Sat Jan 05, 2008 3:29 pm

"340 years?!" he exclaimed. He looked up into the night sky, finally becoming aware of not just one moon rising, but the coming of a second moon as it began to peek out into the night sky, then back to Wraith.

"So then," he finally said. "Just what are you? I mean, I know you're not normal, but then again, neither am I."
He fell silent for a moment, collecting his thoughts before continuing.
"So, you you remember anything about home?, Y'know, Earth home? 'Wraith' isn't really your name is it?"

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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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