An ancient scroll reveals the dragons' secrets in the novel, "The Ghosts of Walker Pines."
DRAGONS AMONG US
The Complete Text of the Scroll
Excerpted from Book I / The Ghosts Of Walker Pines
Contained in the first book of the DRAGONS AMONG US series, the deciphered content of an ancient Germanic scroll occupies nearly two complete chapters. In a very real sense, the document's account of a prehistoric, previously unknown relationship between humans and dragons almost stands alone as its own novella. Designed as a combination back story and flashback, the testament is part sci-fi adventure, part fantasy, and part Greek tragedy -- all on an epic scale.
The scroll also represents the result of over three years of concept development. In order to sync perfectly with a broad storyline that would span four to six novels, possibly even more, the multitude of interlocking story components were written, rewritten, then rewritten again and again. As the basis upon which so many other plot elements rested, it was essential that the scroll document be as detailed as possible, thus its rather lengthy content.
Because the full text of the scroll doesn't appear until chapter (episodio in Portuguese) twenty-two, a reader may choose to ignore this material, read the novel itself, and thus discover the answers it provides in the sequence I originally intended. In hindsight, however, I've included the scroll on these pages because reading it first won't really spoil anything, but might entice others who would have otherwise never read the full text, to get involved with the novels themselves.
Presented here in its entirety, word for word, is the scroll exactly as it appears in the novel. If the language reads as a bit stiff or stilted, this was largely intentional, the aim being to imbue the scroll with some leftover antiquity despite its modern translation. I hope you find it...interesting.
Vinte E Dois
So it is that we of the ancient Brotherhood, Die Bruderschaft, most loyal and devoted servants of the sacred firedrakes during these the worst of days, now take it upon ourselves this holy task. With quill in hand, in the year of our Lord, 1266 A.D. and fearful of those who wish us harm, we doth set these sacred words to parchment lest the truth of the world be lost forever.
Wenn Pangaea War In Blute
When Pangaea Was In Flower
And thus it was that when the Masters of Dreams created the world anew, dominion over lands and mountains was granted to men, the realm of the sea to the fish and the whale, and great dragons would rule the kingdoms of the skies. The flying serpents, rulers of the air, the humans, of field and farm, all shared the world in peace, lived as brothers and sisters in harmony amid the snow of the coldest winters, the desert heat of the driest summers.
Long before the mighty city-states of Babylon and Greece, or the great dynasties of Egypt and China, the Aztec and the Inca, the Maya and the aboriginal bushmen of the Outback, the heavenspawn children of the sky roamed the Earth and mingled with advanced races of humans. Wondrous creatures endowed of flight and flame, the great firedrakes of antiquity flourished among the ancient hosts of humankind.
The peoples of that time lived in colossal cities fashioned from the finest stone, the clearest crystal, where libraries and centers for learning in the sciences and the arts stood as monuments to an enlightened epoch. Towering observatories scanned the stars and planets while plows sowed fertile plots the size of entire countries. For countless millennia hunger and pestilence, slavery and war remained unknown as both dragons and men prospered together. The children of humans romped with the fledglings of firedrakes, and the sounds of laughter and songs echoed throughout the many realms of a fresh and fruitful world.
Over the ages, six great kingdoms had risen, their domains spread throughout the corners of the Earth. As men traveled the seas and wandered through many lands, their empires grew to greatness, then were abandoned to shepherds and settlers as tireless explorers forever pushed the boundaries of ambition and curiosity. In time, the dragons themselves had separated into six, individual clans, each mimicking and reflecting the colorful cultures to which they were bound, both by fondness and respect, each for the other.
Upon the great southern continent was built the sixth and last of the great kingdoms of men. A land vast and varied, but intemperate of climate and harsh terrains, the inhabitants of this final realm dug deep into the Earth and excavated immense chambers and passageways. Above these were laid tier upon tier of bricks and rocks until no city anywhere on the circle of the Earth, sprawled larger in height and depth, in beauty or complexity.
With the help of dragons who used their powers of claw and fire, the sixth kingdom was Mankind’s crowning triumph. In want of a written record carved in stone, to commemorate their mutual achievements, the firedrakes had worked alongside men as they finished their work together. For this was not the first time the great beasts had labored in such manner.
When building the five earlier kingdoms, dragons had also dug at the side of men, the toils of the brutes rewarded by discoveries of large deposits of their favored platinum that lay just below the surface of a younger, richer Earth. The joint efforts were celebrated by lengthy inscriptions chiseled into temple walls, high atop the tallest obelisks, and upon marble tablets set along the streets of the biggest cities and the smallest of villages. With no written language of their own, the dragons considered such testaments to be a great honor.
But the many moods of men were as dunes of sand eroded by fickle winds of change. In the wake of their mighty achievements, the humans grew complacent and indifferent. With no more distant lands to explore, nor kingdoms to build, they turned their restlessness against themselves.
Men who wanted for little, soon quarreled over crumbs in a world of abundance. Even the dragons, who would perch at fireside gatherings of great councils and listen with intelligent minds to the debates of eloquent speakers, grew anxious and concerned.
And thus it was that men with corrupted spirits, seeking to find fault in others, demanded their dragon brethren should decide who among the humans were righteous, and who were not. When the great serpents refused to choose, one group against the other, one thing over another, they were banned from the company of men. Absent the friendship and wise counsel of the firedrakes, lawless men settled scores by slaying one another, while chaos and anarchy soon ruled in the stead of kings and queens.
On a day darker than any moonless night, it was reported that a dragon had slain a human. Each accused the other of having violated a timeless tradition that forbad the firedrakes from harming men, or men from bringing injury upon dragons. As swords were drawn, bows pulled taut, and throats brimmed with fire, a dragon was then killed by men.
Gott Rette Uns Vom Zorn Der Feuer Drachen
God Save Us From The Wrath Of The Fire Dragons
As men sided with some, fell upon others, shouts and threats turned to bloodshed. Horrified by violence, the peaceful firedrakes lived by vows of honor and conduct whose laws had never once been broken. So that those who follows us will know the truth of it, we of the Brotherhood now cite the sacred oaths:
Des Drache Versprechen Auf Ehre
The Dragon Vows Of Honor
No dragon will throat fire in anger or with malice against another.
No dragon will steal platinum, the holy sustenance of dragons, from another.
No dragon will take the life of another, be they dragon or non-dragon.
Des Drache Gelübde Des Verhaltens
The Dragon Oaths Of Conduct
No dragon will interfere in the affairs of others, be they dragon or non-dragon.
No dragon will spread rumors about others, be they dragon or non-dragon.
All dragons will honor the lives of all others, be they dragon or non-dragon.
The Platinum Wars
Slowly at first, a black fog of war spread like a shroud over the six realms of the Earth. Instead of friendship and camaraderie, hatred and revenge filled the hearts of both humans and dragons. Among the ageless Kingdoms of Peace, shield, spear, and arrow fought against talon, fang, and fire.
A great cry for vengeance went out into the world. Dragons against men, men against dragons. For five-hundred long and bitter years, firedrakes and humans waged numberless wars, all without victory for either side. A terrible notion grew ever more dreadful as dragons and men alike saw the end should never come, lest it be the end to all.
Among the armies of humankind was discovered the means to destroy platinum, the metallic fuel that granted dragons the ability to throw fire. Physicians who probed for the secrets of breathing fire, found special glands inside the gizzards of the fallen. The organs, unique and filled with corrosive acids, were set upon heaped piles of gathered platinum ore, then set ablaze.
Mountain tunnels and excavated caves where exposed veins of the silvery coal were mined by dragons, then lay plundered, burned out, and reduced to ash. Wherever lay the dead of the firedrakes, each was put upon great mounds of the ore and set afire, consuming all in the flames. With men now armed of the knowledge of how to burn platinum and turn it to harmless powder, the great serpents of the air, their gullets starved for fuel, were felled like the lofty limbs of a thousand trees.
Desperate to save themselves, dragons sent men fleeing in terror from sky-borne flames that, like torrents of burning rain, flooded crowded cities and once-fertile countrysides alike. Dragons cared nothing for the difference between temple and barn, child or lamb. It was the bleakest of times when the souls of men and the spirits of dragons were both hardened, tempered like hammered sword blades plunged into boiling water. As the fiery aim of the firedrakes breathed true and deadly, their vows of honor and respect were themselves burned away and reduced to ash.
All might have been lost were it not for the grown daughter of a simple farmer. She had been but a lass at the time and the story was told to her by her grandmother, to whom the tale had been passed to her by her grandmother, and so it had been for many generations, each to the next. The first of the woman’s relatives had witnessed the first of the slain, and upon her immortal soul, it was sworn that a dragon was first felled at the hands of a human. Many years later, consumed by guilt for keeping silent, and fearful her own soul be forfeit should she not come forward, the woman went unto the sovereign of the sixth kingdom and told him what she knew, what had been seen. That man had first slain dragon and given false testimony against the very beast who lay dead at his feet. The grandmother, old but still alive, and under threat of tortures both of this world and the next, then swore by the truth to which her granddaughter had finally confessed.
The king, wracked by the scars of many battles, gathered before him a great assembly of all the leaders of all the kingdoms. An army of couriers, minus swords and shields, went out into the world and bid the longtime enemies heed their confession that a human had first killed dragon, and that a truce was offered were the dragons willing.
The latter years of the war had gone poorly for the firedrakes. Their ranks decimated and lest their losses spawn yet more orphans, they agreed to a fateful meeting between the leaders of both sides. An accord of peace was hence forged, the stern conditions of which set men to forever rule the upper world, while dragons should settle and have dominion over the lower realms of caves and caverns, but also the coveted reserves there of the precious platinum, little of which remained elsewhere, above ground least of all.
While it was true that dragons had once held much love for humankind, they had always kept from men a great secret, a knowledge of the Earth that only the firedrakes themselves should know. Although they were masters of the sky, dragons could not dwell there, and each was forced to share the lands of the Earth with beings unlike themselves. All dragons yearned for a world that was theirs alone, but the humans were fruitful and there was not a place without them.
When dragons had burrowed deep and far into the Earth, deeper and farther than had any human, another region had been observed by their keen, serpentine eyes. At first spread by whispered rumors only, dragons everywhere spoke of a world hidden from the knowledge of men. The subterranean territories were said to rival any of the lands above, both in their fertile abundance and in the beauty of the natural wonders there.
Few of the dragons had ventured to these wondrous lower kingdoms, and fewer still believed they truly existed. But frantic for an end to bloody conflict and hopeful this underland of wishful thoughts might prove factual, the allure of a whole realm that would be the exclusive domain of firedrakes was irresistible. Keeping their secret intact and expectations high, the dragons chose to entrust their future to an uncertain fate.
And thus it was that each of the great dragon clans disseminated as each saw fit, and most would stay close to those kingdoms that were the most familiar. As the last of the surface passageways were sealed, by melted rock from beneath, by blocks of stone and mounds of earth from above, the terrors of the Platinum Wars which had stretched the full breadth of the six empires, old and new, had finally ended. Likewise, the separation between dragons and men was itself sealed for all time.