Stone buildings lay in pieces upon the snow-dusted dirt, their crumbled remains strewn about shattered glass that glittered as diamonds beneath the sunrays, and white scorchmarks, gleaming with cyan edging, painted the destruction with intense, jagged streaks.
It was oddly beautiful, but it wasn’t a sight to be admired.
Avelae leaned out from behind the safety of a boulder and peered across the ravaged fields, her unshed tears threatening to burst free and run raging rivers that mimicked her raging pulse.
Why had the creature attacked? They had lived side-by-side in harmony until now. What had they done to deserve this violence, this death?
Her blood froze. It was coming back!
Leaping back behind the boulder, she cowered, shoulder to shoulder with her surviving friends and neighbours, and shrunk deeper into the bodies as the blue monstrosity swooped overhead.
It was as tall as the mountains, its eyes glowed as bright as the midday sun, and its deep blue scales shone with a strange iridescence that was as otherworldly as a wizard’s rain. It breathed a scorching cyan frost from its elongated snout and circled the remains of her home, flapping its great wings with intensifying booms that rumbled the ground, caused pebbles to dance atop the dirt, and the woman beside her whimpered.
“Shh,” Avelae hushed, wincing as the woman’s frightened eyes widened impossibly further. She nodded wildly and buried herself into the writhing bodies, as desperate as the others to conceal herself… to feel some semblance of safety amidst the stench of fear.
The creature circled the ruins several times in slow, deliberate sweeps as though it were searching for something, or hunting for their scent, then released another shrill cry before it beat its wings and rose into the clouds, the ominous echo soon nothing but a horrible memory that reverberated through her thoughts and into her heart.
After several agonising minutes, Avelae peered out from behind the boulder. It seemed safe, though safety was subjective. Would they ever feel safe again? They couldn’t stay here! She met her father’s once-proud gaze, now dulled by shock and fear, and shivered, enveloped by the unfamiliar despair that radiated from him.
“F-father… we have to leave.”
He swayed to his feet and opened his mouth, but no words left his tongue. Always so sure of himself, he had been a strong man, a natural leader, had never been someone prone to losing their voice… and that frightened her almost as much as the monster that had left them devastated.
Though its piercing shriek was dampened by the distance, her heart leapt into her throat and she instinctively ducked, near expecting the creature to appear overhead in a bright flash of lightning. She wasn’t alone. All of the survivors threw themselves to the ground and huddled closer together, the faraway screech of the frost dragon a horror that would forever chill their bones and dreams, and as though spurred on by the cry that had once signalled their doom, her father shook himself free from the dust and snow and yelled, “To the old Icelvare caves! We can shelter, there should still be some stores, and then we can determine a course of action.”
There was the man she knew. Avelae hurried upright and helped her stricken neighbours to their feet, and guided them behind her father, his swift steps the reassuring tread of a man who knew just what he was doing.
Or seemed to, at least.
Hullo! Thank you for reading. ?
This vignette is the beginning of a short story that I started to write a few years ago on a whim, inspired by some frost dragon art I saw on Pinterest. I re-read the original version earlier today and was horrified by my grammar and the many, many superfluous words, and my ‘Mary Sue’ main character, and decided to start re-writing it. It’s probably still pretty terrible and I have no idea where the story is actually going, I had only done four chapters originally, so we’ll soon see if I get anywhere with it.
Time will tell! I have the best of intentions, but if you’ve been following me at all in the last year or so, you’re probably aware that my projects usually remain unfinished. ?
My header image is CC0 and courtesy of Pixabay, and has been bastardised in Paintshop Pro.
Thank you once again for stopping by and having a read! ?
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