Jewel-bright scales glittered in the sun as the dragon stretched his wings. Riding a thermal, he soared above the clouds into the place where magic dwelt. Flowing through the upper atmosphere, it eddied and swirled in rainbowed splendor. Magic pure, undiluted and not yet stratified wrapped around the world. Generated in the distant sun’s furnace and discharged into the vast dark of space, it was a stream of luminous particles. It bent to circle the third planet’s globe and its nearest neighbor, a water world with a thick atmosphere.
Higher he flew into the magic’s current and his sapphire scales soaked in its light turning him into a reptilian phoenix rising into space’s starry womb. Rocketing on pure magic, he aimed for the third planet and home. The war had stayed away from Shayari’s emerald miles.
By unspoken accord, both parties avoided the enchanted forest dwelling there and its protectress, the Queen of All Trees. There was something downright creepy about her refulgent mobility. How a giant plant with no brain could think? Conscious trees–the paradox made his brain ache. So he put the perplexing question of out of mind.
The Queen of All Trees’ neutrality had turned Shayari into a refuge of sorts. And here he was gliding toward it intent on disrupting said neutrality by kidnapping the child of an immortal. Any one would do in a pinch. For maximum effect, he needed to swipe an only child and right now there were only two options. Istan, son of the self-titled sky god Izledor or Draemach, son of the bitch goddess Daesira. The former possessed useful powers and was old enough to know something about them. No one had any idea what the latter could do other than spit up. So grabbing the godling Istan was the plan.
Night had blanketed Shayari in its indigo folds, but there she stood, a shining sword thrust up into night’s bosom. And her shining branches cradled a sleeping child. Blond hair and a fair complexion marked the boy as Izledor’s son. Born on the northern ice sheets, Istan looked comfortable and small while held by a tree standing a thousand feet tall.
Was he supposed to fight her? Best not since his superiors intended to ransom the boy to end the war. The decision bugged him, but he had to trust his leaders knew what they were doing. Time to give bargaining a shot. It might work. He back winged and alighted on a claw so he could strike a pose. Maybe if he played it cool, she’d acquiesce. He was an impressive sight after all.
But his performance failed to move her. She was the giant dwarfing him and her eyeless stare communicated her disapproval. And the boy was tiny in her grasp–a delicate ornament she could break if she chose.
“I need that boy. I won’t harm him. I just need to borrow him for awhile.”
She maintained her silence and her stare.
He ground a talon into the schist under the mountain’s snow cap. “I swear he’ll be safe and well cared for.” He ground his teeth as she flipped pages in his memory to check his story. Faces popped up in his mind’s eye, but the parade stopped at Phaedrassen, the Goddess of Fate’s black countenance. Her whirling red eyes gave him the creeps even in memory.
Satisfied with what she’d found, the Queen of All Trees relented and lowered the sleeping child.
To be continued …
Yes, the Istan mentioned in this story is the same Istan from the Quest storyline. This short story is not part of it. It’s set way back in the past when Immortals and mythic beasts (dragons) warred.