Chapter 1: The Message

By John Adams Theibert Jr.

The dragons from the west were troubling the king. The dragons had traded their eggs with humans for magical minerals annually for many millennia; however, they had not come in four years. King Molldoc felt that this was an ominous sign. “It has been too long that the Xordgirn dragons have been gone; too long that they have not graced these magnificent halls. They are planning something. I don’t trust them anymore,” King Molldoc thought as he sat on his throne.

Solid maldgold dragon heads adorned the armrests of his black slaghj stone throne. His crown rested on the headboard of a molded maldgold dragon’s neck. The sculpted maldgold dragon’s neck rose to a front facing maldgolden dragon, shadowing his head. King Molldoc was an austere, bold, and fearless leader. One of his cold stares could silence a room full of chattering people, yet he was not a cruel king, delighting in the blessing of his subjects with dragon eggs.

His Royal Majesty had called his court to his massive throne room. The room easily seated all of his guests on timber chairs of intricate artistry in front of decoratively carved wooden tables. The tables and chairs were set on the enormous black slaghj stone floor and balconies. The balconies ran the length of the throne room on both sides and had drogginiron railing. The drogginiron railing had elaborate twisting and curling vine like metal work decorating them. The king’s court was composed of his officers, royalty, guards, and families of those whose children had won the lottery to receive a Xordgirn dragon egg.

Maldgold was a magical metal, with the appearance of gold, which could be enchanted with the attributes of any metal. Slaghj stone was a magical mineral with the appearance of marble. It was used as a heat source for the comfort of dragons. It heated up due to a reaction from a dragon’s magical radiation. The heat from the slaghj stone gave a dragon the sensation it was sitting on geothermal rock, reminding them of when their eggs were incubated in the dragon nesting grounds.

Molldoc’s colossal silver dragon companion Heiretox laid at the foot of the wide black slaghj stone dais of the throne. He was a fierce guardian of the throne. He always kept his profile low when approaching and leaving the throne, because it was a law that dragons were not to overshadow the king’s throne. A faint red glow came from the slaghj stone under the dragon, and heat ribbons of air could be seen caressing the dragon’s silvery underbelly. Dragons that allied with humans served as companions rather than pets, because of their imposing stature and intelligence.

Dragon intelligence was equal to that of humans; only the humans were more powerful in spell casting, so they were the ruling class. Human dragon companions were raised from only male eggs acquired from the dragon lands of Xordgirn. Xordgirn was a continent on the other side of the world of Zordroum, across the Great Western Ocean.

The main walkway leading up to the king’s throne was bordered by rows of gigantic drogginiron pots of colorful vibrant magical gems, maldgold, and magical minerals. The drogginiron pots were spaced out in such a way as not to limit the visibility of those sitting at the tables situated on the floor of the throne room. The two massive inward opening doors, each one-hundred-fifty feet wide and three-hundred feet high, were wide open ready to receive the belated guests from the dragon lands. The doors were made from drogginiron, a dark blackish-purple magical metal, which was virtually indestructible. The doors also had an embossed carving of two inward facing dragon profiles.

After a tenth of daylight, or about an hour, of waiting Grakerreg, the Captain of the Guards, flew through the main Xordgirn Dragon doors at the front of the castle on his hulking dark-brown dragon, named Kragathon, and entered the king’s throne room. The dragon’s landing sent strong gusts of wind blowing across the drogginiron pots, ornate wooden tables, and the king’s subjects. The tables had nothing on them that could blow away because the people were familiar with the kind of entrances Xordgirn dragons made. Kragathon’s scales were highly reflective as if they were glazed with glass in a colossal kiln. “The King of the Dragons is coming, alone,” Grakerreg said.

“Why does he come alone?” the king asked.

“He has a tremendously urgent message to relay, which he says will not require his entourage. What it concerns I do not know,” Grakerreg said. Grakerreg looked angry; his green eyes squinted with anger, and a deep frown crossed his face. Grakerreg’s long red hair stuck out of the bottom of the maldgold helmet he was wearing. Grakerreg was hot tempered, forthright, and brave. He had a reputation for getting into heated arguments, yet he rarely allowed his temper to erupt into violence, although it did happen on occasion. Grakerreg pulled on the long scaly tendrils, similar to reins, of his dragon companion. The tug caused his dragon to lift his head up and let out a fire drenched roar to herald the arrival of the Dragon King.

Those sitting nearby could feel the radiant heat and the sonic vibration from the dragon’s bellow. They could also smell the pungent brimstone aroma that came from the dragon’s fire breath. Grakerreg’s personal dragon interpreter, Zur Lunk, rode in on his dark blue rhymnen, Norathox. The dragonoid creature whipped its ten tentacles, which shot hot air out and down the ends in alternating puffs to allow it to fly.

Rhymnens were much smaller than dragons, from six to eight feet long when adult, and were only suitable for small creatures to ride. Zur Lunk’s purple fur, patterned with red swirls, shimmered, and his bright blue robe fluttered in the wind as he entered the door. Zur Lunk landed his rhymnen on one of the balconies, dismounted, and took his seat on a high chair at a nearby table. Zur Lunk’s rhymnen curled up in a ball in front of the table. The rhymnen skin looked as though it would be good camouflage in a pale blue rocky environment.

King Molldoc folded his arms and frowned, chainmail crunching against the cold, dark slaghj stone of his throne. “What could be so urgent that he comes alone? This sounds suspicious,” Molldoc thought. Molldoc’s head dragon interpreter, Plunn’thumk stepped on to the top of the royal balcony. He started interpreting for the Dragon King. Long purple maldgold trimmed cloth banners hung from the royal gallery, which was right behind and above the throne.

Murmurings in the crowds spoke of the ending of the dragon egg trade and what calamity it would bring. It had been four years since any eggs were traded causing this to be a growing concern among King Molldoc’s people.

The sound of rushing wind entered the grand hall of the throne room as the Dragon King landed just outside the main doorway, which caused the murmurings to subside. Vymgrhum’s bright crimson body cast a shadow in the hall since he blocked some of the light from the doorway as he entered. The Dragon King’s scales were covered with sand grain size red crystals, which glittered like minerals in a mineshaft if they were exposed to torchlight. The King of the Dragons slowly lumbered to the grand hall of the throne room. The colorful lights pouring in through the massive arched stained-glass windows above the main doorway―depicting a scene from the Day of Armistice at the end of the War of the Dragons―played on the Dragon King’s shiny crystalline scales, giving him an iridescent appearance as he continued further into the chamber.

Once Vymgrhum reached the center of the king’s throne room he released a series of low thunderous noises mixed with high pitched metallic grinding and screeching sounds, smoke, and ash pouring from his mouth; still, he was far enough away that the smoke or ash did not affect the bystanders terribly much. Plunn’thumk started translation; he was not human, but a magical creature called a peyltei whom could hear beyond that of the human range. Plunn’thumk’s short dark blue and purple swirly patterned fur shimmered and moved with his voice’s tone and emphasis. His large orange and blue ringed eyes glowed slightly, flashing as he blinked. Plunn’thumk’s voice carried on the air like a rushing airy whisper, but it was loud enough to be clear throughout the throne room.

“Great King Molldoc, I have something extremely urgent to tell you. Your Granddaughter, Princess Sierythi must come with me to the dragon lands and begin spell oubeuhlam training. It must start soon so that she has time to learn how to cast the most powerful spell ever created, to stop the destruction of the world. And by doing so, she must die!” The Dragon King said.

King Molldoc quickly stood up from his throne, his magical maldgolden chainmail jingling and chiming with energy. “Impossible! I will never let you near my granddaughter!” And without hesitation the king uttered a spell.

“Eteym, Velsh, Heiretox”

With a flash of bright blue lightning that passed through his body, and with a chest thumping thunderclap, which reverberated throughout the throne room, he was teleported to the back of Heiretox, his dragon companion. “I am not a king to be trifled with. I will not discuss any notion of your madness. You shall be expelled!” the king said. The king grabbed the long silvery tendrils that came off the dragon’s back and with a brilliant fiery roar Heiretox thrust to his feet and lunged at Vymgrhum. King Molldoc’s magical armor gave him the ability to keep standing on the back of Heiretox regardless of the rushing power he unleashed with his surge, and it also gave the dragon twice his usual strength to help with the fight against Vymgrhum. Heiretox closed the gap with astonishing speed, but just before he collided the Dragon King let out a short burst of strange sounding fiery yelps casting a spell, unknown to King Molldoc. Even Plunn’thumk the dragon interpreter did not know what they meant.

The Dragon King started backpedaling to receive the impact from the approaching dragon. The collision between the two massive dragons was tremendous, sounding like an enormous blaycreihf wooden battering ram slamming into a massive upright slab of slaghj stone. Nevertheless, only King Molldoc’s long gray beard and head of hair thrust forward after the impact. His maldgolden crown, which was incrusted with extraordinarily large rubies, stayed in place on his head. Molldoc held on to the tendrils coming off Heiretox’s back, which he used to direct the actions of his dragon companion.

All of the eggs that were given to the humans were from the Dragon King’s harem; consequently, Heiretox was Vymgrhum’s son, but not his heir. Heiretox was not from the first egg hatched from the Dragon Queen, but from another of Vymgrhum’s wives.

As the two dragons began to brawl they shot fire and ash at each other, crashing into each other repeatedly. The air quickly filled with the scent of volcanic brimstone due to the dragons’ fire attacks. King Molldoc’s armor protected him from Vymgrhum’s fire breath with an amber glowing aura that made the fire and ash move around him. The bystanders that were seated at the tables began to flee from their seats back through the hallways behind them to avoid the brawl, but the king’s guards stood motionless waiting for the command of the king for help.

Some of the large drogginiron pots, filled with raw uncut magical gems and freshly mined maldgold nuggets, were tipped over by the skirmishing dragons. The priceless contents of the pots spilled out in resplendent shimmering waves across the smooth finely polished black slaghj stone floor. The thousands of bouncing and sliding gemstones and maldgold nuggets made ringing and crumbling sounds like the rustling of large dried leaves if maldgold rings were attached to their stems. Whereas, the pots themselves made a loud gong sound when accidentally struck by the dragons during their quarrel. Some of the tables and chairs were purposefully flung into the air or smashed by the Dragon King’s two tails as the bystanders continued to flee. This was in an attempt to distract King Molldoc with the plight of his people.

When the Dragon King’s fire reached the nearby tables and chairs, they did not catch fire because they were composed of fossilized blaycreihf wood from the Layn Wanhei Rainforest in central Myyrrowshah. The ornate wooden tables and chairs were magically enchanted to resist dragon fire; however, they were still easily smashed and splintered into small wood fragments by the ferocity and strength of the Dragon King’s twin tails during the struggle. Some of the people, who were sitting at the tables and were not fast enough to avoid injury, were injured by the Dragon King’s flames or impaled by splinters and fragments from the smashed tables.

The Captain of the Guards did not move as the battle came near to him and his dragon companion Kragathon because he had not received a direct command from the king to assist. Because of the spell that King Vymgrhum cast the extra strength that King Molldoc’s armor gave Heiretox was equaled by the Dragon King. Molldoc seeing that his armor’s enchantment was not sufficient was forced to cast an additional spell normally reserved for the battle field because of the chance of collateral damage.

“Zyndor, Hitethet, Seiddex”

With that spell, the king dropped Heiretox’s tendrils and began to shoot bright bolts of white electricity from his arms at the Dragon King. The bolts of electricity were as thick as the king’s arms and were as bright as the sun-star Thraaph. The lightning bolts hummed and snapped with tremendous ferocity; however, the spell protected King Molldoc’s eyes from the brilliant lights produced by his electrical bolts.

The electrical attack began to weaken its target, causing the Dragon King’s limbs to collapse and stagger under the onslaught. Vymgrhum released some more high pitched yelps as he cast another spell. The spell allowed Vymgrhum to resist the Human King’s electrical attack by redirecting some of the electrical bolts away from him in random directions. The bolts hit the walls, columns, tables, and chairs of the throne room making them explode sending rocks, smoldering splinters, and showers of sparks blasting out, endangering the people in the throne room, seriously injuring some, who had to be rushed to the Monastery of Franthex for urgent curing. The crowds of people, who had actually come to receive their dragon eggs, were running in panic and screaming as the two gigantic dragons continued to clash, each of them about one-hundred feet long.

Molldoc, seeing his spell backfire, immediately stopped shooting lightning bolts, and reached for the hilt of his massive drogginiron great sword, called Droongraull. Droongraull was epic even for a two handed weapon, but he could wield it with one hand, because of the strengthening enchantment coming from his maldgold chainmail.

The great sword was attached to his back by a strong magnetic field on a small plate of enchanted maldgold, which was strapped and riveted to his leather armor worn underneath. The sword released from the armor with an electrical pop, crackle, and metallic clang. Droongraull had a glint of purple fiery radiance as Molldoc held it out pointing it at the Dragon King. The Human King began to walk towards Heiretox’s head along his back and neck. As he walked electrical sparks shot out of his maldgolden boots as he lifted them from the magical enchantment of his armor, keeping him on the dragons back, not hurting Heiretox. “Grakerreg, assist me!” Molldoc said.

Grakerreg, hearing Molldoc’s command, pulled on the tendrils coming off Kragathon’s back causing him to lunge forward to assist his king. Grakerreg’s maldgolden gauntleted hands sent electrical signals into his dragon’s tendrils, which produced images in the dragon’s mind, letting him know what to do. In addition to verbal communications, these electrical signals were the same way that all people communicated with their dragon companions. Grakerreg’s armor strengthened his dragon as well as himself.

Kragathon slammed into the right side of Vymgrhum and pushed him sideways out of the main-entrance doorway. The brawl continued on the outside of the castle. The Dragon King shot a burst of fire out of his mouth, and Molldoc’s Dragon clamped his jaws around the Dragon King’s throat. The Dragon King’s orange plume of fire abruptly stopped with a large puff of white smoke accompanied by a loud hissing and gurgling sound. Molldoc and the captain of the guards forced Vymgrhum to the ground with the help of Heiretox and Kragathon. Molldoc pointed Droongraull at Vymgrhum’s head as Heiretox kept his jaws locked around the Dragon King’s neck.

Kragathon grappled Vymgrhum’s torso and the two dragons held down the Dragon King. “I should cut your head in two because of this threat to the Royal Princess,” Molldoc said. The Dragon King said nothing because the interpreter was too far away for King Molldoc to hear. The Human King knew this and did not have time to get his translator and said, “I will not imprison you; nevertheless, you must leave my lands and never return again!” Molldoc said.

“My Liege! What of the eggs? We can’t sustain our forces without them!” Grakerreg said.

“I will resolve that expeditiously. Do not question me,” Molldoc said.

“I meant no offence, My Liege,” Grakerreg said bowing his head, his long red hair curtaining his face. “This does not bode well. What is to become of us? Surely we are doomed,” Grakerreg thought to himself. The Dragon King let out some sharp sounding yelps again, somewhat muzzled by Heiretox’s bite on his neck, but nothing noticeable happened since it was a subtle spell.

The Dragon King’s spell gave him the ability to speak into Grakerreg’s mind as if it were Grakerreg’s own thoughts. “Might I dethrone the king to stop this threat to our way of life?” Grakerreg thought. The thought caused sweat to bead on Grakerreg’s forehead, and he could not believe that he considered it. Grakerreg looked puzzled and worried.

“Grakerreg, help me get the Dragon King to his feet. Grakerreg!” Molldoc said.

“Ye… Yes, My Liege,” Grakerreg said coming out of his daze. The king of the Dragons was escorted by flight to the boarders of the human lands.

At the White Cliffs of Thethall, at the westernmost edge of the continent of Myyrrowshah of the human lands at the edge of the Great Western Ocean, Molldoc stood before the Dragon King. Molldoc was on the back of his Dragon companion Heiretox as he pronounced his sentencing. “Vymgrhum, the Dragon King, of the lands of Xordgirn, I banish you from my lands henceforth and forever.

“Because of your palpable assault against the Royal Princess Sierythi, the dragon egg trade and thus all treaties regarding or relating to it are hereafter null and void,” Molldoc said. A magnificent crimson banner was erected at the White Cliffs of Thethall where the Dragon King was banished. The standard was a warning to any of the western dragons never to return or face open war. The vigorous chilling winds blowing up the precipice caused the incarnadine banner to tousle and flutter energetically, deeply contrasting against the sparsely clouded turquoise sky. The banner had crisp white lettering running down its center:

Kelvath Lavninom Melovaun Etema Hewqul

In the ancient human language of Volzemthoze―named after the first King of the Humans―the words read translated as: “Return Here at Great Peril Inciting All-Out War.”

Vymgrhum dove off the cliff’s edge and turned up as his plunge reached the drenching sea spray from the roiling breakers below. As Vymgrhum flew towards the Dragon Lands deep rumbling sounds, coming from his mighty wings, echoed into the distance even after he had disappeared from view. The Dragon King had the largest wing span of any of the Xordgirn dragons at just over two-hundred and fifty feet.

After King Molldoc and his armies had returned to the capital city, Vaynfere, the king called all his people to gather at the huge stadium that straddled Castle Strahnglorn. Trumpets played to announce that King Molldoc was about to address his people. King Molldoc stepped out on to the exterior royal gallery of the castle high over the stadium. King Molldoc’s voice boomed across the stadium like the voice of a hundred foot tall giant because he was using the magic spell called King’s Voice.

“My subjects, I have called you here to address you concerning the western dragons. As of three days ago, I banished the King of the Dragons and all his subjects from our lands so forth and forevermore, except for the dragons that reside with us as our companions.” The throngs of tens of thousands of people made a rumbling rushing sound as they yelled in surprise and disapproval. Dragons resting on dragon perches, which were strategically placed throughout the stadium, breathed out thunderous plumes of orange flame in protest. The dragons’ flames were directed upwards so as not to injure anyone, although; the reverberating power coming from the dragons’ cries shook the entire stadium. The people did not panic since they were familiar with this kind of dragon behavior.

“Hear me! Hear me!” the king said, causing the protests to die down. “I know you have occasion for alarm, but I have done this action to keep my granddaughter from the plans that the King of the Dragons had to enslave and kill her for his ancient rituals and traditions.

“We can never allow the western dragons to return, because of this affront against Princess Sierythi. Nonetheless, to quell your concerns about the loss of the Xordgirn dragon eggs, our Xordgirn dragon companions can lead us to the Xordgirn dragon’s nesting grounds since they go there regularly to get mates. We will raid the nesting grounds and commandeer dragon eggs, some of which will be female. After we confiscate the eggs, we can finally have female Xordgirn dragons lay eggs in our lands. With our own egg supply, we will not need to be at the beck and call of the Dragon King anymore! I now command that all my captains prepare my armies. We will take half of my forces to raid the dragon nesting grounds for the eggs, and we will leave half of my forces here to defend the homeland. We begin the invasion of the dragon nesting grounds one year from this day. It is so ordered!”

After the king had addressed his people, he left the balcony and returned to his throne room. Grakerreg came to meet the king at his throne trembling with rage. The throne room was empty except for Grakerreg, the king, and a few guards. Grakerreg’s mind was still troubled with the spell that the Dragon King had cast on him. He could not put the idea out of his head to overthrow the king because it would keep them from rushing headlong into an ambush or an outright massacre.

“My Liege, please reconsider this action. We cannot attack the dragon nesting grounds. They are the most heavily guarded places of the dragon lands. It would be a disaster!” Grakerreg yelled.

“Silence! I will not tolerate disloyalty!” the king exclaimed.

“This is madness! I cannot allow this to happen. It will end us all!” Grakerreg screamed.

“Guards, arrest the Captain of the Guards. He has defied the throne!” the king commanded. The guards that were in the room came quickly and grabbed Grakerreg by the arms. At first he did not oppose them, but in a panic of rage he yelled out breaking their grip, drawing his maldgolden magical bastard sword, and rushed to attack the king. Grakerreg’s sword let out a shrill chime as it released from its magnetic maldgold plate on his back. The king quickly cast bolts of electrical power at Grakerreg, which stopped him in his tracks, causing him to flop to the ground like a fish out of the water.

Grakerreg’s sword fell onto the solid black slaghj stone steps, clanging and ringing as it came to a rest. Grakerreg’s chain mail armor sizzled and sparked releasing blue fumes as the king’s electrical attack continued. King Molldoc modulated the strength and power of his spell so as not to kill Grakerreg; therefore, only a few thin bolts of electricity passed from his fingers in response to Grakerreg’s reckless assault.

Grakerreg did not have his lightning spell activated because it required the command of the king as did all offensive military spells cast by his subjects whether dragon, human, or other. More guards entered the throne room and surrounded Grakerreg. The king stopped the electrical shock and Grakerreg slowly began to move. “Seize him!” Molldoc said. The guards grabbed Grakerreg’s arms and legs and bound them with drogginiron chains. “Bayaunh,” the king said.

“Yes, My Liege,” the most senior guard said. Bayaunh was dressed as the other guards in maldgolden chainmail only he had five solid maldgold dragon heads on each shoulder. Each of the dragon heads faced outwards forming part of Bayaunh’s shoulder armor riveted to his leather armor worn underneath. The dragon heads’ mouths were open wide enough so that the heads in front of them were inside their mouths, except for the last dragon head which was closed.

“Send for my head ghnyfth Yeluya, he needs his spells removed. I will activate your guards’ lightning spells. If he tries to cast a spell to escape shock him to restrain him,” Molldoc said and spoke a few short spell words naming each of the guards and activated their lightning spells. However, there was a spell that could activate all of his armies’ offensive military spells, yet it was only used in times of war. A light flicker of static electricity popped and sizzled on the guards, filling the air with the scent of ozone as the spells became active. Bayaunh sent one of his guards to get the divine mistress of the ghnyfth Yeluya, turned, and faced Grakerreg.

“Stop moving. Do not speak!” Bayaunh yelled, spitting out the words forcefully as he kicked Grakerreg hard in his solar plexus. Grakerreg gasped in pain turning his eyeballs upwards and cringing in the fetal position. The other guards yelled and screamed at Grakerreg. They kicked him repeatedly, not trying to injure him severely, between their alternating lightning attacks.

Three tenths of daylight later Yeluya walked into the throne room through the main entrance. Her silken bright gray robe and hood fluttered as she entered. Yeluya took off her hood to reveal her bald head, long pointed slightly helical ears, and gleaming silvery skin with hints of violet veins, which glinted in the light coming through the stained glass windows above. Yeluya stood about five foot tall, which was typical for a ghnyfth who were all female, and who reproduced asexually. Yeluya had a mass of violet veins around her large slightly slanted extremely attractive eyes. The veins blended into Yeluya’s platinum skin. Yeluya waved her hands in the air pointing towards Grakerreg. “It is done, my lord. His spells have been purged,” Yeluya said.

“Good, we have had to shock him several times to get him to obey. Bayaunh, take him to the dungeon and remove his ranks and armor,” King Molldoc said. The smell of fumes filled the air from the many times that Grakerreg was shocked, yet, Grakerreg was relatively unscathed by the spells since the spells were only meant to incapacitate him. Nevertheless, Grakerreg had convulsed, howled, and thrashed in pain as he fought against the lightning attacks. Grakerreg had had more ranks than Bayaunh with six solid maldgold dragon heads on each shoulder to denote his former status as second in command to the king.

“Will there be anything else my lord?” Yeluya asked. The ghnyfth were extraordinarily attractive to humans, and were exceedingly wise stemming from their long lives. The ghnyfth kept their youthful looks almost their entire lives, being humanoid and slender. The ghnyfth were also resistant to all magical spells by an anti-magical spell field that surrounded them, and extended out a short distance beyond their arms and legs’ reach. Thus, the ghnyfth had to walk everywhere by land or use sailboats by sea because no magical creatures or means could be used to carry them. There were no non-magical creatures in the world of Zordroum, notwithstanding, some magical creatures were not obviously magical.

“Guards, take your leave,” the king commanded. One of the guards knelt and placed his hand upon Grakerreg’s shoulder, the guards all cast their spells for Dragon Call to their own dragons, and with several electrical bolts and thunder rolls they vanished including Grakerreg. After the guards left with Grakerreg, the king cast a spell to close the doors to the castle. The massive doors slowly moved with a metallic shutter and moan and closed with a resounding thud and rumble. “Now, Yeluya,” the king said and smiled at the ghnyfth, and she smiled back. “How old are you?” the king chuckled. “Never mind, I know, ‘a ghnyfth can never tell.’ But, what can you tell me? His rebellion baffles me,” Molldoc said. The king put his hands on his forehead to relieve his tension.

“Grakerreg is not against you. He just fears for you. He could do you no harm,” Yeluya said as she walked around the throne slowly, running her hands along the armrests.

“He tried to kill me, Yeluya,” the king said with a frown. Molldoc looked up and peered into Yeluya’s eyes seeing their silvery sclera. Towards the center of her eyes, purple veins formed a roughly round iris with large vertical oval black pupils. Molldoc scanned down her beautiful face noticing her lips. Her lips were fuchsia with hints of lavender undertones. Molldoc noticed her teeth from her slightly opened mouth as she breathed. Her slender bright lilac tongue caressed the tips of her frosty white teeth slightly. The king looked away self-consciously.

“Oh, My King, how close did he come?” Yeluya asked. The king turned away and breathed in deeply. “Maybe she is right. Maybe he was only trying to protect me,” the king thought.

“But what about his loyalty?” Molldoc asked.

“These are troubling times. Loyalty is sometimes defeated by reason. There is a reason that the dragons have not been attacked for thirty thousand years. The kings of old had trust in that reason. Dragons are not so easily dealt with, especially in their own lands. That was the reason behind the treaties that ended the War of the Dragons. Trust in that reason or your devotion to the old ways will not help you,” Yeluya said.

“What reason?” the king asked.

“Dragons are the reason. Is not that reason enough?” Yeluya asked.

“We have dragons; now is more than ever the best time to attack before we start to feel the effects of the ceasing of the dragon egg trade,” the king said, “You always could get away with more than most with your soft words; riddles really.” The king stood up and walked out into his throne room. “When the dragons used to come here these halls were full of my subjects coming to get their eggs. In those days, I never could have imagined it any other way. But they have crossed the line,” the king said.

The king pondered for a moment and said, “However, you do have a good point. For some reason, our spies have not been able to penetrate the dragon defenses. They are always pushed back before we can make any practical assessments of their forces, or the lay of their lands. I do not even have any useful maps at my disposal. Nevertheless, I do not fear the dragons. We do not need to know all things about them or their lands in order to know that we are more powerful than they,” the king said.

“I have some advice for you, My Liege. If you could see through the eyes of the dragons, the Dragon Sight spell aside, you could see how you look in their eyes taking their eggs, their children,” Yeluya said.

“But this is what they agreed to. Why stop now?” the king asked.

“Think of how long it has been. Thirty thousand years are even long for dragons. Generations change and the old ways come into question,” Yeluya said.

“That may be; nonetheless, there is no other way. We must take what we need to survive,” the king said running his hands through his long gray beard.

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