BNN: Sudiva's Last Tear
Sudiva's Last Tear by Martyna Z'muir, won second place in Sudiva Fan Fiction Contest:
A barbed tail lazily flicked the surface of the crystal clear subterranean pool, sending gentle ripples lapping against cavern walls. A curious darkfish darted out of its concealment to investigate, oblivious to scaly manus poised to seize it. With preternatural speed, the doomed fish found its world suddenly upended in a flash of talons, flipping end over end through cool dry air, before falling into massive maw of gnashing teeth. A light snack for an ancient draconian.
Her minor diversion passed, Sudiva returned to endlessly surveying her domain. Nay, she thought with some disdain, my prison. A fate more than earned for colluding with primeval malevolence, the sacrifice fitting.
A weary sigh sent wispy tendrils of smoke twining toward the all-too-close stalactites as she coiled around her sole possession for a brief respite. The overlarge flawless citrine had been skillfully cut into a teardrop. A symbol of that which her existence had come to embody, a gift from a being who walked between the shattered realms. She settled into a dreamless sleep, the brief comfort of oblivion.
A single slitted eye cracked open, amber pupil briefly flaring.
Silently, Sudiva shifted to focus her gaze on the worn brick construct at the far side of the cavern.
Biped, the thought came unbidden. Finely scaled nostrils flared as a forked tongue tested the air, Human.
She coiled tighter. Another adventurer braving the depths of Covetous. Perhaps it will think this cavern barren and leave me in peace. Memories of past encounters peppered her thoughts. Righteous petitioners seeking to undo her aid to the Shadowlords’ corruption. Angry souls seeking retribution for the chaos consuming their world. Boastful warriors seeking to prove their valor against her immortality. She had stoically weathered them all.
"Filthy dungeon," a shrill voice complained.
She tested the air again, tasting the unmistakable tang of magic. A lone female mage, hardly worth bothering. Her eyes slowly closed, preparing to resume slumbering.
Crunch. Crunch. Snort.
"You there, beast! Remove thyself at once!"
Ah, the impudence of youth. Without opening her eyes, Sudiva gracefully rose to her full height, flattened her spiked hood and spread wide her leathery wings for dramatic effect before letting lose a menacing roar. Beast, indeed.
Opening her eyes, the wyrm saw a tanned, hawkish woman clad in gaudy green armor, flaxen hair coiffed in unflatteringly severe buns. Clutched in eel skin gloves, she carried a radiant cerulean crook which shimmered with barely contained magics. The woman’s narrowed eyes and icy expression conveyed poorly restrained contempt.
"Puh-thet-ic." The woman enunciated slowly, as if speaking to a dense child. With a flurry of movement, she spun the crook around her lissome form, “My turn," she slammed the end of the crook onto the ground before her. Azure energy crackled along the ground, radiating towards Sudiva.
Showy, the wyrm thought the moment before the energy writhed around her talons, resulting in a subtle wave of fatigue washing over her, magical energies ebbing away. An enraged snarl was the only warning Sudiva gave before lunging at the mage, jaws gaping as an inferno burst from her craw.
Defiantly, the woman stood her ground, the conflagration spreading around her. The only thing she moved to protect was a roll of vellum tucked into her belt. As Sudiva’s fire abated, the woman seemed to steam slightly, barely phased. “Loathsome beast! How dare ye presume to defile my person with thy feeble flames, I who shall command the ether!”
Were the wyrm prone to laughter, this would have been worthy of a derisive howl. Such arrogance, little one. She mused sadly. There may be power within you, but I also sense much hate. The memory of Astaroth’s foul bargain came to the fore. No, I shall not sit idle as another ill infects Sosaria.
Ignoring the great wyrm before her, the woman took the vellum from her belt. Unrolling it, several pages of a large book presented themselves, unharmed by the flames. The woman appeared pleased with herself, a covetous taint aglow in her eyes as she pressed the pages to her bosom.
Sudiva’s eyes widened upon seeing the scraps of text visible on the page. She watched in disbelief as the words reformed themselves through several languages: runic, gargl, Anskitan, Jukan, Elven, and even Ophidian before settling on an ancient language common to draconian species. Abject horror gripped the wyrm's heart. How? she managed to think. This woman must be the one who caused the great rent in the veil. The Codex wasn’t meant to be possessed by any single being! The damage she could wre...
"It's MINE, beast!" The woman spat, her face contorting in exaggerated rage. She began to advance, the crook twisting wildly before her.
Sudiva backed against the cavern wall, toppling the citrine tear. Inspiration struck as her talons grasped the precious symbol. With a surge of speed born of desperation, the great wyrm reached out and seized the woman, slamming her to the cavern floor. Focusing the power gained from the Virtuous of Sosaria on the symbol of Sacrifice, the gem began to glow with an ever increasing incandescence.
After more than sixty years of silence, Sudiva spoke. “I bind you here, to forever covet that which belongs to all, to learn the bitter loneliness of greed." A blinding pulse of orange light suffused the cavern. The citrine tear turned to ash as Sudiva's form faded from sight, unshackled.
"No!" screamed the woman. “Nobody binds Cora! Nobody!"
Sudiva found herself standing atop cool stone pavers in the form of an ankh, floating amongst the scintillating majesty of the Void. Next to her stood a man in a gold-trimmed white shroud.
"Splendid, my friend, splendid!" the Time Lord congratulated, patting her left foreleg affectionately. Removing his hood, he looked up at her with startlingly blue eyes and a wide, toothy grin. Running a hand through his unruly mop of brown curls, he continued mysteriously, "Welcome to your next adventure..."