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The Green Amulet

A Dragon Learns the Lessons of War

By K. C. WexlarPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 9 min read
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The Green Amulet
Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

Agni eyed the tiny human as it floundered through the tall field grass and instantly found it odd that none of the large ones were with it. The way it shrieked and howled she was certain that one of them would come, but alas it looked like this little creature was destined to become someone’s prey.

I may as well be the one to do it, Agni thought. At least he won’t suffer.

Agni stealthily padded her clawed feet toward the flailing child, opened her massive jaws, and began to bring her head down onto the tiny body when suddenly a dragonfly flew into her smoking nostril, forcing her to sneeze. A fireball the size of a boulder escaped her nose and shot into a nearby tree, instantly scorching it to embers. The fiery shot was enough to pull the little boy out of his sobs. He spun around and froze. Agni moved in again for a second try to swallow him, when a sparkle of emerald green from something around the boy’s neck caught her eye.

There was no mistaking it, the king’s golden insignia gleamed in the sun on the boy's amulet. Now Agni was the one who froze in fear.

They stared at each other for a moment, but the boy did not run, his jaw hung open; clearly, this being the first dragon he’d ever seen. He took in Agni’s massive scaled form, the otherworldly purple and blue spears rising out of her back, her massive weighted tail that splayed into piercing spikes that could crush a thousand skulls. The boy cocked his head to study her reptilian face with wide flaring nostrils whispering smoke and rows and rows of jagged rows teeth. Finally, he landed on Agni’s kaleidoscopic eyes, filled with fire, magic, and power, unlike anything he’d ever encountered in his short life.

Please don’t hurt me, his little eyes implored.

Agni searched around again, but it was clear this boy was alone. Agni couldn’t hurt this creature even if she wanted to. The boy was wearing the Green Amulet, the legendary stone in the kingdom, its wearer was rendered invincible to any being, magical or otherwise, who tried to harm him.

What do to next? Agni pondered. She could slink away into the trees and remain in hiding. She was in the human world because she’d narrowly escaped a coup in the Land of Dragons. The fire dragons had staged an all-out war against the sea dragons to control the entire realm. Her tribe’s hubris was met with such utter decimation by the sea dragons that not many of her kind survived. She’d been lucky enough to remember the secret portal through one of the Land’s massive waterfalls and crossed over to the human's kingdom just as her brothers were drowning in the sea, their wings now broken in battle and unable to swim back to shore.

I cannot go back, she sadly concluded. There’s nothing for me there.

There was the option to take the little prince back to the humans’ castle. This was risky as she only knew a few human words from her sporadic trips into their world. Mainly the fire dragons crossed over through their portal in search of gold or other items to enrich their tribe or enhance their magic. Her mother had been an expert wizard finder, able to collect most of the valuable loot without losing too many scales in the process.

Wizards taste terrible because of those awful beards, and as humans go they rarely bathe. So it's best to gulp them in one motion while they sleep. Oh, the tricks they have up their sleeves if you try to take them as your prisoner! Her mother smiled toothily as she told these hunting tales around the family’s lair.

Agni wondered what her mother would do in these circumstances, finally deciding that given the fire dragons’ world was now very much ablaze itself, it would be best to take the risk and make herself known to the human kingdom’s leaders, She did still have both her wings intact, and her fire range was still strong (case in point the sneeze that torched the hundred-foot oak).

Agni bent her head low to the ground, a universal sign in the animal world that she meant no harm and bore into the child’s eyes with her own, trying to look friendly - but likely coming off as slightly deranged.

“Home?” she asked. “Go home? Me Agni, Go to castle.”

The boy’s mouth remained agape, not quite believing that not only were dragons REAL, but they could also talk.

Agni searched and searched her lizard’s brain and found another word, “Ride? Ride!" She slowly extended one of her massive wings, forming a scaly ramp for the boy to climb up, "Home."

The boy looked around as it was clear no one else would be coming to rescue him. Besides, the dragon shared her name, surely this meant that she could be trusted? He slowly nodded and made his way up Agni’s wing. When he reached the summit of her back, his little frame squeezed perfectly between two of Agni’s large spikes, almost as if her body was meant to carry him.

His little self atop her now, Agni was unsure if the Green Amulet’s powers caused her to feel an internal glow, a warmth from within that reminded her of her own (now departed) family. But as she spread her massive jewel-colored wings and flapped them to take flight toward the humans’ castle, something in her heart's innermost sadness and loneliness also lifted. After weeks of wandering alone, now there was some kind of purpose, even if it remained to be seen what fortune had in store.

Agni knew where the castle was from the stories her tribe would tell of the great kings that had lived there over the centuries. It had been built on the side of a great river next to a large mountain called The Sleeping Dragon. Its high walls and deep moat protected it from invaders as it was fortified with the strongest stone mined from the mountains' quarry. The legends went that when the last brick was laid, a massive rainbow spread across the afternoon’s sky, despite there being no rain. And that at night, the stars had shone brightly in the shape of the king’s name, ALMORFOUS for all his subjects to see and know there was only one true family that would inhabit its hallowed halls.

The boy clung to Agni as she soared through the clouds, and when the castle finally appeared into view, she could feel his excitement, knowing that she stayed true to her word and he would be reunited with his family. The boy was now hugging against Agni in relief that he was back in his familiar place, but suddenly the embrace turned into a panicked clutching as the pair got closer to the kingdom.

Having just recently escaped a terrible war herself, Agni knew all too well what had recently happened here in the human world. The farming fields were torched, peasants lay on the ground, and some still gripped a pitchfork or large stick as their only means of defense.

It had the appearance of a surprise attack, and upon closer inspection, Agni could see a great number of boats anchored in the river with women and children being pushed against their will on the nearby dock waiting to board.

Agni did not know the intimate ways of humans, she did not wholly understand their conflicts or fragile egos. However, she did recognize that this was perhaps very close to what the fire dragons had hoped for when they sought to overthrow the sea dragons' rulers and take the tribe’s magic and gold. To use the element of surprise, to take power from another, to destroy those swiftly who interfere and justify the endeavor as simply the next rational step in the land’s ultimate destiny.

What fools we were, Agni lamented. We always thought we were superior to the petty human ways, but we are not so different, we both destroy our own kind to feed these feverish dreams, Agni’s heart felt heavy again, learning that perhaps their natures, dragons and humans, were cut from the same fabric more deeply than she’d ever imagined.

Agni realized something else. Upon my back was the rightful prince with the most powerful weapon of them all, The Green Amulet. Perhaps I can restore the balance here instead?

Quickly, Agni dive-bombed into the ships, she used her fiery breath to set the entire fleet ablaze before the women and children could be forced inside. The captains looked up and fell to their knees at the sight of a great fire dragon now knifing through the sky, begging forgiveness and clemency. Next, Agni made her way over to the town square, where other soldiers were looting the merchants' shops and splayed her firey breath, forcing them to run in terror. She could guess that those men wearing the same colors as the flags on the now-burning boats were all fair game. The boy was both terrorized and exhilarated, despite his young age, he could also tell the unwelcome guests were now getting rightfully pushed out.

Finally, Agni set her sights on the castle. She landed on its highest turret and peered inside its window. She could see a woman in expensive robes chained to a bed, wild with fear. But the woman’s expression changed when she glimpsed Agni’s tiny passenger.

“Almorfous!” she gasped, looking at the boy as if he were an angel from heaven itself.

“Mama!” the boy reached out, barely able to reach the window but making it into the chambers.

The Queen, Agni realized. Using all the self-control she could muster, she very carefully blew the smallest of fiery streams into the chamber to melt the chain. The Queen freed herself and embraced her son in a weeping heap.

“Agni!” the boy pointed at Agni as if to say, She is the one, my rescuer, our savior.

The Queen rushed to Agni and placed her hand on the dragon’s still-smoking snout.

And so the legend goes, King Almorfous IV, Rider of Dragons and Keeper of the Green Amulet, as a tiny child of a prince, had gotten lost on a hunting expedition. The hunting trip had been a trap by the neighboring kingdom to murder the king while its leader invaded the castle. But Prince Almorfous (destined as the others before him) had the amulet that his father slipped onto his neck just before the King pushed his son into the grass to hide him from the traitors while running ahead and sacrificing himself. The tiny prince then happened upon the only living fire dragon in all the worlds of magic and man. So, even though he was but a child, the prince rode her into battle and achieved a blazing victory over the kingdom's enemies, a win for all the ages. And this remarkable dragon, Agni, who rescued the domain from its violent invaders, would live henceforth to protect the castle and her new family under a rule of law and respect, where war would never again be used to prove anyone's destiny.

The universe will always serve to do the proving for us.

Fantasy
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About the Creator

K. C. Wexlar

Sweet, scary and strange but always satisfying.

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Comments (1)

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  • Bec Fletcher 5 months ago

    This is a great story, I love the kind of epilogue at the end, it was a nice edition.

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