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dragonholt
6th January 2018, 10:13 PM
There was much consternation one cold snowy morning in the village of Little Ottermont. Minnie the dragon didn’t seem very well. Her wings were green tinged, and she was off her food. She just sat there in her lair, not even interested in practising her bubble magic. What was her magess to do? She tried everything: fresh nettle root, crushed with Mirabelle cordial . . .she paid for the fairies to groom her – almost ran out of spotted cucumber pickle for it! Even spoke to Emma and gave Minnie a tonic.

Nothing worked.
The beautiful white hide faded and seemed slightly grey, and she barely moved from her lair.
Her magess sought advice across mira and even into the valley – and spent all her time sitting beside her, trying to feed her jellybeans . . to no avail.

This went on for about a week, the crops stayed in the fields unharvested, cobwebs were left unswept in the observatory, and the plant fairies tutted and shook their heads . . this was not good.

The dawn of the final day of the season of renewal arrived. The early shift fairies found the magess asleep in the lair, Minnie curled as before, but this time there was something different.
A translucent object was shielded by the wings. Wings that seemed to have regained their colour, just a little. And when jellybeans were offered the scent awoke the sleeping Minnie, who yawned, sniffed, and delicately ate the purple ones. Their exclamations of delight were enough to wake Minnie’s magess, who rubbed her eyes when she saw Minnie. What a change! Caressing her snout, she also saw the new object. Minnie watched her carefully, but allowed her wings to be moved aside, carefully, and there was a general sound of awe. Minnie was guarding an ice blue egg!

Most unusual.

It caused quite a stir. Even Mirella came to investigate and the sorcerer offered to cast an omen. The twisted metal shape defeated him though – it was full of so many possibilities.

Minnie allowed people to come and look, but no one, not ever the Sorceror, was allowed to touch the egg.

At least that was the case . . until a young druid came visiting one day, new to mira, still settling in his village, and, hearing of this mystery, came visiting, bearing gifts: purple jellybeans for Minnie and cookies for the magess.
When he offered the jellybeans to Minnie she stared at him for a few seconds, and then, nodded, once. She then spread her wings and flew, leaving her new egg with this newcomer.

He became a regular visitor, and each time he arrived Minnie would stretch her wings, groom herself and eat. Her magess was so pleased with this that she sang as she harvested and freshened up her castle.

It was the night of RevJon’s latest Transformation party when the situation changed again. The first sign that something was changing was all the lairs were empty. Teleportation sounds could be heard all over mira as miramagicians sought their dragons.

And where were they? At Little Ottermount, bearing witness to the miracle about to happen

First there was a cracking sound, and then a piece of egg fell away. A small snout appeared, nostrils flaring as the first breath was taken. A pause, and then another cracking sound. More shell fell to the ground, and Minnie got to work, licking her baby dry.

And what a baby! Her hide was a translucent blue, the blue of a dawning summer sky; the blue of icicles hanging over water, the blue of a young sorrel ball. The eyes? Gold. Huge. And the pupils, red, like a flame.


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It is still unknown how the baby came to be. Was it Minnie’s child, or did it appear and she simply mothered it?

Certainly the general consensus was that this was a special baby. An interesting future lay ahead for Sapphire and her druid, Cyan.

dragonholt
12th January 2018, 10:02 PM
It took some time, but a routine developed.

One thing that had to be resolved was that Cyan had an egg of his own, and there wasn't room even in the most levelled up lair for 2 growing dragons - so how was Sapphire to be looked after and sheltered?

The answer lay in Little Ottermount where there was an empty house and lands. The village settled Sapphire in the empty lair, and undertook to help with the feeding and training. In effect, Sapphire would have at least 7 parents - for all the villagers, and Cyan, would visit regularly, bearing foodstuffs for the growing dragonling. Minnie continued to oversee the baby dragon's progress, and so time passed.

It was fascinating to watch the baby dragon evolve. As there was no one to manage the property the lair needed to be enlarged with special magic, provided by the Sorcerer. It made the lair slightly different; and it glowed a shade of white, like sunshine reflecting on snow. Quite fetching, actually, although it looked cold.

Interesting, really, blue is often perceived as a colour that is cold, depressed, sad . . but in Sapphire's case it resonated of delicacy, innocence and cuteness. No one who met her remained unaffected. Well, almost no one . . .
Everything about her was tinged blue - except for her pupils. they had a tinge of red in the heart . . cold can burn too, you know.


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Slowly she grew up, her wings expanded, stretched and became irridescent. The teething horn fell away, and small horns started to push through on the back of her head. One day, while the snow was still on the ground, after she had eaten the offering brought her by Cyan, she sneezed . . something tickling her delicate nose - and out flew little tiny snowflakes! They hung in the air briefly before dissolving into mist and memory. As time passed she began to be able to control these snowflakes. Where her more fiery cousins had fire, she had ice. Delicate ice crystals in unique hexagonal shapes and patterns, perhaps just a few, like the kisses of a child, perhaps more - like a shiver of expectancy . . . and then, as time passed, more, like a welcome cold shower on a hot hot day.

dragonholt
14th January 2018, 08:39 PM
And yes, time passed, and Sapphire grew. More slowly than the usual dragons, but she grew. Her wingspan extended; her limbs grew strong, her skin stretched.

Cyan was horrified one day to realise that her skin was splitting. Ichor crusted the edges and Sapphire flinched when he went to investigate. Speaking calmly and slowly he fussed her until her wings relaxed again and the tension left her muscles. Only when she was calm did he leave her, and go seeking Emma.

She listened as he sipped her nettle tea and explained his worries, and then, almost lazily, she opened a drawer and took out a small pot. handing this to Cyan she smiled.
'Not had cause to use this for many a mira year, ' she remarked, 'but I am glad to see it in use once more. Rub this lotion into your Sapphire's skin, massage it in well, regularly, and encourage her to bask in the sun to soften her skin further. This will soften and allow the skin to stretch as she grows. No flying until her skin is supple. You hear?' her piercing blue eyes speared at Cyan, and his hand shook, the cup tinking against the table top.

'ye - yes! he stammered

'Good boy.' A rare smile cracked across her face. 'Now go. '

And so he did, his eyes wide at being called 'boy' and being dismissed. What was it about Emma that made him feel like a schoolboy??

No matter; she had given him something to help Sapphire, and that was what was most important.

Arriving back at the lair he found the magess, Nut, muttering under her breath as she and Minnie visited Sapphire.
'Cyan - Cyan - seen her skin?'

In reply Cyan raised the jar. 'From Emma'

Nut relaxed. 'Oh good!'

Together they rubbed the pine scented unguent into Sapphire's skin. She loved it. Stretching out to her full length, muscles relaxed and her whole posture one of ecstasy. Even when they rubbed delicately near the tears she simply fluttered her wings, turned her head to stare at them with her amber eyes and cat slit of a pupil, before relaxing back, and letting them work.


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Minnie nuzzled her when they were done, and together they settled to bask in the sun.

'No flying' admonished Cyan, 'enjoy the sun, but no flying - yet'

Sipping towerade the four folks, miramagician and dragon, enjoyed a time of contentment and magical sunshine.

Life was good here in Little Ottermont.

dragonholt
15th January 2018, 11:43 PM
A few seasons later, and it was time for Sapphire to try her first dragon flight.

Her wings had continued to develop and she was growing in stature, her chest muscles and wing muscles developing prodigiously. The main problem was - she remained a small dragon, merely 5 metres in length rather than the usual 15 for her age. Cyan didn't mind: he was as smitten by her now as he was when she first broke out of her shell. Nut and Minnie didn't mind: she was Sapphire; that was all that was needed to be said. But there were mutterings from other visitors . . .

Things came to a head when Mirella came calling, bearing a bag of charcoal cookies for Sapphire, but looking at her with a very practised eye. She inspected the lair; and the food; she quizzed Cyan and Nut regarding the care and upkeep; sniffed at the lotion and communed with Sapphire.

Communed? Didn't you know?

If you wish to communicate with a dragon that is not in communion with you, you had to commune. Lay your hand on the eye ridge, risk the hypnotic look of the dragon eye and request permission to speak telepathically with the dragon. If the dragon should grant it then you would enter a time of suspension, a period when time awareness was suspended. What transpired between the two of you would quickly dissipate but if you were quick enough and recorded the communion after withdrawal then you could learn a lot. And Mirella was experienced in such matters.


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It was like a tableau - the pale pale blue dragon, eyes wide, the amber of the eyes glowing like gold; and Mirella's brown eyes trapped like a fly , her hand resting on the eye ridge and her body bowed slightly towards Sapphire. Their breath synchronised, they seemed connected, as one, so still . . .

And then it was over. Nut offered Mirella a cup of rejuvenating nettle tea and Mirella seemed very pensive.

Not long afterwards she spoke quietly to the two of them:

'Sapphire is . . .special. She is here in mira for us to treasure and bring up. There is something she is destined to do but she doesn't know it yet. She is almost fully grown, so will never achieve the stature of the classical Mira dragons. However, she is fully draconic; simply a different type. We are privileged she is here. She will change things, and bring a future that is full of magic and hope.'

Still looking rather pensive, she left the charcoal biscuits and summoned her broom before flying back to the City. She spent some time in meditation and ever after had a keen interest in matters to do with Sapphire.

dragonholt
16th January 2018, 11:48 PM
There was quite a crowd waiting for Sapphire when she finished her first training race.

It had taken her over the volcano trail, which, in hindsight, was probably not the wisest choice for her . . .especially as she blew snowflakes and hail instead of fire or bubbles. Perhaps when she was fully grown she would be able to cope with the ash and fire of the volcano trail, but for now, well, let's just say it was an ordeal by fire.

The race started well: she had plenty of protection potions and regeneration vials, but of course, you can only use one of each per section.

It was a practice race. So, it was for experience. She had started strongly, winging her way determinedly to each waypoint, and checking strategy with her mentor, Cyan. Of course, it was Cyan's first flight too, so they were learning together.


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The first time a volcano spewed ash she flinched, lost her rhythm and lost altitude. It took precious energy to regain the height she needed to soar above the volcanic plumes, but she did so, landing a little clumsily, but safely at the next waypoint. Recovering took some time, but that was time well spent in lathering her hide with Emma's lotion to remove the dryness from her heat-strained skin.

By the second section she had worked out the warning signs of an imminent eruption and how to avoid the worst of the scorching debris.

By the fourth section she had also learned to freeze the scalding molten material with her cold and thus negate the heat. A sort of anti-missile defense strategy.

So by the time the finish line was in sight it was a very strange creature that was approaching. Ash-stained wings, straining muscles, and tiny icicles hanging from her jaw. Exhausted, but also exhilarated: she had completed the course. Her wings strained and her movements were effortful and clumsy, her pale blue hide dulled almost to grey from exertion.

Her final landing was unsteady and uneven, her wings faltering and her legs stumbling as she landed too hard on the final landing space, but her head was high, and her amber eyes glowed orange with triumph. Despite the unforgiving landscape she had succeeded in her training flight.

That night her lair was a place of coolness and restfulness. Snow and ice collected from the mountain peaks had been brought to her lair, and used to soothe the small burns and scrapes she had acquired as a result of the flight, and she was resting quietly, looking at the small trophy that she had earned.

'Next time, we'll try the snow route' said Cyan, and Sapphire, eyes whirling tentatively, placed her heavy head for his fingers to caress, agreed.

That would be a race to enjoy, sailing above the icy air currents that swirled around the snow covered peaks, watching her snowflakes as they danced and pirouetted in the cold blue winter sky, feeling the invigorating arctic blast as she winged her way along the terrain. One to anticipate indeed!

dragonholt
19th January 2018, 11:53 PM
They say dragons like to hoard . . .and indeed it seems to be so.

Minnie, for instance, likes to hoard jellybeans, Eriko hoards blueprints and strange cheeses; and Ember is a bookwyrm . . he loves to curl up in Dragonholt's Library and is her self-appointed Librarian.

So one thing Nut was interested in was learning what Sapphire liked to hoard . . .

At first it seemed to be everything . . .fallen leaves, the fairies jester hats - that caused quite a stir - and Sapphire had to promise to return them as soon as she was asked - and flamingoes. She tried collecting charcoal biscuits for a while, but they crumbled into clinker if left alone too long, and that left smudges on her egg-blue hide.

She tried collecting postcards, but Miro was hurt when his special collection of miramagical Christmas cards disappeared, and again, she had to return them.

Miro tried to comfort her by taking her on a flight to the other worlds. She thoroughly enjoyed herself, and discovered a few new crystals, taking them back to her lair to ponder their uses. One of the crystals, a pink one, shading from deepest rose to palest pink, fascinated Sapphire like none of the others did. She would spend long hours handling this crystal and staring into the rose-tinted depths. She said that there were 'snowflakes' trapped inside it, but no one else could see them.

If she could, she would collect snowflakes. They fascinated her, the symmetry, the white-ness, and the unique nature of each one. But every time she accumulated a modest collection of snowflakes they melted, leaving a puddle of cold water behind for her to step in. For a dragon which blew snow and hail from her nostrils she had an aversion to standing in ice cold water.

Then EvilCrowOfDoom came visiting and brought a camera. An old one admittedly, but with the special draconic adaptation which allowed dragon claws to hold, steady, and take a picture. The empty cottage was turned into a darkroom; with a dragon entrance from a secret tunnel linking lair and house Sapphire could come and go as she pleased.


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The first few photos were rather . . .unexceptional . . blurry, too much redeye (that was odd - she'd taken a picture of the World Tree . . to whom did the eyes belong??), and with heads cut off. Slowly, though, they improved. She experimented, and spent hours poring over the trays in the dark room, the red light casting a mauve light on her blue hide. Adding filters to the camera made for interesting shots. Very beautiful; quite surreal.

Then she discovered how to take photographs of small and tiny things . . and the hoard answer came to her. Photos of the snowflakes. Each individual snowflake photographed, developed, and kept. A drift of snowflake photos, a blizzard of hexagonal, white pieces of fragile beauty.


It's amazing what you can do with a snowflake photograph. Make mobiles, laminate and make mousemats, and use to wallpaper your lair.

dragonholt
20th January 2018, 09:30 PM
The day came with Little Ottermount was too small for the curious dragonling, and she started exploring.

First, not very far.

She turned up in Cyan's village one day . . she was never able to say why - after all - 'seeing his trail' wasn't very helpful for those miramagicians without draconic eyesight . . some sort of teleportation, they assumed. Once she had met a miramagician then she could somehow, through draconic teleportation, find her way there.

Cyan, of course, lived in the Valley of Magic . . one of 52 valleys . . and Sapphire wondered if the same ability would work for someone in another valley? Time to find out . . .


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Sapphire closed her amber eyes, and breathed deeply. She had been told by Minnie that was a good way to prepare herself before travel, and so she did it. She thought back over the people who had come to visit her . . who would she return visit?

A face came to mind. A smiling face, and a golden phoenix companion! Yes, golden haired magess, and a golden phoenix . . that's who she would try to visit!

Checking that the coast was clear, and strapping on her camera Sapphire selected the violet thread that connected the blue clad magess and wished herself there. That isn't exactly what happened but is the nearest Sapphire could come to explaining what she did. Her wings outstretched, she flew along the invisible line that lead to LowerAmbercot.

It was quite a way, and she had to fly over several valleys on the way. Once she was almost distracted by a glimpse she had - and made a note to go exploring another day.

She was wingsore and pale grey when she arrived in LowerAmbercot, and stumbled as she landed. Once she had caught her breath she looked around. Yes, it was laid out very like her home village; and there, there was the blue and white tower of a mage's castle! What were these blue things? she sniffed and then yelped - prickly! Little blue prickly flower things! They looked pretty, but ow - they didn't feel very nice! Like burrs, she decided; and plants to avoid!

Curling up on the untouched snow just behind Colin, she rested for a bit. The snow felt good against her heated skin, and she could feel herself becoming refreshed. Soon she felt able to check her camera and position herself to take some photos.

A while later she realised the village was no longer deserted. A villager had spotted her and had come out to see her. A villager she recognised . . .that violet shade . . unmistakeable.

'Welcome Sapphire,' said the golden haired magess, 'it's lovely to have visitors.'

Arwenna showed her around the village, and Sapphire found details to snap and photograph. The feathery tail of the world serpent for instance, and the blue companion light of one of the other villagers; the hanging baskets on the way to Colin . . .so similar in some ways to her home village, and yet, and yet, different. Part of the magic of Mira, she supposed. . .

Soon, though, it was time to depart. She thanked Arwenna, and blew her some special snowflakes, watching as they settled on Colin's hat, packed her camera away, and imagined home.

dragonholt
20th January 2018, 10:37 PM
It was on her way back to Valley of Magic that it happened. True, she was tiring; true, every wing reach seemed to take more and more effort; true her breath was rasping, but she was going home . . .and she'd be missed soon.

Then came that noise.

A loud plosive noise, quite unlike anything she had heard before.

She was flying over the valley, following the magenta trail that would take her back to Minnie and Nut, and wasn't sure how much further she had to go - all the valleys looked the same from dragon flight height. . . so what was that noise?

It sounded again . . .

Below her was a village. her wings ached, and she felt so weary it seemed sensible to land, and investigate.

So she did.

Ah, a good patch to land! An empty field, swept clear: an ideal landing zone. Folding her wings she spiralled down and landed with a whompf; not a good landing, but she was tired. She stumbled forward a bit, her momentum carrying her along.before coming to rest and curling in a heap. Goodness that was tiring.

A pretty village this one - but where was she?

That peculiar sound happened again. 'Choo!' very loud it was now. She'd come to the right place.
'Choo! Ahh!i

She raised her head and looked around. There was a path leading to the village centre; there to the right an inquisitive goldy dragon peered down at her, the mantling wings slowly settling back into a relaxed state as the surprise of her sudden arrival wore off.

'Choo!' that sound again - this time from the left.

A bright red face stared down at her, and then scrunched up, eyes squinching shut, upper lip curling, and then that sound 'Choo!' That was the source of the sound - but what did it mean?

A faint mist of droplets along with a small flame shot out of the dragon's mouth, and Sapphire ducked, instinctively. The flame didn't reach her; it was only a tiny thing, easily extinguished. The red dragon relaxed after having made that sound, and rested on his haunches, before looking her way.
'Hello little one. I don't think we have seen you before.' he thought at her, a gravelly 'voice', one of age and experience. Sapphire bowed, the gesture of respect for an elder, and answered, politely

'I am Sapphire. I am but new, and you, sir?'

'I am Sir Sneezealot'

'Is that the sound you are making?'

'Choo! Yes, that is a sneeze.'

'Does it hurt?'

'Not really, but it is distracting and annoying'

'How can you stop it?'

'My miramagician is working on a spell to help me. Ah here she comes . . .'

A pink haired person was watching them from the sleigh next to the house.

'You must be Sapphire. Welcome to the village. I see you have met Sir Sneezealot. You do get used to the sound he makes. Would you like something to eat? You seem rather grey.'

'Um, yes please. Do you have any snowberries or charcoal biscuits?'

'Both, I believe; just one moment'

A few moments later a platter of snowberries appeared, along with a pile of charcoal biscuits.
Sapphire needed no encouragement - she ate with enthusaism, and barely noticed the sound and movements around her.

When the charcoal biscuits were reduced to a crumb and only specks of ice dotted the platter she looked up to say thank you - and met the blue eyes of Minnie.
'Minnie!'

'Sapphire. How are you feeling?'

'Much better thank you - what are you doing here?'

'We've come to fly home with you. It's a long way'

Looking around Sapphire could see many dragons - there was Cyan's dragon - Aqua - short for aquamarine - there was Ember, Eriko, and others from the village and indeed from across mira.

'Wow!'

'Yes. You have done well for a fledgling, but it is a long way home. We will fly with you and help you. We care for you, little iceling' That was Minnie's petname for her. iceling. It made Sapphire smile when she was called that. Iceling.

'What of your miramagicians?'

'They know, they understand; they are waiting for us. Shall we?'

And so the formation set off. Minnie at the apex, to start with, and the others fanned out, some alongside Sapphire, some in formation slightly below. It was a beautiful Mira day; sun shining, barely any clouds in the sky, and the valleys unfurled beneath the sneeze-punctuated whoosh of wings beating and gliding along the air currents.

And when Sapphire tired, for she did - she had over extended herself; the formation closed and overlapped wings gave her a rest until they could land. A little time in the sunshine, resting, and she was ready to set off again.

It was a lovely journey home, full of camaraderie, and family. There was quiet pride in the group of dragons, pride that one of theirs had so much courage; that they were together, that they had family.

And when they arrived at the village, the miramagicians were indeed waiting for them, with refreshments laid out, and grooming brushes. Weariness was brushed away and eye ridges caressed. They were home.


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dragonholt
21st January 2018, 08:32 PM
Sapphire slept.

And slept.

Her adventure across the valleys had exhausted her, and she needed to sleep. She woke occasionally, ate, had something to drink, swallowed the vile tasting concoction Emma made for her, had a quick commune with Cyan, or Nut and went back to sleep.

According to the experts - Emma - this is normal dragon behaviour when they have over exerted themselves: a form of hibernation.

Her camera sat waiting, the darkroom was silent, and miradays passed.

The snow was starting to melt when she stayed awake long enough to venture outside.Her hide was back to it's pearlescent blue - the blue of an early morning sunrise while the sun was still coming over the horizon; her eyes were the gold of amber, and she felt her muscles stretch and complain as she moved around again.

Cyan's dragon, Aquamarina, came over a lot during this recovery time, and together they did various wing exercises, and practised landing and taking off. This helped to Sapphire: she hadn't been shown these things, and the lessons made sense. Cyan or Nut were always around while these practice sessions were going on; the pale blue and the greeny dragon making a striking pair in the miraskies above the village.

On the fourth day of training Cyan and Nut sat down with Sapphire, Minnie nearby,a nd 'the talk' Sapphire had been dreading - happened.

'It's good to see you healthy and strong again' smiled Nut. 'I worried for you'
'Thank you - yes, it's good to be able to fly again'
'Have you developed your photos yet?'
Sapphire realised she hadn't - she had been so focussed on the now she had momentarily forgotten the then. 'I will tomorrow'
'I would like to see them', said Cyan
There was a pause as nettle tea and sorrel ice water were sipped.
'I'm sorry' Sapphire blurted out.
The other two looked surprised.
'Sorry? What for?'
'Worrying you. Going off like that. Being a silly iceling'
Mugs were placed down carefully and the two miramagicians hugged her
'Now that is silly. Yes you worried us, yes we love you, but you were exploring! Did you enjoy visiting those villages?'
'Ever so! The villages were so interesting, and the people I met - they are wonderful!'
'Yes, they are. And they think highly of you.'
Cyan added, 'However, may we ask please that you let one of us know when you plan an excursion like that? And if at all possible, take someone with you?'
Sapphire swallowed, and nodded. That was only fair.

The rest of the evening, until Sapphire began to yawn, huge draconic yawns that revealed her double layer of teeth and a curiously blue throat, were spent amicably enough, with Sapphire telling the two what she and seen on her flight, and the things she had noted.

Good nights were made, and Sapphire settled to sleep, the translucent walls of her lair shimmering in the evening starlight. She slept.

The next day she was as good as her word, taking the camera to her darkroom and developing the pictures. Once dry she asked the plant fairies to help, and pinned them up on the bulletin board - well, the ones she liked the best that is!


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She had 3 favourites. One was the spiky blue flower - it looked like a blue snowflake up close; so pretty so delicate. And with the hint of an ice blue snout she remembered how they felt when she went to sniff them.
The other one she liked was Sir Sneezealot's face just as he sneezes - his eyes all crinkled up and his mouth scrunched as if he were tasting something bitter.
And the third she didn't even know she had taken. A shot of overlapping wings and the valley below. That one she treasured. If ever she felt different, an outsider, she would only have to look at that and know different. She was herself. She mattered. Just as all in mira do.

dragonholt
21st January 2018, 10:54 PM
Aquamarina and Sapphire became good friends. They had hatched at the same time; they spent time together learning the finer points of flying and dragonlore, and they had Cyan in common. Where Sapphire was blue, shorter and able to blow ice and cold, Aqua was a shade that wasn't quite the blue of the sea, nor the green of the sea, but sometimes one, and sometimes the other. the green intensified when she was cold and tired; the blue when she was happy and cheerful. She was able to blow fire.

Both had seen the spells that changed the appearance of dragons - Minnie herself was sometimes a white elegant creature, the white of freshly fallen snow, Sapphire thought, but her favourite shape was the green amphibian dragon, blowing bubbles while admiring her stash of jellybeans.
'Does it hurt?' they asked Minnie, who smiled, as much as her froggy mouth could, ,blew bubbles to send rainbows into the air and shook her head. 'Not at all. It does take some getting used to, but it's not painful'.

So Sapphire set about collecting images of the different dragon form spells . . .the one called Blacky, majestic, full of shadows - really quite scary . . .the blue one, sinuous, and nurturing, quiet and thoughtful, and the purple and gold one.
'Minnie . . '
'Yes Aqua?'
'Minnie, why is this one called Shape of Grace?'
'Let me think, see if I can remember . . .'
She was quiet a long time - Sapphire and Aqua exchanged looks - she was communing with the other dragons they suspected. That was something dragons can do - when they were mature enough - generate a telepathic link between others and speak to them mind to mind - leastways that was how Cyan had explained it to Sapphire.

Just as they two started to play jacks with some of Minnie's jellybeans she moved, blinked, and the nictating eyelid settled into it's normal place.

'The Shape of Grace,' she began, 'was named after the wizard who first created the spell. He had a wife, called Grace, who loved the colours purple and gold. So much so she didn't want to transform when the cloak colours changed to teal and turquoise . . she wanted to keep her purple one, or her gold one. So much so she dyed her clothes purple or gold - or both. her Library was decorated in gold and purple and she named her dragon Amethyst.
One day there was an accident, a terrible accident, a magical accident . . she had been trying to rescue a plant fairy that had got trapped, and in doing so she had used a spell which backfired. A mirror was involved; I'm not sure exactly what happened - but I know what happened to Grace. her legs morphed together into a tail, like a mermaid. She could no longer walk, and because it was a magical accident there was nothing that could be done - the eraser spell had not yet been created.

Poor Grace. She found it very difficult. A pool was created for her, and she would sit for hours, her tail - her legs - in the water, trying to keep herself active.

It is because of Grace that the miramagicians have the eraser spell you know.

Anyway, before that became possible she would sit and design things - always in purple and gold. She would talk with her dragon Amethyst, who refused to leave her save for short flights when Grace slept. To be honest with you, I think Amethyst's unswerving devotion helped Grace immensely. Anyway, one day Grace started to draw Amethyst. And encouraged by her dragon, designed a new shape for her, one with purple and gold.

By the time her husband came home she had created an illusion of the new shape, to check it and admire it. Amethyst approved too.

Her husband walked right through the illusion and couldn't understand why Grace was so amused. Once it was explained to him, though, he asked to see the illusion again. Muttering to himself he made notes.

It was their wedding anniversary a few weeks later and he was behaving most oddly; disappearing, staying late at work, asking her which shade of purple she preferred . . .and it was all most perplexing.

Then the day arrived. She had arranged for balloons and a cake, as well as a gadget from the human world for him to tinker with - a music box they called it . . .and he - well, she saw it when she was carried out to her pool - Amethyst was in her lair, looking so regal, imperial one might almost say - no illusion - it was a spell, proper and true. The Shape of Grace'

Spellbound the two dragonnets were caught up in the story. Then almost as if they had rehearsed it . . 'Cyan! Can I? Please? Please??'

Cyan, who had been doing some studying while Minnie was working with the two young ones looked baffled. A moment of commune later and he knew what they wanted. With a grin, a wave of his wand, he transformed the two into identical dragon forms - two Shapes of Grace sat bracketing the amphibian form of Minnie, looking at each other, like reflections in a pond's surface or a mirror.

5522

dragonholt
27th January 2018, 06:37 PM
Dennis landed in the village. Sapphire always looked forward to his visit. Dennis brought the post, you see, and sometimes other things . . .and Dennis always had a kind word for Sapphire, and sometimes a little something.

Nut stepped forward, and offered Dennis some charcoal biscuits, and exchanged a few words with him. In return she was handed a packet, with the village's post in it. She watched as the packet was opened - that seal: the High Council! Post from the High Council was always exciting - news of an update, perhaps, or a new competition . . something . . .

Then Dennis looked towards Sapphire:

'Ah there you are iceling!' His mouth split into his toothy grin, 'I hoped I would see you: I have something for you'

Sapphire felt herself blush, and she knew her hide would be a deeper blue: unlike humans, when Sapphire blushed she changed hue to something darker, a deeper blue, the blue of a clear summer's sky just before sunset.

The 'something' was a strangely shaped wrapped object.

'I think you might be interested in it.' Dennis went on, 'I found it in the valley. Do you know what it is?'


5524


Sapphire tore the paper off, revealing the object. Silvery, shading into blue, with hard facets, and pointed at one end. It was a crystal! A blue crystal!

'Where did you find it?' she gasped, her eyes widening, 'It is beautiful! what does it do?'

'In the valley of Dragons, near an abandoned village, quite close to Leigh Dragonis. I don't know what it does, but I thought of you''

Sapphire knew Leigh Dragonis - that was where Eriko lived, with her blueprints and fantastic stories.

'Thank you!' Her mouth split into a toothy grin too, and she set the new crystal down, looking at it carefully. The heart of the crystal was silver, the silver of a frozen spiders web, and she was transfixed. The web was intricate, delicate . . like a snowflake. But what did it do?

Sapphire breathed on it so gently, and watched her breath crystallise around the object in front of her. Usually when she did this the ice crystals melted swiftly, in mira's sunshine - but these ice crystals stayed intact! Cocking her head to one side she studied the crystal again. The silver web inside the form was moving, very slightly, but definitely moving . . as if suspended somehow inside rather than an integral part. Was it possible . . ?

Sapphire swept the ice crystals away and watched them melt, the delicate intricacy merging into a white puddle of ice water until that too evaporated into the mira sunshine. She blew again, and fresh ice crystals formed , making a pile of white coolness that she could feel against her warmed hide. She looked more carefully. The ice crystals formed a circle, a neat circle with the silver crystal at the centre. She investigated the edge of the ice circle, yes, the ice that had fallen outside of that radius, it was melting. The silver crystal form affected a specific area . . but within that area everything stayed cold . . . what would happen if something warm were placed instead of ice?

She stepped back, looking around - and saw Dennis watching her, a grin on his face.

'What does it do?' he enquired.

' I think it keeps things cold,' she said, 'Look'

And she showed him. Once again her breath crystallised and stayed frozen until she swept it away from the radius affected by the crystal.

'I see! Wonderful! I think you need another one, and to see what would happen if something of a different temperature was put near it. . . '

'Yes - another one?? you have more than one?' Her eyes sparkled gold with anticipation.

'I will find you one, ' Dennis promised.

'Thank you! Thank you!' Sapphire squealed in delight.

And that wasn't the end of the day's pleasure: Nut had approached, with Minnie blowing bubbles near her.

'Sapphire, I think you might be interested in hearing the news I have received just now, ' began Nut. Sapphire looked at her - she seemed really quite excited, a bubbling type of anticipation.

'Fareeja is on her way!'

dragonholt
27th January 2018, 09:30 PM
'Fraeeja is on her way!' Nut seemed so excited, but who/what is Fareeja? Nut continued, 'She is coming to see you!'

'Me?' Sapphire's eyes widened. Fareeja? It wasn't a name she recognised.

And Nut explained that Fareeja was a World Wanderer, who could visit Miramagia only at particular times; she visited worlds that needed her particular brand of help. The last time she came to Mira she helped balance the world, and left companions to stay and love with the miramagicians when she had to leave.

For Fareeja to come to Mira was a special event. And to come to visit her . . that was something extraordinary.

Nut explained that Fareeja could only come to Mira when there was a particular alignment of events allowing her to cross from one world to the next. That meant she had to time things just right.

'So, you will need to meet her next Wednesday, at,' Nut consulted the official letter again, ' Lower Yardholm, Imoen's dreamworld. '

Imoen . . .Sapphire recognised the name. 'Who is Imoen's dragon?' she asked.

'Avatre'

Sapphire nodded; she knew Avatre.

'Why does Fareeja want to see me?'

'I don't know. But she is a wonderfully interesting person. Let me show you the stories (http://forum.miramagia.com/showthread.php?t=9312) she told us the last time she came . . .'

Sapphire invited Aquamarina over, and together, they asked, and pondered about the entity known as Fareeja. There were plenty of stories, and the miramagicians were only too happy to share them.

That night the two fledglings dreamed of coloured jewels spinning in the air, of desert lands, and strange creatures, of oases, and rivers, and, stars, thousands of stars in a night sky.

And then they agreed to go investigate the dreamworld. Letting Minnie know where they were going, and Cyan, the two fledglings set off the next day to explore Imoen's dreamworld.

The castle reached to the night sky ahead of them, the red slated turrets stabbing the udnerside of the dark clouds that stretched across the sky. White walls loomed and marched into the distance.
And the islands . . glowing colours on the left as lava pooled, ebbed and flowed around the lavastone statue, and cool cool blue and green colours on the right, where a lagoon lay still and silent. And the sky! Aquamarina and Sapphire had never seen a sky like it. Shades of brooding grey and black, with only a huge white sphere shedding pearlescent light over the dreamworld.

'Is that a . . moon?' whispered Aquamarina, awed by the huge expanse of both sky and large white object.

'I believe so. Isn't it huge?'

'It will be bigger yet on Wednesday' came a quiet voice behind them. There, on the sward in front of the castle, mansion, was a shape of Grace dragon and Imoen.

'Welcome to our dreamworld, Aqua and Sapphire'

'Um, thank you' they chorused.

And this was where Fareeja was going to arrive . . what a wonderful place!


5542

dragonholt
28th January 2018, 11:36 PM
Accidents do happen, they say, and indeed, it does seem to be true . . accidents do - and can - happen.

And although magic makes such accidents more rare, given that there are new avatars everyday, exploring, trying, experimenting, makes it surprising that there are as few as there are. Even more rare are those miramagicians who bring in Hyde-aspects to the world of farming magic. It does happen, but, as has been stated earlier, they are rare. After all, Mira is a haven for fairies, dwarves, and dragons; so what's a troll or two in a world of magic?

Anyway, I digress . . accidents . . Sapphire. yes.

Every newcomer to Mira has to learn certain spells, guided by the djinni, and these spells are learned in order, to build up experience so the more dangerous and arcane spells are learned after the more basic ones have been established. Practice is encouraged, as we know.

But sometimes, things go wrong . . .like with Seba and Tinder . .

Like with Cyan and Aquamarina . . .

Cyan had just learned the spell that turned the village tree into a fire and didn't realise that he'd left the last lot of post by the bulletin board. He stood and admired the fire for a short while, then realised that he had left the kettle on so went indoors to make a nettle brew. He'd found the stringent taste rather unpalatable at first, but had adjusted to it, and rather enjoyed it, especially with a dollop of mirabelle honey.

So he didn't notice Aqua was still sat on her haunches, her wings folded in, staring at the flickering fire.

He didn't notice the flames reflected in her widening eyes, the iris reducing as the cat like pupils expanded until they seemed filled with red orange yellow and blue-hearted flames. He didn't remember, if he had actually ever known, that dragons are both able to hypnotise the unwary with their eyes, and prone to being transfixed by something like fire, or rain, something that almost has a pattern, but not quite, something that fascinates them . . .and that they lose themselves in.

So Aqua didn't notice when a leaf, with flames dancing along the edges, limning the veins with fire, fell lazily, slowly, spiralling in the superheated air, to the ground, where lay littered the ash-limned corpses of other leaves, and the crumpled scraps of post paper. . . .

She didn't notice the fire lick at the creamy paper, turning it first brown then black, scorching it until it burst into flame and frizzled into black tissue paper, which too, in turn, transformed into ash. She didn't notice the finger of fire reach to the next . . and the next . . until it reached the jar of lotion which Cyan had been using to moisturise her hide, made with . . .highly inflammable sorrell ball oil . . .already heated by being left in the mira sun, until it was liquid, and now heated again by the lapping flames.

Sapphire was on her way to visit Aquamarina - this was with a satchel full of her latest research into Fareeja, as well as her camera - they had plans to visit Imoen's dreamworld and take some photos. ready for Wednesday. She was enjoying the feel of the air currents under her wings, and daydreaming of the photos she wanted to take, when some scent tickled her nostrils. She sneezed.

Looking down she realised she was close to Aqua's village and started the process of spiralling to land.

The scent that had made her sneeze grew stronger, and more acrid, and her sensitive eyes started to water. What was going on?

Suddenly anxious, she winged harder, trying to land more quickly, and stared down at the swiftly approaching village. 7 dwellings, yes, plants growing in the fields, yes, wheel and tent, yes . . tree . . tree! The tree was on fire! And - so was the bulletin board!
Where were Cyan? Where was Aqua?

Now, much more aware of the potential for disaster, Sapphire prepared for a swift landing. braking sharply, her wings cupped to catch as much air as possible to act as brakes, she furled her wings in and landed as swiftly as she could. Only a few steps of stumbling, she noticed in one part of her mind, while the rest was focussed on the unfolding disaster in front of her. The tree was ablaze, and so was the bulletin board, the market stall canopy was beginning to smoke and - where was Aqua?

There.

Too close to the developing conflagration, unmoved, the fire playing on her hide, coruscating ripples of flame licking away, and Aqua was unmoving! What was going on?

And what could she do about it?

Then she knew.

She took a deep breath, and breathed out.

Ice srystals formed in the air, immediately reducing the temperature in the immediate area, and then fanning outwards towards the tree. Harder she blew, and harder. First the tentacles of flame were smothered in snow, and then the ice moved closer, the fire doing it's best to vanquish the relentless snow - and failing. Sapphire blew steadily, feeling her body reduce in temperature as she coated the bulletin board, the tree and the canopy in a blizzard of ice cold.

Then her energy ran out. Her hide almost white by now, she fell forward, her satchel all but forgotten, her snout resting on the snowflakes on the ground. She had done all she could.


5725


When she woke it was to the hum of voices, the chill scent of fresh ice and a few charcoal biscuits. A voice said: 'ah good, she's waking' She knew that voice. Nut!

She lifted both eyelids, and saw Nut standing there, hands on hips, looking both relieved and cross. 'You gave us quite a scare, young iceling!' she grumbled, 'but you're going to be fine.'

'How's Aqua?'

'Fine, fine; her pride is more scorched than her hide . . ' snorted Minnie, peering over Nut's shoulder. Relieved, Sapphire let her eyelids close again and slept.

the next time she woke she felt much better, although curiously weak. This time Aqua and Cyan were by the entrance to the lair.

Aqua burst into tears. 'Oh Saph! You really are going to be okay?'

'Er yes. Why wouldn't I be?'

'You drained yourself to save me. You could have died!'

Cyan took over and explained that Sapphire had extinguished the fire completely; and saved the village. She was a hero, apparently. Sapphire didn't really know how to respond to this, so simply gave in to the lassitude and slept again.

Her snow had smothered the flames, and had cooled Aqua's hide so she was unburned; the Bulletin Board had had to be repaired, and the canopy replaced. The village tree needed some magic, but the longest lasting damage was to Sapphire herself., She had drained her resources. Time though, would solve that, and indeed, time did. Sapphire was vaguely aware that each time she woke there were folks near her, but she soon tuned them out and slept again.

Two days it took, two days, which caused Emma some surprise - in her experience that sort of burn out - perhaps in Sapphire's case - white-out - usually took a week . . .and Sapphire was out of the borrowed lair, hungry and wanting to stretch her wings again. Admonished to take things steady she made her way back to Nut's village and her own lair.

Tomorrow was her assignation with Fareeja - no way was she missing that!

Miss Piggy
30th January 2018, 06:51 AM
wonderfull, you should make books

dragonholt
1st February 2018, 08:07 PM
Today was the day!

Sapphire nearly overslept - she had found it difficult to sleep that night - not only was she excited about meeting this legendary character called Fareeja, but the moon in Imoen's dreamworld was so bright it invaded her dreams.

In her dreams it was as if she could see a shimmering ice white thread showing her the way to the moon . . could she? She wondered, and in her dream she tried, beating her wings through a black sky, through the clammy layers of clouds, feeling the sun beat down on her back, watching her breath trail snowflakes behind her . . . only to discover the moon flickered and went out as she neared it. Disoriented, she turned to fly back home, but couldn't see the blue and green orb of home anywhere. She was all alone in deep dark space with no way of knowing which way to go. Panic seized her, and she woke in a bed of cold sweat. She moved, and what she had taken for sweat cracked and fell away in paper thin shards of clear ice. It took a while for her to relax, and sleep once more, this time dreamlessly.

And now it was time to get ready. Aqua was coming, and Nut felt she or Cyan should be there as well. She had spoken to Abellio who has provided a basket of freshly baked mira goods, all ready to offer as refreshments, and Emma had promised some of her crystal fern cordial. All was prepared.

The dreamworld was deserted when they arrived; the full moon looming over the islands like a baleful eye . . .Sapphire shivered; she couldn't help it. The white light changed the shadows,
made things look the wrong shape; made the shadows different, and, somehow, more sinister.

Nut noticed, and stroked her eye ridge. 'It's okay iceling, it's just because it is so close. '

She went on to explain that there would be an eclipse of the moon, and that would be the signal that Fareeja was about to appear. Once the moon's light came back she would be there. Sapphire nodded. Yes, she understood. She had no idea what an eclipse was, but she understood the idea.
And then she would meet this famous Fareeja! She exchanged glances with Aqua and they settled down, either side of the gates to Imoen's mansion, and waited.

Dragons are generally speaking good at waiting, but this was two younglings; not even a mira-year old, and waiting is hard for youngsters . . .


5728

dragonholt
2nd February 2018, 11:03 PM
The first sign the eclipse was happening was a subtle change in the light.

The shadows deepened; the edges marking the border between light and shadow started to blur, almost as if a child's finger were smudging a drawing. The light quality started to mute and shift, growing more hazy as time went on, causing the folks watching to rub their eyes, and wonder if it were the light or tired eyes. Subtle.

And then the lower section of the perfect circle became blurred, as if a wisp of cloud were gently caressing the glowing surface. The smudge grew, and thickened. This was no cloud. The eclipse had started!

Just at that moment there was the unmistakable sound of a teleporter, and Mirella dropped into the mansion estate.
'Sorry to be late,' she wheezed ' Last minute bits, as always!' She greeted Aqua, Sapphire and Nut, and settled herself in the forest glade seating arrangement, a prime position for watching the eclipse. 'At least I am in time!' she smiled, and quiet descended on the dreamworld once more, as they watched the phenomenon unfold above them.

It was clear now that the moon was sinking into the remorseless darkness that swallowed it up, changing and elongating the shadows where they sat, turning the air charcoal, and grey, before deepening to a velvety blackness.

Sapphire found herself holding her breath as the last of the moon was swallowed by the darkness. This felt momentous, like the end of something - and, hopefully, the beginning of something new . .if only the darkness would disgorge the moon back . . .

Long seconds passed, a hiatus, a world holding her breath, as the darkness, for one brief timeless moment, paused and held it's breath too. As the moment passed, so the darkness released it's hold, and slowly, gradually,the moon emerged and cast it's startling white light over the dreamworld.

dragonholt
3rd February 2018, 08:50 PM
And Fareeja was there, bathed in the freshly revealed moonlight, her cloak furled against the night time. There seemed to be more swatches of colour, thought Mirella, as she greeted Fareeja.

Sapphire stared. This was Fareeja? She looked like a normal human - head, neck, two eyes, arms, hands, and legs . . all pretty standard . . she didn't look like a legend!

Mind you, what did a legend look like??

'You must be Sapphire,' Fareeja turned from Mirella and looked straight at her. 'I thought you might be an ice dragon but that is a gorgeous colour' she smiled, 'May I?' She reached out her hand towards Sapphire's eye ridges, and Sapphire bent her neck to allow her to be able to reach.

Commune commenced. Sapphire learned that Fareeja had brought her egg to mira herself. 'It seemed the right thing to do. There were dragonhunters around, and I had that feeling that you would be needed, and so .I decided to bring you here. Are you happy here?'

'Very, 'Sapphire responded, and showed Fareeja a medley of images showing her life so far. The 7 avatar parents; the dragons, Aqua, the images of Sir Sneezealot; the overlapping wings; the crystals . . Miro . . .her dark room . .all the elements that made up the frieze of her life so far. She ended with snowflakes . . .

The commune ended with Fareeja expressing how proud she was of Sapphire, and breaking the link.

'I can't tell you much about why you are here, ' she said aloud to Sapphire, ' because I don't know. But I am sure you are in the right place for a reason. Enjoy growing up, and find out what you can do and who you are, my dear iceling, and I will visit you when I can.'

She paused, and then continued. 'It seems I have something for you . . .'

She reached into a pocket hanging from her belt, and removed something small. 'I picked this up in an ice world; blue and silver, and have carried it with me ever since, looking for the right time and place. I believe it is for you.' She opened her hand, and Sapphire gasped. She had never seen anything so beautiful. It burned with an inner fire, if silver ice can be said to be fire.

A snowflake.

dragonholt
4th February 2018, 04:43 PM
Life in Mira settled back into routine surprisingly quickly after Fareeja departed and the days resumed their usual pattern. Lessons with Aqua, taking and developing photographs, doing errands for her village and studying her snowflake gift, all kept Sapphire busy. For a few days anyway.

Then a new season started, and the miramagicians were suddenly busy with fanciful outfits, and redecorating. There was talk of a parade . . and Sapphire found herself with pockets of time without a schedule. Now she could explore. . .

She remembered seeing the curious images in the valley as she flew overhead - time to explore, she decided.

And so it was one lovely day when the snow had partly melted, and before the Carnival Season was well underway, that Sapphire was ready to explore the valley. She had talked it over with Cyan, and he was happy that she could go.

'You should be back before I set my overnight crops,' he cautioned her, 'and don't forget your alarm'. This was a curious contraption that they had cobbled together for her. It was linked telepathically with Minnie, and if triggered would alert her that there was a problem. It would also be a beacon for any searchers. There was also room for her camera in the case, which was rather convenient.

Putting her new snowflake in her pack, along with some spare charcoal biscuits, she set off.

The air was crisp and the sun warm on her outstretched wings and she hummed quietly to herself as she flew. This was lovely. No sense of urgency, no need for a deadline, just space, and air to breathe. Her wings moved strongly, and she could feel each muscle stretch and extend, the movements languid and pleasurable, the repetition freeing her mind to wander. . . Fareeja and her patched cloak . . the snowflake; if only . . .the face she was going to explore . . what did it signify?

And there below her, the lake she had chosen as her destination. A lake fed by a river that came from the very edges of Mira, a river that pooled and fed the lake.


5532

Wheeling and banking she landed, ran forward a couple of steps then furled her wings. That was a good landing; she was improving.

From her landing point she could see clear across the water. There was a small island in the middle with some sort of circular construction on it - roofed, so it had been an habitation of some sort. And across the lake, was the face. She studied it. Mouth wide open and water gushing out of it, a waterfall of a tongue, the water cascading and catching the sunlight as it did, and above it two eyes set in determination. A cluster of green plants atop the 'head' looked like a jaunty cap. Looming behind the head, like an inverted funnel, was the rest of the outcrop - mountain? - hill? She wasn't sure exactly what it was.

Time to get a bit closer . . .

dragonholt
5th February 2018, 09:11 PM
First stop was the small isle in the middle of the lake, with the small round building.

It was a clumsy landing: not much room even for Sapphire. She curled around the building as much as she could and peered inside.

It was dusty and deserted - or so she thought. The dust tickled her nose 'Ahhh! Choo!' she sneezed, sending the dustmotes flying in the air, flying like sparks from a collapsing bonfire. 'Ahh . . choo!' an echo? It didn't sound quite like an echo. Sapphire listened more carefully. Was she alone? All seemed quiet again .

Slowly, carefully, Sapphire removed her camera, and positioned it in the open doorway. Flash? yes, that should work. Micro lens? No, not this time . . .

She pressed the button. A brief flash of light illuminated the interior and she waited.

Yes, someone else was in the hut. She could hear them now. There was a faint 'drip', and another, muffled, sneeze.

She waited.

It took a little while, but eventually something appeared in her peripheral vision. Something . .grey? with small eyes? Floating in midair??

Sapphire blinked, and in the time it took for her two lids to close and reopen the grey smudge had disappeared. She looked wildly around - where had it gone? There was a giggle behind her head. Whipping around as quickly as possible Sapphire was just able to catch a glimpse of something grey zip past her. She smiled. This was a good game!

It ended when they were both giggling so much they were breathless. That sort of contagious laughter that left you aching and so happy.

The small grey creature came to rest in front of Sapphire, and she studied it carefully.

It looked like a small cloud. Grey-white, fluffy, with an undulating form, and a pair of twinkling eyes.

'Hello, I am Sa-' began Sapphire, only to be interrupted by a small reedy voice,
'I know - Sapphire. I am Sila. I have come here to be with you.'
Sapphire was puzzled. Sila? What, or who, was Sila?

dragonholt
7th February 2018, 11:36 PM
Sila explained, and Sapphire listened, open mouthed.

A world wanderer!! A being that walked through the worlds . . that was amazing! And Sapphire added a new thing to her to do list . . some humans call it a bucket list - dragon's don't have buckets . . a file, perhaps? She was going to visit some of these other worlds! After all, she already visited the portal worlds with Miro - how much more exciting it would be to visit whole new worlds?

And Sila herself - an Elemental! Apparently every World wanderer had an affinity to at least one Element - air, water, fire , earth . . . Air and Water were the ones she used.

'So my Elemental is ice?'

'It would seem so,' answered Sila, 'other Mira dragons are fire or water; it is wonderful to have an ice dragon. Shall we play?'

'Play what?'

'Ice and seek' if a cloud could be said to grin, Sila was smiling from ear to ear. 'See if you can find me, and turn me to ice' she challenged Sapphire, 'Give me to the count of 5 . . .' and she zipped away.

Sapphire tried to track the grey figure but soon lost her to the grey of the waterfall outcrop in front of her. launching herself, she took wing.

Keeping her eyes peeled she kept a lookout for the Elemental. There? No, it was a bit of stone - wasn't it? She zoomed down for a closer look and the grey bit of stone giggled and bounced away. So it was going to be like that, was it? Sapphire grinned to herself and continued her pursuit.

She dove and twisted in the air, sometimes the watery surface was below her; sometimes she felt as if the world had turned upside down. Once her wing tip touched the azure surface and a spray of water flew up, blocking Sapphire's view for just one brief moment - enough for Sila to disappear once more.

'Ice and seek' . . .that was the name of the game . . ice . . that would be one way to stop her from disappearing . . .

She readied herself, and this time, when she caught a glimpse of a laughing eye amidst a haze of grey she used her ice. Where her breath touched the water it froze, and so did the rock surrounding it.

She paused for breath and marvelled at what she saw. The face in the rocky outcrop now sported a white beard! The water coming out of the face was now frozen solid. And there were specks of white above the eye indentations, and across the surface to either side of the nose. She had turned the face solid with ice! But where was Sila? A glimpse of a movement above and she knew where Sila was - hiding among the plants on top of the face. Sapphire drew a fresh breath but before she could blast ice at Sila the grey piece of mischief shot out and landed on her head.

'That was awesome! Look at what you have done! I wish I could have a picture of it,' she whistled.

Sapphire remembered her camera, and manoeuvring carefully, she readied it and took a shot of the frozen face and waterfall.

'Er - Sila - what's that noise?'

It was like a rumble, a deep earthen sneeze that went on and on.

Suddenly wary, Sapphire backwinged and turned, putting as much distance between herself and the frozen outcrop.

Just in time, for as she landed across the lake she watched in awe as the top of the funnel shaped rock outcrop blew it's lid! The top part simply sheared off and water cascaded out of the top and fountained into the air.

dragonholt
11th February 2018, 10:30 PM
'Er - help! - what do we do now?' Sapphire was panicking. This was awful! What had she done? broken the valley? How on earth could this be fixed?

Sila seemed to be enjoying herself, zipping along, dodging the cascading water drops as they fountained into the now turbulent once-placid lake. A faint trill of laughter trailed behind her, and sapphire could just make out the words, 'This is fuunn!'

Fun it may be for her companion, as her pale grey became water darkened and her speed slowed somewhat - in the meantime, Sapphire had a problem she needed to fix . . but how?

She could try to put the top back on - after all, it lay just a short way off, the tip ploughed into the ground. She could freeze everything again - but when the ice defrosted the situation would be even worse - who knew how much more of the rocks would explode? Could she turn back time? Could she make things right?

She couldn't, but she knew a miramagician who could!

dragonholt
11th February 2018, 10:49 PM
She watched the flare as it soared into the blue mirasky, leaving a trail of purple for all to see. She hoped it would bring her the help she wanted. She had a plan!

Cyan was the first to arrive - obviously relieved to see she was in one piece, seemingly unhurt. He scrambled off Aquamarina whose eyes were a worrying pink, and scurried over to her. Aqua craned her head near Sapphire - she was a goldy this time, with a lovely long sinuous neck - and draconic hugs were exchanged. Sapphire assured her friend that she was okay and unhurt, and slowly Aquamarina's eyes returned to their usual teal shade.

Quickly Sapphire explained what she wanted, and why. Cyan considered the matter, and then, afetr a couple of questions, slowly nodded.
'Yes, I will bring them to you,' he said, ' and good luck. I am pleased you are trying to fix things; that makes me very pleased. You are growing into a wonderful dragon person and I love you'

Sapphire's hide flushed a becoming deeper blue and she swallowed. He wasn't angry with her!

It seemed forever before he returned, accompanied by another dragon - Sapphire recognised the other dragon, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Good.

The shaman dismounted from the dragon and took stock of the situation, while the other passenger grumpily dismounted. He didn't look too comfortable, but Sapphire was relieved to see him., With his expertise something could surely be done?

dragonholt
12th February 2018, 08:38 PM
And indeed it was. A few hours later other than looking as if he had had a haircut, the rocky outcrop looked back to normal. The water fell from the open mouth as before; and the top of the rocky shape reached for the sky as before. Yes, the water of the lake was still unsettled; and the hut on the island had an interesting shape where Granite, the Shaman's dragon had accidentally sat, but all told, the damage had been repaired.

Sapphire thanked Karl, and promised him some photos for his mine-home as well as some special cookies, and then thanked Chip, a new shaman who had responded to the request for help with a cheery smile and an imaginative way of thinking. New friends, thought Sapphire - wonderful new friends!

As for Sila, she was admiring her reflection on the lake waters, as if nothing had happened . . . Sapphire wasn't sure what to make of her new friend - changeable, she supposed was a good name for her . . but good fun to be with.

It was agreed that Sapphire would make her way back home after she had checked there was no other damage in the area; and this she did. All seemed well.

A particular plant caught her eye; it grew by the lake side, a small violet flower with large fleshy leaves - interesting! Out came her camera and she took some photos of it. Sila came to investigate and after a few moments announced abruptly:
'I'm tired. let's go back'

'Okay', agreed Sapphire, agreeably, and so the two of them left a new peaceful valley, back to the lair and the village.

dragonholt
12th February 2018, 09:55 PM
When Sapphire arrived back home it was to a village bustling with colour and people. She hovered above watching what appeared to be chaos slowly take shape.

The tree had beautiful tri-colour foliage and the string of lights sparkled like jewelled blossoms among the leaves,casting light on a curious contraption taking shape just in front of Herald, that space by the wheel of fortune.

It had wheels, Sapphire decided, and a platform balanced thereon. The platform was covered with something green - no - white - no - ohh! Nut was using her wand and trying out different colours. Ooh that one was nice - a pearl white!

The other villagers were working on something Sapphire couldn't quite comprehend.

It was large. Blue . . Sapphire could see patches of brilliant blue . . and green . . and was that bright scarlet? She winged backwards a bit, and circled around to try to make it out. Gold . . that bit was sticking out . . but - what was it?

She landed, and craned her neck towards the building site.

Ah, from this angle that looked like feathers . . those black bits were eyes. That green - the tail feathers . . .

As Sapphire watched, fascinated, the creature moved! It's head moved forward; the eyes blinked and the curved beak opened. "Would the bird sing?

No.

It squawked. A harsh unforgiving sound that left a number of the miramagicians rubbing their head with pain. As for the dragons . . their hearing was so sensitive it was as if they were struck deaf. Sapphire's head felt as if it were exploding, and she could feel something warm dripping from her ear. ichor! the sound had caused her ears to bleed! Not good. A mewling sound escaped her , and she curled away from the contraption.

It didn't take long for the villagers to realise the dragons were in pain, and a spell was cast to make the bird creature mute.

When Sapphire had recovered enough to continue her observations it was to discover they had a new problem. The bird kept flapping it's wings and trying to lift off. the miramagicians were casting all sorts of spells but for some reason they weren't being very effective.

Then one pose gave her an idea. Yes, just like that - wings outstretched, head forward, beak open - power held in check - the moment of flight . . .she breathed . . and coated the contraption in ice. It stilled. it froze in position. It looked wonderful. The vibrant colours magicked up as plumage glowed through the ice coat; and the sun made it shine like a diamond. The only problem was it was already starting to thaw . . until one of the villagers noticed and cast a stasis spell.

The village went quiet. the blue aura round Cyan dissipated as he looked on in awe. (the blue aura was a spongelike layer of air that absorbed the language he didn't want younger characters to hear . . literally turning the air blue . . )

'That - is - stunning!' exclaimed Nut, slowly. She turned to Sapphire - 'Can you do that again?' she demanded.

'Um, I think so', stammered Sapphire. What had she done now?

The villagers conferred, and a message was sent as Sapphire found herself the centre of attention. . .

Soon, an unfamiliar mage appeared in the village; and inspected the wilting statue of the carnival parakeet. He nodded once, took out a pad and paper and started to make what looked like hieroglyphs . . then Sapphire realised what she was seeing: blueprints!

It turned out they wanted Sapphire to create an ice sculpture for the float - one of a snowbird . . and make snowflakes they would magically suspend so the snowbird looked like it was in a wintry wonderland. The mage asked many questions and decided they needed a shape for Sapphire to coat with ice . . a frame to help create and hold the shape . . .

It took a surprisingly short time for the mage to reappear, with a dragon she recognised: Eriko! yes, that made a lot of sense! That meant the mage was . . karinblood! She smiled, and watched.

Out of seemingly nowhere karinblood produced a white wire structure. It took a moment to realise what she was seeing - it was a bird, caught in the moment of take off, wings extended, neck reaching forward . . .

'Can you?' karinblood enquired. She considered the request then nodded.

The contraption was placed on the bed of the float - the drapes were now a snowly white, and Sapphire concentrated.

In very little time a solid ice statue stood on the white backdrop, and quickly a stasis spell was cast.

'Beautiful' breathed Nut, 'thank you!'

karinblood - he just nodded; that small smile on his face as he sipped his espresso. Job well done.

Several snowflakes later, and the float was ready.

5641

dragonholt
16th February 2018, 11:02 PM
Following on from the Carnival Dance was the Festival of Hearts.

Overnight, it seemed, the village was transformed pink and full of some symbol. She couldn't quite believe her eyes. Yes, she knew magic was afoot . . or a-wand - but so much! And what sort of magic turned one into two?? Some of the dragons in the village were now doubled - where there had been one there were now two . . and pink! so much pink . . delicate shades, almost translucent, like mother of pearl; and others vibrant fuchsia pink, with various shades and hues in between.

And there was a recurring theme - a shape. Sapphire took out her camera and snapped several examples of it. The one suspended between the two pink trees in the village centre, all faceted; the ones bubbling above the villager's head, the ones on sticks that villagers were placing . . what was that shape?

Dennis seemed to be rather busy too, she noted. Delivering post - much of which was in envelopes. And people seemed to find these envelopes particularly pleasing.

The adult creatures seemed to be behaving in a slightly different way, too . . what was going on?

Then a new source of wonderment - one of the villagers looked really pleased with themselves -

'It's in my meadoworld!' she announced - 'do come! It's lovely!'

And the others teleported there, to return a while later, full of smiles and contentment . . .what was going on?

In the end she asked Minnie . . or rather, both Minnies . . she'd been infected with this new illusion spell - it was like Minnie had a twin

'Oh Sapphire, I forget how young you are sometimes . . it's the hearts, my dear'

'Hearts?' she questioned the left half. 'Isn't that something that beats inside your chest to keep folks alive?'

'Yes,' Minnie agreed, ' but the real world also think it's where love can be found.'

'Love?'

Minnie nodded, looking both sad and smiling at the same time.

'Yes, love. There are different sorts of love - the love you feel for a photo that particularly captures something special; the love you feel for Aqua; the love you feel for your mira family . . and then there's something else. When the time is right and the person is right there's the love when a part of you you didn't even know was missing is complete. Please don't worry if you haven't experienced it yet; it's something truly special and happens rarely in a lifetime.

And because it is so rare and special the real world has a day to celebrate it. It can be a day of wonder; of the magic of this thing called love. So here in Mira we also mark it.'

'Does everyone experience this love?'

'I hope so.' replied Minnie.

'It's making you sad, Minnie; is it a bad thing?'

'Not at all iceling; it's a wonderful thing. It's just . . sometimes . .memories of past love is tinged with sadness . . because things have moved on . . .but you wouldn't forget, not ever. Even the memories, however coloured by sadness, remind us of the times when the magic was there. You would not give up that light for anything.

Tell you what, young Sapphire; take your camera to the city and watch people as they come and go. Listen as they greet each other . . '

And Sapphire did. She watched; she listened.

'Have a lovely day' smiled a Mage to a Druidess, and received an answering smile 'You too!'

'I love the weather today', remarked a Witch to her companion, who nodded sagely

'What a lovely dress that is! enthused a Shameness to the Magess she had met for coffee'

'I do love the new boat ride!' smiled a Mage, 'I'm going to invite M_J for a ride' he blushed. 'I hope she likes it . . '

'I love you' a pretty young witch blushed at hearing these words. 'I love you too', she smiled back. Sapphire watched as they kissed . . and spontaneously hearts bubbled above them

So much love. . .

dragonholt
19th February 2018, 10:47 PM
Dragonlore. Fascinating subject - and one that took pride of place in the Library. There were stacks and stacks of literature, some clearly observation based; but much speculative.

And in none of the various books, pamphlets, dissertations, lectures or scrolls was there anything about an ice dragon, a dragon that breathed cold. I should know. I'm the Librarian, and I know my Library.Okay, there were books of fiction, speculative fiction I should perhaps call it - but nothing based on fact.

So having an ice dragon in mira . . .well, it was history. And I was just the person to catalogue the story of Sapphire.

Wasn't I?

Sometimes being a Librarian is a dangerous job. But someone has to do it - in order to preserve information and knowledge for the generations to come. And, when I am simply a few motes of miragic whirling around the World Tree I will know my books are preserved, and studied; my work will live on. . .

So, donning my trusty coat and hat, and carrying my patent -foldable disguise-camouflage kit, I set out. First stop - Sapphire's village and lair.

I'd mastered the art of inserting myself into a village unnoticed; and had soon tucked myself away. I exchanged a few pleasantries with Herald, and settled in to wait.

It didn't take long to get the lie of the land . . .I quickly identified the different inhabitants, and located the lair of Sapphire. There was a steady stream of visitors; and most I could identify.

Mirella, for instance, came visiting; and that new fellow, Cyril? No Cyan; he's a regular visitor.

Things got interesting around Carnival, and I saw her create the snowbird. Amazing. One moment there was a wire frame; the next a white bird, poised at the moment of flight. Made of ice. In Mira, where the sun always shines? What magic! What art!

I decided I needed to see inside the lair. I would have to pick a time when she was elsewhere. So I waited . . .

Then one day there was a bustle and a fuss, and new arrivals. Afterwards, Sapphire and the villagers took wing and flew off. Time!

I moved forward cautiously, with my trusty camouflage in hand, nearer the curiously translucent lair. It was almost opaque . .

It seemed colder as I drew closer . . and I was glad I was wearing my big coat. Moving my portable camouflage-disguise was difficult; and if anyone had been watching it would have seemed really odd . . this tree moving . . but no one seemed to be at home, or leastways, seemed to be taking any notice of me.

Amazing. I had never seen anything quite like this. Of course, I knew what a lair looked like - often roughly hewn out of stone; a vaguely circular shape to accommodate the curled shape of a dragon form, perhaps with quartz or other light-bearing shards embedded in the walls. This lair, though, this space, was different. For one thing, the walls were not rough hewn stone; they were covered with a montage of photos. Thousands of them. Overlapping, lined up, organised in clusters, and - amazing. There were close ups, and panorama shots; people and dragons; there were quirky expressions and atmospheric landscapes. And everywhere - snowflakes. It was a gallery of an exquisite range of photographs.

One caught my eye. When had that been taken?

It showed the area near the Lottery Booth - and my portable camouflage kit . . and behind it, face shrouded by a hat - was me! I stepped closer, and shivered. I hadn't been as clever as I thought. . . I shivered again. Just a minute, that wasn't because of the photo . . .that came from . . behind me. . .An icy wind was coming from behind me. Something icy cold settled on my hands. i looked down. Flakes of white. I blinked, and turned . . and saw nothing but a white tunnel of snow, a blizzard, and I was caught in the blast. So cold . . .

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x


Sapphire had underestimated her strength. She had only meant to scare him, not freeze him solid. Just turn him into a snowman, briefly, not encase him in a block of opaque snow - and a block that filled her lair at that. Mind you; she was only 4 seasons old, and her abilities were still developing . . .

It took Mirella and Nut some considerable while to manoeuvre the block out into the mira sunshine, but they managed it, and then, using a variation of the teleport spell, settled the large ice cube on the space in front of the Lottery Booth. There it stood, a monument to the wrong sort of curiosity, and an example of a curious beauty, for the combination of slowly thawing ice and mira sunshine scattered fragments of rainbows over the area. Eerily beautiful it was; an uncanny beauty Sapphire was able to capture in her photos.

Slowly the ice thawed, and Emma was on hand with one of her noxious brews when the figure of the erst while Librarian fell forward and slowly began to revive.

A Council was called, and people were heard.

Sapphire was exonerated but also admonished to be a little more circumspect in the future; and Spion - well, he was offered a new job . . and given a new portable camouflage device . . .

You can find him standing beside the Lottery Booth even now, in his trademark coat and hat, standing very still; almost as if frozen to the spot, at any time of the mira day or night - and he will, for a small fee, tell you who has cast a prank on you.

dragonholt
25th February 2018, 10:27 PM
Oh dear . . . it seems Sapphire is not well.

The village was woken by the pattering of hailstones accompanying a sequence of strange noises from her lair . . noises that Minnie identified as sneezing. Every time Sapphire sneezed there was a flurry of hailstones, pattering and scattering over the village. Curious hailstones, too. Each one was a perfect hexagon.

Nut went to investigate, bearing a cup of the newest Miramagical drink - miracolate!

She found Sapphire curled up, shivering. Her hide had a distinctive greenish hue to it, making it seem almost verdigris rather than the pale ice blue of her usual hide colour, and although she wasn't quite awake, she wasn't completely asleep either. there was a smell in the air, a slightly metallic smell, the smell of wrongness. normally a dragon lair smells slightly spicy, with a touch of citrus, and an overtone of charcoal, this was nothing like that.

Nut called for Minnie, and together they took counsel.

Sapphire was ill. It is rare that a dragon succumbs to illness, but it does happen occasionally. However, nothing Minnie knew of accounted for the scattering of hailstones; the mini snow drifts that appeared at odd times; of icicles that drooped from the village tree and the lair walls.

Emma arrived; brusque and efficient as always. She commanded the observers to go do 'something more useful' and brewed nettle tea for herself and Nut. Minnie she sent to the city with a list of instructions - things she needed to help. It was a strange list:
- one laugh from a druid
- the onion ring from a plant fairy's finger
- a cupcake from Abellio the baker
- a wing whisper from a bat
- a phoenix feather
- a scale from Luna . .

There were more . . .but the Sorcerer didn't seem to be phased by it. he took the list from her, bade her wait, and disappeared into his shop, flicking the sign to busy as he did so.

Lots of miramagicians paused to greet her, ask after Sapphire, and to send best wishes. Sapphire was much loved by the community, and there was much concern for her well being.

The sun was fading to a glorious sunset before the Sorcerer re-appeared, a chest with legs trundling after him.

'We are ready,' he announced.

Minnie knelt patiently as the Sorcerer and his strange equipment secured themselves among her harness. Only when they were safe did she leap into the air, and wing her way back to the village.

On arrival the Sorcerer dismounted, patting her neck absentmindedly and heading straight to the ice-covered lair. It seemed someone had had the foresight to create a bubble, containing the wintry symptoms, for piles of snowdrift lay incongruously piled up against an invisible curved wall. Minnie waited. And waited.

Time passed, punctuated by the occasional clatter of frozen water against the barrier containing the invalid.

Minnie was joined by Aqua. and Sir Sneezealot. More dragons came, some with their riders; some on their own. All with one aim. To be there, to keep vigil. One enterprising miramagician conjured candles; another hearts, and soon the air was full of candles and hearts.

Eventually, as the stars dimmed, and the plant fairies stirred with the first light of the sun, the bubble was collapsed. A ripple of arctic wind passed over the village, and the piles of snow and hail slowly melted.

Emma strode out, flanked by the Sorcerer and Nut, all looking weary, but with huge smiles. Nut couldn't contain her exuberance

'She's going to be fine!' she declared

The relief and pleasure was tangible. And an impromptu party was the result: the dragons dancing and cavorting in the air; and a flurry of spells in the village as tables groaning with food appeared; music conjured, and firework spells set off.



. .

dragonholt
11th March 2018, 04:29 PM
The invitation arrived unexpectedly one morning. It was written on pale blue parchment, and had a seal on it, made of red wax. Inscribed on the front was Sapphire's name and the village.

Using a talon she carefully flicked the folded piece of vellum open. The calligraphy was beautiful, purple ink painstakingly presented, and read:

Sapphire, you are invited to explore Dragon's Grove.
In the third day of the season please visit my portal world

It was signed Pam

Festive Dragon's Grove started the very next day, and Sapphire was so excited! She had heard much about it, and couldn't wait to see what delights the season held.

The season opened bright and early, and Sapphire looked with amazement as the houses in her village transformed as if by magic into towers and a green dragon curling it's way up it, and the village tree changed too, a red leaved tree emerging from lave-glowing fissures, complete with a golden dragon coiled and curled among the boughs. It was a bit warm for Sapphire though, so she kept her distance. Villagers appeared in new clothing, and there were new decorations appearing throughout the village.

She spent the day with her camera, taking shots of the new seasonal items; exploring the village, snapping the wealth of images that caught her eye. Here a plant, like a flame curled and captured; there a statue half hidden by ferns; and a green dragon coiled into an oh! of surprise, eyes closed and faint tendrils of steam lifting from the nostrils.

She spent the afternoons developing her photos and working with her images. Soon her lair was garlanded with captured moments, full of life and colour. Close ups of flame flowers, the red like the heart of anger, the iridescence of light diffused behind hand blown glass, with black wings edging the image with a hint of escape, a footprint, solitary, like the wind, showing where Mina was going but not where she is. . .

And then it was time for her visit to Pam's desert world.

dragonholt
30th March 2018, 04:03 PM
The first thing she noticed was the gateway, and the dragons gambolling, bright teal eyes watching and laughing. The red tufted tails waved, much like a cat about to play, and Sapphire smiled to see them chase each other fearlessly, across the drawbridge, and around the gilt statues in the corner. Tail coiled around her hindquarters, like a cat herself, she waited to be noticed. The gate wardens continued to play for a while, before one of them landed on her back, and leapt off equally fast, the teal feathering fluttering in it's brief panic.

There was a pause, then one, Cheeky, Sapphire mentally called it - the one that took the initiative, landed neatly on top of the wall, leaned down and plucked an orange blossom from the vine that grew round the gate. Bowing, the flower was presented to her, while the other, Prince, she decided, stood watching, head slightly to one side, before approaching with an air of royalty, and imperiously extending the three fingered 'hand' to rest on her eye ridge.

Immediately an avalanche of words, impressions and thoughts cascaded into her head. Shaking it slightly, she sought to organise the impressions, saying, as firmly as she dared, 'Slow down! '

Once the inundation had slowed down a bit she was able to discern questions and thoughts and intersperse her answers.
'Yes, I am Sapphire. How do you do? I'm good thank you. yes, I have brought my camera, yes, I was invited, no I haven't been before. . .'

It took a while, but eventually, and before Sapphire had had enough of the indubitably friendly inquisition, she was encouraged to explore . . .with her self-appointed guides, who seemed still rather star struck at her arrival.

The sand felt warm under her feet, and slightly gritty against her skin. She turned slowly her first impression one of eyes, riotous colours and wonderful shapes . . and then four eyes looked down at her. Black eyes, set in green faces, stared down at her, two of them - Sapphire swallowed her shock, and looked more carefully. Now she could see the harness both heads wore; a racing dragon with 2 heads! Where was it's rider?

Prince took it upon himself to answer: the two headed dragon was there to provide rides for any visiting avatars.

Sapphire nodded, and resumed her exploration, taking snapshots of things that caught her interest - a stone dragon almost submerged in sand yet entwined with green living rope; the plumed tail of a blue coiled creature, shy purple flowers nestled at the base of a series of pots. . .a cascade of water, with a fine spray making a tortoise shell glitter.

The sound of music drew her to the other side of the island, where two fauns stood playing pipes, while in front lay 2 turquoise dragons, swaying in time to the music, their spine spikes changing with the music, growing twigs and leaves, then blossom and small golden fruits, which fell to the ground as the leaves turned bronze and fluttered to the surface of the sand and the twigs reduced and splintered before growing again.

Then she stopped short. There. The creature she was studying raised it's head and eyes with a flame of red stared back as if from a mirror. the hide of this dragon - a translucent blue, much as her own; the shape, the build - could be her reflection - save only for the riding leathers the blue dragon in front of her was wearing.

dragonholt
15th April 2018, 12:08 AM
Face to face they stood, two light blue faces looking at the other; two pairs of passion-hearted eyes flickering over the (un)familiar contours of the other's head and crest; two sets of wings half unfurled, waiting, just in case.

Simultaneously two heads moved to one side, like a reflection, and two voices chimed,

'Who are you?'

Pause. Then, curiously in synchronisation, the dragons spoke again:

'I am Sapphire; who are you?'

There was another pause, while the two dragons looked at each other, carefully noting the similarities - hue of skin, span of wing, shape of eye, curl of tail. . .

Then, the blue dragon wearing riding leathers started to grin. His smile broadened, and he started spluttering amid the chuckles

'You should see your face! It's a picture! Here, just a minute . . ' and round the other dragon's neck appeared a leather strap upon which depended Sapphire's camera. There was a familiar click, and the racing dragon version caught his breath before continuing.

'There, you will be able to see your face! What a picture! Have you worked it out yet?'

'You are a - shapeshifter?'

The racing dragon version of Sapphire simply grew fuzzy around the edges before dissolving into a blue scented mist and reforming as a familiar blue face with a long sinuous tail

'Bingo! Ooh you are a clever one!'

The djinni, for it was he, continued to grin, while a blue arm reached out to her, a familiar sized piece of something in his blue hand - a photo.

She took it from him and watched the image dissolve into clarity in front of her. It was her, a look of puzzlement on her face.

'Sapphire! Welcome to my island! And the djinni - what a surprise!'

The voice belonged to Pam, she had teleported in.She sat herself at the nearest seating arrangement and after only a small hesitation Sapphire settled herself next to her, still gazing at the photo. The djinni, well, he bent as if making an effort at sitting, but it was clear his body wasn't sufficiently solid to make it look comfortable. Pam looked around her island.

'That's odd - where's my riding dragon?'

If the djinni could be said to look embarrassed, he did, but only briefly, then, with a rueful smile at Sapphire, he conjured up a ball of blue fire, paused a moment, and then released it. Like a flower opening to the sun, it unfolded, grew, the colours shifting and settled into a simulacrum of the Sapphire riding dragon. This one was not alive; it was a decorative statue.

Pam looked from the djinni to the riding dragon to Sapphire, and after a few moments began to laugh

'He didn't . .? Oh my, he did!'
Sapphire passed over the photo wordlessly; Pam took it and looked carefully at it

'Oh my!' she repeated, 'A draconic April fool perhaps!'

Producing some charcoal biscuits, along with some nettle tea, she settled down and listened as the djinni and Sapphire told their tale.

dragonholt
15th April 2018, 10:13 PM
One spring morning Sapphire was woken by a strange noise. A high pitched sound, a pulse of a sound. Having dragon ears means that she can hear frequencies far higher than some other species such as human, and she is more susceptible to pain when someone shouts near her.

Lying still she listened carefully . . .there; that was the sound of Minnie moving in her lair . . that - that was the wings of a plant fairy zipping over to the field . . that, the sound of a magic watering spell on the tree . .ooh - there goes a teleportation sound . . and, almost masked by these everyday sounds, almost . .the odd beat and rhythm she had heard earlier. Wings, she decided, but not feathers . . and a high pitched sound . . reminded her of something . . if only she could place it . . .

Then she had it. The sound was like that of the bats made as they flew around the abandoned towers in the valley. her visitor was a bat.

Uncoiling, she stretched and as quietly as she could spoke

'Welcome my cousin'

The sound stopped, and then resumed, closer this time.

'Coussin?' came a whisper

'Yes, bats are distantly related to dragons; didn't you know? Look at the membranous wing structure - you can see the similarity.'

'yess I ssee what you mean . . hello coussin'

The faint susurration of the bat's wings started up again and Sapphire could sense he was looking around the walls of the lair, pausing every now and then. Studying her photos perhaps?

And indeed it proved to be so.

'Thesse are good!' came the sibilant whisper, 'I esspecially like this . . and this . . .'

'That's one of my favourites' smiled Sapphire; remembering the moment when the photo had been taken, 'I was really pleased with how the light brought out the colour and the line'

'Yess . . a good compossition'

'Do you take photos too?'

If it were possible, Sapphire could have sworn the bat's voice became a mixture of pride and embarrassment, 'yess, yess, I do . . .'

'May I see some . . ?' she enquired, not wanting to further embarrass her guest.

'Yess . . ' and an album was presented to her: Dreamworlds of Mira' was inscribed on the front, and as she perused the images inside she was very impressed. The photographer, the bat visitor, had a flair for a good angle, and captured an atmosphere well.

'I recognise this one! I have visited it!'

'Yess, my miramagician's Library . . it hass changed ssomewhat now . . .' The sibilance seemed shorter now - Sapphire noticed; perhaps it was more pronounced when her visitor was nervous. A good sign then.

'I like these!' Sapphire smiled, her teeth glinting in the dawn light that suffused the lair, ' and I would like to visit your Library', she continued.

'That iss why I came - Abellio, my miramagician, and I, would love you to visit'.

'Thank you. And you are? '

'Alfwedo,' a swish of wing as the bat looped a loop in the air, scattering the few motes that danced in the rays of mira-sunshine, ' at your service!'

Abellio
17th April 2018, 10:36 AM
Hi, ith me, Alfwedo...
Abellio, my Mira-thortherer wantth to know when you coming tho he can get thome maw teacaketh for uth...

dragonholt
18th April 2018, 11:15 PM
Dear Alfredo

Would the weekend be convenient for yourself and your Mira-sorceror?

I can always bring some teacakes with me if that would be useful?

Thank you

Sapphire

Abellio
19th April 2018, 09:57 PM
Maw teacakeths ith alwayth welcome. I'll athk but I'm thure the weekend will be fine. Thee you then. - Alfwedo

Saturday after 19h00 GMT+2 will be fine if its OK with you, Sapphire and D.... :) - Abellio

dragonholt
21st April 2018, 04:32 PM
Dear Alfredo,

I'm looking forward to it :)

Sapphire

dragonholt
22nd April 2018, 03:05 PM
Dear Alfredo

Thank you for a wonderful time! I really enjoyed exploring your mira-sorceror's Library - he has made a wonderful bat penthouse for you!

6052

I enjoyed landing on the mushroom seats and looking down over the island, making out some of the details. Do you often sit up there contemplating life, the universe and teacakes?

Thank you for showing me how to paint dreams - I've never heard of that before! And, wasn't it odd when dragonholt came a-calling? She said she was 'following her dreams' - do you think that was because of our painting??


6053

She and your mira-sorcerer - Abellio - seemed to find plenty to talk about near the volcano dance thing. I don't think they noticed quite how many teacakes we ate . . .the cherry ones were rather lovely.

6054

The hothouse area was fascinating . . do the heads the follow you creep you out at all? I was glad to learn they liked teacakes . . at least Seymour is safe from them! (Seymour - he works in a flowershop . . .)

6055

I hope you don't mind - I took a couple of photos while I was there . . .

Anyway, dragonholt is here and wants her study back, so thank you once again and I hope to meet up again soon!

Your friend,

Sapphire

Abellio
23rd April 2018, 05:24 PM
Hi, ith me, Alfwedo
Thankth faw the vithit.
Tho nithe to thee thomeone liketh teacaketh ath much ath I do. :)
You are welcome to vithit anytime. :)

6058

dragonholt
29th April 2018, 09:22 PM
The new season dawned. Bright, warm - and - sandy.The sand got everywhere . . .a dusting covered the sills and leaves; the grains seemed to get into everything . . .including the camera. Sapphire had to learn very quickly how to clear the grit from the workings of the camera, and, although sand might be a good way to exfoliate it was very irritating when caught between scales.

And the heat! Dry. Hot. Every breath in like inhaling from a hair dryer.

Sapphire struggled. She found she had to renew the air conditioning (ie the ice sculpture) spell far more frequently than usual, simply to keep her lair tolerable, and stop the photos from curling in the heat. People would come to call simply to experience the cooler environment! But that meant little work was being done, as she made her guests feel comfortable, offering chilled nettle-ade.

So when Ina came calling with a special request she found herself interested. It wasn't the first time Karl, or Ina had asked her; but it was the first time the idea of underground had appealed! Being trapped underground has little attraction for a dragon, especially one used to the freedom of the open skies. But underground - that would be cooler, and no sand . . .surely it wouldn't be that bad?

So she accepted, and made preparations.

One preparation was a flight over the valley. The patchwork of villages dotting the valley map were little bursts of colour, like decorative buttons; at least, from the height she flew! Dancing the thermals exhilarated her; swooping and diving; spiralling up into the bright blue sky before snapping wings close to her body and freefalling, feeling the air rush past her, before changing angle and banking sharply. Officially she was marking the boundaries of the valley; the mountain ranges that protected the valley, the mountain ranges, teeth, snow, and precipice. The mountain ranges that held the dwarven home . .

She shuddered. Dwarves . . lived underground . . she imagined warrens of stone tunnels - after all, dwarves only came partway up her leg for height - cold, dank tunnels . . after all, why the need for long beards other than to keep warm? And not to be able to see the sky, feel the air on her wings . . was this a good idea??

Landing, sand billowed up, she sneezed, and immediately felt an itch under her harness strap. Oh surely it would be better than having her hide rubbed raw by the blowing sand?

dragonholt
29th April 2018, 11:01 PM
She looked around in awe.

Dark and dank, she had thought, stone worked tunnels, she had assumed; cold and harsh she had believed; utilitarian, and functional . . .certainly not the wonderland that greeted her.

First the doors. Imposing, following the natural line of stone, arching high, and deceptively plain. When she tilted her head just so the relief showed up. Intricate patterns, here resembling clouds on a summer morning; there the stormclouds that presage winter; there the pattern of foliage on a summery spring morning . . there the dance of falling leaves . . such wonderful craftsmanship!

Ina strode forward, and with little regard for the beauty before her, nudged the left hand door. Soundlessly, it swung open. revealing not the dark stale air she had though to expect but an airy cavern, columnades stretching high, with light streamiing in from somewhere high up. Craning her neck she stepped into the entrance hall, and peered around, lost in wonder.

The light streamed from fissures creatively crafted to blend in and let in the sunshine that lit the room up.Like a series of spotlights, the beams of sunlight highlighting more and more wonders. Upon pillars stood items, crafted from a range of metals, or carved from stone, made to look smooth as water.

Here, the golden sculpture of a Phoenix rose from a sapphire pool . . .every feather carefully detailed, it's beak open in triumph . . .there, a facsimile of the World tree, studded with gems, and with wire shaped leaves; next to that a smoothed and twisted shape of wood, that seemed to be caught between states . . a snake perhaps, or a butterfly . . or something else . . .the titanic struggle between being airborne and landbound . .

A polite cough caught her attention. In a doorway stood 3 dwarves; she recognised none of them.

dragonholt
5th May 2018, 12:40 PM
'Greetings Sapphire, ' the husky voice belonged to the one in the middle, with white beard and hair, ' I am Kris; I am Keeper here. This is Ivan, and Irinka, Masters of Hall and Mine - you are welcome to our home' He bowed so low his beard swept the floor , Sapphire noticed. She inclined her head as low as she could in reply, before saying:
'Thank you for your welcome Kris, Ivan, Irinka; you have a beautiful home.'
'And with your assistance it might be more beautiful yet' - this was from Irinka - she had a clear soprano voice, and a smile. 'However, we forget our manners, please come with us'

And the three dwarves turned towards the archway she had not noticed, her eyes dazzled by the sun drenched beauty surrounding her. The archway was large enough to let her pass through with plenty of space, and she marvelled at these people who created such lofty homes.
'Our ancestors frequently hosted dragon riders and their dragons, ' observed Ivan, who was striding along beside her, 'and so we are prepared for such great visitors. It has been a while but our memories are long'

The archway opened up to an area that was open to the air. The mountain soared above, the snow caps looking as if they were covered in cloud, so high did they reach, and to her right Sapphire saw a view of the valley as she had never seen it before. It stretched before her, tiny, and with details that looked like stitches in an intricate shawl.

'Here are the guest quarters for visiting dragons', explained Irinka - 'there is fresh water and an area for resting, as well as space for whatever you may wish to do. We are informed that the cave opening is good for take off; the air currents are strong and are rarely capricious. Please, rest, make yourself at home, and I will return in an hour.'

She smiled, bowed, and left with the other two dwarves, leaving Sapphire to wonder at the view and explore her new quarters. the air was fresh and cooling, and free from the grit of sun warmed sand; the water was fresh tasting and welcome after her journey, and she found an area that could be closed off - easily transformable into a darkroom, she thought, smiling, and placing her camera safely away.

dragonholt
5th May 2018, 12:51 PM
When Irinka returned Sapphire was waiting for her, and keen to find out more. She knew the dwarves had a reason for inviting her - and was interested in knowing how she could assist them - she couldn't work in stone.

Irinka explained that she would like to show Sapphire the 'Elemental Room' and that Kris would explain further once she had seen that. Sapphire agreed, and they left together.

The Elemental Room was spectacular. Sapphire's breath caught as she took in the sight before her. The room - well, gallery might be a better word, extended as far as she comfortably see, and was sectioned off into areas, each dedicated to a particular element. Some sort of stasis spell must be in effect, she decided, for the fire section was contained, and she was able to admire and appreciate the colours and movements of the fire inside without feeling the prickle of heat.

Rippling colours of orange, yellow, red and blue flared and subsided like a forestfire captured in a bubble, for Sapphire noted the flames didn't break free. She found herself watching a tongue of flame, tipped with orange, and with a heart of purple flickering as it curled forward, flared and then died back. She realised there was some sort of barrier - stepping back she looked again. Ah yes! The fire roiled within a shape, a shape she recognised - the shape of a dragon rearing on hind legs, wings half outstretched, ready to take flight and roaring fire. The flame endlessly burned and undulated within the frame.

'How . .?' she breathed, fascinated at the play of colour, finding it hard to believe there was no heat and no fuel needed.

Irinka smiled, and explained 'It's a technology from the 'Real World' apparently. It is 'projected' I think is the word. Look' and she pointed out a phenomenon Sapphire had missed - a trail of light motes leading to a small black box on a ledge. 'The image comes from here, and provided this box is switched on then the image remains.'

'Amazing!'

'Indeed. And there's more . . .'
And indeed there was . . .

The next alcove seemed to hold nothing but darkness. Sapphire stilled and looked carefully. Yes, it was dark, but some areas were blacker than dark . . .as her eyes adjusted she realised that there were different shades of darkness . . .like staring at the night sky, starless and moonless - it's a deep velvety darkest blue . . like staring into the space between - that's darkest shadow . . this alcove contains all the different hues of darkness. And in the middle the dark was staring back at her . . .she shuddered; closed her eyes and determinedly turned her head.

'You saw?' enquired Irinka

'Sapphire nodded. She would not be able to unsee that - fathomless dark eyes staring right back at her . . .

'It's not actually there . . the eyes . . they are created by the spectator . . ' explained Irinka. 'It's your subconscious that does that. What sort of eyes did you see?'

'Black . . .'

Irinka smiled. 'I saw red ones the first time I looked into the darkness. Come, this one is less disturbing'

dragonholt
5th May 2018, 09:17 PM
Sapphire heard water before she saw it - the music of raindrops dancing drew her - and she saw a lake, still, save for in the middle where ripples ran out to the edge from a statue that was erected there. A blue dragon, wings outspread and with water cascading over back and wings to fall in a constant movement into the pond. She watched, mesmerised, as the ripples chased each other to reach the edge.

'Fire, darkness, water - so what's left? Earth? Air?'

'Yes, and an empty alcove.'

'Empty?'

'Yes. That's what we are hoping you will remedy'

Sapphire looked at her without speaking for a moment.

'Ice?' she said at last

Irinka nodded. 'Yes. We would like you to create the ice display'

'How will you keep it always frozen?'

'A stasis spell.'

Sapphire nodded; her mind already coming up with different possibilities.

'Does it have to have a dragon in it?'

'We would prefer it'

Sapphire nodded again. 'Will you show me the space?'

'Yes - it's along here.'

The empty alcove was a simple curved space with nothing in it. The walls were an off white, like the inside of a shell.

dragonholt
5th May 2018, 09:38 PM
For two days Sapphire stayed in her guest lair. She spent the time thinking, creating, and planning. When Irinka came calling she kept her away from the area that she had thought of as the darkroom, for that was where her prototypes were being kept.

Then came the moment,

'Irinka, would you please ask Kris and Ivan to come along at sunset time please? I have something to show them.'

Irinka looked puzzled, but acquiesced. 'Of course.' She smiled, and asked as always if there was anything Sapphire needed. This time she was given a short list of items. Looking slightly puzzled she said the items would be there within the hour. Sapphire thanked her and Irinka left.

Sunset arrived, and bathed the guest lair with pinks and orange warmth, and Sapphire smiled. Yes, the rainbows worked. A slight adjustment and she was ready for her audience.

Just in time the three dwarves arrived, and stopped short.

'Sapphire! That is . . awesome!' breathed Ivan.

Kris said nothing, just stepped forward and investigated. 'I think that needs moving . .yes, just there . . ' he nodded in satisfaction, 'yes, yes, that is good, it captures ice . . just so'. He turned to Sapphire and bowed' Thank you. Does it have to be sunset light?'

Sapphire considered. 'No', she said slowly, 'dawn light should work too - but my lair faces to the sunset.' Kris, nodded, consideringly. 'Yes, I think we can do that . . .that window . . here' he pointed at her installation 'that can be placed so natural light comes in, yes?'

Sapphire nodded. 'Yes, that should work.'

Kris nodded again, all business like now.

'Come', he said to the other two, 'we need to make plans' and totally focussed now on the mission at hand he swept out of the guest lair followed apologetically by Irinka and Ivan who mumbled apologies before Kris bellowed for them to 'hurry up!'

dragonholt
19th May 2018, 09:31 PM
It took several days for the installation to be exactly right. First, the ice was too blue, and the effect was too claustrophobic; then the spell didn't catch the delicate traceries until they had started to melt, but eventually Sapphire and Kris declared themselves satisfied. Invitations went out, works of art themselves; each had a snowflake imprinted on them, each one unique, and somehow embedded in the actual parchment like a watermark.

Sapphire returned to the village once the season was over, and found it reassuring to be able to fly around without finding sand between her scales, or in her lair. She breathed a sigh of relief - the guest lair was lovely; the view fantastic, the courtesy incomparable but . . it wasn't home.

The replies to the invites went to Kris, so Sapphire had no idea how many people would be there for the grand unveiling. She knew a few would be there - they had come to visit her, and told her they would be coming - Nut and Minnie were so excited!

'What should I bring?' Nut asked Sapphire; 'What do I need?'
'Just yourselves, ' Sapphire replied, every time, even when asked for the twentieth time.
'What about some jellybeans?'
'No,' said Sapphire, 'that's not necessary - dwarves don't really enjoy sugary treats'
'Oh . . should I do sausage rolls then . ..?'
'Nuthatch, I would love some of your sausage rolls, but I don't think they are quite what is needed for this. It's not really a food occasion.'
'Oh . . .' muttering to herself Nut left the lair. And an hour later, a plate of freshly cooked sausage rolls appeared at Sapphire's entrance. With a note:
'Do let me know if these are suitable for the Unveiling'
Sapphire shook her head, sighed, and ate the sausage rolls. Delicious! But how to convince Nut that this wasn't really what was needed? She decided she needed help, and went to visit Karl and Ina.

They did laugh when she explained the predicament! Sapphire, sighed, to begin with, and then caught the laugh herself. Now when dragons laugh it involves a lot of teeth . . a lot! And the sound rumbles deep within, very similar to the sound a dragon makes before they flame, or flare . . .

It was Ina that came up with the solution:
'Why not ask Nuthatch to bring some sparkling raspberry juice?'

And so that is what Sapphire did. Nuthatch beamed from ear to ear and immediately set off to brew bottles of the blue coloured sparkling juice. 'Tart and refreshing to the palate; excellent idea!' she exclaimed as she bustled away. Mentally Sapphire apologised to Minnie who just laughed and said it was fine.

And indeed it was.

Then it was time. Sapphire had gone back to the dwarf home the night before so she could be ready and make a final check of the installation. She watched the sunset from the Hall and felt a warm sense of satisfaction as the effect was just as she had hoped it would be.

It was difficult to get some sleep that night, but she dozed, waking occasionally. During those occasions she uncurled enough to stare out at the night sky, admiring the slow dance of the stars and the crescent moon hanging in the velvet dark sky.

Now guests were arriving. Sapphire greeted the guests alongside Kris in the great audience forum, delighted to see Nuthatch and Minnie, Cyan and Aquamarina, (Moon) and Sir Sneezealot . . Abellio and Alfredo, karinblood and eriko . . along with many other dignitaries she did not know. Occasionally a familiar face smiled at her and she smiled back, acknowledging and thanking them for coming. names came more slowly - oh yes, that was Mirella! There were Emma and the Sorceror! And over there - dragonholt!

Kris declared the time was right, and the group moved towards the Elemental Hall. Slowly, distracted by the elemental displays already installed, the group congregated near the curtained off section. Ina came in, whispered something to Kris, and he nodded. Dwarves filed out carrying trays, with glasses of a blue fizzy liquid.

Kris cleared his throat
'Thank you for coming, and welcome! This is an auspicious occasion: not only are we here to see Sapphire's installation we are also privileged to raise a glass of Nuthatch's fizzy raspberry juice. Ladies, gentlemen, dragons, gentle beings, I give you: Ice!'

The curtains drew back and a gasp of astonishment greeted the sight that was before them.

dragonholt
19th May 2018, 11:09 PM
In front of them was a tableau that sparkled and glittered, shapes and shadows hinting at movement even though it was a still display.

And then the sunlight touched the right point and light flooded into the display. Light blazed, and reflected, rays fractured and bounced from one surface to another, creating a coruscation of colour, dancing rainbows leading the eye to the centrepiece . . a dragon in flight, made entirely of snowflakes, a delicate lace that looked both exquisite and intricate. The landscape below the flying ice dragon was built up of stalagmites as columns, while sheets of the palest blue ice were suspended between them, through which the sunset light broke and separated into the rainbows . . . magical.

dragonholt
20th May 2018, 11:18 PM
'Yoohoo! Sapphy!'

Sapphire was in her dark room, watching her photos develop when that familiar voice made her very aware that she had been there for hours and she had a tickle at the base of her left wing; as well as her hind leg feeling all cramped. Time for a break she decided, and went outside to greet her friend Aquamarina. Today she was in her Shape of Grace version, and she looked excited,

'Aqua! How lovely you look today!'
She preened, 'Thank you! This is one of my favourites.'

Together they found a sunny spot in the village - behind the Tent - and settled down for a chat and to soak up the sun.

Aqua talked about Cyan's latest exploits with the prank spells - apparently, two had got mixed up and a poor miramagician ended up with a fluffy tail and a halo! Sapphire told her friend about the view from the guest lair, and they agreed that they both had to have a sleepover in the mountains one night. They both talked about the Unveiling; Sapphire describing how tricky it was to get the ice sheets just so; and Aqua saying how much she thought it was beautiful.

Time passed, and they had moved on to gossip about the latest news when a sudden crash and a cry startled them. they looked around - what had happened?

'No!' came a shout, 'It will not do! No!'

and from out of the tent came Colin the Bailiff and the tent lady, the seer.
'No, I tell you - I want another crystal ball - this - this pathetic excuse for a scrying pool will simply . . not . . do!' Each pause was punctuated by a thumping sound. 'Get it out of here!'
'What am I supposed to do with it?' rumbled Colin
'I don't . . care! Just get it - out - of - here!'

Colin emerged from the tent , red faced, and struggling with a very bulky something in his arms. They watched as he looked around quickly,and then laid his burden down on the grass to the side of the tent.
'And not there!' came the screech from inside the tent
'Dear lady, I will move it! It just needs to stay there for a moment while I arrange the return. It will be gone!'
'By nightfall!' insisted the tent hag.
'By nightfall', agreed Colin.

He mopped his face with a large white handkerchief and strode away, following the path to the City, his staff making a dull noise against the path.

When he was out of sight, and the tent witch had returned behind her curtained door, the two young dragons crept cautiously to investigate the item Colin had discarded.

'What is it?' whispered Aqua. Sapphire looked more closely.
'It's - it's a pond - with coloured crystals round the edge.'
'What did she call it - a crying pool?'
'Scrying. What is 'scrying?'

dragonholt
27th May 2018, 07:42 PM
'It's a way of seeing possible futures' rasped a familiar voice behind them.

It was the seer from the tent. The two friends blinked in surprise and stepped back, feeling vaguely guilty.

'Um, hi . .' began Aqua, before her voice petered out.

'Want to know how it works?' she asked, looking steadily at Sapphire. 'You, you're the ice elemental, aren't you? Hm. . .' her face grew thoughtful. 'And you're the friend - Aquamarine?'

'Aquamarina,' nodded Aqua, 'a pleasure to meet you'

'My name's Zola', the seer continued, still looking at Sapphire, 'Madame Zola, if you want to be formal'

Aqua, staring at her friend, was surprised to see her unresponsive, and nudged her. Sapphire blinked, shook her head, and slightly bemused, greeted Madame Zola'

'Interesting. . .' muttered Madame Zola looking at Aqua with sudden interest. 'You wanted to know what scrying is?'

'Yes, we do,' said Aqua,while Sapphire simply nodded.

'I will show you.' pronounced Madame Zola, ' stand here, and here . . ' she directed them to be side by side opposite her. ' Now look at the surface of the pool, try to clear your mind save for your question . . '

'Question?'

'Yes, such as where is Cyan? or what is happening in the Real World? Or what is happening in the City right now?'

'Okay . . '

'Then, when you have your questions clear stare at the surface. You may - or may not - see anything . . .'

Aqua and Sapphire exchanged looks, and then turned their attention back to the still waters of the scrying pool.

Aqua, she cleared her mind, thinking, with a smile, of Cyan, her miramagician, and asked, 'Where is Cyan?'

Sapphire, her questions was: 'what is happening in the human's world?'

Zola, her question 'Fareeja, are you around?'
And what happened?

Well, for Zola the water shivered, and the blue sky of Mira rippled out to reveal a cloudy storm filled sky, and there was Fareeja, her cloak flying in a lively wind.

'Zola! All well?' The words were both lipread and heard in her head. Zola replied the same way: 'Yes; I have Sapphire here. She is strong. I am testing her with scrying. When do you visit?'

'Not long now. Look for me when the seasons turn. Will she be ready?'

'Quite probably. She is growing quickly, and learning fast'

'Take care of her, my friend. be well. May the roads be straight and clear for you, and the worlds smile on you'

'Blessings Fareeja; be safe'

With one hand, Zola broke the vision and turned to the other two. Both were staring raptly at the water surface. As if her regard were enough to break the spell, Aqua looked at her.

'Madame, I saw stars!'

'What were you looking for?'

'Cyan. What does it mean?'

'That at some point in the future Cyan will be out at night. Did you see the moon?'

'Yes - it was full'

'Then next full moon expect Cyan will go night flying. Was it a familiar perspective?'

'Yes . . '

'Then you will be flying with him.'

'Wow! thank you!'

'Welcome'.

dragonholt
27th May 2018, 10:31 PM
As for what Sapphire saw . . .

At first she saw the mira sky reflected in the still water, as she expected, and she smiled to herself. Lovely reflection she thought, oh, wait a moment . . .

For the placid surface was shaking . . and breaking up into sections like a fractured mirror . . and each piece showed something different.

Here there was a sight of a crying face with something shiny silver around her shoulders while behind her the sound of sirens and flashing blue lights; a feeling of fear and despair . .

this piece a vision of an open topped carriage and two smiling people, one in white with black hair; the other in a severe cut jacket and red hair, accompanied by the clipping sound of hooves

. .and yet another showing human beings all wearing similar colours - some sort of uniform she surmised, all cheering . .

a fourth fragment showed a mountain spewing lava, the sky reflecting the heat as an angry colour. . .Sapphire shivered, and watched it disappear amongst so many many fragments

. . here the sky was orange and something was screaming so loudly her eardrums hurt . . and something was hurtling through the atmosphere

. . . here someone was swimming in water the colour of turquoise while music played . .

. . .here someone was flying in a metal bird

The fragments went by faster and faster, some showing glimpses of faces; here of a scene; a detail; colour, movement . . .and in every one an emotion . . fear, loneliness, excitement, celebration, love, mercy, despair, hope. . .

She felt weighed down by the bombardment of image and emotion - a tear stained face here; a smiling face there, a face brimming with delight; a face blowing out a candle; another lighting one solemnly, a balloon sailing in the sky, a kiss . . .a kaleidoscope of images that span by and retreated, replaced by one, two, three, ten others . .until one face snagged her attention; a face she knew. Smiling, with many dreadlocks framing a bright eyed face. She focused on that face, and slowly, slowly, the dance of the different images slowed down.

Fareeja spoke: 'Hello Sapphire.'

'Fareeja! what are . . .?'

'What am I doing here? Looking in the Worlds mirror like you are. Your first time?'

'Yes . . World's mirror?'

'Yes. Ask Zola. . she'll tell you. For now . .enough. Just think of where you are in mira, and that you want to be back there. I will see you soon. Farewell! And may the worlds smile on you.' With a smile her image disappeared, leaving a cloudy sky. As she watched all the other fragments popped like bubbles in a bath, and the surface returned to reflecting the blue blue sky of mira.

With a sigh Sapphire looked around her. The sun was shining; there was the familiar sound of shortrange teleport, and the buzz of plant fairy wings, and two faces looking at her.

Aqua: 'Are you okay Sapphy?'

Zola:' here' and a drink was offered; smelling of peppermint and liquorice. 'This will help. Overload?'

Sapphire nodded, inhaling the steam and feeling her head clearing, and then sipped. She drained the cup, before handing it back 'Thank you.'

'Welcome. I think you and I need to talk' her blue eyes suddenly seemed brighter than ever.

'Madame Zola!' a harried voice interrupted, 'I have arranged for the scrying pool to be removed by end of miraday'

'Don't bother', Zola turned to Colin, 'It can stay'

He stuttered, and then stopped. 'Really? You don't want it returning?'

'No. Now,have a cup of tea before you do yourself a mischief; chasing around like that - it's not good for you - come along, I have some cookies in my tent', and she hustled the perspiring, bewildered Bailiff towards her tent, turning once to look at the two young dragons and deliberately closing one eye in a wink.

dragonholt
3rd June 2018, 12:12 AM
Once upon a season . . .or at least that's how this tale should start . . .a fairytale season, of bags of magic coins; of black be-crowned bewitched swans; of magic giant twisting vines . . .and knights seeking to rescue maidens from durance vile. No one thought to warn Sapphire that fearsome warlike knights would descend upon the mira she knew and loved as home, and that she might be in danger.

And so, one sunny day, once upon a season Sapphire woke up to find herself in a changed world.

The first thing she noticed was the houses in the village, including her darkroom house was now on chicken leg stilts. This was weird enough, and she researched this phenomenon quickly; discovering the fairytale of Baba Yaga and her forest home; a dark tale, of disappearing children, and an amoral witch . .

That should really have clued her in, and did perhaps start her suspicions.

Next were the beanstalks. They grew so fast from beans carelessly thrown and caused havoc for low flying dragons as they spiralled into the cloudless sky. If you listened carefully you could hear footsteps, and a faint cry of 'Fee Fi Fo Fum!'

But it was the clank of metal, and the clop of hooves that were the only warning she had of a different sort of visitor to her lair.

'Face me and fight, you fire-breathing flying fiend!'

Sapphire looked out, wondering who it was creating such a noise, and with such alliteration.

A black horse, caparisoned in grey and black stood pawing nervously at the short cropped Mira turf, while seated on it was a figure with a black plume and carrying a large black . .'a shield' Sapphire realised, having only seen them in drawings and sculptures. This wasn't a sculpture or a painting; this was a . . person

dragonholt
5th June 2018, 08:52 PM
'Morning!'Sapphie looked critically at the knight on horseback prancing in front of her lair. 'Step to the right, please, two paces . . .Thank you horse. Please hold that pose . . .'

She lifted her camera and snapped the shot, the village tree in it's Fairy Castle form, looming over the knight.

'Thank you', she said, lowering the camera, 'What can I do for you?'

The knight sat even taller than before resuming his speech:

'Foul monster, I, Sir Johannes, am here to save this village, this world . . .' he looked around him, blinked, and returned to his speech 'from your fire breathing, fearsome vill . . .' his voice petered off, becoming aware that the dragon he was addressing did not appear to be breathing fire, and that he now had an audience.

Minnie, hearing the commotion, was looking over from her lair; the villagers had gathered, some smiling, others openly laughing.

'Do please go on, ' urged Sapphire, ' although, would you like a drink, first? An iced nettle tea perhaps; it is a warm day.'

Sir Johannes opened his mouth, paused, closed it, then said, 'Thank you, that would be very . . .welcome.'

A surprisingly short time later Sir Johannes found himself sat at a table, a glass of nettle tea in front of him, and several villagers sitting companionable with him. His horse had found a patch of grass and was grazing contentedly.

dragonholt
16th June 2018, 09:04 PM
It turned out that Sir Johnnes was the seventh son of a King in a faraway land, and, so he had been sent to a neighbouring kingdom to seek his fortune.

This neighbouring kingdom's ruler had 7 daughters; so the idea was to match the daughters with 'spare' sons.

However, there were more princes than there were princesses, and so a plan was devised to set a challenge . . and the challenge was to kill a marauding dragon, take proof to the King the father, and then the Prince could marry one of the daughters.

The problem was . . obvious. There aren't many dragons left in the 'real world'. Or at least, not ones that matched the descriptions on the texts. And so the Princes either gave up and went home; or ranged further and further, following rumour and myth to track down these elusive yet magical creatures.

Sir Johannes had traversed mountains and dales, fields and marshland, he'd found ancient scraps of parchment which seemed to hint at fire breathing monsters here, or there, yet each time it lead to a dead end, to a pile of ash and broken hopes.

Then it seemed his luck changed.

In traditional faiytale style, his travels took him past a small wooded area where he heard a quavering cry 'Help!'

On investigation he found an elderly lady, her foot twisted under and a small dog tangling it's leash around her stick. Hastily turning off the engine of his Harley Davidson, he disentangled the dog, braving it's yaps and nips with stoic determination, and then assisted the elderly lady to a convenient log. he checked the ankle, and bound it tightly.

With his assistance, she and her dog made their way to a small cottage just on the edge of the wooded area; her home, she explained.

Looking keenly around the cottage he declined her offer of a bed for the night, but agreed to a replenishment of food. Home baked bread, and a chunk of cheese, a refull of his water boittles and some very sweet apples were stowed away into the panniers of the bike.

'The last thing, young sir, ' quavered the elderly lady, ' I hear tell of a land with dragons - just past the sunset, turn right at dawn; look for the phoenix and be surprised at nothing. There. your fate awaits.'

Bowing courteously, Sir Johannes thanked her, and mounted his bike. Sunset? West? well, that was as good a direction as any, he thought, and so he set off.

dragonholt
24th July 2018, 11:37 AM
The next part of his story became very vague. He remembered setting off; and riding through the evening. He remembered noting how bright the stars were; and how large the moon. . .he remembered feeling he could ride for ever . . .and then . . nothing.

It was as if he'd blinked and fallen into a dream . . or was it the other way? He blinked and came awake?

Whatever it was, everthing was different.

The thrum of the engine under him was gone - and instead there was a rise and fall movement. His legs seemed to be astride something wider now, and he could feel the difference in his thigh muscles. Instead of the curved handlebars of the motorbike he held something thinner, more fluid. The cool sharp edged starlight was gone - instead the air was diffused sunshine.

Instinctively he pulled on the straps in his hand and a snort he half recognised sounded before he came to a halt.

Sir Johannes looked around him.

To the right in the far distance stretched ice capped mountains - reminiscent but quite different from those he remembered seeing in Switzerland that one time. Nearer, he saw shapes that gleamed in the sunshine, set amidst jewellike green, with splashes of aquamarine, and blurs of darker green. Nearer still, and he saw what looked like a set of ruins. What was this place?

Slowly he turned, his hand patting the front of his Harle- er - he looked down. He was patting the neck of a black horse! Suddenly breathless he couldn't quite grasp exactly what had happened, and then he burst out laughing. A great guffaw of a laugh - 'horsepower!' he chortled. Rubbing his eyes he half expected to see this strange valley disappear, but when he opened them again it was to see the green vista open before him once more. A patch of water lay to his left, so, clicking, and using his heels (how did he know to do that? he wondered) he and his horse set off.

The water lay as a small lake - he could see the far shore but it was sufficently far that it would qualify as a lake. The water lay quiet, and that gorgeous deep blue that almost looks green, inviting. Cautiously, he dismounted, staggering slightly as his legs adjusted. His horse - in that instant he decided to call him Harley - paced forward, head lowered, reins trailing and bit chinking slightly, and then snorted before lapping at the water. A few moments later Johannes followed, plunging his hands in the water and splashing his face. Cold. Fresh. Delightful.

He was sat there, listening to the horse cropping the grass, his eyes half closed against the sunlight, trying deperately to sort out reality from dream when an unexpected voice caught his attention.

'So, you made it. Welcome to the Valley'

His eyes flew open and he saw - as he had half expected - the old woman who had set him off on this adventure.

'We know her as Emma' Sapphire continued, as she looked around her audience, made up of young dragons, and their mages, shamans, druids and witches, including her friends, her snowflakes dancing like firesmoke, painting pictures in filligree of the tale she told, ' and so came Sir Johannes to our world. He is a friend' she added simply.

'Where is he now?' asked Dale, a mechanically minded mage, who had taken great interest in the machine Sir Johannes had ridden before . .

'He's with the seer in her tent' answered Sapphire. 'The hope is her crystal ball will show more'.

dragonholt
31st July 2018, 09:49 PM
A week later, and Sir Johannes was settled into the City, in one of the empty houses. He'd struck up a friendship with Colin, and the two could often be seen in the town square mira watching and sipping mitsu coffee. His horse - stabled on the edge of the City, At first the horse - Harley - of course! - was skittish around the dragons, but time helped, and he soon settled, simply flattening his ears when one came too close.

Sir Johannes - 'call me J', he insisted after about a week, 'the other is such a mouthful!' - J found it difficult to sleep for a while. Tossing and turning; seeing the sunrise, and the change of the Watch dragons all conspired to disrupt his sleep. So much so Colin made a point of introducing - J - to Emma. She listened in her irascible way, muttered over a cup of nettle tea, and rummaged in her ever-present bag, before presenting - J - with a small handful of different leaves and herbs.

'Infuse that and drink as hot as you can - honey if you need it sweeter - about half an hour before bed and you should sleep sound. . .' she seemed to be about to say something else, and obviously thought better of it. 'See me in a week - let me know how it's working', she finished with.

-J - thanked her and tucked it away. He had already changed into more sensible clothing - the armour he had arrived in clanked and rubbed something rotten; these trousers and tunic were much easier to walk in.

Later Emma spoke to the Sorceror ' I hope I did right. I didn't warn him about the dreams . . '
'Don't worry my love, ' he soothed her, 'if he has problems I'm sure he'll be back. I think I still have a dreamcatcher in the shop - if not I'll order some more. Now, come here, I think you could do with a hug . . .'

The infusion smelt of rain on the blossom, of sunshine on wet grass and freshly trodden mud. . .and tasted . . well . .indescribable . . .but a few minutes later he could feel his eyes growing heavy
and he was soon asleep.

And dreaming.

dragonholt
3rd August 2018, 11:43 PM
Uncharacteristically, Emma was nervous. She waited for -J- in the Town square, sipping a rose petal infusion rather than her usual nettle tea - she felt the need for something more calming.

-J- arrived, looking tanned and healthy, striding along with an enviable confidence. Mira life obviously agreed with him, Emma thought, with a smile of welcome. As he sat down she looked more closely. Oh. Those eyes - they were shadowed. Something wasn't right. . .

'Are you sleeping okay now?' she asked, watching his body as well as his face for his answer. His fingers started tapping the table and she noticed colour underneath the nails. paint?

'I'm sleeping, ' he answered, a half smile on his face, ' and I'm dreaming. I wake with the images still in my head. I spoke to Sapphire and she suggested painting them'. He looked ruefully at his fingernails - 'as you can see I took her advice . . .' His smile faltered, just for a second. 'Dreams of colour, red and orange, tangerine and turquoise, greys and silvers . . .great swathes of colour . . .'

'May I see them?'
A pause, and then, 'Of course. They are at my place.'

The smell of paint filled the small house, making her nose wrinkle, but the sight that met her eyes as she stepped into the room he had turned into his studio almost took her breath away. He had been busy. Canvases lay against the wall, windows into his dreams, full of vibrancy and vivid.

One in particular caught her eye. Colours of fire stretched across the canvas, interrupted by stormcloud grey and angular silhouettes from an alien world . .

6405

'What are they . . .?' she breathed

'Sunsets' he said, and something in his voice made her turn to look at him. It was as if he had forgotten she was there. He had propped up a clean canvass and was brushing black across it . . velvety, glistening deep space black.

She stood for a few minutes and realised she was completely forgotten. Leaving him to his art she left the house, one final glance at the picture that had caught her eye.

Over tea she discussed the encounter with her husband, who was intrigued. It was agreed that he would visit the next day and see what he thought . . .

And so it happened. -J- let him in and seemed unsurprised that he wanted to see the paintings.

In pride of place was the latest one. The background was black, shades of black, as if it were somehow grained, like velvet or wood, and in the middle an almost perfect sphere, shading from the palest pink to a blood red. The Sorcerer stood, amazed.

6406

'That's the moon', stated -J-.
'Not Mira's moon' observed the Sorcerer
'No,' agreed -J- 'but it's the moon . . .'

-J- had started a new painting this time. One that made the Sorcerer shiver. Swathes and circles of greys swirled across most of the canvass, while a layer of orange red roared fiercely underneath. below that - darker shadows, and angular shapes on darker shades - nothing clear.

'What is that?'
'I don't know. But it needs to be shown, The story needs to be told. Before I sleep again . . . '

Thoughtfully the Sorcerer took his leave and returned to his wife.

'We need to talk' he announced.


'

dragonholt
19th August 2018, 10:22 PM
It was a week later and there was an air of excitement throughout Mira.

A Miramagia first! An art exhibition!

The flyers had gone out the previous week - literally flying into every postbox in the many villages that inhabited the valleys - inviting people to submit their work (if they so wished) and to come along to the Grand Opening.

Such a demand on dye pots (used as paint) there hadn't been since the new line of dyeable clothing had come out in the shop! Rose red was very popular, as was swan white - and as for unicorn pink . . . the valleys were scoured end to end to find the elusive shade.

And pride of place would be -J-'s paintings. Word had spread that these were something special - almost magical in their depiction of other worlds . . .and there were hints of a special announcement . . certainly Harold had been spotted visiting Emma and Emilio's . . .

The day dawned.

The first people let in to the Council High Chamber - where the exhibition was being held - were of course the High Council. Oh and a select few others . . . everyone else congregated on the Town square chatting, gifting, and waiting.

The Herald appeared on the steps to the Town Hall, clad in a bright yellow tabard. His voice, magically enhanced, spoke out, declaring the exhibition open. The doors opened and in came the Miramagicians.

And inside . . .the Hall had been converted into galleries, with information screens in each alcove, along with seating areas. The lighting was magic, and ideally placed to allow each painting to be studied carefully. The paintings were grouped . . .landscapes - moonscapes - portraits - still life . . and the most disturbing section . . .scenes of disaster, tragedy and turmoil.

All the people moving through the Gallery came out looking thoughtful, in some cases surreptiously wiping away tears.

One alcove was left. Still and in shadow.

Interestingly enough people stayed in the Town square - they seemed to need some time to be together to process what they had witnessed, a sombre air settling over the small groups as they found comfort in community.

About 30 minutes after the last ones had filed through the great doors opened once more, and out came the Council, between them an easel with a covered canvass which was placed carefully at the top of the steps.

Mirella stepped forward, her voice magically amplified

'Greetings miramagicians

Thank you for supporting the talents of the community - I am sure you will all agree the exhibition is thought provoking and inspirational.

However, you will have noticed that someone is absent. . . '
A murmur spread through the crowd.

'Yes. -J-. He has . . gone. . . but has left us with ., . .' she swept the cover off the canvass and the crowd gasped. 'with this . . .'

This was a framed portrait. But unlike the ones in the Galley behind the doors this one was . . .magic. Alive. It was a rendering of -J- Very lifelike. Too lifelike, maybe, for it moved. . .

'Yes, he is there; behind the canvass. This is his portal between worlds. He may be back - but for now, he is wandering the worlds. . . .'

A sigh rose from the crowd, and hearts were conjured from the whole host - an outpouring of love and support.

'This portal will remain in the Council Hall, safe, and tended. The paintings will be in the exhibition for another week, and then, if you wish to request one for your own village and dreamworld please apply to Sebastian - we are keen that they should be displayed in Libraries and portal islands throughout Miramagia.'


dragonholt
20th August 2018, 05:42 PM
Mira sweltered. It was so hot. Portal worlds were magicked into water worlds, and ice worlds were very popular as Miramagicians sought for cool.

Poor Sapphire. Despite her best endeavours it was hard to keep her lair cool enough. So much so she was planning to escape to the mountains when she had a visitor.

Mirella stood there, her face shiny from the heat, and clutching a folder under her arm.

'Sapphire - may I come in?'
'Of course'. Sapphire swept away a pile of sketches that were piled on the chair and Mirella took her seat with a sigh. Looking towards the fireplace she smiled - 'What a wonderful idea!'

Instead of flames licking away at fuel and giving out heat the grate was filled with blue ice flames, and instead of smoke drifting up into the chimney there were snowflakes, drifting down like white delicate ash. Standing near the cold-fire was a jug, earthenware.
'Chilled nettle juice?'
'Yes, please.'

A companionable silence fell as Mirella savoured the chilled juice, and Sapphire coiled around, watching the dance of the snowflakes in the fireplace.

'Sapphire . . ' began Mirella . . 'Um, I have a favour to ask you . . .'

Sapphire turned her blue-white head, her gold eyes, with that hint of a red spark, studying the profile of Mirella.
'Yes?'

'There's a - problem- in the valleys.'
Sapphire paused and watched the snowflakes.
'A - problem?'
'Yes. The unicorn river. . .it's . . frozen'

Unicorn river? Sapphire thought about this, staring at the ice flames, which transformed into a prancing unicorn.

'In the valley?' Mirella nodded.
'We don't know why, but the statues are frozen and the river is frozen too. And it's spreading . . .'

'I'll take a look . . .'

Mirella handed over the file - which held a short report and some photos. Three photos. One was of the stone statues, and the teal green of the river. In the next, the prancing Unicorn statues were glistening blue ice white and the river below their hooves was the tell tale opaque white of ice. The bridge close by was coated with icicles but still wooden. The third photo showed the ice was ice-white to the first significant bend, and ahead lay a village.

'And the village?'

'Miratlantis. A well established village; two current inhabitants. Both report they are unable to remove the ice field spell . . .'

Sapphire thought. 'I'll need someone with an interest in science.'

Mirella paused, and then handed over another sheet of paper. 'I thought you might. This shaman might be prepared to help you.'

The file showed a shaman wearing a deep blue oriental robe and headdress, with 2 transformations. 'Goliath! I know him!'

Mirella nodded. 'I will leave it with you. Ask if you need anything please. And now I'd better get going . . .'

Farewells made, Mirella left the lair and Sapphire found herself playing with ice sculptures.

A short while later and she had a family of unicorns, one prancing, one sitting, and a foal, standing shyly close to the flanks of it's mother.

dragonholt
23rd August 2018, 05:24 PM
The valley looked normal - well, almost . . if you managed to ignore the white patch to the lower right . . .

Sapphire banked, and craned her neck to investigate.

There were the mountains, and then . . a patch of white where there should have been the two statues, a river and - yes, those shadows showed buildings - a village - all consumed by white. She glided lower, until she could sense cold drifting up, shivering over her hide despite the sun on her back.

She circled, and landed just outside the white zone. The cold was intense this close; even made Sapphire's snout wrinkle slightly at the clean ozone taint. Blazing white, the sun reflecting off the sheer white surface, the shadows violet out of the direct sunlight.

Sapphire lowered her inner eyelid - as most dragons did she had two - one hairless, and almost opaque; the other the usual one, and this was an evolutionary development to help protect a flyer from sunshine at high altitudes. Useful here, though, to shield her from the glare. Focussing on the edge of the ice she studied it. Breaking off a chip she studied that carefully. Using her camera, and a special filter, she took various photographs to study later. Another chip of the ice was enclosed in a protective layer of her own ice, for later study, and she decided to explore further.

The ice emanated sucn a welcome frost she revelled in it. Surely it wouldn't hurt to explore further. . .and so she did, carefully stepping onto the surface. Slippery, but not wet, she noticed; and almost opaque. Looking closely, she noticed shapes and shadows trapped under the ice. That looked like a rock . . and there, here, where the river once ran there were curls and glimpses of fish, darts of colour frozen beneath the ice. How deep did it go?

The nearer she moved to the Unicorn guardians the more the ice curved upwards like the sides of a hill, enveloping the knees of the prancing unicorns. So, the ice started here . . but why?

She studied the area closely, making out what she could from studying the icy depths. Her eyes followed the shape of the unicorn legs, to the hooves, and the feathered tail. The left side unicorn - then the right. Both looked exact . . or did they? She studied the right side unicorn's left hoof. What was . . that? Something that shouldn't be there. Something . . .that shouldn't be there.

Back at her lair she developed her photographs, and studied them. She watched her ice melt and reveal the specimen - which didn't melt in the sun. 'Hmm . . .' she thought.

Ice crystal structure is normally either like a snowflake - a regular six sided shape; or like fern fronds. This crystalline structure was . . . blocky . . four sided . . like cubes. Locking together somehow to make a very dense substance. . .this reduced the amount of surface that could be affected by heat, hence why the sample was so slow to melt. So . . .

The conclusion was inevitable. This ice was somehow, unnatural. Sapphire's thoughts went back to the strange thing she had spotted by the right hoof. Perhaps, if she could remove and study it . . .? But how?

It took another meeting with Mirella, and Hobgoblin before a plan of action was decided upon - and by then the ice had encroached further, and the ice was up to the unicorn statue's hindquarters. Upper Chirphurst was now threatened by the unnatural ice . . .

And so the expedition set out.

dragonholt
23rd August 2018, 09:34 PM
Hobgoblin and Goliath were an unusual partnership. They had studied science using both Mira texts from the Libraries around Mira, and specially procured texts from the human world, and were particularly accomplished in understanding geology and physical geography. This made them ideal for Sapphire's plan . . .

And Mirella - her magical skills were particularly effective with teleportation . . .and that was going to be essential.

Sapphire nodded to herself. Yes, all that could be made ready had been. It was time.

A small group of refugee villagers - those who had fled the two villages consumed by the ice, and a third threatened by it - stood huddled together round a brazier placed there by Nuthatch, who also plied them with warm drinks and sausage rolls, watching as Sapphire and Goliath set off on their errand.

The flight gave Sapphire one last chance to go over her plan. Yes, it should work . . but if it didn't? She mentally shrugged her shoulders. If it didn't work, they'd simply have to come up with another plan. The alternative . . unthinkable. She shuddered, and Mirella, on her back, held more tightly.

All too soon, she landed. The ice had spread. A third village: Upper Shrubthorpe, was slowly being consumed by the ice . . .icicles hanging from the trees like translucent fruit, and plants frost bitten in the fields.

Goliath landed next to her, and their passengers descended. While a fire was built and lit, Sapphire retraced her steps to the edge of the ice - to the Unicorn statues, now their hips consumed by the ever growing ice. It was harder to see, but there was a flash of blue deep inside the mini glacier, Yes, it was still there. . .

'Ready?'

Mirella nodded, and Hobgoblin fastened her headscarf tighter before nodding.

A moment later, Hobgoblin was standing next to Sapphire. She nodded as she spotted the blue flash in the depths and concentrated.

Sapphire held Hobgoblin steady as the strain showed on her face. Then she sighed and slumped. 'It's done' she whispered.

Mirella teleported Hobgoblin back to the fireside, while Sapphire scooped up the fragment along with a clawfull of ice, before flying back to the edge of the ice.

'Ice portal?'

Mirella nodded. 'Yes, for now. We will speak with Fareeja when she next visits - we might be able to do something more permanent. '

It was a cold flight for Sapphire. The shard of blue she held in her claws burned with cold even through her ice-hide, and she felt the flesh on her front limbs first sting, grow cold and then, more worryingly, grow numb . . . Fortunately she arrived at Mirella's closed Ice portal island before the cold started to affect her too much.

Placing the shard in the centre of the ice world she sighed, and retreated, allowing the normal chill of snow and ice to return her body temperature back to normal. Then she returned to Mirella's dreamworld, where Hobgoblin, Goliath and Mirella were waiting for her.

'Removing that shard has already had an impact. The ice is retreating. It won't be long before things are back to normal.' She smiled, and sipped her hot miracolate. 'I have commissioned Sebastian to send a message to Fareeja, and to establish an investigation into the shard and it's effect. Would you like to be a part of it, Sapphire?'
'Oh yes please!' Sapphire smiled, already thinking of the experiments she would like to try out.

Hobgoblin smiled, and studied one of the menhir Mirella had placed on her gold island. 'Fascinating. . .looks like it. . ' she muttered to herself. Mirella and Sapphire exchanged smiles. 'Thank you Sapphire', said Mirella; 'I do appreciate your help, and insight.'

'You're welcome, ' answered Sapphire, 'always a delight to help the High Council'

dragonholt
23rd April 2019, 06:02 PM
Have you noticed? They've been in the city about a week now. High up, along the eaves of the buildings. Either staring down at the cobbled square, or staring into the blue blue mira sky. Sometimes there's one, isolated, hunched, alone; sometimes there are a few, gathered together.

'On a visit?' enquired one mage,
'Seeking refuge,' said another, sipping coffee at one of the little pavement tables, 'I hear they were caught in a fire . . .'
'A fire . . ?'

The mage nodded, and they paused, before finishing their hot drinks and going their separate ways.

High above them a great stone head shivered and watched them go, before turning to stare into the cloudless sky. Waiting. Remembering.

The lick of fire caressing the stone parapet it called home. The heat crackling the wooden roof beneath them, an inferno that threatened to crack, char the solid body and send it tumbling, fractured to the hot coals fuming below. . .the delicate filigree of thousands of craftsmen's work splintered and shattered in the ravenous fire as it sought to embrace and destroy its home.

The sticky black ash and smoke coating the stone figures, smearing the non existent tears into a mess of black, the shroud of history going up in flames, the smoke signals of a sacrifice twining through the bright sky up to the heavens.

The City lay quietly before it, the cobbles sparkling, the magic of people gathering from all around the world, both here and the world called Real Life, gathering together, to share, marvel, buy, celebrate . . .just like the other city . . .a place of magic, of people coming to worship, marvel, marvel . . .

'Hey!' a thin voice called from below 'Welcome! Bienvenue!'

The French broke through the threnody of memory and thought and slowly, gratingly, the stone head surveyed below.

A slow, grating deep voice, like the sound of a mountain speaking, rumbled from the mouth
'Oui?'

'Would you like a wash? Vous voulez vous lavez?'

A ponderous pause. 'Oui, svp'

'Un moment'

That particular ping of a spell, and the sunshine was muted, blurred, above it. Then the percussion of raindrops cascaded over


.

dragonholt
23rd April 2019, 10:21 PM
Darius the Druid was the one who came up with the idea . he'd made friends with the gargoyle - gave him the name of Hugo . . .and listened to the tales it told.

Amazing tales. Hugo had watched generations of people visit the building, and had seen dramas enacted below over many many years. It spoke with Gallic longing and passion of the various tales it had witnessed as it guarded the roofs . . of love stories and marriages; of desparate situations, and grand funerals, of visitors gawking in wonder and rascals searching for sanctuary, of black garbed figures lurking in the shadows and craftsmen taking pride in glory.

'Is all gone, n'est-ce-pas?' it rumbled in its gravelly disused voice, smoke-roughened and slow as the weathering of time, 'toute est fini, non?'

Darius promised to find out, and left Hugo sunning at the edge of the Town Hall.

The tent lady was his next port of call, and her crystal ball. He scried in stunned silence as he watched the destruction of the once glorious building Hugo called home, as the sparks scattered and created fireworks against the mourning night sky . . .fantastic, awe inspiring and devastating at the same time.

Then the future . . .the building still stood! The two towers proud against the skyline, defiant against the empty shell behind them. And the conviction of the humans - the building would be rebuilt, in glory.

Darius paused. Now, he could go straight back to Hugo and tell it, but he had a better idea . . and so he made a visit to Little Ottermont.

dragonholt
23rd April 2019, 10:32 PM
Hugo was daydreaming of the resonant sound of bells and the glory of sound swelling in the nave below when a new sound intruded into his reverie . .the sound of wings. Slowly lifting it's head a translucent blue filled the sky.

'Bonjour' said a silvery voice, 'I am Sapphire. And you are Hugo?'

'oui'

'Will you tell me of your home?'

And so Hugo did. For the next hour he described the vaulted roofs, the marvellous stained glass windows, the towers, the nave, the pillars the spire, the ornate stonework, the sound as voice and bell resonated, the view from roof and ledge, and wept.

'Thank you' was all she said, and made her farewells, flying away, appearing to be deep in thought.

dragonholt
23rd April 2019, 10:53 PM
Three days later there was a commotion in the square and Hugo slowly craned its head to see what was going on.

A table was being set up. And there was that blue dragon - Sapphire hadn't she named herself? - appearing to be directing things.

A 'something' was carefully magicked onto the middle of the table, and Hugo fancied it could feel a waft of chilly air spiral up from that place, before it was abruptly cut off. Some sort of spell, it surmised.

And indeed it was.

Not long afterwards, Sapphire flew to perch next to Hugo.

'I have something to show you, ' she said, diffidently, ' would you come look?'

Shrugging was not easy when one is made of stone, but Hugo managed it, and laboriously, hesitantly, it made it's way down to the ground.

There was an air of subdued excitement around him, and a soft whisper of anticipation. Whatever this was, people were looking forward to seeing it. This Sapphire - it seemed she had earned respect from this crowd . .

As if at a signal - Hugo missed exactly what, there was a sound as of bells ringing and the centrepiece of the table became clear.

It glistened and glittered in the miraday sunshine, a translucent model of Notre Dame detailed and exact, and as if untouched by fire. The roof - intact - the rose windows - detailed and tiny - the bell towers - he could see through to the bell chamber - the spire - reaching out as if yearning for the heavens . . beautiful.

A tear, trembled on the age worn stone of its cheek and hung there, a diamond of yearning.

A gentle voice broke the awe struck silence:

'Hugo, I have a reduction spell if you would like to try it - it will reduce you in size until you can enter this sculpture with ease. I don't know, but if you would like to then I will use it on you, and you can visit the Cathedral of your dreams - until you are ready to return to the Real World and your own place.' the voice belonged to an old woman, hunched, and with the wisdom of the ages in her eyes, a voice that belied her apparent age. 'I am Emma, ' she introduced herself,' and I am delighted to make your acquaintance'

Overcome, the diamond tear fell to the ground, capturing mini rainbows in its sparkle, unnoticed.

Hugo nodded, and there was a cracking sound, the sound of stone splintering, as his grief-worn face split into a smile.

'Thank you - merci' was all he managed to say.


And, for a while afterwards, if you looked carefully you might be able to see a miniature gargoyle perched on the turrets of the bell tower, guarding the Cathedral, the faint strains of organ and bell music swirling around the ice sculpture misty and delicate; a memory, a farseeing, a promise of a future.

One day, one day, Hugo would return, and take some of the magic of mira with it to bless the new building, and to return to its warden role. Until then, it is welcome in mira.