RIP! CLAW! TEAR! DEVOUR!
— THE CELESTIAL DRAGON, TO ERIK
The Celestial Dragon fell through the cloudless sky. Imprisoned in a sphere of rock and ice, it streaked across the snow-edged peaks of the mountains, above the blackened battlements of an ancient fortress. The sky shuddered in its wake as ever more chunks of the dragon’s prison broke apart and burned. Throughout its endless journey, it had dreamed of liquid flames, flames hotter than magma, running down its scales, pooling at its claws, and it hungered—always it hungered. For the taste of blood, for the feel of its teeth tearing through flesh.
The entity descended, incinerating the crowns of stalwart pine trees. Then it struck the earth, liquifying dirt and wood and living things into molten slag and ash, splintering countless branches, skidding a crater into the ground. The Celestial Dragon roared; pain flared like the sun, bloomed within its thick metallic chest plating.
As the wind took away the impact clouds, rays of sunlight glittered off of its gold and ebony scales webbed with tiny cracks. Its skull throbbed, pressed into the dirt, and its limp wings cried out in pain. A massive bone jutted from the wound in its chest, gushing scarlet liquid that caught fire the instant it touched the air.
A lightless world opened before it, luring away its consciousness, enticing it, pulling it deeper into slumber. A gush of water ran along its claws from an underground stream, and it sagged further into the ground. It felt itself slip deeper. . . .
Its nose twitched; the wind brought a wealth of information. A tree burning. Ash swirling. The sweet aroma of fat, delicious creatures. Fresh blood drying.
The Celestial Dragon’s eyes snapped open. A cavernous hole opened up inside it, a need so powerful it could shatter mountains, lay waste to continents. Its blood boiled! Its stomach ached!
Wind carried to it the raised voices of the tiny flesh-things moving in its direction. Memories began to bubble to the surface, memories of it and its kin growing fat as they devoured all those things that soared and slipped and stalked through the lush interior of a now dead world. Soon. Soon it would begin to quiet the torment at its core. It would feast on blood and flesh. It would rip, and it would claw!