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***Author’s Note***

I have not written a short story in ages so I thought in preparation of a project I really want to do I would get in some practice. This story is part of a novel Idea I had a long time ago and never actually acted on. I really love the world and this is just a very tiny piece of it.

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(Title)

Initiation

The heat is intense, Hauque, unsure how much longer he will be able to hold his shield begins to think of a way out. With his one free hand he quickly wipes away the sweat on his brow. The sulfurous air is so think that it begins to sting his nose and eyes.  Squinting, he searches the area for anything that will help him. To his disappointment and little to his surprise there is not much. Rocks, dust and some scattered remains of past victims.

For a moment the roar of flames goes silent, Hauque does not dare drop his guard. He thinks back to his training,

“A dragon can make a flame last for many breaths but they still need to stop to re-conjure fire. When one stops an attack do not drop your shield, wait for the gurgling sound and brace for more.”

Unfortunately for Hauque he stopped paying attention that day and does not remember the rest of the lesson. His attention was back to the dragon when he heard the deep gurgling echo through the cave.  Before he was fully prepared the next rush of fire engulfed him. The young man felt his anxiety rise. At this point he could only smell sulfur and the burning flesh of his hand on the hot shield. It surprised him how little it hurt; the pain was nearly unbearable during the first wave.

Panic setting in, Hauque feels desperate and searches the room one last time. He spots his one opportunity and with that he sets in motion. The roar of flame dies again and he grasps his axe with his free hand. Quickly he rises from his crouched position pivoting to meet the dragon. As he rises he pulls back his arm to throw his axe with every last effort he has left. Mid throw he hears the low gurgle and locks eyes with the beast of death.

Time slows down and Hauque is suddenly aware of everything around him. The bodies of his friends, the smell of blood and burnt flesh, broken weapons and a burning cave with only one opening, it all came to him at once. His eyes stayed locked on the fierce eyes of his enemy and as he continued to throw his axe to his mark he stepped back towards his destination.  Although he made every attempt to be quick he moved slowly, like trying to run in a pool of tar. The closer he got to his salvation the more intense this feeling became.

As quickly as this nightmare began so did the fear and the pain. Hauque felt the world around him start to slip away. In his final attempts to escape, he knew he was going to fail. His axe dropped at his side, his vision began to blur and everything was getting darker. As he fell back he could hear a deep, rumbling voice in the reaches of his mind. He listened as he fell back; the only clear image left was the eyes of the dragon.

“Why do you kill us….?”

The young man knows this is the end as everything fades he tries to answers but it’s too late. The world around him becomes silent and there is nothing left but darkness.

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