Descent: Dragon’s Trial Part 1

The job was unexpected and the employer unknown, but the pay was very, very good. That, on top of Amon’s curiosity of the Keeper of the Lake, was enough for him to agree they take it. The goal itself was simple – scour what was left of the Agrius and bring back any salvageable parts or technology that hadn’t already been made off with.

So many things about this job seemed tailor-fit to Amon’s interest. He probably should have taken that as a sign to be more careful. But time and good fortune in Eorzea had whittled down his natural suspicions.

This was one day he would have been better served to follow his mistrustful instincts.

“Was this really a ship once?” Zuri gawked up at the mangled ruins of metal entwined in the carcass of the legendary beast, Midgardsormr. “It’s huge!”

“Aye,” Mocho responded, scanning the area for anything hostile. “’Twas a Garlean battleship. Such was its threat that the king of dragons himself was moved to cast it out of the sky.”

“And then he died?” The Au Ra asked mournfully.

“Well, that’s to be determined,” Amon interjected, also squinting up into the heights of the wreckage.

“What do you mean? He looks pretty dead to me.”

“Dragons work differently than ‘mortals’,” Koh told her, jotting something down in her book. “It’s been proven that their spirit and influence can linger even after what we would consider death. No one really knows what they are or where they came from. There’s even speculation they aren’t of our world.”

Zuri’s eyes grew round. “How exciting!”

“How bothersome,” Amon muttered.

“What?” the girl tilted her head at him.

“Nothing.”

Mocho interrupted the discussion prudently. “History lessons are all good and well, but things seem to be clear of danger for now. I propose we make the best of this.”

“I agree,” Koh nodded eagerly. “Let’s see what we can find!”

-Allagan…-

At first, Amon thought it was just his imagination. Nothing more than a strange wind warping through the splintered metal and bone that made up the dragon grave. But then, the word resounded again, less a spoken word and more something almost within his mind.

-Allagan…-

It beckoned him. Coaxed him, full of a slow, sonorous patience.

Glancing over his shoulder, Amon verified that the rest of his group was focused on their own tasks. Then, he quietly slipped away from them, walking up the sloped metal incline that may have once been the ship’s deck. Or side. Or bottom. It was hard to tell.

The Elezen knew he should be more wary, but his curiosity drove him further and further towards the top. Nothing hindered him as picked his way up the wreckage, and finally emerged at the upper platform.

Looming huge over him was the proud head of the dead Dragon King, maw still open in fury and defiance of his enemy. The years had weathered away scale and hide, leaving remains that seemed stronger than the steel and stone surrounding it.

More vast than time itself.

The dragons were no strangers to his people. Like all forms of unknown power, Allagans sought to harness and enslave the dragons, and bend them to their purpose. Little doubt that should the father of dragons look upon him now, there would be no friendship extended.

And with those thoughts, something happened.

The deck beneath Amon’s feet shuddered and a brilliant light bloomed around the form of the wyrm above him. That which he’d thought inert became fiercely and dangerously alive.

-So thou hast the foolishness and pride to respondeth to mine summons, Allagan. ‘Tis irony at its most.-

Amon took a step back, head craning to face the maw of the dragon that hung, still unmoving above him. Though power and light filled the platform, the beast’s form itself did not stir. This was something well beyond the physical… and yet, very much the voice of Midgardsormr.

Tension froze the Elezen place, and he had no words to exchange.

-Does thou looketh upon me in surprise? Surely one of the finest minds of thy people knew what thou wouldst find at the summit of this place.-

“Perhaps you’ve given me too much credit,” Amon quipped, trying to lighten the situation. He didn’t know what was about to happen, but none of it could be good.

-Thou mayest hide thy truth from other mortals, Allagan. But thou cannot pass trickery and lies upon mine eyes.-

The Elezen grit his teeth, fist balling defensively at his sides. “What do you want from me?”

-A simple thing.-

When the beast did not follow up, Amon demanded, “Speak plainly.”

Demanding things of the mighty Midgardsormr wasn’t the smartest thing he’d ever done. However, if this was to be the end of him, he wasn’t going to let it be in a cowering whimper.

-Thou thinkest thy presence has gone unchecked in this world. ‘Tis but wishful thinking. If thou desireth the gift of new life in Eorzea, I shall have the truth of thy soul laid before me for judgement.-

“I’ve done nothing to harm the people of this world since I’ve returned,” Amon protested. “If you don’t believe me–”

-Oh. I do believe.- The dragon interrupted. -Thou hast not brought harm because thou hast not the strength to bring it. I intend to change this.-

“What?” he breathed, his stomach curdling at the prospect.

A shaft of pure gold light condensed before the dragon’s mouth, an ominous portent of what was about to happen. If Amon had half his wits about him at that moment, he would have run. But pride and arrogance, his two best friends, had locked his feet in place, even in the face of certain death.

-A man who avoideth contact with temptation only shows his ability to circumvent. This proves not the mettle of his spirit.-

As those words resounded in Amon’s mind, the shaft of light streaked through the air, striking him through the chest.

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