The small kingdom of Clydesdale was cloaked in a coat of smoke and smog as homes, farms, inns, and more were lit ablaze.
Buildings were crushed and burned as the terrified civilians fled to Eidenbrock Keep, the castle of Clydesdale. Maybe half of that crowd ever made it there, as they were cut down like animals.
The men of Boltara, wearing their steel armor painted with their red and grey crest, a man with sword drawn and pointed towards the heavens with three skulls underfoot, were marching through the streets of the ruined city, wielding steel swords, shields, bows and arrows, slaying any who showed themselves.
The guards did their best to hold them off, and nearly succeeded, but then… then they brought forth what most of Clydesdale had believed to be a myth, nothing more than ancient legends… But how they were wrong…
When the Boltarans stopped their charge against the great stone walls of the city and retreated, a cheer rose from the gathered guardsman. That cheer was quickly silenced by their Commander, a man who few dared to cross. He was six feet tall, well muscled, had somewhat long jet black hair, a short grizzled beard, and emerald green eyes. Some say those very eyes, when upon you, gazed into your very soul. To him, most were opened books, will to others he was as stone faced and unyielding as the mountains themselves. His unnerving eyes are what have him his name: Verdauga Greeneyes.
His doubt was quickly founded when several men in the invasion force raised a bone horn to their lips and blew, sounding out a low note that brought chills to their spines. They soon saw why.
A great form soon walked out of the treeline, and drew several gasps of confusion, disbelief, and fear. That creature was not giant, neither troll nor beast… but something more…
Its great grey leathery wings, spiked spine, jagged arrowhead tail tip, four grey claws per paw, great grey horns atop its head, and large muzzle filled with jagged teeth sitting just below its hideous yellow slitted eyes, and covering of black, hard as steel scales marked out as not only a creature of nightmares, but one out of legends…
They had a dragon.
As soon as that behemoth stepped out, so too did four other giant, albeit somewhat smaller, dragons stepped out of the shadows, trailing the first.
Then the first dragon roared so loud Verdauga could have sworn he saw one man near him som stumble. Upon hearing the roar, the five dragons raised their massive wings and took flight, rising from the ground as though floating effortlessly.
Seeing them incoming, Verdauga wasted no time calling out orders almost too quickly for his men to heed his words. “Jaden, Maxwell, Arthur and Quinn, man the ballistae, we'll need them to take take down those beasts! The rest of you, split into pairs, one shield brother per archer! Quickly, they are nearly upon us!” Thankfully, his orders were followed without question, and they took aim at the dragons as they winged their way closer.
What his piercing gazed failed to spot however, would be his undoing. “Steady men, steady... ready… aim… f-” Just as he was about to issue an order to have them fire, Quinn's ballistae burst into flames, while Jaden’s splintered apart as it was crushed by a black mass. When he looked over, he was immediately horrified.
There, no less than ten meters away, was another black dragon, this one about forty feet in length, twenty feet tall, and a wingspan of any fifty feet. It smiled toothily at the stunned soldiers before proceeding to rip them apart.
This brought the frozen men back to reality as they charged forth, shouting out a battlecry as they set themselves on the dragon. Verdauga simply waited, pulling out his own bow as he turned back to the swiftly approaching dragons.
Glancing down at his bow, which was made of flexible ebony with a short blade are each end of the bow, which he called Mazark, he smiled and nocked a black arrow.
That bow, arrows and quiver, much like his black bladed sword Keldos, and the shield Heiren, also black, were ancient artifacts passed down through his family that had been enchanted with powerful magic that enhanced the substantial strength they already had.
The bow launched arrows with nearly three times the force of a normal bow. The arrows were capable of piercing an about a centimeter of steel and still go clear through a man. The quiver was quite special as well, since its binding magic could recollect the arrows no matter the distance traveled, though it did take a minute after firing to work, which made him thankful it held the dozen arrows. The sword, also ebony, could cleave a man in half along with a centimeter of steel in between. And the shield, which like the rest, was ebony, and enchanted to protect against the harshest of attacks, be it swords, claws, or the elements themselves, that shield could more than likely stop it. A good thing too, else could very well be dead. A bear doesn't tend to care much about steel armor.
He lifted the bow and took aim at the leading dragon's head, and nearly loosed the arrow when he heard cries of pain to his left. A quick glance confirmed his suspicion: three men had just been roasted by the dragon already on the wall.
With a sigh Verdauga called to the archers to keep the other dragons at bay, and without awaiting a response set off at a dash towards the dragon, drawing Keldos and Heiren as he neared the beast.
The dragon saw him coming and responded with a smug grin and a gout of flame. After several seconds it cut off the torrent of fire only to realize its target was still standing, unharmed, and grinning as he lowered his shield and he dashed closer to the beast.
As he got within striking distance the dragon swung its massive claws at him, spelling certain doom for him if caught. He skillfully dodged under the blow before rolling out of the way of another strike. He lunged forward, heading for its leg so as to climb up onto its neck where he could sever the spinal cord.
The dragon roared in agitation he dodged another blow and jumped onto the forearm, climbing it almost as well as a spider. The scales provided numerous solid handholds.
Just as he got onto its back the creature turned its head towards him and snapped its jaws inches from Verdauga's face. He could see the bloodstains its now yellowed teeth, and grimaced as he saw fresh stains.
He ducked beneath the head moved toward the neck, preparing to strike. As he lifted his arm and flipped the sword in his grip to stab it down into the scales neck below him, he saw a flicker movement at the right side of his vision, and hesitated a moment too long, and just before delivering what would have been the finishing blow, he learned what that flicker was: a tail.
Verdauga silently cursed as the limb hurtled toward him, and he raised his shield just enough for it to take most of the blow, but not all of it. The force of the blow knocked him into the air and he flew over the edge of the wall further into town.
As he landed on the hay roof of a partially collapsed hut he gasped when his shoulder was jarred by a direct collision with the small boulder that had damaged the small building. He slowly, and quite painfully sat up, looking towards the wall.
He cursed again when he saw that the dragon had succeeded in destroying the remaining ballistae on the wall, and was currently engaged with the remaining eleven men on the wall.
Then he smiled grimly as he pulled out Mazark and nocked an arrow, this time drawing it back all the way until the bowstring was stretched taught. He looked up his shot with the beast's eye and muttered under his breath. “Payback, you overthrown lizard.” And then he loosed the arrow, watching as it flew straight and true, right into the beast's eye. He saw its yellow orb widen in fear and surprise and couldn't help but chuckle at the familiar sight; when your enemy knows their about to die.
When the arrow pierced the lizard's eye he saw it shudder once before falling still. Then its corpse tilted toward the edge of the wall and Verdauga cursed yet again as he realized what was about to happen.
He leapt towards the inner recesses of the small house, and was glad he did when he heard a loud crash from behind. He started to stand but stopped and nearly fell forward onto his face as he clutched his side as pain flared up as though he has been set aflame. When it subsided he looked at his hand, and groaned; covered in blood.
He glanced down to his side and nearly blanched at the sight of the large jagged cut down his side; it was bleeding profusely and as he glanced down to his right he saw why: the dragon's tail had nicked him on its way down. “Damn, weak steel.”
He almost chuckled as he thought ‘Paybacks a bitch…’ He then proceeded to fall backwards to the stone floor of the house, his vision slowly fading to black. The last thing he heard was a shouted “They’re through the gate! Fall back to the Keep!” And as he faded into unconsciousness he thought ‘Just my luck…’ Then his world went dark as Verdauga passed out.