View Full Version : The stone dragon in the valley - Seba and Tinder's story

29th December 2017, 07:46 PM
Have you ever wondered about the dragon in the valley?

The one turned to stone?

I have wondered. Often I would take a picnic to the valley, and sit in the leeward of the stone dragon, my back resting on the granite circle and imagine . . .

What if . . ?

What if it were still alive, breathing, thinking, flying?

What if the wings, now solid stone, but maybe strong, leathery, supple, were spread over me like an umbrella, shielding me? What if they were beating against the air, waiting for the right moment to fly?

What if that stone head were alert, live, watchful, the teeth sharp, glinting in a draconic grin . . ?

What if it were . . hungry?

I would eat my picnic – carrot cake with sorrel sandwiches, washed down with mirabilis juice, ponder the sky and daydream . . .

When the Library was discovered I decided to offer my services – so I could search and maybe, maybe, find out what had happened; how the stone dragon came to be.

I found many things. Shopping lists. Stories of long dead sorcerors; recipes for carrot cake, the first raspberry seeds and how they evolved – the fruit was originally blue – the foundation and formation of the dragon race courses, and how the jackalope came to be. But of the stone dragon – nothing.

Of course, there may still be hidden treasures, books waiting to be discovered, deciphered and understood, but the nights were drawing in and soon I would be needed to help with Winterspell and I wanted to know before the year turned.

Time to do something more proactive.

I went to see Emma.

She was readying herself for an excursion into the valley – excellent timing, thought I. And I asked if I could accompany her, for the day at least. To my surprise she agreed. I scurried back and packed a backpack with what I believed to be necessities and returned a-pace to Emma’s place, to find her saying her farewells to the Sorceror.

I waited patiently and practised various opening gambits while the fairies hummed in the fields.

As usual the sun shone warmly and it was an easy walk to the edge of the valley.

After we had said our farewells to Nicodemus I decided to ask.

‘The stone dragon?’ she queried, ‘the one over yonder?’


‘I think I remember the story. I was told it when I was but a small twig, a child.’

We walked a bit further as she ruminated and then, abruptly she began:

‘Once upon a long ago, when this valley was barely populated, and only the bravest of miramagicians ventured forth, for the City had yet to be established and the World Tree was barely a sapling, a mage decided to build a laboratory of sorts out here in the wilderness. Of sorts, I say because it was not sanctioned, as these things have to be, and many experiments went unrecorded.

Oh, he had successes – of course he did! – but his discoveries were at times rather wild and definitely unexpected.

There was the time he wanted to create a fireberry tree- and his dragon was prepared to help.

At first all seemed to go well – the berries infused with dragonfire, seemed to grow and develop as normal, but then things started to happen unexpectedly.

Yes the berries would glow with dragonfire looking for all the world like the seeds of a sun, but as the flame cooled, as it invariably did, then there was a residue of stone. Like ash after a fire has burned out turns into clinker.

So the day dawned bright and clear; and Seba the Mage, along with Tinder his red dragon, prepared for the day’s experiments.

The seeds lay glowing in a pit, ready to receive the dragonfire, and Seba was ready to record his findings.

Tinder curled around so he could see both the firepit and his Mage, drew in a great breath, and as the sun shone down, warming his scales, he breathed out the purest dragonflame he could generate. The seeds glowed, burning red then orange, purple and blue as the heat intensified.

Seba stared, open mouthed as the seeds flared fantastic shades, quite forgetting to make notes, his quill falling to the grass covered ground, unnoticed, mesmerised by the coruscation of glowing angry shades in front of him. This time – this time . .surely it was going to . . ?


The loudest explosion he had ever heard reverberated across the deserted valley, the force of sound hurling him to the ground. He lost consciousness, briefly. And when he woke it was to a silent world, a deafened world, and the feeling of something wet on his face. Reaching up he discovered the wet was blood . . from his nose, from his ears!

Seba was deaf from there on. The force of the explosion had burst his eardrums and no healer was able to repair them. A spell was found to mimic hearing, but it was never the same.


When Seba looked it was to find a stone dragon curled and curved where Tinder had been. And the seeds? A brilliant blue. Crystal – diamond hard and immovable.

The experiment had failed, and at a high cost. Seba, deafened, and bereft of his beloved Tinder.

He was never the same again. He would travel to his Tinder every week, and pour out his heart and his sorrow. And every week he returned looking older, more tired, slower . . and it was noticed that the blue crystals were flourishing, more outcrops were establishing themselves in the valley . .

It took a year. The last time Seba went to see his petrified Tinder it was a year to the day. He was seen leaving the village, his leather knapsack in hand, his staff wavering and sturdy, and he never returned home.

Some say he was turned to crystal like the fireberries; some that he disintegrated in a final attempt to restore Tinder, ash and dust blown around the valley, others say he walked through the valley and continued . . to who knows where?

Whatever the answer, Tinder lies still, a permanent reminder of Seba and his ill fated experiments, and we have the blue crystals established.’

Emma paused and I blinked, drawn back from the world of her story, to realise exactly where we were: right by the stone dragon, a small fire blazing, the flames reflecting in the facets of the blue crystals, the movement creating shapes, little figures of an elderly sorcerer walking with the weight of grief, towards a shadow of a dragon. As I watched, the two shadows met, merged to create a dragon and rider, and as the flames leapt orange and purple, the new shape flew away in a cascade of sparks.

I smiled. Tinder and Seba – together again.

‘You saw?’ Emma’s disconcertingly bright eyes watched me from the edge of the firepit.


‘Hmpf. Good. You were paying attention then. Hope for you yet. Right, help me collect these plants’ And I did, and helped her carry her harvest back to the village, my imagination full of fire seeds, berries, stone dragons, grief and the fierce exhilaration of flight.