The Dark Empire, Page 204-211 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 204-211
He looked up and spotted Ciparo still speaking with Urgoth, the Great Water Dragon, out beyond the breakwater point where the waves were still swells preparing to make a final charge against the beach. He hadn’t been able to swim that far out. After only five minutes in his new dragon form he had become too exhausted and slipped back into his natural body. Ciparo said he would only be able to maintain a dragon form for five to ten minutes, but in time as his strength built, he would be able to hold the form longer.
He felt like an errant child being made to wait in time-out while the grown up dragons talked. Perhaps he should just head back to town, he still wanted to stop at the music shop on pier 33.
“Message for His Majesty, King Madious, Ruler of the Kingdom of Medo, Prince of the Crystal Isles, Admiral of the Navies of New Aiden, Ambassador to the Water Dragon Territories, Son of the distinguished line of The Great Water Dragon, Urgoth, and First of the Aiden Dragons.”
Madious twisted around and found two small dragons staring at him. They were identical in appearance and both in dragon form, but he had learned most dragon youth preferred their dragon form until they were older. He also wondered where they had come from. There hadn’t been anyone on the beach a moment ago, and he had at least two miles of unrestricted view of the beach in every direction.
“And who are you two?” asked Madious.
“We have a message.”
“From our father.”
“The Great Dragon Lord Rotathian.”
Madious’ eyes bounced back and forth between the two young dragons as they finished each other’s sentences. He had seen this before, it was common for twins to speak like this, and apparently even dragon twins did it.
“You said the message is from your father, but then you said Lord Rotathian?” said Madious.
“I was unaware Rotathian had sired dragon children,” said Madious, amused and knowing Rotathian had no children. Both little dragons tipped their heads to the side in perfect unison.
“I see, okay, it would be just like Rotathian to adopt the first waifs he finds. And when did Rotathian become a Great Dragon Lord?”
Avron turned his head to Brython. “I’m not a waif, I think he’s talking about you.”
Brython lashed his tail out and thumped Avron with it, then looked at Madious. “He was always a Dragon Lord and son of the Great Dragon Lansae, everyone knows that.”
“I see, so history here is as fluid as a dragon’s body,” said Madious. “And I suppose I’m the son of Urgoth.”
“Uh…yeah. How else could you be Dragon Ciparo’s brother?” said Avron.
“Wait, Ciparao is the son of Urgoth?” asked Madious.
“I told you water dragons aren’t very smart,” Brython whispered to Avron.
“I don’t like him,” Avron whispered back. “Water Dragons always smell weird.”
“Yeah, we got the good one, but that was a really nice introduction you gave him,” said Brython.
“I couldn’t find a place to fit the word ‘ergo’, so I guess you win,” said Avron.
The two little dragons turned and started to run off.
“Excuse me, hold on,” shouted Madious. “You forgot to give me the message.”
The two dragons stopped, looked at each other, then Avron smacked Brython with his wing. “It’s your turn, and I bet you can’t fit the word ‘hence’ in.”
Brython faced Madious. “Father says it’s time to leave, hence you must hurry.” said Brython with a smug glance at Avron.
The two little dragons turned and ran off together. Madious watched them run towards a metal pole sticking up out of the sand. He’d seen the metal poles everywhere since arriving on the Dragon World, but didn’t know their purpose. The two dragons leaped into the metal pole and disappeared.
“Well, that’s interesting.” Madious shook his head and looked back out to where Ciparo was still talking to Urgoth. They could be out there all day and he wasn’t leaving until he got a chance to meet the Lady Dragon with the harp. He set off at a brisk walk back to town.
He let his mind wander as he walked. This world felt right to him, more so than his birth world of New Aiden, but he also knew why now. New Aiden had only been a science station where the Crystal Palace was located, where instead, this world was an exact replica of the original Creators’ Home World. The sun here was stronger and more pleasant than the weak moody sun and weather of New Aiden. Had it not been for the cowards that had hidden during the war with the destroyers, his people would have possessed this world instead of the dragons.
Madious shook his head. No, that was wrong thinking. That was the old petty Madious. He had changed coming here. He wasn’t a Creator, he was a descendent of the Creators and as much their creation as the dragons were. The dragons were his brothers and had suffered at the hands of Aestar just as his people had. The dragons were being cautious, and no doubt had plans within plans they hadn’t revealed yet, but they were reaching a hand out to their cousins. It would be so easy for the Aidens to start thinking this world was rightfully theirs. He would have to consider how he was going to prevent that sort of thought from taking hold in his people’s minds.
The Ravens weren’t the allies the Aidens needed. The Ravens had aligned themselves with Aestar and the Mathers. How could he ever trust a Mather Body Protector to be his guide? The Mathors had helped Aestar destroy and imprison his civilization. The punishment hadn’t equaled the crime, the Mathors could have helped the Aidens long ago, but instead they had allowed starvation and disease and hopelessness reign on his world.
The Mathors had a foothold on New Aiden at the Crystal Palace; that would have to change. Madious was jarred out of his thoughts as he realized he had reached the pier. A group of adolescent dragons was lounging against the railing. One of the older boys, a teenager by the looks of it, pushed off from the railing and took a position blocking the stairs. The boy stood with his arms crossed and smirked.
Madious grinned, the pup wanted to play.
“Excuse me, I need to get past,” said Madious, opening the game for the youngster to decide the direction this confrontation was going to proceed.
“So you think you’re a water dragon now, huh.” The boy had that infuriating tone only a surly teenager can pull off.
“I think I’ve learned a fancy Jinn trick, but that’s about all,” replied Madious.
“Nobody trusts you,” the boy retorted. “Everyone thinks you’ll find the fail-safe and enslave us.”
“I just want to get past, I’m going to meet someone.”
“What if I don’t let you, what are you going to do?”
Madious sighed. “I’ll turn you into a frog.”
The boy stood his ground and curled a lip at Madious. “You can’t turn me into a frog.”
“It’s already begun, ask your friends.”
The boy hesitated then turned to his friends. Madious quickly went up the stairs and around the boy while his back was turned. Madious was at the top of the stairs before the boy realized he’d just been tricked. Madious didn’t bother looking back at the teens and kept walking. The teen dragons didn’t pursue, it had only been a moment of chance opportunity to repeat something they had heard from older dragons, but that was enough to tell him not all the water dragons had warmed up to the idea of an alliance with the Aidens.
The pier had shops build to each side, most of which appeared to be artisan workshops of one sort or another. A shop selling incredibly beautiful jewelry made form seashells caught his eye. He opened the door and entered the shop, a pleasant jingle of bells announced his presence. The interior was pleasant and warm and nothing of advanced technology.
Wind chimes hung from the ceiling and chorus rose as the breeze from outside brushed against the chimes. A woman looked up from a work bench and scowled at him.
“I saw your jewelry and wanted a closer look,” said Madious.
The woman sighed and stood. “I make the jewelry from shells I collect on the beach.” The woman’s tone was cold and uninviting. “If you have need of something, take it and go.”
“Mavi, really, manners,” scolded a man appearing from a backroom.
“I apologize if I’ve upset you, I’ll leave,” said Madious.
“That isn’t necessary, Urgoth has made his decision and that’s final,” said the dragon man, giving the woman a scolding glance. “Is there anything you would like to look at, Sir?”
“No, thank you, I should go, there’s a music shop here I want to visit.” Madious turned away and left the shop. He did want to look at all the jewelry, the skill and talent to create such beautiful jewelry would have appealed to his people.
“Sir, wait, please,” the dragon man pleaded.
Madious looked back at the man from the door. “I don’t want to cause any trouble, if I’ve committed some offense, I apologize.”
The man crossed the room to Madious and held his hand out. “I’m Grey, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Madious shook the man’s hand. “Grey is an unusual name for a dragon.”
Grey chuckled. “It was a mistake. After I achieved consciousness they asked me my name and I said Grey, so they registered that as my name, but it wasn’t my name I was trying to say. I was trying to tell them something was wrong with my eyes, I could only see grey.”
“Infant dragons can talk?” asked Madious.
“Very limited speech and only a handful of words from our core parent dragon,” explained Grey. “Anyway, they finally figured out I was color blind and repaired my eyes, but by then the name stuck.”
“May I ask why I’m getting the cold shoulder all of a sudden, did I commit an offense?” asked Madious.
“The Sky Dragons broke the story about an hour ago,” said Grey. “The story is that after the other Aiden fled the Sky Dragons protection, he found the location of the fail-safe code, but refuses to tell anyone where it is.”
“I see, first of all, Governor Santi didn’t flee the Sky Dragons, they took him to the train and dropped him off without so much as a farewell. Santi, being the curious sort he is, didn’t return to our ship, but instead went to the Seed Ship Dragons for a visit.”
Grey raised a brow. “They also say the Aiden attacked a Shield Dragon and injured him. But, unless the Aiden used the fail-safe, there’s just no way, we’re made of metal and you’re made of flesh, it’s no contest.”
Madious shrugged and spread his hands. “I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but I can tell you that Governor Santi and Lord Rotathian both would never use the fail-safe in a fight, those two are dripping with an over-developed sense of honor. However, Santi would use his brains against you, and he is very smart.”
“And what of you, would you use the fail-safe?” asked Grey.
“Of course I would, I’m not going to stand there and get the manure kicked out of me.”
“See, we can’t trust him,” screamed Mavi.
Grey held his hand up to calm Mavi. “It was an honest answer.”
“You have nothing to fear from me,” said Madious. “I would never harm a Water Dragon. I feel more kinship to the Water Dragons then I have to anyone in my life, and Governor Santi isn’t hiding the truth, he received a message from the Council of Great Dragons not to speak to anyone of his discovery.”
“Ah, the Sky Dragons left that part out.” Grey looked back at Mavi. “See, it’s better to wait for the truth than listen to a bunch of rumors.”
“Do you have orders not to tell us if you discover the location of the fail-safe?” asked Mavi.
“Unless Urgoth tells me to stay silent, I’ll tell you what I know,” said Madious.
“I think that is reasonable,” said Grey. “Hey, there’s Dragon Ciparo.”
Madious turned to the window and rapped on the glass. Ciparo hurried over to the shop. The door jingled pleasantly as Ciparo entered.
“There you are, I’ve been looking for you,” said Ciparo.
Madious glanced at the woman, she had turned a pale silver in her face. The dragons didn’t have the same nobility ranks as the Aidens, but it was likely that Urgoth was the equivalent of the Water Dragons’ King, and Ciparo would be the equivalent of their Prince, which made sense. Madious wouldn’t send anyone less than a Prince or an Earl to escort a visiting King, and he doubted the Water Dragons would either. He decided the woman was panicking now that their prince had arrived, and probably scared Madious would tell Ciparo of the poor treatment he’d received at her hands.
He decided it would be better to heal wounds than create more. “I apologize if I worried you, brother, my new friends were just showing me their fabulous shell jewelry. I should very much like to be able to take the technique of how this jewelry is made back to my people.”
Ciparo nodded his head at Grey and Mavi. “Thank you for showing King Madious the hospitality the Water Dragons are famous for in my absence. I would be willing to broker a treaty that would allow bringing Aiden merchants here to trade.”
“I can’t imagine anything we would have to trade with,” said Madious.
“There are seashells that exist on New Aiden that don’t exist here, as well as several species of trees,” said Ciparo. “I think that might be valuable enough to trade.”
Madious gave Mavi his best roguish smile. “What do you say, my friend, would you like your jewelry to be famous on two worlds?”
The woman gave him a weak smile, but her eyes told Madious she didn’t care what the truth was, she didn’t want him in her shop, and she certainly didn’t want to trade with him. Madious shrugged it off and shook Grey’s hand and thanked him. Madious followed Ciparo back out the door. When they were back outside and the door closed behind them, Ciparo gave him a side glance.
“What was really going on in there, does it have something to do with the story the Sky Dragon’s put out?” asked Ciparo.
“I rub people the wrong way sometimes, that’s all, it’s not her fault, just let it go,” said Madious. “Where to now?”
“There’s been some developments, Urgoth wants to get you back to New Aiden,” said Ciparo.
“What’s happened?” asked Madious.
Ciparo waved at the music shop and the woman Madious had seen playing the harp at the tavern came out. “This is Dragon Saraphine. Urgoth wanted to give you a second gift…”
“You’re gifting me a woman?” said Madious, interrupting Ciparo with a grin. Madious turned to the woman and gave her a wide smile. “Well, this is much unexpected, I will treat her as a Princess and put her in my castle’s tallest tower and shower her with gems and silk, and she can play the harp for me each evening.”
The woman stopped and glared at Madious.
A panicked expression crossed Ciparo’s face. “What? No, that’s not what I mean.”
Madious gave Ciparo a grin. “Oh, you’re not gifting me a bride?”
“No, of course not…oh, you’re teasing me, very good, brother, but I don’t think Dragon Saraphine is amused.”
Madious bowed a roguish bow to the woman. “My apologies for the misunderstanding, m’lady.”
“The Creator’s had some of the finest music in the universe,” explained Ciparo. “But since the Aiden’s fall from technology, nearly all music has faded from your world. Dragon Saraphine will bring music back to your world.”
“Oh, then no harp music for me at dinner?” asked Madious.
Dragon Saraphine’s eyes blazed with anger and she shifted to her dragon form and leaped. Madious shifted to his own dragon form and caught Saraphine as her claws grasped around him.
“M’lady, such passion,” said Madious.
Saraphine pushed Madious back. “This man is infuriating.”
Ciparo put a hand on Saraphine’s arm. “All he’s spoken of since last night is you and the music you played. I assure you, though he jests, his admiration for you has no boundaries.”
“He’s a pig,” shouted Saraphine.
Madious, still in his serpentine dragon form, quickly circled around Saraphine and raised up on his back legs until his face was only inches from hers. “Last night when I gazed into your eyes as you played that divine harp, I knew thou must be an angel come from the heavens, for I have never seen a woman, whether in form of a dragon or that of a human, to be more beautiful than thee. I jest to cover the flood of music pouring from my heart, and though I have no voice to sing the song that fills me, I know surely I have been blessed to have been at least once in the presence of the Queen of the Dragons.”
The fire in Saraphine’s eyes blazed again. “You Sir, are a fool, or an idiot, or both. Does that kind of talk work on women where you’re from?”
“There are no others but you,” said Madious with a toothy grin.
“Get off me and make yourself useful. Go grab my things, they’re in chests just inside the door, and be careful, there are delicate instruments packed inside.”
Madious slithered into the music shop to retrieve her luggage.
Ciparao sighed. “I apologize, I will choose someone else to accompany him…”
Saraphine narrowed her eyes and interrupted. “That won’t be necessary.”
Saraphine turned and followed Madious into the music shop. Ciparo scratched at his head trying to figure out if she hated Madious or liked him.