Two undead dragons, furious at my exorcism of their kin, bellowed in rage. Ancalagon shook the air of Malebolge with a roar that caused the closest cliffs and stalactites to shatter from the sudden pressure. Somehow, through the racket, I heard Smaug’s accusations, “THIEF! YOU HAVE TAKEN WHAT IS NOT YOURS! A BEHOLDER HAS NO RIGHT TO A DRAGON’S SOUL!”
Telepathically, I thought back a response to the firedrake while Ancalagon’s deafening bellows continued to ruin the surroundings. “Fear not, flame from the north, I will not break down this mighty soul for currency or exchange it like such. I won’t use it for any other sort of base means, either. As we speak, the mechanism within my spirit, an aspect I twisted in myself for this very purpose, is merging my soul with Glaurung’s. Though the felled Father of Dragons shall never return, in body or mind, for my mightier soul shall dominate his and amalgamate it into my being, so that I will become more than a beholder. More than a hybrid fiend. I will become closer to a being of more complete existence than any other. A being closer to divinity.”
At this, Ancalagon stopped his shouting and leaned over Drakeblood Ossuary closely and whispered a violent gust of dracolich hissing, “Necromancy and soul manipulation are not enough, you seek to blaspheme greater than all before! As once a servant of a Dark Lord, I shall not preach of the purity of one’s goals, but I will state that you, Baron of Beholders, will meet your end long before you attain whatever perverse divinity you seek.”
“One doesn’t know until they try,” I mentally retorted. “This has been fun, but I have other souls to acquire, so if you’ll excuse me…” I continued as I rose via gravity-defying magic.
The dragons both scowled at me before Smaug launched themself from their perch in rage, “DIE AND REMAIN AMONG US. YOUR SOUL, NOW PART DRAGON, SHALL REMAIN AMONG DRAGONS!”
At the same time, Ancalagon swung one of their colossal skeletal arms at me from the opposite direction. Swiftly, I shot upward and avoided both attacks. Anacalagon’s arm slammed into the rocky wall just outside of the ossuary. Due to the weakening dealt by the great dragon’s roaring, the huge slam shattered the cliff face, raining down tremendous boulders in a titanic rockslide.
Despite my three-meter diameter, my beholder form was nimble and observant enough to dodge all the falling rocks with ease, though Smaug was not so lucky. The cascade of boulders crashed into the drake and pinned his huge form to the ground of the cemetery. In the chaos, I rose higher and higher, since the shower of stones obscured me from a furious and frustrated Ancalagon.
Soon I was above the wreckage and dragons, free from pursuit thanks to a clever escape. I was tempted to test the new power of my soul’s novel amalgamation of draconic origin, especially against those of the same nature, but I did not wish to risk my goals of conquest on bloodthirsty whims. It was also possible that other dragons would flock to the scene, possibly drawn by the psychic need of their kin or Ancalagon’s immense bellowing. Regardless of what strength Glaurung’s soul added to mine, there was no way that I would be able to overpower a potentially infinite stream of dragons; the most powerful of which can be found in this very Circle of Hell in their dark, cavernous dens of deaths.
However, my journey led me upward, to the Seventh Circle, where I planned to acquire another mighty soul. One near the top of the Seventh, by the rocky shores of a burning lake of blood. Phlegethon would be my guide and was already showing me the way as I ascended. Boiling, steaming, torrents of crimson blood were gushing down in vibrant, red waterfalls. I was approaching the entrance into the lowest tier of the Circle above, where my search for the Third Soul of my plan would begin in earnest.