War and Despair

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Chapter 10

The Geomancer walked down the stone tunnel into the deep earth. Her slippers slapped softly on the smooth tunnel. A dull red glow illuminated the walls of the shaft.

She rounded a bend in the tunnel and saw the deep earth. The deep earth, according to her teacher, the previous Geomancer, was one of the few times the elements had successfully bonded. Where Earth had heated so much that it had become a form of Fire. The deep earth happened to be a pool of deep red magma.

“Who comes?” A wind whispered from the magma.

“Silt, current Geomancer, protector of the heart tree, daughter of dragon.” The Geomancer answered clearly.

“What is it that you need, daughter of earth, creature of fire?” The deep earth asked.

“I come to ask where I came from.” The Geomancer said.

“Very well. Stick your hand into my depths.” The deep earth commanded.

The Geomancer did so, and immediately, images began to flash behind her eyes.

A small green dragon arguing with a much larger orange dragon, the orange dragon flying away and leaving the green dragon all alone. The green dragon curled protectively around three eggs in a mossy nest in a dark forest. The green dragon talking to a man. The green dragon gazing anxiously through the trees, then down at her largest egg. The man from earlier and an unfamiliar man speaking the green dragon, the green dragon giving the two men two of her eggs.

The green dragon carrying the largest egg deeper into the forest and setting it beside a brook. The green dragon bathing the egg in flame and then knocking it into the brook.

The large egg carried away by the swift waters, then washing up on the streambank. The egg cracking and a small black dragonet crawling out.

That can’t be true, the Geomancer thought. That’s not where Yasin found me. And that dragonet is male.

The little black dragon crawling up further onto the streambank. The egg rolling back into the water and floating downstream. The egg finally washing up onto a streambank beneath a tiny cottage. An old man stooping down to pick it up. A look of surprise coming over his face when he realized that there was a tiny almost black dragonet inside.

The Geomancer pulled her hand back. I had a brother, hatched from the same egg, she thought, tears slipping from the corners of her eyes. And other siblings too. But Mother tried to kill us. She gave my other two siblings to men that probably just smashed the eggs and strangled the dragonets inside.

“Why did she try to kill us?” The Geomancer asked, voice breaking.

She didn’t, child.” The magma whispered. “You and your brother almost died, she saved you with her flames, and she saved you from the king’s men by knocking you in the stream. She saved you even though it cost your mother her life.”

“What was her name?” The Geomancer said, her voice thick with sadness. “And what about my siblings? Are they alive?”

“Her name was Leafwing. And yes, your siblings are still alive and well.” The deep earth sibilated.

“Where can I find them?” The Geomancer asked, wiping her eyes.

“Your twin roams the forest of the heart tree, the other two are moving with part of the army of Dragonfriends.” The deep earth answered.

“What does the witches’ monster want with me?” The Geomancer asked.

“Ah. The witches’ creature. Their victory and their loss. You and your brother are twins born of the same egg, your hearts have magic that he needs if he is to keep living. He’ll come after your brother, then you.”

A chill ran down the Geomancer’s spine. “I need to find him.” The Geomancer whispered to herself. “Before this creature does.”

She ran back up the passage and burst from the mouth of the tunnel. She buried her toes in the soil and whispered for the roots. They pulled her beneath the earth and she raced away.

“I need to go back to the forest of the heart tree.” She panted. “There is a dragon there that I need to find. Can you take me to him?”

“Yes. You need the male dragon?” The roots said.

“Yes.” She replied. She was grabbed by another root and pulled away before she had time to ask whether there were other dragons about.

The earth spat her out in a large sunny clearing. Across the clearing from her stood a larger deep black dragon. Her brother.

“Hello!” she called, trying to get his attention. It worked. The dragon whirled around and shot a stream of fire at her.

Before it hit her, a wall of soil and stones rose in front of her, extinguishing the flames. A look of shock conquered her brother’s face. He bowed low to the ground.

“Geomancer.” He greeted.

“I think you mean, sister.” The Geomancer corrected, changing back into a dragon.

“WHAT?” her brother gasped. “This must be a mistake. I don’t even know you.”

“It’s true. We are twins, hatched from the same egg. You crawled out of the eggshell onto the shore. I was carried further downstream.” The Geomancer explained.

“Now why should I believe you?” He snorted.

"I'm an earth enchantress. Seeing into the past is something that I can do, with help." The Geomancer said.

Her brother stared at her for a long moment before speaking. “Okay. I believe you. Before we go any farther, why don’t we at least learn each other’s names?”

“Oh! Yes! My name is Silt.” The Geomancer said.

“My name is Seren.” Her brother said, flaring his dark brown and black dappled wings.

“Anyway, Seren, there’s a sort of monster that’s after us trying to kill us. Unless you plan on dying, you should probably come with me.” The Geomancer said.

She explained the situation to Seren as they flew. Silt was pleased to learn that her cloaking enchantment that kept her safe from aerial attacks still worked. She led her brother down from the sky through what looked like a canopy of trees from above but was actually a lovely clearing.

“Can you take a human form?” She asked him once they had landed.

“Yes. But I don’t do it often.” Seren said.

“If we end up having to flee it will be easier to do it as a human. There are people stirring out there, people that would rather see a pair of dragons dead.” The Geomancer said.

“Oh, the war? You do have a point.” Seren said.

“We probably won’t ever have to move out of here, but I don’t plan on sitting around and waiting this out. This creature must die.” The Geomancer said. “And I’m sure some of the other witches know something about it. We will have to go ask what they did, how to kill it.”

“Um… Okay?” Seren said.

“Change into a human.” The Geomancer decided. “It’ll be easier for you to travel like that. We’ll wait four days, long enough for the earth to erase our scent and presence.”

“How do you plan on traveling?” Seren asked.

“We’ll go underground.” She said with a smile.

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