By Ashton Weber
The still frigid air burned the insides of his lungs, keeping his senses on high alert. He will not die, not here, not now. He continues to climb the cliffs and jagged rocks, determined to reach the opponent he has been seeking for so long. The ledges of rock he stood upon were high above any sign of life; no plants grew in this cold; no birds flew at this height. Why would a man in armour so heavy, scabbard slung across his back, climb a mountain alone and without gear? For honour? For money? Or maybe he had the goal to win the heart of a lady?
This man, whom some call a hero, is a being of curses, for the slaying of this mighty beast is not an act of hate or revenge. This demanding task is a favour, for his own satisfaction, for the life of a beast that lives just to suffer; he will set it free.
Over the mountainside, a chasm lay. Its bottom cannot be seen from above, and the creatures within its bowels cannot be heard. In the deepest cavern of this dungeon pit, lies the beast. A monstrosity, some call it. He sits by an underground spring, pondering his own existence, staring...