A Christmas story that I am writing, and will be releasing in parts. Stay tuned. ;]
Please feel free to leave comments! I love knowing I have readers and I appreciate all of you. heart
A Dragon's Christmas
Razan, the goblin majordomo who had been in service to his lord for the majority of his life, moved in fluidic silence. It was best in order not to disturb his master's peace, and so everyone who served within the lair soon became accustomed to doing everything to avoid being the one who set foot wrong. It was Razan's responsibility to impart news directly to his lord, whether that news be good or bad and, depending on the severity, to be the one who bore the brunt of his ire should he be disturbed during a crucial moment. This night's news would not only be some of the worst within memory, but it also came during his lord's rest prior to the Solstice. The goblin was unsure what the outcome of waking his master's deep slumber would be, but he was quite sure that it needed to be done. Swiftly, the majordomo moved through the corridors; as fast as he could manage, and even faster beyond. The normally silent footsteps gave an occasional report that reverberated down the halls as he veritably flew. Reaching his lord dragon's door, he paused for half a second, and then slipped inside.
The sudden movement in the air and the change of pressure as the door opened were enough to jolt Skeet into a more wakeful state of consciousness. His senses were flooded with information as he became more and more aware of them. He smelled his goblin servant, heard his breathing and heartbeat, felt his meager presence. It was not yet time for the Solstice. Eyes still closed, the dragon addressed his majordomo. "Why have you disturbed me, Razan?" His voice was gravelly and heavy with sleep. He cleared his throat, producing a small gout of silver flame. Sitting upright, he stretched and opened his eyes to turn a gaze as cold as a winter wind on the diminutive goblinoid. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that Razan would not disturb him without reason. He tried to keep that in the forefront of his thoughts, so as not to kill the goblin for waking him before it was time to rise.
"Young master Fafnir is missing, my lord."
The shock of the words took a moment to run rampant through the groggy dragon's brain. When they registered a moment after they'd been spoken, Skeet leapt up from his bed and covered the distance between him and Razan in the blink of an eye. He lifted the goblin by his yellow vest to eye level, teeth bared in a snarl that did nothing to hold back the rising growl that threatened to shake the stone walls of the citadel where they stood. "What do you mean he is missing?! Was he not watched?! How long has it been since he's been seen?!" Razan visibly struggled to regain his voice, but clearly was choking from the pressure placed upon him. With a wordless growl, Skeet dropped the goblin and threw the double doors to his sanctum open wide with enough force to crack the imbued wood. Razan made some noise behind him as he stormed out of the room and down the corridor, drawing energy around him as he went. The goblin was probably offering up as much information as he'd had, in answer to the questions he'd asked. Skeet paid him no mind. "I will find my son if I have to lay waste to the entirety of existence."
The plane that Skeet had created for himself was, by design, meant to reflect his vision of an ideal place. His lair proper was a palatial fortress built in tiers atop and within the mountain the dominated the center of the plane. The surrounding forests, the rivers, the hills and fields were all by a basic design that followed his will. That same will gave rise to the varied seasons upon the plane, not due to its relative location to any star but rather due to sentimentality. It would have been easier for the dragon to have created the place in perfection; perpetual summer, no severe weather, everything essentially static and easily maintained by the simple logic of creation remaining as it was rather than spend the energy to change. Sentimentality for the world he had left had driven the scaled lord to mirror the weather and seasons of his home. The sentimentality of the dragon ruled his plane as surely as did his will and his might. It was sentimentality that drove him into a fury and heard his roar echo throughout the entirety of the world he'd created.
His booted feet crunched through the thickly fallen snow, snow which began ever so slowly to melt from his overwhelming body heat. Energy swirled around the humanoid dragon in visible waves as he concentrated his powers in an attempt to track and locate his son. A world, an entire universe created by his design and populated with those that he trusted enough to allow within his personal space and his son had gone missing. His eyes flared from their typical icy blue to a fiery golden as he raged in frustrated grief. Everywhere around their home he had felt the lingering presence of the wyrmling that called him father. Everywhere he could see the frolicking ghosts of memory of the child that had been given life only so recently. Everywhere there were signs of his Faffy. Yet those signs were all old. Nothing recent could be located. Nothing more recent than when Skeet had laid down to rest in preparation for the Solstice; he had closed his eyes on his world in the trust and understanding that all would be in its right place when he reopened them. It was a lesson that he had learned ages past, and a lesson that he had sincerely hoped he had mastered and overcome with those in whom he could firmly place his trust.
His folly struck him like a hammer. Rage bubbled within him totally unchecked. His control was not threatening to slip, it had taken a firm grip upon his rage and harnessed it like a team of horses to drive his purpose. The dragon's attempts to concentrate were less in order to focus upon the task, but more an attempt to focus upon multiple tasks at once. He kept his awareness stretched as far as he could manage it and maintained constant mental contact with Razan on the off chance that news - or Faffy himself, by the powers - would return to his lair. There was nothing, though. Nothing. NOTHING! Skeet realized all at once that he had been growling and his fist had splintered the wood of an oak in his vexation. Snarling, he turned to the oak fully and laid into it. The tree chipped and shattered beneath his onslaught, and began toppling over to fall to the earth as if in submission. The dragon didn't allow its capitulation, but rather leapt at it and sent it careening into the grove of trees behind it, bowling them over like ninepins. Still amidst his rage, the dragon breathed deep and loosed a large gout of flame, igniting the stand of greenery to conflagration. With his fists balled tightly enough to drive his claws into his palms, the dragon shook and stared at the carnage in dissatisfaction. He could destroy the entirety of his plane, slaughter those that had come to give him the respect nigh unto a god, and carry his rage to the worlds beyond. It wouldn't return his son. His son was nowhere.
Skeet suddenly went perfectly still as only a reptilian being could. Nowhere. He could not sense Faffy, and he could not sense any open or fading rifts. Razan had assured him that the portals had been firmly closed and watched as they always had been. He had to be here, on this plane, but he was nowhere. Silver flames sprung to life around the dragon as he pulled in as much energy as he could. If he could not sense his son, then he would sense for where his son was not, and for that which he could not sense. His awareness turned inward as he cast his magic out across his entire realm, feeling for...something. For nothing.
And nothing he found.
Now that he was looking for it, he saw it. An area, ever so faint, in his own domain, where he could sense...nothing. It was masked. Obscured by an intricate latticework of magic warding that did service to block his power without alerting him to its doing so. Hidden right on his doorstep. Faffy had no such ability. Skeet's body began to shake once again, but not just with the unbridled rage he'd given in to before. He knelt, and the growl in the back of his throat was slightly pained. His form shifted and grew. His bone structure realigned itself and his features elongated. The rush of energy that he had pulled in expedited the transition of shedding his puny humanoid body as he ascended into his true dragon form. Blue tinged silver scales dominated his body as it grew to a massive size. Wings unfurled and beat in powerful strokes that lifted the dragon into the air, golden eyes alight with twin silver infernos. The roar that was ripped from his throat physically shook the surrounding area with the force of its volume as he flew toward the very edge of his plane where his son had apparently been taken hostage.
He gave not a care if he terrified the goblin village as he flew low over it, kicking up hurricane force winds with his passing that likely damaged their homes and possibly threatened their survival during the winter. The had failed him, and he would treat them with righteous fury once he had recovered his son or recovered his small, frail and innocent corpse.
The dragon landed heavily on the open snow covered plain that approached the newly growing woods on the edge of his plane. The magic that had created his world was still working, ever so slowly expanding his territory and creating new lands on the fringes. He knew the land here, but at the same time he did not, for the spell had a mind of its own. What he did know for certain was that this was where he could not sense, and he would find out why and locate his son if it meant the death of every living thing he'd ever encountered.
Casting his eyes around the clearing, he searched for any signs that might offer him an indication as to what had gone on. Spotting a small bit of blood in the snow, his body began to shrink and revert to his humanoid form. After the steady transformation, he knelt in the snow in a more hybrid body, retaining his draconic wings as well as his tail, horns and claws. Stalking through the snow towards the blood, he moved with swiftness that belied his unwillingness to accept that it belonged to his son. Reaching it, he inhaled deeply, and his fear was confirmed. It was Faffy's blood staining the plain's white blanket. Barely keeping himself in check, he examined the area more closely. There didn't seem to be much else in the area. Clawprints, sized for the spritely dragonling, danced all about the area. A branch lay nearby, clearly clawed and chewed on. There was no indication of anyone other than his son.
A shape in the snow caught his eye and he moved for a closer look. Wind whipped around him, pressing his hair into his face and attempting to hide the truth, but he brushed it aside and plucked the object out of the snow between two clawed fingers. A tooth. He could feel Faffy's essence clinging to the shed and discarded fang. Skeet practically choked on his emotions, his grief waging war with his rage and neither coming out on top. He was left, knelt in the snow with wind blowing his silver hair away from him, contemplating his son's fate.
But there was still the void to consider. Clenching his son's tooth tightly in his hand, he stood facing the woods and the area of his domain that he could not sense or see into. Something was in there, and it was likely that it had taken his son. Vapor rose from around Skeet as he quickly turned the snow around him into a puddle from his rising fury. When he moved forward, he was half flying and half running, but his feet barely graced the ground. Into the woods, and into the void. Faffy was in there somewhere, and he owed it to the tiny dragon to bring him back and see him laid to rest properly. And he owed him bloody vengeance.
As soon as he'd crossed the threshold of the void he'd felt the overwhelming lingering presence of his son. In a way it was comforting. The fact that it was dispersed everywhere was not. Along with it was a strange presence, and a bizarre feeling that was draped over the area like a blanket over a cradle. It battered at the walls of the dragon's vexed rage, threatening to tear them down and replace them with...something he couldn't quite put his finger on. Skeet slowed his pace through the woods, taking measure of his surroundings and remaining alert. The situation had put him on his guard. His bristled with energy as his eyes darted back and forth in search for whatever it was that had apparently taken his son. Snow fell through the canopy, a light dusting that contrasted the dragon's mood. "Irritating..." he muttered, for it would obscure his vision and cover any potential tracks or signs that had remained. The wood was quiet, as only a snowy wood could be. Sounds, sights and feeling were softened in an almost eerie way, aggravated by the circumstance. It was enough to make Skeet's scales itch.
A rustling from nearby caught his ear and he turned abruptly and raced toward it. Whatever it was, its presence was strange. Obscured. It had to be whomever had orchestrated this debacle. Silver flames rose around Skeet as his eyes sought to locate what he could not sense by other means. Following the bouncing of a disturbed branch, he dashed forward and made a blind grab through distorted space. He was rewarded with the satisfying feeling of his claws clenching tightly around soft furred flesh and a startled yelp. Sliding through space as much by magic as by physical force, he moved to be standing next to the creature whom he had by the scruff of the neck. It was all that he could do not to snap the leonin's neck immediately. "Where" silver flame crept along his arm to dance tantalizingly at the lion man's neck, "IS" the flames singed the creature's soft white fur, "MY SON?!" The dragon's voice boomed with preternatural volume, sending almost visible ripples through the air. Unconsciously he tightened his grip on the back of the leonin's neck, his taloned fingers drawing blood that sizzled and burned off due to the flames surrounding his hand. Another helpless yelp escaped from the creature's mouth, strangled out of him as his body trembled in the dragon's grasp. "Nothing to say, wretch?! You have the audacity to KIDNAP MY PROGENY," Skeet roared out his vexation with a violent shake of the feline, "and yet when caught all you can do is WHINE?!"
"P...please..." the creature pleaded, clearly in pain. His stuttering caused Skeet's snarl to deepen, it infuriated him beyond belief that a creature that had the gall to take what was most precious to him, a creature that he had trusted enough to enter his plane-- Skeet blinked and scowled, now for a different reason. He did not know this leonin. "Who are you, and how did you get here?" His voice was barely a whisper, and drained of most of his emotion. There shouldn't have been any way...shaking his head, Skeet grabbed the leonin's arm with his free hand and spun him in his grasp, effectively turning his capturing grab into a choke hold as he stared into the smaller man's cat-like green eyes. He was young. Very young. How could he have the power to block me as he did? The thought plagued Skeet. Either the lion was a prodigy, or he was not working alone. Baring his fangs, Skeet pulled the leonin closer to him until they were face to face. "You are going to tell me everything," he promised. Then he heard something that caused his expression to change abruptly to shock, and drop the forgotten leonin as he turned to face the source of it.
Faffy crouched under a snow covered bush, obscured save for his face peeking out from beneath it and his tail, waving back and forth behind him. Skeet rushed over to him as his son bounded out of the bush and leapt up into his arms. "Faffy, thank the powers that you're all right," Skeet blurted out, feeling a tension ease within himself. He couldn't let it ease completely, though. Not yet. Turning to cast a sidelong glance over his shoulder at the discarded leonin, he bared his teeth in a menacing snarl. His growl was cut short as Faffy headbutted him in the chin, not once but repeatedly, chirruping all the while. "It's alright, Faf--" he began, but was cut off as his son headbutted his chin again, harder this time, effectively shutting his mouth.
"Mael is my friend!"
Confusion screwed up the dragon's face as he turned to look at his son, and then back to the leonin. Before he could speak, the leonin pulled himself into a crouch and nodded sheepishly. "It's true, sir," he started, his voice hoarse from having been choked. "I was only helping Faffy. I didn't think..." he trailed off, clearly terrified. He blinked slowly and looked away, leaving his tail to twitch nervously in the snow.
Faffy's chirrup was nearly a shriek as he shook himself loose of his father's grip and fluttered about in tight circles. "It was a surprise!" The dragonling alit on the snow and pranced toward the leonin, Mael. He sniffed the cat boy once, nudged his leg with his snout and then pranced back to his father's side. "Come see!" Faffy's exuberance was undiminished, and the young dragon danced about over the snow all around his father.
Skeet raised an eyebrow in question and held up the tooth that he'd found. "And this?" Faffy chirruped again in response, and Skeet saw the hole from whence the tooth had loosed itself. Sighing, he stood and gestured for Faffy to lead him to wherever he'd wanted to lead him. His soon bounded forward through the snow, kicking the downy ice up with each step. Mael got his feet under him, but stayed low and refused to look in Skeet's direction. Turning from the leonin, Skeet followed his son, wondering what was happening that he had been woefully unaware of. Pressing forward through the woods, he became aware of more illumination ahead, before stepping into a clearing.
Floating wisps in shades of blue and white dotted the clearing, dancing with sprites of all kinds and sizes, all dressed festively. Music wafted through the air, and there was a warmth here that neither pierced the treeline nor melted the snow underfoot. It was a world unto itself, and in the center of it stood an ice sculpture, carved in his own likeness as he played with his son. Faffy fluttered through the air and landed atop the head of his icy counterpart, beaming at his father in triumphant glory. "Are you happy?"
Skeet strode forward slowly and stopped in front of the sculpture, and in front of his son. Holding his arms out, he smiled and nodded, prompting Faffy to practically tackle him in what seemed to be an attempt to bury himself in his father's chest. The dragon hugged his son, unable to help the tears flooding his eyes. "Merry Christmas!" the dragonling chirruped, nuzzling his father.
"Merry Christmas, Faffy."
Thank you for reading, and I hope that you enjoyed it.
Merry Christmas, all~ heart
...of him who brought the Shadow and the Breaking of the World. And him they named Dragon.