A New Enemy

Cold cruel winds slashed Cynder's scales and wings as she flew like a demented demon through the harsh, merciless night air. Having decided to attack under the cover of darkness where she was not only hidden, but more alive than she ever felt in daytime. Thankful that her black scales allowed her to meld whith the shadows as she soared swiftly to the location of the rebel outpost. Landing noiselessly on a rocky outcrop overlooking the vast murky swamp the black Dragoness waited and watched.

The rebel group consisted of five griffins, a dozen moles, and, something that the Lady of Darkness would have to be wary of- cheetahs. There were roughly 20 of the spotted cats, all armed to the teeth. Taking this into account Cynder started to formulate a cruel scheme to ensure that none escaped alive…

The moon was now high in the sky, which irked the young Dragoness but she couldn't wait any longer. Diving down from her perch she swiftly snatched on of the two sentries into the air, slicing her claws through his throat before he could make a sound. Relishing in the warm blood with dripping from her cruel curved talons, she landed. Dropping the corpse noiselessly to the swampy ground she slipped across to where the other sentry was stationed.

A quick flick of her tail ended the griffin's life. That was the easy part, now on to stage 2 of her plan. Taking off on silent wings, she hovered above the camp, looking around for something to burn.

Damn it! I better hurry up before-

She was cut off rather forcefully by an arrow that pierced her shoulder. Hissing as hot spikes of pain speared her limb, Cynder was distracted enough for another arrow to safely pierce her hip.

Not very good shots. she snorted before banking to the left, avoiding another two arrows. Landing swiftly she quickly assessed that her injuries were merely painful, not life threatening. Glaring at the two cheetah's who had launched the arrows she opened her maw and engulfed the smaller one with a searing hot flame. Satisfaction flowed through her twisted mind, as the screams of the dying cat tore through her ears. Turning to the second cat, she leapt forwards. Her pain, rather than hindering her, gave her new strength.

Slicing her claws through his furred pelt, a shiver of delight ran up her spine as her claws slid through skin and muscle. Before her victim had touched the ground, another blaze of flame scorched through the canvas of a tent, roasting it's inhabitants alive. By now the rest of the camp was on the alert, and all were armed with various weaponry. Advancing on her menacingly, the largest cheetah, who could have been the leader snarled at her

"Just who are you? And what is your reason for attacking us like this, you damned lizard."

Bristling at the insult Cynder hissed "Not that it's any business of yours fur face, but I'm here to kill you all on order of my…" she spat the last word "…Master."

"And just who is your master?" he asked

"Like I'd tell scum like you!" she barked, before flicking her tail at him.

Avoiding it the cheetah swung his weapon, a short, thick bladed sword at her. Leaning back she avoided the strike before beheading a mole which had tried to sneak attack her with a wing blade.

"Stop!" the cheetah commanded "Leave her to me!"

Dutifully, the rest of the creatures backed off to form a living arena around the pair.

Grinning evilly Cynder hissed "So, you want to die alone do you?"

"It is you who will die today traitor!" the burn orange cheetah growled, as he twirled his weapon.

"Traitor?" the black Dragoness snapped, rearing her head back to glare down at the warrior before her "How can I be a traitor to someone I've never met?" she asked, genuinely confused.

Stamping his foot hard to the ground, the feline snorted in disgust and spat in Cynder's face before saying venomously "The Dragons agreed to help us against the apes, it seems that they have switched sides!"

Suddenly, immense pain almost blinded Cynder, as the Cheetah's oddly shaped blade sliced her scales, ripping them open like water. With two arrows already in her, Cynder was at a disadvantage in this fight. Pain was of almost no hindrance to her, but blood loss and the arrowheads grinding against her bone quickly slowed her down.

Sensing his advantage, the cheetah pressed forwards, scoring a deep slash down her left flank. Shaking him off, Cynder skipped backwards before buffering him hard with her wing blade. Unfortunatly, only the flat of the blade collided with her opponents head. Cursing, Cynder was about to leap forwards to strike the dazed cheetah, when the arrows in her legs stopped, her, sending her crashing to the ground. Burning pains contricted her chest, as she staved her breastbone on the ground. Coughing, she was barely able to make out the figure bearing down on her through the colours exploding in her vision

Roaring in irritation, Cynder flicked her talons through the air. A scream of agony told the twisted Dragoness that she had hit her mark- right on her adversaries chest. Roaring in rage the cat leapt forwards stabbing his blade deep into Cynder's side. This would have allowed him to end the contest there and then with a blow to the skull, had the dragoness' long tail not stabbed his chest, smashing three of his ribs. Falling to his knees, the cheetah gasped , clutching his wounds and struggling to breathe,

"Why?"

"Because I was told," Cynder said emotionlessly, before smirking "And I enjoyed it."

The cheetah opened his mouth to say something but keeled over as the pain overtook his senses. Satisfied he would die, Cynder turned her attention to the stunned spectators. Rolling her eyes at their idiocy, she scorched a few so their screaming would snap the others out of shock. It did. However, instead of attacking, the group ran. Snarling in irritation the Terror of the Skies took to the air and chased them down.

Eventually, she had slaughtered them all the way a terrier hunted rats, despite her horrific injuries. Laying down, she decided to tend to her wounds before going back to Gaul. Gripping the arrow in her shoulder with her teeth, she tried to pull it out. After a few seconds she quickly realised she was only going to snap it and make it even harder to remove. Shrugging she laid her head on her paws and fell asleep until night fell away to morning.

Long after Cynder had recovered enough to begin the flight back to the Well of Souls, the cheetah she had left for dead stirred. Everything around him was burning, and he was an inch from death. No matter how hard he had struck that Dragon she had kept coming at him; it wasn't natural. Pushing any thoughts from his mind he closed his eyes again and waited to die. Death never came. Just before he drifted into unconciousness a small black blurred shape appeared in his vision.