The Dragon Lore

I wonder how much longer we can go on like this, Elder Eidald thought as he surveyed the town bathed in the soft orange light cast off from numerous glowstones. He stood and massaged the stiffness out of his shoulder. With the dwindling supply of glowstones, the moths are venturing closer and closer to town to get the fruit.

Reports from those attempting the coming of age trial were grim. Some reported as few as a dozen of the life-giving fruit growing from the Great Vine.

Waldomar refuses to listen to reason, but I fear that soon the decision will be made for us… His dark musings were interrupted by a tug on his cloak.

“Kenan, my boy, what brings you to my gardens? Have you come for some of Emaline’s favourite nectar?”

“No.” Kenan folded his chubby little arms over his tiny chest. The boy was just six cycles old, but he could be oddly serious at times.

“Have you two been fighting again?”

His frown was out of place on a child so young. “Tell me a story.”

“What kind of story?”

“I don’t know.”

“A happy story?”

“No.”

“Okay, well would you like to hear about how we came to live under ground?”

“Dragons ate the sun, and froze the earth.”

“Well… That’s not strictly true.”

Kenan was one of the most curious boys Eidald had ever met; he trusted that the lure would draw Kenan in. Irritation visibly melted away as Kenan sat down on the stone bench Eidald had vacated.

“Ah, now where to begin…” He paused to collect the sum of his knowledge together into a story. His family had been the story-keepers for generations, but he had long since returned the bodies of his children to the Great Vine, and his grandchildren showed no interest in the knowledge.

With some gentle prodding, maybe young Kenan will take up the way of the book, he thought hopefully.

“As you well know our kind used to walk the surface, but it is told that our ancestors once wielded the most powerful magic known to mankind. They called it ‘science’.”

“I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

“And just because you’ve never seen a glowstone on the Great Vine, do you doubt that they exist?”

“No…”

“Well this magic, now lost to us, did once exist. It was so powerful it could see into the very core of any person or thing. They were so powerful they could change a boy into a girl and combine two different animals.”

“How can you expect me to believe that?”

“Because I possess the writings of those people, handed down and kept safe from generation to generation.”

“Why you?”

Eidald laughed at the unexpected question. “You know, I can’t say that that is a question I ever thought to ask. But that’s hardly the point. The point is that these people created the glowstones.”

“How can you create a fruit?”

“Doesn’t your family blend the hardiest of fruits of a crop to make a hardier fruit for the next cycle?”

“So?”

“So then you have created something new. They were just far more… advanced than us. The glowstones gave them, and us, magic. They rejoiced in the glory of the power they had created, but what they didn’t realise was that it effected everything.”

“Not so smart then.”

“Even they weren’t omnipotent.”

“Om-what?”

“All-knowing.”

“Why couldn’t you just say that?”

“Cheeky bugger.” Eidald clapped the back of the boy’s head gently. “Anyway, some of the creatures who ate it became the moths that attack us, the worms that feed us, and the dragons that trap us.”

“So why don’t we just kill them?”

“They tried that once, and that is why we now live under the earth. Our ancestors and the dragons engaged in such a fierce battle that ash fell from the sky and the sun was blotted out. But despite their powers, they lost and the dragons froze the earth forcing our people to flee to caverns below the surface.”

“But… if that’s true… then the Green Man will never return as long as the dragons remain.”

Eidald sat beside the clever boy. “I thought of that myself as well.”

“Who wants to go above ground anyway? I don’t see what’s so great about it.” Kenan brushed away the severity of the conversation as only a child could.

“Yes, indeed, the glowstones provide and we thrive on their harvest.”

“Exactly!” Kenan pushed himself from the cool stone in a considerably better mood than he had come in.

“Are you on your way then?”

“Yup, gotta go trade some worm meat for some cloth.”

“Ah… good luck, my boy.”

Eidald looked at the stone ceiling. I wish you were right Kenan, but I fear we will be forced above ground sooner than we are ready to.

 

 

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