I had to break through. The food was almost gone, the walls were tightening. I hit the side. A small crack appeared from the force of the blow. I hit the crack again and again. I felt nothing but a desire, a need, to see the sun. I had to get out before the darkness consumed me. The crack widened until the shell collapsed, and the world entered.
I was buried beneath the moist dirt. I could hardly breathe. I clawed my way through. For five minutes I dug my way out of the dirt. I cleared my throat and wiped the dirt away from my eyes. I saw the sun for the first time. It was in the middle of setting. My hand was touching something wet and sticky. The crimson liquid would not wipe away.
I glanced around. There was a woman near the hole that I had come from. A spear was sticking out of her. A broadsword had fallen onto the ground and lay by her knees. The eggs near her had been shattered. In my mind I saw a flash, sudden and violent: “Amelia, get the eggs to safety,”— an order from someone. No sooner had she buried an egg than the spear had come, followed by lightning to silence her other heart. I looked around the streets. The buildings had been destroyed. There were holes opening them to the elements and the metal displayed clear scorch marks. A few were still on fire. All the plants had been burnt away. A statue of an armoured woman with an owl perched on her shoulder was destroyed. She looked like the bodies but there was something different about her. Her wings seemed larger and her horns less pronounced. Another flash: the city was thriving. Several people were working on a blinking thing. I saw the thing in the street. It had been destroyed as well. Its metal insides had spilled all over the ground.
Bodies littered the ground. Were these my people? I felt my forehead. Unlike them, I had no horns. I looked over my shoulders at my back. I felt along it. I did not have wings or a tail either. Why was I here?
A man’s head and most of his torso were pinned to a wall. His insides and lower half were on the ground. His left wing and arm were missing. He was caught on the broken building’s jagged edges. A flash: for a moment I was this man. A hooded figure was in the air. He laughed— a hollow echo, not a sound of flesh. A fireball came down from his hand. I felt my left side disintegrate and then nothing. I continued moving.
The city was surrounded on three sides by mountains. The gate that had blocked the west side had been shattered. Several people had been shattered with it. I counted at least five sticking out from under the debris. A flash: the hooded man had been greeted at the gate. “How may we be of assistance, Magi?” At the question he had enveloped the gate and everyone near it in flames. All with one flick of his skeletal wrist.
The flash did not stop. I saw every life end in fire and lightning. I knew everyone’s names. I knew their lives and the lives of those who had come before. In my mind I saw through their eyes as they died. Screaming, I dropped to the ground.
When I awoke the sun had risen. What had occurred was suddenly clear. Sadow had arrived at Drahaven and begun slaughtering my people. He had used a fireball on the gate just as he had done to my father. What I do not know is why. Not one of us had even the slightest suspicion that he bore us any ill will. We have not fought anyone for one thousand two hundred and thirteen years. Even a lich could not possibly live long enough to have a grudge from that. I had been unconscious for twelve hours, seventeen minutes. The back of my head was sore from hitting a stone when I fell. Under normal circumstances I would have been placed on a bed to make the activation of my memories easier, but there was no one left to do so. I was alone.
The incident had occurred three days, fourteen hours before I had hatched. Sadow had already left. In all probability he had gone to his home in the marshes of Strecner. Unless he had changed residence without any of us knowing. It was possible. We were not known for travels abroad. My first instinct was to journey there immediately and take my vengeance, but I stopped myself. A mere hatchling could not hope to defeat a lich who was well-versed in the arts of magic.
Before concerning myself over the matter with Sadow, I had a duty to perform. I constructed a techna to transport my people’s bodies. It was difficult work. My activated memories told me the form that it should take and the schemata necessary to construct it, but my ability to utilize that knowledge was hampered by my lack of practical experience. In spite of the difficulty I eventually prevailed.
I gathered materials and built a mound. With considerable difficulty I managed to pile the bodies onto the mound and set it aflame. I felt tears fall from my eyes. I wiped the moisture away with my index finger.
I retrieved my mother’s sword from where it had fallen near the eggs and took some gold pieces from a chest in the remains of a building. Estimating what my height would be when I had fully grown based on my parent’s heights, I took a cloak that was far too big for me. For more immediate use I took a tunic in my own size.
I had set one foot out of Drahaven’s border when I realized that I had nothing of my father’s, aside from the shared blood. Choosing his name as a memento, I left the desolate city. I would find the magi and I would have justice. No, not justice. Vengeance.