Your Current Location is Chaos Keep : Stories : Miscellaneous : Objects: Chapter 6: Research Report
Objects: Chapter 6: Research Report
By: Fox Cutter
They flew along the side of the towering structure, circling around it as they gained more and more height. The statue on the top was growing larger, illuminated by the starlight above.
"Who is he?" Frances asked, pointing to the statue.
"That was Sartan; he founded the DragonHome, carving it from the solid mountain," Renie called back as they grew nearer to the statue.
The human chuckled a bit. "He's a big fellow!"
"Yes he was, I am his descendent, on my fathers side," she said, tilting her body to pull closer to the structure. Her wing tip was only a dozen feet away from the wall. Below them another dragon went past, not really seeing them.
He nodded his head and pressed himself against her long body. She was warm and comforting to him, seeming to glow in the weak light around them, a warm reddish color that seemed to swirl behind the tips of her wings.
"Lovely," he said in a soft voice.
Renie looked back with one eye. "What is?" she asked.
He smiled. "You for a start, but this place is just amazing. I can't wait to see it in the daylight."
"There is more to see than just the outside of the buildings," she told him as they circled near the top of the structure. The statue towered above them, looking even larger than it had from the ground. Tucking one wing in, she banked her body to the side and slipped into a wide opening. Her paws landed with a thump on the worn stone as she tucked her wings to her back.
Frances slipped off of her, running his fingers down the scales of her side. The reddish glow seemed to hang on her, but went away after he rubbed his eyes for a few seconds. He looked around the room and found that there were three different paths. "Which way?" he asked.
"To the right," she replied, and started to walk down the narrow hall with the human at her side. The hallway lasted only a few hundred feet before spreading open to reveal a large carved stone door that was at least seventy feet tall.
The human let out a low whistle as he leaned his head back, taking in the door. The surface had been worked smooth, but well worn grooves lined the point where the two sides of the door meet.
Renie reached out with her hand and ran it over the groves. She then pulled her hand back and gathered it into a fist, which she used to knock on the door.
There were a few moments of silence, then the sound of someone moving behind the door. "You don't have to knock; it's open to everyone," a voice called before the door swung open.
An elderly blue dragon looked through the doorway. His mane was bright silver, which contrasted with the dull blue of his scales. There was a pair of oddly made glasses pinched on his muzzle, framing his narrow eyes.
"Surenian?" he asked in surprise.
She nodded her head. "Hello Dalkin," she said.
The blue dragon smiled, his eyes starting to glitter in the magical light. "It's been far too long, but I am pleased to see that you have returned!" His head swung around to look at Frances. "And you have brought a human! It's been ages since I last saw one of your kind," he said.
Frances smiled and shrugged his shoulders. "I'm a bit different than the usual humans you might have run into before," he said.
Dalkin nodded his head and scrambled back from the door. "Come in then, please. We have much to talk about!" he said with a great deal of excitement.
The human smiled and walked after him, entering the library. It was huge, the walls arching high over his head. There were rows of shelves crossing the floor, with aisles wide enough for dragons to pass between them. Each set of shelves was as tall as any dragon he had seen and filled with books beyond numbers. Even the books would dwarf him for their size.
The blue dragon ran through the library on all fours, his wings spread out slightly and his tail flicking in excitement.
Renie laughed as they followed behind the elderly dragon. "He was always excitable," she said. Then, cupping her paws to her lips, she called out: "Slow down! You're going to give yourself a heart attack!"
He just snorted and barreled through another door at the back of the large room.
The human shook his head in amusement and walked with the dragoness across the room. He glanced at a few of the books as they walked by. Some had words on them in English, others had script in languages he thought he recognized, and a few had writing that looked more like scratch marks.
They continued walking until they passed into what could only be Dalkin's office. It was a small room, even for a dragon, with a strange collection of artifacts lining the walls. There was a collection of skulls along a shelf near the top of the wall and three sets of plate armor stood in one corner slowly rusting in place.
A desk of sorts was built up against one wall, where the blue dragon now sat. The surface was covered in books and papers, with a few other out of place items, including what looked like the engine to an old motorcycle.
Dalkin smiled at the pair and motioned for Renie to close the door, which she did with a flick of her long tail. He then turned his attention to the human. "So tell me, what is your name."
"Frances," he said, looking for a place to sit down. It was cramped between the two dragons, but he still was able to find a pile of something firm that he could rest on.
The dragon smiled and looked down at the human through his thick glasses. "Very interesting. You are younger than most humans, and not as athletic. Still, you must be special if they allowed you in here, yes? Yes," he said, agreeing with himself.
"I didn't quite get permission for him to be here. Delgration knows about him, but none of the elders," Renie admitted.
The blue dragon tisked at her. "Silly thing, he is one of the elders now."
She let out a small gasp. "But he's so young," she said.
"Many of the elders are. There are only a few dragons of my age left, and none of them wish to be involved in such things. We're too busy dying, you know.'
She sighed and shook her head. "You are still the same as I remember you."
"Yes, my dear, and you have grown much in your century of absence. Tell me, have you found much excitement in the outside world? Most of the other dragons are too scared to go there, and no one will tell me anything about what they see!" he said with a huff.
The dragoness shook her head. "I'm sorry Dalkin, I spent most of my time hidden away from everyone."
He took his glasses off his muzzle and rubbed the calloused scales. "Yes, well, I suppose you had much to hide from, didn't you? Still it's a pity; I wish to learn more of what the world has become."
Frances cleared his throat. "Being human, I grew up in the human world," he said.
The blue dragon turned his head around and returned his glasses to his muzzle. He looked at the young human with a bit of amusement. "Oh my, yes. I suppose you would have, wouldn't you?"
"You have to forgive Dalkin. After eight hundred years, his mind is a little rattled," Renie said with a laugh.
"Nine hundred, and I lived through the war, though my eyes didn't," he said with a huff, turning back to relax at his desk. "Now, to what do I owe this visit?"
"Can't I come and talk to an old friend?" the dragoness asked, a smile on her muzzle.
The older dragon laughed and shook his head. "You were never one for social niceties. I believe you have only come to visit me a few dozen times," he said.
She laughed and nodded her head. "Yes, I suppose that's true. This time isn't that much different. I came to speak to you about what happened after the end of the war."
Dalkin frowned a bit, his hand reaching up and taking his glasses off his muzzle. "That was a very dark time. It was a celebration when the Dark One was destroyed, a celebration that every dragon took part in. It was a few days later that the impact of the curse was realized."
"We tried hard to find a way to break the curse, but no one knew how it could even be. There should be no way for such a spell to have existed, but it did. The very life force of our species is being drained away, and no one can stop it," he said, fumbling with his glasses.
The blue dragon shook his head. "In the first few years it was like our species went insane. Some killed themselves, as others tried everything they could to conceive. A few dragons did horrible things to themselves and other species, but it all failed."
"By the time Surenian, was an adult the insanity had started to fade. We had become resigned to what had happened to us. It was then that some of the dragons started to look towards her as a savior. They believed that by being the last of us she was some how pure. I never agreed with that, but I was over ruled."
Surenian nodded her head. "After that, I was an object for them. They obsessed about me every moment of every day. I tried to escape many times, but they always brought me back. I spent a decade planning how I was going to get away. Even then I nearly was caught again."
"You were a prisoner," Frances said.
"Yes, she was," Dalkin replied, placing the glasses back on his nose. "Things have started to change since you left. They spent three decades searching for you, but always to no avail. Once it became clear that you were never going to return other than by your own will, many of them went away. The loss of hope killed them. Now that you have returned, much of the hope will return as well."
"I won't stay long enough for them to know that I have returned," she said.
The blue dragon laughed and shook his head. "People are already speaking of you; your name is on many lips. They know you have returned, but not that you are here."
Surenian shook her head. "I won't be here for long. There is too much to do. I have to show Frances more of the world around us. I have no time to stay around for those who wish to speak to me."
"You may not have a choice," he replied.
"She left before, she'll leave again," Frances said, placing a hand on his friend's long neck.
"I suppose so," the elder dragon replied. He then lowered his head down to look the human in the eyes. "Why do you care about her?" he asked.
Frances chuckled a little bit. "Because she's a friend, and she puts up with me, which is more then I can say about my own family."
"Are you running from them?"
"I'm running from everything," he admitted.
The dragon pulled his head back, tisking in surprised. A moment later there was a flair of light, brilliant enough that Frances covered his face with his arm and closed his eyes tightly, but it didn't block it out. A moment later the lighted faded away as quickly as it had come.
He dropped his arm, blinking his eyes to clear them. The two dragons were giving him an odd look, but they looked just as odd to him. Color seemed to be wrapped around them, as if it was being given off by their bodies. Renie was covered in a soft orange glow, pulsing into reds and yellows. Dalkin was surrounded by bright green light, which was pressed close to his scales.
The human lifted his hand to rub his eyes, and was surprised to find that he was glowing as well. He held his hands out, staring intently at the blue glow around him, spots of black swirling over it like shadows on water.
Then just like that it was gone, and the world returned to normal. At the same time he felt a spike of pain rush through his chest. He let out a gasp of air, clutching his chest as he tumbled to the ground.
* * *
Surenian looked on in horror as her friend fell to the floor. She jumped forward, catching him in her arms before he hit the ground. He was panting hard, his eyes rolled back in his head as his arms twitched.
"What happened?" Dalkin asked, concern lining his face.
"I don't know," she said, touching his forehead with the palm of her hand. His skin felt normal, without any hint of a fever. "We have to take him to a healer."
The elder dragon nodded his head. "Follow me," he said, then pushed past her, forcing her against the wall as he slipped out of the small office. She turned and followed after him, the human cradled in her arms.
Frances moaned softly, his body tensing and relaxing in her arms as the muscles spasmed.
The two dragons rushed out of the library and through the halls. Slipping through little used passages they found their way down into the structure of DragonHome. The blue dragon took them through the twists and turns until they came to another dragon.
"What is going on here?" the silver dragon asked, looking at the human with distrust. "What is that doing here?"
"He's hurt," Surenian said. "We need to get him to help."
The silver tilted his head, his eyes narrowing a bit. "This human doesn't need any dragon's help. You are on you're own," he said, then turned around and went on his way.
Dalkin sighed. "He was always rude, but help is on the way."
"Where do we go?" she asked.
"This way," he said, then turned the way the silver dragon had come, rushing down the carved stone hallways. After three more turns, they came to a small room lined with jars and herbs. A violet dragon was waiting for them inside.
Her eyes lit up when she saw Frances. "Is the human injured again?" she asked.
"Again? You know him?" Surenian asked as she set him down on the floor.
"Yes, I healed him, as well as you," she said with a smile. Her claws skimmed just over the human's flesh, a glow spreading out over his body.
The green dragoness nodded her head, flexing out her wings a little bit. "Beladana. I remember you now," she said.
"Yes, that is who I am," she said with a smile. "Now what happened?"
"He touched his eyes, then fell over in pain," Dalkin said.
The violet dragon tilted her head, running her claws up his neck and over his face. The glow of her magic seemed to brighten, then returned to normal. "That's strange--there is an odd magic on him," she said.
"Where did it come from?" Surenian asked.
"I don't know, but I can feel that it is causing him pain. The magic has bunched together in an odd place, but I can relieve it," the healer said, her claws running over his neck. Then with a twist her magic flared, and the human's body seemed to relax.
A moment later Frances's eyes blinked open, and he looked at the dragoness above him. "Beladana?" he asked.
"It is I. How are you feeling?" she asked.
The human pulled himself up, rubbing the back of his head as he looked between the three dragons. "I'm fine now, I think... That was strange."
"What happened?" Surenian asked him.
"Colors, I saw colors over both of you, like a flash of light. Then the pain, like a heart attack," he said, trying to explain.
Beladana frowned. "Your heart is fine. There was no damage to it. What you're describing sounds like an aura, but humans can not see them."
He shook his head. "I saw something, oranges, and yellow. Even blue on my own body."
"That sounds correct," Dalkin said, the blue dragon looking a bit flummoxed. "So if he did see our auras, there must be an explanation. No human could see it, but what about other species? Hydras, chimeras and gryphons can also see them, and gryphons have a history of mating with human women. Perhaps there is one in his family tree."
"Not that I'm aware of... I guess my aunt Claria looks a bit bird-like with her hooked nose, but I'm pretty sure that they are all human," Frances replied.
Beladana nodded her head. "If the blood was diluted, my magic could have brought it out. It would have been a side effect of healing you. I'm sorry to have caused you this pain."
"No... no... it wasn't your fault. We should be sure; can we check my blood in some way?" he asked.
"Yes, but it will take a few minutes," the violet dragon said. "I will have to prick you to take your blood."
Frances nodded his head. "Very well than," he said, and offered out his arm.
They were interrupted as the silver dragon poked his head into the room. "Yes! They are in here!" he called out, pulling his head away.
Surenian turned around and looked out of the door. A frown grew on her face when she saw a line of guards waiting in the hallway, with the silver dragon at their head, looking happy with himself. "You and your pet are going to come with us!" he said with glee.
* * *
Frances shifted a bit under the gaze of so many dragons. He counted fifty of them lining the walls of the large chamber, and more were still pushing in at the upper levels.
"I have a bad feeling about this," he said, wrapping his arms around his body. "What are they all waiting for?" he asked.
"For the leader of DragonHome," Surenian said, shifting about nervously as well.
"I hope he doesn't take too long. I don't like how some of those dragons are looking at me."
The green dragoness nodded. "To some of them, you are nothing but food," she replied.
The human pulled his arms a bit tighter to his body and tried not to look at the large dragons around him. They were all different colors of the rainbow, mingled into a mish-mash that made his head spin.
He and Surenian were waiting in the center of the large room. Dalkin had been taken elsewhere in the large structure. The silver dragon was still with them, waiting at the far side of the room, looking proud of himself.
Frances reached out and pressed a hand against the green dragon's side; she in turn, pressed a wing against his back. Around them the muttering of the dragons grew louder, then suddenly fell into silence.
A large brown colored dragon swooped down over them, sailing across the large room until he came to a precision landing on the dais at the end of the room. The dragon fluttered his wings and turned around, looking at the human and dragon before him.
Surenian let out a soft gasp and lifted her head a bit higher. "Kraydrim," she said in a quite voice.
"You know him?" the human asked.
She nodded her head. "Yes, he was one of my teachers," she said.
"Well, Surenian, I see that you have finally returned," the brown dragon said, smiling slightly at her.
"It's only temporary," she replied.
The large male nodded his head and clasped his hands together. "I would have preferred that you had told us before you arrived, especially as you have brought a human with you."
A low rumble filled the room from the other dragons, which faded away after a few moments.
"Can I speak?" Frances asked.
Kraydrim ignored the human. "Why have you returned a century after you abandoned us? We believed that you had been killed, dooming our whole race. You could have at least told us that there was still some hope."
She pulled her head back, flexing out her wings in surprised. "I am not your savior! After three centuries you should know that. That is the reason I left, and the reason I'll be leaving again as soon as I can."
He snorted and stepped down from the dais. "The moment you returned to us you brought a Jaksarin down on top of us, a species that was believed destroyed during the war. You are clearly important to many of us, including those who want you dead."
"That does not mean I will simply submit to you and stay here. I have things I must do," she said.
"You will not do anything without my permission!" he snapped.
"Now see here! You can't do this," Frances yelled out.
The brown dragon's eyes went wide, and he lunged forward. "You will be quiet, or you will be my breakfast!" he yelled at the young man.
"I'll choke you on the way down," he muttered in reply, soft enough that he couldn't be heard... he hoped.
Kraydrim pulled back sightly and returned his attention to the dragoness. "Now tell me, why did you bring a human here? There is no reason to risk all of us for your little pet."
"Because he was willing to sacrifice himself to save Surenian's life. With no weapons, and no hope, he was still willing to fight for her," Delgration said as he walked into the room, the red dragon smirking slightly.
"I cannot believe that," the brown dragon replied.
Surenian lifted herself a little bit higher. "It is true. He would have died trying to save me."
"So you see, Kraydrim, he has at least some right to be spending time here, even if it's only for a short while," Delgration said.
Letting out a long sigh, the brown dragon returned to the dais. "You believe that this human will not cause us misfortune?"
"He will not directly move against us."
Shaking his head in disbelief, Kraydrim turned his attention to the green dragoness. "Very well then. You cannot keep him here for more than a few days, and he is your responsibility. If he goes anywhere without you, he will risk being killed."
"Thank you," Surenian said, bowing her head.
He let out a long sigh, and looked around at the other dragons that filled the room. "Everyone, please disperse! The day is young and we all have things that we must do."
There were a few moments of silence in the large room, then the collection of dragons started to slip away, one at a time. In less than three minutes only five people were left: Frances and Surenian, Kraydrim, Delgration and the silver dragon that had started all the trouble.
The silver looked between the different dragons, then let out a low growl. "Why are you letting him go?" he demanded of his leader.
Kraydrim looked down at the silver dragon. "He will be gone soon. Don't chew off your tail in worry," he said.
"You are the leader of DragonHome, not Delgration. You shouldn't allow him to make your decision for you!"
Letting out a roar Kraydrim leapt across the room and crashed against the silver dragon, pinning him to the stone ground. He took the offending male's neck in his jaws and clenched down until blood was running free. "Insolent," he said through his full mouth.
"Don't kill me!" the silver squealed, his body shaking.
Kraydrim pressed his jaws a bit tighter. "I am your leader! You will not question my orders! Is that clear?"
"Y--yes sir," the smaller dragon answered, crying softly.
The brown dragon pulled his teeth free and climbed off of the silver. The male lay shaking on the ground for a few moments before he crawled to his feet and rushed out of the room, leaving a thin trail of blood behind him.
Frances looked on, a bit surprised and amazed. He pressed himself against Surenian, worried now at what the dragon could do to him.
Kraydrim tucked his wings against his side and looked back at Delgration. "He will cause us trouble in the future," he said.
The red dragon nodded his head. "He's always been excitable."
"Now he is also angry at me. Surenian, it will be best for everyone if you leave as soon as you can."
She looked at her former teacher. "You have never been one to so easily change your mind. You made you decision before we ever entered the room."
Kraydrim chuckled and nodded his head. "You always understood me too well. Yes I made my decision earlier, but I wanted the other dragons to know what your pet human has done."
"What is the point of that?" Frances asked.
The brown dragon let out a long sigh. "We are a dying species, and no magic in the world can help us. There are those of us who have come to believe human technology might be the answer. It won't be easy; most dragons wouldn't accept such a thing, and won't for some time. Anything that can be done to improve their opinion of your kind will help in that plan."
The young man nodded his head, then let out an exasperated sigh. "And you tell me this in a room large enough for anyone to hear."
"In this room people hear only what I wish for them to hear, including what I tell you. Even if every dragon in DragonHome was here, they would not know any of what I say."
"Kraydrim won't put us at risk. He has too much at stake to do such a thing," Delgration said.
"As always, you're thinking above everyone else," the dragoness said, letting out a small smile.
The brown dragon approached Surenian, a small smile on his face as his wings fluttered behind his back. "It's what I've always excelled at. I am glad you have returned. We will need you to save the species. You're the last born, and there might be something in you that can show us the way to save us all."
Letting out an annoyed grunt, she fanned out her wings and rose up on her hind legs. "I will not be treated like an object again. You can not hold me, nor can you control me."
Kraydrim waved a fore-claw and motioned for her to sit down. "I have no intention of forcing you to do anything. The time for that has passed. But I do need you--we all need you. Without you I fear that it will be much harder for all of us. Please, return to DragonHome."
"I cannot," she set, relaxing back to the floor, but keeping her wings held prone.
The brown dragon frowned. "So much is the pity," he said.
Delgration reached out and placed a hand on her back. "Where will you and Frances be going next?"
"I wanted to show him more of DragonHome, but after that... I do not know," she admitted.
"I have a few ideas," Frances said.
Surenian turned her head back and looked at the young man. "What is it that you would like to see?"
He smiled up to her. "You said something about gryphons. I would like to see some."
"There are many dens in Asia; it shouldn't be very hard to find one that will allow you to visit," Kraydrim said.
She nodded her head. "Thank you. It will be a few hours before we leave. I wish to finish his tour of DragonHome."
"Why such a hurry?"
"Because we have a week together before I die," Frances said.
The brown dragon was taken aback by this, looking at the human with both surprise and horror on his face. "How will you die? Can we stop it?" he asked.
He laughed. "By my own hand, and no, you can't. Surenian is trying, but the chances of her success are fairly low."
"You want to die?" he asked in disbelieve.
"She's right. You are a smart one," he replied.
The dragon shook his head. "I don't understand. Why would you want to kill yourself?"
Frances let out a short sigh. "I've already explained it enough. Surenian can tell you the details when everything is over, but I have had enough of repeating it."
Rubbing his head, the brown dragon sighed. "I suppose if that must be the way it is, I will allow for it. You two, go, do what you wish to do, I will find a gryphon clan for you to visit."
"Thank you," Surenian said, bowing her head. "I appreciate your help."
He smiled. "Then please consider my offer; we do need you."
Shaking her head she turned her back on the larger dragon and started out of the room, Frances at her side. The human expected some call for them to stop, but it never came.
"Family is always a pain in the ass," Frances said.
"I wouldn't call them family," she replied.
He shrugged his shoulders. "Do you think we can find out if I have any gryphon blood? It would be nice to know before we go see them."
Surenian glanced down at the human. "Is that why you want to visit them?"
He nodded. "Yes, it is. It would be nice to have a connection with a fantastic creature. I would prefer dragons, but any would be nice," he said with a small smile.
"If that's true, if you are part gryphon, would you stay alive for that?"
"No, I doubt that would be enough," he said, mussing a bit as he walked along. He did like the idea that some part of him wasn't human. Maybe it would justify how he had always felt different from everyone else.
Scratching at his chest, he followed the dragoness through the long winding tunnels of DragonHome. Other dragons were watching him with a mix of curiosity and anger. "Where are we going?"
"To see Dalkin. He will be able to test your blood," she said.
He nodded his head, following her up a long ramp that wound around the center of the structure. He continued to scratch at his chest as they walked, trying to stop a deep itch that had sprung up under his fingers. "What can we do if we find that I do have gryphons in my family tree?"
Surenian paused a moment to think. "Blood always knows. If you have gryphon blood it could be used to turn you into one."
The human came to a sudden stop. "Turn me into one? Actually make me a gryphon?"
"Yes, it depends on how much blood you have, but even if it's fifteen generations removed, magic can still change you," she said, stopping and turning back to look at him.
He closed his eyes, allowing a breath to slip past his lips. "You can make me something else, permanently? Can you make me a dragon? If I could be a dragon I would willingly stay alive," he said in a whisper.
"No other creature can have dragon blood, and without the blood you could not be changed. We can not make you a dragon," she said.
Frances let out a sigh and opened his eyes. "I should have expected that," he said.
She nodded her head. "But what if we could make you a gryphon? Would you stay alive for that?"
A frown crossed his face. "I honestly don't know. We'll have to see once I'm changed."
"I hope you can. I think you would make a lovely gryphon," she said.
He smiled at her. "Thank you, that means a lot coming from you."
To Be Continued...
This story is copyright 2009 by Fox Cutter, hardcopy reprints limited to one a person, all other rights reserved. This story may not be distributed for a fee except by permission of the author, and this copyright notice may not be removed.
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