Dragon Bound(4)

By: Thea Harrison


Then Pia heard the most terrible sound of her life. It started low like a vibration, but one so deep in power it shook her bones. She slowed to a stop along with the other pedestrians. People shaded their eyes and looked around as the vibration grew into a roar that swept through the streets and rattled the buildings.

The roar was a hundred freight trains, tornadoes, Mount Olympus exploding in a rain of fire and flood.

Pia fell to her knees and threw her arms over her head. Others screamed and did the same. Still others looked around wildeyed, trying to spot the disaster. Some ran panicked down the street. The nearby intersections were dotted with car accidents as frightened drivers lost control and slammed into one another.

Then the roar died away. Buildings settled. The cloudless sky was serene, but New York City most certainly was not.

Alrighty.

She pushed upright on unsteady legs and mopped her sweat-dampened face, oblivious to the chaos churning around her.

She knew what—who—had made that unholy sound and why. The knowledge made her guts go watery.

If she were in a race for her life, that roar was the starter pistol. If God were the referee, He had just shouted Go.





He had been born along with the solar system. Give or take.

He remembered a transcendent light and an immense wind. Modern science called it a solar wind. He recalled a sensation of endless flight, an eternal basking in light and magic so piercing and young and pure it rang like the trumpeting of thousands of angels.

His massive bones and flesh must have been formed along with the planets. He became bound to Earth. He knew hunger and learned to hunt and eat. Hunger taught him concepts such as before and after, and danger and pain and pleasure.

He began to have opinions. He liked the gush of blood as he gorged on flesh. He liked drowsing on a baked rock in the sun. He adored launching into the air, taking wing and riding thermals high above the ground, so like that first endless-seeming ecstasy of flight.

After hunger, he discovered curiosity. New species burgeoned. There were the Wyrkind, Elves, both Light and Dark Fae, tall bright-eyed beings and squat mushroom-colored creatures, winged nightmares and shy things that puttered in foliage and hid whenever he appeared. What came to be known as the Elder Races tended to cluster in or around magic-filled dimensional pockets of Other land, where time and space had buckled when the earth was formed and the sun shone with a different light.

Magic had a flavor like blood, only it was golden and warm like sunlight. It was good to gulp down with red flesh.

He learned language by listening in secret to the Elder Races. He practiced on his own when he took flight, mulling over each word and its meaning. The Elder Races had several words for him.

Wyrm, they called him. Monster. Evil. The Great Beast.

Dragua.

Thus he was named.

He didn’t notice at first when the first modern Homo sapiens began to proliferate in Africa. Of all species, he wouldn’t have guessed they would flourish. They were weak, had short life spans, no natural armor, and were easy to kill.

He kept an eye on them and learned their languages. Just as other Wyrkind did, he developed the skill of shapeshifting so he could walk among them. They dug up the things of Earth he liked, gold and silver, sparkling crystals and precious gems, which they shaped into creations of beauty. Acquisitive by nature, he collected what caught his eye.

This new species spread across the world, so he created secret lairs in underground caverns where he gathered his possessions.

His hoard included works of the Elves, the Fae and the Wyr, as well as human creations such as gold and silver and copper plates, goblets, religious artifacts and coinage of all sorts. Money, now, there was a concept that intrigued him, attached as it was to so many other interesting concepts like trade, politics, war and greed. There were also cascades of loose crystals and precious gems and crafted jewelry of all sorts. His hoard grew to include writings from all Elder Races and from humankind, as books were an invention he (only sometimes) thought was more precious than any other treasure.

Along with his interest in history, mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, alchemy and magic, he became intrigued with modern science. He traveled to England to have a conversation on the origin of species with a famous scientist in the nineteenth century. They had gotten drunk together—the Englishman with rather more desperation than he—and had talked through the witching hours until the night mist had been burned to vapor by the sun.

He remembered telling the clever drunken scientist that he and humankind civilization had a lot in common. The difference was his experience was couched in a single entity, one set of memories. In a way, that meant he embodied all stages of evolution at once—beast and predator, magician and aristocrat, violence and intellectualism. He was not so sure he had acquired humanlike emotions. He had certainly not acquired their morality. Perhaps his greatest achievement was law.

Hot Read

Last Updated

Recommend

Top Books