As I entered the dragons lair the stench of the old dragon came to my nose. I gasped in effort to receive fresh air, but it was not to be found. I put my scarf around my mouth and nose and realized that no matter how many times I dealt with dragons I would never be able to get over that smell. It seemed as though the smell had a purpose, and that purpose was to sicken me.
I was getting to old for this type of wizardry. The job should have been given to some young apprentice. The only real trick to getting the information from this old dragon was to know his name, his real name.
Seeing the dragon laying there in his lair, sound asleep, I almost felt sorry for him. He was as old as I was, in comparison of years, and even my entering his lair had not woken him. A dragon should not be so unaware. There were too many men that would kill him quickly while he slept.
"Who is it that does dare to enter my lair. You must be a very brave warrior or a very foolish man. Either way you will soon be dead." The dragon hissed as he spoke, and the temperature of the lair rose quickly. If I did not speak my peace soon, the dragon would burn me where I stood.
"Davar Lowtar, it is I the wizard. I have come only to ask a question of you"
The temperature of the room began to drop as the dragon hissed at me again; "I should still burn you for disturbing my sleep." His voice was raspy as he laid his large head down in front of me. I would not make one full bite of food, had he decided to eat me. As he breathed on me I almost toppled over, and the smell was unbearable. "So, what is it you want wizard?"
"I have seen the signs of the sickening of the sea. Great Davar Lowtar that sees all from the sky what is causing the sea to sicken?" It was always a good idea to flatter a dragon when asking him a question.
"I have seen nothing."
"How can this be? I have seen the signs. The fish are dying and the sand on the beach is ill to the touch. You must have seen something?"
"I have seen nothing. But if you would like to see for yourself and dare to ride dragon back, I will take you."
A wizard riding dragon back? I've never heard of it being done before, and the idea its self was enough to shake the skin from my old bones. But here I was on the back of Davar Lowtar. I could not miss this opportunity and if I did not find the answer I needed the sea would soon die.
"Shall we go north or south Wizard?"
"I think the answer lies in the south, go south."
We were in the air quite some time before I got up the courage to look down at the sea and the land below. I was astounded at how fast he dragon flew and how quickly we passed into the south sea. The sea was almost all black below me and the farther south we flew the blacker the sea became. We were so far up in the air that I could not see the cause of the blackness.
"Can you take me closer to the sea Davar Lowtar? Do you see the blackness in the water? That is what is sickening the sea."
"I see nothing." He hissed as he took me closer to the sea.
I could now see a small island with the blackness flowing from it. This was the disease that was plaguing the sea.
"Can you take me to that island, that is oozing the blackness?" I asked as Davar Lowtar flew away from the island.
"Where does it lay, to the north or the south?" He hissed as he circled in the air.
"Can you not see it? We passed over it."
He turned back in the direction of the island. As he flew he turned his head and set his jaw on my lap. He rolled the clear lids of his eyes back and said; "I am as old as you wizard. I can see nothing, nothing at all. I can not even see you at this close distance." Beneath the clear lids of his eyes, I did not see the shiny black eyes that a young dragon has. Instead they were gray with age and the old dragon was blind.
"It is quite a secret you keep dragon. If anyone knew you were blind, you would soon be....." The heat of his breath was upon me before I could finish.
"No one will know, will they wizard."
"No, Davar Lowtar. No one will know. The flight of this day is payment enough to keep any secret."
We spoke no more about his blindness as I gave him directions to the island. We landed some distance form the oozing black disease. I had to walk very far to find the place where the blackness came up from the ground. It was obvious that a recent storm had changed the course of this black river. It had once flowed into a canyon where it had done no harm. Now it was flowing into the sea and choking the water to death. I had to change the flow of the black river back to it's original course, but I did not know how. The power of my wizardry was no longer that strong.
The dragon could accomplish such a feat with his great size, but what would he want in trade for such a favor? There was no other way, I had to go back and ask the dragon and hope that his price would not be to high.
The old dragon was asleep again as I approached. He awoke only as I reached him. "Did you find your answer wizard?"
"Yes Davar Lowtar, and I have a small favor to ask of you."
"Speak your peace wizard."
"I wish you to change the course of a river."
"This is no small favor wizard. A question is answered free to any wizard that speaks my name, and the ride on my back you had today was a favor I did for you. But his small favor, that is not a small favor, will cost you."
"And what price do you place on this favor dragon?"
"The price is your life." He hissed in my face.
The dragon had caught me by surprise. I had never heard of a dragon taking a wizards life before, but this was not the first surprise the dragon had shown me this day. I could see why he wanted my life. I wouldn't be able to tell any one that he was blind, if I were dead. It was not a trade I was able to respond to quickly.
The river would kill the sea if he did not change it's course, and I would be dead if he did. I finally decided that it had to be done. I was an old wizard and didn't have much life left in me anyway. Even though the life I had would still not be easy to give up.
"Okay, Davar Lowtar, I will make the trade." I said as proudly as I could manage.
"You are an honorable wizard. Now you must lead me to the work that will have to be done."
Leading a dragon around while on the ground was much harder that I thought it would be. In his lair he moved around easily, because he knew where everything was. Here on foreign ground he was continually bumping into things and hissing at me, because I was suppose to be leading him around. By the time we got to the black river that was killing the sea I had learned how to lead him around without him bumping into too many more trees.
The task I had thought was beyond my own powers was a simple task for the immense dragon. He only had to dig holes as I directed him.
The task was soon done and I knew my time to die was at hand.
"So wizard," The dragon hissed at me. "the small favor is done. It is time for us to go. Climb upon my back."
"Will you make me wait for my death longer dragon?" I no longer wanted to ride upon his back with the knowledge that he was going to kill me.
"You may wait for death as long as you wish wizard, but why waste your time on such dismal thinking. Climb upon my back."
By the time we were in the air again I understood. He had no intention of killing me, he needed me to be his eyes. He could not even have made it home to his lair without me.
We became great friends Davar and I. I even got use to that smell I thought so repulsive.
Dragons and Dracs
If you read many books on fantasy you know what a Dragon is. But, most people donít know what a Drac is. Well, a Drac is similar in appearance to a Dragon. If you saw a picture of a Drac, you would probably think it was a Dragon. Dragons and Dracs are both fire breathing creatures with long sharp nails, big incisor teeth, scaled bodies, back bone spikes, long lizard like tails, and of course wings. But the Dragon and the Drac are different in many ways, personality wise and physically. Dracs have many traits others do not find appealing. The Dragon is known to be a wise creature, admired and envied.
The color of the Drac is most often green, grey or brown. Their scales are shiny and slick at birth, but this rarely last past the first few years of life, because the Drac is a filthy creature who cares little about its appearance. The color of the Dragon is much harder to discern. The scales on the Dragonís body shine like jewels and reflect the colors of the rainbow. Many humans have hunted the Dragons, thinking that their scales were really jewels. In dim light you can see the true color of the Dragon, and it runs from gold to green, and sometimes even blue. The Dragon is a meticulous creature, that loves to bathe in cool mountain waters and dry in the sun. A place with lots of sand is preferable, because the sand is prefect for cleaning their scales.
The Dracs have two sets of appendages, not counting the tail. With huge hind legs they can leap great distances, and their wings are tough and leathery. Each wing is as long as the Dracís body. They can stay aloft for several hours with a good updraft. Dragons have a harder time staying in the air, as their body weight is twice that of a Drac. Dragons have three sets of appendages, great powerful hind legs, strong arms, and huge wings. The feature that humans can use to distinguish between Dragons and Dracs is arms, because Dracs donít have them and Dragons do. The wings of a Dragon feel tough and leathery like the Dracs, but Dragon wings are translucent.
Dracs are truly disgusting creatures, with some truly disgusting habits. Dracs love trouble, and humans - for dinner. They prefer that their dinners be alive when eaten. They eat with their feet and rip and tear at their food, like a raptor would. They fight amongst themselves, and will even eat their own kind.
One day the Dragon said to the Drac, "What are you doing?" The Drac replied, "Devouring humans." The Dragon sighed, "What a nasty habit."
Dragons are delightful creatures. I mean to say, that Dragons are delightful if you get to know them. Yes, it is true that a Dragon will eat just about anything, if they are terribly hungry. But a Dragon would much prefer to have you for tea and crumpets than to have you for dinner. They do like to have their dinner served to them cooked and very spicy. Not always having the luxury of a prepared dinner they will go out and hunt. Usually they hunt herd beasts, cook them with their breath, and eat them on the spot.
The Dracs live to be about one hundred and fifty years old and love treasures. They will fight anyone to gain wealth and choose to die with their fortunes. Dragons also love treasures, but are not so attached to them that they would die for them. Dragons have even been known to lose their fortunes. They live to be hundreds of years old, and sometime they forget where theyíve put their treasures.
Dracs are not very nice. They donít care about anyone but themselves, and besides, they smell bad. The Dracs have given the Dragons a bad name all through mythology and fantasy. Dragons are wise, intellectual creatures. They amass quite a bit of knowledge, partly because of their long lives. Dragons even take the time to learn magic, and teach it to their young. The Dracís young are lucky if they are not eaten alive by their mother.
It has taken me quite some time to appreciate the qualities of Dragons, and very little time to know that I donít like Dracs. If I could choose between being a Dragon or a Drac, I would choose to be who I am.