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:: The Secian and the Muatana-al ::
:: Urganzeal's Tale ::
:: The Study of the Nature of Secian Bonding ::
:: The Story of Ishtar and Voron'a ::
:: The Accounting of Eden’s Tear ::
:: Cethalial and the Arachnian (1.24.05) ::
:: The Secian Who Stood Between (4.24.05) ::

The Secian and the Muatana-al ...

[Note: This tale is from Issue #2, late July 1992 of the DFC. Titled: THE SECIAN AND THE MUATANA-AL by Gerrolan Viageiro.]

"Why do Secians, lovers of all that live, detest the Muatana-al?" you might ask, little ones? Sit and I will tell you a tale, an old onemy grandsire told me when I was but your size.

Long, long ago, far across the empty wastes that separate us from the dark continent, there lived a little Secian. He lived on the edge of the wastes, the greatest of deserts; a place when nothing grows, not even a blade of sword grass. He was a devout worshipper of the great goddess Rinanni, as befit his kind - and truly believed that there was good to be found, and even a bit of love, in every living thing. Yes, even in the Muatana-al.

He lived there in the last bit of shade before the eternity of blazing sun and freezing nights that is the wastes. Though his name is long forgotten, and matters little now, for the sake of this tale we shall name him... how about "Petit"?

One day as Petit was caring for the living things that managed to drag their dying bodies to him (for Petit's dwelling place was well known), a Muatana-al - let us call him "Mauvais" - came slinking into his presence. The poor wight was horribly burned by the sun, and dying of thirst. Petit, of course, immediately took his wounds upon himself and healed Mauvais.

Mauvais was very grateful. After resting a bit and catching his breath, he explained that many people were hunting him, to kill him - for he had done bad things, and hurt many.

Petit was greatly upset. Had he done the right thing in healing one so evil?

Mauvais was quick to reassure him. "Of course, you have, little Secian. It is your nature to love and to heal, not to judge. You were true to yourself. How can this be wrong?"

Petit saw the reason in this, but quickly found another worry. Secians are prone to worries you see. "What of those hunting you? How can I protect you from them, and them from doing this evil thing, killing you?" he asked.

Mauvais smiled. It was a most frightening smile, but Petit seemed not to notice. "You know I cannot tarry in the sun without it consumingmy very body. Yet I must cross the wastes so that those that hunt me cannot or will not follow, and so that I torment them no more. If you will go with me, when the sun burns me you can heal me. Thus I can cross and leave these lands."

Petit considered this. "But you tell me you do these evil things, taking the very life from others. How then do I know I'm safe with you?" At this thought the little Secian flew up into the air in fright; for, you see, Muatana-als can only use their eyes to mesmerise those whom they are close to.

Mauvais laughed a horrible laugh. "Oh, little one. That is not a problem. For if I were to harm you, then I would die in the sun, would I not?"

This of course, was true... and Petit saw it immediately, even if he was scarcely the brightest of Secians.

So, they set out immediately, across the wastes, into the burning sun. The Bane did burn Mauvais, badly. And Petit, our little hero, nearly exhausted himself healing the Muatana-al, so much so that Mauvais finally caught him out of the air and carried him in his hands. So theytraveled for all the first day and night. At night, of course, there was no sun, so Petit slept while Mauvais carried him. Being a creature of the very night itself, Mauvais was at home in the darkness.

About noon the second day, with the sun burning brightly and Petitdrooping badly from all his efforts at keeping Mauvais whole, suddenly Mauvais - who had in fairness gone long without sustenance - was overcome by the bane of that race and went into Frenzy. His reddened eyes looked down upon the poor Petit, lying there in his hands, and he clutched him tighter... and fed. And fed again. And again until the little Secian could only gasp out as he lay dying, "Why Mauvais, why? You will surely die. Already I see the burns forming upon you. You willnever escape the sun now."

The frenzy had passed, of course, since Mauvais had fed, so he could answer the Secian's dying question. There might have been sadness in his eyesfor what he had done... or maybe it was only for his own assured oblivion. He whispered as he too approached death (but poor, brave Petit was already gone), "Ah, little one, it is my nature, you see?"

And that is why, little ones, Secians have ever since detested the Muatana-al. It is because they cannot control their natures and sodestroy all they cling to. The Muatana do know this, and more - some even care and struggle to learn control. It is a lesson to us, for we too must learn control... or we can destroy that which we love, or which loves us.

Run now - your mothers are calling. Tomorrow another tale.

Urganzeal's Tale ...

[The following is a transcript of the tale told by Monilea Callifera on April 18, 1997.]

[The following is a transcript of the tale told by Monilea Callifera on April 18, 1997.]

This is the story of Urganzeal Tardoneska the Secian.

Many, many years ago, when the world was still a little innocent, there lived a little Secian named Urganzeal. Urganzeal was not quite as good a healer as the others of his family, but he was very intelligent and very curious, and so he went to the Temple of Sa to become a runemage. Because he was so very clever and so very curious, the Temple put him to work as a sage, reading ancient scrolls and studying ancient artifacts from the ruins of the Frontacian Empire.

One day the excavators brought a box of relics taken from a newly discovered set of ruins. And on top of this box was balanced a scroll. Urganzeal unwrapped the scroll and began to read it without a second thought. But as soon as he laid eyes on the thing he realized that it was not a scroll of runes nor of knowledge, but that it contained something far greater, and far more powerful.

Quickly he moved to roll the scroll back up. Always before he had been quick enough to close such dangerous things before they could cause harm to him. But this time it was too late. As he reached for the scroll it crumpled into dust, and quicker than thought the contents of the scroll were lodged fast within his mind.

Poor Urganzeal! For the contents of the scroll were dire indeed. It was the directions for making the most evil and powerful weapon in the world. And there it was lodged fast in the poor Secian's head, and he could not get it out.

Though Urganzeal was a sage, still he was a Secian, devoted to life and the preservation of joy. And the evil of the spell that now he carried was more than the little one could bear. He tore through the Temple of Sa like a maddened thing, bashing his tiny body against walls and windows, all the while casting fire sphere after fire sphere upon him, until no more life remained in his body.

The other priests of the Temple didn't know what to do. They called upon Sa, trying to resurrect Urganzeal, but Sa would not touch him, perhaps because of the evil knowledge the Secian carried within him.

They took him to Odarous, they took him to Elindale, but they refused their aid as well. And as the other gods are not known for their relationship with Secians, they left it at that. And so Urganzeal lay for a very, very, very long time. The gods would not let him return to life, and the spell in his head would not let him depart and die.

There was no way for Urganzeal to know how long he lay there. But finally there came to him the vision of a most beautiful woman, dressed in robes the color of the sky. "Who are you?" Urganzeal demanded of the vision. "And why won't you let me die and take this horrible spell out of the world forever?"

"I am Rinanni," the vision said. "And I do not come to take your life, but to ask that you find the strength to continue living."

"Ah, Rinanni, you do not understand," Urganzeal said. "You are the goddess of life and light, and what I carry is a thing of greatest death and darkness."

"But I do understand, little one," said the Kindly Lady with a sad, sweet smile. "The knowledge you carry will not let you leave this earth, for it will not let itself be destroyed until its mission is complete. But Sa refuses to be responsible for your burden, and Odarous and Elindale refuse to take on the darkness that you carry, so none of the Gods have yet come to aid you.

"I know I am not a favorite of the Secians," said Rinanni. "I know that you think that I should take up arms against my dark brothers, and do not understand how I could love them all the same. But if you will allow me, I will help you to carry your terrible burden, for I cannot bear to see you lying in such a state any longer."

"I will be your servant gladly," said Urganzeal. "Because you alone have come to me in this darkness, and because you are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen."

And so Rinanni returned life to Urganzeal, and so Urganzeal became the first Secian to follow Rinanni for a very, very long time.

Urganzeal left the Temple of Sa, and wandered until he found a remote Temple to Rinanni on a tiny island, very far to the north and the east. And here he lived, as healer and as sage, for centuries and centuries, for the spell he carried would not let him age nor die.

It had been so many years since Urganzeal had left the temple of Sa that he could not count them all. He was working in the archives of the Temple of Rinanni, which were in caverns beneath the temple grounds. Suddenly the lanterns that lit his work were all extinguished, leaving him in blackness.

"What?" he cried, spinning around him furiously. "Who is there?"

"You do not know me," a voice said, and indeed Urganzeal did not recognize it. It was the voice of a man, and it carried an accent he did not recognize. It seemed to come from very far above. "You have something that I want," the voice continued. "And you shall give it to me. Now."

Now, the little Secian knew that the stranger sought the spell he carried in his head, though he didn't know how he knew. "I will never give it to you," he said, sounding braver than he felt.

"Very well," said the voice. Urganzeal heard the stranger kneeling. He sensed the stranger leaning forward over him.

And then two dark eyes seemed to emerge from the darkness like orbs of black fire, and only then did Urganzeal realize what he faced.

A Muatana-al.

The Muatana-al seized Urganzeal's will and consciousness like a Thugian grabs hold of a tiny gem; and as Urganzeal tried to struggle free from the dark embrace, the stranger tore the spell out of his mind and left him to die.

How long Urganzeal lay in the darkness none can say. But in the darkness the light of Rinanni came to him again. "Oh, Rinanni!" Urganzeal cried. "I have failed you! How you must despise me!"

"Despise you?" said the goddess. "Oh, littlest Urganzeal, how could I despise you? You have been the bravest of your kind for years beyond measuring. All things end, all defenses fail. You have not failed me; you have honored me."

And so Urganzeal regained consciousness in the dark cave. The horror of the Muatana-al's possession, the pain where the spell had been ripped from his mind, all were fresh. But stronger than all of it was the memory of Rinanni's love and forgiveness.

Bolstered by his goddess's love, driven by a Secian desire to set things right, he set out to find the Muatana-al and take the spell away from him by any means necessary. And if he hasn't died, he's still searching the world today.

The Study of the Nature of Secian Bonding ...

Naming Day:

The day on which the secian in question has lived for twenty elven years. At this time the secian takes his or her real name with which they will enter life outside of secia. It is on this day that it is said that the secian has reached adulthood and is free to search out a bond.

The Chosen Ones:

It is said to be a great honor to be amoung the chosen ones. These little secians have stepped on the path to reaching their life goal of bonding. Their empathy lends them the special ability to ease the staging pains of Dragons. It is at risk of death that these little ones take up the responsibility of being one of the Chosen.

The Bonded:

After becoming chosen, and finishing the staging of the dragon, a subtle change over takes the pair. Indeed it is almost as if they shared a single soul. It is said that each retain a part of the other. Thus is the reason a bond can nae be broken. It is with great honor to be bonded, proof that the secian and dragon pair were strong enough, their love deep enough, to pull them through.

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The Story of Ishtar and Voron'a ...

by Weldoian Sesca-osklaoq

Far north of the city of Spur, and a little to the west, there is a land. And in this land, near a forest, lies a village. And this village is a village of Secians, and thus, a village with it's share of Dragons. And this village has a tale. A tale that is told to each Secian child, and each Draco. It is a tale about a Secian, a Dragon, and the strength between them. It is a tale about one of their citizens, Ishtar Valeston, and the Dragon, Voron'a.


Ishtar had become very excited the last few days, for the village was hosting a party tomorrow night. The party was meant to celebrate life, as well as the peace the land enjoyed. The Frontacians of the area had been gone for several years, and there was no sign that they would return. But, the party served another purpose. It also served as a means for younger Secians, such as Ishtar, to meet Chosenless Dracos. It was for this reason that Ishtar was excited. He could barely wait.

The night of the party finally arrived. The village square was packed with many Secians, and just as many Dragons. A long table was placed in the center of the square, holding both food and drink appropriate for the Secian and Dragon palette. A band of talented Secian musicians were off to the side, playing beautiful melodies on their instruments, setting a very relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. Laughter filled the air, and Ishtar had never felt so alive in his life. He explored his way through the variety of fruits, salads, cheeses, and drinks, filling his plate to the brim. He began pouring himself a glass of elderberry juice when someone bumped into him, knocking him over, and causing his glass to topple elderberry juice all over his clothes. He looked up to see a Draco standing over him, apologizing profusely. The Draco helped him up and introduced himself as Voron. Ishtar smiled and introduced himself.

The two spent the rest of the party getting to know each other. Ishtar saw in Voron an adventurous spirit, one that he could relate to, while Voron saw Ishtar as a fun-loving and inquisitive individual. It was hours before they noticed that the party had cleared up, as it was getting rather late. Before Ishtar and Voron parted, Voron had expressed his desire that the two meet again. Sharing this desire, Ishtar agreed.

Over the course of the next few months, Ishtar and Voron spent hours upon hours with each other, getting to know each other's favorite food, favorite hobbies, and dreams. Ishtar preferred elderberry salad, with a cup of lemonade, while Voron preferred fresh Flerian, raw, with a pinch of Go-blin-al blood for flavor, as well as a nice tankard of dragon ale. Ishtar loved to sit on a nearby cliff, and watch the sunset, while Voron preferred to hunt actively through the forest, occasionally teasing the Fir Elves there. But, they discovered, they had one thing in common. Both wanted their own place to live. Ishtar a house, Voron a Lair. And the two decided that together, that dream would come true.

One day, Ishtar was called away for religious business; business that sent him from the village for several days. Voron took this opportunity to put into motion a plan he had been thinking of for several weeks. He traveled into the forest, following a path that wasn't even really a path. He followed this path for hours before finally approaching a group of trees, which grew abnormally close to each other. He called out to this group of trees, and soon, he was surrounded by Fir Elves, with elves coming out of places that even Voron couldn't see. He told them that he had a deal to make, and when they agreed to hear him out, he began speaking. After hours of negotiation, bartering, and persuasion, it was decided. For fifteen hundred gold, two Dragon claw clippings, and a promise to leave the Elves alone in the future, the Elves agreed to do as Voron wished.

Voron knew the gold would pose no problem. He had saved enough over the years, originally planning on using it to build himself a Lair when the time came. But this was special, and gold was replaceable. As for the promise, that was easily given. What proved difficult, however, was finding a Dragon to give some clippings of it's claws to him. As Voron expected, none would, thinking that Voron was being much to extravagant. As the days passed, the Elves got increasingly determined to get their payment, and eventually stopped working on Voron's project. Disheartened, Voron confessed his troubles to his companion and comrade, Soli. Soli had just staged to become a wonderfully amber hued Drake, and after hearing Voron's story, agreed with the older Dragons. However, after a little persuasion from her Bond, Soli reluctantly agreed to give a couple clippings from her own claws. Ecstatic, Voron took these clippings and gave them to the Elves, who proceeded to finish their work.

A week later, Ishtar returned. Though he was weary of traveling and needing of sleep, he agreed to follow Voron to wherever it was Voron wanted him to go. Voron took him through the forest, towards a clearing. And in this clearing, Ishtar saw, was a building that Ishtar couldn't remember ever seeing before. As they got nearer, Ishtar noticed a sign hanging from above the doorway. He squinted and was able to read these words on the sign: "Ishtar Valeston." Ishtar gasped and looked up at Voron, who wore a very proud, yet very silly grin. Voron turned to Ishtar, returned Ishtar's very tight hug, and asked him to become his Chosen. Ishtar very readily and very happily accepted.

As the days passed, Voron and Ishtar spent more and more time together. They focused on moving Ishtar's things from his parent's house into his new home, as well as getting furniture, flowers, and other such knickknacks to decorate the place. Before they knew it, Ishtar was all moved in, and the house looked like it was out of some tale of lore. Voron and Ishtar spent many hours by the new fireplace, cuddling and talking. They had never been closer.

One day, Voron and Ishtar sat on the edge of a cliff not far from Ishtar's new house. They had decided to rest there as Voron had felt some pains while hunting. They sat talking, watching the sunrise. Suddenly, Voron keeled over in pain, and in response, Ishtar began casting some healing spells at him, thinking it was just another attack that would pass. But the pains got worse, and it didn't take Ishtar very long to realize that this was it. Voron was staging. He called out over the link, and shortly afterwards, Dragon and Secians alike came running to the cliff. The other Secians began casting vigor spells at Ishtar, while Ishtar focused on healing Voron. The hours passed by, with things going smoothly. At last, a blue glow appeared around Ishtar and Voron, growing brighter and larger. Almost magickally, and painfully, Voron's body began to change into that of a Drake. With this done, the blue glow began to seep into both Ishtar and Voron. As it seeped into both of them, Ishtar's skin began to look younger, while Voron's new scales seemed to absorb the glow. Finally, the last of the glow disappeared, and Ishtar collapsed in exhaustion. Voron soon followed him. And there they laid, sleeping peacefully, the entire day, with the sparkle of the setting sun flickering on Voron's bright new Sapphire scales.

The next several months were dedicated to hours of hunting and flying in the sky. And how they enjoyed the skies together. They would play all sorts of games, such as Hide and Seek about the clouds, or tag, or they would race each other from their cliff to the village and back again. And sometimes, the clouds were out-of-bounds, creating a lively obstacle course in the sky. Sometimes, for Ishtar's sake, Voron would ease off, letting Ishtar win, while other times, Voron would easily leave Ishtar behind. After a day of hard work or hard play, the two would return to Ishtar's home where they would dine on food brought up from the village. After this, they would go bathing together in a pond feed by a small, but beautiful, waterfall. They would then return to the house and retire; Ishtar to his bed, Voron outside the front door, keeping guard. And so it was like this for several months.

However, as the weeks passed, Voron had noticed a change in Ishtar. They no longer hunted or played together, for Ishtar was gone most of the day, and sometimes even days at a time. When he returned, he always did so exhausted, and went straight to his bed. Worried, Voron asked Ishtar what was going on. Ishtar didn't answer him and instead changed the subject. And this happened every time Voron brought up Ishtar's absence. This saddened Voron, and to pass the time, he took up hunting. He would hunt for hours at a time, sometimes going on hunts that took days to complete. Every time he returned, he would stop by Ishtar's house to check up on his safety, but would then go on another hunt. This became so regular that people in the village began to notice. Shortly thereafter, rumors began to spread. Some thought that Voron was chasing another Secian. Others believed that Ishtar was chasing another Dragon. Yet others believed that both stories were true.

However, none of the rumors were true. The truth was that Ishtar had taken up doing jobs here and there, sometimes several jobs at once. He wanted to save up enough money to buy Voron a gift, and an expensive gift it was. Ishtar had spoken to a Hithual about it, and the Hithual estimated that such a gift would cost at least twenty-five hundred gold. Ishtar regretted not spending time with Voron, and when Voron had took up hunting, it hadn't gone unnoticed. But, Ishtar rationalized, it would all be worth it. After several months of hard work, Ishtar had saved up enough money to buy Voron his present. He gave the money to the Hithual, and then rushed to find Voron, hoping to heal the harm that Ishtar had caused in their relationship. Within weeks, their relationship was back to being strong again, though Voron would always ask why the strain had ever come about. And Ishtar always told him that he would soon find out.

Finally, the Hithual returned and told Ishtar that the project was complete. Excited, Ishtar rushed to Voron, and together, they went to the Cliff. Ishtar lead Voron off to the side and down a narrow path; a path that Voron swore had never existed before. He told this to Ishtar, who merely giggled in response. Confused, Voron followed Ishtar. And then he saw it. There, upon the cliff, facing the western horizon, was the gaping mouth of a cave. And beside the mouth was a sign. And on it, it read: "The Lair of the Sapphire, Voron'a." Voron looked down at his Bond, eyes full of love, happiness, and admiration. Now he understood why Ishtar had been gone all that time. He could only imagine the stress and the work Ishtar had to have done to save up enough money to get the Lair constructed. And with that realization, the last wound in their relationship was healed. And so, for several weeks, the two were together once again.

Thanks to another religious quest, Ishtar had been forced to take another trip, traveling far from the village, to a port town, to visit the temple constructed there. He had enjoyed the sites of the city, but quickly tired of it's endless bustle and commotion. He longed the simple quiet of the country. So, with his business finished, he gathered up his things, and made his way out of the town. On his way out, he smiled amiably at a few Arachnians, who scowled at him in response. Undaunted by this, Ishtar continued out of the town, skipping and whistling. Unbeknownst to Ishtar, the Arachnians he had passed had started to follow Ishtar. Indeed, even if Ishtar knew of his followers, his attention had been arrested by much more dire news. A Secian's voice had appeared over the link, a voice with much distraught. Ishtar soon found out why. The reason made his body go numb, and panic to flow through his veins. Voron was staging. Without him.

Ishtar began to hurry to the Lair, but was stopped by the three Arachnians who had followed him. They quickly webbed him and chittered amongst themselves in triumphant glee. They weren't hungry; one Secian could hardly feed three Arachnians. They would just toy with him for a bit, pass the time.

Meanwhile, Voron roared loudly in pain. Though surrounded by his kyn and beloved Little Ones, the pain unable to be relieved. The Secians present cried and winced as their empathic nerves were flooded with waves of pain. Among the crowd stood one Secian who decided that she could bear it no longer.

Trishionda, one of Ishtar's best friends, knew the time of no-return was drawing close. The time where Voron would continue to stage, going beyond the help of even his Bond. He would then either go mad or die forever. Trishionda knew that either would be devastating on Ishtar, and she couldn't bear to think of seeing Ishtar suffer so. She weighed her choices over carefully, and arrived at a conclusion. Fully aware of the consequences, she couldn't allow Ishtar to be blown with such a tragedy, and thus, began casting healing spells on Voron.

The Lair filled with voices of shock, concern, anger, and fear. For reasons unknown, the Secian Trishionda had began healing Voron. Pleas from both her kyn and her Dragonkyn were left unheard, and ideas of physically, or magickally, removing her from the scene proved to have too much risk involved. They could sit by and watch. Then, all voices ceased. Eyes stared on with a mixture of apprehension and wonder. A blue glow had formed over Voron, and began spreading to Trishionda. The glow grew in intensity, crackling with a magickal ferocity. Voron roared in pain as his wings grew in size, as his body expanded, and his scales hardened. Trishionda kept up her healing spells, though looking slightly pale. But, instead of the glow seeping back into Voron, it crackled violently as it's shape began to distort. It began sending out streaks of magickal lightning, causing the on-looking spectators to retreat to a safer distance.

Something was wrong. He had staged. He was a Dragon. Why was his body still flooded with the seething flames of pain. He looked around the Lair, at the eyes staring at him. He tried to roar in pain, but his strength had vanished. He saw a streak of blue lightning fly across his line of sight, striking the ground with a ghastly sizzling sound, causing the Secians nearby to scatter.

Secians and Dragons alike had all by now retreated to a seemingly safe distance from Voron, Trishionda, and the volatile magick glow. The crackling became louder, the glow more brighter, and it's form more distorted. Then, out of nowhere, the room exploded in a white light which temporarily blinded everyone.

Voron roared the loudest he could. His blood was boiling, and his scales burned into him. There was a flash of light which caused him to be blinded by pain. It was so agonizing that not even his roar could convey the pain he felt. The light faded, and Voron regained his senses. He was weak, but alive. The glow had vanished. He inhaled deeply, and glanced at the people in the Lair triumphantly. But they weren't staring at him. Their faces were wrecked with horror, and their eyes full of sadness. His brow furrowed. He began to follow their gaze, weakly, and slowly. Shouldn't they be looking at him, in all his Sapphire greatness? Did he not just become a glorious Dragon? What could possible distract them from him? And then he saw it, and his heart dropped. He wished that he could die now, and that he had died during the staging. There, on the ground a few feet away, was a pale body, not moving and not breathing. But who? Immediately after he asked himself the question, he recognized who it was. Trishionda. She was dead. The realization swept through the Lair, causing it to be filled with cries and roars of sorrow.

Ishtar had only been able to move a few feet. No matter how hard he struggled, the Arachnians had managed to keep him webbed in relatively the same place. He knew he was losing time. He screamed and begged his voice hoarse, but his cries were only responded with chitters of excitement and pleasure. He felt the webbing give way and tensed up to make a run for it, knowing that the Arachnians would only web him again. He finally felt the web give way, and proceeded to make a mad dash towards the Lair. But, something caused him to stop. Why didn't they web him? They didn't look like they would stop anytime soon. He turned back to face the Arachnians who still stood there staring at him. His face contorted with confusion, and then curiosity as he noticed something in the eyes of the Arachnians that he hadn't noticed before. There, in those dark coals of nastiness, was a tinge of blue. But, what was causing it? Was something happening? He got closer. Were the Gods punishing the Arachnians? He peered into their eyes, and then saw the source of the blue tinge in their eyes. It was him.

The Arachnians chittered curiously, eyeing Ishtar maliciously. They knew the glow was magickal, and they quickly wanted to kill the bug for casting such a spell. They began talking about how to do so, but were interrupted when the glow around Ishtar crackled, shooting arcs of magick randomly about the area. Sensing the strength of this magick, the Arachnians backed off. The spell, whatever it was, was strong. They could feel that, and wanted no part of it. They turned to go when they heard a sound they hadn't expected hearing. A sound that was like the sound of paradise. It was a scream. A scream laced in unimaginable pain. They turned around to find the source, and there it was. The bug they were toying with moments before was lying on the ground, near death. They could smell death floating above the bug, and knew that this was indeed a glorious day. Taath had surely rewarded them. They drooled hungrily, but dared not go nearer to the dying bug. They could still sense the magick around him, and not knowing the consequences of getting closer, they decided it best to return later, after the bug had finally died. They walked away, planning on different ways to prepare him, planning to come back for him later. Whatever the spell was that the bug cast, through Taath's bloody hand, it had rewarded them well. Perhaps magick wasn't so bad after all.

After recovering from his staging, Voron'a began to ask about the area, looking for Ishtar. Many people had heard what had happened, and were genuinely sorry, but none could offer any help as to the location of Ishtar. Finally, after a week, a rumor began to spread that an elderly Human couple had found a lone Secian, almost dead, and had been nursing it back to health Voron'a, upon hearing the rumor, took off immediately and before long, was before the Human couple, demanding the Secian. They went back into their house, and when they returned, they held a sleeping Ishtar. Voron'a took Ishtar gently, and took flight, finally landing on their cliff. There, for two months, sacrificing most of his own food and drink for Ishtar, Voron'a nursed Ishtar back to full health.

Ishtar finally awoke, and was soon back on his feet, laughing and playing with Voron'a. When he was well enough for the journey, he traveled to Trishionda's grave. As he stared at the gravestone, a flood of emotions overwhelmed him. He felt betrayal, anger, grief, sadness, shock, and confusion. But somewhere in those waters, he felt a glimmering flicker of gratitude. He knelt before the gravestone and spoke to Trishionda's spirit. He often had to stop, for tears broke through, causing him to sob horribly. As he knelt there, the area around him became quiet. The animals become quiet, and even the wind seemed to still. After several hours, Ishtar finally said goodbye and then a prayer and then flew away.

After this, Voron'a and Ishtar were very rarely apart. They woke together, hunted together, ate together, bathed together and slept together. They were joined at the proverbial hip, closer now than they ever had been. No longer did Ishtar fall asleep in his house; he fell asleep beside Voron'a in the Lair. The village people had come to see any separation of the two to be a sign of trouble. The two knew that they were no longer Bonded, but when asked about who was his Bond, Voron'a would always respond, "Ishtar." To most of the village, it was as if nothing had ever changed.

One day, Voron'a and Ishtar awoke to an active link. After awhile of sorting out the myriad of voices, they discovered what the fuss was about. Essence hunts were spotted nearby, looking for ripe Dragons to drain. Naturally, the Dragons in the area began to gather together to defend themselves. They gathered outside the lair Soli'a. There, Dracos, Drakes and Dragons waited for reconnaissance about the hunters, as well as the arrival of the Imperial, Tscon'a. Moments after Voron'a and Ishtar, reconnaissance arrived and reported their findings; roughly eighty essence hunters, thirty mercenaries, and twenty vigilantes. It was also reported that, as bait, the essence hunters had captured several Secians from the village, among whom who was Soli'a's Bond. At this, outrage broke out among the group, and Soli'a, lost in rage, took flight and soon disappeared from the line of sight. Many of the group had began to follow after her, but was stopped by the arrival of Tscon'a. He warned them that the essence hunters were organized and that if they went to battle without a plan, they would surely die. The number of the group gathered was counted; sixty-five in all. After hearing Tscon'a's plan, the Drakes, Dragons and present Secians took flight, while Tscon'a himself went with the Dracos.

Voron'a could hardly contain himself. He was so angry, he wanted to tear an essence hunter apart, limb by limb, drink their blood, and then toss the remains aside for the vultures. And even that seemed too good for the scum. As he thought of the essence hunters capturing Secians, his anger tripled, and he could barely stop himself from going to the battle and fighting madly beside Soli'a. But Tscon'a had a plan. He respected Tscon'a, but in any other circumstance, he would have done what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it, and not taking orders from an Imperial. But this was different. Secian lives were at stake. None of them could afford a Secian getting hurt. And so, Voron'a decided that he would follow Tscon'a's plan. Tscon'a had taken the Dracos, who were still talented with mortal weapons, to engage the hunters first. Their goal was to free as many of the kidnaped Secians as possible. However, even Tscon'a knew that the Dracos couldn't defeat the entire army of hunters. And so, when a sizeable portion of the Dracos were incapacitated, he would call for the Drakes and Dragons, whose strength would invigorate their cause, and should make quick work of the remaining hunters. They knew Soli'a would be aiming at random hunters, killing them in an effort to reach her Bond, and frankly, none could blame her. Voron'a himself would destroy the world to protect Ishtar. As for the Secians present, they had been asked to merely heal and resurrect those fallen. It was asked of them to try and keep their natures under wrap, and heal only Dragons, but as this was a difficult task for some, understood if some felt the urge to heal the hunted. But it was demanded that none of them resurrect a fallen hunter, lest that hunter be the one who drains a Dragon. Some Secians, however, did object, at first, but were eventually convinced, albeit reluctantly, that it would be better in the long run.


The Drakes and Dragons waited restless, hidden among the treetops of the forest. Seconds later, Tscon'a and the Dracos engaged the essence hunters. Efforts were made to control Soli'a, but those quickly stopped, as Soli'a was so lost in her hate that not even the end of the world could have stopped her. The battle begun. Within one minutes, reports of the battle's progress came through the link: one Draco, then two, four, seven Dracos dead. Four, seven, nine, thirteen hunters gone. Tscon'a directed Dracos to focus on this Mage, and then this Cleric, in an effort to destroy the hunter's healers. Another Draco fallen. Two more hunters. A group of Dracos decided to focus on getting to the cages which held the Secians. Five hunters dead. Three Dracos. One Secian freed. Two, five, ten. Six more hunters gone. Five Dracos dead. Another Secian and another. Four hunters, two Dracos. The majority of the Draco force was dead. Secians had started dying. Tscon'a order the reinforcements to come. And they were more than happy to oblige. The Drakes and Dragons took flight, and headed for the battle. They wanted blood, and they were determined to have it.

Voron'a took flight with the other Dragons, and while approaching the battle, surveyed the situation. Bodies littered the ground, while spells flew through the air like mad hornets. Clashes of steel sounded through the air, usually accompanied by painful screams. As he drew within range, he released a column of flame at a hunter, causing him to erupt in fire, screaming painfully. Voron'a flew lower, aiming for another hunter. With a quick snap of his jaws, the hunter's head was in Voron'a mouth, the blood from it's neck trickling down Voron'a's throat. He spit the head out, hitting a mage in the stomach, distracting him long enough to be impaled by one of the surviving Dracos. He reared back, swiping his claws at the two hunters nearest him. He barely saw that their innards were flowing out from their wounds before going after another hunter. As the battle progressed, adrenaline and anger took control of him, silencing all sound save for the screams of the dying hunters. He no longer heard the link, nor did he want to. It would distract him. Any hunter who approached him fell to the ground a bloody mass of pulp. Voron'a laughed to himself, things were going well. These hunters were but mere ants. He started swinging his claws at an approaching hunter, when all of a sudden he felt that he was moving slower. He looked around and saw the magickal strands of a web spell engulf his body. He was trapped.

Ishtar had been flying around, healing all the Dragons he could. He had never felt so much empathic pain in his life, and it took all he could muster to restrain from going on a healing frenzy, ignoring who was hurt and who wasn't. The link had gone eerily quiet, and was only used to convey which Dragon needed to resurrected and where. Several times he noted that several Secians were not as controlled as he was of their nature, and were busy healing both Dragon and hunter alike. He couldn't blame them. He wanted to do the same thing. He sent a healing mist at a nearby Drake, then landed to resurrect a Draco. He took off again, only to come crashing down; a victim of a blow from a cudgel. He was disorientated, but managed to cast a sleep dart at his attacker, giving another Secian time to heal him, while giving a Drake enough time to kill the hunter. He took flight again, casting a healing mist at a Dragon on his way up. He turned to face Soli'a, runes already cast, when he saw something that diverted his attention. He saw Voron'a, in the middle of killing another hunter. Yet, the killing blow never came. Voron'a stood there, motionless. Ishtar squinted and could barely make the individual strands of the magick web. Without thinking about the spell that he cast, he took off for Voron'a.

Voron'a could hear the voice now. A voice that was undoubtably casting the webbing spell. The hunter in front of him had unsheathed a dagger that Voron'a had never seen before. But, he knew what it was. An Essence Drainer. Up the dagger went, and down just as fast, straight into Voron'a's side. He roared with pain, but could already feel his essence ebb out of him, and his strength with it. The scales around the wound were beginning to grow pale, a pastel of the original bright Sapphire. He looked up at the hunter with hatred, and was caught off guard when the guard fell to the ground unconscious. The voice behind him was silent, and he soon felt the web dissipating. Voron'a proceeded to kill the hunter by breathing a column of fire at his body. He turned around to see what had become of the mage, and was mildly surprised to see the mage also on the ground unconscious. And above the mage caused Voron'a to swell with love and pride, for there hovered Ishtar.


The overall battle lasted less than an hour. The Dracos had managed to cause enough damage to the hunter army, so much in fact that after the Drakes and Dragons, there were very few casualties. And those who did receive a wound, or died, the Secians made quick work of them. A sizeable portion of the army had been killed, while the remaining had opted to retreat. At the sight of their fleeing enemies, many Dragons roared in triumph. Yet, throughout the commotion of happiness, a lone sob come from the crowd. And, like a wildfire, spread quickly. Everyone had turned their eyes onto what had caused this sadness, and were horrified when they saw the source. Soli'a, a mass of pale amber, lay on the ground, dead. All efforts to resurrect her failed. Her Bond had flung herself over Soli'a body, wailing uncontrollably. Soon, Tscon'a landed and assessed the situation. When he spoke, Soli'a mysterious death was solved. Her essence had been drained. Completely.

Voron'a and Ishtar stood on their cliff a week later. They both stared towards the horizon, watching the sun set. The atmosphere was quite solemn. Voron'a had decided to hunt down the remaining essence hunters, as well as their leader, to get revenge on killing Soli'a. Ishtar didn't want him to go, but knew that he couldn't keep Voron'a from doing so. To ease Voron'a's conscious, Ishtar gave him his blessing and told him that he would wait for his return. He cuddled close to Voron'a, eyes clouded with tears. Voron'a gave Ishtar a tight hug, a gently kiss, and then took flight, flying westwards, while Ishtar stayed beyond, watching him through tear-filled eyes as his shadow disappeared into the sun.

Ishtar returned to his daily routine, with only one addition. Once, each day, he would return to their cliff and sit for a few hours, hoping to catch any sight of Voron'a. He would then return to his house to sleep. And it was like this for a year. But after a year, people from the village began to notice a change in Ishtar. He grew steadily more irritable, and kept to himself more and more. No one really wondered why. They knew. Ishtar was getting depressed and lonely. His friends made many attempts to cheer him up, but to no avail. Some villagers even tried to convince Ishtar to Bond with a Draco that had started staging without a Chosen. To this, Ishtar responded angrily, throwing the people out of his house rudely. Another year passed. Then two. Then four. Then six. By now, the village had gotten accustomed to bringing Ishtar his own food, as he refused to leave his home. But, one day, one of his friends, who carried a new basket of food, saw that Ishtar was missing. His house was empty, but everything was still there, untouched. The word was sounded, and shortly thereafter, a small searching party began looking for Ishtar. They didn't search long, for Ishtar was found not far away, at his cliff, staring out towards the western horizon. He didn't even acknowledge their presence, merely staring, sometimes without blinking, towards the horizon. And there he sat for years, moving only slightly to eat the food that the villagers made sure to supply him, or to drink from the goblet that the villagers kept full of water.

Several more years passed. Grass had grown up around Ishtar, gently touching his chest. And yet, he sat, still staring towards the horizon, waiting for Voron'a to return. As the years had passed, the younger Secian children had made a game of trying to make Ishtar flinch, or move in anyway. They never succeeded. The job of providing him food and drink feel to the adolescent Secians, while the adults stayed behind at the village, both pitying him as well as admiring him. Many Clerics, many times, had prayed for the Gods to relieve Ishtar of his pain, but never knew if their prayers were heard or ignored. Mages, upon discovering the foliage that nearly covered Ishtar, made sure to keep the area properly trimmed.

Then, one day, an adolescent Secian went to the cliff with a fresh basket of fruit. When he arrived, he noticed that Ishtar had moved. No longer was he facing the western horizon, but instead, he lay facing the eastern horizon. The Secian, who was named Thimble, gently placed the basket next to Ishtar, before turning to go. In mid-turn, he realized that he had not seen Ishtar breath. He turned around again, felt Ishtar's pulse, and sure enough, Ishtar was dead. He called to Rinanni to resurrect him, but either She wouldn't, or She couldn't. He called out over the link, and within minutes, other Clerics tried in vain to resurrect Ishtar. Finally, it was decided that Ishtar had finally let Death take him. Many were saddened and, upon picking Ishtar's body up, headed back for town. Thimble turned to follow and the noticed a piece of parchment on the ground. He picked it up, and it read: "Thank you, my kyn. I am sorry for neglecting you. I love you." And further down, written in Secian and underlined was:


"The Bond is Eternal

In Life, It thrives

In Death, It persists

Voron'a and I are together at Last."


Ishtar was buried on his cliff, his grave facing the setting sun. Many flowers of all types were placed around the grave, and several prayers were said at his funeral. It was a very solemn occasion, and it felt that even the Gods had taken a moment of silence, as everything around them, from the raging sea to the chirping birds fell quiet. When the funeral was over, many left. Some, including Thimble, stayed behind. He sighed sadly and proceeded to read what was engraved on tombstone:


"Here Lies

Ishtar Valeston,

Beloved Friend

Respected Comrade

'May his Soul find relief,

And may he finally find

His Eternal Bond, the Sapphire



Voron'a never did return. No word was heard as to where he might have headed, or what might have became of him. Most people believed that Voron'a was killed by the essence hunters he hunted. Some believed that something more sinister had prevented Voron'a from returning. But, whatever the reason, Ishtar had died waiting. And there, upon that cliff, facing the western horizon, Ishtar's tomb still stands. The villagers have long since forgotten to keep the foliage under control, and yet, the area remains oddly groomed. Not a blade of glass will ever pass you ankle. As one stands there upon that cliff, beside that tomb, it is rumored that one would be overwhelmed by a feeling of loneliness and depression, and that everything goes silent, while time seems to stop. Some who've the story say that is false, a piece that belongs in the lore books. But those who have visited the site know that the story is indeed true. It has become a thing that the villagers have much pride about, and are more than willing to tell any visitors the story, and show any curious the site. And, if you ever find this village, I invite you to experience both, for the experience is truly among the most awe-inspiring, albeit saddest, places in the known world.

~~Recorded this day, the thirteenth of the first month of the year 314 AC.

Weldoian C. Sesca-osklaoq

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The Accounting of Eden’s Tear

::the scroll seems ancient and frayed, but the dark brown lettering has obviously been meticulously restored at one time and can be read clearly::

I, Se’tiruk Reknith, the Hand of Taath, write this account of the Slaughter so that His fury may be glorified and memorialized for ages to come. The date of this scroll is Mateth 39, year of Jackals. We approached the mountain under the cover of night, for not even the keenest eye can pierce the darkest of shadows. Our ranks consisted of all forms of beings: treasure seekers, pursuers of thrill and danger, and those filled with bloodlust proceeded alongside the pale-faced Frontacians whose very existence was dependent on the success of the expedition. Dark-eyed Arachnians, the true image of chaos, chittered quietly to each other in their native tongue. My own race (of the dark skinned San) filled the entourage in great numbers, our nature best suited for these events. Beings of every size and shape had come, from the fragile bird-men called Anthians with wings black as night, to the hulking forms of the slow-witted Thugian. Such a large number is unwieldy in battle at best, but was necessary to guarantee success.

As the first rays of the morning sun pierced the mountainside, we approached the mouth of the Lair. The few torches we had brought were immediately extinguished and the low murmurings of the crowd ceased. As we studied the murky darkness within the cavern, a brief moment of quiet wonder fell upon the group: these Beasts were ancient creatures, many of whom were already thousands of years old when our distant ancestors came into existence. Their knowledge was surpassed only by their incredible power. This unspoken acknowledgement hung in the air for a second. Suddenly an Arachnian clicked its mandibles in impatience; all at once the moment was gone as quickly as it had arrived, and we readied ourselves for the bloodletting. The blind Sanene commander Ksirac stepped ahead of the front lines, reaching out to feel the edge of the cave. It is said that, upon failure to destroy an enemy in a neighboring village, Ksirac begged Taath to remove his eyes as punishment and to remind him of his blind hatred for all who would oppose his god. This has earned him a feared reputation among the other races, and a position of military power with his peers. The physical deficit has not slowed him: as a result of the incident his hearing and sense of touch have sharpened considerably, and he has developed a keen intuition. These gifts served us well that day as he declared, “Not one is awake. We strike now.”

Soundlessly the group entered the Lair. Daylight was blotted out as we crept through the countless twists and turns of the cavernous mountain, no one daring to speak a word. Surely we would still be muddling through the inky labyrinth, had not the traitor among the Beasts’ own kynd given us a detailed map of the area beforehand. After nearly an hour of traveling softly we passed a stone column, where we caught sight of scales glittering faintly in the glow of torchlight.

We had arrived.

Massive lumps of scaled flesh lay all around us in great numbers. There was very little light, but the various reds, blues, greens and a myriad of other hues the Beasts were covered in reflected onto the walls to create a mosaic of color. Tiny, winged Bugs lay near or on top of the Beasts like parasites, fast asleep. The sight of these vastly different creatures slumbering in harmony together was so ironic I nearly laughed out loud, but the cold hand of Ksirac that suddenly grasped my shoulder told me what lay in store if I did. We moved further into the area without a sound, waiting for the signal. A young San, inexperienced in the finer points of stealth, drew his sword from its sheath. The sound was nearly inaudible, but every one of us froze. In an instant the same San let out a yelp as a claw bigger than his entire body seized him. Turning towards the sound we saw a large, silver eye staring from the shadows at us. One of the Beasts had awoken.

With the element of surprise no longer ours, there was no time to lose. “Now!” shouted Ksirac. The cavern lit up as though the sun had appeared as the mages began to cast their spells. The Beast that had been stirred roared loudly, alerting the others, but our surprise attack had given us the advantage over the sluggish creatures still shaking off sleep. A troop of Arachnians attacked immediately with weapons and mandibles; the rest followed suit. The sound in the cavern rose to a frenzied pitch as swords sliced the air and both magick and fang found their mark. The winged Bugs screamed loudly, trying to evade attack as the Beasts drew to their full height and countered. A San next to me was felled by a Bronze’s claw, while a Sapphire-scaled Beast took down a group of Frontacians with its flamed breath. The battle was long and ferocious, but slowly our numbers began to overtake them as fatigue crept in. Hours went by, neither side giving an inch, then—one by one—the Beasts began to fall, spilling their blood across the floor. I smiled as the thick red river flowed past my feet, thinking how proud Taath must be. While I could not kill one of them single-handedly, I often provided a distraction by evading its claws while a formed group would destroy it. The small Bugs were hardly a concern: most died suddenly, long before the Beasts, clutching their hearts or heads and screaming—such a blessed sound. Their bodies held no essence, so they were more or less ignored.

One Bug, however, fascinated me…or rather, her death provided the intrigue. The Amber-scaled Beast she had been sitting upon joined the melee with the others. She began casting spells obviously meant to heal the Beast, and for a while she did quite well; she seemed to hold a greater power than the other Bugs who fell before her. Her pain was evident, but her face only showed determination as she relentlessly cast spell after spell. A San near me noticed this, and raising his broadsword, he charged at her. “Fool!” I cried in irritation. “She holds no essence—do not waste time!” Ignoring me, he slashed at the Bug, knocking her back against the wall. The Amber beast responded by impaling the San on its claws and hurling the body at its attackers. It glanced back at the unmoving Bug and called out what I assume to be her name: “Eden”. I am ashamed to admit I stopped fighting long enough to see how this spectacle would turn out.

Without the Bug to heal it, the wounds the Amber Beast had sustained worsened considerably until it too joined the ranks of his fallen kynd. As it fell back, the Bug convulsed once and her eyes flew open. Turning to see the bloodied Beast, she fell against it and cried. She murmured “Krylosten’a” repeatedly—no doubt the Beast’s name. Her life ebbing, she held the Beast close and turned her face upwards to the ceiling of the cavern. “Crith dis tempanir,” she breathed in Secti (loosely translated, “We are no more”) and cried her last before closing her eyes. I watched in fascination as the last tear slowly crystallized on its way down her face, and on impulse I raced over to catch it before it fell. Holding it in my hand, I stared at it in wonder. It was a tiny, perfectly formed tear, glowing with a rich amber color. I had never seen any Bug produce such a thing, nor have I seen one do so since. What made this one special? As I watched, the crystal began to pulse in my hand, slowly. With each pulse it grew warmer in my hand. Before I could muse further, however, the battle drew my attention back and I had to run before a falling Green Beast crushed me. I slipped the crystal into my vest pocket with the intent to study it later and rejoined the struggle.

Shortly thereafter, the conflict was over. The cavern dimmed as the last spells faded away, the only light now coming from the fires produced by the carnage. Not one of the Beasts or Bugs lived, our own losses minimal in comparison. Ksirac gave the order and the alchemists who accompanied us—mostly Arachnian—went to work draining the Essence from the bodies while others skinned them (as Beast scales often fetch a high price these days.) Parts were harvested both to sell and for magickal purposes. It was agreed by all that our victory would be spoken of long after we were gone. I did not tell anyone about the crystal, but I sincerely doubt anyone left the cavern without at least one “personal memento” to remind them of that truly historical day.

This event occurred two weeks ago to the day. The tiny amber crystal has stopped pulsing, but it still glows upon occasion. My studies have not been able to uncover a reason for its actions. The object obviously possesses a power of sorts; I will continue attempting to harness and use it. If others discover its existence it will undoubtedly become increasingly difficult to keep the crystal in my custody, so as of yet I have told no one. I must find out why the crystal was created, and what its purpose is.

~ Penned this day by Se’tiruk ~

:: a slightly more recent inscription has been added to the bottom of the scroll, written neatly in Common in light green ink ::

3 Rina 79 AC


We spoke of this scroll at the last historian’s meeting. The crystal mentioned does indeed sound like the artifact of legend known as “Eden’s Tear”. According to my research, the San Elf Se’tiruk never let the tear out of his sight, but it was stolen from his grave shortly after his death. Our mistress of Secian history claims Eden was one of Rinanni’s Prelates in her homeland and was said to hold great healing and restorative powers bestowed upon her by the Lady. The crystal she produced before her death is supposedly infused with those same powers and blessed by Rinanni herself. In his later writings, Se’tiruk mentioned the crystal only pulsed when held close to the belongings of a Bonded pair that have passed from this realm. Speculation stands that the tear might actually have the ability to bring a Bonded Secian and Dragon back from beyond the threshold of death. It is known the tear surfaced on the black market several times before being purchased by a wealthy Human thief and brought to the Spurian region. Its last recorded location was in a cave near the area, most likely buried or hidden to defend against further larceny. The thief—its last known owner—met his demise at the hands of rogues, so the tear may still be there. Good fortunes to you as always, and I hope we have been of assistance to you in your scholarly endeavor.

Seraeriel Wylirith

Usil loremaster, linguist, scribe

Mage of Sa

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Cethalial and the Arachnian ...

Twilight Flutal

In a time very near after the releasing of the Unmagick, when Dracos were new and Secians were still just learning what it meant to be Secian, there lived a young dragon named Cethalial.

Cethalial was a homely draco. Though she had a good heart, strong body and a wise spirit for her age, she was as ugly and disfigured as a young dragon can be. When she was of the right age, she left the protective comfort of her home to find her own way in the world and her heart was full of hope for finding a chosen of her own. But alas, none were to be found for poor Cethalial. For Secians in those days were very new to the world and their relationship with dragon kind newer still, and in the vanity that oft is associated with youth and inexperience, Secians of those times all wished to be bonded with the best and most beautiful dragons they could.

Twas not that the Secians were cruel to young Cethalial. Nay, not at all. For everywhere she looked Cethalial found kind and loving Secians, but none of these little ones, no matter how kind, would have Cethalial for a chosen. So she continued to wander alone. At last, sorrowful at seeing so many happy chosens and bondmates all around her, Cethalial chose to venture out far and away into unexplored lands. Perhaps there she would find happiness at last.

Exiting the city and leaving civilization behind her, Cethalial had a good pace to her feet when she slowed at a peculiar site. Off to the side of the road stood a young Arachnian female. Cethalial watched cautiously as she approached, for she knew that twas the females of this new race who were the strongest and most cunning. But this spider neither moved nor even acknowledged Cethalial as she approached and the draco wondered at how the female arachnid chittered in a most mournful fashion.

“Why for do you wail on so?” asked Cethalial. But of course, Arachnians, though they understand the common, do not speak it, so the spider merely chittered some more and seemed to grow even more pitiful as it gazed upon Cethalial.

At a loss to explain this strange behavior and having no particular reason to care much what might pain an Arachnian heart, indeed she wondered if they had one, Cethalial began to walk on. But in a moment of compassion, she paused and turned back. “I know not why you are so aggrieved,” said Cethalial. “But as I am walking alone and as I know of no evils you have done to the little ones my kind call kyn, you may walk with me if you wish. But I warn you, if this be a trick of yours, my response will be swift. I am sure you already note that I am no average draco in either size or countenance, such is true for my thought as well. Do not think to fool me, for I shall always see the truth of things in the end.”

At this, the Arachnian female ceased its mournful chittering and gazed up at Cethalial through its many eyes. She nodded her spider head in agreement and so followed the draco. Much to Cethalial’s surprise, the spider did naught to either trick or harm. On the contrary, Cethalial found the spider to be quite polite. Always did it share its meal when they supped and often did it show compassion for other creatures they did come across in their travels. Cethalial could tell that this was a most uncommon Arachnian, just as she was an uncommon draco.

When Cethalial was wounded, it did tend her wounds. When the need for battle was joined, it defended her and stood always at her side, yet would not meet their enemies in battle itself. Instead, the spider left this to Cethalial and kept her safe through all troubles. Once, while they were dining at an inn, taking rest from their many adventures, a poor destitute family did wander through the doorway in search of food. The faces of the parents were worn with worry and despair and their bedraggled children looked as if the weight of hunger might add still more tears to their troubled little faces. Their home and farm, it seemed, had been burned out by bandits and they had no means to make their way in the world through winter. The father entreated the owner of the inn for work or aid to help his wife and children until spring again allowed him to rebuild, but the innkeeper’s heart turned cold at the sight of these beggars and ordered them away. Other patrons of the inn were similarly uncompassionate towards these strangers.

But then Cethalial watched as her spider friend, for they had by now become friends, arose from their quiet corner and crossed the room towards the family. At first, the father stood before his children and spouse in fierce protection of them, but then as the spider neared she loosened the straps of her many packs and dropped them at the father’s feet. She then untied her gold coin purse and pressed the weighty sack into his hands. For in their travels and many adventures, Cethalial and the Arachnian had accumulated much wealth. The female spider then nodded her head graciously towards the family and gestured towards the many packs and gold, indicating that they were to keep all she had given.

As they departed again on to the road that night Cethalial lamented that so beautiful a spirit as her friend’s should be cursed with such a cruel deformity. And then Cethalial lamented her own deformed self, and at that moment felt a strange kinship towards her spider friend.

Time passed, and although during those times the strength of dragon ways was still such that no mortal could learn the ancient and noble dragon tongue, Cethalial, in her great intelligence eventually came to understand her friend’s chittering speech. And with this ability, she came to know the spider’s name as, Fasha. A most unusual name for a spider indeed, but this was of no matter to Cethalial, for in all their travels she had still found not one Secian who would have her as a chosen. Cethalial knew she was certain to die or go mad in the staging, but until then, she would find happiness in the company of a friend, for a dear friend Fasha the spider has surely become.

One afternoon, as they ate beside the banks of a clear blue pond, Cethalial asked Fasha a question she had long wondered about.

“Why do you not seek companionship with your own kind? I have, in truth, always found it strange that you would rather my company than another Arachnian.”

“Oh,” chittered Fasha, “They would not have me. For amongst the Arachnian people my ways are not acceptable. To be kind is considered a weakness and I would surely be beaten or worse for my actions. I am shunned by other spiders and so I cannot live amongst them.” “That is a shame,” said Cethalial. “For I find you to be a spider of great heart. Surely though, one such as yourself could find acceptance amongst Secians. I do know that many of them lament the hatred your kind shows them and oft feel a distant kindred to them. For indeed, before the Unmagick you were all very alike. I am certain Secians would find great joy in an Arachnian so like themselves. Why do you not seek companionship there?”

“Oh no,” chittered Fasha. “I could not do that. For in their presence I feel only sorrow. Though you are right that many wish reconciliation still with Arachnians, many others have come to distrust us now, and though I may be accepted, I would never be one of them. That would make me feel even lonelier. I would rather your company.”

“I am happy in your company as well,” said Cethalial, “but I fear it will be short lived. I am near the time of my first staging now. I feel it inside me. And when I do it is unlikely that I shall survive. Would that your outer form could match that of your beautiful spirit. If you will forgive my saying, I see within you the heart of a true Secian. Alas that you were made an Arachnian, for if the fates of this cruel world had been different, I would have had you for my chosen.”

As Cethalial spoke these words a strange and beautiful light surrounded her Arachnian friend. Before her eyes, the spider’s back legs shrank and lightened and became two tiny humanoid legs. The front legs contracted and grew smaller to form dainty arms. Her bloated deformed body shrank and became light smooth skin. The black hair on her head grew long and golden blond and as her mutated spider face melted away the multiple eyes became two beautiful ones of ruby red. Then at last, from out of the new creature’s back grew a set of delicate fluttering wings. The white light blinked away as the transformation finished and Cethalial gazed in amazement upon the most beautiful Secian she had ever seen.

“Oh Cethalial!” cried the little Secian. “Do not look with such amazement. All is well. It’s me. Fasha!”

“Fasha? But how is this possible?” asked Cethalial.

“I was cursed. You have saved me,” answered Fasha.

“Cursed? What horrible beast of this world would curse such a beautiful creature as yourself?” asked Cethalial.

“Oh, it was not a beast, nor of this world," said Fasha. "And in truth, it was all my fault. You see, at the moment of the Unmagick, when I was still as my old Frontician self, I was locked in mortal combat with my enemy and victory was nearly mine. I was blinded by the anger and bloodlust of that person I once was and by that moment in time. And then the Unmagick came and transformed me. But I was confused. My body was Secian, but the Unmagick was still upon me. I did not know myself. I was still caught up in that moment of battle. And so, in that moment of confusion and torment I finished what I had started and ended my opponent.”

Cethalial gasped in shock even as Fasha cringed in remorse.

“Immediately I knew what I had done and I tried to make it right, but it was too late. The Gods had seen my actions and it angered them. They said that it was obvious by my actions that I was not meant to be a true Secian. They said to be Secian was a gift and that if I could not accept this great gift, they would give me my true form. I implored them not to do this, told them it was an accident, but they would not be swayed. Again I pleaded with them for mercy, and they offered me but one hope, each for their own reasons: Rinanni out of compassion, Odarous out of a sense of justice, Elindale out of a wish to maintain nature’s balance and Sa due to the anger he currently felt for his magick having been abused so by the Fronticans.

“So instead of transforming me for all time, they instead placed a powerful spell upon me and cursed me to be the spider you came to know. A curse which could only be lifted if one would ever see past my outer appearance to find the true Secian heart within.” “But why did you never tell me this before?” asked Cethalial, for they had been able to communicate with speech for some months now.

“Oh, but I could not,” said Fasha. “It was a condition of the spell cast upon me. The love, if ever given, had to be genuine; given freely and without persuasion. I was not allowed to speak to any creature about my curse, for in doing so, the bargain would have been broken and the curse remained forever. Only when you loved me despite my appearance did I change, and so have you saved me. I cannot express enough my joy!”

“And for you I am also joyful,” said Cethalial. “But for me I am saddened. You are beautiful now and will want a beautiful dragon to bond with, but I am ugly and not well formed. You will wish better than I, and indeed you deserve such.”

“Oh no!” cried Fasha, and indeed there were now tears in the little one’s eyes. “I wish not any other dragon but you. To my eyes, Cethalial, you are the most beautiful draco of all.”

It was at that moment that Cethalial caught a glimpse of herself in the clear blue waters of the pond by which they sat and then blinked and looked again more carefully. What she saw filled her again with wonder, for with her love Fasha had allowed Cethalial to see through her eyes and there in the reflection of the pond she saw herself as Fasha did. Her true beauty within at last reflected without, Cethalial was indeed a dragon of loveliness and grace.

Cethalial and Fasha were, of course, chosen and when the time came Fasha staged her beautiful draco into an even more gorgeous drake. In the fullness of time Cethalial grew to greatness, but in all their years and through all their adventures the love between beautiful Cethalial and her devoted Fasha remains till this day, legendary.

Written by,
Twilight Flutal
By the Elven calendar, January 14, 2005

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The Secian Who Stood Between ...

It began near small village called Frostwell, a quiet town nestled within a green valley between the Mounts Grusku and Tagrin, upon an inconspicuous island to the west of the Great Wastes of Aradath. In Frostwell lived many friendly folk who enjoyed lives of utmost simplicity, and the hustle and bustle of city life was most unknown to its inhabitants.

A little community of Secians made its home on the outskirts of Frostwell, up the mountain a ways off a small footpath through the Tagrin Woods. They lived separately from the rest of the village, for many Secians within the environs were bonded to Drakes and Great Dragons, and everyone knows that most Dragons who are getting on in their years do not often wish to be bothered by mortals and their silly ways. Beyond the Secian community and within the jagged mountain rock, some of these Dragons had carved their lairs, and they were quite content to be left alone most of the time.

Gertie Flyck was a very popular and well-liked Secian lass who lived in Tagrin Woods. She was bonded to the friendly and often social amber Drake named Fioret. Fioret sometimes accompanied Gertie on her trips into Frostwell, where Gertie would assist with the injured and ill, as she was a priestess of Elindale and a very fine healer to boot. Gertie's golden locks and lively ruby eyes enticed many suitors, one of whom was called Ferrin Feathermist, and she chastely returned his affections. Ferrin begain following Gertie and Fioret on their treks to Frostwell, offering his aid as a Priest of Sa, and before long, murmurs of an engagement began circling through the town and the Secian community alike.

Ferrin was also bonded, but to a great blue Dragon named Kelvaar’a, who had carved his lair behind one of the many waterfalls upon Mount Tagrin. Kelvaar’a was perhaps the largest and least friendly of all the Dragons who lived on the island. For the most part, Ferrin could keep Kelvaar’a from harming the people of the village, but he could not sway the Blue Gale, as he was called, from demanding grand offerings of gold, gems, meat and wine once every month. The citizens of Frostwell were happy to comply, given the dire consequences of angering a very large Dragon such as Kelvaar'a, and each month they left their offerings at the base of the mountain, for Kelvaar’a would not allow any but Ferrin to know the exact location of his sacred lair. Though it was known that the Dragon lived beyond a waterfall, no mortal had yet been fool enough to try to discover which waterfall it was.

When young Gertie agreed to be Ferrin’s wife, he cautiously took her to Kelvaar’a’s massive cavern, her vision shrouded with a veil as they flew. After touching a few runewards to gain entrance, the pair descended into the murky innards of Mount Tagrin by the light of Ferrin’s torch. “You may remove your veil now, Gertie,” Ferrin smiled, and she did so. When they reached the slick limestone slab that gave way to Kelvaar'a's private chamber, he clasped Gertie's hand and explained, "My bondmate is often very harsh, and some have even called him cruel. I should warn you now, before we go further."

Gertie gazed at Ferrin, perplexed. "But Ferrin, surely you needn't warn me, for I have not brought with me a pack of mortals! Come, let us visit Kelvaar'a. I am most excited to see him up close, as I've only seen glimpses of his silhouette against the dusk sky."

Ferrin squeezed Gertie's hand tightly before she could continue. "My love, I don't think you understand. I was not speaking of Kelvaar'a's harshness and cruelty in relation to mortals. Indeed I meant that you should be cautious and on your guard, even as a Secian. Why do you think it has taken me so long to introduce you? I have been slowly instilling the idea of our marriage into my bond's thoughts, and I feel that he is finally ready to meet the one who will be my wife. Even so, you must not speak unless he does so to you first, until he is more comfortable with your presence. Do you understand, my dear?"

Gertie frowned delicately, but nonetheless nodded her head, and Ferrin traced a pattern of tiny glyphs on the lower section of the slab. Slowly, magickally, the stone slid into the side of the entrance and the Secians were admitted. A great snort was heard deep within the chamber, followed by a glimmer of flame, and the pair hurried quietly toward the source.

Kelvaar'a was pacing back and forth from one corner of the chamber to the other, punctuating each turn with a short breath of fire that further scorched the already blackened walls of his cavern. Sensing the presence of his bond, the great blue Dragon stopped in the middle of the wide path that had been worn in the stone floor, smooth and slick from many years of repeated pacing.

"Ferrin, my little Sea Star, I have been awaiting your arrival. I have set aside some fine fruits for you, fresh from this month's offering, and I --" he stopped short, sniffing the air. Though his back was turned, the Secians could sense his frown of disapproval, and Ferrin lowered his head in what looked like defeat to Gertie.

"My bondmate, I have brought with me my wife to be, the Secian called Gertie who I have been telling you about over these last several months. It is my hope that you will grow to appreciate her presence as I do, so that we may make a happy life knowing of your approval."

Kelvaar'a turned swiftly, lowering his head as far as it could go without settling into a prone position. He eyed Gertie through luminous slits, a puff of smoke issuing from his triangular snout. "And so," he murmured quietly, in a sinuous hiss, "this is the female who seeks my glorious bond's affections. Tell me, Secian, have you come here to gain my approval of your... friendship with Ferrin?"

Gertie peered up at Kelvaar'a, faltering but a quick moment at his bluntness and tone. With a flash of her lively ruby eyes, she smiled and nodded, "I have, Great Blue One. Ferrin has asked for my hand and I have given it fully, but I would like to know of your acceptance before we go further in our union."

With another snort of black smoke, Kelvaar'a raised his massive head and turned to face the cavern wall once again. With an irritable twitch of his spiked tail, he bellowed, "Are you not bonded to that amber fool? She who travels into the village and makes merry with the mortals, drinking ale alongside the Hithuals and Humans? Does she not, in her drunken stupor, share tidbits of Dragon lore that should not be passed to mortal ears?"

Taken quite aback, Gertie retreated a few fruitless steps and raised her hands in protest. "But Kelvaar'a!"

"Silence, Secian! It is a matter of yes or no, not ifs, ands or buts. Are you indeed bonded to the common amber idiot, Fioret?" Kelvaar'a roared as he swiped his midnight claws against the scorched cavern wall. Ferrin laid a soothing hand upon the base of the blue Dragon's tail, averting his gaze from Gertie's shocked countenance. Kelvaar'a let out a haggard breath, finding comfort in the touch of his bond.

Gertie, though shaken with a foreign fear, spoke up with trembling vibrato nonetheless, "Yes, it is true that I am bonded to the amber Drake you call a fool. And I am proud of my Fioret for making her own path and finding friendship in unlikely beings. I am pleased that she will never need to demand monthly offerings and keep mortals in fear of their lives. Indeed, when my Fioret becomes Great, the descendants of the very Hithuals and Humans with whom she makes merry will travel to her lair and lay abundant gifts before her cave, not out of fright and uncertainty, but in great friendship and acceptance!"

The Blue Gale became entirely still at this outburst, and Ferrin stepped out of his path, running towards his beloved Gertie. "My love, you should not say such things to my bond," he whispered low, in the tongue of clerics. "I must spend some time alone with him now, for I fear he feels overwhelmed by a defiance he is not accustomed to. Let us go, I shall take you home and we will speak of this again soon.”

Gertie touched Ferrin on the cheek, her gaze still locked on the back of Kelvaar'a's head as he stood silently facing his marred cavern wall. In Secti, she responded, "Yes, let us ascend,” as she once more donned her veil.

* * * * * * * *

Fioret shook her head in disbelief, her wild golden eyes dancing with amusement as she listened to her bond. "I cannot believe you defied him so, Flycky!" she chortled, delicately twirling a lock of Gertie's hair around her slender claw. The Secian gazed back at Fioret solemnly from her position atop the amber Drake's chest as the two rested in front of the hearth of their cottage.

"I'm afraid your amusement is not shared tonight, my Amber Light," Gertie sighed. "I fear I have done us both a great wrong by speaking out against the beast. He had already spoken ill of you, and my outburst could not have done much to quell any of his concerns, as unfounded as they may be... they are unfounded, aren't they, my bond?"

Fioret narrowed her eyes at Gertie for a moment, releasing the lock of blonde hair from her claw. "Of course his dislike of me is without foundation, Flycky. I am the most likeable of my kind, lovely and friendly both! As for his claims about my sharing of Dragon secrets with the mortals of Frostwell... certainly one gets a little chatty when ale has been passed about. But does one not also get forgetful? I imagine that any bits of Dragon knowledge I might have shared with my mortal friends have long been pissed away into their morning's chamber pots!"

Gertie gave Fioret a stern look from behind ruby eyes that normally flickered with amusement at Fioret's bawdy nature. However, this night they were shadowed with an indescribable fear that gave the amber Drake pause.

"Gertie, my love," she cooed, "that which I have told the mortals is really nothing. Tales of Dragon travels, stories of Dragon might -- things that have little to do with the state of the world but are entertaining and suspenseful nonetheless. You know that I enjoy being listened to, that I love the sound of my own voice. If ever a detail is not meant for mortal ears, I replace it with a fanciful twist from my own imagination. You needn't worry that I have revealed Dragon secrets, my little Flyck, for I truly have not."

Gertie sighed, snuggling against the warmth of her bond's chest. "I believe you, Fioret. I know that your concern for the longevity of your kind has ever been your first priority, but the blue beast seems to feel differently. I know not what this truly means for us, but I fear that I have enticed his anger where before he only held annoyance. My bond, I am afraid."

Fioret caressed Gertie's left wing with a soothing touch, a special gesture which automatically soothed the Secian's worries, coaxing her into a dreamless sleep. The amber Drake listened to her bond's sleeping noises with great love, finding intense warmth within the breath of the small form resting on her breast. As moonshine peeked through the frosted windows of the little cottage, Fioret wondered solemnly if her days to enjoy such intimacies were being counted by the blue enigma beyond the waterfall.

* * * * * * * * Soaring through the deep night sky, Kelvaar’a surveyed the village and surrounding lands. A glimmer of torchlight against the misty air caught his probing gaze, and he swooped down silently to take a closer look.

A being Kelvaar’a had not seen in quite some time was making its way towards the town pub, the Stumbling Goose. The Frontacian’s stride was purposeful and swift, and Kelvaar’a found it increasingly difficult to remain stealthy and continue his surveillance of the foreigner. With one keen silvery eye on his subject, the Great Dragon gained speed and ascended into the shadowy night once more, his flight hastened by a growing suspicion as he glided towards his mountain lair.

* * * * * * * *

Inside the tavern, a jovial group of Humans and Hithuals was gathered about a table that Fioret was perched upon, its wooden legs creaking dangerously as if they would give way at any moment. The company gazed on with rapt attention as the amber Drake continued her tale about a grand Dragon expedition at sea, in which a pair of Dragons overturned a Muldavian vessel bound for Secia. In her animated portrayal of the swift victory, no one seemed to notice a slender cloaked figure slip out of the cold and into the pub.

As soon as Fioret’s story ended, the mortals cheered and drunkenly insisted on another tale, the weather much too cold and the night far too young for anyone to return to their homes. Fioret grinned, intoxicated by ale and attention, and submitted. This tale, however, had a very different tune.

Made brave by the alcohol, the Drake launched into a scathing imitation of the Blue Gale. “’Tis said the walls of that lair behind the mysterious waterfall are scorched completely, oh how the beast paces!” she guffawed as she hopped off the table and began to demonstrate. “But this is no normal pacing, my friends, no indeed. He stomps about, snorting at every turn, charring the rock with his mighty breath of fire, look here!” The amber started pacing back and forth, making ridiculous faces as she turned, snorting with all her breath as she mocked the blue Dragon. She boomed, “WHAT SHALL I HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?” Snooort, turn. “WHAT SHALL I HAVE FOR LUNCH?” Snoooort, turn. “WHAT SHALL I... OH, FERRIN, SAVE ME! I’VE POISONED MYSELF WITH MY OWN MIGHTY SMOKE AGAIN!”

The Humans roared with laughter, the Hithuals clinked their pewter mugs together, and one of each fell to the floor in a fit of drunken giddiness. In the chaos, no one saw the slender figure rise from the bar and slip back into the night.

* * * * * * * *

Days and weeks passed as they always had, with little disturbance save for the ransacking of a farm or two, brought on by Kelvaar’a’s taste for freshly sheared sheep. Gertie and Ferrin carried on much as they had before, though their plans for marriage were discussed less and less. Patient though she was, Gertie became disheartened and finally approached Ferrin about the matter.

“My love, I fear that we are losing sight of our destiny, which is to be together, husband and wife. I love you ever so, and cannot fathom my life without you, but I do not know if I can go on in silence anymore,” she explained, clasping Ferrin’s hand within her own. “I think we should marry, regardless of what... he... thinks. If he truly loves you as he must, as your bond, then he will accept it, in time.”

Ferrin’s face became haunted, and he squeezed Gertie’s hand once before letting it go. “Gertie, my dear, my only true destiny is to be as one with Kelvaar’a. I love you as much as a Secian can love another, but I simply cannot risk Kelvaar’a’s happiness, even at the expense of my own. We must not tarry in this business any longer, I am sorry. I am content to go on like this, as friends and lovers, but I cannot take you as my wife until I know that my bondmate can truly embrace such an event.”

Gertie’s face became hot as tears developed beneath her ruby irises. “Ferrin, I am sorry but I will be your wife or I will be your friend. For me there is no happy medium, painful though it may be. I know not why you submit to Kelvaar’a’s every whim – he must love you no matter what, for how else will he live if without you? But I shall speak of this no further, and I take my leave. Come to me if he gives his consent,” she cried, “but I shall not hold my breath.” With that, Gertie was gone, and Ferrin took flight, weeping as he drifted towards his bondmate’s lair.

* * * * * * * *

The Frontacian led the group up the mountain, cloaked by dusk as they slipped through the trees. Diverse as it was, the gathering was hardly rag-tag. Three Penthanians marched in front, their crystalline bodies soaking up the dark of night, making their movements difficult to detect. A Muatana-al, shrouded in black silk against the moonlight, slowly chanted an invocation of warding in an archaic dialect, surrounding the group in a hazy mist. Behind him, four Sanene stalked at a distance, keeping their paranoid eyes on the forest as a pair of darkly clad humans brought up the rear.

Under the boughs of a giant fir tree, the Frontacian gathered the group close. His voice a vicious whisper, he spoke. “The Drake said the beast’s lair was behind a waterfall. Zenai,” he gestured to one of the female San Elves, “scoured the mountain and found ten such waterfalls. She and Gorias stood watch at each and finally pinpointed the location of the lair. We are close, now. Remain resolute, but silent, and do not fall behind lest you lose the cover of Phrinix’s spell of obscurity. Sarlen, Rhean and Jafel, prepare the draconic glyph. It must be ready as soon as we arrive.”

The Penthanians began an incantation as the middle one traced a design upon an ancient slab of granite. Slowly, the design began to glow against the dull mineral, shining like a beacon for a moment before the Muat’s spell of obscurity encompassed its light as well. Stealthily, the group made their way to a nearby waterfall.

* * * * * * * *

Ferrin was awakened by a feeling of dread, his heart pounding against his tiny chest. He lit a magick spark and stood from his pallet, and though all looked as it should, his intuition screamed in defiance. Cautiously, he winged towards Kelvaar’a’s chamber.

* * * * * * * *

A deep, primal bellow woke most of the village a few hours before dawn. The roar lasted for almost an entire minute, and soon almost every citizen of Frostwell was out their doors, half dressed as the cry was returned by others, less powerful though just as urgent. From the valley, the mortals could see luminous sparks of magick and Dragon’s flame upon the mountain. The men and women hurried back inside their homes, arming themselves as best they could before traveling as a mob up the rocky terrain.

The way was treacherous; no roads had been carved because the inhabitants of this mountain hardly ever moved on foot. The sun was threatening to rise before the mortals found their way to the waterfall.

* * * * * * * *

The rock was scorched, some trees were ablaze, claws and magick were flying as the battle unfolded. Called to aid by the blue Dragon’s bellow, the other Drakes and Dragons of the area,were fending off blows from the swords and maces of the Sanene and Humans. Their bondmates, wracked though they were with the injuries of the mob, were doing their very best to heal the Dragons. Gertie was at Fioret’s side, and Ferrin at Kelvaar’a’s, as the battle raged on. Though the villagers joined to aid the Dragons, the Frontacian’s group was not easy to overcome. The fight remained locked in uncertainty until the sun began to rise and the Muatana-al’s flesh began to blister.

Fioret paused from her clawing of a San Elf and laughed at the creature as smoke rose from his pale skin. Gertie shot her an astonished look as the Muatana-al glared at her, then hissed loudly, over the sound of destruction, “Laugh as you may, amber Drakeling, but I do not think you would like the essence cow to know your little secret slip of the tongue.”

As though hypnotized, the combatants ceased their fighting and turned towards the pale creature. With a hiss of his own, the blue Dragon swiveled his sinewy neck and stared down at the Muat.

Fioret gazed confusedly at her accuser for a moment, before he explained, grimacing as the sun continued to scorch his flesh, “Had it not been for your rather... fitting imitation of this fine beast,” he gestured to Kelvaar’a, “my associate Rossou would not have learned that its lair was behind this waterfall, and we would not be locked in this battle as we are now. And so we thank you, heartily, but I fear I must feed!” and with one swift turn of his head, his mesmerizing gaze was locked on little Ferrin.

The Secian cried out as the Muatana-al began to drain his life’s essence, and Kelvaar’a roared, his talons flying at the creature, striking naught but a shield of powerful magicks, hardly scratching the surface of the Muat’s sickly flesh. Fioret conjured a bolt of force, and soon all blows were focused on the Muatana-al. As he fell, he continued to feed upon the Secian’s lifeblood. Seeing their most powerful ally’s defeat, the essence mob fled, but even the Muat’s death could not bring about poor Ferrin’s revival.

Gertie screamed in horror as Ferrin fell, and Kelvaar’a raged, turning all his anger on Fioret. With a newfound fury and a swipe of his talons, he tore at the amber Drake, rending her scales until she collapsed in a heap, her body and wings torn and broken. Gertie stood before her, and even with the help of the other Secians’ healing spells, she was worn ragged as she used all her energy to keep her bond alive. Kelvaar’a paused in his assault on Fioret to gaze at Gertie, his eyes blazing, smoke pouring from his snout.

“You are standing between me and my prey, Secian,” the Dragon growled, his eyes as silver slits against his cobalt scales. “I do not abide those who stand between me and my prey!” he roared.

The other Dragons shifted uneasily, their claws and magick at the ready. Gertie knelt before her bond, her tears flowing as freely as the amber Drake’s blood. “Oh, Fioret, please wake up,” she cried, her runes exhausted, her prayers weak.

Kelvaar’a set upon Gertie in a flash, his haunted keen drowning out the sick sound of his claws against the tiny Secian’s form. At once the others were upon him, the Secians confused and exhausted, the chaos too much for their small frames to bear. Vengeance lending him strength, Kelvaar’a took flight though the others tried to subdue him. Alone and injured, he ascended the morning sky and took cover above the clouds, never to be seen again.

* * * * * * * *

The village became quiet once more, for the Dragons and Secians fled the valley so steeped in pain and sorrow. The mortals lived their small, short lives without the disturbance of pillaged livestock or required monthly offerings, and the alliance between Dragons and mortals was broken and forgotten in Frostwell. Only on the clearest winter nights can a Draconic presence be felt within the village, as a piercing keen rings in the ascension of the blood red sun.

Written by,
An Anonymous Author
By the Elven calendar, April 24, 2005

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