The Dragon’s Corruption

One thing you should know about me, something that is major in my life, is my love of writing.  I have been writing the majority of my near 30 years on this planet and I can remember my first stories(not completely). My goal in life is to publish something, anything, of my work. The Dungeons and Dragons sessions we run are endless funds of inspiration. What I have below is the beginning of a story set within the current game and world, featuring the character I play and what happens in his life.

Enjoy

Tayn.  One of the last bastions of hope within a world facing a siege of draconic corruption.  A Dwarven metropolis built into the face a cliff, with walls baring those unwanted from entering.  Within those stone walls the inhabitants lived with fear looming over them.  The world was being tainted, slowly, and from the beings that had watched it for so long.  Dragons were beginning to grow stupid, their blood mixing with creatures of lesser pedigree, until only a small number of pure blood remained.  They slipped into hiding.

Slowly creatures untouched by dragons found their offspring showing signs of the corruption; claws, sharpened teeth, reptilian eyes, and even glorious scales began to appear.  Ruslan Suri was one of those very creatures.  A human, born to a human family who had no dealings with dragons in their long line, showed early signs of corruption but the sharpened teeth of a dragon was easy to hide.  Yet it was the signs in his tenth year that brought worry to the Suri name.  Golden scales grew up the length of Ruslan’s spine and swept along his jaw, seeming to glisten against his dark hair when he wore it long.  In his forty-second year, though, Ruslan found no reason to hide such signs.  It was becoming harder and harder to find a humanoid without them.

Ruslan walked his habitual path down the familiar street, head hanging and shoulder bearing the weight of decision.  There was no easy way to do this.  No way to run and forget what had lingered in the back of his mind.  He ascended the few stone steps to the worn door and stopped.  Ruslan composed himself, bringing his chin up and straightening his posture.  Swallowing his worry and setting his face in a plain expression, he knocked.

Muffled footsteps hurried from behind the door and with the sound of Dwarven locks unlatching the door opened.  Those familiar hazel eyes, momentarily filled with worry, seemed to shine with the smile that quickly flashed across the young woman’s face.  No words escaped her before Ruslan wrapped her tightly in an embrace, face buried in the mass of midnight curls.

“It’s good to see you, Anya,” Ruslan muttered.

“You sound like we’ve been apart for years,” Anya chuckled pulling away.

Ruslan gave a weary smile, eyes dropping away from Anya’s smile and to her round belly.  “Are you both well?”

Once more Anya laughed, her hands running along her burden.  “We were fine yesterday and we are fine today.  It seems like the day will never come.”

“It will be here soon enough,” Ruslan replied, hand tenderly resting over Anya’s.  “Where is your husband?”

The smile on Anya’s face turned to a slight look of annoyance.  “He is at the shop, as he should be.  You worry too much about Joseph.”

“I worry about what he can do for you.  For both of you.”

“Enough of this old song,” Anya sighed with a wave of her hand.  “Come inside, papa.  You look tired.”

Ruslan trailed after his daughter, closing the door behind him before moving deeper.  The house smelled of fire and the slow cooking of food.  He heard the invitation of dinner but didn’t reply, feigned not to hear Anya’s words as she disappeared into the kitchen.  Her home was small, cozy, and perfect for their growing family.  His own image of a budding family swam at the edges of his memory, the smiling face of his flaxen haired wife long dead.

“Papa?”

Ruslan blinked, snapping his attention to Anya and dashing all memories away.  “What is it?”

Concern colored Anya’s face as she stood in the kitchen’s doorway.  “I think I should be asking if you’re well.  You seem miles away.”

“I’m sorry,” Ruslan replied with a sigh.  “I didn’t come to visit, Anya.  There is something I needed to talk to you about.”

“What is it?”

“You remember that recruit I struck?”

“Struck?” Anya chuckled, slipping into the kitchen.  “From the sounds of it, you beat the fool.”

“Turns out the boy is the son of an aristocratic family.  His parents see no wrong in their child and wanted to see to it that I was punished.”

“Punished?”

“They wanted me removed from the guard completely.”

“What,” Anya spat.  Ruslan took in a deep breath and made his way into the kitchen, pausing as he watched his only child drive a clever into thick cutting board.  “Who is this family?  I may be close to birth but I will see to it that-”

“Calm yourself, Anya.  I still have a job, albeit in a lower position.”

Anya turned to her father, the anger in her eyes quelled as she heard those words and witnessed the pained expression shadowing Ruslan’s face.  “Lower position?  I-is there such a thing?”

“The commander didn’t like the idea of striking me from the guard completely.  I’ve put so much into the city; he couldn’t ignore it.”  Ruslan pursed his lips and let his eyes drop to the floor.  This was harder than he had expected.  “Yet, from this day forward, unless otherwise informed, my soul duty is recruitment.”

“Recruitment?”  Anya gave a relieved sigh, “I suppose it’s not that bad.  You still have a position within the guard.”

Ruslan frowned as he met her gaze, “Twenty years, Anya.  For twenty years I helped this city, defended it, and trained the men that guard it in ways I am no longer capable of.  One offense and this is what happens.  They should be happy that I didn’t take things further and broke that boy’s nose.  Then he’d have to live with the fact that a man with one arm beat him senseless.”

“Why worry about the work?  You’ve saved your earnings for years; done nothing but work, sleep, and look after me.  If you wanted to you could live comfortably until old age takes you.”

“No.  I need to work.”

“Why do you need to work?”

“For you, Anya; for you and your child,” Ruslan growled.

“The work Joseph does is more than enough for our family,” Anya replied, her voice filled with a growl of its own.

“No, it’s not,” Ruslan roared, his frustration and anger belting out in those few words.  He saw the anger in his daughter’s eyes flash to fear and concern.  He never yelled, never raised his voice unless he had a point to make.  Never had he done such a thing to his daughter.  “My new position is not as demanding.  This is why I am going to be taking on bounties for the Council.”

Ruslan watched as the color drained from Anya’s face.  Tears welled in those hazel eyes, her mother’s eyes, as she slipped to the floor with a hand clasped over her mouth.  He turned away, leaving the kitchen as a choked sob followed him.  He knew what she would say; it was the same whenever a friend or neighbor left.  ‘No one ever comes back, not whole at least.  It’s a death sentence, papa.‘  And it was.

The door opened before Ruslan could reach it, the silhouetted form of Joseph stood between him and the sanctuary of city noise.  He stopped short and stared at his son-in-law as he took an unsure step into his own home.  Ruslan could see the uncomfortable formal greeting forming on the man’s lips.  Joseph knew of his distaste of their marriage and had seen the death stares, but Ruslan had cared too much for his daughter’s happiness.

“Mr. Suri, I didn’t know-”

“I’m just leaving, Joseph.  Out of my way.”

The wide-eyed shock that danced across Joseph’s face changed to one of irritation as the sound of Anya’s muffled keening drifted down the hall.  Ruslan watched as those gray eyes, rimmed with fine copper scales, bore into him with an intensity he had never seen.  If the situation had been different, if he bore the colors of another, he may have admired the man for standing his ground.

“What did you do?”

Ruslan pushed past Joseph without an explanation.  He heard the man run deeper in the house and the sobbing that greeted him.  For a moment Ruslan stood on the steps of his daughter’s home and thought about turning around.  He couldn’t bear to hear those sounds.

But he didn’t.

 

 

 

 

The Dragon’s Corruption © 2013 by Kristen Ryall.
All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Kristen Ryall.
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