Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Family Curse IV


I have returned!

I throw before you the shattered jaw bone of the Beast, El Cuélebre. Its cursed flesh still rots on the bones and around the teeth of the beast that had consumed so many of our forebearers. Never again will our sons and daughters be faced with the all consuming hunger, the cursed drive, of the Curse and shall never again feel their demise by flame and tooth.

I have killed it and destroyed its legacy. However, there may still be dire news.

After writing Papi, my Father, I raided a Canadian armed forces depot. The Canadians were surprised and due to my planning I got away. Mostly. The Canadians are no fools and scrambled all the soldiers, Mounties and everyone they could. I could get ahead of them but could not lose them entirely. I knew I only had 72 hours before the Canadians caught up to me at the Beast's lair.

To beat the beast, to end the half millennium Curse, I had to do something I am not proud of.

When I arrived near the Beast's Lair, I went to ground and hid. I cached the equipment save for a mortar and an ammo box that I snuck to the mouth of the Lair. When I spotted the Canadians, I launched a drone that buzzed around the entrance of the Beast's Lair and I went to ground. I hid and prayed.

The dragon erupted from its cavern and found the drone and Canadian soldiers. Not expecting a dragon! The Canadians did not stand a chance. The deaths were horrible. The Dragon feasted.

I knew I had bought myself time: the Canadians, after losing over a company of soldiers and dozens of Mounties would be cautious and bring what they thought would be overwhelming firepower against whatever was in the area. I would have 24 hours to set up. I would be undisturbed for 48 hours. I was already half done before the first team had come.

I was ready and I launched my assault. I started with drones buzzing around the cave entrance again. The dragon erupted from cave once more, but found only the drones. Annoyed, it attempted to take them from the air with bites and flame. It mostly missed.

When the moment came, I exhaled, paused the pattern of drone flight, and fired my M82...shooting out one of the eyes of the beast. When it bellowed in pain and surprise, I cleared the air of drones, ran and triggered the mortars I had set up on remote. A dozen mortar bombs crashed on and around the beast. One actually hit the monster. Some missed badly: I could not range the mortars by firing. Some did what I had hoped and shredded the Beast's wings. And burst its tympanic membranes.

Wounded but far from dead, it flamed everywhere. it attempted to fly, but could not. When I dropped into my second sniper perch I had prepared. I triggered another barrage from another set of mortars, wounding the beast further, but mostly distracting it.

Half blind it turned its good eye towards me, so as see where I was, my luck was both incredible and terrible: it saw me, but I shot out the remaining eye. Blind and terrified and enraged beyond reason, it came bounding in the direct of where I was. I dropped my rifle and ran to the side. It could probably smell me, but I was running down wind.

It thrashed and bellowed and flamed and roared in roughly the spot I had been. It must have had a good spatial memory.

I had circled around behind at the entrance of its cave. It flailed and flamed and thrashed behind me as I did my work. I placed the mines as quickly and precisely as I could. I was deeply grateful for not having eaten that morning given how terrified I was.

Bravery, though, my family, is not the absence of fear, but overcoming it.

I pulled out my handgun and emptied a clip into the beast's tail. Or tried. Most missed. However, I did hit enough to get the Beast's attention. It turned like a tornado and lunged back at me. I ran into the cave, into its lair. When the Beast was near the entrance, having caught my scent, I triggered the mines. Claymores ripped into the Beast, shredding and pulping, but still, still not killing.

It did collapse, however.

And I was glad I had not placed the explosives within the cave mouth. The concussive blast was bad enough as it was and I still staggered.

It's body lay, torn and battered, its flammable fluids leaked and seeped into the ground around. It still breathed, but in a liquid, pained manner. It was not yet dead, but might not have recovered. It was magical, but no dragon had faced modern warfare with an informed opponent. And I was not going to risk snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

I approached and pulled the sword, Fernando's sword, but so much more.
When I did so, it began to speak, in a liquid, lungs full of fluid manner.

"You think you have defeated me..."

I did not listen: monologuing is wasting breath. I positioned the sword above its head and thrust into its brain. Ending its life.

From the tales, dragon corpses rot quickly, so I liberated jaw, cutting it away with the sword that was so much more than merely Fernando's, taking what I could carry. Then I positioned explosives above the cave and caused a landslide to cover the cave, its entrance, the Beast and the carnage. By the time the Canadians came, nothing of the Dragon would remain. A strange, terrible jumble of their soldiers' parts would remain where the Dragon's gut was beneath the pile. It would be...impossible to explain.

And I returned. First on St George, no weapons and only the Dragon's jaw. And I returned here, my Familia.

On my journey, the sword began to whisper to me and I learned much. At first I had thought it was the guilt and pain of what had happened. Those poor soldiers I so callously used as a distraction for the beast. It was not. This sword was truly speaking to me.

This sword is Durandal. The sword of Roland. And its wielder has a Fate. One I must go and embrace. Along side the wielders of Excalibur, Zulfiqar and Monohoshi Zao.

You, my familia, are safe. You are released from the Curse.

Remember me should I not return, for I am Corazon, The Dragon Slayer.

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