Storytime With Grendel: Scales – Part 1

Greetings, wux dokaal!

     That’s right! I’m going to start teaching you mortals a bit of draconic. Wux is the common phrase for “you,” and dokaal is a generic term for humanoids. It more specifically means “two-leggers.” If any of you have more than two legs, please ignore my greeting.

     Fair warning—today I am going to have to keep my storytime rather short. Geldrin and I have found a tome with the most interesting tale of a kingdom in the sky, a courageous warrior with a powerful, glowing sword, and a wise princess who is fighting some powerful, pervasive darkness. It’s a fascinating tale that we cannot get enough of, and as soon as we’re done with this story, we’re going to get back into it! Thus, on to the question!

Hiya, Dragon! You sure seem like a different dragon than the ones I know. My sister and I found a magic dragon scale when we were little, and while holding it and reciting a spell, it let us warp to a magical land filled with friendly dragons! Are your scales magical? Would you consider donating a few of your scales to some poor kids who just want to visit their friends?
Max

     Thank you for the question, Max! Your dragon friends sound unbearable. An entire land filled with dragons, and they haven’t even attempted to overthrow your world? What kind of unmotivated drakes are these? If I had access to some land where I could pillage and devour… Oh. Geldrin is now pointing out my current state of mostly-passivism. Fine, I’ll get off my high unicorn (Did I say that right?).

Editor’s note: He did not.

     Anyway, to answer the question—I do not believe my scales would allow for magical transportation, though I will admit that they are probably magical in nature. Dragons are innately beings of the arcane—our scales, bones, horns, and flesh are all components in the most powerful spells and potions. Different dragons produce different effects. For example, I’ve heard that a red’s spicy spittle is one of the key ingredients in a potion of fire breath—one that allows mortals to spew forth flaming immolation from their tiny mouths, much like a smaller version of my own. Fastening a blue’s horn into a hat can allow the wearer to be completely impervious to lightning. A direct bolt feels like nothing more than a static-y tickle to even the frailest mortal body.

     I can only imagine what kinds of effects my own scales and bones would produce, though this is a question that will NEVER be answered! Not only do I find the thought of someone running around with my baby teeth for a necklace or a shirt made from my cast-off scales utterly creepy and demeaning, but an event from my youth has turned me off from even considering allowing another being to use any part of me.

     It was a misty spring morning when I found myself wandering the forests. My parents had recently separated, with my father moving the other greens and I to an old ruin in the heart of a dense woodland. I was not quite mature, still technically a wyrmling, when I had slipped away from the others to wander through the woods. I had been warned by my father that the woods around his new lair were not yet secure, since he had only succeeded in rooting out a handful of the ogres, trolls, goblins, and wraiths that haunted this forest.

     Being a bit overconfident in my youth, I had taken to strolling alone through the trees, looking for a wood elf or forest ranger that could provide an extra meal. Growing dragons need a lot of food, and I had just begun to realize what fanciful flavors mortals could provide for my draconic palate. I was maybe a mile away from the lair when I heard what sounded like a human woman’s voice crying from a ways off. I followed the voice, which seemed almost like it was leading me, to a small grass-roofed cottage set against a small knoll. The crying seemed to be coming from within.

     Outside, sitting on a moss-covered wooden fence, was a black cat, staring at me with large, ominous yellow eyes. It seemed to be completely uncaring about the wailing coming from inside (which is one of the reasons I don’t mind cats as much. They have maybe less empathy for others than even the vilest of dragons. Good for them!). Though I somewhat admire felines, I had still been wandering for a few hours, and my appetite was telling me that I could easily consume one loudly howling woman as well as an odd black cat.

     Quickly, I lunged from the brush and snapped my jaws around the cat before it could even let out a startled yowl. Cats usually taste like utter disdain with the smallest hint of pretzels. This I know now, but at the time what hit my tongue was the feeling of a viscous ichor, a vile bitterness, and then… nothing. Whisps of acidic smoke leaked from my lips before dissipating into nothingness, leaving behind only an incredibly foul aftertaste. This should have been my first clue that things were not as they seemed, yet at the moment, I was ignorant of many things, cat-taste included.

     In my disgust, I decided that getting a new, better flavor in my mouth was the best course of action, thus I turned and smashed down the cottage door. The wailing stopped. Within, I saw only darkness, with no crying woman in sight. I took a few cautious steps inside, peering around the musty room for some sign of a hiding, presumably delicious mortal, but found nothing. Not a moment later, I realized my folly, as the door behind me reassembled itself, aided along by green motes of magical energy. I turned and clawed at the door, which now held fast despite me being able to bash though it so easily moments before.

     A cacophony of cackling erupted around me. No less than three vile-sounding voices rang out in unison, all chanting a most insulting poem:

     “Naughty, naughty, little drake!

     For now you see your big mistake.

     Trapped you are, within our lair,

     And never shall you get out there!”

     I was imprisoned in a ramshackle cottage with nothing but an old cauldron and some disembodied voices chattering rhymes at me. Did I die in that cottage? Maybe! But I will continue this short story next time. Apologies for this being so brief, but both Geldrin and I are eager to continue reading our floating kingdom story! The warrior just received a weird arm in place of his own!

     For now, continue to season yourselves with knowledge and adventure. I’ll finish this story up next week!

Storytime with Grendel stories are compliments of Tyler Swanson
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