Your Current Location is Chaos Keep : Stories : Miscellaneous : Objects: Chapter 1: Who goes there?
Objects: Chapter 1: Who goes there?
By: Fox Cutter
Surenian stirred from her dreamless sleep as the sound of footsteps echoed through the cavern where she made her home. As the footsteps came closer to where she lay, she reluctantly opened one eye to search out the intruder. Much to her surprise she found that it was a young human male.
She could not tell the exact age of the man, but he could not have been any more then twenty-five years old. His back was to her as he shone a light down one of the small dead end tunnels that lead into and away from her home.
The human didn't seem to be dressed for spelunking. His clothing was thin, hardly enough to hold back the chill that filled the cave. His short-sleeved shirt was made from a thin fabric, and hung loosely around his torso.
His pants were made of a dark blue material that she wasn't familiar with, but looked to be rugged enough to hold up to crawling around through a cave.
Opening her other eye she quickly searched the rest of her home. There was no sign of any other humans in the area.
Slowly she lifted her head from where it had been resting on her foreclaws, stretching her neck out as she moved closer to him. She stopped just an arm's reach away from his back, the strength of her breath tickling the hairs on the back of his neck. He seemed to freeze, holding his breath but not moving.
"Why have you trespassed in my home?" she rumbled out, her voice sounding almost like a cats purr, but much deeper, and far more threatening
The human slowly turned around, his head moving first so as to look at her. He kept his flashlight pointed towards the ground, but there was still more than enough light to illuminate them both.
"I am Frances Richardson the Third," the man explained as his eyes flickered over her body. Much to Surenian's amazement he didn't appear to be startled to see her.
She wondered if her people had finally revealed themselves to the world while she had slumbered.
She pulled her head back a bit, giving the man some space, "Why have you violated the privacy of my cave?" she demanded in a softer tone of voice.
He shrugged his shoulders, his brown locks falling down over one of his eyes. "Why not?"
She raised herself up until she was sitting, looking down on him from over fifteen feet in the air. Fanning her wings out, her eyes start to glow like two sparks of fire in the darkness. "Can you give me any reason why I should not kill you?"
Frances slowly looked her over, playing his flashlight over her scales, seeming to marvel at the brilliant jade green they reflected. "None. In fact, that's why I came here."
She pulled her head back, letting the fire in her eyes fade slightly. In all her years she had never been given an answer quite like that. She couldn't have heard that right! How could he want her to kill him? "What do you mean?" she asked, her curiosity overwhelming her anger.
He chuckled softly while shaking his head. "I came here to die."
"What!?" she roared out, shaking the cavern enough to knock some small pieces of rock free from the ceiling.
"Exactly what I said dragon!" he snapped back at her. "I came here so you would kill me!"
She crossed her forearms over her chest. "I am a dragoness! Why would you wish to die at my claws?"
He threw his hands into the air, accidentally throwing the flashlight behind him as he did, sending it skittering across the floor. As it came to rest it's light pointed back into a empty corner of the cave.
"I don't know!" he shouted at her, his face barely visible in the reduced light. "I mean, why the fuck not? Can't you imagine the obit? 'Frances Richardson, dead at nineteen, killed by the mythical dragon of Bakers Hill' Shit, sounds like a party to me!"
She shook her head in disbelief at the response. This man... This _child_ wished to die! It was amazing that such thing could ever occur! The last vestiges of her anger faded; she had to know more about this! His comment also told her that she was at least considered a myth, though it didn't tell her about the rest of her kind.
Twisting her head back on her neck, she blew a gout of flame into the long dead fire pit in the center of the room. With a flash of air and fire the remaining wood ignited into a brilliant blaze, filling the cave with it's flickering yellow-red glow.
Turning her head back to Frances she considered him and his request. Finally she spoke again, "It is true that I have killed everyone who has found me before this." Actually it wasn't true; Frances was the first person to travel deep enough into the mountain to find her home.
"But they all wished to take my hoard," she continued, "what little of it there is, or my head, which I'm quite fond off. You... you are different. I think it would be best to let you live."
He swore out loud. "Not you too! How the hell can you know what is best for me? You're not me! You don't even know me! If I demanded your hoard would that anger you enough to kill me then? What will it take!" he demanded.
She moved her head down, turning to look him right in his pale gray eyes. "Maybe if I knew more about you? If you tell me why you wish to die I might do this for you."
Retrieving the flashlight from where it had landed, he shut it off. Then sitting down on the stone floor, his legs crossed under himself, he started to explain.
"I don't really know, I just don't see any reason to live. I'm always alone, My Mom spends so much of her time being rich she doesn't even notice me. My Dad is just plain too busy. I'm too smart for the school to handle and no one wants to be seen with me because my Dad's the Senator. Hell, the only thing I even remotely care about in this world is dragons."
Surenian moved her head back a bit. "Are my kind known?"
He shook his head. "Only in fantasy."
"Then what interested you about my kind? Why would you care about something that is considered a fiction?"
He shrugged. "A thousand things that add up to nothing. You're a kind of beauty to me, a grace I can always desire but never achieve."
Folding her wings close to her she settled down on the floor. He seemed to be sincere in his wish to die, but she wondered about his love of dragons. She wanted to know more about it, and about him. An idea started to form in her mind.
"I don't know, child. It seems to me that those are all poor reasons to die. You said before that you are nineteen years old? You must have many years before you and so much to live for. I am over four-hundred years old and I have yet to truly experience this world."
He threw his hands up. "Of course not! You've been down in this cave for the past century if the stories are right."
A century? It had been longer than she had first suspected. "They are accurate."
He rolled his eyes. "So, you aren't going to kill me, are you?"
She shook her head. "No, I'm sorry but I will not take your life."
He stood up, turning his flashlight back on. "Fine then! There goes even a dignified death! I'll just go throw myself down the mine shaft back there!" Then he turned and started to stomp down one of the dead-end tunnels.
Surenian gave a mental sigh. She could see the truth in his words, "Wait."
He spun back around and glared at her. "What?" he demanded.
"I can see that you speak the truth and that you will do what you say, so I will make you a deal." She moved her head closer to his. "You and I shall go out into this world for one week. I will learn about you as you will learn about me. During that time we will see many things. Maybe you will find something to live for. At the end of that week, if you still wish to die..." she paused for a second, lowering her head. "Then I will kill you."
He walked up close to her and laid a hand on the side of her muzzle. "You won't break your promise?"
"My honor has yet to be tarnished in that fashion," she answered.
He tilted his head, considering. "A week then?"
Frances seem to fall back into thought, his hand warm against the soft scales of her muzzle. "Then you must agree that you will not try and dissuade me directly. You can try and help me find something to live for, but only that."
He smiled, stepping back away from her. "Thank you. Then, we have a deal."
She smiled back, stretching herself out along the floor of the cave. "My name is Surenian."
He seemed to blanch at the name. "May I call you Renie then? I think it would be easier for me to say."
She rolled the name over her tongue. It did sound like it would flow off the human palate better than her proper name. "Yes, you may call me that. Do you have anyplace you wish to go first?"
He shrugged. "Not really."
She spread out her wings. "Then climb on my back and we shall fly."
He smiled, and scrambled up onto her back, perching on her shoulders just in front of her wings. She willed her magic around him to hold him with her. Then rearing back she leap into the air, the blast from her wings sweeping through the cave and smothering the fire.
Then with a twitch of her mind she moved their mass out of phase with the stone and flew through the solid rock of the mountain (which resulted in a slight yelp from Frances before he realized what had happened) and out into the open air.
To Be Continued...
This story is copyright 1999 by Fox Cutter, hardcopy reprints limited to one a person, all other rights reserved. This story may not be distributed for a fee except by permission of the author, and this copyright notice may not be removed.
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Objects: Chapter 1: Who goes there?
Page last updated: 02/19/2012
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