OF STONE and GLASS: Prologue

The crowd roars under the sweltering sun as two dragons enter the glass Cage. The first dragon’s scales gleam like fire, flickering flames with every twitch of his wing. He yawns, his jaws pouring liquid heat, simmering hot lava crisping the stone wall and dropping in hard black chunks to the rocky ground beneath. It sizzles and steams beneath his claws.

The other dragon is easily outmatched, at only half the size. Her blue scales seem muted compared to the other’s brilliance. She ducks her head, startled by the crowd, but keeps her eyes fixed on her opponent. Silvery pupils narrow and darken. She evaluates her challenger and his cocky performance as he spreads his wingspan to its fullest and drops from the ledge. He soars along the edge of the glass, reveling in the attention of the beings on the other side, enjoying the scraps of consideration they deem to give the enslaved beast.

The blue dragon’s claw scrapes the stone beneath her. Despite all their power, the dragons are forced to give the audience a spectacle, caged creatures acting at the will of others. Her scales click against each other as she follows suit, tipping away from the ledge, adding a spin and circling the Cage.

Their eyes, golden embers and bitter ice, lock across the empty space. A hush descends as the volcanic dragon closes in. 

The snap of teeth shatters the intake of breath. Claws screech against metallic scales. A shriek sounds as molten magma singes the edge of the blue dragon’s wing. And the crowd turns feral. Bloodlust radiates from them as their fists pound the air. Curses are hurled down like salt in a wound.

The orange dragon pursues as the blue yanks herself from his grip. She darts across the Cage but there is nowhere to hide. The circular arena traps her behind the glass with shouting humans, elvyn and dwarves cheering on the destruction. She glances through, trying to find one other being who sees what she does. But their eyes glisten with glee and their fists pump the air.

Her lungs scramble for a breath but is cut off as the other dragon wraps his claws around her throat. She struggles to get free but his clench tightens. Her heart beats wildly in her chest. Her wings beat feverishly as they plummet to the ground.

The earth rumbles at the impact and her tail goes limp.

This was her first fight in the Cage. This is all her life holds: enslavement and losing battles. But she refuses to surrender.

As her opponent whips his head to accept recognition and approval, she pushes herself back up. Her wings tuck in and her talons grip the earth. A hiss escapes her lips.

They think the fight is over. It’s only begun.

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