CHAPTER 10: Incoming Predator


The human had just the time to shout the warning before a cascade of fire submerged him along with all the wooden guard post. The dragon dived, continuing to breathe on the border of the city to cut any escape route while his conjured firestorm struck houses and creatures in the center.

He roared a second time after the swoop, reveling in the screams of terror instilled in the men burning alive under him, and with a hoarse and thundering voice summoned swarms of locusts to descend and scourge with more chaos and suffering the few who were still trying to save themselves or extinguish the fires.

A second breathe weakened the already burning palace dominating the city for the red dragon to crush it completely when he purposely landed directly over its roof.

Brearcharos rose and bent his neck, snorting satisfied, with black and dense smoke pumping from his nostrils.

“Nothing like random spreading of horror and misery to improve someone’s mood over his own problems.”

Pondering with himself, the Great Wyrm mauled a fleeing human to the ground with one of his pawns, crushing his legs and pressing him still alive locked to the ground, oblivious to his desperate screams.

“This better be it. (sighing) Note to self: do not probe for indications grell packs which have yet to reach Faerûn. Now, where were we?”

Holding his orb in the other pawn, the dragon concentrated on it to scry for his lost rod, too tired already to use his innate ability to discern the location of objects and beings. Reducing the eyes to a fissure, the Great Wyrm growled, only able to see blurred indications in the crystal ball; he tried again, aiming at the thief, but with even less result.

“They are here… _ What _dares blocking my divinations then?”

Brearcharos snorted again and recollected the words for the language spell, casting it upon himself before lowering his neck to the half squashed man.

“You. Human. Where is the wizard tower of greater magnitude on this world? I need to extract the magical knowledge of this Alternative Material Plane to see what is counteracting my spells.”

Even if his words were comprehensible to him, the agonizing human was too taken upon his petty problems to articulate more than pitiful begging and screams of suffering.

“Fine, I shall take a direct answer.”

After a short pause he used to remember and repeat the appropriate spell, the dragon mindraped the human; he then outstretched his neck and started to meditate hereafter on the recollection of newly acquired memories, ignoring the frantic screams of the little creature.

“The dragon population of this Plane is reduced to a single whimsical swamp-crawling black one, employed as a glorified mount by a local king? That is good to know. Hrrmmnn… Four places in your mind could correspond with what I need. Since this Riders business has raised my interest, I will therefore travel first to this Vroengard and loot whatever is left from its ruins.”

“Please! Please, don’t eat me!”

The Great Wyrm lowered his gaze on the crying human, just then recollecting of his presence, and answered with a complying tone.

“Oh, I would never dream of eating you…”

With an annoyed stomp, the red dragon squashed the higher remaining half of the little creature, brushing his pawn until it was reduced to a smearing pulp of meat and broken bones, he polished his claws from the remains on the wreck of a house and took flight again, leaving the burnt ruins of what he now knew had been Ceunon.

“I wonder now, this is certainly the Plane the thief has been cast on, and so my rod. But the voyage has been tiring, the Shadowland is truly depressing after all. And I did waste a lot of my energies to restore and secure my other treasures, without considering those needed to reach this world and the fact I traveled light. Perhaps I should place a beacon and retire to gear myself, study and rest for a while.”

The dragon flew across the clouded skies of Alagaësia, preparing to planeshift.

“Nah, not worth it.”


After two fast-forwards dislocations the Great Wyrm was flying over a long mountain chain. He could have planeshifted directly on the probable destination, but now that his curiosity had been awakened, he preferred to go with little jumps, admiring the setting in the meantime.

“I didn’t eat anybody back then and now I regret it, don’t I? Ah, no matter, the human’s mind said a village was here nearby…”


The dark breeze of nocturnal air, mixed with the throbbing wound on his arm, would have normally made him shudder, but in that moment of clarity and desperate determination he couldn’t feel or see anything but the ghostly figure of his loved one.

“We cannot stay here, and I won’t allow Galbatorix to obliterate everything that’s worth living for.”

Roran stopped as the air around them vibrated, as if from a mighty concussion. He forced himself to ignore it, he couldn’t stop, not in that moment.

“I would rather have my eyes plucked out and my hands chopped off than see him triumph!”

His teeth jarred together and his ears hurt from the pressure; some of the villagers looked around, shaken as well. He needed their attention, just for a few seconds more. He spoke louder, coming forth to gain their gaze again, while looking up to the sky.

“I choose to fight! I choose to step from my grave and let my enemies bury themselves in it! I choose to leave Carv…”

The screeching roar resonated across the entire vale as the dark shadow emerged from the clouds. For a moment Roran beheld the gigantic form diving down to Carvahall, incapable of reacting. His first thought was the Raz’zac were back and had decided to attack them with their fiendish mounts. But as the creature approached he could see it was a far bigger monster, more than twice the size of the Raz’zac’s mounts. From the roaring jaws of the creature flew fire and the moment of immobility was lost. The crackling blow lightened the village; Roran found himself on the ground, with screams and shouts all around him. His vision was blurred and the wounded arm lost all his sensibility. The people of Carvahall were struck by panic, running around or trying to find shelter in their houses. He saw Thane and Ridley run over the Seven Sheaves, Horsts shouting something to his sons, the huts and the very land on fire all around him; a strong wind blew over the village as the thing brushed down again, roaring. It steered fast, jerked the neck down and snatched Ivor away with a gruesome cluck, swallowing him mid-flight while the poor farmer still screamed as the beast took over.

Roran felt the grip of strong hands grabbing him and putting him back on his feet; he found himself looking at Horst’s face and saw the terror in the blacksmith’s eyes.

“Pull up, Roran! Come!”

“Aye. I know, yes! (looking around, trying to clear his mind) We need to go, call the others out! Those fools will burn alive in their homes!”

The blow striken by the creature’s wings startled both men, letting them instinctively hide on the side of the street. Even with fire all around them, Roran was shivering; the rush he made to call upon all the villagers for his speech had depleted his last energies and worsened his conditions and, at the same time, reunited almost all of Carvahall population in one place to be plucked and trapped by the monster.

The second to be chosen was Isold; this time the thing prolonged the suffering of its prey, letting her hang, pierced between his fangs, slowing down its ascension so that as many survivors as possible could gaze upon her before it snapped her in a half.

This can’t be happening.

“He’ll turn and come down again! We need to hurry!”

Managing to remain conscious, Roran agreed with a nod to Horst, shambling after him on the road. The roar of the monster resonated over them and the more he heard it, the more he sounded as a laughter to him.

They shouted at the others to get out and flee, to try and find hiding on the Spine, but few listened, the others caught by panic. The huge form descended again and this time Roran could actually hear an incomprehensible voice screeching from it, before it protruded his pawns and released a shot of cackling dark lightning from its claws.


The target this time was Albriech, whose black burnt crumbled corpse the creature didn’t even bother touching. Baldor ran through the crowd, crying his brother’s name and throwing himself at his remains. Roran turned desolated in Horst’s direction, but the blacksmith had been caught in the panicked mob and didn’t even saw his son’s death.

He looked up, burning with anger and fury he could not pour out, searching for the dark winged form in the shadows of the night, in the feeble hope knowing when it would fall again could prevent the death of others.

“It’s coming again! Quick! Run to the forest! Stop screaming!”

Roran threw himself on the ground, covering his head, with his eyes pointed up; in its fourth dive the creature did not take anybody, rasping the ground with his first pawns’ claws just to scare away some of the villagers, soring their hears with its contained rasping laughter. As it passed down, Roran glimpsed at its scales, shining over the light of the fires, its wings, its horns and a shiver passed over his spine as new understanding flew in his mind.

…A dragon?

The monster rose again with heavy flaps of its wings, and the voice spoke a second time, now in their very language, with a delighted tone.

“Scream, run, howl, cry, you pathetical little hairless monkeys… (vomiting fire) Put up a game worthy of your miserable lives..!”

The tavern!

“Horst! Horst! The tavern!”

The last breathe of the dragon had engulfed the roof of the Seven Sheaves. Roran was the first to reach the tavern’s door, but his attempts at forcing it open failed until Horst managed to get to him to help.

“Come on, everyone! You need to..!”

The hall was empty, the Urgal’s horns dominating it; after a short moment of uncertainty, Roran ran in the backroom, opening wide the hatch to Morn’s wine cellar. The frightened faces of the innkeeper and some other villagers looked back at him.

“Get out!”

Morn shook his head.

“No! Either get in or close it and go away!”

“Fools! Do you want to die here like rats?!”

Horst placed a hand on Roran’s left arm, advancing to the hatch.

“We can’t stay here. The Sheaves are on fire, you’ll die! We need to..!”

The blacksmith looked up, as an ominous crackling noise reverberated from the first floor. Roran was about to lower his good arm to urge them to come out when he felt pushed inside the opening.

“Horst, what..?!”

His protests were shut down as the floor collapsed and he fell in the cellar, passing out, overcome by pain and exhaustion.


Brearcharos passed his right claws in his mouth, polishing ashes and burnt remains away from his fangs. He was flying again, the village and the land itself far away behind him after a couple of planeshifts forward. The villagers didn’t put much of a game, but he was surprised when he found a bunch of women and children roaming not far from the vale. Catching them without using any complex magic had been at least a little more challenging. He never really liked humanoid children, their bones weren’t crisp enough and there wasn’t much of substance to eat in the first place, but they always managed to run and hide in the most amusing places whenever they were trying to flee from him.

“Finally, this is my first plausible destination.”

The rocky island stood below him, wretched and tainted.

“It appears a magical disaster of sorts happened here, although it is easily ruled out a minor artifact like my rod, even in exceptional circumstances of use and if somehow sent back in time, could have been the cause of it; and of course, what little I’ve derived from my scrying indicates neither the item nor the thief are here. (sniffing the air) There is a mild stench of metallic dragon harboring in the air… ah, and there are the first skeletons… “

The Great Wyrm descended, crossing the wide palaces covered in plants and musk, watching more closely the remains of the dragons resting on Vroengard.

“It bears many resemblances with a regular Dragon Graveyard or this dimension’s counterpart, most of the skeletons appear to belong to Wyrms, but as some of them are even bigger it is obvious, taken into account they allegedly succumbed to humans, that my species’ counterparts in this dimension are aberrating in some way. Although I would have expected a Guardian to show up at this point, even if I am yet to desecrate anything…”

The Great Wyrm dived down, landing on the barren waste which was supposed to have been the main lair of the Riders’ Order. Walking among the ruins, he explored some of the bigger palaces; sadly not much of interest was left, besides an almost completely depleted library.

“No sign of leftovers. Whatever calamity affected this place was the masterpiece of powerful wizard. sniffing the air Or it is an illusion.”

Concentrating upon his innate abilities, the red dragon cleaned his eyes, allowing them to see reality as it truly was.

Not much change nor signs of ghost Guardians, even if now he could see magical trails and leftovers, but there was a conglomerate which easily caught his attention, pulsing with numerous spells and wards in the middle of all that nothingness.

“Do you think you could successfully hide a treasure from a dragon?”

Brearcharos took flight again, increasing his speed and ramming over the invisible gate, right after shouting a dispelling. The strike echoed across the plain, but no result was reached and the red dragon only managed to bash his horns on the barred entrance.

“Puny abjurations. Were I not tired already, I could disjoint you back to the Weave. This is not the case. However, there are many ways to crack a chest open.”

The red dragon planeshifted, this time aiming at the Shadowland. Unfortunately, his flight on the grey colorless sky over the Spire revealed the wards still compelled his passage from there. He tried to bypass them again from Ethereal Plane, but the very spell failed completely.

Returning back in the Material Plane the dragon growled, growing impatient, and conjured an Earthquake, hoping at least to be able to see what was beyond the gate. While the plain cracked open, the wood surrounding the pillar was swallowed into the abyss and a near mountain collapsed, the Spire still held.

“Hrrrrnnntt… I see. (landing before the gate) I have to come to the conclusion whatever was done here is either the work of metallic Great Wyrms or of a god’s efforts. I shall not waste any more time or energies to try and unlock this lair. The most rational course of action is to flag this island and return later after the appropriate studies and with the arcane tools to open it.”

After a second of contemplating silence, the red dragon shouted the words to conjure a meteor swarm and stroke again the entrance with no results.

“Very well. As an incentive to let me depart, for now, I shall seal whatever’s hidden here even more strongly, so that if whoever was responsible for this came back, he will find the door closed to him as well.”

After marking the nearest mountain to respond to his Word of Recall, the Great Wyrm hovered around the pillar, spouting what spells remembered from his lair’s recent reordering: he first covered the Spire with an invisible silent alarm, he magically barred the entrance with his own lock and he surrounded it with a greater Sign of Sealing; then he raised a wall of twitching eyes before the hidden gate, obscured it from divination and hid it from sight with an invisibility spell made permanent shortly after. In the end he decided to summon forth a minor fiend to watch guard and collect possible information just in case whoever placed the original wards had been able to dispel his without triggering any warning; he chose an enclosed spot, traced the binding circle and performed the spell, but the conjuration failed.

“It would appear not only this Alternative Material Plane lacks an ethereal counterpart, it also is either unbound to the Outer counterparts or completely lacking in that regard. Which will make me wonder: how much influence gods or other fiendish or celestial immortal beings could have on it? Still considering that there are any. It would make this world temptingly… helpless. (beat) …Of course this couldn’t interest me less: I’m here to recover a stolen good and punish a thief, certainly not to conquer this dimension…”

The red dragon blinked twice, looking around, and finally took over to leave the island.

“Three possible locations are left. However, I shall not be too hasty and will explore this land to gather further lore before rushing to another possibly locked door.”

Gaining height, the Great Wyrm concentrated and planeshifted away.


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  1. Epke on 14 December 2013, 14:11 said:

    (looking around, trying to clear his mind)
    (vomiting fire)
    (sniffing the air)
    sniffing the air
    (landing before the gate)

    These are still super distracting. I know you said you wanted it like this so you could get to the action quicker and that it’s used in theatrical plays, however, I have three grievances with this.
    1: It distracts from the fluidity of the text when actions are described like this.
    2: It looks bad, as it is not how you should describe actions in a story that is read, not performed.
    3: Seeing as you alternate between long, long sections of either talking, just actions or a mix between the two, I don’t see the point in using them. You have to add, what, a few extra letters for it to flow better?

    Examples: “indicates neither the item nor the thief are here.” He sniffed the air. “There is a mild…”
    “Scream, run, howl, cry, you pathetical little hairless monkeys!” The dragon spoke through the spewing fire, mad with glee: “Put up a game worthy of your miserable lives!”

  2. Tim on 14 December 2013, 22:56 said:

    I’d add the fourth issue, that it makes it look an IRC log with the /mes hastily removed.

  3. At least i admit that i'm biased on 24 December 2013, 11:13 said:

    Just an idea for a counter point to Lomy, perhaps you could make Angela the ever awesome Herbalist to be Lomys foil. CP really leaves Angela as fluid and easily moldable, and i think, even if she couldn’t beat it, she is the only character who comes even close to how confusing Lomy is.

    Besides, if you added Angela Mooneater, i would love you forever. :P