The Shaping of Seryth

Chapter 5: The gnomes were intrigued by Malfas, claiming he looked a lot like the netherdrakes that lived in the mountains nearby. They shared Seryth's concerns of how weary the dragon looked and offered what they called a "jump-start". Rather than jumping from a high place to get himself back in the air, as Seryth first assumed, the gnomes had meant an infusion of power. Predictably, all of their power cells had just been stolen by the ogres just up the ridge. They looked hopefully at Seryth and his voidwalker. Seryth sighed.

With his dragon out of commission, Seryth asked the gnomes to supply him with some means of transportation. They responded by giving him a mechanical kind of tallstrider that looked much too small to bear his weight, but it pleasantly surprised Seryth when it took off in a run as fast as any horse when he situated himself on top of it.

The ogres didn’t seem to have any use for the power converters, or perhaps just didn’t know what they were. It didn’t make Seryth’s job any easier though, as they still liked the looks of the shiny little machines, and he ended up having to convince them to part with their ill-gotten gains the hard way — at the end of his most powerful destructive magic.

It turned out the actual jump-starting process wasn’t going to be easy, either. The gnomes had experimented with netherdrakes before and had found the magic — or the dragons — much too unpredictable to do inside their outpost safely. Watching a trio of gnomes light themselves on fire and run about the station screaming as this was explained to him, Seryth reflected that that must be very unpredictable indeed to warrant such a rule. He glanced down at the whelpling in its sling, barely breathing now. It would have to be risked.

They sent him and Malfas south to where the Blade’s Edge Mountains began to bleed into the unstable energies of the Netherstorm. There were other wild drakes there, the gnomes warned. Seryth just hoped he could take care of them.

The jump-start proved effective, though the powerful energies it unleashed also drew the wild nether-drakes to their location.

In surprise, Seryth watched as Malfas dragged them down from the air and then proceeded to feed on them, flesh and mana both.

“Isn’t that cannibalism?!”

“Do you want my services to last?” Malfas retorted. There was something more real, more wild, about the black nether-drake now. Seryth thought back to Ulfar’s assertion that the dragons in his care had been created from remnants of the Black Dragonflight, and he wondered. Though he had been considering it before, he didn’t allow the whelpling to undergo the same jump-start process. He didn’t want the same darkening that seemed to be affecting Malfas to take hold of the baby.

He thanked the gnomes for their help, mounted up on Malfas, and pressed on towards Netherstorm.

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