”By dragon blood and shadow bound, come forth spirit to hollow ground. Cast out demons, cast out death; give this blood thy holy breath. ”

The wooden bowl of liquid gold glistened, as a faint swirl of steam rose out of it and then vanished. The man casting the spell blew on it once and turned to face the other man with him in the cold, stone room. The only light present came from the few scattered candles, their faint glow shimmering off the golden drink and

reflecting onto the walls. The old man carrying the concoction was old indeed. Wrinkles lined his face and his eyes sagged so only a sliver of them could be seen. He had thin yet long white eyebrows and a matching floor-length beard. He hunched over and waddled towards the other man, who was sitting on a cushioned chair, his breathing labored, sweat beading on his forehead. He had tanned skin a black, thick, waist-length beard and hair, both of which contained many beads and braids. He was a large man, but most of his weight was due to muscle. He had full lips, a set of dark

eyes, and high cheekbones. His robes were

richly colored, and the metals that decorated him glimmered in the candlelight.

The older man reached to the younger one and held the bowl to his lips. ”Drink ” he said in a harsh whisper. The younger man obeyed, gulping at the liquid gold. He then closed his eyes, his breath strengthening and evening. The mans veins began to glow. It started at the core of him, but soon traveled outward lighting up each vessel with a pale golden light, and spreading to the skin until his entire body cast a faint gold flame. The man gasped, and his eyes widened, the irises turning the same metallic color. Yet, as quickly as it came, the gold left, his skin and veins returning to their brown state. All except the eyes. The once ebony iris still held onto a few slivers of gold which splintered the mans cold stare. The older man turned back to the desk on which he had drafted the mixture.

”How much is left? ” the man asked. The older man did not respond at first. ”Wu? ” he pressed.

”That was the last of Orinod ” Wu said quietly.

The man scoffed. ”I still do not see why you

name them. They are beast. Ravenous,

monstrous beast. ”

”With all due respect your highness, it is my

way of honoring their sacrifices. ”

”The dragons do not make sacrifices, ” the

nobleman said. ”They do not give their blood freely. ”

Wu nodded at this. ”Not all sacrifices are. ”

The nobleman did not s

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