The ground rumbled with the ferocity of its passing. The animals and men of the Forest of the First Tree fled as it drew near. The massive beast crushed bushes and tipped small trees as it passed, and around the world, immortals took notice. The horse was once again on the move. As it drew closer to its master, those who possessed true power quailed with its hoof beats. The Rider would be awoken.
It leapt good-sized streams with its powerful legs, all seventeen feet of its height strained as it pounded the ground, relentless and sure. Its path did not deviate, nor its body grow tired, though this was the third day of its journey, for no beast in existence knew its stamina or its resolve. The master had been sent for, and no rest would find the beast until it had reached its goal.
To call it a horse would not be accurate or comforting. People seeing it from a distance might say it was the king of horses, but in their hearts they would know different. Up close, there was no denying its vague sense of peculiarity to any creature of the animal kingdom. The beast’s fur rose up between scales of brown that covered its body. The hooves were segmented like hard toes, and possessed claws, minute, that gripped for purchase as it passed. Its mouth was wholly unrecognizable as that of a true horse. Its jaw possessing small horns that protruded from its scales, small enough for the casual eye to miss, but sinister in nature and terrifying to behold. Once seen, they could not be unseen, and filled many observers with nightmares. Within its maw rested sharp teeth, good for slicing through flesh and ripping tender meat. But most striking were its eyes, which nestled deep within its sockets and steamed as they devoured everything in sight. They seemed to consist of nothing of flesh at all, but gases and air that boiled and pulsed, seeping tendrils of smoke and ether into the world around them.
The beast exploded through snow and ice, and pounded its way through the winter-gripped forest. It exploded through low hanging branches, and out into a field that wrapped a crumbling castle. Not far from this place a roaring waterfall, much diminished by the frozen water, spat and gurgled. The castle gripped tight to a cliff that over looked the sea, and a gathering storm threatened destruction and wrath. The beast made for the lowered draw bridge, and the fearsome statue that stood in its center. The twelve foot statue was thick with hoarfrost, and draped in icicles and snow. It gripped in one hand a spear planted in the snow, and the other curled in a tight, ominous fist. Its helmet and beard hid all knowledge of what its face might look like. The helmet boasted great horns that rushed over its head and back to protrude behind it. The great chest plate bore a crest, long since forgotten by the common man, that still brought fear and nightmares to those few scholars who knew of it.
The beast rose up on its hind legs and batted at the sky with its grotesque hooves. It roared a thing completely foreign to the kingdom of man or nature, and landed, with a bridge-rumbling thud, on its four legs.
Pressure seemed to grow, as if herald of some magnificent event, before the statue’s hand flexed, exploding ice and snow in all directions. The beast howled again and suddenly, the fist opened and pumped once. Slowly, the giant broke free of its frost and ice. It shook its head, freeing it of snow, and looked up at the beast before it. It may have smiled behind its grated helmet.
“Vis-Vires,” the enormous man said, “You come to me after thousands of years with quickened heart and purpose. Why have you come before me? Who has the power to summon me from this place?”
The beast looked its master in the eye and an image flashed before the giant’s eyes. The man growled and nodded. “Then I will wake him.”
Boots pounded ground as Vis-Vires waited, snorting and resting from its travel. The giant stomped into its home, as rocks showered down around it from the decayed fortress. He delved deep in the castle, to the inner reaches, where no man, mortal or otherwise, had stepped in a thousand years.
The giant did not need to grip fire or torch. His inhuman eyes saw everything of detail in the muted light. He came upon a room dominated by ice and, from his belt, pulled his horseman’s flail. It swayed as he brought it to bear, stepping into the room as the ice beneath him cracked and whined. When he reached the back of the room, he brought the flail high above his head and, with a grunt, slammed the ice he stood upon. The ice exploded and he dropped into the water to vanish beneath. The surface surged for long moments before it settled, and nothing but scant bubbles and slight disturbances interrupted the tranquil water. From the depths rose a great stone carved with the image of a dragon at rest. It rose, shedding ice as it lifted from the water. Soon, the enormous stone could be recognized as a sepulcher. It seemed to float to the door to this room and, once it reached hard stone, was thrown atop the floor of the room beyond. The giant slowly pulled himself out of the water and stopped at the side of the tomb. He gripped the great stone lid and, with one heave, tossed it away to crack and split on the floor. Within, ice filled the tomb, and with another great blow from the flail, it shattered and the creature within sat up.
Its head was reptilian and thin, possessing copper scales that covered its entire neck, chest, and body. Its eyes were reptilian as well, with slits green and yellow. It extended its hands and gripped the sides of its tomb as it gasped for air. Slowly, its head turned and it looked upon the face of its brother, the great giant that had awoken it.
Brother said nothing to brother, until the giant spoke. “Mother has summoned us. We must go home, Pax.”
The half dragon looked to his little brother, and he nodded. “Yes, Mansuetam, I will get my sword.”
The beast rumbled the draw bridge and back out into the forest. Its master, who the world knew only as The Great Rider of Bentay, rode its back, carrying his spear with the fearsome banner of his name upon it. Over his shoulder, Pax, Founding King of Lorinth, flapped his wings as he followed. Dispelora’s boys were coming home. War had been waged upon Tienne.
I chose to use omniscient point of view in order to keep a bit of distance between the immortals and the reader. I didn’t want to give the reader an idea of what went on in the heads of such powerful creatures, in order to maintain a level of intrigue and awe in the characters themselves. Also, I have yet to fully commit to a spelling of the mother’s name. I waffle between Despelora and Dispelora, unsure of which I like more. Feel free to comment if you have a favorite.