The clan surveyed the scene of destruction, and they knew their foes had been there. Hoth-ka growled, his nose filled by the smell of smoke and brimstone. The smell angered him. It reminded him of many battles lost to dragons.

The village was either a Human or an Elven one. Frankly, Hoth-ka couldn't tell the difference and he couldn't care less. The hyoomee* all looked alike to him. The bodies of villagers were scattered about, and he glared at one with contempt. The soft, hairless, tiny female was a disgusting sight to him, her flesh made bare and black by dragon fire. Still, if there was one thing he despised more than hyoomee and dragons, it was the slaughter of the innocent and helpless, especially by a hated enemy with no reason to do so other than an attempt to frighten the saurians. He reflected on the hyoomee custom of burying their dead or incinerating the remains, but discarded the thought as a waste of good meat. He and his clanmates ate the remains, so that the fallen could become a part of them, their strengths and their knowledge, and when they slew the dragon responsible for this slaughter, the souls of the dead would be avenged and be reborn in the next cycle.**

They marched onwards, finding many areas blackened and scorched by the fire of dragons. Hoth-ka was starting to become concerned. This couldn't be an attempt at causing fear, so widespread and not necessarily focused on any targets. It was a waste of fire, and they knew that soon, it's stores of airfire*** exhausted, the dragon would be unable to fly. The dragon was doomed. But still, a sixth sense wormed it's way through Hoth-ka's consciousness, a feeling that they were missing something.

Before long, they came to a large clearing, where a battle months before had burned away all the trees. There was a pit in the centre from which they heard a distant moaning. Hoth-ka allowed himself a grin and drew upon his obsidian sword. "Charge!" he cried, and his men burst forth to slay the beast.

Upon the edge of the pit, however, three suddenly fell with a shriek. Hoth-ka ordered a halt, sending one of his slaves to investigate. He glanced nervously over the edge, and instantly he fell into the pit with a shriek of agony, the ground splattered with crimson where he had only just been. Then, a hail of arrows erupted forth, and something came out of the pit.

It was neither dragon nor saurian, but some other monstrosity, one made of the metals in which the hyoomee of the mountains worked. It had wings like a dragon, but attached were two giant barrels, like hollow tree trunks, and it's body was made of metal and canvas. Sitting astride this thing was a hyoomee. With a cry of anger, she pulled what looked like a vine attached to the monster, and instantly a burst of flames incinerated all but five of Hoth-ka's fleeing clanmates. Hoth-ka himself stood shocked as the hyoomee turned to him and smiled.

"Nice of you to follow our trail," she said, and then there was light. Nothing but light, and heat, and pain. Then nothing but… nothing.

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