Stories Hub / Sci-Fi & Fantasy / Tears For The Dragon Ch. 01

Tears For The Dragon Ch. 01

by Mr_Shoggoth 09/11/17

Author's Note: There is quite a bit of plot in this one before the smut starts, so...fair warning. This story contains: (Some) Non-consensual, (Gentle) Femdom, Fellatio, Cunnilingus, Hot Dragon-on-Human Action, and Cherry-Cheese Danishes. Okay, maybe not so much of the latter.

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Tibor Sarkany was beginning to regret coming to this distant part of civilization. But it was the farthest from the capital that he could get without going into the wilds. He needed that distance to avoid King Bognar's forces. His grandiose schemes of revenge also required significant capital on his part, and he had heard that this town of Arany had need of skilled people.

But so far his efforts at honest work had come to nothing. And so he'd begun to turn to less honest means of using his considerable education. It was easy work for the most part. A rich merchant's wards taken down here, a marker spell put on a juicy caravan there. It made him feel a little pang of regret now and then, especially when he thought of Natalia. She would have hated to see him stooping so low. But she wasn't there to pass judgment, was she? And that was why he had sworn an oath, one that he would fulfill no matter how much figurative or even literal muck he had to wade through.

Tibor hunched forward on his stool and regarded the nearly untouched ale in front of him. The tavern was starting to become more bustling as night approached. He ignored the yelling and laughter around him as he gritted his teeth. His potential 'employer' was late.

At last, a big callused hand slapped across from him on the table. Tibor looked up and saw a pair of amused blue eyes look back. The fair-skinned man had a pretty impressive scar across one side of his face. It meandered from his scalp, down one side of his nose, and then across one side of his mouth. The scar made the man look like he was perpetually frowning. He had short-cropped gray hair.

"You Sarkany?" he grunted.

The young mage nodded. "You're Vilmos?"

The man gave an answering nod as he seated himself. "Sorry I'm late. Hadda little trouble with some bandits on the way into town."

Tibor sat up and took a small sip of ale. "Trouble for you or for them?"

Vilmos smiled. Only one side of his face actually got involved in the smile; the side with the scar remained inert. He leaned forward and his broad shoulders strained at his sleeveless leather jerkin. "What do you think?"

Tibor smiled while Vilmos gave him an appraising eye. The young man gave back his friendliest non-expression and kept his light hazel eyes neutral. Tibor knew he didn't look like much, and he took great pains to keep it that way. The only thing that set him apart from the native northern folk was his light-brown complexion. He wore his usual outfit of a gray shirt and black breeches with calfskin boots. His dark brown hair fell behind him in a neat ponytail that reached to his shoulder blades.

A frazzle-haired server paused next to their table. "Can I get you boys anything?" she asked.

Vilmos gave the woman a one-sided leer. "Well, I can think of many things, darlin'. But an ale will do for now." As she walked away, the scarred man tried to give her backside a rough pinch. She twitched her rear away in a practiced maneuver and didn't even look back.

Vilmos snorted and looked back at Tibor. "So, our mutual friend with the broken nose told me I should see you. I gotta job fer ya."

In spite of himself, Tibor was interested. This was not his usual customer; they were mostly ratty little thieves or shady merchants looking to make life difficult for the competition.

"How much are you paying?" asked Tibor.

The scarred man shook his head. "Nothing up front. Equal split of the haul."

Tibor sighed. "I have rules, as I'm sure our nosy acquaintance told you. I take a fixed fee only. I get paid half at the start, half on completion. I don't care how much you make off of my services. If you happen to make out ten times more than what you pay me, well that's wonderful for you."

The answer seemed to amuse the scarred man. "Yer not the greedy type, eh? Good." He leaned forward. "The problem is, I ain't got much coin right now. What I do got is information that could lead to a really big payday for both of us."

The server came back and thumped a wooden mug onto the tabletop, causing a little of the ale within to slosh out. Vilmos' hand shot out like lightning and gripped her wrist. As her eyes widened a little in fear, he made a great show of placing a coin into her trapped hand. He gave her an unsubtle wink before releasing her wrist. The server rolled her eyes and stalked off.

In the meantime, Tibor took a sip of his own ale and pondered the offer. Two things worried him. One, it was a departure from his usual method of doing business. He hated doing work on speculation. Two, he wasn't pleased with the notion of partnering with Vilmos. Tibor could sense a cruel violence in him that lurked just below the surface. The man reminded him a little of Metternich, the chief spy for King Bognar. And Metternich had nearly killed Tibor the one and only time they'd met.

On the other hand, Tibor didn't have anything else lined up at the moment. It wouldn't hurt to at least hear more about the offer...as long as it played to his strengths.

Tibor said, "Just to be clear, I'm not a battle-mage. So if this is a frontal assault I won't be of much use."

Vilmos gave another lopsided smile. "We shouldn't need to raise a sword at all for this job. Y'see, I'm a soldier that recently...retired from a mercenary company that I won't name. We were doin' a sweep for rebels not too far from here, and I came across somethin'. A tomb."

The mage took another sip. "You need someone to look out for wards and get past them."

The mercenary pointed a finger at Tibor in a 'you-got-it' gesture. "If it's who I think it is...it might be Duke Konrad's real tomb."

Tibor resisted the urge to scoff. "That's an old, old story." The Duke had been one of the more legendarily wealthy nobles in the old realms, before they had become 'unified' under King Bognar. Upon the Duke's death, there had been rumors that the riches bequeathed to his sons had been less than expected. That led to more fantastical tales that Konrad's official crypt was not his 'true' final resting place. Instead, there was some mythical 'real' tomb where a fabulous pile of gold and jewels awaited the lucky discoverer.

Vilmos shrugged. "Yeah, it's an old story. But a lotta stories have a, whaddyacall, grain of truth in them." He leaned closer. "Look, maybe it's nothing. Maybe it's just a cave in a hillside. I went in just far enough to see worked stone and then retreated. I didn't want to trip any ward spells."

Tibor drank a larger swig of ale. The brewers in this particular region liked to add juniper berries on top of the usual ingredients, and he found that he welcomed the extra tang it added. His long-suppressed and more academic side began to surface. "Worked stone...were the stones squares or rectangles?"

Vilmos scratched his ear. "Nah they were, whaddyacall the six-sided dinguses?"

The mage's eyes widened. "Hexagons?" He sketched out a rough six-sided shape in the spilled beer on the tabletop.

The mercenary nodded. "Yeah, that. What does it mean?"

Tibor set his mug down. "It means it isn't Duke Konrad's tomb." He smiled, and this time it was genuine. "You, my friend, have found a ruin from the First Empire."

Off of a puzzled look by Vilmos, Tibor continued. "You see, nobody has ever reported a First Empire ruin this far north. If they had, you would have seen a dedicated outpost from one of the big southern universities. This is a ruin that nobody knows about." His center began to grow warm, more from excitement than from the ale.

Vilmos looked a little deflated. "Crap. I was hoping for a nice untouched tomb."

"It might be a tomb. But even if it isn't, there will be artifacts in there that many collectors will pay handsomely to get their hands on."

The mercenary looked a little more upbeat at that news. "How, er, 'handsomely'?"

"There are only six known ruins that survived the fall of the First Empire. If this is number seven...just for the location itself we could literally name our price." Tibor felt that warm glow burn brighter. This could be it, the money that got him established. And then he could proceed with his plans to burn King Bognar's reign right down to the ground.

"What about ward spells?" asked Vilmos. "I was gonna have you along to take 'em down, but if they're that old it sounds like they might be too powerful."

Tibor shook his head. "That's a common misconception. Older spells do not mean harder to bypass. First Empire magic was strong but very uncomplicated. We've gotten a lot more sophisticated in the two thousand years since. If there's any wards there, I can handle 'em no problem."

The mercenary gave another lopsided smile and held out his mug towards Tibor. The young man bumped his own against it in a muted thunk.

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The trip to the ruin was uneventful. The only bad thing that happened was a non-stop bout of cold rain that lasted for two days. At least it was the summertime; in the winter, they'd be trudging through thigh-deep snow. But now they were finally here. Tibor regarded the nondescript cave entrance with some trepidation. It was almost easy to miss, since it was half covered over by sod drooping down from above.

He looked up at the crag of stone that crowned the mountain above them. The summit was the highest of those around them. And that worried him. This location was nowhere near as remote as he'd imagined. There was a hamlet with some small farms only a few miles distant from here. There was no way that this ruin should have remained undiscovered. A curious wandering shepherd and his flock would have been enough to find it.

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