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Gram: Wrath

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This story is No. 2 in the series "The Saga of the Seven Swords". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: When the ancient dragon Fafnir decides to devour all of Sweden, Buffy and Willow must embark upon an epic quest to acquire the one weapon that can stop it.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Miscellaneous > Myths & LegendsbrokenmimirFR151753,5732134,50610 Dec 121 Feb 13Yes

Chapter Fourteen

Disclaimer
I don't own anything. Buffy is not owned by me. It is owned by rich, talented people. I'm a nobody. Please don't sue me.


The Wrath of the Dragon


It was cold. In just the few days that had passed since their previous visit to Sweden, a cold front had moved in, bringing with it nearly a foot of snow. Buffy, Willow, and four Slayers crouched together, bundled in their best winter clothing, trying to keep warm.

Buffy pouted slightly. She wasn't nearly as cold as she had been when they had encountered the trolls, but then she had had Willow's magic to help. While she was glad that her friend had listened to her and had cut down on her usage, she really missed the warmth that Willow could have easily provided. As much as she loved getting her way... sometimes she hated having to make her way be the hard way.

Everyone shivered again as the wind picked up, howling through the pines and blowing snow in their faces. “This sucks,” Buffy said with a pout. “I'm still cold from the lake.”

“That's what you get for swimming with trolls,” Willow said with a shrug.

“You make it sound like I took up a hobby. A- a troll based hobby,” Buffy groused.

“Your words,” Willow said innocently. She suddenly stiffened, looking into the distance.

“What is it?” Mary asked. She was a slim girl with mousy brown hair and a shy smile, as well as one of the fastest Slayers Buffy had, meaning that she was a good choice for distracting the dragon without getting herself killed.

“I feel something...” Willow trailed off. “Dimensional instability of some kind. It's big.”

“Dragon big?” Buffy asked.

Suddenly Nia stiffened. She was a short girl from central Africa, with an infectious grin and a cheerful attitude. She also had the keenest spidey-sense of all of the Slayers on their mission. “I feel something... it must be the dragon.”

“How do you know?” Antonina, an amateur gymnast from Russia with large blue eyes asked.

Nia shivered. “If it isn't, I do not want to meet whatever it is and a dragon.”

“Then let's get ready,” Leah said with a thick Scottish burr. She had been part of a number of missions with Buffy, and she was carrying the Scythe.

“Okay,” Buffy said. “Let's go over it all one more time, make sure we're ready before we get dragony. First, everyone got your amulets?”

There were murmurs of assent from all of the Slayers, several of them showing the items as proof. Willow had made them the night before after they had returned from Svartálfaheim by twisting pine needles around a string into a complex knot while quietly chanting, invoking several gods of fire. The end result wouldn't last long, nor did it look impressive, but they all hoped that they would do their job.

“Remember, they'll protect against fire,” Willow said, gesturing at the amulets. “But not the dragon's fire. Dragon fire one of the most powerful mystical substances known to witchcraft, and no spell will work against it one hundred percent. But it'll help a little, and be a big help if any other fires break out.”

“Don't jump into the dragon breath, got it,” Nia said with a grin.

“Right,” Buffy said, bringing their attention back to her. “Remember, my new sword can kill the dragon, and the Scythe probably can, but normal weapons? Not so much. And I'm not feeling too hopeful for magic doing the trick either. So it'll probably come down to me, putting the last hit in to finish it. Or, you know, one of you with my sword if I get squished.

“Anyway,” Buffy continued, clearing her throat. “Willow, you need to bring it to the ground and keep it there. Leah and I will try and do the flanking thing to keep it off balance. The rest of you girls will be distractions. Be careful! I do not want to have to put 'too distracting' on anyone's tombstone. Talk about embarrassing.”

The Slayers chuckled nervously for a moment, before Buffy continued. “Now remember, it'll be big and scary, but we've killed big and scary before. Watch out for the tail, and I hope I don't have to warn you 'bout the claws and teeth. And, you know, the fire. If in doubt, back off and try again when it isn't ready for you. And if one of us drops, your first priority is to get whoever it is to safety. Remember: Rule One is don't die.”

The Slayers murmured agreement, and Buffy looked them over carefully. They all appeared eager, although they were nervous too. They had had more time than Buffy to go over the information Xander's researchers had dug up on dragons while Buffy and Willow had been getting Gram fixed, and they knew just how dangerous their foe was.

“Don't worry,” Buffy said. “Me and my friends beat up a hell god once. We kicked the ass of the First Evil. No way am I letting some dumb scaly dragon break my streak. We're Slayers. In a little while, we'll be Dragon Slayers.”

The girls gave a small cheer before stomping their feet and stretching to get warmed up and ready to fight. Buffy smiled as she saw them, happy that her little speech seemed to have recovered some of the morale that waiting for the entire day in the cold had slowly sapped away. They were finally ready to do it.

The wind picked up again, roaring through the pines with great intensity. It took a few moments, but soon they all realized that the sound wasn't simply the wind. It was the dragon, roaring in the distance as it came forward, wings beating loudly in the air.

Buffy noticed it a moment later, the malignant power of the dragon's presence feeling to her Slayer senses like heat pouring off of a vast evil furnace. In the distance they could see a flash of fire in the sky, and then their keen Slayer eyesight could make out a black smudge moving against the clouds. With another burst of flame, the dragon lit up the night, allowing them to see it clearly for the first time.

It was huge, with a head the size of a garbage truck, a body larger than a house, and a tail streaming behind it as it flew. The creature was covered in black scales, and had huge teeth longer than Buffy's arms, and claws longer than her legs. It gave another enormous roar, flames licking for a moment around its face as it did, revealing gleaming red yes.

No inspirational speech, not even delivered by an orator far more skilled than Buffy, could have possibly prepared them for the dragon's sheer presence. More than its size and obvious strength, more than the accounts of its terrible wrath, more even than the oppressive weight of its great power pressing down on their supernatural senses, something about the creature simply screamed danger.

For just a moment, even Buffy quailed as she looked up at the dragon. She had heard accounts of a dragon appearing during the battle in Los Angeles, but it had been one of the lesser beasts. This was a True Dragon, and the same place within that rose to the challenge presented by the demonic wolves wanted to cower before a creature even more dangerous than the Slayer.

Buffy, however, wasn't just her inner Slayer. She, personally, had faced the beasts of hell for over nine years, and in that time she had been tested in the crucible that was the Hellmouth. Standing tall and proud she slowly drew her sword, letting the side of the blade rub against the sheath loudly, the scraping ring attracting the attention of the stunned Slayers clustered around her.

The blade had felt powerful in her hand from the first moment that she had touched it, but now it seemed... eager. Raising it overhead, she stared at the flickers of fire that reflected along its edge as the dragon roared once again. As she gazed into it, her hand began to shake slightly. However, where a moment before the loss of control would have been caused by fear, now it was eagerness. She knew, shifting her bloodthirsty gaze from Gram to Fafnir, that she would win.

“Willow,” Buffy said, her voice firm and commanding. “Ground it.”

Willow was no less a veteran than Buffy, having fought in countless battles against the dark. Drawing herself up, she reached out with her mystical senses, focusing on her link to the earth beneath her feet. She was about to try something that she had never done before, but, seeing her best friend standing ready to do battle with the terrible beast, she knew that she had to do her part as well.

Taking a deep breath, she began to chant. “Boreas, I beseech thee, give me thy power.” Willow's hair slowly began to turn white, as a cold wind suddenly blew down from the north, bringing with it the smell of ice. “Notus, lend me thy aid.” A hot wind, smelling of sand rolled over them, coming from the south. “Eurus, bless this endeavor.” From the east a moist wind and the scent of fresh rain in the morning, arose suddenly. “Zephyrus, I call upon thee to help us now.” From the west came a wind bearing with it the sweet smell of blooming wildflowers.

Willow raised her arms, her hair now completely white as it was whipped in every direction by the competing winds. “Anemoi, blow and thunder! Rise and roar! The Four Winds, strike down my foe! Before our power, let the enemy be destroyed!”

The winds stopped as suddenly as they had appeared, but despite the sudden stillness Willow's white hair continued to be tossed by the nonexistent breeze. All was silent for a moment that seemed to stretch into eternity, until, with a great roar, a twisting, swirling vortex of wind arose all around Willow. Rising high into the sky, growing upwards into the shape of a funnel, was an enormous tornado.

The sound, standing at ground zero, was deafening. Snow whipped in every direction, driving into the Slayers' eyes, nearly blinding them even as they stared in horrified awe at the sudden natural disaster that had formed in their midst. Even as trees were uprooted and everything on the ground was ripped into the air, the six women found themselves completely untouched by the lashing winds.

When the tornado finally reached the heavens it paused for a moment, the cloud cover overhead twisting and churning as it met the roaring winds. The storm, larger than life, paused for a moment, and then began to move. Trees cracked and tore as the tornado surged forward, tearing a path to the dragon, which suddenly seemed small compared to the force of nature that Willow had invoked to attack it.

Fafnir had hesitated in surprise when it had first seen the tornado, but it hadn't taken long to figure out the danger. Twisting in the air with surprising grace, the enormous dragon began to fly away from the storm as fast as it could flap its leathery wings. If it had been a natural tornado it would have easily escaped.

Willow's storm wasn't. It sped faster and faster, until it reached its target, pulling the dragon into the center of the spiral. Even above the wind they could hear Fafnir's pained roar, and the tornado lit up with white hot flames, melting snow and catching uprooted pines ablaze. Burning trees shot from the storm like fireballs, landing all around the forest with ground shaking impacts.

Then, all at once, the tornado unravelled. Everything within it was tossed high into the air, before plummeting, on fire, back to the earth, the shrieking dragon included. For a moment the five Slayers could do nothing but stand in stunned silence, until with a moan Willow collapsed panting to the ground.

Buffy looked back at her in concern for a single moment, but at the Willow's nod, she swung her sword through the air and shouted, “Go!”

The Slayers ran, following the trail of destruction the tornado had caused, the path having been swept clear of enough snow to allow them to move quickly. Hopping over shattered trees and broken detritus, they rapidly closed with where they had seen the dragon fall. Finally, amidst broken, burning trees, they found it.

The first thing that they noticed was the smell. The dragon stank, like rotten eggs combined with the smell of a reptile house at a zoo. Mixed with this was the smell of smoke as pine trees slowly burned, the fire crackling away in the frozen forest.

The dragon itself looked a bit battered, its wings torn and twisted from its time in the tornado. However, despite the obvious damage, the creature was already on its four legs, acidic drool dripping from its fanged maw and smoke rising from its nostrils. As they approached it finished untangling its broken wings, its eyes immediately locking with them as it let out a bone rattling roar.

Buffy didn't hesitate, running directly towards it, only to dive and roll across the snowy ground as the dragon spat fire at her. The flame was pure white, blinding in its intensity, and so hot that even though she avoided it completely, her amulet still didn't keep her from feeling the incredible heat of the dragon fire.

The other Slayers had taken her distraction to fan out around the creature, Leah moving the farthest so that she came at it from behind, the Scythe at the ready. However, despite being in its apparent blind spot, the dragon reacted, flicking its long tail at her before she could react, catching her in the stomach with enough force to send her flying dozens of yards through the air and into a snowbank.

Mary dashed forward, a battle axe in her hand, her speed so great that she was nearly a blur as she charged. She was forced to abort her run, however, as the beast turned its body, lashing out at her with a powerful claw. From the other side Nia dashed towards it, hurdling the dragon's tail and swinging her heavy bladed sword at the dragon's flank.

The weapon struck the scales with a loud thump, the blade rebounding, sending a painful shock up Nia's arms as her weapon bounced off the scales. Despite the futility of the attack, Fafnir roared in outrage, turning to swipe at her with its claws. Nia had been prepared, however, and was already retreating, even as Mary and Antonina dashed at it, weapons at the ready.

The attacks of the Slayers were about as effective as fleas biting an elephant, but they kept it annoyed long enough for Buffy to get in close. Gram was eager in her hand, and she slashed upwards into the joint at the dragon's reversed knee, cutting through steel hard scale and thick tendon like they weren't even there. Black blood, boiling hot and thick as tar, came pouring out of the wound, and the creature screamed in agony.

The dragon reared back on its hind legs, and even as Buffy started to retreat she could see that the wound inflicted by Gram was slowly spreading, her attack eating away at the surrounding flesh, widening ever more and bleeding freely. With a great, convulsive heave, Fafnir suddenly flapped its broken wings, screeching in pain once more as it did. The blast of wind was profound despite the tattered state of the wings, sending all four Slayers in the immediate area flying backwards into the trees in a cloud of snow.

Buffy struck a pine squarely, the tree cracking against her as she then fell to the ground in a cascade of broken branches. Hitting a snowbank, Buffy moaned in pain, her back one giant bruise. Ignoring it with the ease of long experience, Buffy tightened her grip on her sword and climbed resolutely to her feet.

Fafnir stood on three legs, raising its head high in the air on its sinuous neck as it took a huge breath of air. The earlier fire breathing had been impressive, but had been nothing compared to what came next. For the first time, the dragon truly employed its breath.

A stream of impossibly bright white flame poured in an endless tide from the dragon's mouth as the creature slowly tracked its head across the clearing. The flame was so hot that anything directly touched by it simply exploded. Snowbanks burst apart in concussive blasts of steam and melted snow, trees burst into flaming clouds of burning splinters and ash, rocks blasted into rains of thick, syrupy magma, and the ground turned into sheets of cracked glass.

Even avoiding the flame gave little safety, as trees a dozen feet away from the fire caught instantly alight like great matches. The dragon only breathed its fire for a dozen seconds, but when it finished, the entire section of forest had become an inferno. Buffy, having avoided direct contact with the fire, staggered back to her feet, her ears ringing and her lungs straining to breath as the sudden blaze sucked all of the oxygen from the air.

Staggering forward, Buffy silently thanked Willow for her protective amulets, as she was forced to walk straight though fallen, burning trees as she approached the dragon. The area directly in front of Fafnir was an open field of glass and ash, providing no cover, but after a few moments the creature was apparently satisfied that they had perished, returning its attention to flexing its reinjured wings. It took Buffy little time to regain her bearings and circle around behind the beast, taking advantage of the smoke and the roar of the forest fire to close with it.

The dragon suddenly turned its head as Nia came running out of the burning trees, brandishing her sword as she came. With the dragon distracted Buffy took a running start and somersaulted onto the creature's back, grabbing hold of a thick scale. The dragon noticed its uninvited passenger immediately, turning its head and painfully flapping its wings to try and dislodge her.

Nia saw that her distraction wasn't working and shifted her focus, running up to its injured leg and stabbing the dragon in its open wound. The point of the sword bit deeply into the tough meat of the dragon's leg, scraping bone, and causing it to howl in pain once more, twisting its head back around to snap at the Slayer.

Nia managed to dodge the bite, but she wasn't fast enough avoid the follow up by the dragon's claw. She flew across the clearing, three bloody gashes open on her side, and the dragon limped towards her, murder in its eyes. Nia managed to climb to her knees, her eyes wide as she stared into the powerful gaze of the dragon.

It would have been her final moment, but Buffy had taken the time the dragon's distraction had granted her to climb up completely onto its back. Raising Gram, she stabbed the magic sword deep into the beast's spine, and its tail and back legs went limp as it roared in agony. Buffy lost her grip as the back half of the dragon collapsed to the ground, sending her tumbling to land beside the beast.

Ignoring Nia, the dragon turned its head, smoke pouring from its nostrils as it glared at Buffy, death in its eyes. Before it could act, however, Leah came running out of the trees, a primal howl on her lips and the Scythe held high over her head. The dragon ignored her at first, but, unlike the other's attacks, the magic weapon bit deep into the beast's only healthy leg, spraying blood everywhere and bringing to dragon to its belly with an impact that shook the clearing.

Buffy scrambled to her feet as she saw Mary dragging Nia to safety, while Antonina stabbed the dragon in the wound that Buffy had originally inflicted to distract it enough to allow Leah to retreat. The dragon snapped at the two Slayers harrying its flanks, Leah hacking at it whenever she closed, inflicting shallow wounds of opportunity, while Antonina used her gymnastic skills to avoid the dragon's teeth long enough to repeatedly prod the wound on its other side.

Grinning savagely, Buffy once more climbed onto the back of the dragon, this time running with sure feet along its spine until she reached its front shoulders. Gripping Gram with both hands, she carefully lined up her attack, before stabbing downward hard. The magic sword slid through scale, flesh, and bone like a hot knife through butter, until it sank home in the beasts' heart.

Everything went still for a long moment, until the dragon gave one last pained screech, its head raised to the heavens. Then, with ponderous slowness, it collapsed completely and moved no more. All was silent save the crackle of the slowly spreading forest fire as the five Slayers gathered around the dead dragon.

Author's Notes
I made up the spell Willow used. She invoked all of four of the Greek winds to create a tornado. If that can't ground a dragon, nothing can. Three of the Slayers (Nia, Antonina, and Mary) were also made up by me, while Leah was in the Season 8 comic.

In the original myth, Fafnir was killed with a surprise attack with Gram through its shoulder and into its heart. While the Slayers fought differently, I had the same move be used as the killing blow.
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