Here We Be Dragons • Short Story

What tale do you tell when magic is woven from the fabric of stories and the fate of humanity is tied into your spell? 5,700 words / 21 minute read


Khef sat in station atop the tower at the South-West corner of the castle’s hex wall, watching over the battlefield from the best vantage. Watching him in turn were five Listeners in the last year of their training. Khef felt the heavy chill in the air grow tighter as the setting sun touched the mountains’ tops and he gazed for a brief moment to the West. As the Sustainer closest to the Sun-Queen, he bore the additional responsibility for her within his audience.

Come summer solstice – if there would be a summer for humans again after this night – his Listeners would become devoted and would graduate as spell-casters. They would be Weavers, or perhaps a Sustainer like himself. Far more likely Weavers since those that wove spells got all of the admiration. They could enthrall an audience not only with the story itself but also with the use of their elements, incantations, runes and the occasional sacrifice.

Many Sustainers called the accoutrements mere crutches but in secret they all envied the Weavers’ ability to use more than their words alone. But ‘once devoted, one’s excluded,’ as the spell-casters said. For never shall a Weaver sustain a spell and never shall a Sustainer weave one.

Beyond the faces of his audience – drawn taught with expectation, and no small fear – he could see the bodies of the first arising demons glowing in the fading light. For centuries the demons had been repelled by Varrod’s Castle at the Mountain-King’s Slumber, but now … best not to think of such outcomes. To Khef, the distant red dots looked like the sparks from his bedchamber’s hearth when he stirred the coals in the morning.

That was not a good thought. Tying the enemies to his home with that simile. His mind was influenced by the fear, too. He would have to reign it in lest his magic loose from his control, especially now that the demons had grown wise to human magic.

Khef looked to the Eastern sky and saw a twinkling star appear. Her name was Sylvas, first to defy the Moon-Queen. The Moon-Queen would not be in audience tonight; the demons had chosen the black moon night closest to mid-winter for their assault. The weakest night for human magic. Only daytime would have been worse. But Janos the Gatherer had been given promise by the Sun-Queen that no demon should walk the land until her lips touched her lover’s and she settled into his bed for the night.

Khef considered his options and decided he did not have many. Tonight required a rare story. Truly, there was only one story for him to tell on a night such as this. One story, but within it, many.

He looked back and down into the keep at the subjects of the Weavers’ spell. Their spell had bound and pulled with greater strength than even they had expected; Khef could feel it surging up from all points of the universe into the castle. The power of it, though, was diluted by the great area and vast number of subjects it held within its enchantment.

The soldiers were there, the whole compliment of the castle, plus every able-bodied man within two-days’ ride. Too few soldiers and too many farmers. Many had mere leather aprons for armor and pitchforks for weapons. But the spell was strong; it would be enough. It would have to be enough. Already the aprons had developed scales and some pitchforks had curved like claws.

The Weavers had told three tales together for the spell. It was an impressive feat requiring the entire day to tell and the whole of the castle as audience. The size of the effect, even weakened as it was, necessitated the multiple Weavers and the Weavers had used the size of the crowd to full effect, making the tales dense with High Speech. But little thought was given to the five Sustainers who had to hold the weaving through the night.

The first tale was of Gheck, the man born of spider and the first Weaver, learning to wield magic. It was a good story, not often told, and provided great power to the rest of the spell, especially with the larger audience. The second tale was of Duille, he who became the first dragon, and how he slew Nolash the Ogre. That was a battle story. And the third tale was new.

It was nearly unthinkable to have multiple Weavers try to tell a new story, especially a Prophesy, but such was the challenge they faced. It was a good tale – not the best, and clumsy in places – but it told of the valor of soldiers and farmers defending their homeland in the face of an army of demons. Perhaps the Weavers could have gone lighter on the gore and left more than a few alive at the end. But if they won tonight the tale would likely become the basis of a new Legend and the more accuracy in the first telling the better for future Weavers. If they won tonight.

Khef took a sip of wine and cleared his throat. Time for him to begin his story. The Sun-Queen was three-quarters to sleep now. Khef touched three fingers to his temple then raised them to her; in his mind he wished her pleasant dreams.

“This battle reminds me of another,” Khef began. “One so long ago and spoken of so rarely the tale of it has been lost but for a very few.”

The Listeners sat straighter and leaned toward him. A very rare story was a special gift.

“Today we heard the tale of Duille felling Nolash the Ogre. It was a good tale. And many times have we heard of how Duille sacrificed himself to send the Mountain-King to his slumber.” Many times indeed; that story was told at every feast.

As the words became speech, Khef felt the lines of power burrow and twist, reaching out from the heavy spell and into his body. He felt the Sustainers at the other five points of the hex connect with him. He did not know their stories and they did not know his. But he would know as long as they held.

“As you know, Duille did not always fight alone. Many times he raised armies against his enemies. Once, when Oppo tricked the Earth-Prince into traveling to the sky to consort with Sylvas, the shadows became unbound and lifted from their prison against the ground and the trees and the walls. They raged against the humans who walked with only their feet upon the ground and took up arms against them.”

As the sunset became complete, darkness and a hush settled over the castle. Khef heard the rustling of the soldiers and farmers down below. The only shadows that remained were cast from the tower fires and from the torches carried by the warriors. The shadows were shapeless and disordered and flickered into existence and then gone again; they were safe for this tale.

“Our story begins when the Mountain-King and Duille were still allies, before the cataclysm and when humans had free roam of the southern continent. It was mid-winter, like tonight, and the Mountain-King was holding a feast for his son the Earth-Prince and all who lived in the Prince’s domain.”

As the magic strengthened within him, Khef settled into the tale.


On that long-ago mid-winter’s night, each guest was invited by name and had an appointed seat at the table. Oppo, having been barred from the heavens by his half-brother Lopin, walked the earth but was not born of it and had not been accepted into it. So he arrived at the Mountain-King’s feast hall without invitation and begged for a place at the table.

‘Please, have mercy on me,’ Oppo pleaded, ‘I am without home and without family and you have taken all of the food on earth for your feast tonight. If I may not come in I shall go hungry.’

But each seat was taken and the hall had room for no other. But in his magnanimity and generosity, the Earth-Prince saw the plight of poor Oppo and rose from his place at the table and brought his bowl outside to share with the homeless deity.

‘Oh, thank you, most noble among the gods,’ Oppo said as he shared the Earth-Prince’s sup. ‘If only I had some measure to repay you for your kindness.’

‘Nonsense,’ boomed the great Earth-Price. ‘I am the bounty and I provide for all in my domain.’

‘Yes,’ replied Oppo. ‘But you do so alone. You have taken no wife. And there are many who would be your companion.’

Oppo saw a pain born of loneliness darken the god’s face.

‘I can take none from my domain,’ the Earth-Prince answered. ‘I shall not have favorites among my charges. This I am sworn to.’

‘But there are other domains than these,’ Oppo countered. ‘And there is one in the heavens who has spoken your name in fondness.’

‘But I am also sworn never to leave here lest those of the earth realm be released into the heavens.’

‘Perhaps,’ Oppo offered, ‘if I provide you the name of the celestial beauty who speaks of you, and you desire to meet with her, I could take your place just for a little while and hold down the creatures of the earth for you.’

The Earth-Prince considered and was eventually swayed by Oppo’s description of the extraordinary beauty of the mysterious celestial and at dawn the Earth-Prince agreed to depart for the heavens and leave Oppo in his place.

Oppo had named as the suitor Sylvas, the first star of the evening. He knew she would not appear for the duration of the day and so the Earth-Prince would not return until after nightfall.

Oppo settled into the Earth-Prince’s station and pulled all of the creatures of the earth to him, lest they should ascend to the heavens. But he left the shadows of men untouched and they rose up, freed from their prison against the earth, and tore from the feet they had been bonded to. The shadows gathered in the Gallagan Plain and forged weapons from the sharp shadows cast by the tall grasses. Thus armed, they marched against the city of Lun in the kingdom of Yul which the humans called home.

Duille and Gheck, seeking to understand the disappearance of the shadows, were first to see the army approaching their lands. Duille gave word to summon the able-bodied and Gheck privately told the story of the birth of the first fire-lizard from the arm-bone of Anlu, and thus once again transformed Duille into a dragon.

Duille lead his army out from Lun and into the plains of Yul to face the walking shadows. The shadows, having no bodies, were unharmed by the men’s weapons but the shadows’ touch, carrying darkness, drew blood and shattered bones. Only Duille, charged with magic, could harm them.

Duille called retreat and fled back into the city. After conference with the warrior, Gheck called forth all Weavers under him and recounted to them the story of the birth of the first lizard and with it the secret of dragon transformation.


Khef paused. The story had connected well with the spell and his audience had been transfixed and held in silence. At his pause the sounds of the battle emerged onto their tower. The demons bellowed like elephants and screeched like crows. The warriors screamed as they died.

Khef looked again to the East. Six glowing figures were climbing the stone. There were perhaps more that he could not see. Soon the South-East tower would be lost.

Khef sipped wine and gathered his words. “To understand what happened next, you must know the story Gheck told to his Weavers.” He tossed the remains of his wine into the fire and it leaped high and roared like a dragon’s breath.

As if in response, the fires at the other towers and the torches of the soldiers leapt high and illuminated the castle and reflected back from the low, dark clouds with shimmering red and yellow light. A roar from human throats rose above the demons’ howls and echoed back from the mountains.

Khef listened, nodded, then resumed his tale.


As Gheck surveyed the dozen men and women Weavers seated on the stone floor before his throne, he considered the army of shadows out upon the plain. He touched the top of his head then extended his hand forward, and thus began his tale.

‘We sit in Yul, the kingdom of humans,’ he began. ‘This kingdom seems so vast, a month’s hard ride from East to West and two months’ from South to North. It is safe travels across all of the lands, among the cities and towns and camps. The rivers are pure and the fields are fertile. The forests sing with birds and are rich with game.’

Gheck looked at each Weaver in turn until they nodded at him to continue.

‘But it was not always so,’ he continued. ‘The whole of this continent was once the domain of wicked creatures, things that would eat a man alive or worse.’

Several Weavers shuddered at the thought.

‘Duille, in his greatness, sought to carve a space of land devoid of the evils that walk and the evils that fly and the evils that swim and crawl and burrow.’

Gheck felt the story begin to coalesce and touch each of his audience. He spoke on.


To accomplish his mission, Duille gathered warriors to his side and rode to the center of the Gallagan Plain. He took his spear, made from the rib-bone of the hyena Ranaloth, and struck it into the earth. When it struck, it screamed and the sound echoed far out and back again.

“Wherever this sounds has reached,” Duille cried, “shall belong to the humans! Let any who oppose this proclamation come forth and war with us!”

And the evils of the land and the sky and the water and the earth heard him and charged upon his warriors but they were prepared and closed ranks, touching their shields as of the plates of a turtle as Duille had commanded. As their shields touched Duille chanted the name of Ankillion, the island that swam, and the first verse from the Book of Insubstantiation written in the High Speech.

Kein Ankillion, astra olek unu talep eng gne pelat unu kelo artas,’ he chanted.

When the words stopped, the warriors within the dome silently repeated the incantation. Then, as the shields touched, magic flowed and the shields fused into an impenetrable dome like the shell of a great turtle, leaving the warriors vulnerable from only the ground beneath their feet.


Gheck watched the mouths of his Listeners silently repeat the words. Such was the power of incantations.

‘Be aware of yourselves,’ he told them. ‘Know that you have just participated in an incantation. When you use the words of the High Speech, all those who hear will echo you.’


Khef suppressed a chuckle as his own Listeners mouthed the same words, unaware of their actions despite having just been told the method of incantations.

He lifted the wine bottle and refilled his cup and checked on the other Sustainers. The South-East tower was lost and the edge of the Weaver’s spell near it was in taters. Khef wished a peaceful rest to Rulib, the Sustainer of the South-East tower.

As he drank, he allowed the sounds of the battle to once again flow onto his tower. The howls and screeches and roars and moans sounded as before but now a new, high-pitched cracking rose from the battle. It was as if blade or claw or tooth struck upon impenetrable stone.

Khef sipped again, and again returned to his tale.


Gheck said to his Weavers, ‘You have in this moment participated in invoking the defense of Ankillion’s shell, and have aided our warriors against the shadows and given them brief respite from attack. But it is not enough. To defeat them we will need more powerful magic. Fortunately, the power of Ankillion’s shell will give us time to complete the tale.’

And so Gheck continued his story.


Outside the shell, the warriors could hear the rage of the vile creatures as they clawed and scratched and bit into the shields to no avail. And in their rage, the creatures turned on each other, each desperate to kill something, anything. Only the burrowing things could get under the dome and as each one broke through the skin of the earth to emerge into the warriors’ sanctuary, Duille took his rib-bone spear and killed them.

After many days and nights, the burrowing creatures stopped emerging and the sounds outside the shell grew quiet.

Duille positioned his spear behind one shield and ordered that it alone be moved. As soon as he saw the Sun-Queen’s light, he stabbed out, in case there was a lone survivor. But there was nothing there.

Cautiously, the warriors moved one shield at a time, surveying the landscape for any lingering creatures. None but the dead surrounded them. But when they moved the final shield – the top-most – a clever flying scarab named Chintin was waiting. And the scarab flew against the warriors who had believed they were safe and had lowered their guard. In an instant, Chintin had slain enough warriors that they could not restore the shell and Chintin took to the sky for safety.

Duille looked up into the heavens but could not see Chintin for the brightness of the sun. And then Chintin struck again, and again, emerging from the light to attack the likewise blinded warriors. Duille realized all was on the verge of being lost.

And so Duille cried a great war cry and asked aid of the animals and insects and plants of the land who had long been at the mercy of the evils and he implored them to come forth and help defeat this last vile being.

But so long had they been terrorized by the evil things that none came.


Gheck paused, observing his audience, to see if any would expected what was next.

‘I, too, heard his cry,’ Gheck said. ‘Because I am born of spider. And so I came. And when I saw the massacre of dreadful beings and the one last that remained in challenge of creating peace across the land, I knew what I had to do.

‘And so I told a tale. A new tale. Both a Divine tale and Prophesy combined. And this is what I said.’


When Duille and his warriors had cleansed the land of Yul and made it safe for humans to settle, and then to grow prosperous, word of the strength and power and cleverness of the humans reached to all points of the heavens. And many of the gods and celestial beings were surprised by this revelation.

But not Lopin, son of the Sun-Queen and the titan Nyeth. Lopin laughed and laughed at the scene of utter destruction, with every cursed creature slain, even Chintin the scarab.

The other gods wondered at Lopin’s laughter and asked him why he had such mirth.

“Because I expected it to be so!” Lopin roared. “For when my wife Vulomini was pregnant with the humans, as she grew round and full with them, I fed her claws of mountain-cats so they would have warrior’s might and I fed her smooth stones from the river so they would have endurance and I fed her eyes of ravens so they would have cunning and I fed her fire from the Mountain-King’s hearth so they would have ambition. And now they have used their might and endurance and cunning and ambition to claim their own land!”

And to prove it, Lopin reached down from the heavens and drew a symbol on the forearm of the human warrior Anlu and when it was complete, Anlu’s skin parted and instead of bone inside was a creature with claws and scales and wings and fire in its eyes. And it climbed from Anlu’s arm and scurried out onto the land.


Gheck withdrew a parchment and quill and drew a rune upon it. When he finished, he bade each of his Weavers copy it and he watched them work with trained precision. Then, with a few last words he finished his tale.

‘As I drew this for you now, I drew it then in the dirt at Duille’s feet. And the Divine Prophesy, focused by the rune, pulled magic into Duille’s body and transformed him into a creature part man, part lizard and part fire.

‘And then, in body as the first dragon, Duille took to the sky and slew Chintin, and thus claimed the land of Yul.’


Khef lifted a burning stick from the raging fire before him. He placed the tip against the cold stone of the tower’s floor and drew with it, like a burning brush. Five lines and one arc.

Khef looked at his audience, each in turn.

“This is the symbol Gheck showed his Weavers,” Khef said. “He drew it for them, and now I draw it for you. This is the symbol from Gheck’s tale that Lopin drew on Anlu’s arm.”

Against the black stone, the lines and arc glowed and flowed and shimmered like lava.

Khef looked once more to the East and now the sky was filled with winged creatures, diving and clawing and breathing fire. But one more tower was lost; the original spell was growing threadbare. Khef watched only briefly and resumed his tale.


Upon completion of his story, Gheck sent his Weavers forth and bade them gather the people of Lun and relay the tale of the first fire-lizard and use the rune. Then as one, the Weavers began again the tale and as they spoke the bodies of the soldiers on the plain transformed – as originally had Duille’s body long before and many times hence – hands becoming claws and skin becoming scales. Breath became fire. Wings grew and the soldiers took to the air.

But spells last only a short while; the more powerful the spell the shorter the duration. And although the dragon-men drove back the shadows – and slew many of them – the shadows understood and retreated to the cracks between the rocks and to the bottoms of the rivers and hid between the blades of grass and waited for the spell to end. And when the bodies of the warriors turned back from scales to flesh and their claws turned to blunt fingers and their wings faded, the shadows emerged from their hiding spaces and attacked with renewed fury. And Duille saw the battle would be lost.

Duille, alone still in form of dragon, flew back to Lun and gathered the Weavers and implored them to cast the spell anew and restore the dragon-forms of the warriors. But the tail end of a spell lingers long, even after the effect has disappeared, and cannot be cast again until the magic has returned to all the points of the universe from which it was drawn.

So Duille took the favored among the Weavers, a man named Wrin, and brought him to the edge of the battle.

Duille said to Wrin, ‘There is another magic, beyond Weaving. One that Sustains a spell as long as additional tales are told. This magic was shown to me by Gheck, so that I might maintain my form of dragon. Now you shall learn to Sustain a spell, too.

‘First,’ Duille commanded, ‘feel the energy of the spell you have Woven. Feel the threads of it and the connections. Feel how it touches your mind and feel how it touches the minds of your audience. Feel it extend into the world and bind around its effect. Feel it pull from all the points of the universe.’

Duille watched as Wrin concentrated and felt the energy. Then Duille told Wrin a forbidden tale.


In the early days of the nation of Yul, after the cleansing of the land and the settlement of the humans across the vast stretches, the newfound peace made Yul a haven on Earth for the celestials. Many would descend to Earth for days or longer to enjoy the pleasures of mortal existence. They would hunt and gather and engage in commerce and debate and even enjoy the pleasures unique to earthly bodies.

For years the peace lasted and mortals and divine beings lived in harmony. But as time flowed forward, the citizens of Heaven began to neglect their Heavenly duties. The sky turned black on the nights when the stars danced on the land. The Sun-Queen brought her brilliance to the Earth when she danced upon the ground but in so doing drove the creatures of the night away. The Moon-Queen consorted with the royal men of Lun and the natural cycles and high points and low points of the tides became infrequent and disordered. The titans, led by Nyeth, played games with tree trunks and boulders in mimicry of the games of men but left the ceiling of the Heavens unsupported and sometimes it would crack and fragments from beyond like burning snow would dust onto the land. Lopin and Oppo and their many brothers and sisters lived among the common folk and slowly became indistinguishable from them.

And as one cannot see the grass grow day-by-day but suddenly realizes the blades have reached to his waist, so too did Gheck and the other Weavers not at first realize that without the celestial beings residing in the Heavens, the points of the universe had frayed apart and magic was losing its power.

In crisis, Gheck called forth his Weavers and in secret they plotted with the Moutain-King to send the celestials back to the Heavens. So they crafted a great feast, and brought all of the food from across the land of Yul, and invited all of the divine beings to partake of a great sup in their honor. The wine flowed and minstrels sang and a great enjoyment passed through the entirety of the day and into the night.

And as sleepiness descended upon the gathered celebrants, Gheck took to the stage and told the tale of creation and of the founding of the Heavens and the Earth and of the rightful place of all beings in the universe. And slowly the celestials drifted back toward their home.

But Oppo, least among the Gods, resisted the spell and began his own tale, a counter-tale filled with the joys and pleasures and triumphs the pantheon had experienced upon Earth. And as Oppo spoke, the spell woven by Gheck began to unravel and, as weakened as magic had become, it was certain not to hold. And a spell once cast, cannot quickly be cast again.

Janos, apprentice to Gheck, having witnessed his master’s spell woven and now unweaving, began his own tale. In his haste, he did not find the spark within himself and did not weave a new spell. He spoke suddenly and quickly and told the gathered titans and gods and many other denizens of the Heavens a tale of near woe, of the splintering of the universe and the burning of the Earth as the fragments from beyond the Heavens fell upon it and of the land of Yul blighted and became barren.

Janos spoke this tale from his heart and not from his mind. And to his surprise, he did not Weave a new tale – and just as well for he risked creation of a Prophesy fulling his woeful story. But instead the threads from the spell of Gheck wove into his heart and into the hearts of the gathered titans and Gods and other denizens of the Heavens. And thus that spell, now nearly fully restored, sustained for hour upon hour. Slowly, the celestial beings returned to their place in the Heavens. But Oppo’s spell of unweaving had tattered the edges of Gheck’s spell and many celestials were resisting its pull and staying upon the Earth.

Then Janos focused his mind and realizing his initial error, turned the tale sharply. He now told of the divine beings, in their great mercy and compassion for the humans and creatures of the Earth, abandoning the pleasures of the mortal realm and returning to their homes and thus saving the Earth and the land of Yul.

Lopin, awaking fully under the power of Janos’s new spell, and understanding the potential for tragedy that had near been wrought, drew all he could within his arms and rose swiftly up, then barred the entrance to Heaven from Earth behind him so that only the greatest among the Gods could travel between the realms.

The stars who had not returned to the Heavens looked up and filled with rage that they could never again dance within the sky. They gathered up the burning dust from the beyond the celestial realm and ate of it until their bodies burned with the same ferocious fury that dwelled in their hearts.

Janos, witnessing the transformation of the stars and with his heart still woven with the Sun-Queen’s, implored her to protect the land of Yul from the newly formed demons. And she gave him promise that as long as she watched over the land, no demon would walk upon it.

For one year thereafter, the Sun-Queen did not take to her lover’s bed but only rested upon the evening, with one eye always above the horizon to keep the demons at bay until the humans had again secured the land of Yul.


As Duille had spoken, Wrin had felt the spell of dragon transformation reach into his heart and renew as the tale unfolded.

“Do you understand why this tale is forbidden?” Duille asked of his Listener. Wrin nodded.

Taking lesson from the forbidden tale, Wrin returned to Lun and again gathered the city’s inhabitants and told another tale but this time he spoke from his heart. He told a Prophesy, of the defeat of the shadows by the dragon-soldiers and the days and nights of celebrations that followed. Wrin spoke and spoke and spoke and out on the Gallagan Plain bodies shifted again to winged and scaled and fire-breathing creatures.

And the battle raged and sounds of it reached the city of Lun but the Sun-Queen was nearing her lover’s bed and shadows stretched long from the trees and the grass and the walking shadows drew upon them and grew strong.

Fearing the battle would turn, Wrin drew deep upon the magic flowing through him and began a new tale, weaving a story of a beautiful young man in the city of Lun, a devotee of the Sun-Queen, who quaked with fear at the walking shadows. The Sun-Queen, touched by man’s plight, paused in her descent, preventing any further strengthening of the shadows.

And with the extra daylight, the dragon-men scratched at the shadows and blew fire into them and scattered them to the five corners of the continent and chased them without rest. And when the Sun-Queen finally kissed her lover and the day ended, the Earth-Prince returned from the heavens and saw the devastation Oppo’s plan had wrought. He saw the human warriors, still in the form of dragons. And the Prince raged against Oppo and cast him further down, below the Prince’s kingdom, down into hell.

Gheck, having witnessed the Sun-Queen’s pause, understood that the forbidden tale had been told. He held down his rage until the battle concluded but then, in white fury, he decreed Duille and Wrin be cast out of Yul and no longer walk among men. But Duille pleaded with Gheck for forgiveness, for there had no been another way to defeat the walking shadows.

And Gheck relented and spared the warrior and the sorcerer. But he wove a spell and bound it with Oppo’s fall and made of it a Curse, and declared that Weaving and Sustaining magic should forever be severed, and that any who declared to one should forever be barred from the other, and further that any who used both magics together shall, at the completion of the spell, fall dead.


“This story, this is the initiation tale told to Sustainers at the summer’s solstice, isn’t it?” asked one of the Listeners, a woman named Freheen.

Khef nodded. He touched the spell with his heart and felt he was nearly alone.

The five Listeners sat in silence. Once more, the sounds of the battle broke upon the castle. From the screeching and bellowing and crying and shouting, the battle seemed well-matched. To the East, a faint glow heralded the dawn, many hours too early.

The Listeners sat still, waiting for Khef to continue. But he did not.


The fire before them began to diminish and frigid wind blew over the tower. Freheen reached a hand to Khef’s arm but at her touch he slumped and his wine-glass clattered upon the dark stone.

Freheen picked up glass, refilled it, and sipped from it. She closed her eyes briefly, and found the lines of the spell, tattered and weak and connected at only one other point. She saluted the fallen form of her former teacher then found the spark within herself, as she had been taught by the master Weavers.

“This is the tale of the Legend of Khef,” she began. “Spoken of as the greatest of the Sustainers, who held vigil at Varrod’s Castle at the Mountain-King’s Slumber and faced the rage of the abandoned stars, cursed to be in form as demons, and with hate in their eyes towards the humans. Khef, he who made farmers into dragons and called the Sun-Queen away from her lover and thus saved the country of Yul.”