I can't sleep tonight. An unsure feeling creeps through my back and my spine, ultimately ceasing any thought of a good night's rest.
I count sheep. I count the stars out my window. I adjust my bed ever so slightly in a hundred different manners. It just isn't happening, no matter what I do. I jump through hoops. I fight to the death upon this hill.
The hill. It's gigantic. Bodies surround me, of my allies and enemies. Four men armed with naught but sword and shield. Chased from our village, now in ruin. Destroyed without mercy.
Foes of large stature, claw appendages and no eyes. They exist only to destroy, created by the angered god. Of all colors do they come, but of function unchanging; with epic stamina and incomprehensible strength.
Forlorn I stand, shaking in my boots. I can barely keep my legs from falling, much less keep my arms from dropping this claymore. The sound of the beasts does nothing but terrify me further, as they howl and hiss at the night sky, readying attack.
I am the only one left standing, but their numbers still seem without limit. Alone, I consider for a moment; would it be better to die here? It would certainly be selfish to run and leave the wounded, but also equally certain that my death would only bring the end of the world.
I shall fret for the last time, either way. The end is nigh no matter what I do. Out in the countryside there are no soldiers to save us, no ruler to call for help. So, I raise my arms. I ready to fight to my death.
Through me I feel an absolute rush. I charge into the fray, ten dozen men to one. The feel of steel hitting the odd flesh-like substance these monsters are made of is most certainly unheard of.
The blade cuts through them like a flaming axe to a block of ice. As much as I am out of breath, out of speed and out of mind, I manage to keep swinging, taking several out in but one hit. The long blade I carry is big enough to cut through at least five, but my aim is not the best when I am losing grip of everything.
Losing grip. I lose grip of the claymore. It goes flying as I swing it to the left, perhaps taking some adversaries with it, but ultimately landing me in the realm of absolutely going to die within moments.
And in that moment, I see a light break through the cloudy night. From behind me, a radiant blue dragon rises atop the mountain. The scales upon it gleam as it emits light from every facet of its body, and it speaks in a feminine voice that feels to be in my head:
Scales of Daskuleion, be ridden from this place – you are but thorns to steel boots.
As it speaks to my salvation, the light emanating from the dragon's body shines so brightly it begins to blind me. I hear crackling and, moments later, open my eyes to see but ashes where my imminent death once stood.
Where I grew up, legends were told of a dragon whom lives under the cavernous mountains near the edge of the town. A dragon who will bring the end of everything we know every thousand years, unless paid two years of sacrifice and eternal remembrance.
But the dragon of legend's name is Daskuleion, the red dragon of greed.
I stand in awe, not knowing how to react. Immediately I run to my two friends left wounded, and sing prayers of restoration to them. Their life-threatening wounds are healed in blessed light, but I don't imagine they'll be able to move again for weeks.
The blue dragon looks to me and asks,
Are you truly so daft as to climb a hill, beast of legend on top, just to save two people? — I flinch. Though true, I do not care.
If a dragon is to kill me, I may as well attempt to save someone.
The dragon stares for a moment, and flies into the distance, past the trees. I soon pass out from sheer exhaustion.
I awaken from the dream.
An odd one, I think to myself,
but perhaps anything can be an omen.
I ready myself for today, the day I descend the caverns to finally reconcile the local prophecy of Daskuleion.
I pray for godspeed.