The Undiscovered Country

Kata

A sound like a whipcrack as the air rushed out of the way of the reappearing dragonborn. His nostrils flared and ears twitched as the pressure equalised. Okay, hold your breath next time he thought as he drove the staff humming with radiant force into the sphinx’s side; and around into the other sphinx’s neck; and precisely six seconds after he materialised, he vanished just as abruptly.


The red dragon, ancient and majestic and glorious and powerful and it sees me as an enemy, as a snack, as a pest, this is not Escapar bore down on his friends. Tuakiin closed the distance as fast as possibly he could, the magical energy coursing through his veins hastening his stride, travelling the last thirty feet as mist.


Green and gold-scaled arms outstretched, Tuakiin focused all his attention on the tips of his clawed fingers, willing the lightning to form, needing the lightning to form, and it did.

The air tasted metallic as the electricity arced between his fingers and coursed the dozens of feet towards the dragon.

And Tuakiin realised.

This is not my power.

I didn’t call on my wrath to cause this.

This is not from my vengeance.

This is dragon magic.

This is a dragon duel.

The lightning flickered, faltered, renewed in strength and struck the dragon, brighter than ever.


I helped kill a dragon. I helped kill a dragon, and I feel no remorse.

Back at the Welcome Wench once again, he nursed a flagon of small beer. No ale for him, not any more, but you wouldn’t drink the water, now, would you?

My dragon blood has power. I have power, and it has nothing to do with my revenge on Javier. I can have a life that has nothing to do with Javier.

He poked at the suspicious-looking lumps of probably-mutton in his stew with his spoon, and decided he wasn’t hungry. Taking a quick moment to dispel the scrying sensor that had appeared in the corner of the room on schedule, he stepped out into the early winter twilight.


Atop the tower, Tuakiin paced, going through practice motions with his staff. He’d heard his friend Kai refer to kata before and thought the idea strange, but in the last few months the dragonborn had grown both more powerful and less sure of his power. Or, perhaps, less arrogant, since he knew now what a danger his magic and dragon blood could be.

And so he practiced. And paced. Alone with his thoughts and the dying light in the west.

A folaskiir might not have the intelligence or a fraction of the power of a dragon. But we are people. I think I’ve shown we can change the world. And if not, maybe there’s something I can do about that.

A step, a swing of the staff, a burst of magical energy from three sources at once: the staff itself, his own convictions, his dragon blood. The three… not quite aligning, not quite harmonising. Have to work on that coordination.

His rusty hand-me-down armour creaked under the strain of his muscles.

A step, a swing, a burst. Not quite there.

Another. And another. And another.

Maybe with dragon power I can make a difference. Maybe with the other folaskiir in Arnest we could find a home here. Make the western dragons see our worth.

Another repetition. The dragonborn smiled.

This time it was perfect.

And so he kept practicing.

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