The word rang out through the fog of the dream-state Aria found herself in. She last remembered meditating in front of the two godly articles that had come into her possession, Vecna’s Phylactery and Tiamat’s Key of Fate. The Phylactery was new, but the Key she had born so long at this point it could be considered her key as much as Tiamat’s.
She didn’t remember falling asleep, but as she blinked her eyes, all that surrounded her was a never-ending white fog, odorless and sensation-less, obscuring all beyond the reach of her hands.
“Who’s there?” she asked.
I am your father.
“My father is dead and you sound nothing like him,” she replied, trying to stand up and get a feel for her location, only to find that she couldn’t. Some force was holding her in place in this empty realm.
I am his father too, and his father’s father, and his father’s father’s father, and so on down the line, so very far down the line.
“You are…you are what, then? Bahamut? This is an odd way to seek my worship; I won’t bow down to you here just as I won’t in the real world.”
Bah. I am no god, daughter. I am… I was as real as you; I ate, breathed, slept, lived, and loved, just as you do. Now, I am just a lingering memory of myself…but I have slept too long, far too long.
Two glowing pinpricks of light appeared deep in the fog, then, as it took on a darker, smokier texture.
“Then who are you? How am I your daughter?”
You are the last of my children. All the others have died off or become too…separated…over the gulf of time. I had given up on any of my children ever awakening again, but you, you have reclaimed that within yourself. Your blood has called to me. My hopes now rest in you.
The points of life grew bigger as they moved closer. There was the occasional odd glint of light and the faint hint of a large skull behind them, a sense of sharpness and fire. Aria was sure the darkening in the fog looked like smoke wreathing its way around some great head.
That I would see the Dark Bitch dead and gone from this world.
The shape thrust forward out the fog, then, a head as big as Aria herself. It was covered in shiny, golden scales which looked polished to a high sheen even in this foggy realm. Two giant eyes met hers above a mouth filled with sharp teeth the size of daggers. Smoke curled out from this mouth, and she could feel the heat and see the dull reddish glow coming from deep within the dragon.
I fought her. I fought her for my lord, Bahamut. I fought her dragons, and I killed them. I raised my children to fight her, and their children. I made it my purpose, my only reason for living, to see her dead. When she slaughtered my children, when she cursed my line because it amused her to do so, my lord did nothing. He offered no aid, no succor, not even compassion. He let it happen and he left me to die as she sent her armies at me. I burned them all; I scoured the fields to the very rock beneath the soil, but they had done me too much harm. I died there, and even though it had cost her all of her forces, she didn’t care. There were always more minions. She had ended me and my lord had done nothing in return.
“This…this feud goes further back than I ever thought.”
A great clawed hand reached out from the fog and wrapped itself around Aria, lifting her up as the head rose to its full height. She could make just make out the outline of the rest of this colossal dragon, and it was bigger than any other dragon she had ever seen.
You are my last hope, daughter. Together we can end her. I swore off of gods when my lord abandoned me, but I will not let her atrocities stand anymore. I offer you my help in ending her reign. Do you accept?
“I…yes, I do.”
My name is Gaulier’Ix’Vaeros. Remember it, for this is the last time it will be spoken. It was nice to have met you, daughter. I am…happy, for the first time in longer than I can remember.
A second hand emerged from the fog and wrapped around her. She was brought in close to the dragon’s chest, feeling the intense warmth emanating from the great body. The dragon’s scales started to shine brightly, reflecting the light from some unknown source. The light increased in intensity until there was nothing else.
Two voices now spoke out as one.
We will bathe our talons in her blood. We will tear out her throat with our teeth. We will end her. I fight not for gods nor men. I fight for the honor of my line. I fight for all of my children who have fallen. I fight for those who suffer at the whims of capricious gods, for those who can’t fight for themselves. I will fight until it is done.
The eyes that opened did not belong to Aria anymore. What looked out from behind them was something very old, but also something brand new.
“This I swear,” she said to the items in front of her. She picked up the Key of Fate and held it close to her face, studying it with her gaze. “I am coming for you. You may throw your armies at me, all of your pets, and I will kill them all. I will not rest until you are dead at my feet. So swears Aria Ix’Vaeros.”
She gripped the Key so tightly that its sharp edges drew blood from her hand. As she released her grip, she noticed that her talons had left deep scratches in the surface of the key and she smiled.
“Run, Dark Bitch. Run far and hide and shake and shiver in fear with the knowledge than you will never be able to run fast enough or far enough. Your doom has come.”