Well people, here we go. I finally got another story written, and this is going to a ‘friendly’ contest on one of my favourite websites: http://www.fantasy-faction.com

I strongly urge you to check out the site if you read, write, or are even mildly interested in Fantasy Fiction.

Anywho, on to the story. The challenge was to write a 1500-2000 word story with a mythical creature being a main theme. I’d love your opinions on it, so feel free to leave a comment below:

Jason’s stomach knotted and twisted, and he gripped all the tighter to the handle of his sword.

King Vandras, a man large enough to be imposing of his own accord, sat upon his throne clad in full armour, with his hand resting upon the pommel of his sword. Jason had always wondered why it was that the King armed himself so fully in the privacy of his own keep. Half the Sceran army stood guard in the grounds beyond the keep, and elite guards patrolled the corridors and passageways through the keep. Finally, there was the Magi; a group of highly gifted individuals with a passion for turning intruders into mush.

With such a formidable defencive force, the King’s extensive measures to protect his person seemed to stray into excess. Not that Jason would ever think of mentioning this to Vandras; he may be a friend, but he was no fool. The King’s hold on his temper was fragile at best, and Jason would sooner not test it.

King Vandras tightened his hold on the pommel of his blade as he looked upon the Magi, who stood encircling a glowing orb.

“How long now, Master Magi?”

One of the more senior of the Magi turned to look at the King, a look of calm confidence in his eyes.

“Not long now, Your Grace.”

Vandas’s eyes narrowed at the aged man. “I expect this to work, Syrus. If you fail me now, will bbe most displeased.”

Some of the confidence melted from the old ma’s face, but he did not look away.

“I assure you, Your Grace, soon th creature will be in our grasp.”

Sharp look from Vandras seemed to strike Syrus’ common sense. “And by our, I of course mean your grasp, Sire.”

“Indeed. Just hurry and complete your task. I have other matters to attend to.”

“Yes, Sire.”

As Syrus turned back into he circle, Vandras motioned for Jason to approach the throne.

“Yes, Your Grace?”

The towering man needn’t have stood. Even seated, the King could look his Captain and friend in the eye. He id just that now.

“You seem ill at ease, my friend. Does something bother you?”

Jason pondered for the briefest of moments, hoping to shape his opinions in an appropriate way.

“Your Grace, I just do not understand why it is that we must call such a creature. You hold command of the most skilled military force West of the Rift, and the Circle has given you command over several of their more talented Magi. You hold a position of great power in the world, and I cannot understand your lust to advance it further.”

The King sighed.

“My friend, you have answered your own question. Th Circle gave me command over these Magi. That puts our magical friends a tier higher than myself, and I do not approve of having someone above me.”

“What exactly is your intention with the creature, Vandras?”

The King’s expression showed clearly that he had noticed the change in the term of address.

“I intend to take my rightful place, Jason.”

Jason did not reply. Instead, he returned to his place a few steps to the King’s right, and gripped the handle of his blade.

Syrus tuned back to the King.

“It is time, Your Grace.”

“Finally. I was beginning to doubt your skills, Syrus.”

The King rose from his throne, and descended the few steps to the floor.

As the circle of men and women spread apart, Jason got a good look at the orb. It no longer emanated a warm, soft glow, but rather forced light in all directions. Sparks emerged from one portion of the orb, only to strike down upon another portion.

Even Vandras paused as he approached, and turned to Syras.

“Are you sure this is safe, old man?”

“Quite safe, Sire. This energy is not a weapon; it’s just a portal. No harm will come to you.”

“You had best hope not. My friend over there,” He motioned toward Jason. “will be most unhappy if anything happens to me.”

A few of the Magi turned to look with worried eyes at Jason, who had decided to casually rest his hand on the hilt of his blade.

Syrus, however, kept his eyes fixed on the King.

“You have my word, Your Grace.”

Vandras nodded at the man, and stepped toward the orb. Another spark flew I the direction of the King, and he took a small step back, before continuing his advance. The spark flew more frequently now, and seemed more violent than before. Vandras had grown accustomed to them, however, and did not falter.

He reached out his right hand, and lay it upon the orb.

The explosion of light and colour that followed near blinded Jason, and forced him to cover his eyes.

The sound behind it, on the other hand, he could not block out.A high-pitched screech the tore through his head, and filled his mind with a throbbing pain.

Abruptly, the screeching stopped and the room was plunged into darkness. Jason uncovered his eyes, and even through the pervading gloom, a bold figure was apparent in the centre of the room. It stood a full half the height of the room, putting it several metres above the King.

As Jason’s eyes adjusted, he could see the creature in greater detail. It stood upon two legs, much like a man, but there was nothing human about this creature. Its skin was covered in scales from the top of its head to the tip of its massive tail. Its hands each held five fingers, with each ending in a curved claw that reflected what little light remained in the room. From its back sprouted two great wings, their tips touching the stones of the walls to either side of the beast, though they were, as yet, un-folded. Upon its broad shoulders sat a head that looked as though it had been struck from some great lizard.

At the beast’s feet, lying flat upon the ground, was the King.

The creature looked down, issued a snarl, and bent toward the King.

At that moment, the sharp edge of a blade pressed against Jason’s throat, and Syrus’ voice came from behind.

“Watch now as your precious Kind gets the ending he deserves.”

Between controlled breaths, Jason managed a whisper.

“Why?”

“You think we are deaf? We know what Vandras had planned. We may have been placed in his command, but our loyalty always lies with the Circle.”

As the old man finished, the creature had reached out a hand to the unconscious King, and lifted him into the air.

It stood, examining him, as though unsure of what to make of the iron-clad man in his hand.

Then, with dreadful purpose, it clenched its fist, and the sound of warping metal and crushing bones filled the room.

Syrus laughed, with triumph and pride in his voice, and the voices of the other Magi, hidden throughout the room joined him.

Jason saw his chance.

He threw his left elbow behind him, and felt a satisfying thud as he connected with Syrus’ chest. He ducked an spun, his right fist clenched and his arm locked. Syrus stood a no more than a foot away, his eyes wide with surprise.

Those same eyes glazed over and rolled back as Jason’s fist collided with the side of the Mage’s head, sending him tumbling to the floor.

He glanced around. He had a few seconds, at most, in which to make his escape.

He took a few quiet steps forward, but was caught off-balance by the sound that came from behind.

That same horrid screech erupted from the centre of the room, and Jason looked over his shoulder to find the creature staring hungrily at him.

With stealth no longer an option, Jason decided to bank on pure speed.

He charged toward the back of the room, past the throne, and into the corridor behind that lead to the King’s chambers, suddenly grateful for the architectural idea that so irritated Vandras.

He sped down the corridor, angry voice s behind him. He soon approached the door to Vandras’ chambers, and did not slow. Instead, he altered his stature, and slammed his armoured shoulder into the door, breaking through the lock. Th pain o impact was extraordinary, but adrenaline pushed such thoughts and worries from his mind. For now, survival was priority one.

He ran across the room, to the main entrance to the chamber, and rushed out into the ensuing passages.

He ran down the central corridor, glancing to each side as he went, until finally catching glimpse of a group of guards posted near the treasury.

He changed direction, headed now toward them. He shouted ahead of him.

“Arm yourselves! We’re under attack!”

Years of training came to the surface as the men instinctively drew their weapons.

As Jason approached, one of the younger men stepped forward to meet him.

“What’s happened, Sir?”

Pausing a moment for breath, Jason replied.

“The King… Dead… The Magi…”

“Sir, breath and tell us what happened.”

Jason looked at one of the men, chosen at random.

“You, go and warn the rest of the men to prepare.”

The man nodded, and sped of down the corridor.

Jason looked to the young man who had met him.

“The Magi; they turned on the King. He’s dead.”

A look of disbelief crossed their faces.

“How is that possible? Most of them can barely carry a stick, let alone take down that giant.”

“They summoned something; some monster. It crushed him in one hand.”

For a moment, the guards looked sceptical. A crash from a ways into the keep, followed by a thunderous bellow changed their minds.

Jason motioned for them to follow him.

They emerge some way down the corridor, into the courtyard. They found a grizzly sight.

Bodies lay strewn around he centre, where dozens of men valiantly attacked the monstrosity brought forth by the Magi.

The Magi themselves, cold and emotionless, stood behind their creation, observing the chaos.

Jason drew his blade, but felt a hand on his arm.

“You can’t seriously be thinking about attacking that thing. Look at it. Look at what it’s done.”

Jason turned to the man, and fixed him with a steady stare.

“I’ve looked, soldier, and I’ve seen. I saw it crush the life out of m King; my friend. Now, you can run if you wish. Go, and hide like a quivering child, but know this; do so, and I name you coward and traitor. You will live your life in shame, and no end will come soon enough for you. You will live knowing you abandoned the chance to avenge your King, and let you never forget it.”

The man’s returning stare said it all as he nodded to Jason, then turned to the creature.

Jason took a slow deep breath, raised his weapon, and called to the sky.

“Charge!”

With that command the men ran int the fray, their head held high, and their weapons before them. As they neared the beast, Jason leapt from the ground, and drew back his weapon.

He roared in anger and blood-lust, and the world went black.