Blood stained pure white snow.
The first time Zildath took a blade to his own flesh it wasn’t for power, but out of desperation. Hatred. Fear.
A very young dragonborn child sat under a grove of trees. Snow fell around him, hung heavy on the branches overhead. He wasn’t far from the village Clan Taccor claimed as their own, right at the foot of the mountain.
Honor. Duty. Strength. These were tenets Clan Taccor lived by. Nothing was more important than the Clan, and thus the Clan’s mission: to protect the Dragon that slept within the mountain.
Zildath wanted nothing more than to honor his clan. To abide the clans ways, and grow up as his mother had a warrior, or perhaps even become a man of faith like his father. He loved them both so dearly.
His parents he knew, loved him too. But the clan…
His small dragonborn hand shook, the war axe he gripped in his palm stained with his blood. Tears continued to fall down the dark red scales of his face, the pain the biggest cause of their existence. Later he would learn to embrace the pain that came with marking his own flesh. But now… it was extreme.
Behind him on the snow, lay the stump of his tail. The tail he should not have been born with.
“It is too much,” the Elder said. “He is wrong. He cannot stay here.”
“Do you not see his tail? What comes out of his mouth? He is an abomination!”
“He dishonors this clan!”
Zildath hated his tail. Before he’d grown of age to use his breath weapon, before they, he, learned how much of an abomination he truly was, he hated it. His younger clan mates shunned him. He was not bullied he was ignored. He was forbidden to play in their games, or train with them. It was only because of his parents rank that he was allowed to stay in the clan at all, in the beginning.
Until his breath weapon had come, making everything worse. Zildath would never forget the look on his mothers face when he’d breathed lightening. Not fire.
She dropped to her knees, hugged him so tightly, and he’d felt her tears falling onto his clothes.
He knew right now, at this very moment, they were discussing what to do with him. Zildath knew he could do nothing about his breath weapon. But his tail…
He’d stolen the axe from his mothers weapon’s closet, come out here and done what needed to be done.
He felt woozy, he supposed from the mess of blood behind him. But he was the son of a warrior. He would not pass out. He wouldn’t cry anymore either. Stupid, tears. He reached up, roughly wiping at his face, gritting his teeth against the terrible pain where he’d severed his tail.
Perhaps he could learn to breathe the right weapon. Zildath swallowed back a lump in his young throat, and picked up the severed part of his tail, trudging through the snow back to his home.
As he moved through the village, they stared at him in a new kind of shock. Perhaps horror. Zildath ignored them, forced his head high, still gritting his teeth and fighting against the sting in his eyes. He tried to walk proudly, but his gait was off, felt off, without the feeling of his tail behind him. He didn’t care. It was wrong. He shouldn’t have it. He hated it.
Someone rushed ahead, fetched his parents from their meeting with the elders. His father was the first to rush out, the weight of a terrified parent marking his fathers face as he saw what was in Zildath’s hand.
“Zildath! What have you…” His father rushed to him, dropping to his knees in the snow, pulling the axe from Zildath’s hand, and turning him around to look at the damage done. “oh my son… “
His mother was there in the next breath. A gasp leaving her as she dropped to the ground next to his father. “Zildath, why-“
“I hate it. I hate it, and they won’t let me stay if I have it. And maybe I won’t always breathe lightening. Maybe I can learn to be right. I’ll practice mother, I promise I will.”
Something in his fathers tone made Zildath stiffen. Then he felt it. A strange sensation, uncomfortable. Stinging. No. Zildath looked over his shoulder, and cried out, watching as his tail began growing back. He screamed, a child’s furious scream, and reached for the axe his father had pulled from his grasp. “I’ll cut it off again! I don’t want it!”
“Zildath! Zildath stop!” it was his father who embraced Zildath in his big arms, holding him so tightly. Zildath always felt protected here. Like he could do anything in those tiny moments inside his father’s embrace. But this was different. Zildath fought against his urge to sink into his father and instead pushed against his chest.
“No father let me! I want to stay I want-“
“By the gods, does it grow?”
“The boy tried to remove it. It grew back.”
“He truly is an abomination.”
“Stop this. Please.” Narina’s tone was tight. Her stance moving to shield her son from them.
“We have listened to the words of Nyx and your own. We are agreed. We will allow him to live, but he must be banished. The records of Clan Taccor will show, Narina and Hifras have no son.”
“No!” Zildath wiggled free of his father, facing the elders. Fear gripped him. Fury ragged inside of his chest. “Don’t send me away, please!”
“NO!” Zildath roared, his mouth opening and out came a stream of lightning, more powerful than he’d ever felt. He never noticed the small red flames that swirled within.
But they had.
Less than hour later, his small hands bound with rope, a muzzle around his head to keep him from using his breath weapon, he was in the back of wagon, two guards riding behind them, ensuring that he left the area Clan Taccor claimed.
To this day, he’d never returned and Clan Taccor had no record that Zildath, son of Narina and Hifras, existed at all.
Zildath sat in a pew, inside the chapel area of the Monastery. He knew there was a small scar on his tail. Barely visible now, just another among all the rest he’d willingly given himself in service.
He’d always thought he’d imagined the moment he’d breathed fire that day so long ago. Now he was certain it had not been wishful thinking on his part. He reached into the pouch at side, and pulled out the medallion Sariel, discovered. Holding it up to the light. Wondering at the secrets it kept.
Secrets he desperately needed to know.
Zildath put the medallion around his neck and closed his eyes.