A Big Shiny Blue Marble Ch. 34byTaLtos6©
***I'm hitting the pause button to back time up a few weeks as we look elsewhere for a little while. Don't worry, this is not far from the mountain where the others live. I also need to explain a couple of things.
To me, the fact that I have to explain outside of a story is an indication of failure as a writer, but I'd rather do this than leave readers in the wilderness wondering what the heck just happened.
Yuan is half-human and has three forms to choose from. In the largest - which looks something like this - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Quetzscale1.png - Yuan is a male, a little larger than the one in the picture. In the middle form, she can be either, and there's always the original human female form as well.
You'd think that would lead to some interesting situations, but she's quite lonely most of the time.
Just so you know - if it matters - there is some fooling around in this chapter and some of it is male-male, but to a human observer, if that were possible, you and I would likely never know it anyway. These things have one opening like birds do. That's what is referred to as a cloaca in this. It's a single opening, though in some species (the dragons in this since it's convenient to the story) there is a penis as in turtles and crocodiles.
There. All done. 0_o
Book of the Dragon Part 9
Yuan guessed that she'd been right about a few things, anyway.
Beyl'eth's male had eyes for little other than her body, it seemed. He'd come to claim her as Narreth had said that he would, but to her, it hadn't been the same as what they'd had before. He'd seemed to like the effort that she'd made at becoming as close to being a Tarkroth as she could as far as that went, but after the first and only time, he'd made no effort since.
Every time that she looked, they were together and usually mating. If they weren't, they were sleeping. Yuan slept in the dwelling far down the ledge, not wanting to hear them. The one time that she'd managed to summon the courage to ask -- and that had been after almost a week -- Beyl'eth had almost snarled that they weren't finished.
Yuan stood in shock, and Beyl'eth knew what she'd done and pushed Ayt'han off to try to mend this, but the damage had been done and Yuan had no reply to make. The tear in her eye said it all.
They'd both gotten up apologizing and Yuan knew that they were sincere, but she also knew that this wasn't completely due to their hearts and their minds. Their bodies were voting in a big way and she guessed that it was needed. She'd begun to walk away, but they'd followed, trying to get her to stop so that they could plead with her. Yuan had a fair idea that the trouble was mostly a biological drive -- the last Tarkroth's bodies demanding to mate. She could even allow for that and she had, but after most of a week and to be snarled at, ...
She looked down, not listening as she thought about a way to make this a little more fair, and she knew that she'd made a promise to her friend that she wouldn't show her human form to him again. Yuan was almost certain that if she went to that form, it would likely even things up, but what was the point if no matter what they said they wanted, they needed to do this? She'd already seen a look on Beyl'eth's face that she never wanted to see again. She snorted to herself a little bitterly.
She'd tied her own hands.
She remembered what Narreth had said about asking her own question to him. They looked at her as though she'd lost her mind as she'd looked up at the ceiling of the overhang and laughed bitterly. She had a wish to ask him the question twice, once as she looked then, and once as Yuan the human girl. She was fairly confident that while his words might be the same both times, she'd see something far different in his eyes then if she asked in her human form, and she doubted that he could help it, so she changed then.
It was harder to speak like this, as the leathery-winged beast, but she managed it a little.
"Not what you want?" she asked, and the answer was plain in his eyes. She turned and began to move slowly away toward the other end of the ledge in her ungainly way.
Beyl'eth kept following. She was in tears herself for what she'd done. "Please Yuan, I'm so sorry. It came out of me before I knew it and -- "
"I know," Yuan replied, not looking at the demon as she continued on, "this cannot be done, what we wanted. I see this now. I have what is important to me, that you are happy, but it is very empty as well. You have your mate. I wish to be alone now. I need to consider."
"Wh-what are you talking about?" the Rohn asked.
Yuan turned then and lifted her head higher, "I believe you, Beyl'eth. I know that you are sorry. I am as well, but I am happy for you.
I need to think. There is no place for me here, and all that I do now is waste my time. Neither of you wish me harm, but I can be just as alone anywhere else, and I would not have to listen to your joy."
She smirked, "I was sent here to kill ones like you."
She turned away again, and this time, the Rohn didn't follow.
When Yuan reached the dwelling where her belongings were, she changed to walk into the door and then she sealed it so that there was no doorway. When she reached the room where they'd slept when they'd first arrived, a cold and sick dragon carrying what she was sure was no more than the dead and frozen body of her friend, she wrapped herself in her blankets and sat against the wall weeping softly.
After a time, Yuan looked across the room and created a surface like a mirror and then she brought forth two small points of light, both of them shrouded in fog to soften the light that they gave off. She stood up and looked at herself.
She decided that she liked the shape of the Rohn dragon-girl, but she now saw no need to restrict herself to the size that she had out of consideration for Beyl'eth, so she'd changed herself again so that her height was now what felt a lot better to her for many things -- flying while in that form for one. She stood at about five feet, nine or ten inches and she liked that better.
She was still a little lanky-looking, but she'd allowed for a bit more muscle, thinking that it looked a bit better and kept her from looking like a stick thing while retaining a willowy feel to her shape at the same time. After a long period of quiet thought, she added just a little to her hips and her breasts, though not a lot. She'd liked what she saw in the reflective surface, she just thought it still looked a bit too thin, so she'd made the additions.
As she turned and looked at everything, she saw the striped markings of the Rohn on the skin that she'd tried so hard to make smooth for them. It made her sigh. Despite her strong desire to belong, she couldn't see that the effort had brought her any return.
Yuan frowned, deciding not to think about it or she'd likely start to cry again. She didn't need to be reminded that she was still all alone.
She shook her head quickly and the markings were gone -- the dark gray replaced by another color which came to her mind. She liked this better, though she decided to keep the light eyes for now at least, and she stood for a time admiring her blue-black skin. It looked a little like a soft satin robe that she'd had a long time ago.
But she thought that if she was to go on searching, she'd feel a little better if she had a bit of protection, and in a second, the soft satin sheen was replaced with the tiny glints of millions of little scales. She ran her hand over her belly and up to one breast, liking the feel. She could still feel everything this way, and she still felt soft, and anyway, she thought, this was more natural for her.
The last thing that she'd done was make it easier to be a male this way. Her clitoris could still function, but with only a thought, it could now become a true penis, and though the testicles were still internal as they were in her large shape, she'd taken care of her earlier oversight.
Though she hadn't tried it, she knew that like this, she could deliver sperm -- to her hand, she smirked bitterly. It was just something that she wanted to do, that was all, and it made her feel more complete.
Who knew, she asked herself, maybe one day she might find a stable life for herself all alone somewhere and use what she'd done to impregnate herself, since she could do that now if she wished. She only had to get it inside her lips fairly early on before it finished stiffening. She would likely need to experiment a great deal, but she had time.
The dawn was not far off when she came out of the dwelling carrying her large pack as quietly as she could. She set it down and walked down to find a place to urinate. As she did, she looked a little and noticed that her mound and lips were the same as everything else, and when she was done and walking back for her pack, she thought about the pattern of tiny scales which she couldn't change on herself in her human shape and the way that she'd felt embarrassed to let Billy see that part of her.
She remembered that when she had begun this journey, she didn't know any better, really, and so she'd felt a bit proud that she was different there. What was she now?
She asked herself this question a few times as she walked back to get her pack.
As she walked, she noticed that Beyl'eth stood a little way off, partially hidden in a doorway, as though she didn't know what to do.
Yuan didn't look in that direction. If Beyl'eth was as uncertain as she looked, it was her problem, Yuan decided. She had her own troubles.
A thought came to her that in her large form, she wore a pattern on her wings and back. The scales on her genitals in her human form matched it. It gave her the answer that she sought and her wings in this middle form now wore that pattern in white across them in response to her thought. She looked down at herself and was pleased to see the pattern in miniature there -- a white stylized flying creature in brilliant white against her darkness. She decided that she was different -- as she'd always been, but from now on, she'd be different and proud of it. She looked at her pack for a moment to give Beyl'eth a bit more of a chance.
With little in it besides her few clothes, some other articles and her swords, it was a bit of a chore to get her thin arms through the straps, and as she struggled quietly, she thought about a few things for a moment, and then she began her change slowly to allow for any adjustments needed to the straps.
She completed her slow change and walked to the edge, the only dragon that she knew of, but a proud one all the same. Spreading her wide wings, she took off and flew south down the valley until she was higher than the ridge on her left side -- the east side. After that, she turned left and climbed away. She didn't look back.
Beyl'eth walked to the edge of the sandstone, watching as Yuan flew off. She choked back a sob and wanted to fly after her, but she knew that she could never fly fast enough to even keep her in sight. She hadn't looked back.
Beyl'eth was stunned as she walked along the ledge to the other room to stir the ashes and get a cooking fire going. After a half-hearted attempt, Beyl'eth hung her head and sat back on the floor feeling useless. She began to cry again.
For the many differences between one now-dying world on the plane of existence where the many species of Red demon lived and good old planet Earth, there were also a great number of similarities -- areas where things developed almost in parallel between the two places which had nothing to do with each other.
For one thing, both were once home to several types of dragons at one time, and though none of them had ever met, they would have nevertheless been astounded at their similarities, even if some of them didn't look very much like each other.
For one thing, they were rather rare and hard to find. That was because they tend to eat a lot and each one requires a good-sized range of land to find food on. That was another reason why they tended not to live in large communities. Well that, and the fact that, though they all tended to live a long time and grow wise, they were also rather vain creatures and didn't much like a lot of competition.
Their vanity extended beyond the way that they looked. If one of them set their mind to it, there was nothing as snobbish as a dragon.
As it had happened, in one of the ice caves where a number of dragons happened to coexist without too much nonsense and violence, there were a pair of old ones who taught younger ones of the ways of wisdom and the world. It was nothing to be adept at the sort of magic that dragons are capable of. Most all dragons of any sort have some ability. But on this world, the dragons tended to be a little like the Tarkroth in their belief system, and held their shamans in high regard. The two ancient masters were both powerful shamans and this is what they taught to only the most suitable of young students.
The rivalry of the two became pronounced and pitched at times and so it was that at some point, each one left to set up a mountain lair where they lived with a small number of followers. The community cave was situated roughly between the two.
At one point the two met there and after one of their more unusual though very heated arguments, they decided on a contest to see which one was the better teacher. As was agreed, they each took one young pupil for the purpose and on the agreed-upon date some years into the future, they'd set their pupils loose on each other, the survivor would be the proof as to which teacher was the better one.
The two students were both small orphans, not related to each other, one a girl and one was a boy. They met by accident now and then as they ran errands for their teachers and usually had to be separated because they each saw their master as the best. The teachers quarreled whenever they met, and so the pupils did the same.
On the day of the start of the open-ended contest, they were told of a particular dragon relic - a claw from one of the great dragons of the distant past. They were told to find the thing and return with it to the ice cave. It was allowed to help each other at any time if desired, but it was expected that only one pupil return with the relic to be declared the winner and the assumption was that in order to do that, the other one must be dead by that point. At the time, the pair were in their middle teens and more than ready and willing to kill each other.
The two young dragons glared at each other, and then they went their separate ways, each setting out on their own quest.
Neither one returned for over two years.
During that time, they ran into each other now and then and they spoke little, but over time, they became even more bitter enemies. The boy found the relic and the girl stole it. He ambushed her and she did the same two days later. They very nearly killed each other over it several times, but gradually, the claw was being carried back to the ice cave, always in the hands of one or the other and always it traveled in as hidden a way as possible.
Something about the shamanism of animistic cultures is that it requires shamans, and both of the competitors fell into that category, the great degree of each one's skill at their early ages was a testament to the two masters who had taught them as well as the minds and wills of the young students. Both could call elements of nature to their aid, from weather to avalanches and stones and even flocks of crow-like carrion birds to attack each other.
Another parallel in many shamanistic cultures, though certainly not all - on whatever world where it occurred on was the strange appearance of double-spirited individuals now and then. These practitioners were of one gender like anyone else, but what lay inside them was often at odds with the exterior. It is a strange thing to consider from the current viewpoint, but even on earth, it was not so unusual a thing for shamans to be one thing and yet reside in that body as something else.
From the time of the first European arrival in the New World to perhaps the end of the nineteenth century, there were well over five hundred groups of native North American tribal cultures. Of that number, about one hundred fifty recognized male two-spirited individuals and about half as many recognized female ones. In the culture of the Wotroth or dragons, the appearance of a double-spirited one of some power raised no eyebrows whatsoever.
The night finally came when one of the pair saw his chance to make the final sprint with the relic and after building up the heavy storm that he wished to use as cover, he chose the more natural shape for him and he set out in the middle of it, spreading his wings and flying very low at a slow pace. It went well until, less than a half mile from the mouth of the cave, the female attacked and grabbed the relic, speeding away as fast as she could go with him in hot pursuit.
When she reached the mouth of the ice cave, she stopped and the claw fell from her grasp .The male instantly seized it as he flashed past, but he stopped as well and stared almost right away.
What had once been a community of dragons was now a blood-spattered tomb.
It was dark, but everywhere, they saw the hacked and burned bodies, both inside and outside the entrance. Frozen and rotting corpses lay everywhere, both genders, all ages -- all sizes. The two looked at each other and the male dropped the claw in the snow. Each one turned then and went to the lair of their mentors. They found the lairs looted, their fellow students slain like all of the others.
The male dropped to his knees and wept. By the early morning, he was inside and finding nothing, he flew to where he knew the last refuge of his teacher to be. All dragons of any advanced age have one place where they feel safe and go there now and then to reflect, or in the case of grievous personal loss, they go there to mourn. He stood and stared at the corpses of his teacher and the powerful female who had been his bitter rival as they hung well-rotted from the preceding summer. The young female was already there crying her angry tears.
Neither one knew why it had happened. He asked how it could have been done, and she said that if it were the summer, she'd have been willing to wager that they'd have seen the marks of many pairs of boots.
She didn't know how it could be, she said, but her theory was that this had been the result of the combined effort of many lowlander mages and soldiers. They parted then to go to any other dragon groups and tribes which they knew of. Each one was found in a similar state.
This had happened before, they'd been told by the elders in their teaching; the lowland people banding together to attack ones who were different from them. It had gone on for a thousand years and was another reason why there were so few of their kind, for dragons reproduce slowly.
A month later, they knew that they were the last, spared by their absence as they'd run their quest for the now-forgotten relic. They only spoke a little when they met, and as the female was about to tell of something else, the male turned to her and said that he knew -- he'd seen a vision that the Tarkroth were now under the same hammer. The two kinds of creatures had always known of each other, and had little in common. For reasons which neither of these two knew, while the two kinds had never been friends, they'd never been enemies either.
They were about to separate and go their own ways, when she pointed and there, far down the slope where they stood, they could see an old demon walking toward them slowly.
They shrugged and began to walk down.
As they got much closer and were about to try to speak to him, they heard a commotion and all three turned to see a whirling cloud racing toward them. There was no time to do much of any running, but when it overtook them, the pair of young dragons found themselves inside a whirling mass of bodies -- crazed demons, fearful and mad with terror. It came to them much later that it had been the old demon that the cloud was coming for -- they'd only been scooped up as well and in the blink of an eye, the mountains were as deserted as they'd been in the beginning, before the time of either the demons or the dragons.