The world was in chaos back then.
All life was caught in the merciless strife of war; man against man. Dragon against dragon. ...Man against dragon. Everyone was an enemy, and in this chaos, death begat death.
There was a young boy who had grown up in this atrocity. He was a mere commoner, from a little village that lay in the midst of two warring countries; although insignificant, his village was caught up in the madness and burned to the ground.
This boy traveled with what remained of his people for a time, but the journey to find a new home was tough on the villagers. They were unused to such stresses, and as the winter frost began to eat away the plant life and hunt those remaining, the village boy turned his attention towards the mountains looming far away, in the horizon.
He had heard tale of a dragon that lived up there, far away from the rest of this war. He lived where the snow always fell, where the winds kept away all trespassers, human and dragon alike. It was said he only descended from his mighty perch to hunt for food and defend his territory, otherwise to never be seen by the mortal eye.
For he was not just any dragon - he was the strongest of them all. Azazel, a terrifying beast who scorched the earth with flames as white as the sun and summoned the dead to enact his vengeance upon those who wronged him.
The young boy had heard the tales, but with his remaining people dying around him, and knowing that they would not survive the coming winter, he began his trek away from those he had called home and towards the mountains in the distance.
The journey nearly killed him many a time, and he had little food or clothing to keep him warm, but still he pressed on. For he was fueled not only with the desire to protect his people, but with a dream as powerful and as bright as the sun; a dream that made his feet move, even when he thought it was hopeless, or made him stand up, even when he had fallen. Even if he would be slain by the demon upon reaching him, he knew that he had to try. He knew that nothing would come of his death, but everything may come of his life, and that alone powered his pilgrimage.
Sometimes, he would hear the dragon’s cry, echoing off of the rock and snow. He would feel the wind as the beast soared overhead, and would follow the vanishing shadow with his eyes to find where it lived. Eventually, after several days, and not much closer to his goal, the village boy passed out in the snow.
He should have died. He expected to die.
Instead, he awoke to the first warmth he had felt in what seemed to be ages. Someone had pulled him into a cave and given him a blanket and a fire to keep him warm. The village boy was still weak from his journey, but he wished to thank his savior, and looked about him to see where they might be.
Instead of a nomad, or a traveler, he found himself staring into the eyes of a fearsome dragon, whose scales glinted like a midnight sky in the light of the fire. The horror, seeing that his guest was awake, spoke to him.
“I have seen you stumbling about my territory for many days and many nights, human boy. You must have heard of me by now, and know that defiling my land means certain death. For what reason do you trespass?”
And the boy shook, but bowed and replied in a steady voice, “O Greatwyrm Azazel, forgive me for entering your land, but i was on a quest to find you so that i might ask of you a boon.”
The dragon Azazel was taken aback, for not only was this human facing him now, but he had never been intentionally sought out by anyone, human or dragon alike, let alone under the expectation that he do them a favor. Perplexed, he answered, “You have traveled long and far to find me, against better judgment. Before I decide what to do with you, speak to me of this boon you desire.”
The village boy, knowing full well that slighting the dragon might earn him his instant death, raised his head and met the beast’s eyes. He declared, “Great Azazel, my village was destroyed despite never having done wrong by the world or the people who live in it. We wander now, those of us left, but throughout my journeys, I find no place that is not besieged by war or famine or death. The world knows you are the most powerful; that is why I implore you now: please, put an end to the fighting, so that this world may finally know peace.”
A dead silence hung over them both, before the dragon burst into uncontrollable laughter that shook the very earth beneath them. “You would have me destroy everything so that the humans would no longer suffer?”
To that, the village boy shook his head. When prompted for more, he explained, “Not destroy. Defeat. Protect. By giving our planet a clear victor in these battles, the need for war will go away, and people can finally come to know one another instead of only wanting to kill one another. I believe you can make that happen. I believe you can give the world hope again.”
Azazel had thought himself ready for anything the human might ask for- riches, power, medicine, knowledge- but he had not been prepared for a request of this magnitude. The boy never looked away from his gaze; silvery, crystalline eyes watching his every move, determined, pleading...honest. It was disconcerting for the beast, who said, “You are asking me not only to fight, but to spare the world which has only wanted me and my kin dead. This is no small boon. What do you have to give in exchange for my service, should I grant it?”
It was then that the boy stopped quivering. He stilled, and steadied his breath, before answering, “I come from a burned-down village with nothing but the clothes on my back. I have nothing of value in my possession. That is why I offer to you no treasure or magic, but my life instead. If the world can be at peace...if my family can live freely and safely...then no price is too steep.”
The young boy was offering his life to this dragon, in exchange for a request that may never be fulfilled. Azazel knew man, and he knew his kin; both lusted for power and thought themselves fit to have it, enough that they would slay their neighbors even for a chance at it. He had denounced the world for its impurities once, but the look in this boy’s eyes...even a beast as fearsome and as powerful as he was struck with a surge of hope. Hope that the world is capable of better things, that life on this planet was capable of the peace this boy spoke of.
“...Human boy, I have one last question to ask. What is your name?”
The villager gasped, eyes widening. It seemed he was caught by surprise, that Azazel might ask his name, and he bowed his head as he quickly answered, “Enzo. Enzo Sinclair, of the village of Aether.”
The dragon lowered his head, seemingly satisfied with his answer. After a pregnant silence, he spoke up once more. “Enzo of Aether, raise your head. Although pitiful, your plight has moved me; but I will be no tool to carry out your will, nor shall I subdue the world in your stead.”
Enzo raised his head as he was told, but upon hearing Azazel’s words, tears began to form at his eyes. It seemed all was for naught in the end; he had to bite his lower lip to keep from crying then and there, lest he make a fool of himself and annoy the dragon.
However, Azazel continued. His voice grew softer, more gentle-- something Enzo had not thought possible from such a terrifying creature.
“Instead, I will lend you my power, Enzo of Aether. I will be the wind at your back for as long as you draw breath and are committed to this task. The moment you fail, if you have not already been struck down, I shall kill you myself. This is how I may use the life that you have offered to me.”
The boy was dumbstruck - had Azazel just told him ‘yes’? In a shaky voice, he asked, “You will...lend me your power…?”
“As you will lend me yours.” The dragon raised his head, staring out into the cold, biting winds outside. “A dragonpact is an ancient and nearly-forgotten magic, but I am capable of performing it. After it is done, we will become bound to one another. Is this what you wish?”
Enzo couldn’t hold it back anymore- he bowed his head again, his forehead pressing hard against the cool stone floor of the cavern. Tears streamed down his face, but he did not want Azazel to see, should he think him weak. When prompted again for a response, Enzo managed to choke out a ‘yes’, followed by a slur of thanks and seemingly endless gratitude.
Azazel found himself, for the first time in his many years of life, curious about this human who had been found dying at his doorstep. He was strong, but he cried tears. He was a victim of war, but his heart knew only kindness and hope. He accepted death, but chose to fight for a better life. Although Azazel didn’t believe that peace would ever grace these lands, he thought, for the very first time, that it would be possible, if it were because of the human before him.
He did not know how long Enzo of Aether would survive, or if they would get anywhere far...but Azazel found himself wanting to see this through. He meant what he had said; he would follow and support him for as long as it took.
And thus, for the first time in the known history of the world, a human and a dragon formed a pact with one another and set off into a chaotic world, determined to make a change.