D&D Dragons:Brass (Erath 3)
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Brass Dragon: Draco Impudentus Gallus
Brass dragons, though good, are exceedingly greedy and this may sway their attitude. Averaging thirty feet in length they are similar in size to black dragons, but smarter and more likely to speak and use magic. Besides tooth and claw they have two breath weapons. One is a fear gas, causing anyone caught in it to run away in fear and the other is sleep gas, knocking anyone unconcious when subjected to the odorless gas.
They prefer hot sandy deserts to make their homes. Though considered to be on the side of good, they are meddlesome and where treasure is to be gained can walk the line of neutrality, making them rather unpredictable.
Kalashim approached the spot where Shand Ji, the brass dragon, always met approaching visitors. Crossing the Az Zalad desert was long and grueling and the only permanent oasis was occupied by Shand Ji. He made quite a fortune in tolls, use and protection fees. Kalashim was leading a large caravan west to the sea of Halla and they needed to re-supply here and having Shand Ji's protection from bandits could be priceless.
Shand Ji was already at the spot looking too comfortable, with forearms crossed and a smug expression. He greeted the caravan leader with especially bright eyes and happy demeanor. Kalashim knew this was going to cost him.
"Hello Kalashim, long time no see."
"I am honored to appear before you, oh great Shand Ji." He replied bowing low, making sure to flatter as much as possible.
"Well Caravan Master, I've been expecting you for a day or so, but I have to say my fee is double this time." He said while looking down at the man.
Kallashim lost his temper and burst out, "That is outrageous! Your fees are beyond their worth as it is!"
Shand Ji did not even blink or look affronted at the outburst. Kalashim realized what he had done and immediately composed himself.
"Please forgive me great lord of Az Zalad, I speak out of sorts due to hunger and thirst, that you, in your benevolence, can assuage." He hated grovelling, but what do you do when facing 30 feet of muscle, teeth and claw. Not to mention one breath could send his caravan to the four winds or put them all to sleep and have everything plundered.
"That is quite alright. I'm sure it has been a long and hard journey, I witnessed the last sandstorm from my balcony a few days ago." He spoke openly smiling. "You are my best guest and customer, but...I'm currently playing host to one of the local, how should we say...bandit clans, and they paid well to escape the storm. If I am to kick them out and offer you protection, since they know you are here, they could become quite pesky and troublesome." He wore a look of concernedness.
Kalashim let out a heavy sigh knowing he was beat before even trying to negotiate. Bandits were the scourge of the trade route across the vast desert and Shand Ji was about all there was for law out here. Legend says the oasis had been in his family for seven generations. That was about a couple thousand years or more.
Bowing again Kalashim spoke in aquiessence saying, "Your kindness knows no bounds, oh you of the glittering scales. If you could harbor my caravan for a few days and keep the bandits to themselves, I will see your fee is met."
"Ahh Kalashim, you are a true friend and I promise to keep you and your group well and safe. And I'll even wave the water tax."
Water tax? There had never been a water tax before. Kalshim sighed to himself and thought to himself 'water tax, something to look forward to in the future'.
Bowing again, he spoke. "Oh desert lord, you are too kind."
Shand Ji beamed then flew off to his palace to deal with the bandits. Normally Shand Ji would let the caravan fend for itself once outside the twenty mile radius, but Shand Ji liked Kalashim and he always had the best treasures around. Shand Ji couldn't help but feel proud of his own ingenuity, inviting the bandits to stay and charging them a water tax. A water tax, he can't beleive he was the first in his family to think of it. He laughed aloud.