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Earth Wyrm

Earth Wrym

By K. BensleyPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 10 min read
11

Without looking Molog could smell and sense a presence. He knew his vision and hearing weren’t what they once had been but accepted it as a worthy compromise for still being alive. I’m closer to a fossil than anything living, he thought miserably. A sour mood had been his only companion on a sluggish journey afoot, lamenting over an arduous withdrawal from hibernation while painfully aware it could be the last.

Blind hunger drove him from a decade of slumber into a cold early spring. After emerging stiff and emaciated, he found himself subconsciously driven towards the Forest of An. The place never failed to provide game, although the trees loomed much larger and thicker than he remembered. He stopped within a few hundred yards of a misty opening to see what had borrowed his attention.

Inhaling a deep lungful of air, stony arched nostrils flared and drew in a number of attractive scents from the surrounding brush. They layered themselves in varying degrees of clarity but one overshadowed them all.

Sarakat!

Small bipedal mammals that seemingly multiplied with every new season and whose only obvious purpose was to hunt dragons. They fear us. And why wouldn’t they. Every interaction with them ended with a full belly, he thought while wishing he could say the same for his kin.

He moved an extended foreleg over the area of suspicion; curled overgrown ebony talons raked the foliage in a great swathing motion to expose the dewy ground beneath.

A high pitched mewing assaulted the serenity of the meadow but Molog was oblivious, impervious to any sound at all, contrary to his own belief.

His massive claw held the bushes in place upon seeing the source of the odor; a blur without detail which contrasted a patchwork of clothing against the mud. The smell was unmistakable and invigorating.

It’s been too long, he thought while opening his jaws slightly in anticipation, exposing a set of glistening yellowy teeth elongated with age and use.

Don’t eat me,” it announced.

Fear was present, it always was but something unusual made him pause.

He understood.

Freezing at the realization, Molog not only understood but also felt it in his core, clearer and more powerful than any word sound.

Don’t eat me, I’m small” it repeated. The dread was tangible sending a shiver down the dragon’s rugged spine. It ‘spoke’ telepathically, an ability only reserved for other dragons and the occasional high druid, neither of which had been seen for many seasons.

However intriguing this was, it was also disturbing. Suspecting a Sarakat ruse, Molog sniffed the air again to confirm it wasn’t an elaborate ambush. Satisfied, he continued to explore the anomaly.

How are you able to talk with me?” He demanded of the wretch, ensuring anger was conveyed in the transfer.

An uncontrolled feeling of fear with overtones of confusion emanated from the being and into the dragons consciousness.

Molog knew he could only be dealing with a whelp; the rudimentary projection was that of a Wyrmling. They’d express their feelings without any articulation, a fundamental requirement for the most basic of exchanges. Through age and training, one could have the deepest and most complex of connections. A pang of sadness appeared at the memories of such times, times when he had many friends. However, one by one, season by season they had all made their final flight to the Mynnyd of Rebirth. As far as Molog knew, he was the last to take that pilgrimage.

An idea came to the old beast that could help solve his most imminent problem, believing this an omen straight from the great Wrym god himself….

•••

Over two thousand days gradually transitioned from cold to temperate and gave way to a hint of summer that promised extremes with early bushfire. The variety of animals and foods that had become available as spring developed now dwindled within the forest.

He’d accepted and grown accustomed to the risks since becoming too weak to fly again. At first it was a humiliation, denying the phase of a dragon’s life which marked the beginning of the end. However, there was little choice. He adapted and his resourcefulness had made an important tool of the Sarakat pup whom he had thoughtfully named Sarak. The child had helped him in more ways than he cared to admit. Still, he refused to let it be known. The beginning of their relationship was naught but struggle, yet over the spring the boy developed and with it his training and understanding. Molog had become quite dependant on him and he knew it would be the case until his last breath.

The dragon had laid inside an earthen barrow, just high enough to stand in but not enough to turn. A scarred snout rested towards the cavern entrance as dusk set in.

Sarak!” The dragon thought, he could smell the nearness of him but wondered at the delay.

I’m coming, I’m coming, I needed some fresh cover,” he responded with obvious irritation.

Molog hid his pleasure at the boy’s initiative, “hurry it’s nearly dark.”

Sarak used a large leafy branch to rake over the last footprint left by Molog. Track discipline was much harder after rain. His mind had been too occupied of late and he nearly forgot the last few tracks. The old beast was preparing his strength for the long walk but it meant most of the day was spent covering the evidence, hiding it from his own kind. It had never crossed his mind before but two moons ago a band of what looked like Sarakat were spotted in the hills to the West. Since then it consumed his thoughts. The dragon suspected something had shook him, even expected it at some point, surprised it took so long.

After hastily camouflaging the cave entrance with the new foliage, Sarak deftly ducked through the tangle and squeezed passed Molog’s resting head to grab his pole staff for evening training.

Leave it, we have something to discuss,” the dragon thought.

Sarak stopped, replaced the wooden shaft, took a seat cross-legged in the pile of rushes and closed his eyes to focus.

What is it?” he thought curiously but already expecting the answer.

Molog responded curtly, “we need to leave tomorrow; I suspect you already knew it was coming. Food is scarce, it’s too dangerous to send you any further alone and I’ve now realized I won’t live beyond summer. I have chosen you as a guide for my journey to the Mynnyd. You are still only a Wrymling but a strong one and we will face many tribulations ahead, are you ready?”

Sarak absorbed the feelings; he felt the sadness, the sense of urgency and also a hint of desperation. This is new, he thought to himself but the relief of finally leaving and seeing the world he knew little about was impossible to contain. It permeated his response, “great Molog, you honor me. I am ready and your training has prepared me justly. I will gladly serve as your guide.”

Molog ended the conversation there, “sleep now and gather your energy, I will wake you when it’s time.”

Sarak did as he was told and climbed into his pile of furs. Anxiousness and excitement masked his hunger for a time….

•••

The first few days of the journey consisted of skirting the forest northwards, keeping to the low ground and using cover where possible. A twenty foot dragon was hard to miss so they travelled by moonlight and slept in the shade of day. Sarak walked ahead at a distance where threats could be avoided and any game could be stalked silently. Their telepathic bond enabled him to choose and clear the route so Molog could be guided through the darkness or where his eyes failed him…

As the beginning of dawn made its way from Eastern hills on the eighth morning they found an elaborate cave system banking the river Curne. “This river will take us a hundred miles towards the Mynnyd, I remember following it from the skies,” he projected with fondness. The noise of the water was deafening to young Sarak and moving inside was a relief. The subdued rushing reverberated in the walls around them.

Finding the caverns bare was surprising to the dragon; assuming there should be sign of food or Sarakat. Molog’s experience taught him where they tended to thrive but this place was devoid of anything worthy of sustenance. “This is a good place to test out your net Sarak, set it up on the riverbank and remember to secure it before casting,” he instructed before letting him wander too far into the unknown darkness.

Sarak was more than pleased at the prospect having only tested it out on smaller streams in the forest. Molog found a large nook to curl up in and gather strength for the next push, praying the wrymling would catch some fish. For both of their sakes.

The power of channelled water on rock echoed between either sides of the river. Sarak moved further along to find an open area. A huge boulder rested on the edge a few paces away, it made an ideal anchor point to secure one end of the netting. Holding on to the other end he cast the folded section into the water below then spread it open by pulling his loop and walking further away. The strength of the water was felt along with a surprising build-up of fish; huge carp and catfish could be seen amongst the flapping. Using both arms Sarak pulled the net with all his strength towards the anchor point but in doing so, the rock rolled back, the hoop pulled free and whipped towards the pull of the river. He managed to grasp it as it shot through his legs but was pulled head first into the water. Blind panic set in immediately, calling Molog didn’t even cross his mind as he was dragged downstream breathing in more water than air…

•••

“There’s someone in the water!” the girl shrieked loudly as she pointed at the open bend in the river beyond them.

“I see it,” whispered her father squinting to focus on the flash of color that bobbed in the current. It appeared to be a child, without hesitating the man ran ahead and dove in, resurfacing a moment later cradling the limp body. After being helped up by the people gathered at the edge, he laid him on the soft grass and knelt to give breath through the nose. A child of this age should be strong enough to swim, the man thought as he watched the boy’s chest rise and fall with each exhalation...

•••

Sarak coughed for an eternity, eventually the fit subsided and his surroundings became clear. A number of Sarakat stood around him staring in fascination; the closest one was knelt, waiting for something. They all wore bits of clothing made from animal skins but for the most part were bare-legged and bare-chested. Terrified, Sarak tried to mentally communicate, “I do not mean you harm.” There was no response, just a few audible grunts from blank faces. The kneeling man grew impatient and softly said “who are you?”

Sarak couldn’t comprehend, the word sound was as unfamiliar as the pattern but the tone was reassuring. They do not use their minds to speak. Molog always said I was special, he thought, already missing his presence.

Many attempts at establishing linguistic common ground were made and as the crowd became visibly bored by the failed exchanges, a crashing was heard from the opposite side of the river. Through the snapping trees came Molog, rocks spilled into the water along with smaller shrubs and plants as he balanced on the edge sniffing the air. He then let out a deafening roar, but the people appeared oblivious. Sarak looked around at the faces and back to Molog, who sharply turned away and disappeared back into the trees…

•••

Molog could sense that the danger was too great, Sarak was lost. He’d called out but knew the bond was broken in some way. In his rage he blindly stumbled back to the caverns. It took some time but eventually he found a deeper nook to collapse in. Piles of bones littered the floor around him. This place feels familiar, he thought as his eyes closed in exhaustion…

•••

Sarak was brought to a great tree building in the centre of the village; it was the largest thing he’d ever seen. It frightened him. The whole journey had. Why hadn't Molog come back? he repeated as a mantra. Always ending with, he will soon, I know he will.

A huge door opened upon their arrival. An elderly man in a large dishevelled robe appeared and told Sarak’s escorts to leave. Once they were gone, he looked down at the boy and winked “Welcome back Molog, maybe next spring eh?”

Sarak understood.

Freezing at the realization, he not only understood but also felt it in his core, clearer and more powerful than any word sound. However, he didn’t know how or why he’d been called Molog.

What do you mean, Molog?” responding mentally with evident confusion.

The man looked puzzled, “the dragon didn’t tell you? You being here means his soul never fulfilled the pilgrimage and is therefore still lost. He left it too late in his physical form to make the journey thus becoming earthbound. Eventually, naught was left but his spirit. Every spring part of him occupies a new host to guide his essence back to the Mynyyd of Rebirth. If that happens, then all the dragons will re-hatch.”

Sarak fell to his knees nauseous, “How do you know this?”

I was the first Molog boy.”

•••

Without looking Molog could smell and sense a presence. He knew his vision and hearing weren’t what they once had been but accepted it as a worthy compromise for still being alive. I’m closer to fossil than anything living, he thought miserably. A sour mood had been his only companion on a sluggish journey afoot, lamenting over an arduous withdrawal from hibernation while painfully aware it could be the last...

Short Story
11

About the Creator

K. Bensley

Writing is a hobby that I’m looking to explore and improve upon by creating a variety of fictional content.

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Outstanding

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Comments (11)

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  • Abigail Penhallegon2 years ago

    This was a very intriguing story! I really enjoyed the idea and descriptions of an old, tired dragon. Dragons in stories typically have heightened senses and wisdom, so to have an old dragon being guided by a child was really interesting.

  • Gina C.2 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading this! I thought the ending was very impactful due to how you repeated it from the beginning. Lots of emotion and incredible world building here. Nicely done!

  • Kit Tomlinson2 years ago

    I love a good twist! Wonderful character building also :)

  • Heather Hubler2 years ago

    A fantastic surprise turn of events that really brought all the emotion to this story. I enjoyed the read. Well done :)

  • EJ Ferguson2 years ago

    Molog's ponderous journey and exhaustion is deeply felt in this. Sarak's realisation, and the repetition of the first paragraph at the end after the twist builds to a powerful ending. Nice work!

  • I love it! That twist was excellent.

  • D-Donohoe2 years ago

    Great read! Thanks for sharing!

  • Test2 years ago

    I really liked how you depicted the connection between Molog and Sarak, and the twist at the end was great. Well done!

  • Lilly Cooper2 years ago

    A nice twist at the end. Thoughly enjoyable :)

  • Babs Iverson2 years ago

    Fantastic!!! Hearted!!!

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