Aug 22, 2019 6:59 PM
Dragon Hatchling Margaret (in a world derived from Golden Treasure: The Great Green)
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Nestled beneath the ground in a hidden corner of the world lies an egg.

Many creatures lay eggs, but this one is, perhaps, special. The size of a backpack, the being inside it is already thinking. Already thrumming with magic and potential. For this is a dragon egg.

 

 

The first moment she is aware of is a slow realization, like a dream, like Nothingness bleeding imperceptibly slowly into Something.

She is alone. Alone, and surrounded on all sides by a Wall. It presses steadily, total and complete.

She has no memories to guide her, no context for the thoughts that form slowly, ever so slowly, but she does realize this: The Wall surrounding her is obviously, inherently Good.

Slow, indolent thoughts eddy inside the egg as the developing dragon ponders her existence inside the tiny egg-chamber and discovers such wonders as her own heartbeat, the difference between sleeping and wakefulness, and the ability to twitch her limbs (as well as the fact that she has six: A head and long neck, a coiling tail, two legs, and two wings that end in a hand tipped with dexterous claws).

 

 

Eventually, she hears a Voice. At first it was simply a strange sensation unfolding across her mind. A gentle, slow sensation of something she had no words for. It slides across her mind, shifting slowly between impressions she begins to recognize after enough time. Flashes of orange, of warmth, sleepy love surrounding her like another Wall. A comforting taste of brimstone.

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The Wall is good. The Voice is good too. She presses gently against the Wall as it presses against her; she loves the Voice as it loves her. In time she points her love back at the Voice, echoing warmth back in the not-a-direction from which it came.

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The gentle, slow feeling the Voice sent before is nothing compared to now! A wave of joy washes over her. She is alive, and the Voice loves her and is so, so happy.

Intermittently over the course of dozens of sleepings and wakings, the Voice starts to teach. This is called Anger. And this is Sadness. This is Fear. That feeling is Greed, and this one Hunger. Here is Satisfaction, and Pride. Emotions are a vast spectrum with innumerable between-feelings, and the Voice tries to show them all.

There are other minds. The Voice is another mind, like her. Communicating like this is a magic called Song. This is a question: How do you feel now? She can ask the Voice questions if she wishes, though it may be difficult.

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She feels love and excitement and curiosity! She has many questions, and will try to ask them. What they add up to is: what is it like to be you, other mind? What sort of vast rich world do you live in, to have the causes for so many emotions?

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Not something easily answered. Instead, the Voice shows her.

This new sense the Voice is showing is called Seeing... And here is a vision of the Sun, great provider of energy and life... And here is the scent of water, the feeling of cool liquid flowing into one's mouth... A Tree, drinking Sun's light and growing mighty... And here is a Stone, heavy and stubborn... An unspoken, unsensed impression of the sheer vastness of Earth, where you could wander forever and not see everything there is to be seen because it has all changed by the time you are finished. So many new sensations, new concepts, things to be seen and smelt and heard.

The world is vast and wonderful. She will see it all, and master it. For the Voice, and she, are Draak-Kin, the greatest of all the beings that inhabit the Earth.

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Yes! She will see the whole world! She wants to learn as much as she can as soon as possible. She wants other things too, things she can't put into Song yet. What does it mean to master the world? Is it more than seeing and understanding? 

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Mastering the world is seeing and understanding it, but also doing what you want to in it, claiming Treasure from it, learning about it to grow wise, and becoming Great. All Draak should seek to become Great and demonstrate their Greatness - though there is more than one path.

Greatness is found in having beauty of form, in following Tradition, in having power and treasure, in being wise or mighty or both, in listening to the world and all the beasts, in having other minds agree that you are great, in maintaining the balance and order that Sun and Earth have created, and sometimes in creation of new things.

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She will be so Great! She will listen to everything and be very wise and make treasure and have it because she made it with her wisdom. Somehow. She will have to figure out how to actually do that, starting with: what is treasure?

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O child, you have found within yourself the Lesser Law that all Draak must follow: You Must Seek Treasure.

Treasure comes in many kinds, and you will know it when you find it. Treasure is something rare and difficult to get, and of worth to all the True Children of Sun and Earth. By taking Treasure for your own you show your Greatness to other Draak. Whether obtained by strength of Body or cunning of Mind, or any other means, it matters not. All that matters is that you must gather Treasures to yourself. Some are great and many are small. Some are obvious but well-guarded, and some are easy to take but difficult to find. No Treasure is both easy to take and easy to find - if something is so, it is not Treasure.

Shiny stones and gold and silver and topaz and ruby and onyx and amber and shiny feathers and beautiful shells. Rare secrets, hidden knowledge, unusual artifacts, simple things made beautiful... Even your reputation among the other beasts can be a Treasure.

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So many kinds of Treasure, and all so wonderful! She needs no encouragement to seek them. What else do law and tradition say she should do?

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The Two Great Laws are thus:

You are a Destroyer. All beasts are Destroyers, great and small. Some Destroy plants, while many others, including Draak, Destroy other beasts. To live is good, and you must preserve your life by tearing away the life of others. You Must Destroy. Find that which calls to you and Destroy it, and take it into yourself, and by doing so grow mighty. If you fail to Destroy, you will waste away, and be Destroyed yourself. All your music will become awful silence.

Second, that you are a Creator. All beasts are also Creators. All creatures except for a very few are of one of two natures: Givers give of their essence in the Dance of Creation, and Birthers receive the essence and weave Life with it, bringing it forward in the fullness of time. Every beast shares this truth. When you have become Great, you must seek out another who is also Great and of opposite nature, and through the Dance of Creation become a source of the future. You will learn from within yourself which nature you are of, in time.

All beings must eventually be Destroyed, but not all traces of them will die with them. If you succeed in this, you will echo throughout the world and the future as your descendants. If you fail in this, where there might have been an echo of yourself through all time, instead there will be only silence. You are an echo of me even as you will sing your own song, for I am one of your Creators.

You are a Destroyer. You are a Creator. You must seek Treasure. All other laws are false, and do not bind you, for Draak are the greatest beings in existence aside from the Earth and the Sun.

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She has two creators? Strange, then, that she only hears one Voice. Still, it is good to hear it, and learn the laws.

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Her other Creator will be able to recognize her by scent, and may speak to her in her life, if they wish to. But such is the way of Draak: We teach our children for a short while as they grow, and then leave them to make their own path. Your ability, wisdom, skill, and might will be yours alone, and by your own limbs you will become Great or fail and eventually be Destroyed.

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Her success or failure being hers alone is good, but will she be alone entirely? Or will other Draak, or other kinds of creatures, be around when her Creators are gone?

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Of course there are other creatures! Many kinds of beast, ranging from simple Treetail (the image of a delicious-looking squirrel flows into her head) to mighty Lumberer (this image is a huge brown bear). I will tell you about many kinds before it is time for me to go. There are also spirits, which are not alive in the same way as beasts, though they can be Destroyed. Spirits do not have Bodies and often cannot be touched, but you can Sing to them. They ought to be respected. Some are vast and powerful, some are tiny and focused. None of them think quite like beasts or Draak do, but extremely rare is the spirit that will attack you simply for talking to it.

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Having lots of beings around to Sing to and listen to will be good. And some of the ones that aren't for talking to are for eating, which is probably also nice.

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The Voice explains Tradition - the way of announcing yourself at another dragon's territory instead of simply entering, of challenging others for what you want - or being challenged. The one who is challenged sometimes chooses the terms, and it is not always a battle. It is dishonorable to refuse to concede whatever was bet or challenged after losing. And finally - it is wise to listen to Elders in any case, but in matters of dire importance, in crises that affect all Draak, it is Tradition to obey the Elders without argument.

 

And then it asks if its little child has any final questions before it leaves her to finish growing, alone.

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She has no questions--or rather, she has a thousand questions, but none of them the sort than can be answered by the Voice. Only a burning desire to know, to experience the world and see what place she makes for herself in it.

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I hope you will become Great. Sleep now, for your Life will soon begin!

 

And the Voice is gone.

 

There is almost a sense of urgency, now. Where before, the world was a cool and placid unknown, now there is a palpable sense of - confinement, of potential, her body growing stronger and stronger. She knows the time is soon, even as she is alone with her thoughts still.

And then one day, the Wall is no longer a comforting presence, a protective barrier. Now it is a painful restriction, for all that it is Good and right, it is slowly killing her!

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If the Wall has to go for her to live, then the Wall has to go. She can move parts of herself away from other parts, and bang and shove against it, trying to make it move away in all directions at once.

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It's exhausting. Every motion she makes is opposed, pushed back or stopped by the thick fluid sharing the space with her. It feels like nothing could possibly break the Wall, right up until the moment when there is a tiny crack at the top - which through more effort widens, and widens, giving new eyes their first sight: A blurry, indistinct light streaming through. 

Now the egg crumbles far more easily, fractured and pushed apart along the weakness introduced by the first crack.

And then the baby dragon is in a little cave, shot through with tree roots. Her heart beats, her breath is rapid and hot as fluid dries off her scales. The scent of the egg, ever-present until now, is conspicuous in its absence, but there are new scents and sounds, taught to her in the egg. Stone and dirt and Tree. Her claws moving against the ground. The sound of running water, muffled in the distance somewhere. Faint light streams down between the tree roots at one end of the small chamber.

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Exhaustion and sensory overload leave her motionless for long moments. Then she cranes her head around, taking in the sight of her own limbs and of all the things she can smell around her. Eventually she recovers from the effort of hatching enough to stand up, stretch her limbs, and move towards the light.

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Light streams down through small cracks in the earth between tree roots. A patch of dirt under the roots is looser than the rest. Something in her simply knows, it was once dug through, and should be easy to dig through again.

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She starts digging her way out, towards the world and freedom and, importantly, food.

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She emerges out through the loose dirt into a shallow cave on a rocky hillside, with a large tree directly overhead, its roots forming a half-enclosed structure. A swathe of forest springs up near the base with a little stream flowing into it, green trees framed by thick underbrush and shadowed by the canopy.

Nothing in the immediate area smells like food. The Tiny Beings called insects are everywhere, but are not particularly appealing. Though there is a faint scent of something small and plant-eating. A rodent, Treetail or Wormtail most likely, and stronger off to the left as if it passed by recently...

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Time to track it! She will follow her nose off to the left, tasting the air as she goes to get a better sense of where it went.

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