LIFE OF A DRAGON
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|The sun was still warm at this
late hour of the day, even high in the Iron Crags Mountains where Glamrun
and his charges had elected to stay, away from the heat of the plains in
The Iron Crags were located in the far north
of the Alymndes Continent and one had to cross miles of forbidding waste
land known as the Stone Desert before reaching them. Unless you had means
to fly for incredible distances, the travel across was simply inconceivable
due to the extreme climate, the arid land and the total lack of water or
flora. Moreover, it was battered by terrifying dust storms and menacing
tornadoes. But in between the wasteland and the Ice Wastes found at the
extreme north of the continent where no living creature ventured, the Iron
Crags concealed a long narrow plane along a watercourse called Blue River
replete with animals and plants, enough to feed six dragons.
A line of peaks, the North Ridge, was hiding
the plane from the Stone Desert all across the continent. The shore on
the west was an unending series of enormous cliffs and mountains impossible
to climb. On the east, the Reef, a multitude of rocks for the most part
hidden under the surf at high tide, discouraged any vessel from venturing
north of the deserted shore which spread for hundred of miles south of
the Blue River mouth.
To ensure perfect secrecy and security, Glamrun
had liberally incanted spells of forgetfulness and disorientation at the
feet of the North Ridge. North beyond the Crags lay nothing, save icy cold
Glamrun's slumber was unexpectedly interrupted
by a cacophony of cries. The five young dragons had come back from one
of their forays.
They had recently taken to exploring the whole
valley and flying over the mountains, ever curious of their world. Glamrun
had long ago decided to let them roam freely since it was the best way
to educate them.
He limited himself when answering their unending
questions, carefully avoiding topics he did not yet want to explain. Seven
years had passed since that fateful day in the cave, and the young dragons
had rapidly reached their adult size despite their young age. Dragons grow
fast in size but it takes them a long time to acquire wisdom and even longer
again to grasp the full extent of their powers. But under the old dragon's
constant care and teaching, they had matured at a much faster rate than
they would have if left to their fate as were the dragons of old.
Although Glamrun understood Zamrel's reasons
to choose him as a guardian, as only a dragon could look after other dragons,
he had not yet fathomed why she knew so much of him, even considering her
kind's great magical powers. Nor had he comprehended what her purpose had
been in laying five eggs apparently at the cost of her life.
Although he knew clarity would occur at some
point, deep inside himself Glamrun dreaded the moment.
For all the fuss of the young dragons and the
enormous tasks necessitated by their care, the old Wyrm was enjoying his
life in this forsaken valley and was in no a hurry to leave his present
comfort and relative tranquility.
That's another one I shall have to explain, sighed
the old dragon.
The young dragons had been away for more than
a week. Although Glamrun did not worry about their safety (they were far
too big and powerful for any creature in this world to harm them), he wondered
why this absence had been for so long and where their curiosity had taken
them this time.
-"Father! Listen to us! You will never believe
what we found!" he heard them all shout at the same time.
-"Well, I certainly shall not if you do
not first calm down, offer me greetings as any well-bred dragon should
do, and make yourselves presentable! You reek, you are dirty and you are
fouling this place! How many times do I have to repeat myself and explain
that manners are the mark of an intelligent and self-respecting dragon!"
Somewhat abashed, the youngsters settled down
waiting for more scolding.
Glamrun chuckled to himself, not really angry.
He was only preparing himself for the long talk he had dreaded for so long.
"Now go to the pool, wash yourselves and take
time to sort out your thoughts. Only then shall I listen to you! And make
sure I enjoy it!"
The younger dragons complied without too much
grumbling, leaving the old Wyrm to his worries.
A couple of hours later the young dragons, definitely
more presentable, joined their ‘Father on his ledge as the sun was finally
sinking behind the horizon. Soon only their eyes could be seen in the dark.
Although dragons can communicate by telepathy from birth, Glamrun had set
the rule to speak aloud whenever possible as part of their training towards
more mundane conversations in the future.
"Well, what did you see that was so remarkable?"
The younger dragons all started to speak at once
but almost immediately clapped their mouths shut as they noticed the sudden
change in colour in Glamrun's eyes.
"Numnir, you talk!" he ordered the flint-coloured
male dragon, the more sedate of the five.
The young dragon could be counted upon for his
stolidity. Glamrun had marked his unquenchable thirst for knowledge and
his special interests on anything mathematical, chemical or evolutional.
He often referred to him as the "Scientist".
Strangely enough for the descendants of the highest
order of dragons, their gender had been clearly defined all the way back
to their birth. Glamrun sensed some of the many purposes of their conception.
"As you know, we left a week ago, eight days
to be precise, and decided to venture beyond the River mouth and the shoals
called the Reef."
"You should have told me. At least I would have
prepared you for whatever you might have encountered!"
"And probably warned us not to go!" interrupted
Dargeblad, the young silver-hued male dragon. Dargeblad was wild, extremely
independent and wont to disobey orders, but the old Wyrm encouraged his
self-relying spirit and sensed he would become the "Spy" of the group.
Glamrun just ignored the rude sibling.
"Please, go on, Numnir!”
"Well, it took us the best of a day to fly to
the Blue River mouth, then over the sea and the Reef and veer back to the
mainland. That is when we made our first sightings. We had guessed for
some time that the world could not have existed for the sole presence of
us dragons and the animals we feed upon!”
"Clever thinking. Oh, I suppose it is for the
better that you discovered what lies beyond your relatively small world
for yourselves! So, what did you see?”
"As we approached the land, we noticed large
numbers of small things floating on the sea."
"They are called boats and they are steered,
I mean guided, by the creatures in them."
"Right! These creatures are the main reason why
we wanted to talk to you and ask questions!
We found more during our trip and discovered
these beings come in many kinds and guises!"
-All right! All right!” interrupted the old Wyrm.
“I see that I finally have to enlighten you on a subject I have tried hard
to keep you away from! Incidentally, did these creatures see you?"
"No! We flew very high on purpose!", explained
Amrel, the young blue female dragon.
Usually quiet but ever curious, Amrel always
seemed busy thinking about something of unfathomable depth or talking to
herself. She was abnormally fond of anything remotely beautiful to her
own subjective mind. She was constantly pestering Glamrun about the meaning
of life, the existence and purpose of plants, animals, night and day, the
sun, the stars and the moon, the wind, the tides, the snow and so on. The
old Dragon sensed a lot of poetry in her mixed with wantonness that made
him think of her as "The Artist".
“Good. You had better understand the nature of
those beings before you ever reveal yourselves in your true guise! Let
me tell you about them all. My story shall take some time, so do not interrupt
( Chapter 3: Alymndes)