Of Demons and Dragons

Prologue

By nightelfcrawler

Warnings: Violence, language, mature themes and torture

Okay so... in chatting with an rp partner, we ended up discovering that we had been a part of the same fandoms some 10+ years ago. She ran a website that hosted some of my old fics... which made me drag out some old dvds that I'd saved my webpages on... and lo and behold, I found these old fics hanging around still and decided heck why not bring them back. So here they are, a trip down memory lane! These were written in the late 90's and early 2000's when I went by too many psudonyms to remember. I actually forgot who I was until I physically saw the fics listed and went 'oh crap I remember those!'. Ahh memories.

Be warned... these were my first attempts at writing and are likely riddled with grammar, spelling and other noted errors. I've read through them, blushed furiously that I used to write like this, and decided to put them up anyway as-is with no revisions. So please enjoy, but don't bother correcting or whining, they shall be ignored!


This fic is dedicated to a dear friend who made an impact on my life by helping me write this. Sadly, she passed away mid-write which is why this fic was never finished. As tribute to her, I've posted it here unfinished for your enjoyment.


"Please, take this with you!" The young shopkeeper handed a carved ribbed pot with beautiful violet and blue flowers painted on it to the couple across the counter. They accepted it with thanks, and exited the shop. "Come again!" She piped up merrily before turning to another couple.

"Ano, would it be possible to have a pot like that one... only with black as the background and pink with gold lining for the flowers? I don't know if you special order..."

"Of course I can! Xel! You hear that?" She shouted back around her back.

A purple head stuck out of the doorway behind her. "Yep! Coming right up." And it disappeared.

"He'll make one for you now." She smiled pleasantly to the couple.

"Really?" the woman exclaimed. "Right now? Won't it take a while?"

"No, he's a real genius when it comes to this, it frankly surprised me.." She trailed off to pick up a child who was tugging her skirt for attention. "What're you doing out here Val, thought I told you to stay in the playroom." He just gurgled in return.

"Wow, your husband must truly have skill!"

She turned bright red. "Ano.. he's not my husband..."

"Oh! I'm so sorry!" The woman blushed. "I thought you two..."

"Well... No, we're not..." She murmured rather embarrassed. "Just good friends..."

The couple apologized, when the so mentioned person arrived from the back room wielding a fully furnished and painted pot shining with glaze newly laid. "Here you go!" He put the pot on the counter and smiled,
wiping a hand up to clear the sweat from his forehead, leaving a smudge of clay there. "Is this about what you were thinking?"

They exclaimed in astonishment at the pot. "My goodness! So fast..." The woman touched it as if it wasn't real. "It's far better than I imagined!" Her eyes glimmered up at the two. "You are truly the best potters in town by far."

They smiled in return at the praise, thanking them politely as the couple left. The man sighed and wiped his brow now that their crowd had died down a bit, though several customers still were browsing. "What a day, eh Filia-san?"

She nodded, and put the one year old kid on the counter while he clapped his hands happily. "Busier than usual, wouldn't you say?"

"Most likely." He glanced around then sighed. "Well, I suppose I should get back to finishing up that china set..." He yawned. "This is rather tedious..."

She chuckled and elbowed him. "You're just not used to working."

He threw her a smirking glance. "Yeah, that too." And with that disappeared back into the back room once again.

She shook her head lightly and chuckled at him. How different he was now... Considering that two months ago, they'd been at each other's throats... She smiled fondly. Ironic how things were now... She tickled Val's stomach idly watching the shop as the door tingled and more customers came in. It was really ironic though, really, how much different Xelloss was now, compared to what he had been. Amazing what some things will do to a person... She glanced up at the arrival of some customers to the counter, finely dressed. She was too tired to really do much more than smile brightly and nod to them. "Welcome, can I help you?"

"We're looking for someone." Came the cold voice from the three individuals before her, making her eyes open and watch them with slight surprise at their cold tone. It was then that she recognized that they weren't human...

"Looking for someone..." She said quietly eyeing them. "I'll help with what I can... but I'm rather new in this town I'm afraid."

Their gaze was hard on her, almost with disgust. "You're name is Filia Ul Copt, is it not?" One asked harshly. "We know much of your traitorous acts."

She stiffened in anger, but restrained it inside herself. "Well, then you know that I have nothing to do with the council." She eyed their uniforms that she recognized as that of the High Ryuzoku Council members. "So, please tell me what I can do for you."

"We're looking for the Ancient." Came the sharp retort. "Hand him over and we'll leave you in peace."

Her blood froze instantly and her grip on Val tightened protectively in a motherly reaction to her baby. Her voice shook slightly as she eyed them. "I.. don't know what you're talking about."

"Don't lie!" Snapped one individual. By now the store had become silent,
as all the other customers watched the goings on with worry and apprehension. They were mostly regulars, and they all favored her as being a nice person. They hated to see her being put up to a situation like this. "We know that you've been sheltering him, now where is he!"

She took a step back, fear in her eyes at his tone. Just then, the purple head poked out. "It's so quiet out here... What's going..." He saw the individuals, and they all glanced at him dangerously, and he slowly came out wiping his clay covered hands and keeping a locked gaze on them. It was clear that there was severe tension between him and them, as they recognized his face. He walked next to Filia and stopped.
"Well, interesting visitors we have today.."

"What are YOU doing here, you vile creature?" The one apparently the leader snapped out viciously. "With the traitor no less!"

A tight smile crept into his face. "That is none of your business."

"I'll be damned if it is!" he bellowed angrily, when his partner's hand came up to his shoulder and whispered something in his ear, with wide eyes. The man drew back startled, then fixed him with a piercing glare,
apparent surprise on his face. "You? You can't be the one...!"

His narrow gaze returned theirs suspiciously. "What do you mean?" He glanced at Fillia, only to see her panicked glance and clutching Val closer to her. He turned back to them with suspicion. "And what if I am?"

All of their gazes narrowed angrily. "They you're going to come with us now.." Growled the leader. "We have orders to kill you... And any who associate with you." The gaze turned threateningly to Filia. "Especially after we discover just WHO you are!" He snarled holding a hand out as if to fire a blast of energy at the couple and the baby.

However, Xel was quick and leapt over the counter and did a roll out of the way as Filia ducked below the counter. Their opponents immediately split, one after Filia, the other two facing Xel who stood at a ready position behind them with wary eyes. All the other guests had retreated to the far wall, or had evacuated and were watching with fear and horror on their faces wondering what to do. Xel smirked. "Two against one?
That's hardly fair."

"Shut your foul mouth!" Screamed the leader as he lunged for Xel, who nimbly dodged out of the way, only to be intercepted by the other one who brought a hand to his face and punched him hard against the wall,
leaving a trail of three bloody gashes on his right cheek.

Xel shook his head slightly stunned, only to have his opponent thrust a hard foot into his gut, making him double over and gasp aloud in pain as the two set about hitting him as he was pinned against the wall. Fillia watched with fearful eyes as she was cornered by the other, and clutched Val to her protectively closing her eyes in fear.

But it was then that help arrived. Out of seemingly nowhere, a thick pot came crashing down on top of the man's head cornering Fillia, and she looked up to see the customers wielding weapons and headed towards the other two, while one offered her a hand. "Come on, you got to get out of here miss!" He whispered harshly ushering her towards the stairwell, as the door burst open with soldiers suddenly. She glanced back fearfully towards Xel, and the man smiled. "We'll get him out to, come on!"

Xel looked up through slightly blurred vision to see one man holding him go down on the floor after contact with a vase, and while the other was distracted, he brought his knee up into his gut, then nailed him a good one in his vulnerable area, and while he was doubled over in pain, ran up the stairs with the guidance of the others helping him.

He stumbled up the stairs still faint and dizzy, and saw Fillia waiting there worried. At his appearance, relief washed over her face. "Xel!"
She smiled as he panted and leaned on the railing for breath. "Your face!" she put a hand up to his wound, but he shook his head. "I'm fine,
we should leave now, they brought in the town reinforcements..." He looked back anxiously, hearing scuffling up the stairs and cursing.

She nodded and shoved Val into his arms. "Take him and you can escape somewhere. I'll distract them."

He nearly dropped Val as he was shoved into his arms. "What? Are you nuts?" He snatched her arm as she began to calm herself for transformation. "You'll get hurt!"

She glared at him. "They're after you and Val! Don't worry about me, I'm a big girl, I can take care of myself." And with that she began to glow,
and her form shifted and converged as she leapt off the balcony into the air, and a huge golden dragon sped upwards into the sky like a streak of sunlight.

He muttered something as he watched her glide up into the air, despite stares and cries from the people. By now, most were aware that something was going on, and had heard the story from people who'd been there. And since they were well known in the city, most of the townsfolk were outraged at the attack. But he had no time to think of that, as they broke into the room behind him. "Great.." He muttered, and held Val protectively and leapt off of the edge of the balcony as far as he could, before huge feathered black wings exploded form his back and pumped him up into the air as fast as he could make it. He didn't dare change all the way into his true form, it would make it a far more easier target, and more bulk to manuver with. However, the guards below had seen him anyway, and were faster than he could rise up... they were firing arrows up and he tried his best to dodge them, keeping Val close to his chest as he dodged to keep him safe. But one arrow happened to hit it's target, by striking right in the muscle of his left wing. He cried out in pain, and tried to right himself and continue gliding, but it had hit a vital point, and he couldn't hold his wing upright any longer. He felt himself falling, and cursed, then turned his body so that he'd land on his back with Val being safe, even if he was injured... He closed his eyes, holding the young boy close to him and held his breath, as it was forced out of him upon landing on the ground... He gasped for his breath back, but it didn't take long. He opened his eyes to see that he'd landed in a hay wagon, and people around were offering hands looking back worriedly around him.

"Come on!" A man said helping him up and running down an alley. "This way." He opened a cellar door and several townsmen, all of whom Xel knew as customers, entered the hole. He followed, limping lightly as his ankle must have gotten caught on something, and his wing throbbing hard with pain.

He ducked down, and entered the small pit to find quite a nice cellar below. Once he was in, they closed the doors and locked it behind them,
piling something on top to hide it apparently.

Val was crying, clutching Xel's shirt in his pudgy hands tightly, eyes squeezed shut. Xel whispered softly to him, trying to calm him despite the pounding in his chest. The others in the cellar stayed hushed among themselves, and everyone's breaths were held. They could hear footsteps and shouts of questions, and people saying that they'd gone that way.
The footsteps retreated and they lay in silence until they heard a hushed voice speak that they were gone, but they should stay put for safety for some time longer.

Xel nodded to himself, agreeing with them, but worrying about Filia.
Someone took a lantern and lit it, then hung it in the center of the room, to light the area. Xel was kneeling with Val on his lap, his wings hanging limply behind him, and his cheek streaked with blood against his pale face. "You'd best stay here like he says, till they've left the city anyway.." One said quietly. "Are you ok?"

Xel managed to nod faintly as Val's sniffles calmed down as the child hugged him tightly. "Yes... But.." He turned his head and tried to extend his wing a bit to get a glimpse of where he'd been hit, but gasped in pain and shuddered as it lanced up his wing.

One of the townsfolk crept next to him and lifted the lantern to get a better glimpse and whistled low. "This is a pretty serious wound..." He gently probed the wound, and Xel hissed his breath in pain. The townsfolk frowned as he examined the arrow, which was still lodged tightly in it, sticking out the other side of where it had pierced.
"This is a steel shaft..." He said quietly. "We don't have any saws do we?" He glanced around at the other townsfolk questioningly.

"No, this is a root cellar to store food... We have plenty of food, no tools though." The owner said with regret.

Xel grit his teeth. "Then you'll have to pull it out..." He said in a low voice.

They all exchanged glances of worry. "Are you sure?" The man said putting a hand on his shoulder. "It might do worse damage..., I'll have to take it out the same direction it went in, so the fletching will have to go through..."

Xel bit his lip. "Yes... there's no other choice, if you leave it in..."
He stopped, and just hugged Val to him as the young one looked up with wide golden eyes.

The guy sighed. "Ok... Then I'll do it on three, k?" Xel nodded, and closed his eyes, taking deep breaths, and clenching his fists tightly together to dull the pain that would come. "K... one...two..."

And on three, he gripped the arrow tightly and pulled fast and hard, and Xelloss arched his back in pain and stifled a scream as the arrow came out. He felt nauseous and weak and everything around him was fuzzing and flashing brightly. He could hear voices and feel hands on his shoulders supporting him, and voices speaking for him to lie down. He did so,
finding something soft beneath his head as he fought the waves of agony...

After several minutes had passed, his head was clearing a bit, though his face was still pale and he felt weak, and he opened his eyes to see Val curled up beside him sucking his thumb, and the others waiting for him to come around. "You ok?" A concerned voice asked, and he managed to nod a bit, trying to sit up, but someone pushed him back down. "Keep down. We're bandaging it, and you should rest. You've lost a lot of blood."

He nodded in faint agreement, and sighed quietly, then someone came and knelt by him with some cloths and water and began dabbing at his cut face. "Just stay still..." She commanded as she began bandaging his face. He smiled in gratitude and lay there recovering a bit while he was tended to.

By the time they were done, he was feeling a bit better, and managed to open his eyes and roll over onto his back, favoring his injured wing, so he could look at them. "Thank you.." He said quietly. "I can't convey my gratitude enough."

The owner of the cellar smiled and shook his head. "It's ok, I heard what was going on, and though I don't know what all of it means.." His gaze strayed to Xel's wings, "I refuse to let honest people who haven't done anything wrong be attacked the way you have."

Xel smiled in gratitude and glanced down as Val snuggled tighter against him. "I appreciate your kindness... You didn't have to risk your own lives for us.."

"It's nothing." Another insisted. "We're glad to help."

"But, could you answer some questions? I mean, if you're feeling well enough..."

He tried to sit halfway up, and someone pushed him down again. He sighed with resignation. "Yes, of course. What do you want to know?"

They were silent for a while, then finally someone posed a question.
"Why were they after you? The way it sounded, they wanted to kill you."

He nodded slightly. "Yes. They did." He put a hand on Val's head, and the boy sighed and snatched his hand and began sucking on a finger.
"They were after me and him..."

"Why?" A girl asked baffled. "You're nice people!"

He sighed. "Yes... but there are many complications." He saw some of them gaze at his wings and he nodded and closed his eyes, then opened them again. "Yes, we're not human, that much you've assumed, I'll wager."

They nodded slightly. "What are you then?"

"An ancient dragon." He said calmly.

"A dragon!" Some exclaimed. "But... I thought that they were big dumb beasts..."

He smiled faintly. "Well, there are some that are that. But there are also intelligent ones. Namely, ancient, black, and gold dragons."

"But you don't look like a dragon. I mean, except for the wings... but even then..."

He nodded. "Ancients are a bit different than the others. Blacks and Golds are more of what you'd expect..." A worried thought flicked across his mind. "did you happen to catch a glimpse of Filia-san?"

They glanced at each other, then shook their heads. "No..."

"Wait!" One kid said crawling forward. "Was she a dragon too? That big one that went up into the sky! It was all shiny!"

He nodded, making himself a bit dizzy at the effort. "Yes, that was her... did you see if she was all right?"

The boy shook his head. "No, I just saw a glimpse of it..er.. her..."

He sighed. "Sou ka..."

"I'm sure she'll be fine... they were on foot after all." Someone gently soothed.

He sighed. "That's the problem... The ones who attacked us were gold dragons sent from the council..."

They blinked. "A council? Why were they after you?"

He looked up at them, seeing their curios and blank looks. "It's a long feud... Long ago the Golds wiped out all the ancients. They hate us with a passion..."

The horror on their faces was evident. "Why?" Said one shocked.
"They're still trying to kill ancients?"

"Yes... but then, there's only two of us left..." His hand lit on Val's head and he closed his eyes. "We two are the last of our kind."

They gasped softly, shock on their faces, followed by pity which washed over it like rainfall. "Oh... That's horrible..." a woman gasped. "Why would they do such a thing?"

"As I said, ancient blood feuds."

"They seemed surprised though that you were who they were looking for..." Pointed one out who'd been in the store. "It was like they knew you."

He chuckled quietly. "Yes, they did, but not as they expected." There were curious glances. "You may not want to know the details of that..."
He said quietly. "It would make you upset at me, and probably angry."

They shook their heads negatively. "We promise not to hold you accountable." An elder said. "We know nothing of this, and I as a historian want to know the truth of the matter."

Xel opened his violet eyes and looked at the group. "It's a long story... Filled with history and gruesome details..."

"Well, we have time. Why not tell us."

He looked worriedly at the group, but seeing their gazes evenly back at him, he sighed and nodded. "Very well then... I'll start at the beginning..."