The Warrior And The Dragon
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Able paced towards the towering monstrosity casually, nonchalant in his motions, swaggering and grinning as he did so. A massive two-handed claymore was held in place over one of his shoulders, the whirring gears and saws that covered its surfaced trundling away noisily, while the many small blades that made up its jagged edge slowly slid across the rim contentedly, purring like a cat. The beast in front of him was a monolith in the sparse landscape, a monument of destruction, the waves of hatred and anger radiating off of its frame palpable, rivaling even Able’s lust for bloodshed.

It simply stood there, a mass of heavily plated carapace and flesh, small black eyes in its mammoth skull like holes into the void, resting malevolently above thick serrated fangs, slick with drool. Even as he approached it, it was steadily changing, its tissue warping, the plates and armour growing thicker, mounds of muscle and sinew and bone sliding over each other incessantly, all in a bid to reform into something that would better stand this coming assailant.

Truly, this was a Godhead of annihilation, a being that embodied the primal destruction of existence. He could hardly contain his glee. After all this time, after the wait of centuries, he would actually meet a being that could surpass his capacity for violence. Maybe.

He walked until he was mere feet from its colossal form, and, after a moment to savour this wondrous anticipation that he was feeling, he spoke up.

“I have heard tales of creatures like you. Glorious beasts of scale and flesh, talon and fang, a prowess in battle even greater than the immense intellect hiding behind those bestial eyes. They said your kind once ruled the Earth from enormous stockpiles of treasure, killing and eating all who displeased you. But you were knocked from your throne, one by one, by the great warriors who walk this world no longer, until there were no more, and you became but mere myth,” he whispered breathlessly.

“Even I had thought you to be nothing but fairy tales, but yet, here you stand before me, a living dragon…”

There was a rumble from the beast, and its mouth began to move, cracking open slowly, as a statue come suddenly to life.

“Pathetic…” It grumbled, its voice thick and heavy, like a mountain collapsing into itself a thousand times over.

“A dragon? You simple little pile of rot. You understand nothing, as I would expect of a well-trained lapdog”

At this, Able’s expression darkened, and the sound of the sword on his shoulder began to pick up as the blades twirled ever so faster.

“….What?” he said slowly, in a low voice that spoke of rage barely contained.

“That is what you are, is it not? A trained and broke mutt, bound with a collar and all,” it murmured, gesturing slightly towards the thick metal choker around his shoulders and neck.

“I chose this,” he replied stiffly, his face contorted into scowl.

“Whether you chose it or not, you are still a dog of those things. The only difference being that you eat from their hands, rather than a bowl,” it sneered, the expression almost visible on its inhuman face.

Able’s face twitched, and he tightened his grip on the handle of his weapon, the revolving blades now turning at a considerable speed, protesting with a dull screech.

“At least I can choose my fate,” he roared angrily, launching his sword with a downwards swing at the beast’s head like the almighty wrath of some obscene god.

But….

The creature responded in a way Able had never before seen in all his millennia of fighting.

It head butted the weapon. The top of its skull and shell shattered into bulky fragments, its eyes bulging as the inside of its cranium was pulverised. One of its eyes burst with a wet pop, and torrents of thick, viscous fluid gushed from its mouth, chunks of meat and tissue pouring forth like a fountain of blood and gore.

But in head butting the blade, Able was thrown off balance by the force of it, recoiling from the attack automatically, leaving his stomach wide open. In that split second of defencelessness, his sight was filled with the gargantuan fist of the monster, a boulder sized bulk of bony plate, ploughing into his entire torso, smashing into him with the force of a hurricane and knocking his sword from his hands. He was flung over ten metres away like a rag doll, demolishing innumerable obstacles in his way. His body skidded heavily against the ground, shredding the cloth and skin from his back, until he finally came to an abrupt stop, half embedded in a large boulder.

He hung there limply, streams of blood pouring from his eyes, nose, mouth and ears, his face slack in a stunned expression of amazement.

And then he laughed. He laughed long and hard, smiling and baring his pointed teeth in a bloody smirk that made it appear that he had just finished a gruesome meal.

He spoke up in a language long dead, but the meaning of the words he said were unmistakable. He was issuing a challenge.

But to his surprise, the lizard looked like it was having some kind of seizure. It was repeatedly sucking air in heavily through its nostrils, puffing itself up even bigger than it was normally, and consuming the viscera soaked dirt quickly, its huge claws scrabbling away at the ground, and stuffing clumps of it into its toothy maw.

And then something amazing happened. The wound, which had warped the creature’s skull into a shape reminiscent of an overripe tomato, began to undo itself, the beast’s head shifting back into its regular shape, the broken plates buckling and falling off to be consumed once more, and revealing a shiny wet carapace formed under the old, even thicker than the last.

“Fate? What would you understand of Fate? Fate is life, and you… You and all of this is death,” the creature bellowed, beginning to charge towards him.

At this, Able chuckled.

“Well, I can’t argue with that,” he replied gleefully, pulling an enormous mace out of the shadows of his ragged cloak, its handle well over six feet in length, its head nothing more than a mass of whirling spikes, screaming obscenely as they spun in an intricate pattern of death.

The beast lumbered towards him quickly, its mighty footsteps causing the earth to shake, clods of dirt torn up in its wake, bearing down on him with the force and inevitability of an avalanche.

Able pulled back, standing sideways, moving his arms back behind him and grinding his feet into the ground. He turned towards the impending disaster, swinging his weapon idly with a seasoned flair.

And then, the beast was upon him, and he swung, time seeming to stop as his weapon once more collided with the creature's head. There was a deafening crunch as its head was crushed again, splattered into pieces, its spine impacting, the monster becoming visibly shorter as the unstoppable force propelling it met with the immovable force colliding with it.

The sheer amount of chaos generated by those two immense forces meeting launched the reptile several dozen meters away, spinning like an errant missile, lumps of it flying off as it sailed through the air. It hit the earth with a boom, bits and pieces of its frame dotting the landscape around the impact crater like raindrops during spring showers.

Able cracked his neck, ignoring the blood streaming down the thick gash in his leg, or the three along his chest, gained when his opponent slashed at him as he swung. Instead, he discarded the now bent and still mace behind him with an uncaring toss, popped his shoulders back into place with a jerky, awkward shrug, and started to reset his shattered elbow.

The creature pushed itself up, eating everything around it, growing heavier, thicker and more rocklike in appearance. It shook off the excess blood from its form like a dog, droplets of the thick dark liquid spattering the earth around it, and began to clump out of the crater.

It lumbered over the lip of the fissure it had created, only to be greeted with a large chakram shredding into its flesh, the ring digging in as the exterior saw blades spun and forced it ever deeper into the wound. Several more followed suit, flying from Able’s hands as he drew them out of the shadows, running towards his opponent.

He threw himself into the air, unleashing a monstrous axe from the folds of his cloak, and hammering down onto his opponent like a bomb.

It shrugged off the attack as a horse does a gnat, trying to swat Able with its huge clawed hands. He dodged and weaved around its sailing fists, planting drill like daggers into its thick hide, leaving them to rip and tear into its flesh. Whenever an attack would come close to landing on him, he would pull himself aside using an embedded knife close at hand.

Still, the creature showed no sign of slowing its attacks, or even that it felt any pain at all. It was single-minded in its assault, with only one objective in its sight.

KILL.

Suddenly, a stray claw caught Able across the shoulder, causing him to stumble. He was rewarded for this action with another crushing fist to the gut, pinning him solidly to the ground. The beast lifted its other claw to deal the finishing blow, an executioner's axe raised for its unsightly purpose, then descending in a flash of light and shadow.

It raised its hand again to crush whatever remained of Able, but was mildly surprised to find that its arm suddenly ended at the elbow, a river of molten blood flowing freely from the wound.

The other arm quickly followed suit, snipped off at the joint by a gigantic mechanical pair of scissors held by Able, the inner blades spinning feverishly, fresh gore spraying from their moving teeth.

The monster attempted to consume the fallen limbs and replace what it had lost, only to meet the bladed boot of Able, kicking it directly in the bottom of the jaw and knocking it onto its back.

Able fell onto the prone creature like a jackal onto its prey, laying into the creature with an animalistic ferocity, screaming incoherently in his berserker blood rage. He kept pounding on the beast with his weapons, pulling out a fresh one each time another got too deeply lodged to pull out, or broken from the sheer strain.

Eventually, he pulled back, his breathing heavy, drenched completely in vile smelling crimson liquid, a bloody, hellish apparition. He watched it still struggle to breath, its body still trying to reform itself.

And that was when he saw it. A pulse emitted from the creature, a shockwave that forced aside the very fabric of reality, the world warping around the beast as a shock of electricity quickly ran across its mutilated body.

But whatever it was, he did not care. It expected no quarter, and he would give it none.

It looked at him weakly, blatant disgust and hatred still as strong, still as clear as it had always been. He pulled a last long sword out of his shredded cloak, and intended to deliver the final blow.

The beast bared its fangs, and shot up as his sword descended. His blade buried itself in the roof of the creatures mouth, travelling straight through its brain and out the top of its head, the blades still spinning as they ripped through the pulsing grey matter.

Still the monster lived, its toothy maw wrapped around Able’s arm. It eyed him smugly, and gently, almost reverently, bit directly through his arm, ivory teeth effortlessly slicing through muscle and bone to meet together with a light click.

Able staggered back in surprise, and the creature reared back, head butting him in the skull with a piercing crack, knocking him onto his ass. It gave him a final cold look, and opened its mouth to consume him.

Before its jaws closed around him, Able grabbed the sword still embedded in its head, grasping the hilt from inside its mouth. As the beasts mouth closed around him, he forced it down with all of his strength, slicing the beast clean in two.

But its motions, once set in action, could not be stopped. Its teeth cleaved his upper torso in two, freeing his remaining arm and head to flop lifelessly on the ground.

With his final moments of consciousness, Able thought he could hear a strange whistling sound, like something falling from a great height.

Then… only darkness.

Time passed as a dreamless sleep, and Able awoke to find himself whole and anew, back in his tomb. He moved jerkily, forcing open the coffin that held him, pushing aside the chains hurriedly in a bid to get out of that bitter cold.

It took him several minutes to unlock the stone door that blocked his escape, all the time pawing at the frosty ground with his boots, his breath crystallizing in front of him.

When he finally did emerge, he breathed a sigh of relief. He had never liked the cold, being more a man for heat and warmth.

Still, he reasoned to himself, that was most likely the best fight he had had in ages. There should be a feast to celebrate, with all of his team. Now where had they put that strange "pizza" box?

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