Posted in Legendary Post | Enter your password to view comments.
The others had already fallen asleep. Simeon, or Sim-dah as the ogres called him, snored loudly. Valladon was snuggled up in a little ball with his pet hawk, Largent, nestled in between his ankle and butt. Those two, the dragon hunters, were unafraid of anything that this cave may be home to. So they slept comfortably in the cold and dark cave. The other travelers had found sleep hard to come by. Even now Penn, the little gnome, tossed and turned. This journey had been tough on him, but he was tougher and never let a complaint slip from his lips. Zipporah, the half elf, had stayed up as long as she could. Now she let sleep take her, as she pulled the blanket to her chin.
That left three figures still awake by the small remnants of a fire. Misha set a little farther away from the others. She was using the light from the bug lantern Cavechild had created to write notes in a book. She was always taking notes and sketching. It was her advice and understanding that helped the same group destroy a huge green dragon just a few days ago. So when was she writing, no one disturbed her.
The other two had no need for sleep. Cyrus was a dust elemental, a lesser elemental but still needing no rest. He was about half as tall as Cavechild, the last figure. While Cyrus poked and prodded the ashes out of sheer boredom, Cavechild sat like a rock. He would remain unmoving for hours if left undisturbed. The large membranes above his eyes were capable of picking up sounds miles away. So he was obviously trying to listen for something far way when Cyrus whispered “I’m bored.” Even though it was a whisper, it sounded like a scream to Cavechild. Misha took note of both of them.
“You could save us a little time in the morning, if you were so inclined,” Cavechild turned his deep set empty eyes to Cyrus. “Waterskins need refilling; Simeon’s for sure. He drinks more than the rest of you combined.”
“Are you kidding me?” Cyrus asked.
“Then silence your complaints of boredom.” Cavechild was obviously frustrated with the little elemental. “You are not a child, no one here treats you as such. Misha is working, and I am on guard duty. You can help the party in one of two ways; go get water or sit in silence and try not to disturb us.”
Cyrus wanted to get offended, but truly couldn’t. Cavechild was right. “Where is the water?” he said as he started gathering the waterskins.
“About half a mile ahead there is a drip about midway up the wall on the left. It should be safe to drink, I have heard three rats drink from it and what sounded like a large lizard. You will want to be quiet, for where there are cave lizards there are goblins.” Cavechild explained. He pulled out an extra waterskin from his pack and tossed it to Cyrus. “Thank you.”
“Are we afraid of goblins now? Cavechild, we kill dragons.” Cyrus scoffed.
“We killed a dragon, and only by luck.” Misha spoke up. “The boys Sim and Val they are fine fighters, but we don’t want battles that we can avoid.” She lowered her book and looked at Cyrus. “Please let them rest for the battles we must fight.”
“Sheesh, it’s like gang up on the dust ellie night.” Cyrus grabbed Misha’s waterjug. “Let me get out of here.”
When cavechild was sure that Cyrus was out of earshot he asked, “Misha was I too hard on Cyrus?” There was genuine concern in his voice.
“For the past three nights, he has complained.” Misha closed her book and moved closer to the smoldering ashes. “He wanted something to do, I assure you. I just don’t think he was expecting you to be the one to give him a task. You are always quiet. Don’t let it bother you. He will be proud he got the water when the others wake up.” Misha patted Cavechild’s back. As she did she felt the small openings that were capable of emitting a poison gas. He had used this particular ability earlier that day for the first time in front of his new party members. Misha could tell that it upset him to use it, but wasn’t sure why.
“Thanks, Misha.” Cavechild said, “You should probably get some rest.”
“I will. I will.” Misha quickly stated. “but can ask you a few questions first?”
“When you expel the gas, does it hurt?” Misha asked. She wanted to understand Cavechild, but did not want to hurt his feelings by prying too far.
Cavechild got up and moved away from Misha. Then, after a few awkward moments, he turned to her. He took a deep breath, then slowly let it out. Misha sat patiently. Finally he looked at her and said, “No.” But he quickly added “It doesn’t hurt me in a physical sense, but it destroys me emotionally.”
“I hate to ask you this, but I think I can give you some answers. Can you make the gas you release to be a pleasant, calming gas? Or is it always poison?” Misha once again moved closer to Cavechild, and he looked surprisingly at her.
“Yes. I can make it appealing…but how could you even know that?” Cavechild’s mood had changed from sullen to curious.
“As I said, I may have some answers.” Misha was excited she had guessed correctly. She believed her studying of dragons had paid off. “You were from the caves by Lake Loc, correct?”
“Yes, those were my first memories.” He answered.
“Okay. So let me run down a few things I have learned about you, and then you tell me if I have missed anything okay? “Misha was building momentum toward her final theory. “You can emit gas both poison and alluring. You can blend into the cave and have a heightened sense of hearing. Is there anything I am missing?”
“I can sense vibrations in the stone. I can tell what is happening around me with relative ease. The hearing helps, but the feeling of the stone vibrations is what makes me as good as I am at surviving down here.” Cavechild was not bragging. He was opening up in the hopes of getting information that Misha obviously had. “Does that help?”
“It simply further proves my theory.” Misha smiled. “Do you want to know what I think?”
“It was my initial assumption that you were part of a lost race, a people that had been forgotten. “However after spending time with you and talking to Penn about what he knew of you, I came to believe that you were unique.” Cavechild, it is my belief you are a child of an earth elemental and an indigo dragon” Misha stated those last words with supreme confidence. Cavechild sat staring at her for many long moments, then he asked, “do you know who may dragon parent is.”
Misha replied, “I do”.
…And the Sand Drew Breath
The sand seemed a living being, moving and shifting under the feet of the weary soldiers. The heads of the men hung low; no sweat dropped from their brow for the devil sun had already stolen any fluids. One of the men turned around to try to measure the distance the squadron had walked. He lost all hope as the wind and sand had already covered their tracks. The thirteen men seemed as though they had been dropped in the middle of this wasteland and simply left to die. Still, there was nothing to do now but press on.
The men had not travelled much farther when they found what they had been searching for. A large serpentine head swung around to gaze at the troop of men who had dared disturb his meal. Long brown spines stood up on the back of the beast’s long neck, promising death. At the sight of their target, the men quickly shook the sense of doom that had gripped them for many days. The sight of the bloody, half-eaten giant reinstated it.
The four archers launched the first attack, a volley of arrows that did nothing but bounce off the thick and armored hide of the dragon. The serpent retaliated, dropping his lower jaw into the sand and then blasting it at the men. The archers did not get their shields up in time, and the skin was flayed from their bones. Two soldiers, each armed with a large axe, charged the dragon. One was pinned to the ground by the great claw of the beast. The other man landed a violent strike to the neck; scales fell away and the blood poured onto the sand. The dragon swung his spined tail and exploded the man’s head. At the same time, the beast bit the man pinned underfoot in half.
Five of the soldiers turned heel and ran away from the gory scene in front of them. They believed they stood a better chance out in the harsh desert than battling the far superior dragon. The remaining brave warriors did their best to spread out and circle up the beast. The only problem with that plan was that a dragon is deadly from every direction. With a quick jerk of his head, the dragon launched several spines at a soldier. The man’s shield managed to block the majority of the missiles, but a few found flesh. Thinking the dragon distracted, another man charged with a long spear. The dragon twisted out of the way with a quickness that betrayed its size. The man paid with his life. The attack was not completely in vain, the remaining soldier was able to drive his spear deep into the gut of the dragon. As the serpent turned to face his attacker, it once again filled its mouth with sand. The man tried to run, but was blasted down by the blown sand.
The man that had been struck by the flying spines began to feel the venom course through his veins. He dropped to his knees in the sand and started crawling in a panicked state. The dragon, too, knew that his life was ending. Its mouth dropped in to the sand, and it knew that it would never again have the strength to pull it back out.
The man crawled through the sand and ended up face to face with the dragon. The two dying creatures stared into one another’s eyes; a lifetime of thoughts, regrets, and hopes passed between them, though not a word was spoken. The sand seemed to drink the blood of dragon and man, and the sand drew breath.