Okay, here goes in an attempt to write a decent story. I make no to pretenses of being a writer, I'm just typing 'cause I got a thought in my head. Normally I'm not a big writer, I'm more likely to read something from the site than actually post something. So here goes... Well, maybe in another paragraph or so.

First, I am supposed to say that I do not own anything from Breath of Fire or anything else that this might bare resemblance to, so they own it and not me, and I solemnly swear not to make a profit off of this... Kind of stupid to say that since I think it's difficult to make a profit off of something that I'm not selling. Well, if you did want to give me money out of the kindness of your heart that would be nice, but you don't have to.

The second thing I have to do is give a sort of background piece to perhaps give you insight, or to perhaps waste your time. I was playing the game Gladius a lot at the time so the thought of writing a tale of gladiators popped into mind, I modified that after playing some Breath of Fire games and watching Lord of the Rings movies and playing Risk. The story got jumbled into its present state and here it is. If you notice any striking resemblance to something else other than what I've mentioned I want you to remember a few things: 1) There are only 7 main themes to a story. 2) I'm a compulsive thief. 3) The Wachowski Brothers are worse than I am. Keep those three items in mind and we should be fine.

Here's the prologue:

Prologue: The End of a Dream

On a rain and blood soaked field the armies of the Followers were marshalling into ranks beneath the baleful gaze of Dragon Tower and the last stronghold of the Dragon Empire. Over one million troops were pulling into ranks before the walls surrounding the metropolis. Merzauk stood upon the crenellations and smiled cynically to himself. *How the high have fallen?* He thought, feeding his dark mood. To think that he would live to see the Empire in its golden years only to have it replaced by the bloodiest war ever to be witnessed.

His own forces were making preparations upon the walls and streets. The City had been converted into a death trap, a dying ground for any who would enter with the idea of conquering. Merzauk knew he couldn't win this fight, with only a hundred legions left to call upon in this dire time. He used to be able to call upon ten times that many. "How the high have fallen?" He repeated aloud slamming his fist against the stone in anger.

One of his generals came rushing up the flight of stairs towards Merzauk's solitary vigil, "My Liege, the catapults have been readied and the archers stand prepared to let loose their volley." He rose up from his position on his knee and looked with anticipation into Merzauk's eyes. Merzauk, wanted to say something to give him hope, to give them all hope, but anything he might have said stuck in his throat. In the end, all Merzauk could do was nod before saluting the General and turning back to watch the Armies of the Followers.

Their banner was a combination of the three aligned Kingdoms: Windia, Woren, and the Humans, a winged sword on a sunburst. It might have been a beautiful sight if the army wasn't arrayed against him. He had always thought that he'd been a merciful ruler, if it weren't for him these people would still be fighting amongst themselves in perpetual civil wars. His predecessors had been keen upon taking the lands and spreading technology, but not about feelings and people. *Look where our kindness has brought us, a loss of everything we once claimed home, the death of over half of our population, everything gone.*

The great horn of Azgurn sounded from the Dragon Tower and the catapults let loose their bales of pitch and naphtha. The heavy rains may have quenched any other kinds of fire, but these fires grew, almost as if the water was the fuel. Clusters of men and worens screamed in agony while the fires fused flesh and metal together. The Followers sounded their own horns and began a quick march into the jaws of the Dragon. The arrows began their deadly paths, each archer not bothering to fire as a group but spurred on by fear and anger, let loose arrow after arrow into the seething mass.

Occasional balls of pitch fell into the ranks but the ranks held firm and continued to march despite the injuries it had sustained. "At least they were foolish enough to trust the Windians to batter down the gates and refuse to use siege weaponry." Merzauk said scanning the dark clouds for signs of the Windian forces. They would come when things were going their worst for him, he knew it. Almost on cue the pearly white wings of a Windian came into sight. *Bless Ladon for good eyesight.*
The wings were soon joined by another and then another, until an entire battalion swept into view, even in the air they kept tight ranks. *All the easier to kill.* Merzauk pulled out his sword and swept it downwards giving a signal to the few remaining members of the Brotherhood. Together they began they control of the weather, the storm proved advantageous to the defense as the Windians soon realized. Bolts of lightning issued forth with deadly accuracy to strike groups of Windians and the army below.

The Windians retaliated hurling a controlled tornado into the steel gates of the city. Again and again the winds buffeted the gates but they still remained steadfast. Meanwhile, more pitch and arrows was being dumped upon the Followers. An agonizing fifteen minutes later, the Windians still remained in strong numbers, but the Brotherhood had exhausted all the power left to them. Merzauk gestured again with his sword and the archers began to let loose their arrows upon the Windians.

The ground forces surged again and breached the gate and found a great portcullis barring their way. As soon as a good number of the forces had pushed their way through, the trap was sprung, a great fire surrounded those inside the gates and proceeded to let them know their error. It was still not enough, the Windians began to land upon the walls and fought the archers in a tooth and nail fight for control of the height. The Dragons were strong but after a years worth of war they had tired, and with all hope lost they began to pull back and relinquish key points.

A foolish soldier lighted near Merzauk and was swiftly eviscerated. He felt a little better after that, he spied more of their troops flying towards him, obviously a high ranking official since the Royal Guard flew with the person at the forefront. Merzauk raised his left hand and summoned forth a small bit of power, pure force erupted from his palm and exploded in the middle of the incoming Windians. Of the ten potential attackers, five plummeted from the skies while the remaining doubled their efforts.

He glanced down and saw the second portcullis beginning to buckle under the magical and physical assault, small groups of archers still manned parts of the wall and attacked the Windians ferociously, they knew that this was the end and that they had to make it count. The Windians were upon him in that brief glance, one went down immediately, thinking him unaware and caught his sword in a swift horizontal cut. Merzauk shuffled backwards executing a riposte, killing a second. The remaining three backed off, circling him.

He felt good for the first time in months, being able to fight again let him forget some of what would come by tomorrow. Pulling a dagger from his belt he hurled it at an unsuspecting Windian, piercing it in his throat. The other two charged and had their attacks met with the King's sword. Merzauk, recognized one of his attackers as the Queen of Windia. "A fool hardy gesture Anora!" Merzauk snarled, kicking her back before swiftly cutting down the last of her guards.

Anora was sent over the wall by the force of the blow and flew down towards the gate wanting to see to final stand in dubious safety. Merzauk quickly descended from his perch to stand with his people in their final hours. The remaining forces of the Dragon Army readied their shields and brought up spears in anticipation for the oncoming attack. The gates finally fell and the last trap on the wall was unleashed, hogsheads of molten lead were poured down upon the invaders scalding all and encasing some in a fresh tomb. Their compatriots charged by them and ran headlong into the Dragon lines.

Merzauk's world was quickly confined to ten feet as he quickly cut through anyone who would try to take this point from him. His new world was born and baptized amidst blood. Seconds were millennia of violence as bodies entered, fell away, and rose up trying to destroy the small world but it was constantly stabilized by the relentless swordplay of Merzauk.

No matter how well he fought, no matter how well his people fought, they were inexorably pushed back. During a brief respite in his part of the battle, Merzauk looked upon the walls to see the flag of his nation being pulled down and replaced with the Follower's banner. The entire army noticed this happening and a break in the fighting became a cease fire of sorts. Every race looked upon that single piece of cloth fluttering in the wind. A break in the enemy ranks appeared and three figures walked through towards Merzauk.

He recognized the three leaders of the Followers: Anora, King Vol√ľnd, and the War Chief Urzak. Merzauk was tempted to kill the three of them right now but he doubted he could do it at this point. What remained of the Windian attack force was perched along the wall and had their arrows trained upon him. The trio stopped five feet in front of him and stood expectantly.

Merzauk sheathed his sword and glared at the three, he was fighting the Border Wars when their parents were still in the womb. He had quelled the civil war in Woren when these people were learning to read and write. He had traveled to the distant Dragon Islands when these people were attending their first Royal Ball as men and women. Yet here he was the most powerful Dragon Clanner, the Chosen of Ladon, and the Emperor of the known world, standing before three spoiled children.

"Greetings King Merzauk, we have come to discuss your terms of surrender." Anora said bowing her head, as if she were equal to him.

He sneered in response to the very thought of his people surrendering. "There is nothing to discuss child! You don't have forces left to take the city, unless you have an extra score of legions hidden somewhere, you barely outnumber us by half our forces. No, I think it is you who should think about surrender before your army is broken under the Eye of Ladon."

Anora's eyes steeled and looked at Merzauk like she would love to give the signal to fire. "I do not have to take the city, I just have to make sure that your pathetic race can never subjugate the world ever again."

"Even if that were possible, think of the cost it would exact upon your army, every single one of them would die in the taking of the city, for when the Tower is breached, everything ends." Merzauk retorted looming above the diminutive ruler.

"I don't care if they die, I don't care if I have to raise another million soldiers and have them die so long as I can see your race dead!" Anora shouted at him, loud enough for everyone on the battlefield to hear it. Her counterparts looked at her in surprise but hid it when she looked over at them.

*Anora is not herself.* Ladon said suddenly within Merzauk's mind. He was surprised to say the least, he never would have thought that one of their leaders was not there mentally. Then who is controlling her. Merzauk asked going into a sort of trance, he could see Anora reading something off of a list but he ignored it. *The Goddess of the Followers: Myria.* Merzauk's surprise doubled in that moment, but the more he thought about it, the more it would explain the complete lack of qualms the army seemed to have in throwing away their troops.

Merzauk came back into the real world just in time to hear Anora ask him if he agreed to the terms. Merzauk would have laughed in her face regardless of what the terms were, Dragons don't surrender. But he could feel Ladon take control. Merzauk was pushed into a small recess of his mind, the events were revealed to him as if he were watching a play.

Ladon-Merzauk seemed to swell in size as he looked upon the pretentious rulers of barbaric humanoids that would still be uncivilized if it weren't for the capriciousness of his people. "I reject your terms Myria! I will not see my children die to satisfy your vengeance! Withdraw your armies or I will step into the battle!" Ladon-Merzauk stood twelve feet tall now and glowered full of rage at the three rulers.

"I will never back down! I will see to it that you land in the deepest pits of Hell!" Anora screeched at him. What happened next will forever be remembered as the time when Ladon gave his final gift to the people. Myria lashed out with a great tendril of energy, trying to ensnare the Avatar of Ladon but the being swelled and began to change. Merzauk could sense himself becoming what Ladon appeared as in his dreams. The King of Dragons began to take shape in what was once the body of Merzauk. Great wings ripped out of his skin and two curling horns grew from the ears that the human once possessed. Falling down onto all fours and his body grew in bulk, scales covering his skin as a giant tail began to snake out, almost crushing part of the Dragon Army.

The newly transformed Ladon glared down at the army arrayed before him. How small it seems now? Merzauk thought from inside the mind of what was once his body. Ladon started to laugh in a deep, grating sound that sent many of the troops back in a half-hearted retreat. Ladon inhaled deeply before letting loose a torrent of black fire onto the forces arrayed before him. Myria raised some sort of shield to protect the body she possessed but offered nothing to the other leaders and to none of the troops. What was once a mighty army had been incinerated into ashes, leaving nothing behind save a few charred bones and armor. Barely a tenth of their army was left upon the field, Ladon slammed his claw down upon the shield breaking it and burying Myria-Anora under his gargantuan foot.

"You will call off this war now. Your army is broken and their leaders killed. You will withdraw from the body you possess and send the child to Merzauk tomorrow to discuss the cease fire. If you do not comply I will unleash MY fury upon your children!" Merzauk could feel Ladon depart from his body but Merzauk still remained in this new form. *My child, I will leave you and your children with the power you have witnessed today, you need only will it and you shall change into this new form.* Merzauk felt bereft of something now that Ladon had departed from him. A bit of the comfort that he had felt was gone and now he stared down at the tattered remnants and a struggling Anora. Merzauk began to transform again back into his old body. He saw Anora scramble to her feet as she trembled in fright and the shock of loss.

When he was full reverted he felt the weight of a great boulder upon his shoulder as he looked at Anora. "Come back tomorrow and we will discuss the cease fire." Merzauk said summoning all the power he had left in him to not falter in his speech or movements. Anora nodded and turned back to her forces, Merzauk did the same. His troops were smiling and clapping him and each other on the back as they celebrated the first victory they had had since the very beginning of this war.

Merzauk smiled with them as he walked back towards the Dragon Tower, most of his troops went to repairing the gates should the Followers attack again. If they did they would die before they even came close to breaching the wall, they simply didn't have enough people. The remainder of the day and night was spent with Merzauk resting and feasting with his son and some of the generals.

The next day shone with a brightness that was unaccustomed to this time of year. Merzauk sat upon his throne as Anora and two other delegates from the other races entered and genuflected before the victorious ruler. "Good morning children. Let us get down to business, the first term of the cease fire should be that you vow never to infringe upon Dragon Territory again. Second, you shall neve..." Merzauk was cut off by Anora who glared at them balefully.

"You will not command us like a father scolding errant children! We have brought the "Great" Dragon Empire to its knees and we shall be the ones who say what the terms are as the victor! We can still call upon more troops and decimate what's left of you army!" She shouted at him, the other two nodding in agreement.

"Anora, please tell me something. If I was to have you three killed right now, who would take command, you all rule by the consent of me. Because as you know, you were nothing but a group of bickering tribes when I settled the matters for you, or have you already forgot my acts of kindness?" Merzauk smiled at the three as they floundered around for answers.

"Our hatred of you will unite the people! Don't try to pass off your ruling as nothing more than tyranny. Your people have ruled us for as long as we can remember and now we have thrown off the yoke of your rule and will make something of ourselves!" Anora finally answered him and Merzauk could see that nothing would be accomplished at this point.

"Fine, what do you think the first term should be..."

And so it went, the cease fire finally became set in stone two days later and really helped the Dragons though the Followers didn't know it. The Dragon Empire was to be no more but the Followers could never unite under the same banner unless they desired to be destroyed by the Kaiser Dragon. The Dragons had to move to the Dragon Isles and could never again lay claim to any lands on the continent though the Followers could not usurp the lands of some of the small villages that still housed the Dragons.

The Great Uprising had ended but none of its original goals had been settled. The Dragons had grown in power and now had an unassailable place to build up their armies should the need arise. The Followers could not create a unified Kingdom of their own not only because of the pact, but because of the lack of a unifying goal. Three million people had died just to revert the world back into a pitiful state with the Dragons the only real winners.

Two thousand years have passed since the Great War...