Meeting

The woman was stunning. As Nikolai staggered awkwardly down the vaulted marble hall to keep behind her, as he knew would be the wisest position to take with such an obviously powerful person, he tried, for once, to keep his eyes on a looker, as opposed to the terrible monstrosity flying a bit too close above his head for comfort. Gusts of air that reminded him all too well of those from winter storms in the northern regions beat down on his head, rushing through Nikolai's tunic in a frenzied Tango. There were no decorations here; though the stone was itself most likely ancient and priceless,  scorch marks and long scratches wide as Nikolai's foot proved silently that Skade's beast was neither the first nor the last to frequent Castle Xiron's snaking corridors.

Finally, thankfully, the air stopped blowing. Ice blue flame snaked by Nikolai's ear, and he jumped- right onto the small ridge of a particularly deep gash in the floor. With a cry, Nikolai fell awkwardly on his leg and hit the ground hard. The footsteps ahead of him stopped, but didn't resume forward or back.

"Get up, Bikoly. I'm a busy person, you know."

"It's... Nikolai..."

"Oh, please. Humor me, answer to whatever I call you, and get up- Or perhaps you would like Nayne to persuade you?"

Nikolai decided very quickly that his sprained foot was of no importance, and got up. Before him, where there had once been empty hallway, stood an orange mountain, a green mountain, a barrel, and a tank.

Skade gestured to the orange thing, rather impatiently.

"Alright, Ragta, open your eyes. This is your new Soulrider, Nikolai. You two should get along... well enough."

She grimaced.

A seemingly reluctant, cringing ripple ran through his new dragon. The thing was huge, but rather smaller than its companions. Individual scales no larger than Nikolai's thumbnail with wickedly pointed edges ran along the sides of four trunk- like legs that rippled with muscle. At the end of each leg was a paw, with six dull grey talons the size of a man's forearm protruding from every side.  Everywhere but the talons burned with the muted flame of a sunset orange, including the eyes. Large as dinner plates and perfectly circular, they gazed back at Nikolai with sad resignation. Surprisingly, the crimson pigment of her irises did not make her look more evil than a 100 ton abomination should have been. Rather, there was an adventurous sparkle (muted now, albeit) in them that settled the mind. Even so, Nikolai was not very happy with the prospect of riding it- no, Ragta. He would at least use her name...

The green mountain, though not much larger than Ragta, had sprung to life alongside her with much more malice in its movements. A shock of bright yellow fuzz covered and abnormally long neck, and purple eyes the color of spring's first violets glared against a neon green backdrop of scales larger than Ragta's by three times at least.

The monster hissed loudly, and Nikolai hurriedly excused himself from his new "friends".

The janitor would not appreciate finding his lunch splattered across the far column, but that was no concern of Nikolai's.

 

The End

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