Feb 26, 2021 4:17 AM
Thorn in Golden Treasure
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She roars back. I just want to talk.

She spirals down and lands on the ground.

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When the other dragon lands, they do so at a good distance - a few hundred feet, on top of a small hilltop.

When they 'talk' there's a verbal component involved, but it's entirely secondary to the magical sending in - it must be a new sense, because it has colors and volume but it's not sight exactly, and it has timbre and pitch but it's not quite sound either-

It's somewhat hard to interpret, but OTC's translation magic helps there. 

You have too many limbs... You want to talk? Talk.

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How to be comprehensible in a communication medium she's never experienced before. Keep it simple and to the point.

I'm from far away. I want to trade.

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The other dragon hisses and flaps its wings agitatedly. The sending continues to be - strange shapes within that new sense, resembling telepathy a little bit but only a bit, almost more concepts than words.

Trade! You wish to trade? You are no kin, yet you resemble us. Confusion is a warning. Confusion is dangerous! How can I trust your song when you are no true kin?

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You need not. If you wish me to leave in peace I will. But I seek to trade with your people, as a stranger, in the hope that we may both be richer from it.

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Hesitation.

I do not trust you. You are weird and unsettling; Like a Kin, yet not. Such a thing has never occurred before. It seems blasphemous. And yet... What Treasure can you offer me in trade, for what costs?

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I can offer gold and silver, strange magics, memories of other worlds.

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Gold and silver are always pleasing, of course. And I do enjoy strange musics. ...You do not merely mean other spheres nestled in the black sea, but places further beyond? I am not sure such knowledge would be useful but it would certainly be diverting. You have not sung of your own desires, however.

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I mean places further beyond. I sing foremost the desire for knowledge about this world, in which I am a stranger. About your kin and your ways from your own song.

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I am Savannah-Lord Elephant-Eater, Whose Might Is Only Amplified By Cunning. I may sing of many things in exchange for payment; Trade for information is familiar practice. I may sing of the ways of the Kin, in greater detail the more is offered. There is very much I might show you. I may sing of other Kin, of the Goodbeasts I hunt, of the Humans and Delvers and their extinct kin. I may sing of the ways of climate and land and the Treasures that may be found here. I may sing of the Music of the Kin, that which sets us apart from lesser beings and allows wondrous feats. I may sing of other strange beings who call this world home or have visited it in the past. I may sing of the deep history of the world, a story currently known, so far as I can tell, only to Draak-Kin. Humanity has forgotten it.

I should like to inspect what you offer before making such a deal; I swear by Sun and Earth and the binding of Tradition that I will not steal them without fair trade or challenge.

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My magics are varied and odd, and I do not know what of them you may value; so for now it may be best to trade in gold. 

She separates out the beacon from her Shapechanged form and operates it with her telekinesis. Gold, Dragon's Ransom, boxed, 1/100th.

A single chest appears at her feet; she pulls the top open with one heavy claw and displays the gold coins packed in aluminum foil inside.

I have more chests like this, ready to be called, identical in every respect. How many such chests would you demand for all you know?

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All I know is a very great amount indeed. While it is indeed an impressive amount of gold to produce so casually, the greatest Treasures can neither be seen nor held. Secrets are a class of Treasure altogether different. I cannot trust that which has a nature I do not understand. You are as ignorant as an abandoned egg, and clearly not one of the Kin, so I must keep in mind the good of the world, not merely my own benefit. You may think me strange for it. None the less, I cleave to this path. For each bounty of gold, I will answer... Eight questions that do not touch on the deepest secrets of the Draak, which I decide by my own judgement.

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I would barter with you, but in the name of friendship I will accept your price. For this, eight questions.

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The four-limbed dragon gives off a sound that parses as derisive amusement. 

'Friendship'. A strange music. It will not win you favor. There are those who are useful to each other in one way or another, and those who are threats to each other, and those who are neither. You seek knowledge that I can provide. I seek golden Treasure. We each have something the other wants. That means a fight or a trade... And I prefer a trade at this time. Very well, acceptable. My answers will of course be reasonably elaborate and complete.

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My first question, then. What "songs" are common among your people?

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I sing now of the symphonies of power laid out for all true Kin of Above and Below to follow, if they are able to grasp greatness. Each song-path has its own beauty and merit, and any worthy Draak's music contains strands of many. The fundamentals are the Greatest Four, each an aspect of Reality and music that all Kin should strive to integrate. Cultivating one's understanding of the Greatest Four drives a Draak to greatness; Neglecting the fundamentals of our Music leaves one a pathetic and weak creature.

I sing now of Earth; Of vastness and stillness beyond thought. A slow and patient song, stillness and solitude. A song of inescapable facts and inevitable continuation, perfect strength for all Eternity and a beat that goes on for ever. Eons pass and even Draak-Kin live and die and live and die again, generations upon generations; Planets remain. Earth is the unyielding stubbornness of Granite that will weather all harms. The Foundation. The Measure. The Axis.

I wing now of Water; The essence of life, fluid and flexible. A river cannot be destroyed easily; Bite it and it flows from your fangs; Crush it with stones and it seeps through the cracks. The song of blue teaches one to be ever ready to try a new path, for to live is to change. A music of understanding, healing, and change. Water is empathy and grace, embracing and nourishing, always journeying but never arriving. The Connection. The Catalyst. The Flow.

I sing now of Air; Everywhere and always in motion, dancing eternally. A music gliding through and above and around everything, untouchable and uncapturable. Barring not the way, but capable of blowing with such strength as to bring Destruction. Always exploring, always playing, carrying dust and seed with playful curiosity. Air is speed and cleverness, moving as the wind and carried swiftly over mountain and sea alike. The Breath of the world, high as Mind and bright as Hope.

I sing now of Fire; The urge to grow and consume, to live and breathe. The music of Fire is a fierce litany, sung for all to hear and refusing all challenge. A pleasurepain desire, always grasping, always reaching, always seeking Greatness. A defiance against the cold and darkness, to sing 'I live! I live!'. Fire is power and ferocity and strength and destruction, for nothing in the world can stop a blaze once it grows strong enough. The Joy, the Desire, the Challenger.

The Greatest Four are not the only Music which our kind follows.

I sing now of Wisdom; To create a balanced and nuanced understanding of the world. There are many ways of interpreting things, as a rushing river is entirely different to a fish, a bird, and a Draak. Reality and Nature will always have new surprises to give, and a balanced, nuanced mind is better able to take advantage of each new situation. Those who follow the path of wisdom study and create artefacts, gather knowledge of many things, and often prove unexpectedly dangerous when their experience allows them to grant surprises to their foes. Wisdom is a surprising and bewildering music.

I sing now of Tradition; The balance of Nature has been maintained by Draak-Kin for eons. Ever since the Sun and Earth, the greatest father/Giver and mother/Birther of our world, sung their beautiful Music to create Draak-Kin, it has been maintained. We are placed above the goodbeasts and plants and below the heavens, and tasked with maintaining balance. Even when advantage can be gained by abandoning the rites of challenge and truce and courtesy, it is a thing of Greatness and pleasing to the spirits to remain steady for ever. Tradition is a continuance of the First Song, and gives the whole world strength.

I sing now of Survival; For some, Tradition is nothing. Wisdom is nothing. All that matters is avoiding the silence of Death. Of the two immutable laws, to Destroy and Consume has primacy above all. Nothing is worth dying for. Everything is an acceptable cost to continue drawing breath, clawing and fighting. Poaching, theft, ambush, and even that most horrible crime, LYING, are all acceptable claws on a Survivor's forelimb. Strength requires no apology or explanation.

...And yet one more Music I have been reminded of by the notion of 'friendship'. I sing of Enkindling, the subtle art of raising the Goodbeasts of the land to greater heights than they could obtain, by somehow sharing one's inner flame and soul. Thus they take their new place above the beasts but below true Kin, with powers and minds appropriate to their station, instruments joining with their creator in a greater song. A potent and unusual tune, one that carries many risks and uncertainties I am sure.

I trust this answer is satisfying.

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