Twelve solar cycles ago, Draghi was appointed as the Thane of Krakenmoor. His remit was to squash the petty chieftain rivalry, reinstate law and order and collect taxes. There were disagreements, skirmishes and the occasional full-fledged battle, which he greatly enjoyed. Draghi’s Öckanor militiamen eventually “persuaded” the recalcitrant chiefs to toe the line and Krakenlore rule ultimately returned to the lawless moors.
Although not quite six feet, Draghi was a giant of a man. Being half dwarf and half human, he had a massive upper body with extraordinarily wide shoulders and powerful arms, affectionately referred to by his men as the hammers. Draghi’s axe and swordplay prowess were infamous. For all his warrior acclaim, he now found himself as the chief administrator of Krakenmoor, which he ruled on behalf of the High Lords. Draghi’s success meant that life had become more predictable and mundane. This made him increasingly irascible.
A loud thump emanated from beyond the door leading to the balcony. Draghi’s heart jumped. Only one visitor arrived on the outside balcony of the castle keep towers.
“Enter!” he shouted, in his irritable manner. The door opened, momentarily allowing the wind to whip through the room causing the fire to liven. The black scaled dragon stooped through the doorway to manoeuvre its great bulk inside. In a series of fluid steps, it strode up to the fireside and settled down by the fire. In this seated position it towered a full twelve feet in height before him.
The dragon’s sizeable presence always unsettled Draghi. Slowly and deliberately, he forced himself to lift his line of sight over the shiny black scales of its body to gaze upon the reptilian countenance. Draghi could never get used to this moment. As their eyes met, the dragon’s long snout opened to reveal its flesh-tearing teeth. This is a smile, he told himself.
Reluctantly, he stared into the dragon’s black-slitted yellow eyes. After a telltale flash of intensity, Draghi felt the connection hit him with the force of a troll trap snapping.
Greetings Thane, the voice rang inside his head. I have recalled the young ones from patrol; it is too inclement to maintain aerial vigil. We retreat to the fires in the Drakensankt Wing.
Draghi considered it remarkable they'd lasted this long outside. This reinforced his view that of the three Draken races, the black scaled Ebon had the greatest resilience to cold.
Even though it was unnecessary, Draghi found that speaking his words out loud helped him to focus. “Very well, I’ll double the watch as per protocol,” he responded.
It was almost a solar ago when the High Lords had ordered Draghi to mine the very rare cryode crystal-nodes inside Mount Craigimoor. Within three lunars, the mine began to make finds. Once the yields became fruitful, the High Lords insisted a detachment of dragonets be stationed at Craigimoor. The creature before him was Torra, the leader of these dragon guardians.
Torra’s yellow eyes brightened in telltale fashion at the start of each communication. We have been here six lunar cycles protecting your city, and yet you remain wary of us.
“Six lunars ago the Moors folk believed dragons only existed in fairy tales. Your presence here hasn’t exactly been popular,” Draghi qualified.
A point, I believe, you’ve made known to the High Lords, Torra was quick to reply.
“Shite! Can’t a man get some privacy?” he said, deliberately displaying his annoyance.
I believe you mean half man, or do you wish away your dwarven bloodline?
“Perhaps it’s my dwarven blood that makes me less chatty,” he retorted. Draghi tried not to think or feel anything as he had learnt Torra readily picked up on his random thoughts. Fortunately, the dragon needed to make eye contact to do this.
I expect you won’t trust me until I save your sorry hide in battle, Torra mused.
Heaven’s sake, it practises humour, he mused. This creature just gets smarter.
Thank you, Halfling. You provide many interesting thoughts to muse upon.
“That’d be right, you great thought snatching demon,” Draghi growled.
At that, the great beast craned its head and directed a huge breath into the open hearth. In a sudden burst of combustion, flames jumped out alarmingly. The dragon’s head swung back to gaze directly at him, and Torra reconnected. Excuse my chortle. I forget this can be dangerous for you in front of the fire.
Draghi laughed; it was the first time he’d done so with Torra.
Torra then disengaged the connection and Draghi watched the dragonet leave. In the process, he felt the tension ease from his body.
If that’s the connection of a young dragon, what must it be like communicating with the Great Ones, as do the High Lords? He wondered.