Fables: The Silly Dragon and her Hero
(A Cut and Run Prequel)
“Now children, it’s time for all of you to settle down and choose a seat!” the elderly Dragon commanded softly, yet sternly, to the Clutch of rambunctious Dragon children playing around her.
“AAAaaawwww!” they collectively cried in disappointment. This cry was uttered by the throats of the nearly two dozen Fledglings and Whelps, that had been entrusted into the care of the Dragon Matriarch, Urmat-which-means-Eternal. All of the children present, less two, chose to continue playing, despite.
In response, Urmat, chose to remain silent. Instead of yelling at them like a less elderly Dragon would have, she folded her arms, lowered her head, and pulled in her wings. Then, she adopted the universal trait that Elders of every specie have: The ‘Frown of Disapproval’.
Secretly, she shored up her Frown with just a smidgen of her Dragon Magic. The effect of which, was both prompt and impressive.
One by one, the children began to cease their rancorous play and turned to face their elderly Minder. They did so, because they all suddenly felt a sense of quiet foreboding. Individually, they all felt as if she herself had been caught sticking a paw into a Sweetbread Tin, (the Dragon-equivalent of a cookie jar).
Today, Urmat had been asked to help mind a clutch of children, all of whom belonged to one Council Member or another. This was because their Mothers had been called to Council to deal with an emergency situation. None of the Council mothers felt that they could find anyone else worthy enough to entrust their most precious treasure to. So, as many times before, Urmat Dragoned up and graciously volunteered to take on the task of their care.
In the first couple of hours, she had allowed them time to engage in free form play. After that, came a meal break in which they were given a well-balanced supper that consisted of a combination of: Red-Meat, White-Meat, Fish, and Eggs. Afterwards came the inevitable, yet necessary nap. Following, was another play time that was now drawing to a close.
Urmat, had had many years of experience under her wings in which she placated and entertained, countless other pre-teen Dragons placed under her care. Often, the other Dragon Mothers wondered how she had ever managed to become a dab-paw at dealing with Dragon-children. As it was known to all and sundry, Urmat had never had children of her own. Her secret to success, was one she jealously guarded as if it were part of her hoard.
“Come! Come children! It is time for a story. Which means it is time for you all to sit, and listen attentively!” she continued, speaking in her inherent Voice of Command, that few of the other Revered Dragon Elders held.
The entire clutch of children obeyed her without thinking, as they silently breathed a sigh of relief, happy that they weren’t going to be upbraided. For what, they had no idea.
Urmat then led them all from the Play-cave, over to that section of Library most acoustically suited to story recitals. After which, she had them sit down. Or, tried to.
“Hinneth! No! No dear! Don’t sit there!” Urmat said primly, pointing at Hinneth, who was sitting on an asbestos covered cushion next to Aimlana.
“One more seat over, there’s a Good-Girl!” she said moving her paw around in a circular motion, then smiled in approval when Hinneth did as she had been commanded. Inwardly Urmat thought to herself. ‘All the better to keep you from antagonizing Aimlana. I’m quite aware you’ve been yanking her tail all day.’
Urmat directed her attention elsewhere.
“Landrelth, remember that Dragons don’t slouch! Much better!” Urmat smiled, as Landrelth pulled in her wings and straightened her back in response.
Urmat walked over to another of her seated wards, and stood looming over her for a moment. Leaning down, Urmat then whispered into the fledgling’s scaly ear.
“Qirri dear, stop sucking your wing claw. Big girls like yourself don’t do that.” Jerking in surprise, Qirri quickly pulled out the offending claw, and looked up open-mouthed at Urmat with a pair of soulful eyes. Slowly, she offered up a tentative smile. In response, Urmat gently patted Qirri on the back and blessed her with an indulgent smile of her own.
As she stepped closer to the center of the Library’s reading area, Urmat pretended to turn her attention away for a moment. Sparing a quick glance over her shoulder, Urmat sighed deeply in exasperation as she noted that Qirri’s wing claw had managed to meander its way back into its owner’s mouth. Shaking her head, she moved on.
As she wandered about the seating area of the reading theater, Urmat made several more, gentle corrections to the Council children she encountered along the way. Slowly, she made her way to the center of the stage, and clapped her paws to gain their attention. Once she’d had it, she spoke loudly, yet clearly.
“Now remember everyone! A Dragon always places her tail on the right side when she sits down.” Urmat kept a neutral expression on her face, as she carefully scanned the area surrounding her. At least, until her gaze locked onto one fledgling in particular. A hint of a grimace crossed her face, as she somehow managed to resist the urge to roll her eyes.
“Aedylath dear! Your other right!” Urmat spoke loudly, then waited patiently until Aedylath had stood up from her stone cushion, and sheepishly shifted her tail over to the proper side. After the other children’s giggles had died down, Urmat continued.
“So, my precious Darlings? Which one of you would like to pick the story for today?” Immediately, nearly every child in the seating area shot a wiggling paw up into the air.
Urmat, being the crafty old Dragon that she was, had already chosen which of the younglings would get to make the pick. But, as always, she wished to make a point.
Folding her arms and putting a claw to her lips, she allowed herself to appear as if she were deep in thought as she looked around the arc of children surrounding her. She tried her best to look as if she were unsure which of the Dragon children she would choose.
Deep down, she always enjoyed that sense of silent and hopeful expectation that the children projected in these situations. It was one of those rare moments that Dragon children willingly remained quiet. Then, at the last, she pointed with her paw, to her predetermined ‘choice’, an elegantly groomed Zipangese Ryu child, and spoke.
“Saito Harumi-chan, you’ve been the most well behaved. I will let you pick today’s story.” Harumi was both surprised and pleased to be chosen. Looking around her, she carefully took note of the baleful frowns and looks of resentment being sent her way. True to her nature, she didn’t wish to make any of her clutch-mates upset with her.
“Oh, Honorable Urmat-Which-Means-Eternal-sama, this one asks that you choose another, more worthy, individual to make that selection.” She demurred softly, and bowed politely.
Urmat, smiled kindly at Saito Harumi and bowed politely in return.
“As you wish Saito Harumi-chan. But, as a consolation, I bestow you a Sweetbread-treat.” Harumi nodded her thanks after receiving it. She then set it aside to enjoy, and possibly share it, with a friend later. Urmat continued.
“Perhaps then, someone like….” Urmat started looking about the room. With one exception, every other Dragon-child in the room tensed up. This was because each of them felt that she herself, was ‘more-worthy’.
Urmat, who had half-expected the young Ryu’s reaction, quickly scanned the crowd and immediately observed the one fledgling who did not tense up.
“Perhaps someone like….Frazziss D’Aragon?” she said with almost complete confidence. The fledgling in question was so astonished at being chosen, that she left her mouth hanging open. Urmat briefly made eye contact with Harumi and knew that she had indeed made the correct choice when barely, just barely, she heard Harumi whisper a single word: “Dozo”.
“Very well then Frazziss,” Urmat began, “You have the opportunity to pick the story for today. Which one would you care to hear?” Frazziss, though caught off-guard, immediately answered with a question.
“Are there any stories you’ve never told?” she inquired in a hoarse voice.
Frazziss, was just barely below the age of being a teenaged Dragon. Which meant that, unlike her fellow children, she was starting to develop physically in that ‘special’ way all female teenage Dragons did: Her breath weapon was starting to manifest. The result of which changed the timbre of her voice, due to her throat having to heal from her intermittent, and unpredictable, breath-weapon expulsions.
“There is one story that I’ve not told before.” Urmat began thoughtfully. “It is called: The Silly Dragon and her Hero. Would you all care to hear th….?” She started to ask, and was interrupted by a cheerful chorus of affirmation.
“YES!” they all cried excitedly, stamping their feet (if they had them) upon the ground. This was a new one! No one there, could recall THAT story being told before!
“Very well children, settle down and I will tell it to you.” After they had done as she had asked, Urmat began her tale, as she walked slowly around the library story area.
“A long time ago, only a pawful of years after the Great Maou had come into power, there was a Human King of a small country in the land called: Fezzan.”
“He wasn’t the best of Kings, but neither was he the worst of Kings. But, since he was a mere Human, it meant that he didn’t have much in the way of talent to be King. Well, other than the fact that he had been smart enough to be born the son of a King.”
Urmat stopped, as she listened to the chuckles and laughter that erupted from the clutch of Dragon children. After they finished, she continued.
“This King, had a problem in his kingdom. His kingdom, being in a desert environment, had only one well to provide his subjects with the water that kept them alive.”
“That problem he had, was that the source of water for his rather small kingdom had suddenly developed an extraordinarily large ratio of selenium inside of it. That well-water had held a naturally good ratio of it up until a few years before our story begins. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, the ratio increased dramatically, and after a few months the effects of its consumption became apparent enough, that even the King couldn’t ignore it anymore.” Just then, one of the raised a paw.
“Oh, yes, Frapelth! Do you have a question?” Urmat asked. All heads turned then to Frapelth. She then spoke.
“What is Selenium?” the whelp asked politely.
“Selenium is a chemical element with an atomic number of thirty-four.”Urmat replied, shifting into teaching mode. “It is a non-metal that has properties intermediate to it in the periodic table. Which are sulfur, and tellurium, respectively. It is normally present in soil and in water. Humans, the frail creatures that they are, need a modest amount of it in their diet to stay healthy. But, if they consume too much of it, they start to sicken, and will eventually die. Does this answer your question, my child?” Urmat finished.
Frapelth, smiled happily while nodding her head in satisfaction. Urmat continued.
“Now, the problem with the water’s selenium levels may have had something to do with the King’s desire for a bigger, and more ornate palace. He had ordered this palace to be built over the well, to illustrate to his subjects that HE was the source of that life-giving water, and that due to his birth he had every right to live in the lap of luxury.”
“This, is the kind of propaganda that has worked well for those who choose to try and rule humans. This is because humans are intellectually a lazy lot.”
“All too soon, the King learned of the downside of such a blatant display of power. As all of his subjects demanded that their King do something to fix that drinking water problem!”
“In response, the King consulted many of his fellow humans who were known oxymoronically, as ‘Wise-Men’. They for their part, demonstrated their usefulness to the King by parting him from his tax monies as quickly as possible. It was as if they all worked diligently to protect the King from being poisoned from the Heavy-Metals known as Gold and Silver.” Urmat stopped strolling, and looked around the room.
“Can anyone state what is considered to be a ‘Heavy-Metal’?” she asked. A number of paws slowly rose up. Hinneth raised her paw looking the most excited. When Urmat noticed her, she replied.
“No, it is not necessarily a form of music.” Hinneth quickly lowered her paw. Urmat then kept scanning the room, and spoke.
“Nor is it a comic book magazine.” Two more paws fell. “Or an animated movie.” Several more paws dropped. Finally, one paw remained in the air. This time it was Goldara, Frazziss’ younger sister, who was still a whelp. Urmat then directed her to speak, she did so.
“Are heavy metals any element other than Hydrogen and Helium?” she asked hesitantly. Urmat had to stop and think for a second, then answered.
“Technically yes, they are. Or they are as far as the science of astronomy is concerned. But, that was not the answer I was seeking.” Goldara looked crestfallen then. Urmat smiled, and continued.
“But I will bestow a Sweetbread upon you for being close enough. Well done Goldara!” Goldara was most pleased when she received her treat, tearing into it immediately with gusto.
“What I was getting at,” Urmat began,” were the Biological Heavy Metals, such as: Arsenic, Beryllium, Chromium, Mercury, Lead, and others. They are known as such, because they negatively affect many forms of life that are non-Dragon.” She said, finishing the lesson, then she continued the story as she walked about once more.
“After the King’s tax coffers had become depleted, the “Wise-Men” finally admitted that they could do nothing to help the increasingly nervous King with his Drinking Water problem.”
“Soon, the King became so desperate for help, that he threw caution to the winds and personally sought an audience with those who could indeed help him: Dragons. Unfortunately for this King, none of the locally established Dragons would meet with him. As they each had their own, more important, business to attend to.”
“But, as luck would have it, the King managed to almost literally ‘bump into’, a heretofore unknown form of Dragon. A Silly one. She, was considered silly by her fellow Dragons because she acted in silly ways. She did such silly things as, speaking with humans on an equal level, instead of demanding to be treated with proper deference as was her due. Also, she refused to take over the family hoard as was expected by her mother.
Instead, she wanted to do something that was considered scandalous by Dragon society! She wanted to Flap about, and see the world first paw for herself. Alone!” Urmat paused in her telling, as nearly every Dragon-child in the reading area gasped, then giggled in response to such a preposterous notion!
Carefully, Urmat searched around with her ears and eyes, locating the one Dragon who hadn’t giggled. She found herself somewhat relieved, and just a bit surprised to note that it had been Frazziss D’Aragon out of all of the rest, who had chosen to not laugh at the notion of a Dragon traveling the world alone.
“The King made many entreaties to meet with this Silly Dragon, and after she had judged that he had learned something akin to a long overdue humility, she agreed to meet and listen to his sad plight.”
“She listened to his tale of woe with the kind of patience that every Dragon has to utilize, when dealing with non-Dragons. But, eventually, she and the King tried to work out a deal. The deal she proposed, was that she would work to keep the well water’s level of Selenium down to a safe level. In exchange, the King would pay her what she felt was a modest amount of gold.
“The King, unfortunately, felt differently about what could be considered ‘modest’. This was largely due to his Palace’s refurbishments having not been completed, combined with the loss of revenue from the well water going bad. He decided that his tax-coffers would not be able to handle such a deal, and begged for an alternative.”
“The Silly Dragon, having had her patience worn thin with the King’s incessant immaturity; made an alternative suggestion. In exchange for half of the annual amount of gold previously agreed upon, she would instead receive two of the Kingdom’s young adults to apprentice with her.” Urmat stopped, folding her arms to feign annoyance.
“She did this in the hope that these apprentices would learn enough from her to take over the necessary, yet tedious, task of keeping the water free of Selenium. So, that by the end of the year, she could be freed of the task completely and get to continue seeing the world, like she had originally planned.”
“The King was quite happy with this new arrangement. This was because he got to shift a good portion of the costs of the arrangement, onto someone else: his subjects.”
“Not surprisingly, his subjects were not happy about it. In return they demanded that he institute a Lot-drawing system to insure ‘fairness’ in the choosing of the two apprentices. Naturally, all of the rich, the nobility, and the priestly humans of that land, worked out a secret deal with the King. For a suitable ‘fee’ of course. They did this to insure none of their children’s names would be inscribed onto any of those lot-chits. Everyone else of the King’s subjects, of course, never suspected a thing.” Urmat couldn’t resist rolling her eyes then. Which elicited more than a few laughs.
“And so, the Kingdom got its drinkable water and the King got to continue to tax his subjects heavily. Until, at the last, he was able to complete that wonderfully decorated Palace that he felt was his due, for his being smart enough to be born King.”
“Conversely, the Silly Dragon was pleased with the contract as well. Because, it came with the fringe benefit of her getting a pair of bed-mates to help her while away the many lonely hours of having to sit in one spot. Sometimes she bedded them singly, but most often she did so with them together. Naturally, the two she bedded ended up with a residual amount of her Magic deposited within them. This, as we all know, is the natural result of their making love with her. Those lovers of hers, both male and female were properly tutored by her of course. Eventually they became powerful enough in the ways of Magic, that they could cleanse the Well-Water on their own.”
“The Silly Dragon, assumed that they would be keen to take over the task of keeping the well water drinkable for their King and their country. And that she could then continue on in her journeys to see the world.”
“Now imagine her surprise, children. When at the end of their year of service, her two apprentices refused to do so! Not surprisingly, the King’s subjects were most upset about this, as they fully expected those two young adults to return home and make families, as was their duty.”
“Why didn’t they do their duty?” piped up one child, Ressapha. Urmat smiled fondly at her, and answered.
“When she asked them why they wouldn’t do that, they explained to her that they remembered the tales of the strange and exotic lands she had told them of. And that they wanted to go and see them with their own eyes. They felt that they could do this in style, because by then, they had the ability to support themselves as Majin. All thanks be to their kindly Dragon lover.”
“Naturally, neither the King nor his subjects would accept her explanation, and chose to misunderstand what was going on. Particularly since they had to do another drawing of lots that year, and the year after that, and the year after that! In fact, this went on for nearly a decade! This kept occurring, despite her best efforts to get them all to stay and perform their duty!”
“As a result of all this, the King’s subjects all assumed that the Dragon was in fact, ‘Eating’ their children like Monsters did before the Great Maou came about. In a way she was, just not the way they’d thought. But, what can one expect from such foolish creatures like humans anyways?” Urmat stated wryly, clapping her paws together once.
“Did she ever convince them to behave?” Shormenth, the Wyvern child asked then.
“I was just about to get to that part.” Urmat said to Shormenth, nodding. “Finally, about six months before the end of his term, her latest male apprentice, ‘Roland’, stated that he would be willing to take on the task of cleansing. But, only if the Silly Dragon accepted him as her husband. After hearing that, the Silly Dragon thought that Roland had gone quite mad! She was fond of him, yes, there was little doubt about that! But, truly-madly-deeply like he claimed that he did for her? No, she couldn’t believe that! She refused to!”
“So, she tried everything she could think of, to get him to change his mind. But, no matter what kind of onerous task she would set him, would change his mind. He would always complete that task, without once complaining, and afterwards be left smiling as if he were honored instead. After a couple of months of this, she became quite vexed with his foolishness, and proceeded to take desperate measures to dissuade his ardor.”
“What did she do?” Frapelth spoke up again.
“I’m glad you asked. What she did, was to attempt to end his apprenticeship early. She tried flying him to a faraway place and dropped him off. Then, she returned home without him. At first, she was pleased with herself for her creativity.”
“But within a day, Roland appeared at the mouth of her domicile, eager to continue on with his duties. Time and again, she tried to fly him to ever more distant lands. And at an ever-increasing interval, he would return. First it was days, then a fortnight, then a month. Until finally, the Silly Dragon chose to fly him to a land so far away, that it took her a week to return.”
“By then, she felt absolutely sure that there was no way Roland could return from the frozen continent of Gelidus far to the south. She hoped that he would ‘take the hint’ and leave her alone then. After a month and a fortnight, she assumed that he indeed had. True, it did end up with her having to help take on the cleansing of the well water with the other apprentice’s help. But, she felt that that was a small price to pay.”
“By this time, the King’s subjects had caught on to the ruse involving the Lot-drawing, and they were most angry. But, as opposed to forming an uprising and forcing a change of governmental leadership into one more democratic. Instead, they chose to try and convince the Lot-chit maker to inscribe the Lots with two names in particular.”
“It wasn’t hard for them to convince him. After all, he himself had ‘lost’ his sole child to the Dragon’s apprenticeship years before, and was furious that he didn’t have someone to sponge off of in his old age.”
“The King was most upset after the next Lot-drawing, as two of his own daughter’s names were the ones that came up. And those two names kept coming up, no matter how many times he declared the previous drawing to be nothing more than a ‘warm up’. Naturally, the King tried many ways to wriggle his way out of this obligation. But his subjects having ‘lost’ so many pairs of their own children, refused to budge. They all demanded that the King play by the same set of rules that they themselves had been forced to.”
“Eventually, the King made a good show about giving in to his Subject’s demands. So, he made public preparations to send his two Princess daughters off to work as if they were common folk. Secretly though, he hired a Hero of the Order to ‘volunteer’ to take one of his daughters’ place. The King’s subjects, after much grumbling about how convenient it was, accepted it.”
“The Lot-Inscriber, for his part, suddenly didn’t have to worry about who was going to support him in his old age.” Urmat then made a slicing motion with one paw, and made a motion of a head rolling with the other. Every Dragon child in the audience laughed then. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good beheading? Provided, of course, that it wasn’t their head.
“Now this Order Hero, who was named George, was a handsome young man and a strong one to boot. It was as if one of the Gods had blessed him at his birth. For he sported many a fine set of muscles on his chiseled body. One could almost say that he had a Silver Tongue, and a Golden Penis to boot. The combination of which, led him to being able to seduce and beguile the Silly Dragon within a few months. Once he had stolen her heart, he then learned of her strengths and her weaknesses. Which, to the Silly Dragon’s dismay, he used to try and kill her.”
Every child in the audience gasped then. Outraged by such a betrayal!
“Yes children, the King chose to break his word with the Silly Dragon. She, unfortunately had chosen to trust a Human. For they, unlike us who are truly honorable, can break their word with seeming impunity. Remember this and remember it well! For one day, you too could very well be betrayed.” Urmat spoke coldly in a fury. After a moment, she calmed herself down and continued.
“George!” she screamed in outrage and surprise, when he tried to stab her in the back. He had waited until she had fallen asleep after one of their love making sessions, to act. Luckily, she had stirred from her slumber when she had heard the sound of his sword being drawn from its sheath. Otherwise, this story would have had a different ending.” Urmat spoke somberly.
“The Silly Dragon fought valiantly for her life. George however, was able to keep up the fight by using all his knowledge of her weaknesses against her. Despite all that, for the longest time it seemed as if he would fail. Then, sensing that she would outlast him, he resorted to a Dirty-Trick and got under her guard. He then managed to pommel her enough to stun her, leaving her unable to move.”
“Gloating over her condition, he took the time to give her a monologue in which he explained why he had chosen to betray her, and who had hired him. Then, he raised his sword to give her the Death-blow.” Urmat pantomimed raising an invisible sword.
“The Silly Dragon could only watch in horror, as George’s blade came whistling down to that one vulnerable spot of hers, that he and he alone had known about. She then closed her eyes to await her inevitable and painful doom.”
“But then, something happened! With a resounding yell, Roland appeared seemingly out of nowhere! He screamed out a fierce negation and interposed himself between George’s blade and his love.”
“Ah Roland! He had demonstrated his love and devotion to his Dragon by persevering through incredible odds, to complete his mission of returning to her side, and did so just in the nick of time!” Urmat spoke dramatically, clutching her paws to her chest.
“But alas! The cost of saving his Dragon, came at the cost of his own life, for George’s blade would not be stopped. Deep it plunged into Roland’s chest and his heart was pierced, dealing him a mortal blow!” Urmat lowered her head sadly.
“The Silly Dragon was aghast at this sight, and Furious beyond reason at her loss! Swiftly, she regained her feet and proceeded to give George a thorough thrashing!” Urmat said, pounding her fists away at an invisible oaf.
“But, even in her righteous fury, she refused to give into her baser urges that would have allowed her to kill him. Once she managed to render George unconscious, she swiftly returned to sweep Roland into her arms.
“As countless tears fell from her eyes, she asked him why he had returned, why had he sacrificed himself in that manner? He answered her with his last breath, “Because I love you.” And then he died with her name on his lips.”
“Great were her wailings then. Greater still was her anger. But, even as terrible as her grief was, she still would not break her Covenant with the King. But, instead of staying, she used the life’s blood of her now dead True-Love and Hero, to magically cure the well water of its excess Selenium. Her Task now complete, she took the body of her beloved to the Dragon Realm, and never again did her feet touch the soil of the human world.”
Urmat then paused. As she looked around at her wards, she didn’t notice a single dry eye in the clutch. She then ended her story.
“The moral of this story, children. Is that if you truly wish to find your Hero, you must observe his actions, as opposed to his words. You will come across many a man in your lives who will have a silver tongue. But, he will demonstrate who he really is by not being there for you, when you truly need him. Therefore, you must keep an eye out for that man who is so devoted, that he will not let anything get in the way of accomplishing his self-appointed tasks. For if you do that children, you will have a chance at finding yourself a treasure far greater than all of the Dragon Hoards, in all of the worlds combined.”
Urmat, then went silent and let her chin fall to her chest. Which was just as well, as then was the time when the Dragon Council had finished up their business and had returned to collect their children.
Urmat remained as she was for several minutes, until she sensed someone close by. Looking up, she saw the form of Councilor Herrassiss standing before her with her paws upon her hips, looking most displeased.
“Councilor Herrassis,” Urmat returned, acknowledging her with a nod of respect as was the Councilor’s due.
“I thank you for taking the time to take care of my daughters, oh Esteemed-Urmat. But from henceforth, I will trust you,” Herrassiss spoke menacingly, “to not fill my daughter’s ears with such foolish notions as True Love, or Heroes, ever again! Do you hear me?” Herrassiss hissed fiercely as she stared balefully down at Urmat.
“Yes, Councilor. You have my word that I will never do so again.” Urmat replied humbly. Herrassiss continued to glare at Urmat angrily for a moment more, then she swiftly turned around and went over to collect her daughters roughly by their arms, and stomped away.
Urmat, after a few minutes of rest. Got up and looked around the now empty library theater sadly. Sighing, she then took herself out for a walk of fresh air. Eventually she meandered her way out to one particular Dragon Necropolis.
There, in her family’s alcove, she sat herself wearily upon a stone contemplation bench. After a while, she lifted her head up and looked longingly at one particular grave marker across from her.
This grave marker was an old one, but still durable. There, on its cold surface was a single word inscribed phonetically in Dragon-Script: ‘ROLAND’.
As she had done so many times before, Urmat-which-means-Eternal stayed sitting on that bench for many hours, wondering what her life might’ve been if she hadn’t been so silly in her youth.