• Brent Streeter

Warm Bones

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

The icy gales whipped and howled, pelting me with snow and ice while I desperately clung to the traveling cloak I wore. Even that small task was a daunting one as the winds threatened to rip the cloak from my body. I glanced up ahead of me and saw the beginnings of a mighty peak rising from between snowy hillocks and pine trees that had frosted over. I was getting close, I thought to myself as I repositioned the bag at my side and took another step forward.

I continued placing one foot in front of the other for hours, and I could feel the cold begin to seep into my tired and aching bones, despite the best efforts of the furs beneath my cloak. I shivered and cursed under my breath, had I known I would be faced with a blizzard I might have prepared the necessary spells and components to deal with it.

The mountain offered little in comfort and protection as I ascended it, taking a path that had been carved through the heavy mounds of snow that blanketed the mountain. Eventually, my destination came into sight as I crested a bend and saw the entrance to the cave I sought.

I ducked inside and took a brief moment of respite, and I tried to catch my breath and rub some warmth back into my bones. I shook flecks of snow from my shaggy salt–and-peppered hair and proceeded to tie it back up, now that I no longer needed the layer of protection for my ears. Still shivering and unable to chase the cold out, I turned my attention back to the task at hand and began to walk deeper into the cave, throwing up globules of light into the air ahead of me for better visibility.

The tunnel wormed its way through the mountain, opening out into several smaller caves before finally reaching its end. I could tell I had reached my destination by the shimmering sheen that bounced off bright blue glacial walls, creating a kaleidoscope of colors that danced around the enormous cavern that opened up but a few yards ahead of me. As I neared the cavern entrance I drank in the sight of splendor, from wall to wall as far as I could see was an ocean of treasures and relics gathered from throughout the ages.

I stepped across the threshold of the entrance and had got no more than a few inches when a bellowing roar echoed across the length of the cavern. The horde of treasure shook and pieces of it shifted and tumbled to find rest amongst other brethren. I held my ground, one hand hovering over my spell book while the other lowered the bag from its purchase atop my shoulder.

There was a great gust of wind as a gargantuan dragon launched into the air and with a couple of heavy beats of its leathery wings traversed the distance between us. It landed before me with a force that shook the very foundations of the mountain, and looked down upon me with pale blue eyes from a dizzying height. Its silver scales gleamed and glinted as they caught the reflections of the surrounding treasure horde. A beautiful frill of silver, that faded to purple, ran the length of its body, starting at the top of its head and ending at its tail. The creature was the epitome of regality and I could not help but bow before its presence in awe and admiration.

It spoke with a deep guttural voice that sounded like mountains colliding, “You’re late Brin Storm-watcher.”

“My apologies, Uvnun, Lord of Silver. I ran out of chalk and could not teleport, so I was forced to take the long way round and got caught in a blizzard”

Uvnun bellowed in laughter and the cavern shook, “In all my centuries I have never met a wizard such as yourself Brin, it’s not wise to leave a dragon waiting.”

“I’ll make a note of it,” I said as I opened the bag at my feet and placed my hand within.

“What’s this you bring, a new bauble or two?” Uvnun asked with the curiosity of a cat.

I smiled warmly, the dragon’s fascination with treasure never ceased to amaze me, it was such a trivial resource.

“Something like that,” I said as I pulled out a gold-leafed spell book that was stained red with blood. I held it out before Uvnun, “I need you to take care of this for me, it’s my anchor.”

The dragon studied the small spell book in my hand and then me before saying, “You look somewhat different, Brin Storm-watcher. Did you succeed in convincing that stubborn tower of Ebony of your plan?”

I smirked, “I did indeed, I now stand before you, new Archlich of the Ebony Tower. The Arch magi, Thallaser Druy herself, gave the final vote. I will be the shield that the tower so desperately needs in the years to come.”

Uvnun nodded in approval, “They were right to choose you. I will take care of the book, but you must promise to visit more often, Brin. I do miss the companionship that you humans experience. Now come, let us retire, and you can fill me in on all that’s happened over the past century. I’ll have those blasted creatures that are convinced I’m a god start the hearth, and you can warm those bones by the fire while sharing all the gossip you have gathered. What say you?”

“I say that sounds like a grand idea indeed.”