Two little words that brought the fever he tried rid himself of earlier crashing back. By Tritheron he wanted her. Just as fiercely as he wanted Sariel earlier that day. When Tali put his hand on her waist he thought he could come undone. Fall out of another tree. At least here, he was on solid ground. At least he’d spent hours earlier practicing (with Take’s expert help) for a moment like this.
A perfect moment, kissing Tali. Holding her. Feeling the strength of her form against his own, her head on his chest. It was less courage, and more the strongest desire he’d ever felt that had him draw her closer. To put his other arm around her and hold her there.
A perfect moment.
There and gone like the wind that Tali spoke too, because not hours later the full implications of this Prophecy slammed into him.
They’d gotten it wrong. The Elders. This Prophecy, this thing that likely labeled him an abomination, the reason his own clan was going to kill him, kill him, every abuse, silent and verbal he suffered in the years before he was sent to the monastery… was because of a translation error. Because Primordial to Draconic didn’t translate the same way. Because the almighty Elders had not bothered to check, to verify, to ask the questions his parents did…
Zildath’s roar was primal. Every time he released the lightning from his throat, it burned in a way it hadn’t before, but perhaps that was just his anger. His fury. And truly from somewhere deep inside him, the Dragonborn boy that just wanted to fit in, to make his mother and father proud, to see the great dragon, was hurt. A hurt that never healed, that tore itself open and bled inside the roars that escaped Zildath.
He had never been so furious. He thought he would come undone. He didn’t know what to d-
His senses tingled. Akuma’s tattoo began to hum, a gentle burning sensation under his skin. There was a demon nearby. Close. Too close.
Just close enough.
He did not even alert the others, his only thought was on the creature, an unfortunate outlet for his rage. The shadows blended closer around him, shoving him forward, giving him a burst of speed enhanced by the wings that emerged from his cloak. Akuma split into two, forming two thin blades that extend over the back of his hands and along his fingers. He wanted to swing his fists. He NEEDED to swing his fists.
When Zildath caught sight of the creature he was not disappointed. The Draegloth was a terrifying thing, an abomination with more spidery arms that it should have had. It used those arms to duck and weave through the underbrush and around trees, trying to gain distance.
“You will not run from your fate, FIEND!” Zildath roared, the skin of his palm splitting open, and his blood dripped to the ground it began to sizzle… like the lightening he breathed.
“Catch him,” he ordered in draconic. He flung his hand forward, his own blood erupting from his wound. He breathed lightening onto it, transforming into a lightening lure, a long whip that snapped around the Draegloth’s throat, yanking it back to him.
The Draegloth made a horrifying sound, swinging up to it’s legs, and glared at him with pure, murderous fury. Realizing it could not escape, it was all too eager to give into it’s murderous nature.
Had he not been so furious, Zildath might have smiled.
Instead he charged at the creature, and the creature at him.
It was a savage fighter, and Zildath reveled in the ferocity. His hands curled into fists, the blades on the back of his hands making each landed punch a strike that ripped open the Draegloth’s tough flesh. He did not fight with the precision his pack was used to seeing. He did not dodge the vicious strikes, he did not bother to lift his arms in defense, instead he was all too eager to trade punches with the creature and let the cards fall where they might.
The Draegloth grabbed him with two of its arms and slammed him to the ground, jumped on top of him and its claws and fists pummeled into his sides, at his face.
He was asleep in his bed at the monastery. The light from a beautiful moon coming in through the windows. Surrounded by the steady sounds of his comrades, his new brothers and sisters.
A muzzle was suddenly shoved over his snout. Before he could struggle the Elders were standing over his bed, leering at him, whispering that he was an abomination, that he had to die, that nowhere would ever be safe for him. They cut off his tail, and Zildath screamed behind the muzzle. They laughed and told him it was no less than he deserved. His parents stood in the background, his mother crying, his father looking devastated, but they could not help him, they could not reach him, and the Elders took their knife, and drove it into his throat, so he could never breath lightening again –
Zildath recalled the dream so vividly, the night terror that plauged him for so many years. Even before Vorseth killed him, as an adult, he would still occasionally have the same nightmare.
That rage, that fury, welled up inside of him again and came out on a roar that released his lightning and the fire they wanted him to breathe so much in one violent wave the Draegloth was unable to escape from. It screamed in pain, and Zildath knocked it off him, the shadows coalescing around him, giving him small bursts of speed as he attacked the creature, cut, after cut, after cut, until it collapsed, but even then he wasn’t done. He wasn’t done. Because they would have killed him, those Elders, took him away from the things he loved, the Dragonborn he wanted to be, for nothing, FOR NOTHING, FOR A MISTAKE, and Akuma was no longer blades over his hand, but a pair of burning brass knuckles, and his fist was crashing into the abominations face, over, and over, and over –
He could sense them. His pack. Oh by Tritheron. His pack. Zildath jerked his head from the creature to look behind him, his fist raised, his opposite hand around the Drageloth’s throat. Take. Talithey. Sariel. Staring at him. He swallowed hard, his throat sore and burning.
“Do you… do you want to hit it?”
He didn’t know what else to say. And he realized in that moment as his anger died down to a low simmer, and that little Dragonborn boy went back into the forest where he usually hid, peeking out at the world from behind a tree, if the Elders had not made their mistake would he have met them? Those who were more important to him now then anything else?
“Make him feel your pain.”
Tali’s words were like a balm over wounds that bled where none could see. But still he waited, and when Sariel voiced no protest, he looked back down at the Fiend and did what Blood Hunters do.
The after pains of battle, and the conversation with his pack kept his mind occupied as they returned to the Fort. Their home. He was still pissed when he thought of the Elders, but soon he would get to ask his questions. If they were still there, he reminded himself grimly, since something was wrong with his home, but that, ugh-
No more thoughts. He would bathe. Heal his wounds properly. He would continue his Planes Walker studies, and fall asleep with his elves. Yes. It was enough for today.
Except it wasn’t. Vash gave them an update.
His brother. His murderer. Vorseth. Caught up in conspiracies. Repeating words from a Prophesy translated wrong. Now in Jail. In Almwick. Zildath stood there, too many things moving through his mind all at once. He just… couldn’t.
He turned around and walked away.