Entry No. 2 – The Dragon of YewReturn to: The Lore of Sudiva – Fan Fiction Contest 2012.
Entry No 2
The Dragon of Yew
Sudiva was old, oh so very old, and as wise as she was old. She had learned the perils of dragon greed, it had wrung tears from her, and held her captive, for how long? She sighed again, as she had sighed many times, a sigh that made her cavern home rumble, and carried with it the hint of a threat. The cavern floor had trails worn in it, where she had dragged her immense weight, and diamond hard claws back and forth, back and forth – and once again, she began to pace.
Suddenly, her ears pricked, and she heard a sound. Perhaps it was yet another party of foolish “long pigs” come to try her strength. She didn’t mind, it was the one thing that had relieved the boredom of her long imprisonment, and in fact, it offered some variety to the cavern fare she normally had to satisfy herself with. She did not hate them, and she would not attack them unless they attacked her first, but if they did, most of them were quite tasty, and she could last for a year or more without having to feed again if the party was substantial enough.
She listened more intently, but this was different, she had not heard the sounds of this many feet since she first learned the true price of wisdom, and there were few metallic sounds in proportion to the volume of the footsteps. She dragged herself toward the central stairs, and clenched and relaxed the muscles of her legs and back, preparing herself to fight if she must. She drew in a quiet breath, there it was, the scent of fear, stronger than normal as well.
Someone uttered a small scream of terror and a torch clattered down the steps and there was a bleat. A bleat? Sudiva’s eyes opened wider as the torch was followed by the lithe form of a woman dressed in black, arms pinwheeling in a desperate attempt to catch her balance, “Peggle, may the god’s send you and your lice ridden hide to…” Catlike, the woman caught her balance, and caught Sudiva’s eyes staring at her in what was now unabashed curiosity. “Pardon me M’Lady!” It came out in a bit of a gasp, “W, we’ve come to set you free.”
Sudiva snorted – a sound that resembled boulders cracking. “And how,” she rasped, then swallowed, “do you propose to do that… M’Lady?”
“ You can call me Mesanna. We have found a way to break the wards that hold you here, and there is a large underwater river that passes near here, that would be large enough to allow you to swim to where it exits on the other side of these hills.” The both stared at each other for a moment. “You won’t be able to fly above the water.”
This time it was Sudiva’s turn to look nervous, “You want me to swim? And how exactly am I to get to this river?” Mesanna gestured up the stairs, there are many of us, we will break through the rock.” Sudiva craned her neck and peered up the stairs, her eyes confirmed what Mesanna said, and her ears had already told her. There were many forms hanging back, and she could see many pickaxes and shovels, a wheel barrow or two, and… a goat…
Mesanna caught her eyeing the goat, “He’s a friend, assure me of his safety, or we will leave and not return.” That caught Sudiva by surprise, she thought the long pigs ate goats, and while she couldn’t imagine that this ragged mob could free her, this was the most interesting thing that had been presented to her in a long time, and she decided it might be fun to at least play along. “I will not harm you or your friends, if you do not attempt to harm me.”
Mesanna swallowed, “Before we set you free, we require a promise from you.” Sudiva’s eyes narrowed, and the tip of her tail twitched, “Do not test my patience, what is it you require of me?”
Mesanna answered, “We have risen against our lords. They tax us heavily, beyond what we can bear, and do little for us in return. There has been famine, and many of us are hungry, while they continue to eat only the choicest of foods, and drink the best of wines. We have tried to bring our complaints to them, but they will not listen, so we have taken arms against them.”
“ But they have well trained soldiers at their disposal. They have gold and favours with which to buy the help of mercenaries. Many of us have been imprisoned, and many have died. But if you were on our side, as our guardian, they would be forced to listen to us, and the bloodshed, fires and injustice would stop, at least in our home, in our beautiful home, Yew.”
“ We have prepared a great hall there for you, where you could live. We would bring you food as you require, and you would be free to come and go as you wish, as long as you promise you will help us when we need you. We have also heard of your wisdom, and know that you must have suffered greatly with loneliness during your long imprisonment, so we would come to you with our problems, our joys and our sorrows, and you could teach us what you have learned.”
Sudiva looked very hard at Mesanna, looked deep into her eyes. She looked up the stairs at the pale white faces there, staring at her with a mixture of hope and fear. She saw no deceit in any of them, and for the first time, the faintest whisper of hope spoke to her heart. “Very well,” she said, “If you can free me, I will come live with you, and I will help you.” And then she chuckled, “Did you know that I once taught a goat to speak?”
Last modified: June 15, 2012