Lyndryth, Protector of the Lost
When The Last Ember Falls...
Of all the dragons come before him, the Mysterious, the Clever, the Dead, and the Missing—Lyndryth was the most important of them all, or, at least, that is what he would come to realize. But truth be told, Lyndryth was a strange, homely looking dragon, a rich deep purple skinned beast sporting a spiked-back and gapped teeth; he was: “Lyndryth, the Protector of Creatures”, a mighty fine name if it wasn’t for all the chub that bunched around his oversized middle like a tubby inchworm.
Lyndryth stood by the side of the bending lake looking out at his reflection before kicking snow around the soft edges and turning to suck in his protruding stomach. He breathed in deeper, arching his back and squaring his shoulders; slurping air into his lungs until he felt the familiar burn bursting in his chest.
“I look more like a dinosaur than a dragon…” he exhaled, scoffing dejectedly at his unchanging reflection—wondering how he would be treated if he was taller, leaner, or more menacing. He was about to try again when a wailing cry exploded off in the distance, the sound unlike anything he had ever heard before.
Lyndryth bunched up his nose, hoping to gain a scent lead. Instead, simmering smoke escaped from his nostrils, barely missing a colony of tiny two-headed howlers that scattered beneath his feet, their hair singed and flaming as they shoved their heads into the soft ice for relief; their cursing barely audible over the cries echoing around them. As Lyndryth strained to hear, he knew he had to get closer. The agonizing wails were growing steadier by the minute, whatever it was, the creature was clearly pained, frightened, maybe even hurt and Lyndryth knew he had to help, if it was the last thing he did.
Of course it was nothing short of a minor miracle that Lyndryth had managed to propel himself up just enough to drag his dull claws along the low-lying shrubs, his talons filed down from years of sedentariness. He much preferred to live the life of leisure, grazing on sea-grass and burnt-ended Grifflemares—surprisingly colorful wingless, autumnal beasts that wandered near the lake bed. They were easy to catch, and quite tasty—the perfect afternoon snack for a dragon who absolutely hated flying, and naturally, it was in times like these when his endless gorges would come to bite him as he panted heavily, sweat dripping off his scaly skin as he fought to keep himself in the air.
Flying was a burdensome feat of which Lyndryth had given up on years, and years ago, much to his parent’s dismay, and now, entering adulthood as a non-flying dragon was proving to be harder than it looked but little did they know, he was exactly where he needed to be. He was one of several Dondryth Dragons that chose to live a roaming life in the forest whereas most all of his family and friends lived in the rambling cliffs nearby. Occasionally Lyndryth would see them soaring high above, carefully navigating the cluster of tree-tops that dotted the lands for thousands of miles. A few of them would even pop-in to say hello, but today, the skies were empty. It was as though Lyndryth was the only dragon around.
This was exactly how Lyndryth spotted him—a strange creature indeed—of short stature and yarned skin, a layer of something soft that covered his arms and legs, and from first glance it appeared Lyndryth had a lot in common with the young creature; both of them were short, red-faced and bobbed uncertainly from side to side when they walked—though—Lyndryth thought the youngster might not be able to help it.
Lyndryth hovered dangerously close to the ground; he had no balance or coordination and stumbled rather haphazardly as Collared Ant-Biters and Whisker-footed Toggle-Bunnies jumped and dove to miss colliding with him as he crashed into the snowy ground below. He thought back to what other Dragons his age would have done hundreds of years before, all these thoughts crossed his mind but it was no use, Lyndryth never could remember the names of any ancestral dragons that came before him, nonetheless, he was enamored by their tales.
He grew up admiring how brave they were in the face of danger and fearless under pressure; all the noble traits of a beastly dragon…least of all, they could fly…but he, he had no idea why the elder dragons named him so. There was nothing brave or dashing about him, but still, he was forevermore known as the “Protector of Creatures” and that is what he intended on doing as he picked the small, screaming creature up into his arms, wondering how to explain what he had found.
Branchless Hydras, Fluted wing-ladies, and Painted Myrrh all crowded curiously around the small creature. He looked to be only two or three, barely old enough to see over the Night-Cupids—swollen vivid green flowers that littered the mossy, snow-covered Earth, glowing sickly against the dark landscape.
Most of the forest-dwelling dragons lived nearby in large, oversized nests that cradled into the hilly terrain. Lyndryth shared a nest with Talyrn the Bringer of Peace, her brother Tuvreg the latest Sky Champion and Frodreck the Warm-hearted —they were the most recent family of dragons to roam the nearby patch of woods.
To the North the Chylreaon, a much different breed of dragons lorded over the skies— even those reflected off the lakes of mirror-ridden ice Lyndryth used to gaze at himself. The Chylreaon soared high over the lowly Ersnugs—twenty foot long dragons that lived in the frozen waters; their snaking tails cutting through monstrous chunks of razor sharp slush, protecting only where the glassy water butted up against the forest edge.
You were unlikely to ever see an Ersnug near the shoreline; if you were lucky you caught a glimpse of their cerulean skin shimmering under the slippery frost, but that was as close as you ever wanted to be. It was for the best the small creature hadn’t ventured too far off the beaten path. Ersnugs are known for driving their clubbed tails into the ice and pulling wayward wanderers into their lairs hidden in the dark deep depths below.
But here in the great crawling expanse, regardless of their instinctive nature or deadly faults— every dragon had its place. While the Ersnugs should have been the first to see the creature Lyndryth rescued—thick sheets of cracked ice made it impossible to see through the trees and likely muffled its virulent cries.
Nearby, the harmless Serpent-Tailed Barking Phoenix’s were at home amongst the other winged-beasts of the forest— clouding the fire-breathers with their own ashy shows of bravado, disappearing in the blink of an eye, blending into the thick tree trunks. Even they didn’t know what to think of all the frightful crying.
It made sense that a Dondryth dragon would be the one to come to the tiny creature’s rescue considering most newcomers favorite Dragons were the Dondryths; they were better known for their easy-going ways, befriending anyone who came along. This was especially true of Lyndryth; he was the most easy-going of them all, and maybe that is what made him so special, so unforgettable, and oh-so helpful on this very day. As fate would have it, Lyndryth was the only one to come to the small creature’s rescue. His wreckless flight sending the Serpent-tailed Barking Phoenix’s whisking off in a frenzy, leaving nothing in their wake but a whisper—“you shouldn’t do that…” their voices carrying through the thick woods like wind, haunting Lyndryth as he carefully navigated his way back to the nest. What could be so bad about this tiny creature? He had never seen anything like it before…
“A human…a boy…you brought a human here?” Talryn screeched, flames shooting out of the sides of her angled mouth like lava.
“So that’s what it’s called…” Lyndryth asked, pausing to inspect the unfamiliar specimen with a mix of disgust and delight at the bubbles forming around the tiny creature’s tear-stained face.
“It’s loud,” Tuvreg muttered indifferently, shifting his weight to one of the few rocks washed by the sun’s rays as he tucked a wing over his exposed ear to muffle the sounds of inconsolable crying.
“It’s a baby,” Frodreck added, the disdain apparent as his eyes fluttered and shifted aimlessly to the side. For a dragon known as the “Warm-Hearted” Frodreck was particularly unpleasant. There wasn’t anything warm about him, not an ounce of kindness flowed through his cold veins.
Lyndryth knew he was the tiny humans’ last chance at survival and the boy had taken a liking to him rather quickly, his crying becoming less and less as the days wore on. “He’s missing his family,” Talyrn hissed, eyeing the baby with a mix of contempt and concern. “If the humans come looking for him we will all be killed, if not, worse yet, we will have to move, and it will be all your fault,” she added, pausing to peel a few leaves from a nearby ribwart plant— a humble, sweet flower— for the baby to suck on.
“Hopefully these don’t make him sick…he needs milk, water and nutrients. We don’t have the capabilities to feed him…” she continued, grabbing a few flowering berries and mushing them in her palms as she gently raised her monstrous claws to feed him, dwarfing it with her shadow.
Giggling could be heard from the tiny creature as Lyndryth hissed from the aggravation of Talyrn’s words, his nostrils flaring wildly as reams of smoke curled out of his nose in great swirling coils.
He did it again, the baby laughed uncontrollably. Lyndryth couldn’t be mad for long, after-all, how was he to be the “Protector of Creatures” if he couldn’t save a small boy?
“Lyndryth…did you not pay attention to the stories of our elders? Not every dragon’s name is their fate or their destiny…” Frodreck began lazily from his corner of the nest.
“Oh yeah, and why’s that,” Lyndryth countered, eyeing Frodreck who had yet to move for the day, decidedly unsure as to how he could possibly know such a thing.
“I mean honestly, look at us,” Frodreck began, “we are doing the exact opposite of what the rest of our breed does. We are not hunters, we gather, we don’t protect the skies, we don’t even protect the tree-tops, we lie around all day eating and sleeping…” he paused to throw a rock at the other side of their tent-like nest before continuing—
“Tuvreg was born the “Sky Champion” and he never once sent a fluttering wing to the wind,” Frodreck continued. It was true; the still snoring Tuvreg slept most of his days away. It was quite depressing for a dragon so young to be so lowly.
The two dragons bantered back and forth for hours, completely unaware of how the small creature was able to sleep so peacefully in Lyndryth’s lap. Lyndryth knew he had to make a change; he didn’t want to live his life sleeping the time away, and now he had something else to live for. They were dragons after all not owls or birds. They were born in a cave for a reason and Lyndryth had to figure out what his purpose was.
The days turned into weeks as Lyndryth woke with the small creatures every cry, doing his best to make him happy. Over time Lyndryth became more active, all in an effort to keep up with the baby, whom he had decided to name: "Elias, The Chosen”.
Lyndryth had never felt this way before, he felt like this young boy was his son, great warmth washed over him and he knew what needed to be done. Lyndryth scooped up young Elias and went back to the same spot he had been left, for days and weeks, but no one ever came back. Wondering why no one had come looking for him Lyndryth watched as the boy became bigger, stronger, more active, and in turn, so did Lyndryth.
It would seem they saved each other. Lyndryth had found himself, and soon, he wasn’t just the Protector of Creatures, he was the Protector of the Lost. A name he prided over as he looked around at all the things he had accomplished, all because of Elias.
Meanwhile— Lonely outcast animals, crawling plants and other creatures trekked for miles away just to nestle safely in Lyndryth’s patch of forest but none of them meant as much as Elias had. The nest was overflowing with new members and soon Lyndryth, Talryn, Tuvreg and Frodreck began building a series of nests surrounding each other just to keep their new friends close.
As they grew in number Lyndryth wondered why the sounds of swooshing wings battering the tops of trees hadn’t been heard. It had been weeks and Lyndryth began to grow nervous. Come to think of it, he hadn’t seen many Chylreaon circling above either; their familiar roars were mere echoes. Even the Grifflemares had begun to leave, deserting the woods and going up into the trees to higher grounds. The forest-dwelling Dondryths would have to find their source of food elsewhere.
Calm, quiet days wore on bringing the balmy red skies of night; each morning Lyndryth would put young Elias on his back and set out for their daily adventures, going as far as his legs could travel. There weren’t any dragons or other creatures to be found; this worried Lyndryth; he wondered where everyone had gone. Back at the nest, their clan of mismatched creatures grew and grew to unspeakable numbers and soon word began to travel —starting as ambling whispers amongst the group, becoming deafening silence as a new fear set in.
It was assumed the Dondryths familial dragons had begun migrating south along with the rest of the sky-dwelling dragons—but it wasn’t for winter. Newcomers had invaded; settling in the very woods the Dondryths called home and Lyndryth knew this had much to do with Elias’s arrival. Maybe that is where he came from, but how could baby Elias have wondered so far on his own?
The loud buzzing caught his attention next; there were dozens upon dozens of two-legged creatures similar Elias but much, much taller—they spoke a language Lyndryth had never heard, carrying large chained contraptions, bladed instruments and beams of light as they yelled into the muffled darkness—“Adam, Adam…Adam,” their pleading cries cut deep into Lyndryth’ s heart. He knew they were talking about Elias.
Lyndryth looked down; young Elias was clutching his scales, sleeping peacefully as they crawled through the underbrush. Lyndryth wanted to get a better look, to see what these strange creatures were like; all the while, the words Talryn spoke swirled around his head. He knew what he had to do; he had to give Elias back. It was the right thing to do…after-all, the Dondryths couldn’t keep him forever…or could they?
Lyndryth crept closer and closer, he was feet away from the group of men when he stopped dead in his tracks. Large crater-like canals bore through the soil—Zandewar tracks—this meant a nest had to be nearby. Lyndryth sunk lower into the bushes looking off into the trees for any sign of the silky black lizard—surprised at himself for missing the signs. He had been so focused on saving Elias and flying that he completely overlooked the obvious.
“Zandewars…” Lyndryth muttered. Of course, it had to be a Zandewar; Zandewars were ugly, slimy creatures. Lyndryth had only ever seen one in all his life, and that was enough for him. They were a snaking reptile similar to a dragon but outside of that, Zandewars had nothing in common with any dragon Lyndryth knew— even the laziest, evilest dragon couldn’t compare to a Zandewar. Come to think of it, there weren't any good reason for them to exist. Zandewars were notorious for slinking into neighboring villages to snatch small creatures away when no one was looking— their favoritest things to steal were always newborns and it was likely this Zandewar had dropped Elias on the way back to its nest.
The thought angered Lyndryth as he looked down at the sweet child he held so dearly. It sickened Lyndryth to think how close Elias had come to being ravaged by piercing teeth and frenzied claws; he shivered. Every tendril and scale on his body heightened; the fire boiled up inside his chest. Lyndryth was on full alert.
He scoured the hill-line for any signs of obvious pitting or burrow-marks. Zandewars would tunnel into the side of hilly trees; their sharp pointed snouts made it all the easier to quickly dig under roots and rocks while their hooked teeth and bulbous claws gave them great advantage to most forest dwelling creatures, but today, Lyndryth knew he had the upper hand; the Zandewar had finally met its match.
Zandewars were cowards if anything; it wouldn’t be easy to spot them in the dense woods being that a dragon was nearby. Lyndryth’ s lips tensed; this was the hardest decision he would have to make, if he revealed himself or made one wrong move than he could be killed, but if he did nothing the Zandewar would strike, pouncing at any minute. He could feel it, eyes were upon him…but where was the question.
Before he knew it, a low-growling grunt emanated from his snarling lips. Lyndryth couldn’t explain it; it was as though his body knew what to do without him having to tell it. Coiled up against a tree Lyndryth spotted the slight bend of a curiously devious Zandewar. It was much bigger than he expected, its square head turned to the side, a hungry smile passing along the edge of its face; showing a hint of what terrors were held within. Lyndryth didn’t wait for what would happen next. He gave Elias one last hug as he placed him carefully in the bushes before stepping out into the small clearing.
The Zandewar didn’t budge or flinch one bit but Lyndryth didn’t care. He stood between him and Elias, standing tall to match the Zandewar, determined to protect Elias at all costs.
Roaring flames shot out of his mouth torching the trees and leaves, but the Zandewar stood unscathed. Its golden eyes glowing like the finest amber honey against its silky, pitch-black skin.
The Zandewar moved gracefully amidst the trees, jumping from trunk to trunk as shrieks and shrills were heard from Elias’s search party—who by the looks of it were trying their best to leave, but it was no use. The Zandewar was determined to box them in. As the Zandewar continued to circle the group, Lyndryth stood firmly planted. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed something funny with the trees. It was such a small disturbance that even Lyndryth didn’t realize what was happening right away and it was easy to see why— if you weren’t paying attention you might think the falling embers were something caused from the Zandewar. Tiny pieces of glowing bark falling to the Earth; but that is not what was happening, not at all. If you knew what was about to happen next, it was only a matter of time.
In the great distance, all around them was the sounds of echoing laughter. It had been harped upon him since he was a wee-little dragon; never-ever-ever disturb the trees.
You see, the Zandewar must not have been aware of this, maybe it didn’t care. With each passing swoop the Serpent-Tailed Barking Phoenix’s seemed to explode into a million burning embers as the Zandewar landed, digging its dreadful claws into their rigid bark. The loud death cries might have been frightful to most, but for Lyndryth he knew what his meant, the dragons would soon be summoned —and it wouldn’t be long. Soon, a thousand dragons would descend upon the woods, Lyndryth waited for the circling to begin.
About the Creator
Writing my escape, my future…if you like what you read—leave a comment, an encouraging tip, or a heart—I’m always looking to improve, let me know if there is anything I can do better.
& above all—thank you for your time
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