There I stood, on the precipice, gazing at
the mound at the centre of the marshy waters. A scene waiting to
unfold, not knowing what would happen, as soon as I were to approach
the obsidian stone at the centre of the open clearing, devoid of
trees or large plant life other than the blades of oily leaves that
emerged here and there from the shallow waters. The sky was dark, but
the ground was lit by the immensity of the moon which loomed over the
twisting trees at the edge of the stones clearing, casting but one
shadow, that of the stone in the middle. The world had gone silent,
even my own breaths where barely audible, a foreboding silence which
told me the plants and the waters around me knew what conflict was
about to commence hiding their knowledge.
I knew what I must do, the obstacle was great, but when all
options are spent and only one remains, no matter how daunting it is
that final path is no longer so scary since it is inevitable. Humans
only fear the unknown. My body stood calm, the beauty of the scene
before me was enough to settle that. But this serenity did not stop
that small foreboding feeling that clawed at my gut, doubt,
uncertainty, fear. Perfection however cannot always be achieved, so
with peace and fear tearing at me I knew I’d have to do this.
I stepped forward, bathing myself in the moonlight, now two
shadows stood in the clearing. My small steps had broke the aura of
silence, the gentle split, splat of my feet on the marshy waters
would be unnoticeable in any other place, but the silence made them
deafening. Small ripples slithered across the clear surface of the
murky waters, marking my movement, marking the intruder in location
and size. The block of black stone grew larger as I trudged towards
it, the water was almost at my knees but still grew deeper. Finally
I stopped, a good distance from the rocks base, and I waited. Staring
at the pinnacle of the obsidian spire I noticed my heart had picked
up pace and my breath alongside it, my hands grew clammy, I calmed
myself. You can do this; I hope you can do this.
Just when I assumed silence would resume its reign a echoing voice
emanated from the dark stone.
“You disturb me. I wonder, has the little creature concerned
themselves with the consequences of doing so?”
I spoke out to the rock, “I was told to come here.”
The rock and the area around it shimmered unnaturally. Was the
strange light playing tricks with me?
“Hmmm, has the little creature any other reason than blindly
following this order? Has it not occurred to the little creatures
little mind that they have been led to slaughter?”
The rock and the air around shimmered again. Was magic at play
Addressing the strange stone again in a loud tone to match the
stones size, “I have been told you have something of value.”
Proud that my voice still remained unbroken by any signs of fear, not
yet at least.
“Ahhh! So tell me how do you hope to acquire this something
of value? Does the little creature even know what it hopes to
No words came to my mouth.
“Hmhmhm” the slow thunderous laugh flew across the
“So the little creature disturbs me without even knowing
what it wants. I must know, does your small size limit your
intelligence or perhaps your braveness and bravado have clouded your
A shimmer again and not only that, even the water around the
pillar swirled and sprayed in all directions. Distinct ins and outs
of breathing suddenly came to my attention. Was the rock breathing?
Or perhaps it hid a being inside?
“Now how does it hope to acquire this object? It has lost
the element of surprise so cannot steal it. It has nothing of value
on its possession so cannot barter for it. It is small and its breath
is beginning to tremble so cannot fight for it. Why does the little
creature waste my time! Why does the little creature offer its life
to me with not a clear reason on its lips?”
The breathing grew louder, deeper, as if coming from a gaping maw.
I grew paranoid and looked around, but still only my shadow and the
stone’s stood in the clearing. But with paranoia, against all
reason, came bravery.
“I was told to come here to find something that will help
me. That something will apparently help me find something out about
myself. I guess bravery or the likes of it? Or maybe that the mighty
breathing rock can scare the crap out of me. “
The rock and the air shimmered again simultaneously with the same
“Ahaha! The little creature know how to amuse but that
won’t save you from your arrogance and your ignorance, pray
tell me little creature why I should not hold back my wrath, give me
reason not to crush your puny form, strip your flesh from your
Fear and anxiety had taken their toll, my body was tensed ready
to react, flight or fight. Flexing my muscles I summoned a scrap of
courage, “Just tell me why I was sent here!” A mistake.
The water began to swirl violently; the air stopped shimmering but
instead shook as if in fear. It was in a small epiphany that I
suddenly realised what it all meant a moment before who I had been
talking to revealed itself. The Air gradually stopped shaking, and in
its place a mass of shimmering scales appeared, wrapped around coils
of massive serpentine muscle. Elegant fins, that which you would see
on the most regal of fish lined the top of the coils of muscle and
scale that wrapped around the obsidian rock, blocking it from sight.
The end of what appeared to be its tail materialised disturbingly
close to my feet, thin like that of a snakes, yet large fluorescent
fins glowed at the tails edge reminding me of the illustrations of
fish that lurked at the darkest depths of all the oceans.
The light falling on my face then started to darken and eventually
disappear, for the rocks host had revealed its entirety, a mass of
scales coiled the pillar of black and rising above, blocking the
moons light and casting a dark shadow which swallowed both me and my
own shadow was the head. Turned away from the revealing light of the
moon, its face was made more dark and oppressing. A large snout bared
rows of curved teeth, each seemed to glow with an otherworldly light.
Strange tendrils protruded from the sides of its snout, writhing and
wriggling slowly to their own accord. Despite its many serpentine
features the host bore a mane of glorious silver hair made all the
more brilliant as it catched the edges of the white moonlight, water
dripped from its massive amounts of hair, yet the hair itself did not
seem soaked but completely dry, the water simply washed of it like it
had of the hosts slippery scales. From dark pits two burning beads
glared at me, a dark purple, beautiful, petrifying. The beast looking
at me, through me, a lesser being. Its jaw dropped further releasing
a long forked tongue, slithering out as serpentine as its owner. A
menacing growl emanated from the beast as it hovered there, blocking
light and stealing my courage.
“You stand as a child before a god!” the beast
snapped. “What gives you right to demand from the greater?
Little creature you have come here through your own will, blindly led
by a fool perhaps, but now you are within my domain, my power within
reach of my teeth and my mighty form! So ask not why you have come
here but ask why I should let you not suffer for your ignorance, beg
little creature, I eagerly await.” A sinister grin spread
across the beasts face, a smile of bladed teeth.
What courage I had turned to fear, then fear to despair. I was
certain my life was to end, what was I to say to the massive serpent,
the mass of scales and bladed teeth? For it was right, I had come
here out of ignorance, I had walked to my death because I assumed
this path was the only path I must take, yet hadn’t a dam clue
why I was taking this path and why I had been sent unarmed to talk to
a narcissistic dragon god! But the funny thing about despair, despair
is devoid of fear so my thinking had become unclouded and not a
single one of my frail limbs trembled before the serpents imposing
coils of raw power.
No fear I thought, nothing to lose, nothing to fear, this is the
path I must take. My eyes rose to meet the beasts. I had no weapons,
no physical power to use against the beast; I had no way to barter
with the beast, no possession to make a trade for my life and no
cunning tragedy or sneaky plot to steal myself away. But with a mind
devoid of fear one option did come to me. Reason and logic. The beast
has been understood.
The silence had pricked the beast’s nerves, the duration had
bored it and just as it raised its head to attack, I attacked first.
“What would you get from killing me?”
A slight dim in the fire in the beast eyes, the snake in the
snakes mouth was silenced, its grin replaced by a quizzical look.
“You continue to question, you act without consideration for
your station place little creature!”
“But why would you kill me if I am not threat?”
“Why? Why should there be a reason, your life is of little
importance so why should not take it?”
“But you are much mightier than me in every aspect, why then
waste your time stepping so low as to kill someone so beneath you?
“Because I can, because, you waste my time!”
“But you have been listening to me for a while when you
could have killed me in an instant.”
The beast’s mouth twitched in pent up rage, It was working.
“Because I deemed it worthy that you live, so I could see what
you wanted, I… show hospitality in the rare case you were not
to be the arrogant creature that you are!”
“Hospitality!” I spat out, surprised that I did so
half laughing, “Within a few seconds of talking you threatened
my life that is not hospitality from where I come from.”
The beast let out a bellowing roar and lunged forward, but did not
strike me, it could not strike me. The large serpentine mass circled
round me, creating waves in the once peaceful waters, its head rose
above me its burning gaze closer than ever. Its tail flicked
violently at the water which was now a good distance from me.
“Ignorant child! You seek not only to take something from
me, but you also attempt to mock me?”
“Then strike me down you are more than capable are you not?”
The beast failed its attempt of intimidation, the corners of its
mouth twitched again, but it knew as well as I that it could not
strike me. To kill me would show weakness, to kill me would mean the
beast had wasted its own time and that I was worth the effort of
being killed, the beast could not show weakness. The muscles in its
face continued to twitch in frustration, then all of sudden stopped,
a sinister grin crept across the beast’s face.