Barely caring for my own skin I ran crying his name and crying in fear
for his fate. But there was no answer save the cries of the animals
inhabiting the forest. The great roar of flame that had marked our
journeys did not sound. My speed faltered and my voice grew hoarse,
until at last I drew to a halt and sat disconsolate, pondering a life
without my great and boon companion. Many a time he had sacrificed
his life for my now worthless one, and I could see no point in now
continuing. I simply awaited fate to show her hand.
As I sat a wandering warrior approached and asked why I sat so.
Slowly, in a halting voice I told him my tale. "Why" says he, "I saw
your dragon just a few moments ago, sitting quietly in a glade!
Follow me an I shall lead you there!" With my heart turning from
lead, I galloped after him. After crossing a vast span of forest, he
halted and pointed to a quiet clearing where a great red dragon sat in
the sun. In an instant, I saw that it was Firelord! I thanked the
warrior and approached my friend slowly... and my heart turned again
to lead. For he did not respond to his name, but watched me with the
mix of amusement and malevolence that typifies the dragonkin when they
contemplate a human. Firelord was no longer a force of nature
confined and cooperating with a mere man, but great violence who went
where he will and asked no leave nor gave quarter. Steeling myself
for the task ahead, I approached him to see if he would agree to
accompany me once more, or if he would set my soul on the grey path as
the gods as set him on the path of freedom.
He allowed me to approach and quietly, as is not the way of the wyrms,
listened as I explained how greatly I missed him and of the adventures
that awaited us if he would but consent to join me again. His head
drew back in that motion that I knew well indicated he was preparing
to breathe fire upon a hapless victim. I steeled myself to accept his
judgement and venture through the grey world and depart these wilds.
The flame seared forth.... And gently cooked the meat held in my
proffered and unarmored hand.
As I stared at the meat, unable to move, he nudged me with a great
claw and asked "That is how you like it is it not? And did you not
bring some for me?"
I leapt from my steed and hugged his great neck, spilling the contents
of my pack... "Eat my friend! Eat!" I cried as tears leapt once more
from my eyes, but now for a rather different reason... As he
complained of the troll meat I carried, I promised that we would eat
of whatever meat his great heart desired!
As we returned to the stables, he would say little of his adventures,
regardless of whether I asked direct or sly. All he would say, with a
mysterious air, was "the ways of the gods and the wyrms are not for
man to understand". When we reached the stables, he asked for a
chance to rest and recuperate... "I could sleep for a week!" he would
cry. Daintly, he entered his stall, snorted, and settled in. He
grumbled "I'll see you in a week, now begone!" "In a week!" I agreed
as I departed.
I think I'll spend it dancing.
Touch-twice life. Eat. Drink. Laugh.
That was very well done!!