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Itaro: The Draco

by Dreiki

Dreiki A Prologue to a much larger story I have been writing. It takes place in a universe separate from humans in which the characters share a genetic ancestor with dragons as opposed to apes. This is merely a test to see if the introduction itself is popular. If it gets a decent recognition I will add chapters over time. Please make sure to give your criticism I am open to all of it.
A large imposing figure walked across a torch lit room cradling a small bundle in its arms. a thick black reptilian tail dragged behind the large creature, large strong horns nesting atop short blood red hair. Golden eyes glowed dimly in the darkness as the massive figure set the bundle down on a table.
The child was weak. Too weak to survive in a human realm, and too weak to be kept in the castle. The king looked at his heir, a small creature, too frail to cry, and a living monstrosity. Not quite human, and not quite Xiozi. Not only were his horns smaller than any he’d ever seen on a male, but the child also lacked a tail. It was as if the human blood diluted the Xiozian side of him. As the father, he feared he would never see this child grow into a warrior that made him proud. The child was much too feeble for him, the strongest of the Xiozi, to call a son. This child, this thing, was the exact opposite of the golden eyed king.

It was taboo, a child like this. The humans and Xiozi had just ended a war, and his people no doubt still criticized his decision for peace. He had meant for this child to be a symbol of their unity, and the power brought when they worked together. His plan to live a happy life with the mother of this child were gone now. The king would surely have this child used against him. His people would overthrow him for being weak, and betraying them. What had gone wrong? How could something like this happen?

He couldn’t allow it to be used against him, the world of the Xiozi was a world of the strong. Only the strong were to survive, and only the strongest were to thrive. The king could not show weakness, he could not let anyone know of this abomination that shared his blood.

He looked at his child once more. How could the offspring of such strong parents be so weak? Was this his punishment? Was this his consequence for committing such a sin as to love a human? If only he had not been blinded by love. No. He would not let this be his downfall, he needed to hide this weakness. The king took a sword from his belt. “Yes, I’m aware.” He seemed to say to himself. “I can’t be deterred by these excuses, it needs to die now, or it will come back to haunt me!” He yelled aloud. He grit his teeth in frustration, seeing his weakness reflected in the child. He stood frozen as he hovered over the frail being. He needed to destroy weakness, sharing his blood or not, he could not allow for weakness. He was the lord of the Xiozi, and needed to hold strength above any other value. If he did not, he was not fit to be a king. He brought the sword above his head, shutting his eyes tightly, and bringing the sword down with all his might. He felt it pierce cleanly through the table as if he had stabbed only air. The king’s hands tightened fiercely onto the grip of the sword. His ears heard a faint cry, and he opened his eyes only to confirm what he already knew. He couldn’t bring himself to do it. This child, this symbol of weakness, reminded him too much of her; too much of its mother.

“There is no more room for debate huh?,” he breathed out in defeat. The king took one more look at his child. Jet black hair, and red eyes, just like his mother. If he had to say what the child took after him, the king would say the golden pupils that contrasted the red irises. Beyond this, the king saw nothing.

“Then it is decided…It will live, but only if it can survive this cruel world on its own.” He laid his sword across the child’s body, “This is my one and only protection to you. If you learn to use it, and use it well, then I will have no reason to deny you.” He sighed, a sorrowful look washing over his face, “That is if you would want such a weak father.”

He would not shelter it, he could not shelter it, no matter how much he wanted to do so. He knew the only solution in front of him; he would give his flesh and blood to another…

A figure lay slumped on a chair, awake, but tired. A long white beard traveled down to the figure’s chest. Two curled horns sat atop the Xiozi’s head, showing his age. He sat there, as if contemplating something. It was extremely quiet, and solemn, as if the world had stopped for him to think. Just another solemn night for the old Xiozi it seemed. Deafening silence broken only by the old man’s inner thoughts. At least that’s what he believed until the silence was broken by a sudden knock on his door.

The old Xiozi turned his head to the door. He got up, an expression of pain clear on his face. The old reptilian humanoid plodded over to the door, opening it.looking down he saw a small creature wrapped in a blanket to keep the cold of the night away. His tired eyes gazed at the creature; It was obviously not a pure Xiozi. It was much too small, and its horns were barely visible. This frail being was most certainly a mix of human and Xiozi. The old man looked at it, as if he’d seen such a cruel fate befall a newborn before. Truly, this child was a freak of nature; one who would never find a good place in this world.

Why was this thing born? How was it born? Why was it on his doorstep? These were the questions that came into the Xiozi’s head. His dim, grey eyes focused in on something glimmering in the low light; a sword. He bent over painfully picking up the sword that was laid across the child’s body. He looked at it for a moment, seeming to be lost in thought as he inspected the sword. “Ah, so that’s how it is…” He grumbled out in a low voice, as if all his questions had been answered. The man looked around, not seeing anyone. The creature was crying out, barely able to be heard. “Foolish…Too weak to even show his face.” He said to himself.

The old Xiozi could not leave it here, taboo or not he knew he had to take it in. “Yes, I do understand now… that fool. Always half assin’ his goals.” he said to himself once more. “Just as weak now as you were then…” He sighed, picking the child up. It was so small, and so sickly, its breathing shallow and choppy, and its cries weak and quiet. Would it even live?

It did not matter to the old Xiozi. Whether it lived or not was up to the creature’s will to fight. All he could do was feed it, and care for it. The old Xiozi shuffled back into his home, closing the door shut behind him.

A child ran through the streets in fear. His lungs burned, and his legs began to numb. He looked behind himself, seeing no one chasing him. Keep running… gotta keep running… he thought.

Before he could turn he had slammed into what seemed like a brick wall. The impact caused his small body to bounce off, and land down on his ass. His vision spun, but he could make out the large frame of one of the boys. How had they managed to get in front of him? He was always a faster runner than them. As he looked closer, the daze of the collision having worn off somewhat, he noticed that they had intentionally cornered him. His eyes widened in terror; there was no way he could run now as they had surrounded him. He didn’t want to take a beating today. He needed to get away. The small boy looked around frantically. No adults would help him; they never did. He was not strong enough to overpower them with a weapon, they’d probably just use it against him, and make his beating worse. They began closing in, cracking their knuckles as a form of intimidation, smirking in a sadistic manner.

“Time to learn your place again today halfling” The one in front of him taunted. “You shoulda just stayed out of the school ya filthy Draco” The boy on the right cooed.“He probably doesn’t feel pain, hey! Let’s break his arm, and see!” the left side suggested.

The center grabbed the boy by his hair “Get over here you tailless freak” He yanked the boy to him, delivering a strong punch to his gut. The smaller boy gasped, the air having been knocked out of him. Pain shot up and down his body from his stomach as another punch was delivered soon after. His legs went limp, as the center kept him held up. The other two began taking turns on him, using his body as a punching bag until their arms got tired, and they had to switch. The boy did not know how long it would last, but it felt like an eternity.

When his beating finally ended he was thrown to the ground, coagulated blood staining his face, and clothes. His lip was split open, and his body was bruised. No doubt his ribs were broken. His clothes were tattered, but that was nothing new. The wounds on his body began to sting as dirt stuck to it. If there was one thing that was Xiozian about him it was his body’s ability to take a beating, and heal quickly. However, his human side had decided that he needed to suffer more than others. His natural pain tolerance was much lower than pure Xiozi. It was as if fate had made it so he couldn’t die no matter how much the other kids beat him. The small boy turned over onto his back. The stars were out now. The boy’s eyes were blank, and vacant. How long had they beaten him for? an hour? two? And why? Because he was different? Because he didn’t have a tail like the rest of them? Because he was half human, and half Xiozi? Yet another terrible day at school, or rather another normal day for him. They kept calling him a ‘halfling’. He was branded as a ‘Draco’ a traitor to their race. It was decided before he’d even said a word.

They told him that his parents were sinful, and would want him to die too. He began to think it was true. They had left him before he could even walk, or remember anything. It was unfair, why was he in this world? So many questions went through his mind, and not a single one he could answer. He must have laid there for hours, simply looking at the stars, and thinking about his existence. A single tear rolled from his vacant eyes, and down his expressionless face. More, and more began to stream down as his face contorted in frustration, and sadness. His thoughts became spiteful, and angry as he tried to figure out why he was beaten down so much. His vision became blinded by tears. Every day he had to deal with them. Every day he was told he was weak, and worthless. He wished it would end, and that his pain would stop.

The boy heard the sound of footsteps in the dirt. Had they come back? No doubt with weapons, or more people this time. He didn’t care anymore, if they’d come to kill him he’d accept it. The footsteps stopped above his head, and the boy looked up. A bearded, wrinkled face looked down at him “Get up, ya can’t stay down forever. If ya do ya let ‘em win.” the old Xiozi said, his voice low and raspy. Tired reptilian eyes looking down on him, glowing dimly in the dark. The boy sat up, his stomach sore from his beating. He choked back his tears. The child looked up at the one he called ‘grandfather’.

“I-It’s not fair. I don’t understand why I can’t make any friends…” the boy cried out

“Life’s not fair fer outcasts like us, but if ya stay on yer back fer too long you’ll get up realizin’ yer too weak ta change anythin’. If you want ta beat ‘em, then get up, an’ fight. If ya want friends, then get up an’ fight fer it” The old man scratched his beard, obviously seeing that his words were only making it worse. “Life’s gonna be tougher fer ya, but that means ya just need ta be tougher than life”

“My real parents abandoned me, you’ll do the same!” The boy yelled out in frustration, and sadness. Tears continued to roll down despite his efforts to wipe them away. The old Xiozi laid his hand on top of the boy’s disheveled hair “I know what it’s like to be abandoned kid. Not gonna do the same to ya. Yer parents haven’t left ya either. Ya got their blood, an’ they knew I’d take care of ya when they couldn’t. “

“How do you know that?” they boy asked

“Suppose I don’t know fer sure, but it’s my best guess, and my guesses are usually right. Ya got that mark on yer shoulder don’t ya? That’s definitely a human crest if I ever saw one.” The boy looked to his shoulder. It was true; he had an odd symbol on his left shoulder. It was two bird-like wings outstretched with a shield in the center.

“I don’t understand this at all… You tell me my parents love me, but all they did was throw me away like trash!” the boy shouted, tears still streaming down his face.

The old man sighed “I suppose ya would look at it that way. ” His dim grey eyes relayed a sad, and tired expression to the boy. “Yer parents couldn’t keep ya. Humans woulda killed ya on sight, and yer father…” He paused for a moment, looking down. “Yer father died, leaving you his sword.”

The boy dried his tears, “What good is a sword if it doesn’t protect me at all?”

“If the sword does not protect ya, then it’s a problem with the wielder, not the sword. Yer father’s gift is greater than ya know.”

“I don’t get it…”

“Alright, then lemme make it simple for ya” The old man shuffled in his position, obviously beginning to feel some pain for having stood for so long “If they knock ya down, ya get back up. If they beat ya, ya fight tooth and nail while they do it. If ya give up, then they’ve won. If ya don’t give up, an’ keep winning, an’ prove yerself strong then ya might be able ta find yer real mother, and answer all these questions ya got. Through strength, and tenacity, show the world that ya can wield the sword better than anyone. If ya got time ta cry, ya got time ta do somethin’ about it.”

The boy thought hard on this, having calmed down somewhat. Was he really alright with just being other people’s punching bag? If his mother had claimed ownership of him with the mark on his shoulder, and his father protected him with his sword, he knew he needed to fight on. The boy had survived for this long. Each and every day they made sure he knew he was inferior, but was that really the case? Was he forced to stay weak simply because he was born that way? A fire ignited in the boy’s gut. He hated the way he was treated by them. He could imagine them laughing after he died, passing him off as something that never should’ve lived to begin with. With determination in his eye he nodded “Okay, I think I got it grandpa” he stood up, walking over to his side. The old man began to walk back to their home “If ya got it, then don’t let it go. Carry it with ya fer the duration of yer life” he said bluntly.

“I will” The boy said with a determined look on his face.

A boy dropped down to his hands, immediately doing push-ups; the dirt beneath him becoming stained with his sweat. He was breathing heavily, and sweating to the point at which his tattered clothes had turned a muddy brown. He looked to be only a five year old Xiozi, but in actuality he was ten. He was training, trying his hardest to get stronger. His hair was now a rats nest filled with dirt and sweat. His muscles strained, trying to lift his own weight again and again.

“Back straight, head up, an’ touch yer chest ta the ground. Fatigue aint no excuse fer bad technique”, someone told him from the side. As he lifted his head up, he saw the old Xiozi sitting down, his hands resting on a walking cane. The halfling obeyed, doing as he was told, feeling as though his body would give out any second. Every part of his body ached, his stomach empty, and his throat burning from lack of water.

“What do ya do when ya get knocked down?” the old man asked

“I get back up...” he breathed out quietly

“Louder” The old man commanded

“I GET BACK UP!” he yelled still doing pushups, His chest and arms burning, telling him to stop, but his mind telling him to keep going.

“Alright, get up then, and do ten sprints”

The boy got up, digging his foot into the dirt as he pushed off as fast as he could. How many times had he done this? How many more would he need to do?

He had been training since the sunrise, and as he looked to the sky he saw that the sun was now descending across the horizon. His grandfather told him that his Xiozian blood would allow his body to take such physical stress, and that pushing himself to such limits would increase his power exponentially, but he never mentioned his human side. Almost as if he was trying to ignore it. Would his body be able to take more stress if he was a pure Xiozian? Certainly he wouldn’t be feeling as much pain as he currently did right? He was at such a disadvantage if that was true. “Quit feelin’ sorry fer yerself!” His grandfather shouted from the side. The boy’s mind snapped back to reality. He gave a nod, and began to run faster. There was no room for excuses. If he had to work harder to get the same results then he’d do it. He didn’t want to feel insignificant anymore. The ten year old pushed on, his heart pounding in his chest, his throat and lungs burning as he sprinted as hard as he could. He had to get stronger. Ever since he had started school five years ago they had done nothing but beat, and taunt him, testing his will. He had been training under his grandfather the day he decided enough was enough three years ago. As the sun fell down into the dirt, so did he. The boy began to throw up, but only dry heaves came out; his stomach was completely empty now. His grandfather picked him up by his collar, planting him on his feet “ya can rest after ya’ve bathed, an’ eaten” He told him. “Ya did good taday, but it’s not over yet” The boy nodded, knowing that he would have to train his mind now. After a quick bath, and meal, the halfling began studying magic, math, science, fighting styles, and battle strategy. His grandfather knew he got tougher tests from the teachers. There was no law that prohibited discrimination against a halfling like him. He was given convoluted questions, and a shorter time to do the tests. If the school wouldn’t teach him properly, he’d have to learn on his own.

“They wanna keep ya down because they’re afraid of yer potential. If they’re set on makin’ ya the worst, then ya gotta be the best.” The old man had said to him. “If ya’ve got time to complain about the unfairness, ya’ve got time ta do somethin’ about it. The reward won’t come immediately, but when it does, you’ll be able ta shove it in their faces! ”

The boy sat at a shoddy desk taking notes, and trying to comprehend each subject as best as he could. As he wrote, his muscles strained to move as his fatigue soon turned to soreness. The boy struggled to simply move his pencil across the paper as his muscles cramped up from the pain. Surely it was his Xiozian blood that allowed him to heal quickly without having to sleep. The young boy’s body felt stiff now, and it became harder and harder to complete his self-given homework. Despite this, he pushed on. His determination to become stronger than the ones who tormented him motivating him, and forcing him to continue. He would not break, he would fight until he couldn’t anymore. There was no mercy for him in this world, so he was going to show no mercy as well. He would not look back, and he would not surrender. He was a Draco, an outcast, a halfling, but above all he was Dreiki Iriik, and he was going to make sure the world knew it.