Second Place – Retribution

SECOND PLACE
Retribution

by
Sydney Nolen

“Are you truly looking to throw your life away!?” The great dragon Xithuhcoatl asked menacingly, his teeth bared as the smoke around him glowed a fiery red. His opponent stood still, but his hand clenched tighter on his sword hilt.

“I did not come to exchange threats or pointless words,” the man in black said evenly.

“Nor do I come to beg for you to stop your pointless bloodshed of my people.” He paused to breath in deeply, then slowly exhaled. “Do you remember destroying the coastal town?”

“You’ll have to be more specific,” Xithucoatl laughed. “I have destroyed many villages, coastal or otherwise.”

The man only glared at him. “The village of Craigburg?” He spoke breathlessly.

The dragon shrugged. “Yes, why? Are you from there? The sole survivor?” He mocked. The man nodded, and, not too surprisingly, Xithucoatl’s eyes widened. “You’re not…

“The last of the Crendolf bloodline,” Prince Arthur Crendolf said calmly. He removed his helmet in one smooth motion to reveal the Crendolf symbol imbedded on his forehead, a black tattoo showing a dragon put to the sword. “I have come to avenge my people, Xithucoatl, and this time, you will not rise victorious.”

Xithucoatl roared loudly, then rose into the air. He began to circle the field as Arthur drew his bow, a family heirloom belonging to his late father. He placed one arrow on and let it fly, his aim as true as his motivation. The dragon roared again, this time in pain, as he felt the arrow through his leg. He reeled around, heading straight for the prince. Arthur saw him and ran behind a large tree.

“Come out doomed Prince!” Xithucoatl called angrily. “I will burn every forest on this continent to kill you if I must!” Arthur held his breath as the dragon soared overhead, spewing smoke onto the forest from above.

Every part of his body wanted to run out and kill Xithucoatl with a second arrow, but Arthur had seen his brother Thomas’s fate from that course of action. He stayed in that forest for nearly an hour, ducking behind a large boulder and remaining painstakingly still as the dragon continued his endless rampage.

Finally, after an eternity of waiting, Xithucoatl was convinced that he had killed the prince, and flew on, a trail of blood marking his way.

Arthur ran like the wind after the dragon, pushing himself to the point where he thought that he would break. But no, he would do this, if only to avenge his family.

He could see the village of Lathcoal straight ahead; Xithucoatl already tearing through it. Smoke rose into the air, blocking out the blood-red moon. Screams echoed through the silent night as century-old buildings and ancient statues suddenly caught fire and burned to nothing but a pile of ash.

Arthur turned at the final road to Lathcoat, heading straight for the small mountain above the village. He arrived at the end of the path and reached into his quiver for his brother’s silver arrow, the one Thomas had killed his first dragon with. He set it carefully on the string, waiting until Xithucoatl came into range.

Seconds later, the opportunity arose, and Arthur let the arrow fly, straight into Xithucoatl’s heart.