Wyrmling 1.1

My name in this life is Taylor Hebert.

It's sometimes hard to remember that.

The last time I was fifteen years old, I hadn't even started my career. Gods, I had barely awakened the power that flowed within my veins. The next forty years after that had been quite the adventure, easily enough to eclipse a life of comparatively comfortable monotony. It also put the bullying in perspective.

It was hard to feel hurt by mere taunts when you'd been on the receiving end of words that could literally kill. It was hard to feel betrayed by words when you remembered a betrayal that had come with an actual dagger in the back.

Take the latest attempt the trio had made to try and bother me. Juice. Really? I rolled my eyes and played along, but once they were gone, I gestured at my soiled clothing and possessions.


The trio looked puzzled when I returned to class after lunch, apparently untouched, but I ignored them. With prestidigitation and an arcane lock on my bookbag, there was literally nothing they could do to me short of physical assault. A faint smile crossed my face as I considered that.

Brokk had been a half-orc, a bit bloodthirsty but a good man. He had once told me that the worst insult an enemy could suffer was to be ignored. Once, I might have argued with that.

But he was right. I had other plans. In the end, the trio was irrelevant.

As I looked down once again at what passed for my costume - a hooded cloak, a simple mask, a leotard, and some tights - I once again cursed whoever crafted that orb of resurrection. It was supposed to resurrect me at the moment I died, with my gear, not strand me in a reincarnation a world away with no sign of my equipment.

Well, there was nothing for it now.

I suppose I could have joined the Wards, but if there was one thing I learned as a professional adventurer, it was that reputation mattered. Starting at the bottom without a decent rep meant getting the shit jobs, and I did not have the patience for that.

I was not expecting to run into Lung on my first night. Inexplicably, I smiled. I'd slain a few dragons in my time, and it was always an exhilirating experience. Lung was definitely a red, and the silver in my veins practically sang out to destroy him.

Still, I'd heard the rumors. I knew his rep. While taking him down would be an awesome debut, I wasn't sure I was ready to face him. I needed some time to shake the rust off skills that had last been used literally a lifetime ago.

I was about to withdraw when I began to sort through his accent.

"...the children, just shoot. Doesn't matter your aim, just shoot. You see one lying on the ground? Shoot the little bitch twice more to be sure. We give them no chances to be clever or lucky, understand?"

They were going to kill kids?

That called for a change of plans.

I moved to the edge of the roof until I had a clear line of sight. Lung was the main threat, but the rest of his men were armed.

"Protection from arrows."

In addition to the mage armor I had already cast when I had first set out that night, that would further blunt the effects of gunfire, which meant I could now focus on Lung.

"True strike," I murmured. I couldn't allow myself to miss. I had one chance to put him down. "Polar ray."

Guided by magic, my aim was true, and Lung dropped to the ground, unmoving. His men turned. Some panicked and ran, but others opened fire at my rooftop vantage point.

The air around me rippled as bullets struck the shield around me.

"Sleet storm."

The effect was instantaneous, the microstorm dropping sleet and freezing rain down on the Azn Bad Boys, eventually driving them away.

I smirked, then turned as I heard loud thumps landing on the roof behind me.

Three creatures stood on the rooftop with me. They looked something like the abominations that one necromancer up north had cobbled together. Two of them had two riders each. I watched as the people slid off the backs of the animals. There were two girls, a guy, and a fourth I identified as male only because of the height. The tall one approached me, while the others hurried to the edge of the roof to look at my handiwork.

"You really saved us a lot of trouble," he said, holding a hand out. I declined to take it.

"Holy shit."

We both turned to look. One the girls - a blonde dressed in a skintight outfit of black and some other dark color I couldn't quite make out in the darkness - was staring at me, wide-eyed.

"You killed Lung," she said.

I blinked, then shook my head. "No," I said. "That's... not possible."

Granted, polar ray was one of my powerful attack spells, but rumor had it, Lung had fought an Endbringer to a standstill. My polar ray only had maybe a 50/50 shot of even bringing down a mere juvenile red dragon.

"First night out, huh?" the girl said as she and her companions regrouped with the tall one. "Underestimated your powers? Accidents happen, I suppose."

I looked down at Lung. Or his corpse, I guess. That... wasn't good. While it was definitely one hell of a boost to my rep... would the Wards accept someone who had killed someone, even by accident?

"Shit," the girl spoke up again, and I looked over. "She's a hero."

Why would that-? My eyes widened in realization.

"And she's just figured out we're villains."

Suddenly, darkness flooded out from the tall one.

"True seeing. Web." The girl who had been speaking had slipped avoided the entangling snare, but my eyes darted over to the three creatures as they turned and snarled at me. I didn't have the right hold or charm spell to stop all three of them before one of them munched on me. "Fear."

As the three monsters ran off, I turned to the last girl. I raised my hands again, a magic missile on my lips... when she spun, held her hands up, and squeaked, "I surrender!"

A/N: Her polar ray deals 17d6+17 damage (anywhere from 34 to 119 damage, with an average of 76.5 damage). For comparison, a Barrett M82A1 "Light Fifty" or M2HB Browning heavy machine gun - both chambered in the .50 BMG round - deals 2d12 damage (between 2 and 24 damage, with an average of 13 damage), and an M72A3 LAW deals 10d6 damage (anywhere from 10 to 60 damage, with an average of 35). It's been said a few times that baseline Lung could be sniped. He just ate an attack that does, at its minimum, nearly half again as much damage as an anti-materiel rifle's maximum damage.