Serpent Tears

Kerata had only cried four times in her life.

The first time, it had been when she had woken up in the late afternoon, just as the sun shards were giving way to the night's darkness. It had been a dream, a feverish flashing of images that at first she could not make out. But the images brought with them phantom scents and brief, scattered memories of another life that was not quite her own. No, she truly believed it was the memories of The One that had come before she and her sisters. The One whose corpse had bloomed into the great tree from which the sisters were begat. In that brief instance, she felt what she believed to have been the final wish of the one who had begotten her: An end to loneliness.

And so Kerata cried. She cried as realized she would never meet the spectre haunting her dreams. That she and her sisters would have been loved completely and unconditionally. Worse than the idea that the world was uncaring was the realization that in another life, it all could have been different.

The fact she had been wounded so utterly by a dream of all things only made her cry harder. The shame and sheer humiliation of being humbled by nothing more a dream was too much to bear. Thus the morning after, she promised she would never cry again. She and her sisters were dragons, great terrible beasts of awe-inspiring might. Nothing as mundane as a dream could ever hope to pierce a dragon's scales and so it was that she vowed to become the most terrible of serpents.


The second time had come when the ground beneath her had been shaken so violently as to split her mountain home in two. A great yawning chasm cleaved through the earth, sending all the serpents roosting in the mountain's shadow scattering for safety.

In the frenzy, Kerata had gone astray, running so deep into the thorny woods surrounding the mountain that she lost her track of her sisters' scent. When the tremors finally stopped, she searched desperately to find the way back to her siblings but the chaos left in the wake of the quake had muddied the scent of her shattered home. After two days of ceaseless searching, Kerata realized she was now truly alone.

She envied her sisters. The stoic Mamara and the proud Lustara would not have gotten lost nor they would have cried as much as Kerata did that night.


Yet she knew something had changed. And she felt that if she lingered for too long, the weight of it all would finally break her. That was what truly terrified her, that in spite of all her strength and all she had lost, she was still right back where she had started. Still alone and unable to do anything about it. Still alone and broken by that damned dream.

She couldn't take it anymore.

No. she thought. I will burn this world. I will break its very teeth! One for every single thing it owes me. I will tear it. I will crush it. I will break it. Smash it. Gouge it. BLEED IT DRY.

So when the angels came to the Pit once more, Kerata took her last remaining possessions - her claws and shaken pride - and threw herself into battle after battle. For as long as she was waist deep in angelic blood, she didn't have to think of everything she had lost. Each enemy left broken and maimed meant she was truly a dragon - invincible. Each time she buried her teeth in holy viscera and basked in the utter humiliation of her foes, she dulled the hollow ache that threatened to consume her.

Kerata body was breaking though. She had spent far more time laying waste to her enemies than she did healing from the wounds she suffered in each battle. Furthermore, some of her former shadow mates had sought her out, but each time she had eluded them. She could not bear to look at them. If she did, it would mean allowing the weight of all it to finally crush her. It would mean surrendering to coming tide. And Kerata could not allow herself to go out peacefully.

That was what drove her to the dome on the island's outskirts. That was what drove her to dive into the angels midst, even as they outnumbered her three to one. The rage, the pain, the fear, the desperation - all of it blurred together into a feverish madness. A madness that moved her teeth and claws even as she felt her shoulders dislocate. A madness that spewed torrents of hellfire from her mouth - the sides of which had been ripped open from screamng so much.

When all was said and done, the angelic host had retreated, many of its members left scattered about the area in chunks of ruined meat. It was pyrrhic victory of Kerata as her body was at its limit. Azure ichor weeped from deep gashes all over her body and each of her bones ached deeply.

Fy-la arms were slender and weak, nothing at all like the taloned forelimbs of The One that haunted Kerata's dreams. And yet in that moment, Kerata felt the same warmth she had dreamed of long ago on that fateful night.