Ketta Terace: Chapter 7

She stood under the slim shimmering dragon on the precipice of this cliff. A gust of wind sent strands of her hair to catch in her mouth and she was sent into a spitting fit, trying to remove the tickling tendrils.

“...What?” Said the Prisoner.

The dragon’s powerful aura seemed to deflate. His calm mental voice returned.

“What do you mean ‘What?’”

“No, I just...You said that all kinda fast.”

Failbe did not speak.

“I just showed up and you started talking and you changed the room, and now you’re a dragon...”

“I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS FAIRLY CLEAR!”

The dragon and the woman stared at each other. Under the dragon’s incredulous stare she stammered.

“Yeah, no, I’m probably just...I just kinda spaced out…it seemed like a lot of information and this is just kinda disorienting...is all.”

“Pfft”

Then a flash of recollection crossed the Prisoner’s eyes.

“Listen, in the past 48 hours I was arrested, put on trial, and sent to the most horrific planetary prison in known space. I survived an attack by a Bolmorrean infected with some plant-borne zombie rage disease; a feat most people would say is impressive considering that I only had a crappy, half-charged laser pistol the Skivri gave me THAT BLEW HALF MY HAND OFF!” She held up her hand only to find that it seemed fully intact. “Well- Then! Whatever freaking Telepathic-Horror-Spider-Rocks were in the canyon jumped out all over me! What even where those things? I thought I was dead at least four times in the past two days, and what? Now I AM dead and I’m in a sword, and who the hell are you? I have not had a single moment to ground myself since I got here, so forgive me if I don’t just go along with the goddamned PROGRAM! Oh, and you’re whole tactic of impressing me with your 'True Form' or whatever doesn’t really put me at any ease or make this INSANELY weird experience any easier.”

The dragon towering above her blinked. He let out a massive sigh.

“That’s a ...fair point…”

“So please: What the hell is going on? Who are you? And what do you want?”

The dragon laid down among the grass of the cliffside. The ground shuddered under his weight. Curling his massive spiny tail around the pair of them he looked off on his own.

“So much for best laid speeches…Now I just feel silly.”

“Oh god. Don’t feel sorry for yourself.”

There was a deep rumbling chuckle from Failbe. His head suddenly craned into the small conclave he created with his tail and bore down at the prisoner.

“I should ask you who you are.” He leaned in close with long shimmering teeth. “And decide for myself what your uses could be.”

The Prisoner fell back before his massive beatial face. His silver eyes glared deep and his jaws were spreading showing each painful row of teeth in his narrow mouth.

“My name is Amylia. I was a merchant captain who smuggled goods and maybe engaged in a bit of healthy piracy. I was caught by the Skivri in forbidden space with contraband and, while my crew were killed, they made an example of me and sent me here. I think I filled you in on the rest. Little more than that really needs going over.” The dragon proceeded to lean casually on his elbow.

“Hmm. Sooo interesting…Really, truly revealing. I feel like we’ve gotten so far.” “You don’t have to be an ass.”

“Oh no, go on, if we are in this little sharing session might as well really get down to the nitty gritty. Who is Amylia, and what is life like on planet you?”

“You can’t stop being an ass can you?”

“My name is Failbe and I like the color red,” he said waving his hand mockingly with his sing song voice. He narrowed his eyes at her. “This isn’t class sharing time! I am an immensely powerful demon and I’m asking you to become my champion. So to answer one of your questions, let me be as monosyllabic as possible: WE! ARE! STUCK! IN! A! SWORD! You see how your hand is all together? Your real hand is still outside and it’s probably still all kinds of messed up, you fool!”

Amylia only hardened her face.

“Well that’s just rude.”

“It doesn’t matter. The silver lining to this situation is that your real body is not quite ALL dead. I can use my power to reunite you with your body, do you follow that?”

“Hmm, okay, so I agree and I’m back in my body. What happens then?” asked Amylia.

“Why does there always have to be a catch? We are both desperate. Remaining here would be useless. I am offering an opportunity that you cannot deny…especially since I can always just eat you...”

“So threats now? I was prepared to die already-I guess I am dead. So what would that mean? Can I die twice?”

“Don’t be any more difficult than you need to be. Eat, absorb, it’s all kind of the same thing. The deal is this- if I can be even more straightforward: I get you out of this sword and back in your body. In return you just hang onto the sword and fight your way through this world to freedom. You have an opportunity to keep playing the game. To keep up the struggle, to get what you want. And what’s more, I’ll owe you if you do this...Imagine what you could accomplish with one such as myself at your back?”

She considered this. It sounded pretty good. But she couldn’t shake a strange feeling. She probed, there is always a catch.

“So what happens when you’re free?”

“If you’re just gonna be negative about this whole thing I might as well simply wait another millennium for someone else to show up. You’d already be gone if it weren’t for my sword so how ‘bout a little perspective?” he leaned in. “Take the blade, fight for me, and on the day when I am powerful enough to be rid of this prison you will have returned my favor.”

Failbe reached out his massive clawed hand and as he did so his body shifted and shrunk until it became the modest creature she had met in the study. Standing before her, his sharp eyes smiled and his open hand awaited.

Amylia, the prisoner, felt her doubts melt away under his gaze and she shook it.

Still, a familiar feeling remained. Then in a moment the world became a kaleidoscope.

By Jason Pratley

Jason Pratley joined the team sometime in 2013 when he created the concepts for the gods of ODR. He has since become the Writing Director and de facto loremaster for DDG. Check out some other stories and content at jvfpp.wordpress.com and goodevilcomic.com