LIFE OF A DRAGON
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5, 6, 7,
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Slowly the long chiseled face of an incredibly beautiful snow-white dragon
appeared in the night. They could not see her body, but by judging from
the size of her head, she must have been as large as Glarum or more.
-"Greetings, Glamrun! I see I could trust in
you with the wellbeing of my blood. My profound thanks!"
-"You are most welcome!" The old Wyrm muttered
with a dreadful feeling he was completely losing control.
-"Father! Who is that?" sputtered Amrel who had
finally overcome her surprise.
-"Amrel! Show some respect, will you? This is
Zamrel, your mother, and I am not your father!"
-"Well, their education still leaves much to
be desired after all, does it not? Perhaps I should withdraw my thanks."
replied the white dragon with some asperity. She did not seem to have an
easy character or much patience.
-"If you had had the courtesy to appear from
time to time, I suppose you could have lent a hand!" an angry Glamrun retorted.
-"Spare me your pique, Old Wyrm! I have had my
own share of chores, too! We simply have to share the work! Anyway, we
do not have much time. The longer I materialize in this world, the more
dangerous it grows for all of us! So hearken to me! Now has come the time
to listen and act! As Glamrun has mentioned to you earlier,” (proving to
Glamrun that she had been observing his role as caregiver to these now
adolescent dragons) “there is a world living out there and willing or not,
we are part of it and honour-bound to help preserve it! I cannot spare
the time, nor have the will to explain why right now. Know that all of
you will have to go and live among the other beings dwelling in our land
and find out what is brewing there. The land south of the Fire Mountains
is stirring and dark forces are prowling in search of ways to invade and
enslave our world. Your mission for the time being is to ferret out as
much as information as possible until we meet next time.
You, my five children, were conceived in that
number because on you will befall the task to unite the five nations and
tribes of Alymndes, and ultimately vanquish the evil about to destroy our
world or perish in its defense!
I cannot afford to appear as often as I would
wish to. Old Wyrm! A seventh member will join you soon and shall impart
you of the necessary directions from now on. One last piece of advice,
Glamrun, teach my children how to shape-change, and all of you make sure
you reveal your dragon form to other creatures only when absolutely necessary!
Zamrel's face abruptly disappeared with her last
-"Mother...", cried Amrel almost silently, realizing
a sudden loss in her short life. All the young dragons felt overwhelmed.
Even carefree Umatar lay subdued and very still.
The old dragon, on the other hand, was literally
fuming as a long-extinguished fire threatened to belch out in anger and
Numnir was the first to shake out of the general
-"What did Mother mean by shape-changing? And
why is smoke coming out of your nostrils?"
-"Oh, don't look at me like this, will you? You
can't even start to imagine of what we can do!"
But Numnir would be not cowed into silence this
time and reiterated his questioned.
-"Why aren't you our Father? We have known you
as long as we have lived! How could it be? Where is Mother gone? Why do
we have to go on a mission?"
A suddenly very deflated old dragon sighed and
-"Well, it will not do to conceal anything any
longer as it now appears that you will need all your powers and knowledge
The rest of the night
was spent relating the discovery of the cavern and their eggs, the Scroll
speaking with the voice of Zamrel, and her request to Glamrun, and why
he had chosen their present abode.
-"If Mother is dead, why does she keep on appearing?"
an inconsolable Amrel insisted.
-"Her own magic, probably. Do not forget that
the two of us are the last members of a great race that possessed powers
beyond your understanding! Actually, I sense that she is not really deceased,
but active. Didn't she say the longer she materializes in this world, the
more danger might befall us? She must have good enough reasons to make
us believe her demise. We shall meet her more often from now. In what guise,
I do not know.
By the way, since you have realized I am not
your real sire, you may call me whatever you desire”
-"Teacher, maybe?" snorted Ekan. "That shall
not do. Our Father you have ever been, our Father you shall ever be!"
With that finality, the other young dragons opened
their minds to the old Wyrm who could do nothing but to accept their allegiance.
We shall see..., he thought. If I remember well,
youngsters will come to want to fly on their own wings one day...
The following weeks,
Zamrel's children's education started in earnest.
First Glamrun had to explain and convince them
of what dragons of their kind were capable of.
Numnir had been thinking
of dragonfire ever since he saw smoke coming out his father's nostrils.
Glamrun explained that they were equipped with a supplementary stomach
producing a highly inflammable gastric substance at will that would ignite
immediately upon simple contact with the outside air. The trick was to
build up enough of this substance and expel it with as strong a blow as
possible making sure the flaming substance did not stay inside their maw
or create a backdraft. He had them practice until they could avoid their
snouts being singed and aim properly.
Telepathy was already
known to them. Teleportation or translocation proved a totally different
task to fulfill. The only way dragons could go to a different place instantly
was to remember the exact location and have a clear mental image of the
place they wanted to reach. This they could achieve by flying, exploring
and memorizing. He could not stress enough that a single mistake could
find them trapped inside rock or even worse in an inescapable void they.
So many careless dragons had met their sudden demise in that fashion! The
mental image of a dragon half caught in the stone of a mountain cliff being
devoured alive by all sorts of predators was enough to convince the young
dragons of the need to strictly follow his instructions.
Shape changing proved
a subtler matter to master as it implicated the perfect knowledge of the
creature impersonated. The ability for such a feat being an inborn talent,
the stress was on the study of the character. To achieve this, Glamrun
forcibly designated the race that each of the young dragons should attune
to, taking into account their respective tendencies and obvious morphology
for his choice.
Dargelblad would adopt
the Elves as his own. Ekan would fit with the Races of the Desert and the
Sea. Amrel should find plenty to dream about with the Blue Knights and
Walkyries. Numnir already possessed a yearning for studying the Dwarves,
while Umatar would satisfy her cravings for wandering with the Free Tribes
of the Steppes.
Glamrun showed them as an example, his own guise
of a wandering storyteller with a sorry tendency to drinking and lecher
which he had used to good effect in times long past.
He encouraged his charges
to think up and assume a character that would make their subterfuge more
believable and acceptable in the lands they were visiting. So each young
dragon grew and wandered around among their designated race with the help
of an invisibility-forgetfulness spell from the Old Wyrm until the Great
Dragon was satisfied. They achieved their new personalities faster than
he had imagined they would, probably because the young dragons were thoroughly
enjoying themselves. He had to put the brake on in the end to prevent them
from charging head first into adventure.
Only when he had become
absolutely convinced they understood their aims did he finally set them
on each of their missions.
(Chapter 5: Wanderings)