Tales of Uncommon Valour: A HabitRPG Challenge

A great feature of HabitRPG is the challenges.  They are tasks, made by anyone, that can be accepted on top of your normal to-dos, dailies and habits.  The winner of a challenger is usually rewarded with gems (though sometimes the challenge is made without any gems as a reward – a challenge for challenge’s sake).  There are all sorts – clearing out your dungeon (clearing your dailies), doing the dishes, working on your persona projects – the list is endless.  One challenge I undertook was the Tales of Uncommon Valour, where you had to write an epic tale about one of your to-dos or achievements and post it up in the Tavern.  I wandered outside of the parameters set by the challenge maker and wrote this instead, because it just so happened that my party at the time all had a different coloured pet dragon out.  Hee hee, I might end up using some of these ideas in my DragonLore story after re-reading this.  We shall see.

Anyway, here is my tale:

Dust rose on the horizon, screening the sky and reddening the sun. Perfect, just let the scene be bathed in the colour of blood, thought the female warrior as she gazed across the battlefield. Chain-mail adorned her womanly figure, a shield slung over her back and a sword with a blue glaze at her hip. The fighting was just over yonder, the sharp sounds of shields and swords colliding barely meeting her ears. But she didn’t need the sounds of battle to let her blood bubble. The mere fact that she was nearby, that the aura about the place drowned in and reeked of death and bloodlust.

A heavy thud of scaly body meeting earth started her out of her musings. She glanced to the source of the sound: a gigantic creature of scaly sinew and muscle. Two wide bat-like wings folded themselves neatly at his sides as his giant reptilian head shifted to look at his mistress. The woman sidled up to him, running a chain-mailed hand over his rough emerald scales. Five more thuds announced the arrival of her comrades.

Aiseant, her golden shield and sword glistening a dull red in the dust-choked sunlight, her hair and face hidden by her winged helm – a gift, it was said, from the Gods, patted her mount soothingly. The chain-mailed woman smiled as she gazed fondly over at the white pearlescent drake which was Aiseant’s steed. It was a rare sight indeed to find one of these so far out of its natural environment – the snows of the treacherous southern glaciers. Its graceful, lithe body with wings shaped like scythes; it could cut down foes in the air and on the ground with ease, if only the rider knew how to dance the beast and had the stomach to. There was a touch of jealousy about the woman’s thoughts. Then, blazing red draconic eyes met her gaze. She smiled again and turned her attention to the next comrade.

Chrisaw sat upon his mount with an uncomfortable ease, considering the situation at hand. Straggly umber hair framed his square face, dark eyes dancing joyously at a chance to finally prove himself in battle as he was the newest of the party. His sandstone drake, originally from one of the deserts to the far north, shifted his mass underneath its master. It was smaller than the others, but it was no lesser a threat. Transparent membrane betweens its fingers on its wings, it used it to cool its body in the intense desert heat during the day. There were sand-coloured knobs here and there over the body of the beast and with a smooth belly in the same shade, the sandstone drake was perfectly camouflaged in these conditions. Giving Chrisaw a small nod, the chain-mailed woman moved to her next companion.

Snellopy, her direct superior. He had more battle experience than her, his golden armour shimmering with the hint of a nick or dint dulling the colour. Upon his back was a large, imposing weapon that could only be wielded by the strongest of men. A double-headed axe, shining with a brilliance that one naturally assumed that it had been freshly forged. This was not the case. This axe had seen more battles than the party had all together. It was an heirloom, passed down from oldest son to oldest son, and there were rumours that it had some sort of magick that enabled the wielder to possess the battle experience of all those that had used it before them. The chain-mailed woman shook her head. Bah, magick. She noted the hulking shadowy mass beneath Snellopy – a drake of the Underworld, a drake with more than enough belly and a whole heap of firepower to boot. How he managed to tame the beast was beyond her. The Underworld made mice out of men that had been hardened by countless years of war, and yet he had managed to venture into its depths, tame it and then return! Still shaking her head, she continued onto the most experienced out of their party.

Seneca sat in his saddle with a pleasant smile towards the chain-mailed woman. There were no obvious weapons adorning this veteran of war, but that didn’t mean that he had no weapons at all. In fact, his whole body was a weapon. A martial artist he called himself, informing them all on the first day the squad was assembled about the fine art of using your body to kill. This wasn’t the only interesting feature about the man. His skin was a hue of blue that could only say that he belonged near the sea. His race belonged to the coasts in the east, past the eastern mountain range, so seeing him here in these lands was quite a rare occurrence indeed. From his coastal heritage, he had brought his steed with him. A leviathan-like coral-red drake with delicate frills and a set of horns that jutted out from four places on the side of its head. The horns acted like a shield for the rider. The chain-mailed woman mused if the martial artist had chosen this steed specifically because of its defensive body, or he chose his fighting technique because of his steed. Nevertheless, she moved onto the last member of their party.

Last, but definitely not least, Daniel the Bard moved in his saddle, gazing out onto the battlefield before them. He was the most intriguing out of them all. Ghostly white skin with hollow grey eyes and long dark hair, his people haunted the forests to the west. Haunted, the chain-mailed woman chuckled at the thought. Many folks believed that Daniel’s people were spirits of the commoners that had died in wars, for it was exceedingly rare to ever see one participating in the sometimes frivolous exercise. Her eyes caught the gleam of his newly acquired, Gods-blessed sword. A monster of steel, its flat blade stood nearly as tall as he, and that was saying something. How he didn’t overbalance with that thing strapped to his back, the chain-mailed woman never knew. But one thing she envied him for was his drake. She hadn’t even known that species had existed until he suddenly turned up with one. A classical drake in all senses except for two things: one, its majestic golden yellow-orange scales were harder and lighter than any Gods-blessed steel, and two, the magical healing breath that could resurrect those who were walking the path to the Gates of the Netherlands. Where and how he managed to tame it was a secret that Daniel kept very close to his heart, but the chain-mailed woman had an inkling that it had something to do with his Bard training.

The chain-mailed woman was suddenly brought out of her thoughts when a battle cry echoed close to them. She whipped around to see the enemy cavalry charging them. Sod it, she thought as she ran to her emerald drake and hoisted herself into the leather saddle upon its back. An impatient snort came from her mount as she nudged it with her heels to stand up into battle position.

“All right, Dragon Party of the Beast-Tamers, here’s the deal. We need to fight through this lot before joining the rest of the main army as aerial support. The main army’s outnumbered and we need to clean our way through to them as fast as possible. Ready?” Everyone nodded and then crouched low into their saddles, waiting for Seneca to lead the charge. The thundering of horses drew nearer and nearer until it sounded as those a storm front born from the Gods surrounded them. Then Seneca’s voice screamed over the deafening din.

“For the Beast-Tamers, and FOR THE DRAGON PARTY!”

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