Lies Beauty

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

To hear a bell crack eternally is bound to drive one to haste and curse one with the endless noise. And so his voice rang in her head. Magnifex already has an Azhurma. What could it possibly want with a lizard like you?

Perhaps the worst thing for Nagasha was that he was right. Sivax Magnifex knew how to sever the dirt from a gem, and how to smear blood just in the right spot, which poison burned best. What, indeed, would the gorgeous Magnifex brood need from a dragon whose artistic endeavors were, at best, wondrous.

The Eye of Kadmos would prove the perfect trial.

Nagasha had grown scarred and weary from roaming the Red Moon, and try as she might, she had found her homeworld empty of awe. Nothing inspired her senses, nothing sparked her scales. She would have to return far stronger and become the beauty that would turn her into Azhurma.

From all the tales she had heard about the Eye of Kadmos, she never expected it to be an insightful endeavor. As she traversed it, she had to dodge the other wyrms, of course, throw a bite here and there to the rogue bone dragon; but overall, she was thinking, lost in an endless grudge.

The rift opened ahead. The Eye of Kadmos was to spit her out like all the others, left to roam a miserable planet, filled with tired humanoids and their silly conflicts.

She had barely made contact with the fresh crisp air, tinged with smoke and rage, when she found the platoon of bloodflingers. The rumors were true, she thought, as she scanned the land below her. They throw blood as if it were water.

Her wings became stained with crimson, a hue to be merged with many others, along with the color of her scales. She barrelled to the side and tasted brimstone in the back of her throat. Her chest pressed hard on her insides, and she spat bismuth crystals on the land. The process was uncomfortable at times, especially when the wind picked up, but she always enjoyed seeing the crystals pin her prey to the floor.

As soon as she landed, she picked up her first soldier. Like a reflex, she threw it in her maw. When Nagasha’s teeth tore at his body, she felt her body vibrate for an instant. More, her insides insisted. More and my body shall be the vessel that takes Sivax’s place. Her body trembled harder with every soldier crushed under her tongue. She could not see any changes yet, but they were coming. Her heart sped up with every tendril of blood that sliced at her body and almost paused when she fed on sweet revenge.

More dragons came in and she struck blindly to push them away. Only I may feel this power. Only I shall remain.

Alas, a spike sent shocks of agony from her left paw through her very core. And in that same blind abandon, she let out a storm of molten bismuth. She pulled the spike out of her body and spat it back at the coming warriors.

Too quick were the arrows that followed. Surrounded and taken, she swiped her tail in symphony with her claws. Much faster were the vermin who slashed at her throat with blood whips. Ambushed and enraged, she roared them to submission.

They pushed forward, egged on by a man on a rock, flinging darts of blood at Nagasha and the approaching elves. Nothing seemed to phase him: not the stench of fire and the burning wild plants; not the gaping wound that a sword had left on his ankle. No wonder they follow him, Nagasha screamed at her insides.

The stranger approached, grand and pompous. If he can ignore such a slash, he must truly be a different kind. He was sure of his final strike, clearly young in his years.

“You have never seen my kind, have you, child?” she called through the storm of pain and gore. And the man with the black hands shrank as Nagasha’s spine rose in spite of the shower of arrows. And his people froze in fear, their hearts confused by her might. “Truly, your kind listens. Certainly your heart beckons will.”

And she knew that all beauty lies in the promise of what could be. That the agony of lacking is beauty itself. For one never waits for a thunderstorm under a pale red sky, only when the clouds gather.

He refused, of course. He struggled under her claws. And like his peers trapped alongside him, he saw the slithering drake devour creature after creature. And he suffocated upon return through the Eye of Kadmos.

And he knew that her name was Nagasha Magnifex, greatest among dragons in Drakha, wisest in the bismuth spire.

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