The Dragon Kingdom of Nebty
Forests burned, dragons roared, and wings flapped in a deadly cacophony of violence and war.
Dragons of all sizes and colors were in the air and on the ground, battling to the death over who would control the twin deity scepters of Wadget and Nekhbet.
Nut, a blue-and-white sky dragon with a long snout, curled tail, and two horns on her head that curved back at the tip, stared up at her mate with frosty eyes of rebuttal.
Geb, a powerful green-and brown two-headed earth dragon with red eyes, spikey armored scales, and a whipping tail that ended with a flat arrowhead perfect for cutting and impaling, glared down at her. At the height of one hundred twenty-eight feet, Nut, half her mate’s size, growled at him when he used his massive head to shove her to the mouth of the Cave of Dep.
“You stay here and protect the hatchlings,” he ordered, as if the twin goddesses had left the earth dragon as the sole ruler of Nebty and guardian of the Gateway of the Two Ladies. They hadn’t. Nut and Geb ruled together. Some days, like today, when the inevitable war for power and dominance erupted, Geb’s protective nature made him high-handed and unyielding.
Glancing behind her at the cracked white shell and to the baby dragons huddled behind the fragments, Nut understood Geb’s position, although the thought of leaving her mate set the fire in her belly to boiling.
“If I fall in battle, your sky magic and ferocity will be all that stands between the foolish among us from getting their claws on the scepters.”
“I know.” Nut stepped closer to her mate, her snout going to one of his thick necks and rubbing. “It’s not just our dragon betrayers who want the power of the scepters that you must defeat, but the Demon Kingdom who seeks unfettered access to the human realm.”
That was as close as Nut would get to acknowledging the very real possibility that her mate may not survive this dark and dangerous night. For years, the Demon Kingdom, led by King Sansabonsom, had sought to undermine the rules set forth by the goddesses after they’d sought eternal rest within the scepters, leaving Nut and Geb as the gatekeepers between the preternatural and human realms.
Even as they spoke of Nut fleeing with their daughters and Geb remaining behind, sounds of warfare permeated the cold winter air, echoed by bodies crashing from the sky in flaming scales of defeat.
“Not all want the scepters. The strongest of our allies will stay and fight.” Geb lowered his heads and licked Nut’s face, an affectionate gesture she feared would be their last. “I need you to lead the others to safety, especially the young ones. If they stay, I can’t guarantee their safety.”
A stream of fire emerged from the darkness and behind Geb. The spray of molten heat slammed into the earth dragon. His wings, instinctively, snapped out and up to shield Nut and their hatchlings. With a bellow of fury, Geb leaped into the air, his wings taking him on a collision course with a lava dragon who possessed none of the earth dragon’s size or might.
In a matter of seconds, Geb had one of his mouths locked around the dragon’s reddish-black neck, and the other jaw clamped onto a black wing. With a hard tug, the wing and head disconnected from the dragon’s body. Magma spurted and oozed. The dead lava dragon smashed to the charred ground with a resounding thud.
Spitting out the wing and head, Geb turned to Nut, who still stood at the mouth of the cave. As they stared at each other, dragons not involved in the war began to move toward her. Most of them were dragon mothers with their hatchlings or dragons too young, old, or small to fight on either side but old enough to help tend to the youngest in their party.
“Take care of them, Nut. Fighting is easy, living and building from the ash of ruin are hard. Be well, my queen. And be safe. Tell my daughters I love the—”
Six dragons attacked Geb. Claws, tails, and fire sent him flying backward but not down and definitely not out of the battle. With an ear-piercing roar of rage, the two-headed earth dragon counterattacked. Fire, wings, and scales collided in the morbid, dark sky, the dragon battle epic in its savagery and sacrilege.
Dragons weren’t created to fight each other or intended to use the goddesses’ magic for personal gain and short-sighted goals of power and privilege. Yet, anarchy reigned. Her beloved Geb would fight the dragon traitors who would steal the scepters, rule the preternatural realm, and turn a blind eye while the Demon Kingdom invaded the human realm and feasted on the flesh of children.
With a heavy heart, Nut looked away from her heroic mate and to the dragons awaiting her directive. She would lead them to safety, as Geb had ordered. He and his most trusted allies were fighting to give Nut time to get as many dragons through the gateway and into the realm of humans.
With a low rumble, she called her daughters to her. On young, unsteady legs, they came, and she used her tail to lift them onto her back. She took to the sky, leading a caravan of dragons away from the only home they’ve known and toward the Gateway of the Two Ladies.