THE JOURNEY BEGINS
reeHee looked in the mirror and snarled. Baring his teeth, he blew tiny smoke rings through his wide nostrils. He studied his face. What is the secret of fierceness? He must become so terrifying that he scared himself. "I must!" he repeated out loud.
Stomping and snarling, he left the jeweled mirror and headed for the forest. At the entrance of the cave, he stopped, threw back his shoulders, screwed his face into a scowl, and stomped out into the afternoon sun.
As he approached the dense evergreen forest, he conjured up the presence of his fierce father Tereem. He began to mimic Tereem's walk, languid yet emphatic, rippling each muscle through to the tip of his tail before taking another stride. He moved towards a shrub, imagining it to be a grubby dwarf guarding his cache of jewels and gold. Pretending to be Tereem, GreeHee stared down at the ‘dwarf' commanding in his deepest rumbling voice, "Vermin, die!" Then with a blast of fire the shrub burst into flames. GreeHee imagined the dwarf screaming and running off.
A flicker of white seemed to jump from one tree to another. There again. What would his father do? "Out with you, you trespassing bit of white or I shall burn down all the trees around you!" GreeHee roared, mimicking his father perfectly.
Nothing happened. The young dragon blew hot black smoke through the trees. The sound of choking began. Soon a small white fairy creature coughed and choked before him. No more than four leets high, whitish-blue in color, with big blue eyes, it wore a small gold crown on its golden head.
GreeHee's eyes widened. He asked in his own voice; "Who are you?"
"My name is Loni," replied the creature, coughing, "I am, the youngest of the fairy princesses of the line of Ooden from the kingdom of Oberlon by the great Crystal River."
The smoke began to clear. Sure Tereem would eat this fairy and add the crown to the treasure pile. Of course this is what he must do to make father proud of him. He bit his upper lip in determination, thinking, I can do it, I can eat this fairy.
As he began to move, Loni spoke. "Please, Mr. Dragon, I didn't mean to trespass in your forest. I was kidnapped from my home several leedites ago. I finally got away from the ogre who trapped me. I was only trying to get back home."
The fairy began to sob, then hopefully she continued; "If you would take me home, my father would be very grateful. He would reward you with gold and jewels."
Ah, she seemed so helpless! And the more he looked at her the more he liked her. But no, the dragon-art. What would his father do? Of course, Tereem would look upon the fairy's request as an open invitation to kill all her family and take home all the treasure. Yes, this is what he must do. Go there and return before father got home. GreeHee will show Tereem what kind of dragon he had for a son. GreeHee's chest swelled.
"How far away is your kingdom?" he asked.
Brightening a bit, the fairy answered, "I think it's been ten beedites since the ogre captured me."
GreeHee considered when his father would return. He'd have plenty of time. And father would be so proud! A smile crept over GreeHee's face.
"Yes, I will take you," he said. "But you must direct me. I have never flown beyond these mountains."
Big blue eyes sparkling, Loni said, "Yes, I'll direct you! It will be my pleasure." Beaming she continued, "My father will be so glad to meet you. Uh, may I ask your name?"
"GreeHee. Now, hop onto my back and we'll get started."
The sky was clear and the wind brisk as it caressed his face. The mountainous forests stretched out below. The river Ryon gleamed purple in the distance and the sweeping Plains of Sasso stretched across the horizon in gentle hues of cream and brown.
"GreeHee, this is fun! I love seeing the world from here. The freedom that I feel is awesome!" exclaimed the fairy.
"Yes, I know what you mean. I like the feeling of power when I fly. I can see for hundreds of yonts, nothing can escape my vision. It makes me feel I can control everything below simply because I am above it."
"GreeHee, I'm so glad you found me. I really like you!"
He swallowed hard, electricity ran down his spine. No one had ever spoken to him like this before. It felt nice yet; he knew he would destroy her and her family to prove himself. He felt like a rock hit the pit of his stomach. No don't think about it. Easier to look at the big clouds and smell the wind.
After senes of silence, Loni's grip loosened.
"Loni, are you asleep?"
The fairy moved a little. "Oh yes, GreeHee, I'm very tired. Could we stop for a while?"
"Yes. I could stand a bit to eat at any rate."
GreeHee landed in a large meadow near some fruit trees and Loni dismounted.
"I'm going to find some food. I'll be back in a little while, rest yourself."
"Yes, this place is perfect."
Loni relaxed on the soft grass and fell into an enchanted sleep. A gentle blue light surrounded her and the haunting sound of fairy pipes whispered in her ears. She became aware of Eulool, the ancient fairy counsel, as he stood before her, dressed in a deep purple robe of velvet, meticulously embroidered with the Scrolls of Ooden in silver threads encrusted with jewels. In his right hand he held the staff of Wizen, a magnificent pearl staff glittering with fairy images emitting colors of blue and gold. Atop the staff stood a winged unicorn with a fairy woman on its back. Eulool's face was stern. The white hair of his whiskers flowed down the front of his robe.
"Come, child," he said, "You are in danger and must do as I say. I have something for you." Out of his robe he pulled a small shining five-pointed star and set it dancing in his hand. Loni stood mesmerized by its beauty. As it danced it sang a sweet low sound and gave off a blue light.
"The one who takes you home has a great and wonderful heart. He is blind but has earned the right to see; yet he must request it. Take the Star of Knowing and keep it. When the dragon asks, the star will hum and you must give it to him at that moment or it will fade and the opportunity may not come again for a multitude of linglorns." Eulool's image disappeared.
Loni woke up squinting and blinking. The dream had been so strong that the actual world around her seemed blurred. What had she done with the Star of Knowing?
GreeHee landed nearby greeting her. "Did you sleep well?"
Nodding in response, she noticed the star in her enchantment band, the ring of fairies that each female in the family of Ooden was given as a child. She rose and moved toward the dragon with joy and relief in her heart. Loni floated in and out of the trees eating a little fruit, glad for the protection of Eulool, and smiling at the star of blue on her finger.
GreeHee noticed her smile and he smiled too. A light happiness filled him though he didn't like the undercurrent that must follow. He forced it into a dark corner of his mind along with his father and began to enjoy himself for the first time in his life.
Oh Fairies of Ood, the truth have told,
A tale for all the young to know
Of two hearts fond, that love and grow
Together through the times of Shoald
Through pain, through war,
Though blood be shed
The friendship of fairies we shan't forget
To help our friends near death we'll tread
Forever a friendship till death we pledge.
The friendship is greatest when both shall be
Dependent on the inner lead
To stand against Tana with Friends abreast
Both truth and fear shall be their test
And through the traps of Wizards' Web
This friendship great shall weave a thread
Of Freedom, of Wisdom, Of Dawn and Song,
In truth a friendship to gift us all!
She sang and sang in her tiny voice with every string of her heart. Even GreeHee hummed along, the tune making a home in his mind.
After awhile Loni stopped and said, "You know, GreeHee, I think that our friendship will one beedite be as great as the friendship we sing about--
"GreeHee we must stop! Please there is some terrible danger before us! Please we must stop!"
"Where? Why? How do you know?" GreeHee began looking at Loni. She glowed in a red light, eyes fixed, mouth gaping. He followed her stare.
Four purple and black Terrotacs approached, their teeth barred, sickening yellow glint in their penetrating eyes. GreeHee shouted, " Loni, hang on! I'm not as powerful as those filthy beasts, but I'm faster."
The vicious terros! GreeHee flew into a death spin almost, perpendicular to the ground. The first terro could not follow. The other three did.
Reaching the height of the great Marmosa trees, he flew in and out beneath their branches. His stomach rumbled. His nostrils grew heavy with the stench of beast boron meat, the staple menu of terros.
GreeHee landed in the middle of a tight thicket of Marmosa trees. "We're safe for the moment," he said. "The terros are too large to move between these trees and tearing them down is too dangerous because Marmosa sap can make a terro very sick. It could even kill them."
"Really?" Loni said, grinning.
"My father told me that the Maap Seres rid themselves of the vicious terros by poisoning them with Marmosa sap. He said they mixed it into the borons' food and when the terros ate them, they died."
"That was really smart!" said Loni.
"Yes and after a while the terros began to die off. Then the last of them moved here to the Plains of Sasso. If only I had remembered that before! We could have flown further south and avoided this mess."
"GreeHee, don't be so hard on yourself, we'll find some way out of here."
"Yes, you're right, Loni. But it's going to be tricky getting out of this mess. Those beasts are drooling at the thought of a nice juicy young dragon. I'm a great delicacy to them. But they won't get a bite without a fight. At any rate, I know four is more than I can handle." GreeHee frowned, angry that he had not simply eaten the fairy and stayed home where he would be enjoying his comfortable cave, practicing smoke rings and eating dinner. Oh why did he care about growing up and making his father proud of him anyway? "What a mess! What a mess!"
"Oh, GreeHee, don't worry, the sun will be setting soon and we'll think of something." Loni said. After a moment she began to smile. "GreeHee, I have an idea. I think it will work."
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