The Dark Empire, Page 193-198 by Wolfenshire ()
Members remain the original copyright holder in all their materials here at Renderosity. Use of any of their material inconsistent with the terms and conditions set forth is prohibited and is considered an infringement of the copyrights of the respective holders unless specially stated otherwise.
The Dark Empire, Page 193-198
A noise caught his attention and he looked out at the vast property. A team of Dragon archeologists were getting an early start this morning. The house and surrounding grounds had been in a stasis field, keeping the property as it had been the day she had launched into the universe all those eons ago. Lady Salvorn attributed the slight tangy taste in the air as a result of the stasis field that had been in place; it would dissipate in a few weeks.
The archeologists were carefully taking seeds from a plant that had become extinct nearly a hundred million years ago but kept preserved here in the stasis field. The plant would be cultivated and within a few years would again spread out across the Dragons’ world. Other archeologists and historians were going through the house carefully checking books that might have been lost to time during Lady Salvorn’s long absence.
Rotathian turned back to the room and went to the ornate wooden chest decorated with dragons on the sides and lifted the lid. Inside were several dozen small orbs; clothing items he had gotten from the market yesterday. He had been concerned taking so many clothing orbs, but a merchant had assured him he was still well within the modest level of acceptable possessions. Rotathian had noticed, but prudently kept to himself, that the Dragons were not as altruistic as they liked to believe they were.
The Dragons did have a system of currency, just not one of money. Lady Salvorn would have him believe that all Dragons were equal and served according to their natural or learned skills, but it did not mean they all shared equally in luxury or possessions. He had seen Dragons pass up products in the market they liked but didn’t have the social standing to own. There had been a Dragon that had picked up a fine cloak to exam, the expressions and stances of the Dragons around him had made it clear the item was beyond that Dragon’s contributions to society.
Rotathian had followed the Dragon to another Market Stall with the same items, though not as finely made. The Dragon picked out a similar cloak, but this time nobody silently chastised the Dragon for his selection. Rotathian then followed the Dragon until he entered a store. Rotathian followed the Dragon into the store; a place that sold food items. The Dragon went into a back room and appeared a few minutes later wearing an apron and carrying a broom. The Dragon then proceeded to start sweeping the floor. Rotathian understood; the Dragon was a simple shop assistant, and a lowly one at that. Despite the Dragon’s claim that everyone in their society was equal, the truth was they still had poverty and social classes. Lady Salvorn was an influential and valuable Seed Ship, and as such could afford this sprawling estate according to her social class, while the shop assistant couldn’t even afford a nice cloak.
Rotathian reached into the wooden chest and lifted a silver orb much larger than the small clothing orbs out of the chest. The orb was about the size of a ball you might see a group of children kicking around the street. He hefted the orb several times in his hands; it seemed heavier than it had been the previous day when he had selected it. The silver orb melted in his hands and flowed up his arms, over his shoulders, down his torso, then his legs, and formed into his new dragon armor. This was the very finest of armor, made by a master smithy. He took a few steps, swung his arms around, twisted a bit to the left and right. Yes, it was definitely heavier, but still much lighter than his old armor. He went to the mirror and looked at himself. He was a Dragon Lord in this armor. Wing-edges were forged at the joints of the neck, shoulders, elbows, and knees. The wing-edges were designed to catch a sword sliding along his armor; with a small twist he could catch the blade and easily snap it in half.
He turned around to view the backside, and for the briefest moment thought he saw movement in the mirror. He spun back around, and again caught just a brief glance of movement. He turned and looked at the sunlight pouring in from outside, it must be a trick of the light. A gentle knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.
“Enter,” he called out.
Lady Salvorn opened the door. “Good morning, Sir Knight, did you sleep well?”
Rotathian bowed. “I did, once my two chaperons stopped wiggling around. Speaking of which, have you seen those two miscreants this morning, they were gone when I woke.”
“I’m certain they are around somewhere. Turn around, let me see the new armor.” Rotathian did as he was bid and turned in a circle. “Oh yes, I’m certain your dragons will show up eventually, and your new armor is spectacular, worthy of a Dragon Lord.”
“I’m not really a Dragon Lord, M’Lady, just a humble knight.”
“No, Sir Knight. Aestar chose you to defend all the lands of the Crystal Universe, and we are providing you with the armor and weapons to do so, you are very much a Dragon Lord now.”
“Thank you, M’Lady. The armorer said that with this armor I am nearly invincible.”
“Be cautious you do not allow that to go to your head. There is a mythological tale from a human world I seeded. The story goes that a great warrior born of a human and a sea nymph was taken to the River Styx by his mother. She wanted to make him invincible, so she held him by the heel and dipped him into the river of the gods and thus made him invincible.”
Rotathian tipped his head. “Ah, I get it, he was invincible everywhere except where his mother held him by the heel.”
“The quickness of the Aiden mind still startles me,” said Lady Salvorn. “Yes, and the story goes that the great warrior was defeated when an arrow struck his heel.”
“I will guess that versions of that story exist on many worlds as a teaching story you Dragons slipped into their cultures,” said Rotathian.
“Again, I’m in awe of your speed of thought,” said Lady Salvorn. “Have you decided what you intend to do about the Dragon Draconia?”
“They should have just asked us, we would have helped even without the deception.”
“The Seed Ships told them so, but…I have no excuse, perhaps I should have been more forceful in preventing the deception from the start.”
“I do not blame you, M’Lady,” said Rotathian. “I think because you are used to remaining hidden from the civilizations you are guiding and only exerting gentle guidance that it never occurred to you to become directly involved. So what of Santi and Madious, have they also agreed to help?”
“The Water Dragons told Madious the truth up front and he agreed. And because he has so impressed the Water Dragon Ciparo, he was given a gift we suggested the Water Dragons give him.”
“And what gift is that?” asked Rotathian.
“He was given a quantum mark like the Ravens have, he is currently swimming in the ocean as a Water Dragon.”
“I see, a powerful gift. He will become the Dragon King,” said Rotathian. “I see what you are doing. You want to insert something into my people’s culture we never had before – mythology. If Madious uses his gift wisely it will create a legend that will bring about a renaissance of art, history, science, mathematics, and astrology.”
“And much more,” said Lady Salvorn.
“Or he could become a terrible tyrant,” said Rotathian.
“Both courses would lead to the same results,” said Lady Salvorn.
“And what of Santi?” asked Rotathian.
“Oh, he’s having too much fun for us to stop him to ask about the Draconia.”
“What’s he doing?”
“He fled Trakus and entered the Seed Ship territories and stumbled upon a group of students playing out one of the myths we typically use. We have our Seed Ship students play out the myths they will one day use to help the civilizations they will care for in order that they can truly understand why we use myths and legends to teach.”
“Okay, what happened?”
“The students explained what they were doing and Governor Santi wanted to play. They are now playing out a story called, Robin Hood. Robin represents the side of good, though he is labeled an outlaw. The Sheriff, though he is supposed to protect the people, represents corruption and evil. Robin fights against all odds to defeat the sheriff and protect the people.”
“I see, and Santi is playing the part of Robin Hood?”
“Oh no, he is playing the part of the Sheriff, and giving the students a true challenge, though we have noticed he has been purposely making mistakes to give the student Robin Hood a chance. Word is getting around to the other training sites and students are already clambering for Governor Santi to come play out a scenario with them.”
Rotathian scratched at his beard and thought for a moment. “I would suggest you allow him to play out as many scenarios as he likes. Santi is the smartest among us and has the largest collection of books on New Aiden. He has also written several books. I have one of them.”
Lady Salvorn smiled.
“Ah, of course,” said Rotathian. “You either planned this out or manipulated events to put us where you thought we would do the most good as they unfolded. Santi will return to New Aiden and commit the stories he’s learning to paper, and with it fire the imaginations of the people of New Aiden.”
“One person alone cannot ignite a renaissance, but three of the most influential rulers on New Aiden can, if given the necessary tools. Come along, it is time you learn to use the tools given to you.”
“I need my sword and shield,” said Rotathian, turning to retrieve his weapons from their place next to the bed.
“You will not need those, leave them,” said Lady Salvorn.
“That seems a wholly unnatural thing to do,” said Rotathian.
“You’re to receive a new sword and shield,” said Lady Salvorn.
Rotathian shrugged. “As you wish, M’Lady.” He followed her to the door and heard giggling behind him. He turned back to the room. “Ah, you two are hiding under the bed. Well, are you coming to see my new sword and shield?” He heard giggling again, only this time it was coming from behind him in the hall. He turned around and went out in the hall. “Very clever, you distracted me and slipped out into the hall. Where are you two miscreants?” The two small dragons were nowhere to be seen. “A game of hide and seek is it? I warn you, I was a champion seeker as a child.”
Lady Salvorn put her hands over her mouth and laughed. “I think you’re beaten this time, Sir Knight.”
Lord Rotathian lifted his head defiantly and walked past her. “Perhaps I am,” said Rotathian.
Lady Salvorn tipped her head to the side and gave a curious grin as Rotathian made a great show of searching behind drapes, furniture, vases, and several doors. He searched under the dining table, and even inside a candy dish, which earned a few giggles from somewhere behind him. He went to the kitchen next and lifted down a jar of honey from a shelf and set it on a big wooden food preparation table with herbs hanging from racks above it.
Rotathian pried the lid off the honey jar and dipped a finger into the sweet mixture. A moment later a two-dimensional relief of a small dragon ran down his arm and jumped out of the armor and into the air. The small dragon reformed into a three-dimensional dragon and landed lightly on the table. The Dragon stood on his back legs and took Rotathian’s hand between his front paws and started licking Rotathian’s finger. A second two-dimensional dragon walked around from Rotathian’s back and onto the breastplate of his armor.
The little dragon glared up at Rotathian. “You cheated, no fair using honey to make us come out,” pouted Brython. The little dragon leaped out of the armor and landed on the table next to his brother. Brython plunged his paw into the jar of honey.
Rotathian glanced to Lady Salvorn. “Well?”
“Impressive, how did you know?”
“Several clues, but mainly what Jasai said about the painting of a dragon on the surface of the Seed Ships. I don’t think those are paintings, are they?”
Lady Salvorn shook her head and grabbed a cloth. She wiped at the honey dripping from Avron’s chin. The little dragon protested and tried to wiggle away.
“They are Shield Dragons, it is their natural state to live within the metal of the ships. They are very comfortable being inside the metal for countless eons. They have an entire world they build at the sub-atomic level. They’ve described to us entire forests they roam through, or mountains, oceans, snow covered plains, whatever they prefer.”
“It would seem a lonely existence,” said Rotathian, dipping his hand into the jar of honey and lifting another helping out for Avron.
Lady Salvorn frowned at the fresh mess Rotathian was encouraging and dropped the towel on the table.
“They are not lonely, the laws of time and space do not exist for them at the sub-atomic level,” explained Lady Salvorn. “When their image is sitting stagnate on the surface, they are within their world, playing, sleeping, or interacting with other Shield Dragons hundreds of light years away, but they are aware of what you are doing and will respond instantly if called or needed.”
Rotathian frowned. “I think the question is why they are in my armor?”
Lady Salvorn picked a sticky Avron up and shoved him into Rotathian’s arms. “They are far too young to be chosen for a Seed Ship, but old enough to assist you protecting the Crystal Universe, and if they are with you, they won’t be running around the city getting into trouble.”
Avron jumped out of Rotathian’s arms and melted into his breast plate, and left behind on the surface of the armor the honey that had been smeared across the little dragon’s face. Rotathian looked down, Avron was now a two-dimensional relief of a dragon grinning up from the surface of the armor. Rotathian took the towel and wiped the honey from his armor. Avron giggled. “That tickles.”
Rotathian tickled the small dragon a little longer before looking back up at Lady Salvorn. “I have reservations. What of their families? I will be gone for long periods of time.”
Brython tipped the honey jar on the table over and proceeded to lap up the spilled honey. Lady Salvorn scratched his head fondly. “Dragon family relationships are much different than organics. It is typical for us to be gone from this world for hundreds of millions of years at a time. You are their family now.”
“I know nothing of caring for dragons,” said Rotathian.
“What father knows how to care for his children before they arrive?” asked Lady Salvorn. “Do you accept or reject them, it is your choice?”
Brython turned his head to Rotathian and stared at him with two watery jewel faceted eyes. Rotathian noticed for the first time that deep in the dragon’s eyes was a swirling fire just barely visible.
Rotathian let out a breath. “How can I say no to those eyes?”
Brython let out a yelp of joy and leaped at Rotathian’s breast armor. The small dragon melted into the armor, leaving behind an even larger splat of honey than his brother had.
“It is done, and much easier than I had thought,” said Lady Salvorn. “All hail the Dragon Lord, Father of the Dragons.” Lady Salvorn flowed out of her humanoid shape and into a dragon much too large for the kitchen. She lifted her head and trumpeted loudly enough to rattle the pots and dishes stored on the shelves.
Her trumpet was answered from somewhere outside by many other trumpeting dragons. Rotathian wiped at the sticky mess on his armor breast plate. “Ah, I see, another legend to take back to my people.”
Avron and Brython struck a dramatic pose on the surface of the breast armor, each raised up on their back legs with their forepaws extended. They both had their jaws opened wide as if snarling in anger at each other.
“We’re scary, huh?” said Avron.
Rotathian tickled the two little dragons until they were both on their backs giggling in glee.
“Oh yes, terrifying,” said Rotathian.