Disclaimer: I don't own Dragonheart.
Small note, think of this as being sometime after Draco gets his name, but maybe after they find Kara. This…wound up being longer than I thought it would be. I guess this is what I should expect when I get inspired, though I'm not sure if I'm amazed that I'm actually writing something for this particular fandom again, or disturbed at the subject matter. Though, listening to metal bands does do weird things to my brain under the best of circumstances, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
Inspirational Music: Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold, Curses by A Bullet for My Valentine, and Drown by Three Days Grace.
Nightmares, even for some as well-versed in dealing with them as he, could still wake up in a cold sweat from one. However, given that it had been months, Draco should have probably figured that he was about due for another visit from this particular dark part of his subconscious. Because, no matter how many times he tried to shove it down, forget about it, turn a blind eye to the unpleasant eventuality, he was due to die as all things would, and despite the fact that they were not all directly his doing, he had racked up a heavy sum of sins which weighed in on his already tormented mind like a funeral dirge.
And, as with all demons, they were always worse to deal with at night, their dangerous song overwhelming what was known as reality, especially when one was locked inside their own head.
It started with a blank nothingness, something that both troubled and calmed him, in a strange series of feelings and responses. After all, if there was nothing, then there was no danger, no impending pain to defend himself from. However, oblivion of the senses was not something that he reacted well to, instincts honed and tuned from years of fearful paranoia.
Though, the oblivion was slowly beginning to fade, as though someone was drawing it's poison form his veins. Draco felt his body rest on a cold stone ground, his vision clearing into a desolate-looking place, with a smoke-choked sky, stars nonexistent in their inky black depths. Shifting, he looked about to see that the rest of this strange place was as dark and bleary as the sky, the trees, if they had once been trees, straggly sticks that reached out to the sky like blackened and gnarled hands. Mountains also stood nary a few wingbeats away, though Draco could honestly say he had no desire to approach them; they resembled unfeeling, cold stone sentinels, staring at the devastated world below with nothing but cool indifference in their minds. However, despite the barrenness, he could say without a doubt that he was not alone in this place. That foreboding alone made him move, treading carefully through puffs of dust and sand that wafted up from the ground where he walked. Despite his initial impression, common sense dictated that the mountains would be the best place to hide in the instance that this wilderness was not as lifeless as it appeared to be, which is where his path began to turn as he meandered, nearly silent, through the foothills.
It was only when he noticed the coppery tang of blood entering his nose that he moved faster, both confused and horrified by the sheer amount of carnage that he was smelling on the air. Everything around him seemed to have decayed long ago, where had this undoubtedly fresh killing come from?
His answer hit him square in the face, along with the seeming wall of deathly stench when he came over the next rise, finding the small valley between this hill and the next littered with bodies. Golden eyes widened as he realized there were far too many, more than he could ever count. Young, old, humans, and dragons, mixed in to form a horrifying blanket of death that covered the desolate, dusty ground. Before Draco realized it, his legs were moving him closer, probably out of some morbid curiosity, until he could make out every feature on the nearest face as clear as day.
And what he saw turned his insides to ice, his heart nearly leaping out of his throat at the sight of the man lying there in the dirt. The side of his face was caked with blood and grime, and his eyes were blank in death, but there was no mistaking the visage that he had seen so much of in the past few days, whether it be counting over the coins pinched from some lord, or scowling at the world as though it had done him a personal wrong.
Even his voice seemed ethereal in this place, choked by the death around him. Despite the fact that it had been the first sound he had heard since he came to be here, the silencing void around him seemed to swallow it up, though at the moment, he could not have cared. Coming to crouch, as though needing to confirm that it truly was the night lying sideways in the dirt, Draco caught a glimpse of his own talon-tipped paws, noticing that there was an odd red smudging on the coppery scales. Quickly balancing his weight on his other three limbs, he raised the slightly-shaking appendage to his eyes, his senses confirming that the strange substance was in fact blood.
They are all a byproduct of your sins, and their blood will always be there, no matter how much you try to remove it.
The words were the most peculiar thing the copper dragon had heard. They carried no sound, but a great weight, as though he were an ant being spoken to by a giant. However, when he looked around for the source, all he saw was a dragon [or something with a dragon's form] standing among the corpses, skeletally thin and appearing to be right on death's door. Another distracting noise, a strange clanking, made Draco look down at himself again, to notice chains binding themselves around his frame. They were not meant to restrict his movement, however. They were merely heavy, and weighing more as he watched them fully bind themselves to him, to the point that he was not certain that he could ever get them off.
Suddenly, a strange oppressive feeling filled the air, and Draco turned his gaze back to the creature, feeling as though the air had become too heavy to breathe.
Perhaps humans had their cloaked figure, perhaps they had a horned devil that sat on a throne of skulls, but in his mind, an emissary of eternal torment was something that wore the faces of the dead, changing smoothly from young to old, even appearing to shift species for small, momentary intervals.
Each body, each life is a chain link in the restrains that bind you. Your sins are far too numerous to ever be buried in time.
The cold, dead eyes of the creature narrowed, and the copper dragon was forced to walk to avoid falling; the chains had taken on a life of their own, jerking him forward with a power unlike anything he had felt before. Nimbly stepping around the bodies, he stepped into line with the creature; A shackled prisoner and the warden, bringing his quarry in to the executioner's block. The creature walked him to the mountains, to a cave that opened to a foreboding darkness that made him shudder. Despite the fact that before now, he had been all but leading the strange march, Draco suddenly realized that his instincts were screaming at him to run, to get out of this place and away from whatever lurked in the darkness. Though, no matter how much he struggled, the chains resolutely dragged him forward with his sins weighing heavier and heavier every moment. Wide gold eyes scanned everything from the walls to the floor, fueled by the energy that only inescapable terror wrought, finding nothing to be afraid of and yet still being unable to defuse the frantic pounding that rushed in his ears.
It was only until they reached the far back of the cave that Draco realized what was going to happen to him; the oppressing darkness of the cave opened up into a portal-like arch that dropped off into…nothing. Well, not entirely nothing. Chained to the wall next to the opening was another dragon, one that wore a countenance of a starved and depraved creature, waiting for something.
Though, what the copper dragon could not figure out was what the purpose of this dragon's presence was. At least, he did not understand until the creature made the other move, sending him into the strange not-darkness of what awaited beyond the portal.
Just as it was almost through, frame erupting into terrified, cornered cries, the dragon's body began to almost, melt, breaking down into whatever blank material that made up oblivion. Suddenly, even the sounds stopped, cut off as the last of the other dragon's soul was simply wiped clean from the void as though it had never been. Legs suddenly stiff, Draco nearly fell flat on his face as he was forced to move again, this time standing directly in front of the strange dead-but-not creature, and being forced to stare into its blank, empty eyes, devoid of every sort of comfort or care.
You know why you are here.
You understand your punishment.
He nearly dug in his claws when he felt himself move, heading towards the open archway that went out into the silent void. However, the chains were stronger, and growing more weighty the longer they hung off his frame. Somehow, though, he did not collapse, almost as though the metal was determined to drag him right to the brink of oblivion with them.
The distance between him and the arch closed quicker than he was ready, and Draco could not help but cry out as he felt a lance of pain go through his body, looking down in horror to see both scales and chains vanishing into the void. Fear overwhelmed his mind with the force of a tidal wave as he found himself unable to return to the arch, left to watch as his legs slowly vanished, his wings, and finally, his very soul, extinguishing with one last tortured cry-.
Stifling cries, Draco rose unsteadily, nearly staggering off into the trees with all the grace of a drunken deer before he remembered the knight that would surely be awoken by his antics, still sleeping soundly on the other side of the campsite. Silently thanking the stars that the noise he had made had not already roused the man, Draco settled back down, his unease and residual terrors keeping his eyes open as he watched the sky lighten.