Chapter 2:

The Moon Falls

Drowned Gods

The moon, at one end, was dipping past the horizon, while before Dustin the sun was rising, its reflection burning the sea. Dustin groaned as he unbuckled his pants and leaned back from the cliff, letting his stream fly. He was on guard duty that dawn with his partners, Carl and Krem. Carl blushed at the obscenity, turning his back completely away, while Krem smirked.

“Ahhh,” Dustin exclaimed.
“The loos aren’t that far away, you know,” Carl said, straightening his back in pride for propriety, but still, he didn’t turn around.
“But then how am I supposed to give the water tribe their due?”
Carl merely shook his head before asking, “Do you think they will ever come for
“The water tribe? No, they wouldn’t dare try to push their luck with this continent. They know a beast is most dangerous when backed against a wall.”
“But the fire and wind nations have both been-“
“They were nomadic tribes,” Dustin reasoned. “Just groups of them spread across islands. They had no home, no roots.”
“What about the city of Lorelei or Nidghur?”
“You know how hard it is to focus on pissing with you talking. Balat, a nation with one city isn’t a nation. Hey, Krem, what’s got your tongue?”

Krem, who had gone on all fours with an ear pressed to the ground during the conversation, did not respond. A sudden look of terror crossed his face as he screamed “Dustin, MOVE!”
But it was too late. Just as Dustin finally shook loose the last few drops, a blue, serpentine tongue scaled above the rocks. Then there were the clear blue orbs of a water dragon’s eyes. Before a scream could loose itself from his throat, the jaws of the dragon snapped over his head.

Krem threw two daggers at the beast before grabbing Carl and turning towards the cave tunnels. They had to make it to the signal point. However, Carl, having just witnessed Dustin’s corpse being launched over the edge was in too much shock. His body was frozen in place. Krem slapped him hard across the face, trying to wake him. It took a moment, but then Carl looked Krem in the eyes.

“You’re the fastest, Krem,” Carl said, his eyes scared but resolute. “Run!” he shouted and with that pushed Krem, took out his sword, and charged at the scaled body blocking out the morning light.


Auron was walking down a steep set of stairs blindfolded, with his hands bound in front of him. Two soldiers anchored him, keeping him in line while Sorian the Seer led the way. Sorian softly spread his hands open as they came to the base floor of the city, the rock sliding to reveal a deep cavern. Down they continued, underneath stalactites set aglow by flitterns. Into a shallow pool, the color of silver, the seer turned about holding his hand out to have the guards stop.
Carefully, he moved about the pool until the silvery waters began to swirl in constant tides. He moved out of the water then and removed the blindfold from Auron.

“To the center,” Sorian said.

The water was still spinning, faster and faster. Auron was called to the pool and he moved carefully into the water, digging his feet into the graveled floor, feeling the grains of sand flitting about his legs. He was anchored by particles, moving easily into the center even as the water swept in under his feet. When he made it to the center the water, spun at such a speed that it was pulled to the edges, leaving the center bare. With the gravel washed out to the sides, a blue a vein of crystal revealed itself. The others had left and Auron found himself outlined in sparks of blue and silver. He looked down and the blue vein swiveled away, to a black stone. At first he thought it was a sheet of obsidian, but the feeling of being watched pierced through him. It was a pupil beneath him. There was intelligence there, and he saw himself looking back at himself, the stalactites above with their glowing specters was its own solar system. Then, he fell.


Krem’s feet were a blur as he moved down the tunnels. He had shed his armor within the first minute in order to move as silently and fast as possible. He wasn’t sure how much the silence would help if they had brought a guardian with them, but the quicker the better. If he didn’t make it to the signal checkpoint his town would most likely be doomed.

He knew all of this. He knew he had to reach the point to warn the town, to avenge his friends, to make sure Carl’s sacrifice had not been in vain. But memories of his friends clouded his thoughts. They had been his mates before they had even entered military school. The times the three of them stole fresh-baked pies from Mrs. Cornerbull’s kitchen window. Dustin would always get caught, while Carl would always try to leave some type of payment at the scene of the crime. All the fights they had been in together, side by side, taking on the world. The nights they spent on the surface, wanting to reach out past the horizon, but now all Krem could see over that horizon were the eyes of the water dragon. Those blue orbs of ice made it difficult for him to breathe.

More than just difficult he realized. His chest felt like it was cracking open with each intake, and he felt cold, extremely stiff as if he was still in his armor. His eyes were blurring and his face felt numb, which is when the truth of the situation fell upon him. He wiped at this eyes to feel small crystals break against his hand. Both of his arms were covered in goosebumps and his breath visibly clouded the air before him. It was colder than it should be, so once more he laid flat on his belly and pressed his ear against the stone.

“BALAT!” he screamed inside his head, grinding his fist into the ground. They had been able to track him easily and they were all moving at a fast pace. There was no way he would be able to make it to signal at this rate.

Looking around the tunnels, his mind raced to find a solution. His eyes settled upon a massive stalactite. At first he thought about caving in the whole tunnel to delay their progress, but this was the water tribe. They could easily turn such rubble into a massive landslide that could wipe out entire lookout points. With a dragon it would almost be too easy for them. Then it came to him. The dragon was indeed large, but if he could time it right, dropping the tunnel might just-. He did not let his thoughts get too carried away. At the very least, he thought such a trap would harm the beast enough to slow it down. The crash might also act as a signal itself and on realizing that he started planning out the exact details. He couldn’t just drop the cave. The release of so much magic would easily warn the dragon. Instead he would need to drop certain areas as they approached and he would need to charge, to act as a distraction for the final drop.

Saleel woke up covered in sweat, her call burning bright and painfully. She clutched her arm waiting for the pain to subside, but it did not. She was confused, deeply confused as such events were not common to begin with, and rarely lasted more than a few moments. Not sure if anyone else was feeling this sudden burn, she dragged herself to the window and looked out. Through the curtains of her neighbors she could see the silver outline of different calls. She looked towards the townsquare’s dials. It was just before dawn and she worried for Auron. She was not sure if this was common for everyone on the Day of Rite. It was after all her first time having a call while the rites were being performed. It could have been considered normal. It could have just been one more of those things that were kept hidden, unspoken, or left in hushed tones. She could not make up what she thought about it all, but she thought of Auron, and how he would bear the sight of the dragon, and the birth of his call.

He will be a guardian, she thought. His core was of the stuff that would not break. She remembered well the hardships he had fought through and the effort he put in to get to where he was now. She remembered well the little boy that would dash across these streets running errands for at least 6 different families to help bring in money for his family. It was this boy that she found fighting in the dead of night with money placed behind curtains. He had always been strong and had always put himself on the line for his family. At school his grades suffered and many ignored him for this, assuming he was nothing more than a clown, a bad seed, a criminal/vagrant/trouble maker/vagabond. For better or worse, the entire class would leave him be. They didn’t try to pick on him, because word had gotten around of his nightly affairs but they shunned him.

Saleel wasn’t even sure herself if it bothered Auron. He always seemed to have something else on his mind. She couldn’t remember a time that he actually had reached out to any of his classmates for help or anything for that matter. The only reason they had become close was that on one particular night, one of the fights had been dragged towards her house.
Auron was 13 at the time and he was fighting a new recruit. These types of fights were big for new recruits and actually secretly approved us a primary means for the newest to learn magic. Sure there were courses at the academy, but very few classes or even sports could teach someone how to fight in ingenuous ways. This was why the local forces never snuffed out such fights. In fact, many are sure the government has private investigators watch such fights in order to find prime candidates for officer positions and higher.

This night, Auron was on the run. Auron was known for his speed, it was how he was able to win most fights. But the new recruit had been able to trip him up at the very beginning, and had since kept pelting him with magically propelled rocks. Unable to get closer Auron had taken to drawing the fighter farther from one of the frequently used squares and into the residential areas. At first this seemed to be a mistake as it seemed like he was losing places to run to. However, Auron was an errand boy and knew just about every street as well as the back of his hand. There was one narrow alleyway that the older fighter would not be able to fit in, but Auron had no problem sliding in between the two houses. However, instead of running down it, Auron had clawed his way up to the top of the building before the other fighter had even peeked his head down the alleyway. It was at this moment of confusion for the new recruit that Auron dropped down on top of him. Saleel thought he had it in the bag at the point, and clapped suddenly, inexplicably, right then and there. The sound caused Auron to look around, which in turn led to his downfall. The new recruit’s elbow found its way to Auron’s nose forcing him back. This gave the other boy a chance to send a barrage of rocks into Auron’s body until he crumpled. The fight was over at this point but the older boy could not accept the fact that he had almost lost. He smashed his boot down on Auron’s face three times for good measure before walking off.

Having witnessed it all and blaming herself for the bloody outcome, Saleel ran to the alley and brought an unconscious Auron into her home. She washed his wounds clean with a warm towel and bandaged up the larger cuts as well as she could. She then carried him to her bed, and let him sleep as she sat beside him. She waited beside him until he woke up 3 hours later.
At first there was fear in his eyes, which only doubled when he realized he could not open his mouth. Saleel had tied some cloth tightly around his jaw to the top of his head to stop his chin from bleeding.

“It’s okay,” she said, holding her arms out in front. It didn’t calm him down much, though as he tried to get out of the confines of her bed. “Calm down,” she said, placing a hand on his chest. “You’re-”

His struggling intensified the moment she touched him.

“Hey! Calm down!” she shouted, forcefully pushing him down. “You took a beating in that last fight, and I don’t need you re-opening anything.” Strangely enough, he calmed down. He began taking in all the surroundings and after a moment mumbled something. “What?” she asked. “Something wrong.”

“Thank you,” he said.

She smiled at that. “Is there anything else I can get you?”

“No, but thank you again. Umm.” He looked over the entire room. It was possibly his first time being in another person’s room, or, at the very least, a girl’s room. Though, rooms for both boys and girls were constructed the same, and there were no gender specific toys in the earth faction, it must have been strange for Auron to find himself in a girl’s room. “What’s your name?”

“Saleel,” she said. “Saleel Baseal.”

“Saleel Baseal,” he repeated. “I’m Auron Lithelm.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Auron.”



Krem stood in the middle of the path, feeling the entire earth shake beneath the weight on the incoming army. Still, the charging force could not compare to the way his heart pounded against his chest. He only had one chance to make this work. He understood the chances were against him. He understood that the chances of him living through this whether it succeeded or not were even less than that. He crossed himself in the name of Balathier as he saw a dragon’s head peek around the bend.

First, he sent out a sliver of magic to unhinge one stalactite that would redirect the incoming force to the left side of the tunnel. With a flick of his hand a massive stalactite that he had just weakened a minute ago began to shake and loose itself from the ceiling.

The dragon sensed the danger immediately using its tail to block the soldiers behind from getting crushed and dodging to the right. Krem sent another bit of magic out to dislodge a stalactite on the right. The dragon not only sense the second danger, but had picked up on the direction of magic and caught Krem in its stare just as it sidestepped the second falling rock and just as he began his charge.

He ran in a full out sprint, throwing daggers with one hand and weaving a ball of energy with the other. The dragon, unthreatened by the daggers, reared its head back preparing to unleash a jet of ice from its fangs. Krem kept running straight ahead. He gained ground on the beast quickly, but its breath was ready. The dragon dug its claws into the ground to steady itself, but just as it did so Krem launched his ball of magic at the dragon, or rather above the dragon. He shot it right above its head, straight at the most massive stalactite in the area. The dragon realized this at the last moment, jumping back, blasting its breath at the falling stalactite and shattering it with such force that Krem and the entire front battalion of water soldiers were thrown about like dolls. Boulders, rocks, and stalactites fell from the air causing chaos.
When the dust had finally settled mounds of rocks were scattered about. Several water soldiers had been crushed and Krem was nowhere to be seen. The dragon turned looked about carefully and sniffed the air. There were no more lines of energy stringing across the air. The man was dead under the rubble or blasted to pieces. With that threat dead, many water soldiers injured, and no idea of where to go next, the water nation’s charge finally slowed to a halt.