The pale band of light reflected off the dusty ground and Murukan's mount gleamed blue and green like the Earth hanging just over the horizon. The beast below him rustled, impatient. Murukan put a strong hand down on its head, understanding.
They had waited a long time, hiding in the darkness.
The shadow had protected them, but as the Earth moved to fully block out the light of its star, it would now usher them forward into a new age.
A new age when mortals could not so easily cast aside their gods.
Murukan turned to see another lizard scale up the side of the crater to him, bearing Korrawi. He would not want this without his mother by his side. She had adorned her dark skin with bright feathers and dried leaves, remnants of her possessions when outcast, waving lazily in the light pull of this rock.
"They are all prepared," she intoned.
Without looking back, Murukan gave a curt nod. Those following knew the stakes, knew what failure meant. His people were not meant for oblivion.
He did not need to see all of the winged beasts in rank behind him along the barren gray landscape, waiting for the signal.
Korrawi pulled a strand of red from her arm and took Murukan's spear. She wrapped the wreath about the haft, tying it tight so the petals brushed his hand when he took it back. He inclined his head in thanks, and felt more than heard a cheer of enthusiasm from those he led.
The band of white shrank before him as the star was covered and he tensed, sensing the great lizard feel his readiness. The beast was a beautiful agent of destruction. The iridescent scales beneath his hand shone blue in the some light, green in others, and overlay each other in a truly marvelous pattern.
It was also a true friend through these dark times. Soon, they would live together in the light once again.
The Earth finally and completely blocked out the sunlight.
Murukan bellowed and lifted his spear and all of the great lizards, each bearing a valued companion, leapt forward in unison.
Dark dust swirled about behind them, but the dragon-borne battalion was quickly clear of it.
In seconds, Murukan felt the change to near weightlessness. He took his eyes off the target for just a moment to see what a thousand years of preparation had given him.
Dozens of immortals, seated low on the backs of flying beasts, zoomed behind him. Korrawi led a slightly separate group, knowing her orders, but was close enough still for him to see them all together.
They all glowed in the dim light offered by the star flaring around the edges of the planet's atmosphere.
Murukan turned back to focus as the Earth slipped its fingers around him. It pulled at him.
It welcomed him home.
A fierce grin took his face as he tucked in low on his lizard, which spread its mighty wings. The green wings were tough and opaque, covered with a fascinating pattern of what he always took to be large round blue eyes. They rocked and swayed as he steered them toward a mainland target, having no desire to land in the great waters.
The fires of descension engulfed him, and the lizard, now properly oriented, used its wings to deflect much of the heat. The roar of the blaze and wind deafened even Murukan, but he did not let this distract him.
The mortals would pay.
They broke cloud cover and streaked through the air. Murukan's beast made a fair attempt at saving the flight by spreading its wings, but even so, they hit the ground and dug a trough through man-made stone and metal contraptions.
As steam rolled off of him, he checked the lizard. Stunned, but fine.
Mortals exited metal boxes he had not pushed aside and stared at him, at his glowing orange speartip.
These would be the beginning.
This would be where he started.
And so he did.
|Hana Gartstein , Source|