Crouching Seal, Sleeping Dragon
A pinprick isn’t usually enough to harm someone of my stature, but it certainly can be annoying.
I yawned and shifted my body slightly, shaking away the tiny little pain which had jabbed me in my long, serpentine tail. I was vaguely aware of my surroundings and recalled that I was somewhere in the middle of a vast, frozen sea. I could feel the ocean currents move around me, the steady ebb and flow massaging my ancient scales comfortingly. The water around me was frigid and icy, almost as cold as where I had been spawned millions of years before. It was a wonderful feeling, the cold. It made me sleepy and I started to drift off once more, content in my underwater realm and the retirement I had chosen.
“Wake up, Kasyarna,” something small and pathetic called out from a short distance away, jarring me to wakefulness. I grumbled and told it to go away. “I will not go away until you open your eyes,” it continued.
Stupid messenger imps and their committed work schedules. Still, they were effective at their jobs for that very reason. I lifted one eyelid and looked at the tiny face hovering before me. I curled my upper lip and revealed my sharp fangs to it, a not-too-subtle reminder to the imp that I could eat him and it wouldn’t even be a considered a snack. I flicked my tongue out and slapped the imp away. It did not seem offended by the insult, unfortunately. I asked it what it wanted.
“The time of the Sha’Daa is once again at hand!” it squealed excitedly. I heaved a mighty sigh and lifted my chin, stirring up the vast ocean floor and causing more than one school of fish to swim hurriedly away. Nearby, a larger predator instinctively darted after the fish before turning and swimming as fast as it could away from me upon realizing that I was not a part of the ocean floor. I felt the thin veneer of mollusks and coral which had grown upon my face and down my neck fall off as I moved it for the first time in an eternity. The last vestiges of sleep disappeared from me as I stared at the messenger imp.
“And?” I growled. Damn it, I didn’t say. I was enjoying my rest and retirement. I had earned my retirement, unlike most of my brethren. I had won my fight in the Sha’Daa. So what did this little thing want with me now?
“You have been called forth once more by the Forces of Evil, O Mighty Kasyarna!” the creature screeched. I was beginning to wonder if the little bastard had a setting other than “excited”. I asked him as much and he scowled, annoyed. “Do not play word games with me, Great Kasyarna. General Fashad is counting upon you to defend this territory. Even now the Forces of Light gather their finest warriors to do battle against you. To kill you. To defeat you, O Undefeatable One.”
I scoffed and rolled my eyes. The last time the Forces of Light had come for me, they had tiny whale-skin boats, sticks that had chipped rocks tied to them and a shaman with an orca’s tooth around his neck. I was a four hundred foot sea dragon with impenetrable skin, fangs the size of a shark and claws that were bigger. I had almost felt guilty about eating their little shaman, though that momentarily lapse into pity was gone long before I had fallen back asleep. I had assumed that my work was done, the Forces of Evil would rule the earth and I would be left alone for the rest of time. I really didn’t want to participate in another Sha’Daa. Plus, the shaman had given me horrible indigestion, and I was almost certain that it had been one of his arms that was still lodged in my back row of teeth.
I reminded the imp of the previous times that an enemy had come up to my frozen wastes to do battle and how well they had performed. I went into gory details. Death. Dismemberment. Using severed skulls to annoy the dolphins with, which was always a great way to pass the time. Suffice to say, none of them had left a memorable mark upon my memory. Except for the shaman, who had sworn at me even as I was devouring him. That had impressed me.
…to be continued…
Sha’Daa: Pawns, coming soon