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“I don’t know why you let him speak to you that way!” The young knight paces across the large room. His long royal blue cloak with its embroidered coat of arms billows out behind him as he strides quickly back and forth.

“What I don’t know is why you seem so bothered by his tone. It was I with whom he was short and you don’t see me stomping around.”

The knight stopped and turned. His expression relaxed, as did his temperament.

“I just think that he should have more respect, that’s all.”

“Perhaps you are right, but there are things about him that you do not know. Things that my kind, all of my kind, owe to him. It is for this reason that we allow him some latitude in his treatment of us.

“That still doesn’t make it right does it.” The knight asks, his boots echoing lightly off the granite floor as he walks over.

“True, but still, leniencies have to be made.”

“Well then explain what credit this man is owed that he comes here making demands.” The knight states

The large gold dragon lowered his massive head to level his gaze with the knights.

“Take care sir knight that you do not take advantage of leniencies that are not owed to you.” The dragon’s tone was even and comforting although the knight understood the hidden meaning well enough for him to swallow hard and think very carefully before he spoke again.

“I meant no disrespect. I merely wish to know what history you two have. If I offended you, I apologize.” He offered, bowing deeply as he spoke.

The large gold reared himself up and sighed deeply. Almost instantly the room filled with the earthy scent of Frankincense and Myrrh. He pulled himself up and began to stretch, his golden scales lightly ticking as the muscle beneath them rippled. Lastly, he stretched his wings, the span of which touched either side of his large lair. After neatly folding his wings back and adjusting his position he looked thoughtfully at the knight.

“No, you didn’t offend me.” He offered apologetically. “But you must understand that while dragon kind exists separately and in some cases above the realm of man, there are those that dwell above even us.” The gold stopped here sensing that his meaning was lost on the knight. He realized that he needed to speak more plainly for the knight to understand.

“I speak of the gods, sir knight.” The knight nodded in acknowledgement, but a look of distaste crossed his features letting the dragon know his position on the discussion of gods. The knight had lived his entire life believing in honor, loyalty and brotherhood. The idea of great beings in the sky shaping his destiny disturbed and offended him. Knights generally believed that if they couldn’t see, smell, hear, touch or taste something then it didn’t exist. Many of his kind were said to put their trust in gods, but their fate in steel. As such the talk of gods didn’t hold much water for them. To a knight of many campaigns the thought of gods was tantamount to a children’s story. Still the knight had already irritated the gold and one didn’t upset dragons more than once even those that looked kindly upon humans.

“As you are well aware, war that breaks out between two powerful races is rarely contained within the borders of their lands.” The dragon lowered his head thoughtfully so as to meet the knight face to face as it were. “There are, however, wars that are waged between entire planets. It was during this last war that I was hatched and born into slavery. A slave as all my kind were to the warring gods. The war took place on several planes with dragons and titans fighting against other the other races for total control of the known worlds. Being too young to be of any use on the fields of battle, I was relegated to the roll of beast of burden. It was at this time when many of our kind were slaughtered on the fields of this war. At one time, sir knight, dragon kind was a diverse as the colors of the evening sky. Many races were extinguished during the war. It looked as if we were all doomed.”

Here the dragon broke off seemingly lost in the memories the story dredged up. The knight shuffled from one foot to the other to gain the beast’s attention. Still the dragon was lost in his thoughts, his usually bright gold eyes staring out into nothing looking like languid pools of molten gold. A sharp clearing of the throat from the knight snapped the dragon back to the present.

“Excuse my revelry. I was lost in my memories for a moment. It is at our darkest hours that heroes are forged. Heroes may take many forms. They may lead by action or example. Sometimes though, heroes can be forged by sacrifice. Such is the case with our friend.”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand. In war, we all make sacrifices. Family, friends and loved ones all give of themselves and what they have. What more has this person given, that hasn’t been given of others?” The knight asks desperate to understand.

The large gold sighed and gently flapped its wings to cool itself a little. Once again its lair was filled with the musky smell of incense. Settling back down the dragon continues.

“Dragons are magic. As such we are in tune with all things magical. We feel the flow and ebb as the mages work their craft. We, as magical creatures, see how things are bound magically. It is a song that sings to us constantly. Elves hear it in their forest homes. Dwarves hear it in their mines. The only creatures that don’t hear the song are humans. This is a puzzle that has long teased us. Some would say that it makes you a lesser race. I believe that you hear the call of magic. You kind must hear it; otherwise there wouldn’t be any human magicians. I believe that your kind, for the most part ignore the song. Your short life spans drown out the delicate music with other things like the acquiring of wealth. Still there are others that aren’t apart of the magic world at all. For whatever reason, magic has passed them over. It flows around them like a rock in the middle of a stream. These people be they elven, dwarven or human we feel pity for because they will never know the ecstasy of magic. Never feel the power well up from their being from their very soul to bring forth that, which did not exist a few moments ago. You can then imagine the suffering of one who was magic suddenly finding themselves without it. To have it abandon you and leave you cold and small. I would say that it is a fate worse than death to have heard the music of magic and then have it silenced forever. To live with the memory of it in your head…can you imagine that kind of pain, sir knight?”

The dragon stopped its voice breaking slightly as tears of gold welled up in its eyes. Those eyes, which always seemed bright and full of cheer, now seemed dull and tarnished as a wave of unseen sadness washed over them. The knight, made uncomfortable by this display, could only sneak glances up at the gold. Like a child gently scorned by a disappointed parent he stood there looking at the cold granite floor unable to meet the pitiable gaze of the dragon.

“Such was the sacrifice of the man that left. As a dragon he sacrificed the only thing that makes us what we are. The most powerful magic that this world knows. He gave it up willingly so that our race… no so that the magic wouldn’t be silenced on this world. He lives on in the shell of a human, never again to know the pleasure of the magic he saved. We all owe him a debt that can never be repaid, sir knight. All of us.”

Here the dragon stopped. A long silence passed between the knight and the gold.

“I didn’t know,” the knight said sheepishly, “please forgive my ignorance.” He bowed low again.

“Of course you didn’t know. It isn’t something that we discuss. Let it serve as a reminder that not all sacrifices are of flesh and blood and not all debts are of honor.”

The dragon curled his tail around his body and began to lower he large head upon his side.

“I have grown tired of the past sir knight. I believe I need a nap. Please see to it that I am not disturbed for a few days.” The gold said lazily.

“As you wish my lord.” The knight said bowing once again. Turning upon his heels he left the large chamber as the gold was closing his eyes. The gold knew he would sleep, but it would be a restless sleep with bitter dreams of war and loss. All the while the magic would lull him in his slumber.



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Comments

The following comments are for "Debt"
by wrath186

re: Debt
Wow, nice vocabulary here. Good show on that, Wrath. And who can resist a good dragon tale? You did a really great job of characterizing the gold as well as the knight.

I found this an interesting piece with a satisfying resolution. Your build to the conclusion was well-done, and the earlier bits made perfect sense when I read the last word.

One thing...I felt your paragraphs were too bulky to read in this format. I suggest breaking them up...even the dialogue portions. If you want, you could interject a moment of action or movement in the form of narration as transition points, though I don't think that's actually necessary.

Again, nice job of providing plot, word pictures, and compelling characters.

Safiyah

( Posted by: Safiyah [Member] On: May 19, 2004 )

Thanks!!
I went back an took another look at what you were saying about long dialog. I get it now. I haven't written anything in a while and it can be a lot like not exercising for a long time; you have to re-acquaint your muscles with work. Same thing with writing. Hopefully I can continue to write on a regular basis and it will get better. Glad you enjoyed it.

( Posted by: wrath186 [Member] On: May 19, 2004 )

re: dialogue length
I'm laughing because after posting my comment here, I went through a piece of mine that will be up soon, and noticed that I have large clumps of dialogue, myself. I'm not sure how it'll look on the page after it's posted...just have to wait and see...but after some study I decided to leave it alone so as not to interrupt the flow. Now, I'm going to be looking and rethinking everything.

You're right about those writing muscles; they need constant flexing.

( Posted by: Safiyah [Member] On: May 19, 2004 )

nice
It is so nice to have you back. I enjoyed this tale a great deal and look forward to the next ones.

( Posted by: stoney [Member] On: June 3, 2004 )

Thanks
It's good to be back. BTW I'm still working on Necromancer. It should be ready soon.

( Posted by: wrath186 [Member] On: June 3, 2004 )





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