The Death of a Deity Part V


The fearsome beating of the dragon’s wings battered the name from Breaker’s mouth. He and Shinsou both recoiled, covering their eyes against the silt raised by the whirling winds. Above them, the deity wheeled and dove, like a hawk spotting a mouse, exposed on the cliffs.

“You had to go and pick a fight with Thayne, eh?” Shinsou yelled, drawing Stygian and channeling a measure of dark matter into the blade. “Here,” he tossed the mythril sword to Josh, “see how the big f*cker likes a taste of the Widowmaker!”

Breaker reared back and threw the sword at the diving dragon. It spiraled skyward like reverse chain lightning, scoring a hit deep in the soft tissue of Draconus’ eye. The deity roared and reared out of the dive, wings beating heavily once more to keep him aloft as he clawed at the seeping wound.

“It’s now or never!” Shinsou called over the wind. “That blade will stop him healing, but not for long.”

As if hearing the words, Draconus looked earthward and belched a long plume of acrid fire. Josh and Shinsou dove out of the way and crafted a barrier of ice between them and what became a roiling lava pit. Frost flew from all four of their palms, forming a slightly curved wall. A pillar of steam rose from the place where heat met cold, obscuring the deity’s good eye.

“I could use a lift about now,” Josh uttered, and began to change the shape of their icecraft.

“Coming right up,” Shinsou replied, lending his own brand of magic.

The frozen wall re-shaped into a tall flight of stairs. Josh leaped forward and pounded up the steps, his enchanted boots giving him perfect traction on the slippery surface. Each footfall reminded him of the burns on his feet, and of the ache that Draconus’ kick had chiseled deep into his bones. They reminded him of Am’aleh, who granted him the gift of magic. They reminded him of Shinsou, whose life was equally at risk.

Breaker reached the top of the staircase and jumped with all of his might. He soared upward, drawing close to Draconus, but not close enough. He extended a hand as he reached the apex of his jump and crafted a long whip of molten ice. It snapped up and wrapped around the dragon’s massive, scaly neck. Hand over hand Josh climbed the whip, until he clung from one of the broad spikes that bristled along the beast’s back.

You cannot defeat me. The simple confidence of the thought nearly unnerved the demigod.

“Others have said the same!” Josh roared in the dragon’s ear.

You have never faced a Thayne.

“No,” Josh said, “but I have loved one.”

He vaulted onto Draconus’ back and leaped skyward once more, flipping faster than a tossed coin. As he rose above the dragon two balls of ice formed in his palms, and he poured his own unique energy into each of them. As he descended, still corkscrewing and gaining momentum, he cast the iceballs at Draconus’ wings. They exploded with more power than Alerian hand grenades, causing both wings to instinctively fold in defense.

And then Breaker struck the top of the dragon’s head with both boots. As the blow landed the boots grew heavier, each by a hundred pounds. Josh summoned an unnatural gust of wind to aid him, adding more pressure to the base of the deity’s skull.

Draconus fell like a cannon detached from an airship. He plummeted like a stone thrown down a well. He dropped straight and fast, headfirst toward the sandstone cliffs. His mighty wings flared, but too late, and too weakly to stop such momentum. His skull impacted the soft rock like an asteroid, creating a crater of obliteration and casting up a cloud of sand and dust. Breaker felt the deity’s neck crack beneath his boots at the moment of impact, and as the dust and debris settled, the dragon lay still.

Josh slid down the scaly snout and retrieved Stygian from the ruined eye. Its twin had glossed over, massive and yellow, staring lifelessly off into the gathering darkness. Breaker climbed out of the crater and paced to where Shinsou stood a safe distance away. For once, the Telgradian appeared at a loss for words. Josh deftly flicked blood from the mythril blade and returned it to its owner.

“Well, fine then.” Shinsou huffed, finding his voice as he sheathed the sword. “But next time, I get to kill the dragon.”

Thayneslayer… the word came from the sea, distant and dreamy and distinctly feminine. Breaker would have recognized his lady’s voice anywhere.

My champion… Am’aleh was calling him. The breaking waves beckoned like a lover’s crooked finger. Josh took a step toward the ocean.

“Where are you going?” Shinsou demanded, “look,” he pointed toward Serenti, “we’ve got some explaining to do!”

People were beginning to trickle out from between buildings and behind walls, curious onlookers who had seen the dragon take to the sky, who had seen it fall, and stay fallen.

“Someone will need to take credit for all of this,” Josh said, “and I think you are just the man for the job.”

Shinsou sputtered, looking back and forth between the demigod, and the deity whose death he had helped bring about.

Before the Telgradian could protest, Breaker took two steps and dove off the cliffs and into the sea.


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