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Memories of Home Drake!DragonglqQ 842659

#Closed
The fringes of the forest were a charred graveyard. The charred stumps of trees serving as the headstones that littered the blackened soil. Just past this small wasteland was a destroyed fort. Wooden fortifications burnt and demolished. Several small huts and buildings lay in ruins, abandoned but not forgotten so soon. The squatters dare not set foot in this place, for what it once held.
A dirt path, forged from constant travel winded along the hills of the area. Skirting along the forest's edge.
One side dead and charred. The other green and lush with wild flowers.
It rode this limbo of life and death before going into the forest itself, past the charred remains was a path that had a low ceiling of branches and leaves from the trees that inter-weaved in their close proximity. A low ceiling for a human that is, but not to a pony.
This path was not used very often, but was the only path to the villages that lay on the other side of the forest, far away from the hustle of Manehattan or Canterlot.
The path through not being maintained, was easy to lose track off, leading travelers down animal trails or otherwise.
In the darker reaches of the forest, lay something deformed, discarded and forlorn. Roughly humanoid, yet nothing that is familiar to anything in Equestria. Its entire body seemed to have been engineered to cause a deep rooted fear in those that saw it.
It was because of this, that it had confined itself to the forest.

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 842660

A beast on a mission soared overhead, though the ruin of the burnt forest was... Put simply, hard to ignore. Natural disasters happened all the time, and her own talents demonstrated this to her on many occasions - her own destination, in fact, was a distant land fated to suffer an earthquake. Or something of the like, that's only what she'd seen directly. Nonetheless, something seemed off about the dead land below...

She could afford a few minutes to investigate, tucking her leathery wings to her side and aiming for a deadfall. Far from an ideal landing site, but the only area she could see with enough clearance to safely rear back and beat her wings to slow herself before hooves touched broken and scorched logs.

Gingerly making her way to more solid footing, she sets forward, positioning beneath the thin black canopy giving surprisingly high visibility. That structure in the distance -- Well, former structure, anyhow -- didn't look like a natural occurrence. It looked like a fortification. Perhaps this was a battlefield? Even then, only a fool puts torch to a forest their own men are fighting in...

She trots briskly towards the bared foundations and splintery walls, still in something of a rush. Prophecy doesn't leave room for tardiness.

Drake!DragonglqQ 842661

>>842660
Something had entered the forest.
He had heard it.
Even from within the bounds of the forest, this body had given him enhanced senses.
He pulled himself up from the tree he had been sitting against for so long.
These days he did not need to eat, he was not given a digestive tract. So the food he would eat on instinct would sit as a deadweight in his abdomen. He had learned not to do that anymore.
He stood at an astounding thirteen feet, his long arms reaching past his knees.
And he began to walk.
His long strides enabled him to cover distances at a much faster rate.
Soon he had reached the forest edge, the charred stumps ahead bringing forth memories of months past.
He could smell a new arrival. No natives dared touch this place. It was cursed to them. And to him? Well it may as well be.
The smell was somewhat familiar, yet he could remember where.
It was coming over from...
The Citadel.
Immediately, he lost most of his motivation for discovering what this familiar scent was.
Yet at the same time, he felt like he had more of a reason to go ahead.
Now, forcing his legs to move, he strode out into the open, and towards the accursed ghost fort.

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 842662

The half-breed kept on her course for a good ways, moving at quite a clip herself - until she realized she was hearing one hoofbeat too many.
Some of these sounds weren't hers and this place was not abandoned. Not completely. She froze, looking behind her with her last movement.

This forest wasn't karst. There was no reason for that tower to be there, directly behind her. The one she had NOT passed on the way here.
But there was no reason to be HOSTILE... Except that this thing might have something to do with the destruction all around her. Even then, escape was clearly preferable... Her darting eyes were the only movement the giant could see, plotting a runway vector and takeoff area as quickly as she could. The trees were just high enough and dense enough she needed a clearing, and the bared foundations she was already facing might be her best bet.

Drake!DragonglqQ 842663

>>842662
The first thing to note about this "tower" was that it had no eyes. Two faintly glowing orbs of red hovered in the place of empty sockets.
It had a vaguely human face. No lips and bared teeth were what stood for a jaw, most of which were sharp like daggers. The cheek bones were fairly accented too.
His limbs were somewhat skinny in comparison to his body, but he looked to be able to rip a cow in half with his bare hands. He had a look of raw power and a gave off an uncalled for aura of fear.
Anything near him got the gut instinct to run.

He recognized her.
Cassandra, the longma. She had visited him in second home! Before...What happened.
That was why he had recognized the smell! It was her!
He tried to call her name. But his voice failed him and instead came a hoarse gurgle and growl.
As he noticed the dragon's expression for the first time, he panicked. Seeing that she was looking for a way to get away from him.
"Caahghegh" He coughed, his vocals failing him again "Caaaassz... Caaaaahzzhaanndhaaa"

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 842664

She at first interprets the massive creature's call as a simply grunt, although she's at least able to make out at a rapid pace that it's humanoid.
What causes her to freeze for a second time is when she realizes it's not just making sounds at her.

It's saying her name.

She cautiously turns to face it. Was this where the prophecy was destined after all, and she was too late? No, the damage was far too old for that. There was already moss growing in the rifts in the stumps, and the burnt deadfall she'd landed on was partially rotted as well. This can't have happened so recently as her vision, she reasons, turning to face this thing, skeptical - but at least no longer afraid. She wasn't famous. It had to be someone she knew, or someone close to a friend.

"Who are you?" she questioned, pinning her ears in apprehension.

Drake!DragonglqQ 842665

He took a lurching step forward towards her. He would be smiling, but his face would not allow anything but a threatening sneer.

"Whaaaaaaz" He wheezed, reaching out for her but pulling back shortly.
He knew his form was "less than pleasant" to put it lightly, so he stayed himself. Even going as far as taking back the step he had taken towards her.
"Waas" He spoke again, gaining control of his still alien vocal cords "Was... Draae-keh. Yoou profess.... Pro-fessy tooo meee"

His desperate attempt to communicate was followed by a hopeful look that she remembered him. Pass the disfigured form that was now his body.

"I... maaaae-keh mmmmuh-muuuhstae-keh"

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 842666

Drake... She'd given him a prophecy. Comprehension dawned on her face and she relaxed visibly.
That's right, the giant boy living in that weird mansion. He'd given her some fish to eat after she delivered it too.
... But as many questions as she had - mostly leading up to his present state, and that of his surroundings - would have to wait. She'd be able to come back here, certainly. But what she'd seen could devastate an entire village - or even nation, it wasn't that clear - if she was slow about it.
"I can't stay here, I'm sorry. But I'll come back when I can, alright, Drake?"

Drake!DragonglqQ 842667

"N-no!" He managed, reaching out again "Aall is dead here"
Cassandra had been the first living creature he had seen in months. Even the animals seemed to have a heightened awareness to him. And with the realization that eating was not necessary, he had stopped seeking them out.

This was the first person he had seen and she was already about to leave him! When would she come back? She was probably saying this as an excuse to leave him alone again! Did she even remember him? He was not sure if she had, maybe she had just simply understood his name.

"Yoou cahn't go" He growled, trying to grab her "Stay!"

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 842668

She wasn't at all alert enough to dodge his grasping paw, but neither did she intend to break her word because of this - on the other hand, she WAS startled, and what came next was entirely on reflex, teeth like shattered glass sinking into his hand.

Drake!DragonglqQ 842669

>>842668
There was a delayed reaction, but the pain eventually hit him an astounding three seconds later.
His hand opened again and he staggered backwards looking at his hand and the small amount of black fluid seep from it.
He hadn't shed blood in a long time. Not since he had awoken again so many months ago.
Drake made no cry of pain. He felt it, but his brain had been remade to not show it when he was injured.

As for Cassie. Drake's blood tasted absolutely foul and had an acrid smell similar to sulfur. It was a very viscous fluid, like mucus or pus.

Drake looked up again at the dragon horse. His eyes, fixated on her. They were too alien to deduce any kind of emotion from, and could very be filled with hate just as much as love.

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 842670

She doesn't pay enough attention to his expression to make anything from it, instead squirming until she was released, letting go of his hand in turn - and quite regretting keeping her teeth in his hide that long, forced to spit as she bolted for the fallen walls. Leaping a small heap of rubble in her path got her ever so little height, and wingbeats in the absence of the trees brought her higher, until she was well out of sight of anything on the ground.

Drake!DragonglqQ 864338

File: 1418042302901.jpg (39.93 KB, 500x331, p-13303-doc.jpg)

Bitter cold rain trickled through the dark green leaves of the forest. The trees stood strong in the abysmal weather, their trunks covered metres high in moss.
The grey sky loomed above the immense and quiet forest.
Birds were beginning to return, yet they were hesitant and jumpy. Deer and rabbits steered well clear of this particular section of forest still.
But the thing that resided in the area was grateful for the birdsong. As soft and far away as it was.
The only thing that kept him going, was the thought that the Longma would return.
Though deep down he did not really believe she would. He was not human. Not anymore. He was not a construct of this realm, he did not belong anywhere.
Slowly, he pulled himself to his feet, a decaying mass of muscle, bone and residual evil still wanted to see the sky.
With effort, he climbed the tree he had previously leant upon, and eventually, he had reached the bottom of the canopy.
He pushed apart the leaves with some effort, and pulled himself above.
And now he sat, upon a branch looking over the forest and he would stay here, as he had for the past month, watching the skies for the dragon.

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 864345

>>864338
>To him, she was a black speck occasionally dipping below the cloud level. Not even recognizable, really, aside from the fact that she was flying.
>To her, he was completely invisible still. She wanted a safe landing, besides, and so she was looking for the clearing around the ruin, not the deadfall she'd used before. She wasn't even sure this was the right area, given her vision of the ground was largely obscured by clouds, and her attention was often diverted from surveillance by a gust of wind. She realized that if she'd been an ordinary pegasus she'd have sprained or even broken her wing by now...
>There it was. She could barely make it out through the rain wetting her second eyelid, but there were regular geometric shapes in the soil there. This was a fortress, long ago, its foundations leveled and grown green.
>She tucked her wings and descended, forced to occasionally adjust dramatically as a gust drove her off course, but she landed in the ruins without fuss before shaking herself off - a reflex she only realized was futile after having succumbed to it, managing only to fling her braid over her shoulder in the process.
>She turned towards the burnt forest, that's where she'd seen him before. She was curious what accident had rendered him unrecognizable, letalone what had happened to the forest.

Drake!DragonglqQ 864353

What was that...? In the distance... Focus, eyes. A black speck, surfing the underside of the clouds... A bird? No, too big. Unless it was a gryphon or some giant condor.
Perhaps... it was a dragon.
Something fluttered inside him and he was sure this time it was not the insects that had taken up home inside his chest.
No... She wouldn't return. She couldn't...
Nothing would return willingly to this place, not to him.
The black shape grew larger, and had begun to descend. To the ruins.
Maybe it was one of those scouts from the Equestrian military. He couldn't remember how they had reacted to the catastrophe that had occurred here.
His eyes were not focusing correctly... With a single, elongated and blackened finger, he sunk his finger into the socket and tapped the fiery hovering orb. That seemed to do it. He saw the thing land in the city.
No...
It couldn't.
He had gone mad he was sure of it, he knew it was only a matter of time.
Letting go of the branch, he fell ten metres to the ground and paid no attention to the jarring shock that surged through his legs.
She...had returned?
Why?

~

He stopped at the forest's edge, watching the fortification hesitant to step out. His appearance might conjure the image of a predator observing this dragon horse as prey.
His hair had begun to fall out and his flesh had started to expire. His menacing sneer was still set in bone on his face. A mask that hid his true emotions. His sorrow, confusion and regret.
Why was she here? Did... Did he really want to confront her again?

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 864359

>>864353
>She takes a moment to get her bearings. A burn scar would be easy to see from above on a clear day, but obscured as it was by the clouds.... Why HAD she come out here today? She should have stayed in that tavern until the weather cleared. This was awful for doing anything outside.
>She works out fairly quickly where the center of the dead forest is, setting towards it at a trot, then stopping just as quickly. He must have seen her and come out to meet her. Either that or he'd been standing there waiting since. She couldn't really tell, he was still covered so thoroughly with vegetation she could mistake him for a geological formation. Aside from the glowing red eyes.
"Drake?"

Drake!DragonglqQ 864363

File: 1418045624043.jpg (111.79 KB, 499x750, 1908064_743165215721294_592505…)

>>864359
"Why have you returned?" He asked, a voice clearer than what she had last heard of him "I am dangerous"
His voice was a deep bass, yet there were soft whispers inside of it, like four people talking at once, with one voice louder than the other.
"I attacked you..."

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 864365

>>864363
"You're someone that I knew, you probably saw what happened here, and if you attack me again I'll bite harder."
>She was blunt, one could give her that much.
"And besides. I said I'd come back."

Drake!DragonglqQ 864367

>>864365
He didn't reply immediately, but simply observed her, perhaps he was at a loss of words.
She had come back, she was in front of him yet he still could not truly believe it.
"I respect that you stay true to your word." He stated, his hand idly pulling a clump of moss and vine from his chest "We were not close. We talked but... once? Twice?"
His sinister looking face turned, looking back at the destroyed fortress, and remembering.
"You are not wrong. I indeed saw what happened. For I did this"

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 864373

>>864367
"Do go on."
>She trotted forward, seating herself in front of him, albeit at a respectful distance. If he kept... well, pulling weeds, she wanted to be out of dropping range.
>That and he didn't look capable of firebreathing like so many of her relatives; even if he was strong enough to pull down the fortress with his hands, that didn't explain the scorched remnants.
>This was a story she wanted to hear.

Drake!DragonglqQ 864397

>>864373
"I was at a point of weakness. She had caused this. All of this. That cursed alicorn. That... demon." He growled, tearing away another large clump of vines and fungi taking away some of the flesh it was attached to away from his body "My... my rage... my anger caused my downfall... This destruction and emptiness"
He sat. His back against a tree behind him. And he was silent for a moment's time again, looking at the ground.
"My people... They were being dragged into a war from another dimension. Because of me... my carelessness caused so many deaths." He continued, lifting his head to look at her "The magic and technology that was used to travel... explore... Had fallen into the clutches of the one called Crimson Charcoal. This place was her city. Her domain."

Again, he stopped, this time to look over at the foundations of what remained of the huge obsidian tower.

"She was evil. There was no way around it. A demon. This place was the starting point of her invasion. She had created an army of undead, murdered villagers turnt zombie soldiers and was going to invade, murder, rape and indoctrinate every living thing in Equestria." The defeated warrior explained, peeling more of the debris from his body "This was when I intervened. I had known her previously, personally to my displeasure. And I walked right into a trap... My Vortex is dead... And it is entirely my fault she is dead... With our technology and magic they found their way to our homeland. There they indoctrinated the prisoners, some more willing than others and she took them, murdering any who stood before her. All the guards, dead. And now Charcoal had Alagaesian prisoners in her army. Some wielding the power of the ancient language."

He wanted to weep, to show some kind of emotion. But his body refused him, and so he continued.

"I intervened again. Taking her diplomat. With her source of indoctrination taken from her, I thought it was a victory. Yet this caused us more trouble than I had suspected. She... S-She killed riders, students, children and dragons from our academy... And then took her diplomat back. She did this with only two entities... Her commander and a mimic." He said uneasily, his eyes dancing in their flame "And this.... this caused me to turn to Cloak"

"A fallen god. One I played an integral part in defeating. And I offered my body as a vessel in exchange for the destruction of this place and Crimson Charcoal." Recounted the once Dragon Rider, his hand drifting to his heart "Cloak meant to destroy me and he succeeded. It was a slaughter. He raised an ancient army of skeletons, that were imbued with his essence from the ground, and not only that, but he took command over most of Crimson's undead. There was something else there... But I do not remember. This something had caused an urgency in Crimson... Maybe it was her motivations. The fire that caused this place to burn? It was Cloak's steed. The giant, reanimated corpse of a long dead dragon. He used this Titan to burn alive the rest of Crimson's forces... And... There was a flash of purple light. And there was indeed a great battle. But this... I do not remember. It has infuriated me how my memory fails so... Waking in the ruins of the fortifications is the next I remember. My wounds had healed over, but Cloak was gone. Now... without him this body.... My body that he had changed to his desires.... It is decaying."

He stopped there, and looked at the living dragon before him.

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 864399

>>864397
>Her ears started to pin as she realized the nature of the tale.
>It was, at this point, history, fortunately. No threat stood to her home anymore, thanks to this person's recklessness.
>The implication wasn't lost on her, either, that her delivery of a prophecy to the boy had resulted in the thwarting of the incursion.

"I'm sorry to hear you're doing so poorly."
>That was as much as she could muster; this wasn't her strong suit. Though she could think of someone who might do better, she couldn't pick her up and carry her here.
"If you can control your impulses, there's a town some ways from here... The physician's dealt with magical ailments before, maybe he can do something for you?"

Drake!DragonglqQ 864408

>>864399
"This is by no means Equestrian magic... I do not think these ponies can help me... I believe I am past saving now." He said observing his greying arm.
He thought of Dracino. His dragon... Alagaesian dragons bonded so closely to their riders that if they were to die, the dragon itself would perish. Such immense sorrow and shock caused them to sink to a catatonic state, in which they starved and died, if they did not kill themselves by some other means.
This extreme distance and time meant that for all Dracino knew, he was dead. And in a way, Drake was.
"Show me this physician."

Cassandra !Nzixts.png 864410

>>864408
>She was about to rebut that magic is magic; an altering of reality with arbitrary results, and it's left how it is once the magic is gone.
>He proved this unnecessary when he conceded anyways.
"Right, just a moment. I don't know the roads to this area."
>She turned and galloped, beating her wings furiously to climb through the rain, flying fairly low to be able to survey the geography without getting back into the painfully high winds of the storm above.
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