With a heavy thud, Sulfira carved a trench in the gravel beach. Her vision was blurred and her muscles ached. The ringing in her ears was suddenly drowned out by the roar of The Tarrasque. Struggling to get back to her feet, the dragon summoned up all of her might just to stay steady. When her vision cleared, she could see her sister, Crynax. Her blinding white scales were stained red with her blood. Sulfira was also bleeding badly from her wounds. She cursed the arcane for only having minimal healing ability.

Crynax fought with the fury of hell itself. Her raking claws and sword-like teeth ripped at anything they could reach. The tarrasque was undeterred. Its gaping maw took hold of the white dragon, nearly taking her entire shoulder in its mouth and pulled her wing and shoulder from her body. Crynax cried out, her fury instantly becoming pain and anguish. Taking every ounce of spite the dragon had left, Crynax leapt up the torso of the Tarrasque and jammed her claws into its right eye. The beast lurched back, casting Crynax away, her wing and shoulder still in its maw. As she fell, Crynax shouted out a spell. Walls of ice sprang up between the dragons and the tarrasque.

“Sulfira, this is hopeless!” Crynax groaned as she struggled to balance on only one front leg. “You begged for my help and against my better judgment, I agreed. But this beast is DEATHLESS.” Sulfira spat out some of her own teeth as she held the hole in her chest closed. “If you want to flee like the coward you are, then do it. I will not stop until this thing is dead at my feet or I am.” Crynax hissed, “Then you have chosen death. Your pride and your fondness for these vermin has sealed your fate. You could have swallowed your pride and asked Hyperion and she wouldn’t have hesitated to come. But instead, we will both die.” Sulfira turned a single eye at Crynax and smacked her across her face. “No. I couldn’t ask her. Just like you are so blinded by hatred and stupidity that you can’t see the value in any life but your own. My only regret is believing that there was anything redeemable about you, sister.” Crynax bellowed in anger and pain as she charged Sulfira. Despite lacking a limb and a wing, Crynax threw herself at her sister, sending both dragons into the shallows. As Sulfira fended off Crynax, the pair stopped. As the two faced the ice wall, the tarrasque burst through. Its eye now fully restored. Sulfira rolled her and Crynax out of the way. And now that she was back on her feet, The brass dragon looked down at her sister. “STILL THE LAKE.” Not waiting for a response, Sulfira charged the tarrasque. As she leaped at the beast she cast her spell. Her size grew suddenly and she now stood nearly as tall as her foe. Her new mass managed to topple both creatures into the depths of Lake Syrantula. As they sank to the bottom, Sulfira swam downwards. As long as Crynax comes through, we might have a chance, she thought.

The beast followed Sulfira downward, not noticing the pale blue light coming from the surface. Crynax called forth the freezing wrath from within her. Though her siblings far surpassed her in many ways, the one thing they all agree on is; none are as cold as Crynax. Her jaws were wide, and a condensed orb of light flew from her mouth. As it reached its target, the blinding flash froze all the water to the eastern horizon. Sulfira saw the flash, and dived straight at the tarrasque’s chest. The waters grew dark at a terrifying speed. And with a final thrust, Sulfira dived straight into the sandy bottom of the lake. Her guess was right. Crynax understood that if its immune to fire, it may be susceptible to cold. Dragons breath just deflected off the beasts hide, so the lake was the duo’s best chance, the water and sand slowed the spread of ice enough to allow Sulfira a chance to escape. From her sandy tomb, she used her mastery of sand to allow herself an air pocket. And with her final breath of air, she teleported.

When Sulfira reappeared, she collapsed back onto the icy surface of the lake. And when she awoke, she gasped in awe. Looking at her sister’s handiwork, the brass dragon sighed in relief. Like all her siblings, Crynax had an ability that was unique. “Stillness” was more than just an icy blast of dragon breath. It froze everything within the blast down to its soul. Trapped forever in a prison of unmelting ice but unable to be released by death. Sulfira had little time to recover as she felt the rending claws of her sister rip open the back of her neck. Sulfira roared as she was shoved, bit, and clawed. Crynax held herself up on her newly sculpted ice limb as she delighted in her sister’s cries. “Finally! I will see you fall. You have always hated me… your OWN SISTER. I have not forgotten your insults and the humiliations you have inflicted upon me.”

Sulfira gasped for breath as she tried to pull herself up. “Just kill me. Id rather die than listen to your whining.” Crynax coughed out a laugh. “There will be no death for you.” Sulfira’s eyes went wide. How is she able to use Stillness again so quickly? Shes never shown enough magical ability to be this quick. The pale blue light returned to Crynax’s jaws. Sulfira tried to cast a spell, but a sudden jab to her throat by Crynax stopped and pinned her. The light reached its peak, Sulfira closed her eyes and a sudden pain in her side caught her. She opened her eyes to see a look of horror on Crynax’s face. Her body was impaled on five orange spikes from below a sixth only missed Sulfira’s kidney by an inch. The ice shook and began to split. Sulfira tried to hold on, but the ice heaved upwards and then collapsed in to a massive hole. The tarrasque was stuck in the ice up to its waist. But Sulfira could not summon the strength to pull herself out of the crater. The spines on the beasts back had already regrown. As its claws grew closer with every swing, Sulfira clutched her pierced chest and gritted her teeth.

Sulfira was prepared to fight even as she was torn to shreds. But a voice called out to her. “Hey! You alive?” A man standing at the mouth of the crater stood there. His blonde hair was blinding and his sharp blue eyes nearly glowed under the brim of his ugly hat. “RUN YOU, MORON! Its nearly free!” Sulfira shouted. The man turned back briefly, bit then jumped down into the pit. His build was muscular. A tall human with fair skin and an aged face. Probably in his fifties. Over his shoulder he held a rucksack. And as he slid down to the brass dragon he started pulling potions from his bag and a small sling of wands. “Open up! These can heal you!” Sulfira started to protest, but she gargled on the potion she was force fed. “Though the healing was minimal, at least the bleeding stopped. The tarrasque suddenly started to flail at something. The blur was impossibly fast. So fast, that it took a second for the dragon to notice a second figure on the crater edge. A woman stood in the setting suns light and her garb was Tian in origin. And just as fast as she appeared, she was gone. The beast flailed again, and the woman appeared again, this time by Sulfira and the male. The woman never broke eye contact with the tarrasque. She then spoke with a calm voice. “Its regenerating faster than I can hurt it, Terry. I do not ask this of you lightly, but… I need you to fight.” The male looked grim. “I would’ve stepped in already, but my body won’t let me get close.” Sulfira shapeshifted to her mortal form. In this shape, Sulfira took on the appearance of a dark haired woman, over six feet tall with ebon hair and red eyes. “Its fear. The tarrasque spreads fear and destruction. You both have to get out of here! This thing isn’t going to stay stuck for long!” The woman looked at Terry. “How long do you need?” Terry looked at the wands in his other hand and replied, ” Just a few seconds, but its going to ruin your ‘surprise’, Shao.” With a nod, the woman looked back at the nearly free tarrasque. “We have more important things to concern us. Ill buy you the time. We must save who we can.”

Sulfira then grabbed the womans arm. “How do you know me?! And didn’t you hear before? You mortals don’t stand a chance against this thing!” With a slow look at her arm and back at the dragon, the woman replied. “I am Grandmaster Shao of the four winds school, I will buy you time to escape, and I am no longer mortal.” With a look of confusion, the monk master vanished from Sulfira’s grip. With the conversation done, Terry got to work casting spells. Time seemed to slow down as the brass dragon watched. She would catch glimpses of Shao as she appeared, struck, and vanished. She wasn’t using speed, it was really teleportation. Terry was casting spells from his wands, altering his body’s size and shape, mostly his hands. Sulfira figured out what was about to happen and cast her own spell on Terry. Fear was a terrible weapon. It could halt even the most stalwart of hearts, but if you know how to inspire those hearts, fear is meaningless. Sulfira gifted Terry the spell, Greater Heroism. And when he was done, the human noticed he was able to move freely again. He took up his right hand and with a smile, summoned an aura. Terry launched himself forward. His right fist shined with a brilliant blue flame. Shao reappeared, picked up the wands and took Sulfira by the hand. Another flash, and the two women were back on the edge of the pit.

Sulfira looked back into the crater to see what this would accomplish. Just barley missing a swing from the beasts claws, Terry threw his fist forward while shouting. First, there was a sudden sound of a shattering. Then a singular hole blew out through the back of the crater as the blue flames erupted from Terry’s hand through the tarrasque and even through the ice. The creature howled in agony as it collapsed onto the crater floor. Terry jumped out of the way, just barley missing the crushing force of the creatures body. And he ran.

Grabbing Terry by his hand, Sulfira looked back down into the pit with a look of horror. The wound on the tarrasque’s back was already nearly closed. But something else caught the dragon’s keen eye. The corpse of Crynax was cracking. And through those cracks, a familiar blue light began to shine through. “Oh no. RUN!” As the dragon hoisted Terry over the edge of the pit, they all ran. From the crater, a massive blue light flashed up from the bottom. When the light settled, A massive tower of ice and snow was in its place. “A parting gift from my sister. We should leave quickly. Its about to get a lot colder.” Shao took each hand around her and with another flash, they were on the deck of a very small but fast airship. Able to rest, Sulfira collapsed on the deck of the ship. The Grandmaster returned Terry’s wands to him. “So what now? I can’t imagine its dead.” Terry said with a somber tone. The Grandmaster looked to her helmsman and said in a monotone voice. “To Sandpoint. We have many allies to brief and a winter we will have to endure.”

The ship sailed the skies west. With the icy winds at their back, the vessel arrived ahead of schedule by an entire day.

Author Vendon
Published
Game: Pathfinder
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