Chapter 13:

Blood On Fresh Snow (III)


Aurelia made the first move.

The white dragoness reared, slamming down in front of her with ground-shaking force. But Big Grey was quicker— he dodged to the side, calling his pack to him with a howl as Aurelia charged forward. The wolves danced around her, just out of reach of her jaws, moving as one flowing entity. Aurelia lunged forward with a swipe, catching a wolf in her claws and sending it into a nearby tree in pieces. The scent of the battle’s first blood filled the frigid air, but the blood dripping from her paw was sickeningly warm. 

She winced, feeling a sharp pain in her tail. A wolf had bitten it while she was distracted, and it held on, digging its teeth in deeper through her scales. Aurelia turned to snap at it, only to have Big Grey leap and harry her from the front with other wolves. 

A change of plan was needed, and fast. 
Aurelia spun, whipping her tail—and the wolf still attached to it— around and into the pack, scattering them. She felt jaws release from her tail; the wolf was dead, crumpled on the snowy earth like a broken toy. 

The pack fell back now, slinking away to gain distance from her. They prowled in the shadows, lupine eyes glowing with hatred. Aurelia crouched, scanning the group, watching them. A wolf was missing. 

Where was Big Grey?

Suddenly, a force slammed into her side, blossoming pain and dripping blood from the dragoness. Big Grey tore into her shoulder, climbed up onto her back as she whirled around to end him with her jaws. 

“Damn you... Get off, you mutt!”

She hissed, attempting to shake him off. He gripped into her hide with his claws, hanging on as the rest of his pack surged into battle once more, now that their leader had given them an opening. Aurelia slammed her back into a nearby tree, but Big Grey was gone, disappearing into the chaos once more. 

“You’re fast, Winged One. How long can you keep up, though?”

His gravelly voice broke the silence. The fur around his face was wet with Aurelia’s blood, steaming in the cold. He ran his tongue over his lips.

“Don’t joke with me. You dogs are weak, and easy to break. I’ll have all of you staining the snow before sundown!” 

Aurelia roared back, then reared up, clapping her wings together with a loud crack. A massive amount of fine snow was sent airborne, forming a cloud that obscured everyone’s vision. 

She had a plan now.

All that was visible were the many yellow eyes of the pack, moving in tandem, stalking her. Big Grey spoke once more. He was laughing. 
“Will you now? Perhaps you are right,” his voice sharpened, devoid of all humor now. Aurelia reacted swiftly to a wolf pouncing out of the cloud, catching him with her jaws. Its blood gushed over her tongue, dribbled down her throat— she spat it out in disgust. “We may be small. We may be weak. But you? You are one, dragon. We are many!” 

Big Grey howled, and his voice was joined with the dozens of wolves by his side. 

“You shall die alone, Winged One. Fall here, and lament the isolation of your wicked kind!”

The snow settled, and the pack of wolves charged as one towards Aurelia, a river of fur and fangs, seeking her doom. Their final attack.


Time slowed to a crawl.

Aurelia closed her eyes, seeking the magical energy within her core. She was by no means adept at magic... But every dragon could breathe elemental fire. The familiar tickle of sparking ice welcomed her, and energy surged through her bartered body, causing her white scales to glow. 

The wolves were mere inches away. 

Aurelia snapped her eyes open.

She opened her mouth, and pure blue flames exploded forth, sizzling and hissing as the magical heat incinerated all before her, piercing through trees and boulders alike. Fur melted from bone in an instant, and bone turned to ash. The wolves that had not been directly hit by the blast of dragon fire fell where they stood, whimpering as the snow comforted their burned, broken bodies. 

It was a gruesome sight. But the battle was over. 

Aurelia inhaled slowly, calming her magic, smoke rising from her nostrils. She was covered in blood; from both herself, and the wolves. It mixed, and dripped steadily onto the ground, echoing faintly in tune with her breathing. 


Big Grey was still alive. Half of his body had been destroyed, though. Aurelia approached him, and his remaining amber eye shook with misery as it darted around, seeing the ashes of his brethren. 

“D—Don’t think... You’ll get away... With this...” he wheezed. “The Lupine... Will not... Ever... Evil...... Aether......”

His words descended into gibberish until he drew his final breath, body stilling. 

Aurelia was filled with sadness as she turned away, taking off into the sky and leaving the macabre battlefield behind to return to the quarry. 

All the way, she could not forget the scent of blood on fresh snow.