Lorekeeper I: Chapter 7 – Wake Up Call
Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.
Dimetraxia was having such a nice dream.
After days of flying with a wound in her chest, first to escape Mordayne’s army, and then to traverse Geheron’s Bite towards the Broken Spire, she was exhausted. Sleep had come easily, and the dreams that followed were blissful.
She dreamt of fire – red fire and yellow fire – licking gently at her body, searing and cauterizing her wounds, burning and hardening her bones, toasting and caling the lifeblood back into her muscles. She dreamt of heat, so perfect, and yet so intense, that she glowed in its radiance.
While that might seem like the eighth circle of the Abyss to most of us, to a Red Dragon it was like a whole-day spa treatment.
But slowly the dream flames began to fade. One by one they winked out, and Dimetraxia was left cold and alone.
She felt the dream begin to recede, and wakefulness reached in to pull her up, like a child’s fat and clumsy hand reaching into the the cookie-bin in search of the last tasty snack.
She fought against it at first… But fate was not going to be denied its last biscuit, and the dream fell away into the cold morning air.
Dimetraxia slowly opened her eyes. There, right in front of her nose, was a curious blue face.
The Dragon jumped.
As a rule, Dragons don’t usually jump. When you weigh one hundred times as much as most creatures, your range of options beyond being startled are – well – frankly, quite startling. Most sentient beings evolve with a ‘fight or flight’ reflex; they either attack, or they run away. It’s a little more complex for Dragons. Sure ‘flight’ is somewhere in their list, near the bottom, but above that are numerous variations involving tail-slapping, igniting, wing-buffeting, devouring, roaring, rending, and terrorizing.
Nevertheless, Dimetraxia jumped.
She’d seen that face before. It belonged to a Sorceress who lived in the oceans far to the west. Her name was Nimue.
They’d had an altercation of sorts many years before. Dimetraxia’s usual response of burning somebody’s face off, and then snacking on their lightly toasted remains, didn’t work. It turns out that shooting flame at a Merfolk Sorceress is like trying to start a campfire with a wet log. Conversely, Nimue’s favorite tactics of shooting jets of water to pummel a foe into submission were equally ineffective. Shooting water at a Fire Dragon, is like unsuccessfully priming an Adanan Steam Tank; lots of noise, hissing, roaring, followed by gouts of flame, steam, and very little action.
Dimetraxia didn’t even remember what the disagreement was about. She was a little testy about being woken up though, so her voice was low and rumbling with an “I will devour your children’ undertone.
“Nimue,” she acknowledged, warily.
“Dimetraxia,” the little blue sorceress replied, not in the usual tone you’d address a creature that could swallow you whole. “ You’re awake! Finally! Let me tell you, I had to freeze about thirty of these little fire grubs to get you up. It feels like I’ve channeled half the ocean in here already.”
And Dimetraxia remembered why she hated the little sorceress so much, It was her voice. It grated on the Dragon’s ears like claws down a slateboard. Hey, don’t judge… Not every battle between legendary creatures needed to be about a scenario involving epic dooms and destinies. Even Dragons can be petty.
“Tell me why you’re here,” the Dragon grumbled, shaking her head to wake up.
“Why am I here?” Nimue looked offended. “To get you off your lazy Dragon butt, and out where you’re needed.”
Dimetraxia narrowed her eyes dangerously.
“Oh don’t give me that Dragon stink-eye,” Nimue continued. “You’re here because you got a message from Medea. And I’m here because, by stroke of ill-fortune, I was a long way from home, in the Sea of Fire, Medea found me, and asked me to wake your lazy bones up and get you moving.”
“And let me tell you, when I set out, I had six Mermaids with me – not young ones mind you – my personal servants! They’re all gone – ALL of them! We ran into a horde of Mantis Shrimp. One-two-three-deathpunch, and I’ve got five. One-two-three-deathpunch, and I’ve got four. Deathpunch! Deathpunch! The water was boiling, and I’m swimming through Mermaid parts, flying in all direction. I GOT HIT IN THE FACE WITH A TAIL! So if you give that stink-eye for one second longer, by Undines damp curly hairs, I will shoot a jet of water up your ass so hard it will shoot out your mouth, and everyone will think you’re a Water Dragon!”
Nimue’s voice, and incessant chatter, was still just as annoying, but Dimetraxia could barely suppress a smile at the defiant little sorceress, standing in front of her, fuming.
“Very well,” the Dragon said gravely, trying to keep from laughing. “You said ‘Medea’s message’. Who is Medea?”
“Wait a moment,” Nimue put her hands on her hips. “You flew all this way, wounded from some strange Daemon sword,, and you don’t even know who asked you to come here, and why? I mean, why would you do that?”
Dimetraxia shrugged, and her old bones creaked. She ignored the sarcastic tone in Nimue’s voice.
“Why do we do anything? I received part of a message. It felt important.”
“Look, whatever. I’m here because Medea asked me to tell you to fly north to Stormheim. We’re going to need the help of the Dwarves and the Giants. I’m here because you’re such a crotchety old beast, that the Giant who lives here – Igneus – Medea was worried you might ‘argue’ with him too. She figured I’d be a safer bet, as I don’t burn. Anyway, you need to find Halfgrim Half-Giant in Stormheim. He’ll help.”
“Help?” Dimetraxia asked, ignoring the reference to her temper. “With what?”
“DAEMONS!” Nimue stamped a tentacle. It’s not quite as emphatic as stamping a foot, but you use what you’ve got. “There’s a Blight coming. A BLIGHT! Medea needs your help.”
“A Blight? Where?”
“Do I look like I know everything?” The little blue Sorceress stamped three tentacles this time. That’s the good thing about stamping tentacles – you can use it to convey a certain scale of impatience. If you try to stamp more than one foot, you just look an idiot jumping on the spot. With tentacles, it’s easy to go from one to six. “My work’s done here. You’re awake. Check. You know about Halfgrim. Check. Know about Stormheim. Check. I’m out.”
And with that, Nimue, turned and began to move gracefully away, Dimetraxia guessed she was headed towards wherever the coast was.
The Dragon sighed. It had been such a nice dream too.
Slowly, she got her bearing for north, stretched her wings, listening to more old bones creak, and then leapt into the air.