#1 Posted by StreetRat39 (6 posts) - - Show Bio
Not all heroes are born into a prophecy,
Nor birthed with strength and the ability to fly.
When looking at them, what you may see,
Would be the normal frame of your average guy.
So, take care of your fellow man,
He may do great things and conquer high mounts.
For I will say it as plain as I can,
It is not the outside, but what's inside that counts.

"Hey! Get that kid!" A teenage boy giggled as he ran through the crowded grocery store, a loaf of bread under his arm, a gallon of milk in his hand, a candy bar clenched in his teeth. Too fast and agile for the heavy-set manager, Allen Davidson quickly escaped the store and ducked down an alley. He smiled and ran around a building, stopping behind a dumpster. He then unwrapped the stolen candy bar and ate it, enjoying the taste of chocolate. He didn't often steal candy, but the opportunity was there today, so why not treat himself?

He finished his snack and began walking again. A complex route through tight passages, over fences, around this dumpster and that, until he came across a locked wooden door. He outstretched his leg and gently tapped the bottom panel with his foot, causing it to fall inside of the ground floor of a long closed apartment building. Allen crawled inside and carefully replaced the panel before making his way up the rickety staircase to the top floor. The apartment was formerly labeled 4G, until the wooden numbers fell off, leaving behind the faded paint. The door set to the side as it fell off the hinges years ago, Allen casually walked into his 'home.'

He went to the kitchen and placed the bread on the counter, then moved to a small cooler and placed the milk inside next to a half empty carton of orange juice and a nearly depleted bottle of Mountain Dew. He looked at the inside which was mostly filled with water now, few ice cubes remaining, and sighed.

"Ice. That'll be tomorrow then. Hm... The milk should survive... Should." He shrugged and closed it. Then, he went to the living room. A small television sat on the floor, a rugged looking N64 in front of it with Mario Kart inside it. He took his usual seat in a recliner that had been left behind and turned the tv on.

He looked to his left and pressed the on button on a old radio. The ancient tv had no sound anymore, and Allen enjoyed having some noise aside from his own thoughts. He played his game for an hour, leaving the time at 9:46 by the clock on the radio which was 1:42 behind.

"Wow, almost 11:30?" He then yawned and nodded. "Yep. Definitely is." He smiled and reclined the chair, turning the tv off and reaching to the floor next to him, grabbing a notebook. He flipped through the pages and found one with a table titled 'Jim's grocery on 11th" and he entered another line, marking 'Milk, bread, candy" under the first column and "$7.24" in the second. He did some quick math and added up roughly $250, and bit his lip. He felt bad. It was over the course of 5 months, but it's still a lot of money. And that was just Jim's.

He closed his eyes and fell asleep, as he had every night since he found this spot 4 months ago. It was a little over 5 months ago that he left the orphanage he called home. Roughly a month of sleeping under bridges and the like, he finally found this apartment building. Sturdy enough, the former land lord could not afford to keep the building and it was vacated. Luckily for Allen, the city forgot to shut the electricity off which allows him to have his few electrical devices.

A simple life to be had, stealing when he needs to and recording every account with the intent of paying it back some day. Nothing special about him or his life at all... Right?

#2 Posted by Draconian (130 posts) - - Show Bio

The ruins had been long ago lost to the grasping tendrils of the forest. Once, a palace had stood here; the envy of neighboring kingdoms, a sign of oppression to the people.

Lo! Death has reared himself a throne.
In a strange city lying along.

Now though, the portcullis is no more than intertwined rust and ivy.

Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
The viol, violet and the vine.

The great banquet hall is open to the sky, and shrubs sit around the rotting remains of the massive stone table. Deep below, groundwater covered the bones of those trapped in oubliettes, a proper burial at last.

There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves

And in the throne room, upon a seat of tarnished gold and decaying skulls, a single mighty tree grew. This place has been abandoned for centuries, not even grave-robbers disturb its deterioration.

But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye
Not the gaily jeweled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea —
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.
But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave — there is a movement there!

The ivy on the portcullis is cut away, the disintegrating metal falling in flakes of rust.

As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide —
As if their tops had feebly given

A hand pushes aside a curtain of vines cascading down from a dull chandelier.

A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow —

Through the mighty banquet halls. The shrubs sit as they have for decades, but they too seem to watch

The hours are breathing faint and low —

The walker passes them by, and stands in the doorway to the throne room. He looks up at the chipped and faded frescos

And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence,

Passes by the tree that has rooted itself in a place of power, and places his hands against the stony wall. His fingers fumble among the lichen, and then find a groove. He presses, and the wall slides open, groaning with the dust of years. WIthin the chamber is the statue of a dragon-man. It stands 8 feet high, each scale meticulously carved. Great horns curve back from the cruel face.

"Master, I am here to free you from your curse. I am the last son of the keepers of the secret of the dragon-prince. The day of revelations has come. I speak these words, and spill my blood, and bid you to awaken." He slits his palm with a fallen stone, feeding the lichen with blood.

The carved dragon-prince cracks. An opalescent eye stares out.

Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence.

---

For hundreds of years he has dreamed rocky dreams, but now The Dragon Prince, Florentin Cuza, has awoken once more. His servant stands with head bowed as Cuza breaks free. "Where is the amulet?" Cuza speaks in a language forgotten when his kingdom crumbled.

"Amulet?" the servant's face pales. "It...I..."

Cuza takes a step forward, the fragile tiles of the floor cracking under his weight. "Where. Is. My. Amulet."

Quaking in his boots: "It was taken and hidden away where you could never reach it."

"Where?"

"I don't know."

"Yes you do." With a single talon, Cuza slits the man open from his throat to his waist. He collapses to the ground instantly. Cuza examines his entrails, using divination to see how the future lay.

"It's been taken far away...across an ocean. It is destined that only one may retrieve it. Who?"

Cuza reached into the still-gasping servant's body and grabbed his heart. He twisted, wringing the blood out onto the floor. Peering into the pool, his eyes gleamed with light from another world. A murky picture formed.

A boy running, packages clutched under his arms and between his teeth.

"Let it be so then. A boy will lead the Dragon King to glory."

#3 Posted by StreetRat39 (6 posts) - - Show Bio

After a long dream about flying through New York City without wings or a plane, Allen awoke to a new day. He stretched and then stood up, walking to his cooler and grabbing what was left of the mountain dew. He then moved to the counter and grabbed two slices of bread before opening a small jar of peanut butter. With a plastic knife, he spread a generous helping of it on both slices of bread. Allen then went back to his chair and ate his sandwich, finishing the mountain dew as well. After a small burp, he once again turned his tv on and began playing his game.

An hour later, Allen thought he heard a noise from down the hall. Assuming it was nothing, he paid no attention to it. But, then he thought he heard it again. Curious, he muted the tv and listened. A few seconds passed, then he heard it again, loud and clear. Footsteps, outside of his door. Knowing it was too late to run, Allen quietly and quickly moved to a closet. He closed the door and sat on the ground, silent, just in time. Whoever it was entered the apartment and seemed to stop in the middle of the room. Allen listened as the mystery person turned off the tv, then closed his eyes and bit his lip. Of all things, I forgot to turn off the tv??? he thought to himself. The intruder definitely knew someone was there now.

The mystery person then walked quickly to the closet. Allen knew that he was caught and just rested his forehead on his hands as the door opened. There stood a tall man, late 30's, well built and wearing a police uniform. A sigh from the officer before he spoke.

"Hey, kid." He said in a unthreatening tone.

"Yeahhhhhh..." Allen groaned, knowing that he was in trouble. The officer smirked a bit.

"You know it's illegal to live in vacant buildings, right?"

"Yeahhhhh..." Another groan. The officer then squatted down to Allen's level and pointed behind himself.

"Did you steal all this stuff?" Allen shook his head.

"No. Most of it was here when I found this place, other stuff from the trash... The food I did, though." He confessed rather than have them figure it out and get him in more trouble. The policeman nodded.

"I see... You know I have to take you in, right?" A small tear rolled down Allen's cheek.

"Yes, I know, sir." The officer then gently put a hand on Allen's shoulder.

"Hey, take it easy now. There's not much here, and seeing as you're homeless, I'm guessing, the judge will take it easy on you. The honesty helps. You wont get more than a few hours of community service. I promise." Allen nodded, another tear forming, but not really crying. The officer then helped him up and led him outside, sitting him in the front seat rather than the back. A small thing which made Allen feel a little better. The officer called in the story and they began driving back to the station.

#4 Posted by Draconian (130 posts) - - Show Bio

With mighty wings he sailed across the World Sea to a new world. Salt crusted his horns in glittering crystals. The deep sea fish bowed before him, feeling his wake from their kingdoms of arabesque vents in the darkness.

Storms formed in a tapestry behind him, lightning striking the deeps.

He collapsed upon the shore, his great chest working like a bellows (and smoke was indeed trickling from his nostrils). His wings spread out behind him like shimmering kelp. He rose when the moon sank beneath the sea and dawn ignited the polluted sky.

Welcome to New Jersey, Dragon Prince.

He walked inland. Now people began to appear. Most simply didn't notice him. Others figured he was a publicity stunt for some movie. Maybe a performance artist. Nice papier mache skills. Was there a renaissance fair in town? That guy was a shoe-in for the costume contest.

They all bowed before him soon enough.

One of them was a trucker, which was fortunate since most cars were unable to accomodate Cuza's enormous frame. The prince crouched in the storage area of the truck, wondering how they moved; did they have slaves pushing it from inside the cabin, or were there invisible beasts of burden of some sort? Magic? He couldn't figure it out.

The trucker dropped him off in New York, where he was payed even less attention than in Jersey.

He walked through the streets until he found a man in uniform. It didn't matter what era or civilization one was from...that indicated a soldier. Or in this case, a policeman. Dragonian clamped his hand over the policeman's face and dragged him into an alley. No one noticed.

He stared into the policeman's eyes, hypnotizing him. You must find this boy for me. His coordinates are as follows.

And the events of the boy's discovery are already known.

The policeman would not be going to the station after all; he would report to his new master instead.

#5 Posted by StreetRat39 (6 posts) - - Show Bio

The ride in the police car seemed to take forever. Mostly because Allen was dwelling in his own thoughts. Why didn't he just stay at the orphanage? At least while he was there he didn't have to break the law to survive. He felt terrible. This wasn't him. He was not a criminal. He was just a child. What he had to do was shameful, and he did feel ashamed.

Allen didn't even look out of the windows of the police car when it came to a stop. The officer reached to his side and Allen heard jingling as he produced a pair of hand cuffs.

"Sorry, it's standard procedure." Allen sighed and held up his hands, still not looking around as the officer put the cuffs on him, the clicking sound as it locked a little tight for his small wrists. He winced a little and the officer exited the vehicle, moving to the other side to open the door for him. Allen got out of the car, finally looking up at the... Warehouse? He looked puzzled, expecting the police station to be in his view. Only a run down empty warehouse stood in front of him. Years without maintenance had left the building rusted, broken windows, doors broken into. Much like the condition of the apartment building that Allen had just been pulled from.

"Umm... Officer? This isn't th-HEY!" He was interrupted when the policeman grabbed him suddenly, quickly moving toward the warehouse. Allen looked in his eyes and saw some strange determination. Like he was possessed. The pieces began to fit together. He was a 'criminal', an officer lied to him, and now he was at an abandoned warehouse with no witnesses. His eyes turned to horror.

"NO! DON'T KILL ME! HELP! HEEEEELP! LET ME GO! I DON'T WANT TO DIE!" Allen screamed as loud as he could, kicking and thrashing in the officers arms. Finally, one kick landed in every man's greatest weak point. A groan of pain and Allen was free. He didn't know what to do next and instinctively ran to the warehouse, his instincts telling him to hide inside until he could get around the rogue cop and escape. Allen burst into a door and ran as fast as he could, making a sharp left down a hallway.

Screeching to a halt and then falling back on his own rear, he looked up in disbelief at a grotesque figure. For the most part it was human shaped, but somewhere upwards of seven feet tall. It had a reptilian appearance. And wings. Wings. What kind of a man had wings? He breathed heavily, not taking his eyes off of this monster. What was happening?

#6 Posted by Draconian (130 posts) - - Show Bio

Rust flaked around him like ash from some long-dead volcano. He waited in the darkness, glass crunching underneath his feet. He could see through the policeman's eyes like one may see through the wrong end of a telescope...a small, distorted image far, far away.

Eyes glinted in the dark, but none dared approach the Dragon. He payed those in the dark no heed, for they were below him. Eventually curiosity faded and the eyes winked out one by one.

Not too far away, rubber strained against rumpled tar as a metal sepulcher was forced forward on the breath of ancient bones. The telescope grew larger.

Florentin slowly smiled, rows of teeth as long as a man's finger meshing. He was going to like this world.

Screams from outside, the primal shriek of one debased to fight-or-flight. In these situations the predator always had the upper hand. Generally the prey would run directly away from the aggressor...in this case into the warehouse, toward where Florentin waited.

Glass crunched, and the slow rain of rust began once more. A door swung open, and a small boy skidded into the room, promptly falling over. Florentin looked down at him, lazily blocking the door with an outstretched wing. He looked the child directly in the eyes.

Hello. You're going to do something for me.

The message was transmitted through a form of telepathy, or more accurately, hypnosis. As long as Florentin maintained eye contact, he would be able to surpass the language barrier.

If you cooperate, you will be allowed to serve me when I ascend to power once more. If you don't...

Images of dissenters in Florentin's old nation flashed through his mind.

We're going to go now. I will give you the details on our way.