The First Battle Chronicled by Thomas Robert In which a growing child’s curiosity faces off against an old protector’s serenity It’s somewhere in 1993, and a meteorite has crash landed in Saudi Arabia. This by itself is not exactly global news, given the current status of the world at large. But the rumors of a creature coming forth from that meteor? That started to peak some interest. This rumor wasn’t confirmed officially until months and months later when a singularly unidentified reptile of ever-increasing size was spotted throughout the Rub’ al Khali region of Saudi Arabia. Eventually, those sightings spread to the deserts of other neighboring countries and that prompted the nation to make a statement of what just hopped its border. The Saudi Arabian government officially recognized the creature as “Taligon”, titling the creature based on a pet name given to it by its discoverers all those months ago. As Saudi Arabia attempted to save face over the international threat that grew up right underneath their nose, sightings of Taligon became less and less frequent. Taligon was simply out of sight and out of mind for months, and tensions in the Middle East simmered as Saudi Arabia compensated its neighbors for any damages the creature had caused (which were minimal). And so on the uncelebrated anniversary of that meteorite crashing down in Saudi Arabia’s desert, Taligon was just another name of another creature for the world to watch out for. Then, about a few months after that, a great fire broke out in Jodhpur, the Blue City of India. This was around mid-May, so the climate of this large desert city was already sweltering before a great blaze was brought on by some great beast. Citizens and tourists alike fled from Jodhpur’s northern sector as a lizard colored like the desert sands soared across the city’s skylines on wings of bright crystal and fire. As the Indian military was dispatched in an effort to both quell the flames scorching their city and deter the source of this attack, the Indian government had already determined that this assailant was Taligon. Declaring a state of emergency in Jodhpur, India’s current president did the most sensible thing he could do and made a call to Nagpur. Miles and miles away in the city of Nagpur, a city dead center on the Indian peninsula, the soldiers in Vayusena Nagar prepared to mobilise their greatest defense against an attack from something such as Taligon. The scientists and engineers working in Vayusena Nagar rebooted all necessary systems, made sure every bolt was screwed in tight, made sure every calibration was exact, made sure every metal seam was welded shut, and made sure every unnecessary crack in this piece of Indian history was attended for. All systems were declared a go as an underground hangar opened its shutters wide and the great bow of the hero Arjuna rose from his slumber yet again. Gandiva was fully operational, and he was flying straight to Jodhpur. It had been an hour since Taligon’s attack had begun, and as Gandiva arrived at the city the great flying monster was nowhere in plain sight. Reports between the military in Jodhpur and Nagpur stated that Taligon had either left the city or had landed somewhere amongst the ruins. Gandiva was directed to either ensure that the former was true or to make it true. As fires were being put out India’s protector calmly hovered above desolated blocks of the city, looking down to see the ancestors of people he had been created to protect. The denizens of the Blue City were relieved to see their blue defender hovering above them, his claws floating idly at his sides as the shadows of fire danced on his body of iron and stone. Nearing the center of the devastation, Gandiva stopped to bear witness to this desert-colored lizard, investigating the ruin it had caused as the sun reflected itself in several great spines protruding from its back. The beast took note of the levitating being before it and assumed an uncertain stance. Taligon had never been exposed to something of a similar size to itself and he stood in a raised stance, curious of the being’s nature but cautious of its intent. Gandiva on the other hand simply hovered in place, stoically staring down the beast that had destroyed everything around it. It became clear to him in a moment that this creature was young, like a child that didn’t understand the consequences of its actions. In his wisdom, Gandiva flicked one of his outstretched hands forward as a ball of energy came forth from it and landed in front of Taligon. Taligon jumped back for just as moment as its attention was drawn to this floating sphere, which then exploded in its face. Taligon screeched and scampered back in shock as Gandiva held his stare. He flung another sphere towards Taligon in an effort to skirt him away from the city, which prompted Taligon to roar and rush over the grenade and towards Gandiva. In retaliation Gandiva raked one of its hands upwards in an attempt to deflect Taligon’s charge but the nimble beast curved itself around his attack and bit into Gandiva’s ribs. Gandiva grabbed the beast with his claws in an effort to grapple him, ignoring the dozens of spines lining its body, then flipped himself vertically and slammed the beast into the ground behind him. Taligon, now free from Gandiva’s grasp, scurried away to put some distance in between them as he saw that the being had inverted himself. The long claws and stoic stare now hung dormant as an ironclad titan turned to face Taligon, a pair of giant guns pointing towards him. Taligon roared once again and rushed at Gandiva as the Shredder Guns he was armed with fired at Taligon in bursts. The hits caused Taligon to stumble but he was still able to leap forward and swat one of his claw’s at Gandiva’s head. Since Gandiva was not shooting automatically due to his concern of further collateral damage, Taligon was able to land in front of Gandiva and swing at him with his tail and claws multiple times in succession. The damage allowed Gandiva to regain some energy, but the chained attacks Taligon was using caused severe damage to Gandiva. Gandiva was able to finally block one of these attacks with his large metal arms as he inverted himself yet again to strike at Taligon with his own claws. However, Taligon was expecting this and swung his tail around as Gandiva rotated himself, causing Gandiva’s stern gaze to come face to face with Taligon’s tail. As Gandiva was pushed back by the last attack, the crystals on Taligon’s back began to glow a bright yellow. Soon, a fire burst forth from Taligon’s back as he roared once again and took to the sky. Taligon circled the air above Gandiva, raining down balls of fire that would burst when they collided with the ground. In response Gandiva attempted to shoot Taligon out of the sky by lobbing several spheres of mystic power upward. The two of them exchanged several haphazardly aimed blows with each other as Taligon flew closer to the ground and towards Gandiva. Taligon soared straight for Gandiva, firing from its lower jaw a beam of fire so hot that it split the ground in two. Gandiva flipped again, which Taligon anticipated as he ceased firing his beam and arced his flight up and above Gandiva. But Gandiva anticipated this as well, and continued spinning so that his gaze would meet with Taligon’s as he attempted striking Gandiva with his tail in a downward motion. Gandiva responded by grabbing Taligon by the tail and slamming him into the ground, causing a tremor felt by every man woman and child in Jodhpur. Taligon, with the last of his energy, caused an incendiary burst of fire to blast from one of his wings and into Gandiva. This maneuver gave Taligon just enough time to get himself off of his back and in close range fire the same beam he used to cut the ground into Gandiva’s forehead. Gandiva expelled all his energy in an attempt to push back the beam but his efforts were not enough as the beam collided with the gem on his forehead, overloading his inner energy and causing an explosion that knocked him prone onto his back. Taligon, also out of energy, climbed on top of Gandiva and placed the claws of one hand down onto Gandiva’s neck, roaring in triumph over his victory. Taligon then attempted to bite into Gandiva’s head, which did very little to Gandiva and cracked one of Taligon’s teeth in the process. Sensing there was no need for him to stay here, Taligon climbed off of Gandiva and crawled back towards the desert. The great bursts of energy and fire Taligon can produce are still something he was just learning to control, but with this battle his understanding had been furthered. However, the injuries he suffered from Gandiva might cause him to reconsider heading towards human settlements again and instead staying where the sun is brightest. In the end Taligon had defeated Gandiva, but Gandiva had still succeeded in deterring Taligon from Jodhpur and protected the city from further harm.