The Child of Lore
By: C.L. Collar
“Tempest, you must find her, you must find the Child of Lore. You must bring her here to me or I will be trapped in here forever.”
The small, iridescent green dragon listened to her friends cry from deep down inside the small forest colored stone. She saw the petite pointed face, huge pine green eyes and spiked golden hair of Natasha embraced within the stone. Words had not been needed between the two friends since childhood. Their minds had fused together the day Tempest was born. They knew each other’s thoughts and communicated thus, no fuss, no bother just pure honesty. This was the way it was with Elves born of the Tagnik'zur Clan and dragons.
“Oh Nat, I don’t know what to do! I wouldn’t know where to begin to look.” Tempest said, wringing her petite paws as a devastated tear slipped to the ground.
“Tempi, think back to the days of yore. Who told us most about the Child of Lore? The Wizard, Yaz, he might know more.”
The tiny dragon cocked her head as the words took form in her mind. “What! You want me to go to that crazy old man’s house by myself? You must be kidding! There’s no way I’m going there alone. The last time we were there he tried to cut off my tail. His eyesight is so bad he mistook me for a lizard. No! That is definitely out of the question! Besides Nat, we don’t even know if the legend is true. Yaz is crazy. He could have made up the whole thing.”
“Tempi, calm down. We both know the legend is true. It has been passed down through the steps of time by very wise beings. Yaz just seems to know more about it than most. Our knowing as much as we do about it is why Esmerelda entombed me in this stone. She did not know that I could still talk to you. In her evil mind, she thinks that she has silenced me forever. The legend says that only the Child of Lore can break the evil witch’s curse on the forest and undo her spells. She must be found or all of us are doomed. The forest has already lost so much of it’s magic as she sucks it into her evil soul. As she grows stronger the magic forest dies. So you see, you must go.”
“I’m so sorry Nat, but I just can’t do it. I cannot go without you. I have never gone anywhere without you. My heart would break if I left your side. No. I must stay here with you and protect you and your new stone home. This is where I belong. I’m sure someone else, bigger and braver than I will find the child and defeat Esmerelda. We will just wait here together, you and I in our nice quiet little spot in the woods. As soon as she has been defeated, you will be released and all will be as it should be. Yes, I do believe that is the wisest action to take, we dragons are very wise you know.”
“But Tempi, we are the only ones who know where her castle is hidden. If we don’t pass this information to those who are trying to defeat her, they might never find it and then our beautiful forest will be gone and I will be stuck in this stone forever.”
“I don’t really care about the forest. There are many more and as for you having to stay in the stone, well it is a very pretty stone, with all of the colors of the forest right there with you. You could be worse off you know. You could have been trapped in an old river rock instead of this fabulous Brazilian Opal. Yes, I think it is a very nice stone home indeed.”
“You would have me stay in here? Tempi! How could you? You know I am an Elf, I must be free.”
“My job is to keep you safe, not to set you free. My mind is made up. We will stay here.”
“Okay Tempi, if you cannot bring yourself to leave me then I will go with you.”
“And just how are you going to accomplish that my brave friend? We dragons are very observant creatures and I do not see any legs protruding through that stone.”
“You will carry me silly. It is not like this stone is very big or heavy and you, my brave little dragon, know that I will not let Yaz do anything to harm you.”
“But how will Yaz know that you are with me Nat? He is very quick, for an old man, with that cleaver of his. He would probably chop first and ask questions later.”
“Silly dragon, you were just a babe, only four inches long last time we were there. You have grown so much and now have those splendid gossamer wings. He could never mistake you for dull little lizard. Now you are a glorious, beautiful dragon.”
“I am a 3 foot long dragon. Not exactly glorious or beautiful, just a small pretty dragon.”
“Still he will know you are a dragon and you can talk, even if you prefer not to. So put me in your pack and let’s go.”
“Okay Nat, but I still think this is a bad idea.”
Tempest placed Natasha’s stone into her pack and slipped it around her neck. Spreading gossamer wings she headed for Yaz’s hut. It wasn’t far, as the dragon flies, and before the sun had set they had touched down at the wizard’s home.
Yaz met them at the door. “Where have you been? I have been watching and waiting for you forever. Did you find Esmerelda’s castle? Sit! Tell me all you know!”
Tempest cautiously followed the wizard inside. She opened the pack, pulled out Natasha’s stone and placed it on the table in front of Yaz.
“Oh my,” said Yaz. “This isn’t good at all! Not at all! What to do? What to do?” the old man shook his head. “Oh me, oh my, this is just so, so bad! What to do? What to do?
“Tempi, tell him where the castle is and ask him if he knows more about the Child of Lore.”
Tempest shook her head, “Nat, can’t you see his eyes? He is totally blind, but he thinks he knows who we are. He talks like he can see us, but he cannot. My dragon sense tells me that something is amiss, I fear he might be under Esmerelda’s spell.”
“Are you sure, Tempi? I cannot see well through this stone and I have always trusted your dragon sense, but I don’t know where else to go. Just ask him about the Child of Lore. We will keep the other knowledge a secret for right now. Don’t let him know that you can talk to me. Tell him you need to find the child to set me free.”
“That is very wise of you little one. Ha! That is so funny, me calling you little one. All these years it has been the other way around. In many ways I really like you being in the stone.”
Tempi! Focus! We have to stop Esmerelda. Now ask him.”
“Okay. You don’t have to shout. He’s just so weird. He makes my skin crawl.” Tempi shuttered then turned her keen eyes the wizard. “Yaz, I’m sorry I cannot tell you what you want to know. Right now, my only concern is to free Natasha and to do that I must find the Child of Lore. Do you know more than you told us before?”
“So you can talk, little dragon. That is so, so good!” said Yaz clapping his hands. “For a while I thought you might be a little off.” Yaz pointed to his head and twirled his finger.
“The Child of Lore as the legend says lives in the woods, inside a tree. Thrice times round she’ll come to thee, a kiss to change the small to might, to save us all with a new light. This is what I told you and I know no more.”
“But what woods and what tree and what does it mean thrice times round? Surely you know more.”
“That is all I know!” yelled Yaz. “Now take your stupid stone and get out of here. You are useless without the Elf. Go find a shady oak and play ring around the rosy or something! I’m sure you can find one in the woods just outside! Be gone! I have no time for your silliness.”
Tempest grabbed Nat’s stone and flew away as fast as she could into the woods.
“I told you that old man was crazy! I will never, ever, ever go back there! He is even worst than last time. Oh Nat, I’m so sorry that he was no help. I must rest now. My nerves are shot. Tomorrow we will begin to look for the child.”
“Okay Tempi, I understand. He was very mean to you. I promise I will not ask you to go back. We will rest brave little girl under this majestic oak. Tomorrow we will work out a new plan.”
Tempest placed Natasha back into the pack and settled down for a good night’s rest. They were safe for now. She would keep Nat safe until she could find a way to set her free. That was all that really mattered. Tempest closed her eyes ready for a good night’s rest, but sleep eluded her. She could not get Yaz’s words out of her head. Oak tree, play ring around the rosy. The old man was surly daft or worse possessed by Esmerelda. Inside a tree, trice times round. The old man’s words echoed through her thoughts. Wait a minute thought Tempest. Maybe Yaz wasn’t crazy after all. Maybe he was speaking in riddles because he feared Esmerelda was listening. They had flown right to the old oak tree, ring around the rosy, thrice times round. That must be it!
Tempest jumped to her feet. Here goes nothing she thought as she rounded the tree three times. After the third time round she stood nervously in front of the massive oak. The branches shook and the leaves quivered as the tree twisted reveling a small wooden door. Tempest ran and hid as a small human child opened the door and stepped through.
The child rubbed her eyes as if just waking from a long nap. Her curly blond hair was tousled from sleep. She was dressed in a warm red sweater and ruffled green skirt. “Hoppy,” she said to the small stuffed rabbit tucked under her arm as she dug her bare toes into the soft dirt, “are we still asleep? This is such a beautiful place, we must be dreaming. Isn’t this a very nice dream?”
Tempest cautiously emerged from her hiding place, a human child? The Child of Lore was a human child? Well one thing was for certain she had nothing to fear from a human. Tempest slowly walked over and jumped up on a log so the child could see her. She didn’t want to frighten the little girl, so she spoke very softly to her. “Sweetie, are you the Child of Lore?”
The little girl looked wide-eyed at the dragon. “Wow Hoppy, would you look at that! We have a pretty little dragon in our dream. Isn’t she so cute! I think I will give her a kiss.”
Before Tempest knew what was happening the child kissed her on the top of her head. Tempest fell off her perch, startled by the child’s touch. As she touched the ground an exquisite face extended from the highest branches of the tree. Her voice was soft and soothing.
“Be not afraid little dragon, for now the spell is cast and you shall be as was foretold the one that sets us free, the one who was small, now mighty you will be.”
Tempest felt strange. Her chest started itching, just a little itch, then the itch turned into a twitch, which grew into a great big tickle. Tempest fell over laughing. She felt so happy, so full of joy, a warm light spread throughout her being.
The oak spoke again. “It is done you are transformed. Now you must stop the wicked one, before her magic cannot be undone. You must go and save us all. This is why you were called.”
Tempest gazed into the beautiful oak’s eyes. “I know what I am suppose to do, but my friend is trapped inside the stone. I cannot do it without her and I cannot leave her unprotected. It is my duty to keep her safe.”
“I will keep her safe with me. You must go to set her free.”
“I don’t think that I can. I have never, ever done anything without my trusted friend. I am not prepared. I do not know what to do. You say I am transformed but I am afraid. I feel like the same scared little dragon just filled with the light of joy and love.
“You are filled with the essence of innocence that is the gift from the human child and you will not be alone. As we speak your dragon ancestors are gathering inside your heart and head. They will guide you on your quest. You carry with you the Knowledge of Dragon Lore, but it is you who will decide what must be done. You found the hidden Child of Lore and now you must find Esmerelda’s weakness. You are very smart Tempest. Now it is time for you to believe in yourself.
“But what about the Child of Lore? What will become of her?”
“The Child of Lore will go back through my magic door, back into her world once more. It ‘twill be to her, but a nice dream, a simple little funny thing.”
Knowing that Nat and the child would be safe, Tempest spread her wings and flew to Esmerelda’s castle. As she flew her head was filled with all of the dragon knowledge passed down through time. She knew that Esmerelda’s weakness was vanity. The arrogant witch believed herself to be invincible and that would be her undoing. Tempest also had a secret that only she knew. The child had given her a secret weapon to use against the wicked witch. She was still afraid, but she had to free Nat and save the forest. It was her duty.
Tempest landed outside the castle’s door.
“Come face me you wicked witch!” she yelled with bravado that she certainly did not feel. “Come face me if you dare!”
Esmerelda blew the doors open with a blast of fire and stepped through.
“And why should I be afraid of you?” she asked laughing at the miniature dragon.”
Tempest slowly raised her shiny head up and looked Esmerelda, square in the eye. “Because I know your secret wicked one. You are not what you seem to be. You are a measly little thing. You use your glamour to fool all, but you cannot fool me.”
Esmerelda’s face grew red with rage. “I’ll show you measly, you arrogant beast! And with that she began to chant. “You will become an ant so small and on the ground you will crawl.”
Tempest launched into the air, easily dodging the visious spark thrown from Esmerelda's wand. "Ha ha, you missed me. It looks like someone needs to practice there wand spells."
Esmperelda stomped her foot on the ground and sent another wicked spark in the air. "I don't need any practice. You were just lucky. Take that!"
Tempest dodged the spark again. As she floated in the air she swept away the smoke trail with a wave of her tail.
"Wow," she said, "that one was a stinker. Is that the best the mighty Esmerelda can do?"
Tempest dove to the ground landing right in front of the irate witch. "You are a sad excuse for a witch. You can't even defeat a tiny little dragon. Wait till this tale makes it's way through the forest." Tempest laughed. "You will be the laughing stock of Fey."
The wicked witch's face turned red with rage. In fact her whole body began to sizzle. "I've got you now you little monster! Take that! Esmerelda thrust a blaze of fire straight toward Tempest's heart.
Tempest raised her head high and opened her chest wide to reveal a bright shining scale hidden beneath her iridescent coat of armor. The spell hit the bright mirror and bounced back striking Esmerelda right in the heart. Before Esmerelda knew what was happening Tempest stomped on the small black ant, crushing her into oblivion.
Tempest smiled as the forest around her began to glow with the magic of nature. She felt a shifting in her skin. As she stood before the castle she was surprised to see it shrinking right before her eyes. She looked around confused, the whole forest was shrinking. No that was not what was happening. She was growing.
Big, bigger, bigger, soon she stood so tall that her head was even with the massive trees. Wow, she thought. Now I am a great and glorious dragon!
She spread her new powerful wings ready to return to Nat and see that she was safe when a familiar voice called to her from a nearby tree.
“Tempi! You did it! You freed me and saved the forest and look how you’ve grown! You are such a brave, beautiful wonderful dragon!”
“Oh Nat! I missed you so much! Jump down on my back and give me one of your great big hugs! I never want to be away from you again, no matter how big I am. I will always need you near. I am still the scared little dragon deep inside.”
The friends hugged and laughed as they sat underneath the glorious oak and watched the forest around them come into bloom with the glorious beauty of life.
You can read more Fairy Tales like this in my book "Finding Fey: A book of Fairy Tales and Poems @ https://www.amazon.com/C-L-Collar/e/B00HIMABJ8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1472783988&sr=1-2-ent
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