“Fuffuffuffu! I applaud you! Most entertaining! You’re the first mortals in over a thousand years to make it this far”, exuberantly catcalled Dahak within earshot. Shitballs! Dahak was literally around the next corner. How do you prepare to meet the evil God of Chaos? What do you say? Where do you put your hands?
Whenever faced with a life or death decision, I close my eyes and see the same picture. I ask myself, will my next action make that picture a reality. If so, I pull in out of my mind and make it so. A picture of me in my twilight years, resting in my own bed, a belly full of rum, and the world’s greatest treasures at my fingertips. A beautiful sight! You see I have a healthy fear of death. Dahak already proved numerous times we’re his playthings. About to face the demented God, my instincts instructed me on the best course of action to further my picture. No more insults. No more outbursts. I licked my lips getting ready to pucker up!
The path ahead was ominous, a long bloody trail and greedy laughter, but to what ends, nobody knew. Why had Dahak kidnapped us? Did he even have a reason? What was Dahak’s role in the wars to come? And most importantly. Is he going to murder us? We limped about slowly. Prepared for the worst and hoping for the slightly worse. We entered Dahak’s feeding chamber. Gnarled chunks of fresh meat, chewed bones, and congealed blood littered the stainless steel floor like the result of a battle gone wrong. I remember thinking, “I never knew Gods ate.” Just a few more steps until the moment of truth.
“Come closer! Sweet Champions!”, Dahak beckoned. His laughter was merciless. We turned the corner, grit our teeth, and faced the Destroyer of Worlds. A colossal head as black as midnight coal was all I saw. Dahak was ugly, scarred, covered in spikes, and his eyes burned of hatred. Copious amounts of thick saliva dripped from his maw due to a missing barbed fang the size of a rusty ships anchor. The wound bled black blood and looked impossible to heal. I couldn’t comprehend his presence. I couldn’t comprehend anything. My mind went numb like a phantom limb. We bent our knees before the God of Endless Destruction. He erupted in laughter again at our sorry state. The cracking rumbles shook the very earth with terror. A fitting father of the chromatic dragons.
“Oh wise and powerful Dahak, the Harbringer of Endless Destruction, the Smiter of Planes, the Scourge of All. We are humbled to be in your presence”, eloquently spoke Lorenz, without so much as a quiver in his voice.
“Closer. Come Closer!”, Dahak snarled. We half-hearted stepped in. Dahak rose his enormous spiky black head to the ceiling and peered down us from a position of absolute power. I’ve felt small my whole life, but never that small. Dahak’s examined us like a microscope.
“I see opportunity. Opportunities for destruction and sorrow. You pitiful mortals are the key to my grand vision”, cackled the towering God.
“What would you have us do?”
Dahak’s laughter ceased, he brought his head down low.
“Become calamity!”, Dahak sharply responded, as serious as sin. “Insure the mutual destruction of those bastard Grays and my benevolent Father. Spoonful by spoonful, feed them the ashes of their ruin. Feast on my supreme power. Drink from my bottomless well of knowledge. It’s all yours for the taking. Become my servants”, offered Dahak, smooth as Taldoran butter.
The next few minutes we parlayed. More like he bragged and threaten, while we cowered and listened. Dahak’s feeling on the Grays were complicated. He lauded their efforts in making Apsu suffer by killing many true dragons, but was jealous of their success. He praised Grey Scale as a maestro, but felt he was unworthy due to his relation to the last platinum dragon, Brilliant Moon. In fact, it all boiled down to one simple point, Dahak wanted to get in the great game. A position he thought he deserved. The the pakthryxl had elevated past the consequences of the mortal plane. The Gods had taken notice. The influx of dragon souls to the outer planes was causing a panic. Whenever there is panic, a savvy investor always tries to get in the game, to leverage, to profit, to win. Likewise Dahak, equally hated Apsu, his father, for obvious reasons like being banished to the adamantine pit for starters. Thinking of Apsu suffering excited Dahak like a virgin boy with a glandular disorder at a brothel. He cared not what we did as long as the Grays or his Father suffered mightily and knew who was responsible for it all. Like I said before, Dahak possessed an unrivaled pettiness and uncommon meanness of spirit.
Dahak mused about a few other details. Apsu was seriously on tilt, bartering with the Lady of Bones. Gray Scale was everywhere, but could not be seen. Yigorin Slate was also beyond his godly sight. The gray dragons mockingly put up altars to Dahak to piss him off, whenever they get the chance. The pakthryxl that occurred a century ago also happened during a time when the the Gods were fearful, the god Aroden’s death. The Grays musta used that time as a proof of concept, then in the interim, built up their vast infrastructure to murder more dragons and liquidate more hoards. Using the ill gotten gains for an unknown purpose. Goethe and I theory crafted wildly with this divine insight. Perhaps Gray Scale was linked to all gray dragon bloodlines like half-dragons and kobolds. Maybe the Grays planned on killing a God or two? What other divine countermeasure did the grays developed?
“I grow bored of this meaningless exchange. I have more hunting to do. Now then. What say you? I will grant you each one request of me as a reward”, impatiently demanded the False Wyrm. We turned to each other in a panic. Mr. Finn was the first to go.
“Ithankyeforthekindinvitation…Ijustneedtodiscussitwithmepartner”, rambled Mr. Finn. Poof! Mr. Finn was gone like yesterday’s farts. Dahak wasn’t playing around.
“Please remove your harness from Myrrh and return me to my sister”, politely declined Goethe. He was gone in a snap. Myrrh appeared from the slaughterhouse behind us. He still looked like a zombie but had his wits.
“Gentlemen”, he nodded. We nodded back. He handed me back my musket. Dahak’s heavy gaze fell to me.
The more I thought of it, the more I realized having Dahak in my corner wouldn’t be such a bad thing. He had many answers and boat loads of power. His aims were similar to my own, albeit more barbaric in presentation. I wanted the Gray Dragon’s riches and Apsu’s power. What’s wrong with plundering the Gray Dragon’s riches from their dead corpses while basking in Dahak’s splendor? A picture entered my mind. A life or death decision was imminent.
Lorenz knowingly looked at me and gave a little head shake. In my mind, I saw my elderly self reclining, guzzling tasty dark spiced rum, fondling a brilliant gem that made the lifegiving sun look like a cheap trinket. “What will you say to Apsu?”, whispered Lorenz. He brought up a good point. Apsu has proven he could be very unruly and unreasonable at times. Plus a trusted confidant, a long time supporter, was questioning his Captain’s decisions. Hard things to consider. I closed my eyes. I saw the shiny golden globe, the bottle of expensive rum, and my throat slit ear to ear. Fuck! Wise man knows how to fuck!
“Listen Dahak. It’s not that I don’t want to accept, but my hands are tied. I do value your counsel. Please always lend me your wisdom? I’m thirsty for it!”, I pleaded. Dahak looked disappointed in me.
“Oh yeah, please send me back to my crew”, I sheepishly added.
“Done. Gather all the treasure in the Morass, you’ll find what you seek. Be gone”, he dispassionately phrased.
“Send me to the ship”, I heard Lorenz say as I departed.
“My crewmates need me. Send me to the ones who need me the most”, Myrrh urged. A strange choice I thought, but should work out in a very Myrrh-y way.
I went about gobbling up the marvelous treasure like a fat kid in a candy store. A new jacket, fancy amulets, ancient dragon bones, and other fancy magic items. My mind wandered to the Grays as I foraged for shiny objects. Just think of the mountain of treasure they possess. Enough treasure to buy anything in this world or the next. Enough gold to make you a living God!
Wait. Stop the presses…
I flickered out.