HEY DRAGONS! COME AND GET ME YOU UGLY FUCKS!
I could literally see the force of my yell rolling up into the air. It hurt my ears, a lot, and I had them covered. Etch and Growl had actually gone as far as to bury their heads underground. After a few moments, that little orange dot up in the clouds returned my taunt with a screech and a lick of flame spouting, then turned and headed towards us. I rolled all my joints, cracking them satisfyingly, then dug my claws into the ground and began to shake.
"Oh no, not now! Grif, are you gonna be okay?" Trixie began. Gilda looked at me.
"It's not that Trix, it's different. I know what's going on."
"What is it? I don't understand." Maria replied.
"He's only ever looked like this twice before. Both times, I only caught a glimpse of it. The first time, was against the black dragon, and the second time, the diamond dogs. He's not shaking from the effects of the dragon blood, and it's not with fear. It's not quite excitement either. The mad grin on his face, his gaze with searing intensity. He probably can't even hear us right now. He's too focused."
"But, what is it?" Nadene asked.
"I forgot, you've never seen it before. There is only one name for this. Bloodlust. He's about to go wild on that dragon. He can't wait to shred it into tiny little pieces. The reason why he gave us all such detailed orders ahead of time? Because he's might not be in able to in the fight, all depending on how crazy he gets. Anything he says may just come out as a screech. He's basically going to go bonkers for a little while. Better hold on Trix, and try not to lose your lunch, you're in for a wild ride. One more thing, I've never seen it this intense before. It would be best if we all just stayed out of his way. There's no telling if he'll even recognize us as friends out there."
"This is gonna be fun........."
The dragon had gotten closer now, and was beginning to search for us. I was quivering with excitement and desire. I wanted nothing more than to hack that dragon into teeny tiny pieces and eat it. Probably because part of my brain was telling me that I needed it, and partly because I KNEW I could kill it. Black dragon scales are the hardest there are, and mine was sharpened to the point that if I dropped one of my feathers on it's edge, the weight of the feather would be enough to force the blade to cut it. Literally. I tried it and it worked. I was going to enjoy this immensely. With an eagles shriek, I took off into the sky, Gilda followed suit. Nadene was in charge of the dogs, who were in charge of each unit. They all looked pretty scared, while all but Maria and the dogs tried to hide it. Those three were whimpering slightly. I could tell Trixie was tense, as she was gripping my back, but I paid it no mind. As long as she did her job, we'd be fine. I met the dragon in mid air and stared it down, it glaring back at me.
"Who did you call ugly?" I pointed my sword right at him, it's edge reflecting in it's ruby eyes.
"Get it straight, I called YOU an ugly FUCK!" At which point Gilda shot an arrow into it's left eye. It howled, and Trixie tossed six explosive vials down it's throat, then cast the invisibility spell. I took off to it's left, invisible and in the blind spot, while Gilda went right. It tried to follow her, turning it's head around.
'Base of the skull, meant for mobility, not protection. Here we go!'
I swung my sword at the spot behind it's ear. My sword hit it's scales, causing several of them to shatter, and sinking into the flesh slightly. It didn't go in. I didn't get my kill shot. Damnit. The dragon whipped around, dislodging my sword from it's neck and proceeded to spout flames at me, only an edge of which actually reached me. Of course, I blocked, Trixie sending a smoke bomb to it's other eye. It's face became covered in it, but it only worked for a moment. As soon as it moved it's head, it's vision became clear again. Of course, as a being used to living with fire and brimstone, it's eyes wouldn't be harmed by a bit of smoke. Trixie seemed to realize this as well and re-cloaked us, trying to give me time to come up with another plan.
'Scales all face the same way. If I can't smash through them, I'll rip them off!'
I flew at the dragon again, who was spouting flames to try and hit Gilda, who was flying just out of range. He was closing, but we were leading him back to where the other troops were. I needed to open up spots in his armor. He was behind Gilda, and she got him flying in a straight line. I flew directly behind him above. I readied my sword and held it in front of me, then went into a dive. Gilda had his attention. Just as he opened his mouth to spurt flames, my sword contacted and slid under his neck scales, prying a number of them up. I ran down his neck, towards his head, keeping my sword in position and using my wings for extra thrust as I effectively cleaned a very large patch of his neck of it's armor in a kind of reverse domino effect.
Having that many scales ripped out was painful enough for him to forget the distraction and focus on me. I however, was far too concerned with the red fluid dripping from his wound. I grabbed hold of the dragon's neck and dove my beak into it, ripping out a chunk of dragon meat, fresh and bloody, and swallowed it. Oh that felt fucking fantastic! My ever so slight shakes, nerves, excitement, everything. It all just went away. I was thinking more clearly than I had in months. The dragon turned to me and looked at me enraged.
"Know your place griffin! You will pay for what you have done to me." Smoke coming from it's nostrils as it snorted at me.
I cracked my neck again and lifted my sword high.
"Newsflash pal, I'm gonna kill ya, and when I'm done, I'm gonna fucking eat you." The dragon began to laugh and lifted it's claw, intending to slice me. I looked at my sword, the dragon's reflection on it, before something strange began to happen. It began to shimmer, constantly, which began to build until it was positively glowing.
'I was right. When I felt better before. Medico, Sana, medic or, sauna, those are Latin for heal! I have that dragon's blood in me, so it's considered a part of me, and accepts my magic, while rejecting everyone else's! Now that I'm thinking clearly, it all makes sense! Now, the problem is that despite my sword being that sharpest thing to exist, as well as one of the hardest, I still can't slice through a dragons scale, at most, I crush them. If I could enhance my edge somehow..... the Latin word Lacero: lacerate, cut, mangle, shred, rend, claw, break, tear, shatter, wreck. That could work.'
I began to giggle. This was going to work. I can't believe it. I was thinking that my drinking dragon's blood had been a curse, but it had connected me with my sword, letting me use magic through it. When I was running on empty, it barely did anything, but now that I just gorged myself, it's gone over the top! If this works, I may just have to find Pinkie Pie and let her throw me a party.
"LACERO!" The glow faded from my sword, as I brought it up to meet the dragon's claw, the air itself screamed as it passed around it. I met it's claw, and sliced right through it, about half way up it's forearm. It was a big dragon, about half the size of 'Blacky', but still impressive. I ended my uppercut and brought my sword out of it's arm, causing it to shriek in pain and surprise at what I had just pulled off. I brought it to the left, then swung right in a wide arc, severing it at the point I had sliced through before. It's blood began to rush out of the stump. The thing is, this magic can only be used to enhance what is already there. I just enhanced the sharpness of something able to cut diamond. FUCK YEAH!
I flew straight at the dragon, swinging my blade into it's neck, only to have it shatter the scales again.
"Damn! It wore off!" The dragon spotted us. If it was mad before, it was positively FUMING now.
"Trixie, I would very much like to be invisible right now. Trix, yo Trix? Ahh damn it all." Trixie was no Fluttershy. Staring down a full grown dragon with rage greater than the volcano behind it, she had frozen in fear. Thanks Trix, perfect time to become useless. The dragon took a great breath, then cast it's burning air over us. I held my blade in front to catch the flame, but this of course, left my fucking hands open to it. I concentrated on my sword as I hid behind it, the glow building up again. It took longer this time, but it eventually reached that state.
"Protego!" As the flames dissipated, my hands weren't burned. I had shielded them. Of course, I was sweating now. While under the effects of the dragon blood, I had vastly increased magic, but that didn't mean I didn't get worn out. I started getting a little hazy, but Trix had snapped out of it and clocked me on the head to help me do the same.
"Nice of you to wake up! Hide us NOW!"
Trixie cast the invisibility spell, causing us to blink out of existence again. Thankfully, the spell works by bending the air around us, so it was able to hide the sword as well. The dragon had stopped trying to look for me and just started spewing fire everywhere in an attempt to catch us. I skillfully avoided the fire spouts and flanked around.
We were right next to the hidden troops in the forest, Gilda had shot a couple arrows at the dragon, but she couldn't hit it's eyes. They were just bouncing off and were unnoticed. It was after me. It was still blowing fire all over the place, not bothering to look, just trying to get a lucky shot. I couldn't charge my sword without giving myself away, as the glow would let it spot us. Time for what the troops are there for.
"Go for the wings!" I yelled. At which point, I heard some murmurs from the forest below, and a barrage of projectiles flew out of the trees, ripping holes in the drake's soft, unarmored, wing tissues. It roared in pain as another barrage came forward, putting more holes in it. I managed to get behind it and began charging my sword again. It took almost a minute this time around.
'Dragon blood wears off quick. Have to make the most of it.'
The dragon landed, no longer able to fly, and off balance due to missing and arm. Having spotted the soldiers with it's one good eye, began trying to torch them. 3 of each tribe got turned to ash when they couldn't get out of the way fast enough, while the others darted around to the side, and Maria carrying Nadene onto it's back. They began hacking away at it's wings, trying to ground it permanently. The young griffin dug it's claws into the spot I had opened on it's neck and closed her eyes, desperately trying to hold on despite her fear. After all, behind the head was the safest location. The dragon was shaking around violently, trying to throw it's rider off.
'Why haven't those explosive vials gone off yet?'
A low rumble, the dragon suddenly put it's neck straight and began to vomit. It's stomach acid ate threw the glass, and the explosives went off all at once, sending it's bile up it's throat. As if on reflex, it straightened it's neck and held still while it emptied the contents of it's gut, giving Nadene all the chance she needed. Have you ever seen a cat leap from the floor to the top of the fridge? Because she basically did the same, except on human scale. Dat cat can JUMP. Now I know how she reached to top of the treehouse. Yeah, she climbed up, but she probably could have jumped to the top, if she wasn't trying to be sneaky. Bringing her two daggers forward, she dove down, ramming their points into the small cut I had made earlier. The dragon suddenly stopped moving, then slumped over, dead, as the envenomed blades sank into it's brain stem. Cheers erupted from the woods, celebrations. I flew down to the dragon and began to store as much of it's blood as I could in vials, while also drinking some. I stopped drinking and horror filled my eyes.
"Come on, come on! No! Why! Why is it doing this! Nooooooohohoohohooooo." Nadene climbed off and looked at me, crying.
"What's the matter?"
"Look!" I showed her a vial of the dragons blood, which was no longer red, but had turned black.
"So, that's what normally happens."
"No, don't you get it?"
"Get what Grif?" Trixie asked.
"While the dragon was still alive, all I wanted to do was drink it. I had some, but I wanted more! Now that it's dead, it's blood changed, and it's not satisfying my craving!"
"I still don't understand."
"When the dragon dies, it's blood changes. I didn't notice it last time because I still had the taste of living dragon's blood in my mouth, but after it dies, it doesn't taste sour anymore!"
"You're not making any sense."
"For it to work the way it's supposed to, I have to drink blood from a LIVING dragon. Dragons are magic, and while they're alive, so is their blood! Once it dies it's useless to me! We can't just kill a dragon and store it's blood for me to use later! Damnit!" I pounded my fist on the ground. Nadene suddenly figured it out.
"So, if you drink it while the dragon is still alive, it has the effect, but once it dies, the magic in it's veins fades as well and it becomes useless to you. That means, unless you can wean yourself off it, you'll have to keep killing dragons." The realization donned on my entire crew. This was NOT a good thing.
"Well, then, we just stay here and kill them till you kick your addiction right?" Gilda asked.
"That's the problem. Didn't you see what happened?"
"I was kinda busy trying not to get roasted Grif." Gilda deadpanned.
"When I drank the dragon blood, my mind became clear. I focused on my sword, and it got a HUGE magic charge because I gorged myself on dragon magic. I used to Latin word for cut to enhance my edge, and protect against the flames when it tried to burn me. When I tried to cut through it's neck, I only smashed the scales, but when I used to word and went for the arm, I sliced all the way up, straight through the bone! I drank a whole liter of it, and I was able to enhance my sword that much. I wouldn't go drinking that much again though, I don't think it would be good for my health." I had just killed a dragon, but I was almost depressed.
"Well, why don't we just get a dragon?" Trixie asked.
"I mean, Twilight has one as an assistant. And sure, you wouldn't be able to do that godly slash all the time, but we'd at least be able to stop you from dying from withdraw symptoms."
"Trixie, you just made up for messing up earlier. Guess what everyone! We've got to steal ourselves a baby dragon!"
"Erm, Grif, isn't there something else we've got to do first?" Gilda asked, pointing at the body of the dead dragon.
"Right. Listen up! Romak! Lemko! Grab hold of this sucker and haul it back to the ruined village! We're getting you all some new weapons and armor!"
"Are you feeling okay?" Gilda asked tentatively.
"Yeah. I'm not all shaky anymore, no headache, and I just learned that my sword acts as a powerful one shot spell when I drink dragon blood. All we need to do is get a little dragon or three so I have blood to drink, and we'll be all set. It should be at least another month before I start acting up again. So, we have one month to get a dragon. No problem."
"It kind of is. After all, dragons are protective of their eggs, but not the hatchlings. We just killed a lone one. We'd have to raid a nest to find an egg or youngling, and nests mean a LOT of dragons."
"We'll figure something out. We always do. I just need time to think on it. In the mean time, I have two tribe welcoming ceremonies to attend."
Nightfall came, with the Romak and Lemko tribe at the old Romak camp, cutting the dragon into pieces and making weapons and armor from the bone and scale. It was slow going, but both tribes were quite skilled in making things from skin and bone, and having about 30 of them do it meant it went pretty fast. I spent the time they took preparing for the ceremony charging my blade. It took me two hours to bring it to it's full state, while earlier, I had done it in about five seconds. The beneficial effects of dragon blood wear off far too quick, and unless we catch and release, we can't store it. Still, the power I had gained from it was, to say the least, awe inspiring. Going from only being able to smash the scales, to slicing off the arm at the elbow. It's not something I could use all the time. Last resort, or, fighting a whole group. Yeah, I could probably kill a dragon in an instant if I got a clean shot at the neck, since I now have something that can cut through it.
"It is time to begin. As you are to become a part of both tribes, we shall perform both rituals. Since the Lemko have a camp, we shall use theirs."
We returned to the Lemko, who were quite surprised that they and the Romak were walking side by side. Elder grumbled and shook her staff, causing the camp to fall quiet.
"We are here today to welcome an outsider into our fold. State your name."
"I am Griffin."
"Griffin, from which land do you hail?"
This was a particularly difficult question. Country? Planet? Relative dimension? Screw it.
"I hail from the north sky." That'll work.
"Griffin of the North Sky, we have seen your valor. You have tested your might against the most foul of beasts, the dragon, and claimed victory. This is proof of your strength and skill. You have brought understanding between us and the Romak, which is no small feat. Therefor, we proudly welcome you to the Lemko tribe. I am the Elder, but you may call me Selma. We have been without chief for far too long, and are proud to name you as such." She took a kind of yellow paint on her paw, and pressed it onto my right wing, leaving the mark on my feathers. Then, the puma-esque leader of the Romak approached.
"In the presence of the entire Romak tribe." I looked around, there were only ten of them. Wait, that's all that's left?
"We can all attest to your cunning and skill, in slaying a beast that has been plaguing our lands. Bringing an understanding between ourselves and the Lemko, you have brought us the promise of a better future. And so, I not only name you a member of our tribe, but as the greatest warrior we have ever known, I name you chief. May you lead us to prosperity in ways I could not." He put blue paint on his paw and pressed it on my left wing. Great, now I'm the chief of two cat tribes. Brilliant. Well, now it's time for my big reveal.
"As leader of the Romak and Lemko, I proclaim you all to be brothers. While you may differ in your ways, you are united by a common cause. The new tribe, the White Wind, my tribe, we shall leave these scorched lands for another. There are others who live as you did, in the land of the griffins. We will return to the north, free them, and make them part of our tribe as well. First, we must capture a dragon. Their blood flows in my veins and gives me strength, but at the cost of needing it once a month. While the tribe prepares for travel, we will claim one of the beasts as our own. We will bring you to a land ripe with food so you can prepare for the long journey ahead while we perform this deed." The tribesmen cheered, then began dancing around the fire as is customary in welcoming a new member.
All warriors. No children, as they were too weak to survive the calamity that befell both. 20 footmen,(clubs, axes and such) 6 spear cats, and Selma, the shaman. That is what remains of the Lemko. 9 rangers, plus the former chief of the Romak, for a total of 37 cats. All armed with weapons and armor made of dragon scale, hide, nerve, tooth, and bone. Then Maria and Nadene counting as one, Gilda, Etch and Growl, and myself and Trixie. The White Wind Tribe, also known as the Griffin Pirates, total at 43 in number. That is my tribe. In the morning, we lead them through the jungle to where our camp stood. They seemed to think of Nadene quite highly, considering she was the one who actually gave the final blow, however all of us, even Etch and Growl, had been elevated to near god status by the tribes. We took on a dragon, and we won with minimal casualties.
The tribe settled in, taking up residence around The Perch, (What? We had to name it something, and what better name for a place where birds live, even if they are mutant half lion birds.) and spreading out to collect food, Nadene and the dogs helping them get settled. Maria was a little nervous, after all, the Lemko had tried to eat her, but she was feeling a little better. Nadene set about sparring with her mount, teaching her to defend herself, while Gilda, Trixie, and I flew off towards the giant volcano, intent on snagging a dragon youngling. After all, I don't know if an egg would do any good, without anyone to hatch it.
"Hey Grif, are we using the tribes, or are they using us? I mean, they were pretty quick to name you as the leader... considering how set they are in their ways." Gilda asked.
"Well, when you see someone casually kill a beast that could wipe your entire tribe out, rescuing them in the process, telling, they're pretty quick to give respect. Also, the fact that I brought them together and fed them when they were starving is big points. They also know I have what it takes to lead them. They're looking for a better life, just like we are, and like we're trying to bring to the griffins and diamond dogs. So what if they're just a gear in the machine? If they get what they want, do they care?"
"I guess your right, but we're taking them away from their home."
"A home they can't survive in."
"What makes you think it'll be any better up north?"
"Because that's where everything will come together. If it works, then it will be, if we fail, then we don't have to worry about it anymore."
"Yeah, I suppose that's one way to look at it. I still can't get over the feeling that we're using them, and being used." Of course, Gilda, who can't stand slavery, is drawing a couple parallels between my leading the tribes, and being forced to do something against their will. The difference is, they want this, I'm just helping them get it.
"Two sides, both wanting the same thing, and both using each other to get it, then sharing it at the end. There's nothing wrong with that, that's the way most partnerships work."
"What about you and me?"
"Well, you can keep my head on straight, and I can kill things. I have load of knowledge, and you're hot, so, I guess it's the same."
"And what about when we succeed? When one of us no longer has a use for the other?"
"Only way one won't be useful to the other is if we're dead. If we make it, if this hairbrained scheme of ours works, well then, there's going to be a country that needs leadership, who better than the ones who founded it? Face it toots, you're stuck with me, and I'm stuck with you."
"What about me?" Trixie asked.
"Rulers need advisors, councillors, you know, people, or ponies, they can rely on. Don't worry, I'm not just going to throw any of you away at the end."
"Well, there it is. Get in, kidnap a dragon, then get out."
"Isn't that, you know, slavery as well? I mean, taking someone just so you can feed off them slowly?" Gilda asked.
"I suppose it might be, or, we can take them away from abusive parents and raise them. Sure, we'd be using them, but then again...."
"Having a loving family instead of being alone once you hatch, yeah, I scratch your back, you scratch mine, I get it." She sighed. After all, she was taken from her family. She's just trying to make sure I'm not turning into the very thing we're fighting against.
'And, this is how humans convince others to do things they know aren't right. Morals can be rationalized away.'
It was night, although the glow of the lava coming from within the red mountain made things quite visible. The big volcano was too high up to be proper for nesting, but a ground level lava pool made the perfect location. The dragons were already asleep. It was time to begin operation 'Grab a Drake'
Dear Princess Celestia,
Rather than my usual letter, I'm writing to tell you that I've figured out how to use magic. Considering that I'm not a unicorn, this is a rather large achievement. As for the details of my discovery.... NOT TELLING! What's wrong? Jealous?