6 March 2006
I felt a deep rumbling. It was not like an earthquake – I have memories from my ancestors of those – but almost rhythmic. An elephant stampede? No, not quite. I could not tell which direction it was from, it felt like it was all around, coming from everywhere at once. A part of me wanted to stay safe in my egg, but I was curious and concerned about the rumbling vibrations.
I scratched at the inside of my egg, breaking it open enough to stick out my head. I was surrounded by complete darkness, which sapped the colour from my vision. The other four eggs were there, just as they should be. I could see nothing that would explain the rumbling – the cavern looked just as it had to my parents when they helped to prepare it.
There was a scratching noise next to me. I looked over and saw another wyrmling breaking free of its egg. From the elegance of its backward-facing horns I knew it was a Blue. The Blue stared at me for a few seconds, and then began devouring its egg. The silly creature, so lacking in discipline as to eat at a time like this.
The source of the rumbling was definitely getting closer, it was time for the others to awaken and hatch also. We are the last dragons, it is our duty to survive. I climbed out of my eggshell and walked over to each of the three remaining eggs in turn, knocking on each and telling them it was time to wake.
As I was tapping on the last egg, the one behind me ripped open, and I turned to see a rather grouchy wyrmling Red emerge, grumbling that she’d been sleeping and I’d woken her. At this point the gluttonous Blue began devouring the remnants of my egg, and the Red huffed and chomped a piece out of her own eggshell. Such impulsive, undisciplined minds I was left to work with! We had a potential danger approaching, and my companions were either hiding in their eggs or snacking! No wonder we mighty Greens avoid the company of other dragons so.
I turned back to the egg that was clearly that of a Black, and balancing on my hind legs gave it a good shake, rocking it to and fro in the small impression in the dirt that served to hold it upright. At least the Black parents were neat, the Red’s egg had been lying sideways like it had simply been dropped.
The other egg – the White’s – I also gave a good shaking to. And it worked, for not long after I heard movement in the egg. But what emerged made me back away and ready my breath, as two tentacles broke through the eggshell and wiggled about in the air. “I think we’re in here with something other than a dragon!” The Blue showed no sign of having heard me, but the Red began the pay attention to the hatching taking progress. Next a scorpion’s tale broke through, and the Red’s posture became offensive. When the rest of the eggshell came away, the sight that greeted us was a confusing one. The creature looked mostly like a White dragon, but for the tentacles protruding from its shoulders and the scorpion-like second tail tipped with a stinger.
The Red lept forward and tried to claw the abomination, missing by rather a lot. The strange creature retaliated with its tentacles, but also missed. If this was the group I was stuck with, things were not looking good.
The Blue stepped forwards, not quite between the Red and White, while I watched from near the Black egg, out of range of angry claws missing their mark. The Blue tried to reason the two out of fighting, and I suggested helpfully that perhaps this strange creature was in fact just a mutated, extremely inbred White.
The rumbling was now more than just a feeling, but also a noise. It was getting close. The others noticed this too, and fighting was replaced by fleeing.
The White was first to take wing, rushing into the opening of the tunnel that led out of the cavern. The Red and Blue followed, while I delayed in order to clutch the Black’s egg with my forelimbs before taking flight. The runes along the walls of the tunnel seemed to fascinate the Blue, while the Red’s focus was to get in the lead, shoulder-slamming the White as she passed. I chose to bring up the rear – I still did not trust the White abomination, and even if I did I wanted to ensure we stuck together.
Emerging into the light I took in a lungful of fresh air, looking about the barren landscape. Almost in unison the four of us noticed the great beast that was causing the rumbling. Shiny yellow in colour – like the fallen Gold dragon of legend – and the size of a Great Wyrm… Perhaps it WAS the fallen Gold! It was powering through the earth, but at an impractically slow pace – the Blue could probably burrow faster than that. The White flew closer to the monster and landed atop it, while the Blue – seemingly terrified – dived down and burrowed into the ground.
The White attacked the beast, as did the Red, while I examined the creature. It had very strange legs that slid along the ground like it was a snail. I flew closer to one of the legs, tightening my grip on the Black egg, and breathed my acid on it. The black skin on the leg that looked like dead flesh melted and sizzled from my acid, but the beast sped up as the White and Red continued their attacks above. Needing to rest my breath, this time I bit at the injured flesh on the leg, causing it to rip apart, some of the flesh nearly hitting me as I dodged.
This did not stop the monster, but I smelt blood from where the other two were focusing their attacks, and flew up to find a beheaded human riding inside part of the beast. I landed next to the White and took a bite out of the human’s shoulder – I deserved a reward for my bravery in battle. The Red hissed at me to get away from its kill, while the White lept inside the hollow where the dead human sat, pushing and pulling at the strange devices laid out before the human. The beast swung violently around, throwing the Red and I loose.
We hit the ground on our backs, but were not wounded. The Red and I flew up again, heading for the hollow where the White had been left alone with the food, until we noticed what looked like a throat. This would surely kill the beast! I let loose my acid breath again, melting through the throat and causing dark, foul-smelling blood to gush from the wound. It smelt unnatural.
The Red’s chest glowed, and then it breathed a great wave of fire. When the flames reached the blood there was a great explosion, pushing us all back and singing us. The Red was impaled by a long piece of metal. We landed carefully, and the Red asked for the metal to be pulled out. I did so, but the damage caused her to lose consciousness.
I knew I had the power to heal, but only those within my collective. I reached out to the Red’s mind, and found it unable to resist becoming part of my collective. I healed the damage done removing the metal, a sign of good faith to show the Red what my healing powers can do. She awoke, and I quickly explained the benefits of being within my collective, to stop her pulling free, and how being within the collective would keep my offensive powers from affecting her when I developed them – easing her ego. And now I have a Red dragon in my debt from my favour of healing, and the unborn Black owes me its life for carrying it from harm’s way and not abandoning it as the others did.