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Random thoughts, settings, characters, situations, perhaps leading somewhere

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Squibs: Chatting with a Dragon

Saturday 10 January 2015 - Filed under Squibs

There was a flash and a high-pitched whine; Prestran squinted at the blur above him; it looked like a wisp, but it was much, much larger. It was a brilliant cyan shot through with ripples of bluer color, and it was pretty much invisible against the sky except as a slightly brighter crosswise shape. He put his hand on his shield, but Melira’s touch stopped him.

“Not necessary, strongman,” she said, “This one wants to talk.”

She gestured with her staff, up and to the left, then spun it clockwise between her fingers, allowing the talismans on the tip to describe a slow circle. The creature above hung for a moment, then slowly spiralled down. As it came level with the trees, Prestran could finally see its form. It was a flying thing, but it wasn’t animal. It didn’t have feathers, or fur, or scales; it had static, rippling spikes of the bluer color contrasting with the greener hue of its skin. If it was skin.

It alighted on a boulder in front of Melira, condensing itself into a smaller configuration. It looked like a human-scale fox, except for the thin rippling tendrils of its tail and the multilayer translucent overlappings of its wings. None of these terms actually made sense, watching the thing; these constructs were different, yet similar enough that the mind reached for them as reasonable substitutions. But the folded “wings” zigzagged back on themselves like no bones or flesh could manage, and the tail was not so much a tail as a long curling multiple antenna.

With a sound like wind hissing over fresh snow, it spoke. The sound held nothing for Prestran.

Melira said, “Good morning, travellers. I am curious about you. I wish to converse. I am Zisishirash.” She kept a level gaze on the creature, and continued to spin her staff, slowly and steadily.

Sound came from behind Prestran, making him jump and turn. Kiva was also staring at the dragon, and her lips were moving in an unnatural fashion. What emerged were labored breaths shot through with sibilants and pops. Melira smiled, and said, “Good morning to you, Zisishirash, I am Kira Kivikta. Let us speak a while. I hope you are well.” She glanced back at Kira, said as an aside, “Nice phrasing, but pitch it just a little higher.” Kira nodded, eyes still intent.

The dragon’s head underwent a series of short sideways jerks. The sound that emerged was such like eerie laughter through static that Prestran jumped again. “As well as may be. I have trouble with another human nearby. Maybe you can help,” repeated Melira.

“Yes, we are looking for that human. We would be glad to rid you of that problem.”

“Your dress and attitude told me as much. This human is bothersome. He does not intrude, but his pets do. I would have him gone.”

“That is our business here, to remove him. What pets do you mean?”

“He keeps a number of energals, most small. Those are annoying, but harmless. The larger one is the problem. She has no manners; she encroaches upon me and mine with great frequency. She has not been properly brought up, with others of her kind, and she mocks me and my neighbors. The human will not converse about the issue. Their behavior is rude. My neighbors concur.”

At this, Melira raised her eyebrows and a smile stole over her face. There was laughter in her voice as she translated Kira’s next sentence: “We shall be happy to assist you and your neighbors with this unfortunate problem. However, if we remove the human, your problem may remain.”

“It would be best if she were given an option that would remove her from this area, once the human is gone.”

“We will see what we can do.”

“Thank you human. It is pleasant that we have conversed. I shall alert my neighbors of our conversation.” With that, the dragon unfolded itself, its wings literally snapping themselves through a series of folds and flips, and gracefully mounted the air.

Melira watched it go, letting her staff stop and resting it on the ground. Kira, breath laboring, managed a laugh herself. Melira grinned, and said, “Looks like we have our work cut out for us, strongman.”

Prestran said, “Sounds like Kevestari has a dragon of his own, from what I heard.”

“Yes, yes he has. And a big one.” Melira gestured toward the dwindling spark of Zisishirash, “You heard what he said: she encroaches on all the dragons in the area and is generally an ass about it. She even makes fun of them to their faces. That’s not very nice. Most dragons wouldn’t put up with that kind of behavior.” She shook her head. “If all the neighborhood dragons haven’t ganged up and driven her away yet, that means she’s big. Bigger than all of them put together. And that may be a problem.”

2015-01-10  »  Edward Semblance