Vekin Wyvrenkin by Kevin Gallagher

I do not remember my birth parents. I do not remember their names or their faces or even where they lived. I only remember the Mother who raised me. I can still feel her embrace now. I grew up in an abandoned keep in the nook of a mountain. I was kept company by my brothers and sister for a few years, but when they were old enough to join my mother on her hunts I was left alone in my tower for days, sometimes weeks. There was a dusty library there. Some of the scrolls were in the language my mother spoke, and the great bounded books were in the language I knew from a time I can’t remember. It was a safe place. I would read about the world outside my lonely keep. Mother would not let me leave to see these lands because I did not have a flame in my belly to ward of the cold frost and the evil that lived beyond those stone walls. I asked Mother how she filled her belly with fire but she laughed and said it was just in her blood. I so was curious about the outside lands, possibly too much for my own good. I studied the maps of this mountainous country. I read about the great warriors who traveled to Felgard. I learned about the wars of Gods and Men. I couldn’t take being locked up any longer. One day when my family was hunting I climbed out of my sanctuary to adventure, to see the world. I knew mother would scold me but I didn’t care. I was 15 and ready to be a man. I descended into a valley and was sitting by a small creek when I heard voices. They were crude barbarian like men dragging a line of chained women and children. There was a caravan of maybe 300 of them. I had read about these people, slavers. I tried to run. I wasn’t used to this terrain. Before I knew it Darkness fell upon me. When I saw light again it was spewing from the sky. My mother was angry. Wave after wave the men fell and burned. I slipped out of the chains and tried to help. I wanted to prove I could be a brave warrior too I was nothing but a burden. A man cornered me. His axe was raised, ready to take my head. Mother could not burn him; else I would be swallowed up in her fury. She touched ground and grasped the man in her jaws. The men swarmed upon her. Their blades tore her apart. My brothers and sisters came to her aid. They met the same fate. I crawled to her. She cried and at that moment I felt everything she felt, every emotion and memory pouring into me all at once. Our minds were one. She told me to take her blood and fill my belly with fire. All the power I needed was in her crimson blood. I felt it course through me. The words I spoke in her tongue gained true power. Fire didn’t just fill my belly, it filled my eyes. I made those men suffer for what they did to my family. I set my hands ablaze and tore through the slavers piece by piece. Their howls of pain echoed throughout the valley I almost lost myself in that rage. I became afraid of what I could do. When all was said and done the valley had become home to nothing but ash. I climbed back up to my tower, the peak that only dragons could reach. I sat in the darkness, hoping this was all a dream. Hoping my Mother would come home to me. After a few years of wallowing I stumbled upon an ancient scroll in the highest shelves of the library. I read it in my mother’s tongue, and fire filled my words. At that moment my shadow rose up from beneath my feet, and bowed before me. He took up the armor and blade mounted in the study and stood guard, watching over the valley so that harm may never come to the tower. I left that night, leaving my shadow behind. I stumbled down the mountains, through the mist, and into the city of Felgard. I am now known by many names now. Fadir Dreki, Child of Dreki, the Man without a Shadow. But you may call me Vekin Wyvrenkin, proud Spearbrother of Asaheim.