- Dawn of the Aspects Part III releases April 22, and we’re happy to be able to share with you an exclusive first read of the third entry in this epic digital-pentalogy.
The wind coursed through the region. Malygos sniffed the air. Both noted the clear scent of Coros and some of his followers. Why they had diverged from their pursuit of Galakrond, neither Kalec nor his host could say, but the two were of one mind in wanting to find out.
Not desiring to fall prey to another trap, Malygos took a circuitous route that also prevented his own scent from drifting back to his enemies. As the proto-dragon neared, a new, very powerful scent joined that of Coros and the others. The scent of blood.
Very fresh blood.
That disturbing scent was followed by the snarling voice of Coros. What the other proto-dragon said was not clear, but he was obviously angry.
With great caution, Malygos peered around the rocks. His eyes widened.
Coros and his followers were not alone. Between them lay a juvenile male of Alexstrasza's family. There were also two more members of Coros's family, one of them a female slightly smaller than the group's leader. She had a look of sly pride on her countenance that appeared to both Malygos and Kalec to have nothing to do with Coros's anger, which was evidently focused on two of the other males.
"Do it!" their leader growled. "Must be done this way! Galakrond did it this way!"
The juvenile tried to rise, then slumped. His savage wounds now revealed themselves. His chest had been torn open and his wings ripped apart. Malygos's gaze shifted to the new pair, where he saw that both had claws stained crimson.
"Brought him here for you!" interjected the female, taking up Coros's cause. "Now eat!"
Malygos recoiled, and if Kalec could have done the same, he would have. Neither could believe what he had heard.
The other proto-dragons remained hesitant. The female looked at Coros, who hissed. In doing so, Coros revealed that his teeth were as red as her claws.
Without warning, she lunged at the wounded juvenile's throat. As the other males except for Coros recoiled with as much shock as Malygos had, the female ripped out a monstrous chunk of flesh from the side. With great gusto, she tossed it up, then let it fall into her gullet. She swallowed it whole and sneered at the rest of the party.
Malygos wanted to go to the aid of the juvenile and knew not only that it was already too late, but also that he would simply be throwing his own life away. Kalec understood that but suddenly wished that he stood beside his host. The two of them together could have taken Coros and his party, of that he was certain.
And yet he could do nothing more than Malygos, who shared his frustration and horror at watching the butchery.
One of the hesitant males finally lunged. He ripped a mass of flesh from one of the juvenile's arms. As he swallowed it, the rest finally joined in.
The feast proved too much even for the stalwart Malygos. He turned away and quietly retched. Kalec experienced every raw emotion as Malygos fought to come to grips with the atrocity Coros had led his followers to perpetrate. Proto-dragons did not devour proto-dragons. Yes, they tasted the blood of their rivals in duels, but even when a duel ended in death, it did not continue with the consuming of the dead.
Not, at least, until Galakrond.
Malygos stiffened. Galakrond.
Neither Kalec nor his host could have imagined the situation worse than it was, but now it came to both of them that what Coros intended was for him and his followers to become like Galakrond.
Shuddering, Malygos forced his gaze back to the scene. The fire-orange juvenile had mercifully died and no longer suffered as bite after bite was ripped from him. Coros's followers quickly left little beyond bones and torn skin.
It was Coros who brought an end to the hideous tableau. Muzzle soaked, he raised the ruined head by the jaw and tossed it aside. "Done! All done! We grow stronger! We see it soon!"
"Soon!" the female echoed.
"Soon!" the others repeated.
Coros stretched his wings. "Now… now you see how Galakrond will not eat us! We are like Galakrond! We will be with him! He will not eat us now!"