“Incredible! How did you manage to get a bottle of Dragon Fire?”
“It must have cost you a fortune.”
“It’s quite alluring to look at.”
Andrion’s guests gathered around a beautifully worked glass bottle that flickered in the dim light. Inside was a shifting, living flame of blues and yellows and reds. It gave off no heat. In fact, if his guests were to touch the bottle it would feel ice cold; so cold they would not be able to stand touching it for long.
He winced as he recalled the burns he had gotten from the first time he had held the bottle, not wanting to put down his precious Dragon Fire.
He was younger then, much younger. He was stronger too, able to join a raid and hold his own in a fight against a dragon. The whole party came prepared with magically enforced bottles to capture the dragon’s flames as it died. This was the only way to obtain Dragon Fire, and more importantly, the wish you were granted upon releasing the bottled flame. He was the only one from that party that still possessed his Dragon Fire.
Everyone that saw it always had their own ideas of what he should wish for, but it was really just whatever they wanted. He never wanted those things. Well, he did – who wouldn’t want riches and glory and true love? – but those things weren’t good enough to be his one wish. It had to be the best wish ever. It had to be the perfect wish.
He only got one shot, and he couldn’t waste it.
And until he decided on his heart’s desire, he might as well show off his Dragon Fire and revisit memories of his youth. An invitation to one of his parties was coveted throughout the land, simply to glimpse the Dragon Fire. Andrion was never lonely. Well, he was never alone, that is.
A grunt from Andrion’s left caught his attention, and he turned just in time to see a man clutch his chest and fall. At first he thought the man might be ill, but with only a flicker of movement from the shadows another guest went down. The other visitors catching on now, they began to scream and run for the door.
It was as if the shadows were living, breathing beings, but Andrion knew better. The Shrouded were here. They could want only one thing that Andrion possessed: Dragon Fire.
Pulling on a pair of gloves, he lunged for his bottled treasure. His guests were dropping left and right. He could save them, but it would come at a cost he wasn’t prepared to give. Clutching his Dragon Fire, he searched for a way out.
Elbowing past terrified people that were running for the door, Andrion fled in the opposite direction. He only hesitated once, as his old friend, maybe his only real friend, sunk to the floor. His hand stretched toward Andrion as he lay dying, as if he would save him. Andrion considered it, he really did, but he hadn’t saved the Dragon Fire all these years to use it for someone else.
He shouldered on. He wouldn’t let The Shrouded steal his precious Dragon Fire.
He ran into his bedroom and slammed the door behind him. Moving through a short hallway, he came to the door of an enormous safe. It was big enough to house Andrion himself. He quickly unlocked it and pushed open the bulky door. He slipped inside, but as he leaned on the door to close it, a shadow slid inside with him.
It was only a moment before Andrion fell, clutching his Dragon Fire. Darkness in the shape of hands reached for the bottle, but Andrion was faster. Unsealing the bottle, he made his wish, at last.
He wished The Shrouded had never come for his Dragon Fire.
It will work, he thought, as the small room faded to black. If it never happened, my Dragon Fire would still be there.
Andrion’s home was filled with the chatter of guests. He smiled. The Shrouded were gone. Technically, they had never come. He turned to gaze at his most prized possession. His smile faded.
Magic as great and wise as a dragon’s could not be fooled. The Dragon Fire was gone.
What did you think of the story? What would you have wished for, if you had Dragon Fire? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks so much for reading!
-Clever & WTF