The planet was dying. For centuries, so long as the literature recorded, the Drur had lived and ruled the planet Rolnova. The winged and hooved race had been built for the changing terrain of their planet but now they could no longer be sustained here. The surface of the planet, once lush and green, now lay in waste, a shadow of its former glory; an unforeseen effect of their dark magic. It was a mystery as to how the planet had degraded to such a state, but one thing Orrur knew, they could no longer continue to inhabit this place.
With a heavy heart, the great leader of a dying race chose to leave Rolnova behind. It was a difficult decision for the leader to make, but the leader’s right hand, Orrur, agreed. While they would be leaving their home behind, their leader knew it was inevitable; it was a choice that needed to be made in order to ensure the survival of his bloodline and his people as a whole. Mounting his great obsidian dragon, Zervis, Orrur lead the charge that would set in motion a series of events that would change the Drur people, and himself, forever.
The path away from Rolnova was not an easy one. Many of the Drur people were ill or weak even before leaving their home planet, but as they traversed the harsh environment of deep space, a great number of them perished. Only the strongest and most resilient seemed to be able to weather each obstacle they met. Food stores became less and less and each planet they stopped at yielded nothing more than a distraction. With so many of the Drur people dead, dying or weak, Orrur worried they would all perish before they could find a suitable planet to inhabit.
Months passed by in agony, hope turning to desperation at the need to find a new planet. Their numbers had thinned significantly and only the strongest warriors and heartiest children and women had survived. But Orrur was not fooled; he knew well they all had their limit. If the next planet was just as uninhabitable as the string of planets they had traveled to already, it was surely to be their last destination.
As the new planet came into view, the Drur people held hope at the lush, beautiful forests and deep blue oceans that stretched across the planet’s surface. From afar, it appeared to be a promising prospect, though Orrur held his opinion to himself. To give the Drur false hope now would crush them, so he kept silent as they approached the planet and prepared for landing.
The closer they came to the surface, the more promising it was that this new planet would be the lush paradise they had been seeking these last long months. Could this really be the planet they had been searching for? Was this their new home?
Landing on this new, alien planet had proved challenging, but they had managed to do so with little loss. Now, several months later, they had settled into a portion of the thick forest they had landed within, venturing only as far as they needed in order to procure the essentials. This peculiar planet housed species never seen by the Drur people, some able to be domesticated and some that offered new threat to them. Their leader had charged Orrur with organizing scouting parties in order to gain more information about their surroundings and each mission seemed to bring light to some new threat. While they were able to sustain life here on this new planet, hazards seem to lurk around every corner.
Still, the Drur people prevailed, learning what plants and living creatures to eat and which to avoid. They made a permanent settlement near their original landing and began to flourish again as a people. Their numbers grew as they reproduced, taming the wild woods and made a new home for themselves.
But the new peace was not to last. On one of the scouting missions, Orrur discovered something disconcerting; it looked like another permanent settlement, one that didn’t belong to the Drur. They knew so little of their new home, but none of them had thought another intelligent species would exist here. In the months they had been inhabiting the newly tamed forest, they had never once crossed paths with a race that could equal their own.
Returning quickly, Orrur relayed the information he had gathered. The settlement was permanent, definitely one of an intelligent race. One with far greater technology than their own. The leader, though concerned, outwardly appeared calm and collected. No threat, he had said. They would deal with them as soon as they could gather their army. Then this new planet would truly be theirs.
The army was gathered in full force, armed with what weapons they had salvaged from their home planet before fleeing, along with crude stone and wood weapons fashioned from their immediate surroundings. Orrur didn’t like the idea of attacking the only other intelligent race they had spotted on this planet. So little information had been gathered that they were going in blind; but it was the wish of his leader, and so Orrur obeyed.
A war horn sounded , others joining in chorus and the army marched in unison, the thunder of their hooved feet pounding across the forest floor, reverberating in Orrur’s mind. It was the sound of the coming storm, the storm of their attack on a people that had shown no threat, no malice towards them. Surely they had known the Drur had landed here, yet had done nothing. The thought clawed at Orrur’s brain.
It was several days before the army stood just outside the shining capitol; the buildings looked as though they were carved from precious gems as they glinted in the light of the setting sun. The warriors looked on in wonder of the city, it far beyond their capabilities, and it set fear into the hearts of many. Orrur simply looked on and wondered how they could hope to prevail.
War ensued, the two sides locked in vicious battle as they fought for control of the planet. The Drur, though less technologically advanced, had brute force on their side with their tamed dragons and fearless, brutish fighting style. Their numbers were surprisingly greater as well, outnumbering the native people five to one, making their odds much greater than Orrur could have hoped.
Battle raged on for what seemed forever and the numbers on both sides dwindled, but somehow the Drur won. Victory was a bitter taste in Orrur’s mouth, seeing the natives as a peaceful people. They didn’t have strong numbers, nor did they seem to be hardened in battle like the Drur. But they had great weapons of destruction, and in the heat of battle they had launched them. The lush forests had burned and fallen, the sparkling turquoise of the waters turned to a sickly green. The once opulent planet now stood in ruins, uninhabitable for either race. Looking around at the charred remains, Orrur’s heart sank, feeling as though he had never left Rolnova’s surface.
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this, Orrur thought to himself. They had set out to find a new planet, a new home, and instead had decimated the native people, enslaved the women and children, and had to move on once more. Glancing through the cages that were packed with native people, Orrur shook his head, spurring Zervis on. Abhorrence had taken root in his heart now, disgusted with his leader’s choice, a choice that had led to their people uprooting once more to brave the cold, unrelenting space between planets.
Tucking his bat-like wings against his back as Zervis picked up speed, Orrur avoided his leader so much as he could on their journey to find yet another new home. He wasn’t sure he could keep his face disciplined enough to avoid showing the malice that had started to grow within him. Instead, he kept to himself, keeping a watchful eye on their newly acquired slaves and ensuring they were as comfortable as they could be.
It wasn’t long before they came across another planet, however their forces didn’t get a chance to land on the surface. Before they could react, the planet’s inhabitants had sent a force to meet theirs, and with the Drur once again suffering from low numbers, they stood no chance in a fight. The Drur leader relented, agreeing to speak with the native leader in order to come to an agreement.
Orrur had a sinking feeling in his gut about the meeting, but already he knew the Drur leader would hear none of it, so he kept his words and fears to himself. Mere hours after the meeting, rumors flew that the Drur leader had been slaughtered along with the diplomats that had accompanied him, slain by the native leader. And before the Drur or the slaves could wonder if there was truth to those words, forces descended upon them in a flurry of slashing blades, cutting most down where they stood, only taking care to spare the slaves.
Orrur only fought back enough to beg for mercy, beg for his life to be spared. He pleaded, saying he’d wanted nothing to do with the enslavement of those they had brought with them. One of the generals approached Orrur, looking him over to discern if he was worth the effort of saving. Though he said nothing, the general must have decided Orrur was worth something as he quickly shackled him and toted him off to see the leader.
Thrust upon his knees in the throne room, Orrur chanced a look up at the leader, or rather, leaders. There was a king and a queen, and who Orrur could only assume was the pair’s daughter, sitting upon a dais raised slightly above where he knelt. Pleading once more, he hoped the king and queen would give him mercy, along with his dragon, Zervis.
The silence that fell between them was unnerving and Orrur was certain his fate would not be to his liking. But he was surprised when the king agreed to spare him, though there were conditions. His wings were to be severed to show his loyalty to the royal family and to remove the one feature that made Orrur stand out from the native people. But that wasn’t all. Zervis was to have his eyes removed so he could not discern friend from foe in an effort to tame the wild beast. Already the dragon had made enemies with the natives and saw them as a threat.
Orrur only questioned the king once, in order to understand the terms, why they had been chosen. To be purified, had been the king’s answer. Orrur had to be cleansed of his sins, exonerated from all the wrongs he had committed. It was his atonement for aiding in the destruction of a planet and the enslavement of a race. To be purified… With a single nod of his head, Orrur agreed to the terms.
Zervis was first and Orrur stood as witness, ears folding and wings twitching at his back as he listened to his dragon scream in agony as he was blinded. Blood pooled down the obsidian dragon’s scales, staining the ground around him as he thrashed, gnashing his teeth in an effort to find someone, anyone to punish for his pain. It was all Orrur could do to stand still and watch Zervis receive his punishment.
After his dragon had been given his treatment, Orrur was next. Pushed to his knees once more, he locked eyes on the king, seeing the fine wrinkles at the corner of the man’s eyes as he strained to keep watch. Two of the guards took Orrur by the arms on either side, a third coming from near the dais with a blade. To be purified, the words echoed in his mind as the guard stepped closer, the click of his feet on the tile unnerving. The cool metal of the blade grazed along the base of his wing but Orrur didn’t flinch, muscled tightening in anticipation. The cut of the blade was like the scalding of flesh, the breaking of the bone filling his ears and drowning out the sound of his own screams. He had to do this… he had to suffer for what he had done. He had to be purified.
Art, story and coding by Celestial
Fonts from DaFont
Background from ImgBase
Thank you Lucifer for letting me adopt him!