The ten dragons rose at the same time, some still averting their eyes from the Father, while others looked right at him. Worry could be written on some faces and faith on others. Adiastrasza had a determined look on her face as she stood tall, speaking clearly, her eyes scanning the others.
“We will give our utmost, Heliustrasz will not succeed!” The broodmother said, her words further emphased by Aridormi who bent her back forward to gaze over at Adiastrasza, then down the line, giving a nod.
“We will not let these visionsss come true!”
The Father glanced over all of them as he spoke. “We will venture to Sholazar Basin to retrieve the golem. Not for me. But for the future of Heartwing. For the future of Azeroth!”
A few cheered while others kept their heads lowered still. The father’s eyes rested on Adiastrasza, who returned his gaze as he spoke to her. “Adiastrasza, I want you remain here and watch over the clutch. They are the future.”
Adiastrasza seemed like she wanted to protest at first, but the importance of the situation seemed to dawn on her as she nodded quickly. “I will protect them until my death.”
The others exchanged looks as they started taking off from the tower, one by one, switching to their dragon forms as they plunged and flapping the wings to fly. Aridormi climbed on the ledge, pulling her goggles back over her face. “It’sss somehow curiousss how we all received the same vision at the same time. Something’sss not right here but I’ll go with it.” The young drake stated, for nobody in particular, as she switched to her draconic form and swiftly took off from the tower. The father did not change to his draconic form as instead, he changed into a large black hawk, swiftly taking off from the tower and leading the way.
They flew in formation over the hills, the Father remaining ahead but turning his head from time to time to gaze at the group. The drakes Valstrasza, Melaku and Aridormi were flying on the edges of the group, staying together, occasionally flying swiftly closer to the others. Aryiastrasza followed behind the father as she flew in the centre, with Moryastrasz and Tarodormu flanking her on both sides. Marthamus’s shadow traced over them as he flew the highest, using his vision to be on the lookout for any threats. At the very back was Ralecstrasz, his large form casting a shadow on the hills beneath them and his wing span large enough to engulf the group. Somewhere behind them, another group of dragons took off, with the heir of Heartwing Aerenstrasz in the lead. At a sign, Neldormu broke away from the group to join him and in return, Paragon Miormi joined the Father’s group, greeting the others with a nod.
The view underneath the group changed as they flew away from the green hills and into the frozen heart of Northrend, the evergreen trees and the green hills now replaced by a frozen environment, the snow and grey rocks of Dragonblight. Ahead of them, they could spot the unmistakeable red trees of the Red Dragonshrine.
“We must stop here now!” The Father’s voice announced and with a nod, they all swiftly landed, on the cliffs around the shrine or inside it, the Father making his way to the tree located at the very centre.
“Where are we?” Valstrasza quietly asked, her eyes peering curiously at the place she has never seen. The light flap of wings to her right drew her attention and she smiled at the ruby female who landed next to her.
“This…” Aryiastrasza softly began, while her eyes gazed down at the father. “…is the Ruby Dragonshrine, final resting place of our kind.” She said, smiling in return at the drake.
Valstrasza’s eyes widened slightly. “It’s beautiful…”
They all watched as the Father stood before the tree. “I need to attune myself to the rituals and reagents the colossus is made of. I have not done this for over ten thousand years!” Asherystrasz’ voice boomed over everyone else’s. He began to channel an immense magic, directed in a single cone towards the tree. All of the dragons could feel the power radiating in pulse waves towards them, as Asherystrasz started the ritual.
Ralecstrasz solemnly stood behind the father, his draconic form casting a large shadow on the ground. Valstrasza joined him on his left and Aryistrasza landed on his right, sitting down on the grass in her ruby form, her tail curled around her own body as she solemnly and quietly observed. The others watched from the hills around, their eyes every now and then peering around or at the skies.
“Should anything happen, I will be rendered unable to help you!” The Father shouted. “My magic will draw those who seek power to us, Heartwing! Do your best to defend me! Any wound caused to me in this state could lead to death!”
The gravity of the situation shook them all. Taldormu instantly took off, casting his gaze towards the south and Miormi shifted around, emplacing herself on the eastern edge. Aryiastrasza and Ralecstrasz took their eyes off the ritual, gazing around the area. The young drakes took off as well, covering as much area as they could. Moryastrasz and Marthamus guarded the north and west, watching out for anything that might try to interrupt the ritual.
But the father spoke the truth. Suddenly, a shot sounded through the group, loud and heavy with a bass before a piece of the tree before the Father exploded in thousands of splinters and shards, flying each every way. Ralec and Aryia were the first to react. The red male brought one of his wings in, shielding the father from the blasted wood and tensing his body to catch any further attacks. The ruby female swiftly switched to her mortal form, starting to send small fireballs at any incoming pieces of wood that might injure Asherystrasz. On the southern hill, Tarodormu instinctively flew away to avoid the debris then swiftly turned around, looking for the source of the explosion.
Close to Tarodormu, Aridormi flapped her wings erratically, momentarily distracted by the sounds of the wood splintering. “Isss everybody alright over there? Brace yourselves, I think we have company!”
Miormi shrouded herself with her own wings and dropped onto the cliffside before taking back off and too looking for a source. On the other side, Marthamus started channelling green energy as mists drew in around him, pulsating and twisting in search for the same source.
It took a few seconds before Tarodormu located a canon on one of the cliffs and he instantly fired a breath of sand at it. “Look out for cannons on the cliffs!” His voice boomed and Miormi spotted him instantly and the cannon he was going after and she started to sweep around, looking for others on high ground.
The shot seemed to be fired from a cliff, from a different canon than the one Tarodormu’s sand was attacking and shortly after, another shot came, followed by a manic shout in an indiscernible language. The cannon on that cliffside was accompanied by a questionable looking individual. Miormi reacted immediately as she folded her wings inward, divebombing the canon on the cliffside and clawing after the first enemy she saw, who was immediately overwhelmed by the attacks. Shortly afterwards, the adjacent canon turned away from Asherystrasz and instead focused on the bronze dragoness herself.
Down in the shrine, the Father continued his ritual, protected by the large red Ralecstrasz and the small ruby dragoness Aryiastrasza. The wyrm’s voice boomed once again. “The very fabric origin of this magic will try to tear my body apart! I am using all of my strength to keep that from happening! I wish I could be of more use to you, Heartwing! Stay strong! We will be victorious!”
On the cliffs, the green Marthamus kept his eyes on the forest and the surroundings, sensing that the canons might not be the only thing attempting to stop the ritual. Away from him, Tarodormu blasted anyone near the canon with sand and then swooped down to finish off any of the survivors. Another canon would be easily destroyed by the dragons, the people running them rendered incapable of doing much more. However, further shots sounded, shards of the massive tree blowing apart and dirt flung into the air as the attack was meant to strike Asherystrasz.
As the explosion came, Ralecstrasz reacted by turning towards Asherystrasz, holding both his wings to cover him from debris and Aryiastrasza brought both of her hands upwards, incinerating the tree pieces flying at the Father. However, thinking there might be even more to come, the small ruby turned fully towards Asherystrasz, both of her hands now placed towards him as she conjured a shield of flames around him, which would burn any debris that might get past Ralecstrasz’ protection. She continued moving her fingers ever so slightly, keeping the shield channelled. In the air above the shrine, Tarodormu, Miormi and Valstrasza flew in circles, ready to strike any potential tragets.
Down in the shrine, a small group ploughs out of the snow, each appearing rather adept at magic as they created a circle, chanting as they were summoning something. After a short while, a small group of strange armoured men turned to surround the warlocks who arrived earlier, a large green portal beginning to display itself between them. From the battalion emerged several more crude cannons, each pointed around at the group as though in a defensive stance, while the warlocks did their work.
Ralecstrasz’s head craned towards the group that now stood behind him and he let out a breath of incinerating flames, making sure to keep his wings over Asherystrasz in case an attack might come again. His own actions were joined by an attack from the young red drake Valstrasza, who dived at the warlocks, only to be hit by a chaos bolt and sent into the cliffside. Marthamus followed close behind with his own attack as he launched forward, acid spewing from his maw along with noxious gases.
Life in the Ruby Dragonshrine begins to rapidly blossom, acorns becoming saplings and saplings growing into trees in merely seconds, as the Father’s ritual continued while he was being protected by the two reds. Not far from him, however, the Heartwing dragons were fighting the enemy, the defenders taking the incoming attacks and dying as they protected the warlocks. The portal grew larger quickly as though it had met some sort of catalyst. The remaining warlocks quickly scampered away, cheering madly as the portal now sustained itself and demons began to climb out from the nether to meet the draconic foes.
Suddenly, something exploded. Miormi had scooped up a barrel of gunpowder from aside a canon in one claw and went to drop it right on the group of warlocks, spitting a lightning bolt after it. The group was hit with considerable force, limbs blowing everywhere as the moral men’s faces quickly turned from pride to anguish and fear. The demons themselves began slaughtering everything in their way, making haste towards Asherystrasz. Tarodormu and Marthamus moved in to stop the incoming attacks, the bronze firing a stream of sand from the above and the green preparing another corrosive attack as he landed with a splash in one of the small water beds in the shrine; his eyes narrowed and he suddenly launched himself at one of the demons coming through the portal, his claws raking the fiend while he breathed poisonous gas in its face.
More and more demons began crawling through the portal as the horde grew immensely, swelling with numbers as though they’d been waiting just behind the portal to leave. Infernals wrap their incendiary stone fists around the entrance, pulling their way in with a variety of fel-guards and imps swarming between their legs. Aridormi and Moryastrasz dive in from the cliffs, sensing that the dragons in the shrine might become overwhelmed very soon. The red unleashes a long string of flame on top of the demons in a fly-by, Tarodormu flanks them with a blast of sand and Valstrasza launches herself in, back on her feet as she tackles a demon, clawing at his neck.
Ralecstrasz took his eyes off the Father and he breathed fire at one of the small pools, in order to turn the water into steam and slow down the demons in their advance, trying to keep Asherystrasz still protected with his wings at the same time.
“Ralec, they need you there!” Aryiastrasza’s voice could barely be heard over the commotion while she kept the Father still surrounded by the shield of flames that brought him no harm.
“You cannot keep the barrier up for too much longer, Aryiastrasza, you will exhaust yourself! A massive blast could pierce through at any moment and kill you both instantly!” Ralecstrasz answered, moving his gaze back and forth between the ritual and the attack behind him.
The Heartwing dragons kept attacking, with Marthamus and Tarodormu decimating many of the demons in an area, but many more kept coming, swarming from the portal. Up on the cliff, Miormi circles one of the undestroyed but unattended cannons. She aims the cannon at the warlocks who were still alive and their portal and demons and inserts a lit up fuse. A large section of the demons is suddenly blown apart as Miormi’s cannon fires.
The drake Aridormi folds her wings, letting herself dive towards the portal and then she just swiftly flies up again, not before casting a slowing spell on the demons in her attempt to slow their advance. “We must not let them reach the Father! Dispatch them quickly!”
Marthamus and Tarodormu go in raw, wrestling with the demons and rolling around with them, taking several strikes in the process. Two infernals among the group single the two dragons out individually. The bronze fired sand at the infernal attacking him, slowing it down then he flew up, continuing to send scorching sand at the rock body. The green instantly engaged the infernal, blasting it with gas and acid before lunging forward and tackling the rocky bits, his scales burning in the exchange as he roared out. “Wretched things! You should’ve stayed in the nether where you belong!” The infernal’s body rapidly corroded but a second massive infernal jumped on the green’s head, its stone fists colliding with his snout. Marthamus took the bonk and shook his head before roaring in rage, barging forward to destroy what was left of the infernals.
Various imps and a felguard suddenly jumped the drake Velstrasza, who just took out one of the demons. She did not back down as she charged the felguard head on, clashing with it, its sword entering her shoulder the moment she tackled him. Growling in pain, she shut her eyes and bit the fel-guard's head clean off, before sending scorching flames at the imps swarming her.
Another force entered the field, the demons immediately growing in haste as they attacked. The fight taking place in the shrine prevented the dragons of Heartwing from spotting the two corrupted reds that appeared on opposite cliffs in their elven forms, their hands placed towards the Father. “Zalistrasz! Do your end! We will put an end to this! For the glory of the Helius!” shouted the one known as Eadrastrasz and the two lieutenants of Heliustrasz began casting each a beam at Asherystrasz, supressing his abilities. “This is the end of the line, ‘Father of Dragons’!”
Miormi abandoned the cannon she previously used the moment she noticed the new attacks directed at the father and she leaped into the air, charging at Eadrastrasz, spewing slowing sand-breath as she goes. But the corrupted red kept on channelling with one hand, turned his head to Miormi and sent a massive blast to her, propelling her through the air. The bronze female spirals off and flies furiously to regain her stability, growling in anger. Aridormi followed just a second later, lighting crackling at the corners of her eyes before she sent a bolt of lightning in order to stop his channelling. Eadrastrasz took a direct hit, his knees weakening and his corrupted eyes turned to look at the red drake as from his opened mouth, chaos bolts began flying at her.
Zalistrasz’ beam broke right through Aryiastrasza’s shield and the red quickly looked around, searching for the origin of the attack. She turns to her draconic form, taking off swiftly, flying over the demonic commotion and launching herself at the corrupted dragon, a fireball flying at him from her. The corrupted red chuckled, a green flame emanating from one of his fists as another portal appeared before the incoming red female, an infernal coming at her. Her own agility helped her twirl as the infernal missed her, crumbling on the rocks below and the small red continued flying straight at Zalistrasz, lunging to tackle him into the snow on the cliff and interrupt his channelling in the process. Down below, Marthamus was fighting the swarms of demons, his body covered in burns and cuts. Close to him, Valstrasza was crawling away, blood coming out from her penetrated shoulder. Tarodormu’s own body burned as he tackled an infernal, firing a large blast of sand right at his core, from a very short distance. More demons fell as the fight went on and the portal began to fade into the nothingness it came from.
On the other cliff, Eadrastrasz’s form changed into that of a dragon and, at the same time, Aridormi let out another lightning bolt, at the same time with his next chaos bolt and the moment the two bolts collided, the ensuing explosion of energy sent the small drake reeling backwards.
Close by, Miormi returned to the cannon she used earlier, pushing it with her head and aiming it at the now much larger target, firing without wasting another moment. “Pick on someone your own size!” She shouts and the corrupted red is hit on the side of his belly and his body slides across the snow from the force of the impact, his channelling now interrupted. He twitches and gasps, a hole visible in his body, his eyes wide opened. Yet, his body begins to emit a green steam, the gap healing rapidly, in a matter of seconds.
On the snowy cliff, Zalistrasz switched to his dragon form in an instant, colliding with Aryiastrasza and interrupting his own channelling in the process. The ruby’s body was too small to properly tackle the much larger dragon, but the speed of the impact was enough to send him sliding across the snow a few and she kept pushing, trying to send him down the cliff. But the corrupted red would have none of it as he clung to her, claws on one side digging into her body as he sunk his teeth deeply into the right side of her neck. He growled, biting a chunk of her scales off as he used his other claws to slash deeply into her lower torso, pushing her much smaller body off. Aryiastrasza let out a growl in pain as her body was pushed off the cliff and she madly tried to cold on with her claws, only to end up tumbling down, the rocks staining with the red’s blood. She landed on the soft grass, a few audible cracks coming from her body. Just a second after, the green Marthamus rose into the air and launched for Zalistrasz, wings stretched but tattered from the many blows he took.
On the other cliff, the other corrupted lieutenant was having a hard time as well. Aridormi rushed for him, breathing sand that was not meant to cause harm. Instead, the particles began enveloping the dragon, coalescing into thick chains around his wings and neck, trying to restrain him. “Miormi, quick! Help me fetter him!” Miormi rushed in too at the drake’s shout, charging in to aid her restrain the dragon. His body suddenly let out a blast of fel lightnings in a sphere around himself, charging at the two bronze dragonesses.
“Fall back brothers! This is no place for us to fail!” The fel wyrm Zalistrasz cried out.
“You… aren’t… going… anywhere!” Marthamus roared in anger, acid filling his maw along with green gases as he started tearing at the corrupted dragon’s back and neck. The corrupted wyrm gasped, quickly batting his wings against the green, his fel corruption putting quite a great deal of force behind the blow.
Aridormi let out a roar as the fel lightnings hit her armored chest and sent her tumbling in the air. Miormi grimaced. Rather than letting herself spam out, she shrouded herself in her own wings, aiming to control her fall by aiming for the snow.
Ralecstrasz’ eyes darted around, gazing at every scene. Up on the cliffs, the two bronze females were sent flying after a lightning explosion. To his right, Valstrasza landed roughly on the ground, her neck bleeding. To his left, Tarodormu was barely standing, his body bearing the marks of the struggles with the demons. Somewhere behind him, at the base of a blood stained cliff, the ruby Aryiastrasza was panting and squirming in pain. And above, on the same cliff, the green Marthamus snarled in pain from the corruption striking against him as he continued tearing away at the fel wyrm. “Let them go!” Ralecstrasz’ voice boomed over the commotion. “We cannot go on like this; we must recuperate lest lives will be lost!”
“I SAID NOW, SCUM!” The red wyrm Zalistrasz called out as the rush of adrenaline helped him toss Marthamus off. His dark green blood was oozing down his body but he was acting as if he was unharmed. He jumps from the cliff, his great wings catching the air. In one massive thrust, he forces himself into the sky, rocketing away from the group with blood continuing to flow down his back.
Marthamus crashes against the cliff, tumbling down, his own blood staining the cliffside as he lands close to the injured ruby. Aryiastrasza pulled herself up, blood flowing from the claw cuts on her lower torso and from the torn part of her neck; yet, she only stands for a few seconds as she falls back down, grunting in pain. “Th-The father.” Were the only words she managed to mutter.
Tarodormu approached the fallen green and red, his head bowed as he looked over their injuries. “His spell worked and he is alright. Worry about yourself now.” His reply came. “We need healers over here!” He shouted, looking around the shrine.
“W-We are the healers…” Replied Aryiastrasza and both her and Marthamus quietly chuckled at the irony of the situation. Both of them sent out healing magic around them and in the small area, the wounds of Tarodormu closing along with their own. Aryiastrasza then rose and made her way to the other part of the group.
On the other side of the shrine, Valstrasza was unconscious and bleeding and she twitched and squirmed in pain on the soft grass. After her own rough landing, Miormi hurried to the red drake, her wings twitching occasionally and stretching out involuntarily. “We need help over here as well!” the bronze dragoness called out in reply to the earlier shout by Tarodormu. Her wings twitched again and they seemed to have a rather curious new black forked pattern on them.
With the demons and fel dragons gone, Ralecstrasz fell over on his side, one of the beams having through his right wing and the other through the flesh of his shoulder, making a visible hole. He seemed to have little control of his left arm and the ground shook as he fell down with a thud.
Aryiastrasza approached the scene and switched to her mortal form, gasping at the sight of the injured Valstrasza as she hurried to her side. “W-what happened to her?”
“I don’t know, all was chaos. I think she wanted to come and help but was too injured.” Miormi replied, gazing down at the red drake. She slowly shrunk down to her mortal form, rolling up her sleeves to examine the curious new pattern over her arms, grimacing in the process.
Aryiastrasza placed both her hands on Valstrasza, closing her eyes as she began sending her healing magic through the young red’s body. She closed her wounds, stumbling back as soon as she was done. Not far from her, Marthamus approached the fallen Ralec, beginning to focus his energy into sealing the holes, at least temporarily, his green healing mist beginning to flow around the red’s body, weaving over his injuries.
Up on the cliff, Aridormi felt the last remnants of the fel lightning that hit both her and Miormi ebb out, her muscles now her own again, the drake rose rose up on shaky legs, clawing to the edge of the cliff and peering down to see the outcome of the battle. “I think I need a lift! Can anyone bring me down, please?” she called out.
Tarodormu craned his neck, spotting the little drake and he took off, carefully grabbing a hold of Aridormi and flying her back down, close to the others. He slowly placed her in the soothing water of the shrine and Aridormi wriggled free from his claws. “Thank you.” The drake slithered about awkwardly, as if her muscles were at war with her own brain.
Asherystrasz slowly flew down, losing altitude as he landed on the ground. The last of the magic dissipated from him as he fell down on his knees. The sight of weakness from him was never before seen by anybody and all looked up as they slowly rose, some less injured than others, all reverted to their mortal forms, eyes of all colours locking on the Father they all protected with their own lives. For a few long moments, the air was so quiet only the rustling of leaves could be heard.
“Father?” Aryiastrasza softly asked on a worried voice, not daring to look him in the eyes as she stepped a bit closer. Her robe was torn where her partially healed injuries were and blood was staining her elven form.
“Are alright, Lord of Heartwing?” Tarodormu walked up as well and next to him moved Marthamus, his body battered, lower lip busted, his armour holding multiple dents. Not far from the two, Miormi rolled her sleeves back down, rolling her shoulders, her eyes and Aridormi’s eyes looking at the father as well.
“Not many are supposed to attune themselves to the primordial life that shaped life on Azeroth…” The Father began to speak. “It was not easy… especially not after the Scourge desecrated this place with its foul stench. We must all now rest. I have received word from my son. Him and his own group were able to put the golem under our protection. I have reached my limit. See each other safely back home. Rejoice, Heartwing. For we have won yet another battle.”