Here at long last
I hope you enjoy.
Part 15 To prefer a lie or the truth
I emerged out of the aircraft hanger and into the night air ignoring the pleas of the others for me to not pursue Traegard.
The runway I was now standing on was lined with warehouses on either side and was lit up by huge service lights.
I looked around trying to spot Traegard but there was no sign of him. I moved from warehouse to warehouse trying to find him and in frustration I smashed my fist through a wall.
“Damn it!!” I cursed loudly. “Show yourself COWARD!!” I roared but there was no reply nor did I expect one.
I was filled with rage and an unfamiliar bloodlust as my mind wandered back to the images of all my friends’ disfigured bodies back in the cryostasis chamber.
As I remembered that horrible sight, my anger subsided and I leaned against one of the warehouse doors and I slid to the floor feeling depressed and miserable.
I took several deep breaths to calm myself, and covered my eyes as I began to cry.
I had not given myself the time to let the deaths of my friends sink in and I didn’t hold back the tears. I had always put on a very mature and intelligent outlook for myself, but I felt no shame allowing myself to sob so hard that I felt like I was dying. Almost everyone whom I had considered the closest thing to family I had ever known was gone and I couldn’t help but think that I could have saved them.
“Why did this happen to us?” I wondered sadly. “None of my friends deserved to die like that…WHY!?” I slammed my fist into the ground breaking the concrete.
Again my anger subsided and was replaced with sorrow.
I got back up and stared at the full moon while tears still flowed down my face.
“I’ll finish this… I’ll get the ones responsible” I said quietly as I wiped the tears off my face.
I focused then on my surroundings and at the end of the runway I could see the ocean, lit by the moonlight.
"The ocean?" I wondered aloud.
I spotted a large sign post facing the sea and I walked over to it.
"Welcome to Fellrock island" the sign read.
"An Island!?" I said in disbelief.
The shock of this news set in quickly but the thought that I had been brought from the mainland and all the while being unconscious (and most likely drugged) was very disconcerting.
This island I realized must be a secret research facility. These days it was easy enough to erase an island from official records and all local knowledge if you have the right connections and money.
I surmised at this point that the island must be relatively close to the mainland. It made sense to me that they would take children from somewhere that was the closest to this island.
At that moment, I wondered. Why use children for these experiments.
I guessed that maybe, because children are in a constant state of growth their bodies probably accept a transformation like mine much easier than an adult, but that was just a theory.
As I stood there I looked at my arm and noticed that the disc Palmer had given me had slipped out slightly from under one of my scale plates.
I took the disc a stared at it for a moment.
‘My original intention was to destroy this disc as soon as I found Jack’ I thought to myself. ‘But I may need this save Shara…if she’s still alive.
I didn’t understand why, but the thought of Shara being hurt or dead seemed to disturb me. I had only just met her tonight, and yet… she felt like…family.
I felt confused. I was dragon now but it did not feel unnatural. In fact, it felt normal…
I had never felt normal in my whole life, I always felt awkward and out of place with everything else.
But now, I felt complete… as if I was meant to have been a dragon all along.
I did my best to push these inner doubts and confusing feelings aside as I replaced the disc under my scales.
I turned to walk back towards the aircraft hangar and join up with the others but then I saw someone.
I glanced over at an alley between two of the warehouses on the runway and I spotted someone standing there watching me.
“Who are you!?” As soon as I spoke the person took off down the alley and I immediately pursued.
I ran through a maze of back alleys and soon emerged into a junkyard. It was filled with old and broken mining equipment and I remembered the mineshafts from before.
This was the equipment used to dig those tunnels, for a moment I wondered why there was a mining operation here at some time.
I glanced around for the person I had followed here but then I heard a voice.
"I have found you..." said a mysterious woman "I was concerned you may have been killed”
I turned around and saw someone standing atop an old but huge drilling machine almost ten meters above me.
I couldn’t see this person’s face or anything else about her. She was silhouetted against the light of the full moon and wore a cloak and hood.
"Who are you?" I asked taking a cautious stance.
"I am the one who created you…Virgil" she replied.
"You are responsible for my transformation?" I asked with a hint of anger in my voice. “That doesn’t make sense! Traegard was the one who did this to me!”
“No” She said flatly. “He transformed you into a dragon, but I… I made you what you are, in body and mind”
“I don’t understand!” I shouted in frustration.
“Didn’t you ever wonder why you were so intelligent for one so young?” she said “Or how you were so strong?”
At her words I recalled many different points in my life where I excelled in school and in my physical attributes as well.
“You were not an ordinary human” she said.
“Who are you!?” I yelled, becoming frustrated. “How do you know these things?”
The woman ignored my question and stared at me a moment.
“You have performed brilliantly ever since they allowed you to escape,” she said with a hint of satisfaction in her voice.
“Allowed me to escape?” I exclaimed.
“Precisely, they did not simply make a mistake restraining you” she replied.
“What the hell are you talking about? They didn’t let me…” I stopped in mid sentence as I thought back to when I woke up strapped to the bed.
Leather bonds were far too weak to hold me once the transformation began. I realised, it was no mistake that I broke free, but an intentional error.
I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it earlier. It was plain to see that I was set loose as a means to test my new abilities.
They were not ignorant of a dragon’s combat abilities. They were not foolish enough to make such a mistake. They simply allowed me to run free and no doubt monitored the results.
“My escape…everything I’ve done up to this point was all a test, wasn’t it” I said feeling as if I had been led blindly on a trail I couldn’t see.
“Well done!” she said in a congratulatory tone. “Now that you know the truth, you can use that knowledge against them”
“Okay then” I said suddenly. “Then what’s to stop me from leaving this island right now and putting an end to all this!?”
The woman laughed at my comment and I growled slightly at her apparent amusement.
“You could leave” she replied “But I know you better than you realise, you would never abandon your friends, especially Jack” she said darkly and without questioning her I knew what she meant.
“If you hurt him, I’ll tear your face off!!” I spat in rage.
“You’re quite protective of him aren’t you? He’s the closest thing to a brother you have after all. But don’t worry. I have no intention of harming him or you”
“WHO THE HELL ARE YOU!?” I yelled impatiently.
“You have other concerns to deal with right now than fighting me” she said.
“That’s it! I’m getting answers now!” I was ready to launch myself at the cloaked woman when she said-
“Palmer is a Slayer!” she said and I almost tripped over at those words.
“What!?” I said surprised.
“Terrance Palmer, is a top level Dragon slayer and is currently in charge of this facility,” she explained. “I know he made contact with you under the guise of being a victim of a conspiracy”
“But…” I began “but why? Why show himself and…” I pulled out the disc palmer had given me.
“Why give me the only remaining copy of the formula for the DT project!?” I questioned utterly confused.
“Because this facility’s computer mainframe has been compromised,” she answered. “Palmer needed to keep a copy of the data safe, and what better place to keep it, than with you. He knew you would not destroy it”
It was true, I kept the disc as insurance so that if worst came to worst I would still have a bargaining chip to play.
“But if that is true…then they must have captured Shara in order to bargain to get the disc back. They want me to go find her!” I said as I finally caught sight of the trail I had blindly followed since this whole mess began.
“Now that we both know what they are planning, we must be unpredictable” She said.
“Hold on” I retorted, “How do I know you are not with them, and that you’re just leading me into a trap?” I questioned.
She paused a moment but then she threw something to the floor in front of me.
I knelt down and picked up a document inside a plastic case.
“Stay here, out of sight and read it” she said.
“I don’t have time for this!” I said nearly throwing the document away.
“They want you to go after Traegard, they WILL be waiting for you to go after him” she explained. “I told you… be unpredictable”
I looked down at the document for a moment.
“What is…” As I looked back up, the woman was gone. “This…”
I glanced around for a time but the mysterious woman was nowhere to be seen.
I didn’t know if this person could be trusted, but she was right about going after Traegard. They would expect me to go after him, so I decided to follow the woman’s advice, but I knew I couldn’t blindly trust her.
I backtracked to the warehouses on the airstrip and snuck inside one of them.
Inside was some airport vehicles, I sat down between two of them and finally returned my attention to the plastic case in my hand and opened it.
Inside was an old Journal, but it looked as though it was missing a lot of pages.
I thought about simply throwing the journal away and continuing my search for Traegard, but my curiosity overpowered me and I sat down against one of the vehicles and began to read through the journal…
The Slayers have been humanity’s defence against the dragons for over five hundred years.
Over that time, the Slayers have invented new and creative ways of fighting their formidable enemies.
Fashioning weapons and armour from a dead dragon’s bones and scales was one of the first steps in our war, since human weaponry is almost useless against dragon flesh and bone.
But the greatest discovery we have ever made, came from the dragons blood.
Approximately three hundred and twenty years ago a slayer by the name of Eloc, led a small army of slayers, killed a dragon in battle and then, he drank the dragon’s blood.
It is uncertain what impulses made him do something like that, but when he did, something amazing happened.
Eloc’s strength greatly increased and he even became younger.
I myself have been using Dragon blood for over seventy years and now I seek to find out how the blood causes these miraculous effects.
I have examined a blood sample from a dragon to find the answers to this. To my amazement, I have discovered that Dragon blood cells actually alter their environment to better suit themselves.
The blood cells end up improving the human body they inhabit.
So put simply, the human who drinks the blood of a dragon gains a semblance of their strength and even longevity.
The effects last for approximately thirty days at which point the dragon blood cells have been used up and more dragon blood is needed to maintain these effects.
I have made a remarkable breakthrough in my research. I have discovered that the effects of dragon blood can last three times as long if injected directly into the blood stream.
However, one must be careful about taking too much of the blood into the body.
It can act like a poison and kill the recipient.
I do however want to find out what would happen if I did a complete transfusion of dragon blood.
I have finally been given approval to experiment with a full dragon blood transfusion.
I have decided to perform the transfusion on terminally ill infants, under the guise of using an experimental medical procedure that may save them (which could be true if successful).
I’ve tried the procedure on nearly a dozen subjects and as I stated in my previous entries, all but one of the infants has died from the transfusion.
He has however gone into a coma, I’m going to wait a few days and see what happens.
The infant in question is only two years of age and was apparently abandoned by his parents.
The attending medical staff, has taken to calling him, Virgil.
As I read this I didn’t want to believe that this was referring to me, it had to be a coincidence, or an elaborate fake.
I wanted to throw the journal away, but an inkling of curiosity made me continue reading.
Virgil has come out of his coma. He had a terminal heart disease and was not going to survive. But thanks to the transfusion, Not only has the dragon blood cured his heart, but also his muscle and bone tissue has begun to show signs of increased density.
It’s incredible. The coma seemed to shut his body down while the dragon blood caused changes inside him.
Once Virgil has been given a clean bill of health, he will be taken to an orphanage of my choosing, so that I can observe him as he grows.
It is too soon to think that there will be no complications.
It’s been three years since the procedure and Virgil is completely healthy.
The transfusion has greatly improved his physical attributes, he’s as strong as a fourteen year old.
After studying a sample of Virgil’s blood, I believe I can repeat the procedure on myself without risk of death.
I am anxious to proceed. This will remove the need to keep using dragon blood and make the effects permanent.
But I want to wait a few more years, just to observe Virgil for any complications that may arise.
I’ve made a mistake… two years after my previous assessment of Virgil, I performed a transfusion on myself.
After seeing the permanent benefits that Virgil has inherited from the procedure I was too eager to perform the same thing to myself.
However, I have discovered that the blood hasn’t only improved Virgil’s physical abilities… it has affected him mentally as well.
His intelligence is remarkably high… and his personality… is just like the dragon whose blood I used on Virgil in the first place.
I did a complete transfusion on myself before I realised this… I have indeed inherited aspects of the personality of the dragon I killed and took blood from.
I…I feel tremendous guilt for everything I’ve done. Why did I feel no shame or pain for those who have died and suffered by my hands… why?
I have made a terrible discovery. I know now why I felt nothing for my crimes, as a member of the Slayers I have been taking dragon blood into my body for nearly eighty years and in all that time I never realised what it was doing to us.
The Dragon blood acts as a narcotic in small doses and suppresses certain emotions.
It’s like an addiction, now that I have been broken of it I need to….
The remaining pages had been torn out.
I sat there, in complete silence feeling sick to my stomach. I thought long and hard about it and despite a part of me saying “it can’t be true!” it gave so many of my questions an answer.
But then a thought occurred to me. The dragon, whose blood was used to save my life years ago and the dragon whose blood, was used to induce my transformation… could they have been one and the same.
I had no solid evidence, but a strong feeling inside me said it was true.
At that moment I threw the journal away, and stood up.
“I don’t care if this is true or not, I know who I am!” I shouted out. "I don't give a shit how I came to be, I am who I am"
I exited the warehouse with a new determination, leapt into the air and took flight
I hovered some two-hundred feet in the air and suddenly I heard an explosion nearby. I turned toward the sound and I saw smoke and fire some five hundred yards away near another section of the facility and I could now hear gunfire.
“Traegard…” I was sure it had to be him.
I was about to make my way there, but I realised he was probably trying to draw my attention and wondering why I haven’t caught up with him.
I turned away from the smoke and flew off toward the other side of the facility.
I decided to find Shara on my own, but I wondered at that moment.
Why was Traegard, a dragon, helping the slayers?
To be continued.