The winds whips her face as she runs, her feet hitting the earth with superhuman speed.
She just needs to make it to the river.
A breath of heat licking her heels sends her running faster, WULD NAH KEST leaping to her lips with practiced ease.
Her feet eat up the distance as if they were dragon's wings.
He hates her with all the fury of fire; he has to. She is his antithesis - "though not enough" - the world's shamans intone.
She is just enough his twin to destroy him.
The speed of dragons leaves her as she splashes into the water. Pinpricks flit over her body, the tell-tale sign her bending is healing her, erasing the dragon's marks.
She is human, mortal, a quickly burning life, and as human is water and earth.
He is dragon, timeless, Akatosh's own, as such he is air and fire.
They should be opposites, opposed but able to live in tandem - or war, really, for the greed of sentient species cannot be contained whether they were furs and skin or scales and claws.
But she, Katara of Riften, is Dragonborn, dovahkiin, the blood of Akatosh - or Agni if you want to use the dragon name for him - so she is water, earth, with that touch of divine fire.
She can rage with a temper as great as any dragon.
Her fury has toppled glaciers, toppled empires, and debased would-be gods. Alduin and Miraak lay broken at her feet. One upstart dragon won't be her end.
Claws drag along the surface of the river, and she pounces.
Wrapped in waves, she explodes from the water to wrap around the dragon's neck. He spins over, but her wave has solidified into ice. His wing joints compromised, he falls towards the earth, and crashes, his weight between her and the ground.
He writhes, clawing, trying to reach her and dislodge her but she pushes free, drawing water along with her to lock him in ice to the ground.
It doesn't last long - without her constant bending, his joints work free and he rights himself, lips drawn back so his teeth - long and sharp - are ready to strike and devour her whole.
He is too slow; she bought just enough time.
JOOR ZAH FRUL
He flies back, the purple magic taking him by surprise. He tumbles back, falling over himself.
Katara's running now, towards him, ice needles forming in her hands ready to shred his wings when she suddenly stops in horror.
There's no gust of power keeping him grounded. Instead, his scales and swathes of hide are lifting from him, peeling away into licks of flame that vanish as he's wreathed in golden light.
Did she kill him so quickly?
By the Nine, by Tui and La, no.
A man, a human man in clothes out of fashion by several eras, stands on unsteady feet and looks at his hands and her in wonder.
"Lost drey hi?"
"What have you done," he growled, practically a roar.
"How are you human?"
"That's how I was born until-" He cuts himself off, drawn back with sudden surprise. His hair is dark, awkwardly cut as if cut in a hurry. He glances back at her with golden eyes. "How can you use the dovahzul?"
She smirks, "I am dovahkiin."
He starts towards her - her hand drift to her water pouch out of habit - and as he gets closer she can make out a scar across one eye and cheek.
He's unarmed, unsurprisingly, and doesn't move with lethal intent, so Katara relaxes, only to start again when he suddenly grabs her chin, tilting her face from side to side.
"Yes," he begins as she squirms to get free from his iron grip. "I guess you are." He lets go just as she makes to jab him in the side.
"Well, Hermaeus Mora lied. Knowledge divinity and he tells me I have to slay the Dragonborn, the being of earth, fire, and water."
"That's not a surprise. Were those his exact words? Because that squid will slip around anything if it's worded right. He's a chore."
The man quirks an eyebrow. "Dealt with him personally?"
"Twice. I didn't get to punch him either time."
"What's your name? Or should I call you Dovahkiin?"
"That's not related to the Dovahzul at all."
She rolls her eyes. "Yes, because a couple of humans living in Riften are going to be fluent enough in an ancient dragon tongue that they'll name their daughter a hero's name."
"We're standing in it. This whole hold is Riften, though I guess as a dragon you wouldn't recognize human borders. Where are you from?"
"Cyrodill. Though I imagine it's changed. I'm not sure what year this is."
"Welcome to the Fourth Era. We've got no High King, no Emperor, though I'm working on that."
He sputters, before trying to pass it off and retain dignity. "I was a dragon longer than I thought."
Katara shrugs, like this is a normal occurrence. "Happens to the best of us," she replies, thinking of a vampire who is considering mortality, who held an Elder Scroll just as Katara did.
"Anyway, not-dragon, what's your name?"
He glowers, before biting the name out again with the same sense of doom with which the Greybeards speak. "Zinyoros."
"Your parents gave you that name?"
"No," his anger dissipates into something much more tragic, intangible and difficult to hold like wisp wrappings. "I don't remember that name. I don't remember them."
Katara reaches out with a hand, startling him even if he leans into the touch. "Come with me, then, Zinyoros. I'll show you what the human world's been up to while you flew above it."
He'd almost forgotten music, too, until she said his name.
(A/N: Mirabelle's "Dragonrend" inspired this. Also, according to "Zinyoros" would approximately mean "flame of honor.")