The Chosen Dragon

Well this story I have been working on for a while. It was inspired by the story Eona and the Chinese zodiac. In summary it is about a girl who made a promise to fight corruption till her last breath. Not only does she have to fight other people, she has to fight herself... Hope you enjoy it.

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2. The Pit

  The trip to the Pit was more eventful than I thought it would be.  It was no surprise that bandits attacked us, because the priest can’t stand to go without his riches.  The priest had a fit when he lost his chair, which was actually reinforced by diamond instead titanium.   Each time he broke a replacement chair, I laughed at his frustrated face.  We were delayed by merchants, because the priest of the pig could not keep himself from pigging out on their rich food.  Unfortunately for him it gave him indigestion that lasted for days; I could not help but tease him about his weakness for rich foods.  Lastly there was an account of a rolling priest, which I will not let him live down. The priest was sleeping in his chair (that he hasn’t broken yet) when the slaves came to a sudden halt at the top of the hill, on account of the flooded road below, from the amount of rain on our trip.  The priest fell out of his chair and rolled down the hill into the water.  He was wet and furious, and I could not stop laughing. To make it even better, when he tried to get back in his chair, but it broke and he rolled down all over again. He had to walk until we reached the next city.

    My journey was just as unpleasant.  I barely got food or water, but the more sympathetic warriors snuck me provisions.  I was beaten often, but I was used to it because I was beaten every day at the plantation.  I missed Toby a lot, because he would make better jokes about the priest and would lighten my spirits.  On the other hand, I am glad he is not here because I do not want him to share my fate with me.  A month later we finally reach the Pit.  It is a great fissure in the blackest mountain of the kingdom. No light emits from it, but you could feel the power radiating off it. It is a wonder how the priest can control that amount of power.  Eleven campsites surround the fissure, each with their own coat of arms displayed in the center.  Each coat of arms represents the spiritual animal that 'chose' them.

The priest sets up camp and settles in his tent.  I climb out of the cart and stretch, for I was really stiff from sitting in it for a month.  The warriors tie me near the fire so they could keep an eye on me. As if I am planning to escape, I think sourly.  I watch the fire, trying to drive out my boredom.  After the sun sinks under the horizon, a messenger arrives and calls for the priest.  He waddles out and asks,

               “Is it time already?”

               The messenger nods.

              “You can’t get a wink of sleep around here, can you,” he grumbles.       

              He calls for his chair and me to be untied. The standard bearer went first with the pig tapestry on a golden pole, and the priest follows him.   The warriors untie me and force me follow behind the priest and every servant, trainee, and warrior of the pig walks behind us.  We arrive at the entrance of the Pit.  The fissure is so enormous, that I have to crane my head to look at the top.  It was wider than the caravan of priests that surrounded it and the power radiating from it made the hairs on my neck rise.  I notice that every other priest was there, in the same kind of procession I am compelled to walk in.   I can see some of the other prisoners look worse than I feel.   The priest with a dragon standard bearer rises from his chair and walks to where everyone could see him.  The dragon priest is much fitter than the pig priest; I could see his muscled arms and handsome face, clothed in clothing much richer than the pig priest.  He looks like the spirituals blessed him with their power and he thrives on it.  He spreads out his arms in welcome to the priests who have joined him.

               “Welcome fellow chosen ones,” he calls down to them. “Today we give thanks for the life that the spirituals granted us. Now to show our thanks we will give our patrons a gift.  Together we will honor the clever rat,” he says nodding to the rat priest, “the strong ox,” he nodded to the ox priest, “the courageous tiger, the compassionate rabbit, the powerful dragon,” he states with great pride, “the charming snake, the energetic horse, the creative goat, the honest rooster,  the fun loving monkey, the loyal dog, and the intelligent pig.”  I snort softly, not believing the pig priest is intelligent.  The priest looks too lazy to think of anything except food or riches.  “Now let us draw the tokens to see who has the honor of feeding this year’s council leader, the snake,” the dragon priest declares.  The dragon priest bring out a bag and fishes out a token.  He cries, “The dog prisoner will be feed to the snake.”  A young girl standing behind the dog priest was pushed forward to the fissure.  She tries to run but the warriors grab her and push her into the fissure.  Soon we heard hissing, then screaming, and lastly silence.  The dragon priest kept calling the prisoners one by one to be fed to a spiritual.  Many try to resist, but they are quickly subdued and pushed into the Pit.  Every time I hear horrific screaming and struggle, some lasting longer than the others, then silence.  I became sick with horror and disgust.  The dragon priest finally calls me to feed the last spiritual, the dragon.  I know better than to resist, so I scrape up the last of my pride and dignity and walk into the Pit.

        Everything is pitch, black, so I have to feel my way down to the bottom.  The darkness helps calm me.  When I reach the bottom, I walk as far as I could into the middle.  A sudden rise in power freezes me in my tracks, not in fear, but apprehension.  Vibrations shook the ground in front of me, and power batters me on all sides, nearly making me stagger. The dragon spiritual has arrived.  I wait for the fear to come, but it doesn't.   All I feel is calm acceptance in the face of death.   I guess it threw off my predator too, because it did not attack me.  I heard a voice squeak,

               “It shows no fear, the clever thing.  It must not be afraid of death.”  The voice did not echo like I would think it would do in a pit.

               Another voice grunts, “It is strange.  They usually show fear in our presence.”

               “I think that it thinks that if it shows no fear, we will not eat it.  The traitors are trying to fool us and gain more power over us,” a voice hisses.  I hear others mutter in agreement.

               Well maybe you should ask me instead, of treating me like a stupid animal, I think irritably.  There is dead silence.  The dragon stirs in front of me and I hear it’s powerful, raspy voice ask,

               “You can understand us?”

               I freeze in surprise.  My mind whirls to think of an explanation.  I stop at the observation that their voices do not echo.  It leaves only one explanation.  I can hear their thoughts and they can hear mine.  Muttering in the background erupts,

               “Is this the one? Is this the savior?”  I become dizzy with them all thinking as one.  The dragon growls threateningly and they all fall silent.  A little flame flickers above into a small chandelier and light fills the Pit. The chandelier is attached to a long pole that is bolted to the side walls.  There are 12 twelve dark caves in a semicircle from where the entrance is.  I cannot see into the interior but I can feel the power of the spirituals.  In front of me is an enormous bearded, gray dragon, with an elongated body, powerful muscles rippling under its scales, massive wings, and pearly white claws and fangs.

               I stare into its fathomless eyes, wondering what they meant by savior.  “The savior was prophesied to us when we were forced into slavery by what you call priests.  It was said that, one with hidden power and has made peace with death, shall free you from your captors and bring peace into the land,” answers the dragon.

               I say, “How it is that you with all the power were able to get caught by the priest and why can’t you overpower them?”

               The dragon sighs, dropping his gaze and replies, “We used to have reliable knights, or people we gifted, who would help us do our bidding.  They had the limited power to control the world around them, but there were those who wanted more power than we given them. These traitors became priests you know today.   We were tricked by them into telling them where the holder of our power was.  They found it and bound us to do their bidding.  Then the shattered it so each of them can control each of us individually and to make it impossible to put it back together…” The dragon trails off sadly.

“Each time the knights tried to go against them, they fell. Soon most of them were killed because the priests did not want anyone more powerful than them.  The rest separated and hid.  The spirituals were trapped ever since,” I finish knowing the story by heart. The dragon turns its gaze back on me and I explain, “My parents told me the story, before They came. I just did not know it was true.”  Grief fills me once again for their death, but I quickly push it back.  The dragon surveys me with interest, its mind firmly closed against its thoughts. It is clear he is hiding something.   When it met my gaze its eyes ask an unspoken question.  I sigh resigning myself to a fate that I not sure I’m chosen for.  “I will try to retrieve the holder of your power and fix it.  I don’t know if I’m you savior, but even if I fail, I can try to make a difference.”  I hear excited muttering from the other spirituals. Now I need to figure out how to escape without the notice of the priest.

               The dragon chuckled and responded, “I can help you with that, but I have to eat you.”  The last thing I see is the inside of the dragon’s maw.

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