T’ria: Chapter 5, Journal 32 – Innocence Lost

Tenth Month of 1,266

  • K’brin, ‘Zana, and Findmar made for the Tomb, while T’grim, V’dos, and I faced a new and terrifying prospect — fighting other dragons, possibly killing other dragons. We had no time to contemplate if we could actually kill.  K’brin gave the order, so we just had to do it.
  • T’grim ordered us into an aggressive vee formation with Selenath at the front, so she could grapple her opponent while the other two came from the sides. We were facing 2 greens, 2 blues, and a small brown with decorative tack.
  • The fight was intense — a blur of clawing, biting, and skipping between that I can barely untangle in my mind. A green in the patrol was quickly taken out by V’dos.  A blue was taken down after skipping and hawking.  Selenath was vicious in a way I had rarely seen, no….never seen quite like that. She took hold of the last blue and mentally screamed “For Feth!” as she let out a blast of flame that forced the blue to disappear into the dark. 
  • At some point, my Sakarian style saddle snapped a strap and I had to work hard to maintain my balance, lest I fell off Selenath.
  • The last brown was a close fight. Doubt crept in even as we fought tooth and claw to stay alive. It struck at V’dos but we pressed the attack and eventually, after taking several wounds, it turned to flee. We were forced to go after it, lest the brown bring in reinforcements we could not handle with our small numbers.
    • I skipped ahead and tried to flame, but the brown was flying too fast. V’dos engaged and his dragon, Aranoth, got close enough that V’dos could use his blade to cut the enemy’s wing.  The bounding he had to do to stay aloft quickly made the wound worse.
    • Outpacing the brown, Selenath dove in for the kill.  She clamped down so hard on the brown’s neck that she broke its spine. It fell from the sky, still in her grip, landed hard in the sand and died a moment later.
  • I was unable to control Selenath’s own, hard landing as my saddle broke.  It was all I could do to spring off her and roll away with only minor abrasions. My armor was torn up, doing me no favors. Selenath remained locked onto the other dragon’s neck.
  • The rider of the dead brown came at me with murder and madness in his eyes. The man had just lost his dragon, and even if the bond between dragon and rider was different on Varlada, it was too much for him.
  • The brownrider had a short sword and he slashed at me with no fear of death.  I found myself unable to land any solid hits. I spotted the loaded crossbow in the saddlebags hanging from Selenath and made a mad dash for it. The bolt, as well as a knife I threw, missed my foe and I began to despair. All I could do was use the crossbow to block his next attack as I heard Selenath hiss angrily behind me. 
  • V’dos and T’grim rushed to help.  V’dos managed to tackle the anguished rider and stab him repeatedly in the kidneys, spelling his doom. It was over.
  • T’grim looked nauseated. I tried to comfort the two men, but I was too shaken myself to be of much help.  There wasn’t a precedence for this on Pern. Killing dragons wasn’t done, ever, and we were all trying to square with what had just happened.
  • Eventually, we moved to salvage what we could of Selenath’s tack, which had been badly damaged in the fight with the patrol.  I treated my wounds as best I could, gave my gear to T’grim and then rode with V’dos.  I’d need stitches later.
  • We used our dragons to cover the carcass of the brown as much as possible with sand and debris, so it wouldn’t be as visible from the air. We didn’t expect it to hide the body forever, just long enough for us to be long gone.
  • We made haste to the Tomb entrance, where K’brin, ‘Zana, and Findmar were waiting. Once we landed, ‘Zana rushed to comfort us. I’m sure we all looked shocky and out of sorts. V’dos violently rejected her as she approached him, shoving her away. Behind us, where our dragons had landed, we heard loud noises. Kalisith and Valenth were hissing at our three dragons, still bloody from the fight. 
  • I could tell K’brin had many questions, but now was simply not the time to get into it.  We let him know the threat was taken care of and we weren’t expecting more trouble for the time being.
  • T’grim and V’dos decided to clean and oil our dragons, as well as could be done in the field, while the rest of us entered the Tomb. V’dos offered to tend to Selenath, since I was too injured to do the job myself. 
  • K’brin, ‘Zana, and Findmar hadn’t gone far into the Tomb yet, only venturing up winding stairs into a narrow stone tunnel.  Two boulders blocked the entrance, set by dragons. Once the stones were removed, we found rocky debris with scorch marks blocking our path.  Once we cleared the way, an ominous wind began to blow.
  • We progressed down an 80’ tunnel and I saw a glowing light was emanating at the end of it. The tunnel opened up to reveal a giant granite cavern, with a domed chamber that had to have been at least 100’ across.
  • There, in the middle of the vast, echoing space, stood a freestanding tomb, carved from the native stone. We stood in silence for a moment, taking in the sight. Before getting too close, both K’brin and I went to the place that glowed — it was like the tomb was a sun and the antiquity stones were stars!
  • There were sconces with usara stones lighting the columns. The tomb itself was a  large pentagon shaped building with moldings and trim carved out of the rock. There were abstract shapes, not depicting anything in particular, decorating the surface.
  • We walked slowly and quietly into the inner tomb, taking in as much as we could, while cognizant that we couldn’t waste much time. There were three huge usara stones set into the ceiling, carved into multi-faceted spheres.  We found bas relief carvings of firelizards and dragons in what were obviously Pernese landscapes. Pernese! My heart began to beat faster in anticipation.
  • A roughly 16” x 12” antiquity stone, carved into a smooth tablet, was set in an ornate bronze frame and rested on a pedestal.
  • Farther inside, a stone sarcophagus was carved with the likeness of an elegant, middle-aged woman with long hair and a slight smile on her face, lying upon a dragonette with its wings folded across its back to form a bier.  She was gently clutching a journal.  Everything was covered in a thin layer of dust.
  • Looking around, we saw countless niches in the far walls with various trinkets, scrolls, and antiquity stones in them.
  • Findmar looked almost beside himself with awe and wonder. K’brin looked as overwhelmed as I felt. This was a momentous occasion, a sacred place of great importance. 
  • K’brin approached the large antiquity stone and looked at me. “Together?”, he asked.  I nodded.  We started this together, so it only felt right to finish it together. We touched the stone at the same time and held our breaths.  A woman, the same woman we had seen on the sarcophagus, appeared on the stone tablet like a watercolor painting.  After a few moments, the colors shimmered and swirled, moving until they formed yet another image.  One artistic drawing after another, we watched history unfold.

Her name was Inez (pronounced E-nez).  She was a talent from Carindas, and was wearing a phrenium stone. She found a half-frozen, wild gold firelizard that somehow arrived from Pern, and befriended her after nursing her back to health. A while later, the gold left but returned with many friends. Inez named the gold Jija and sketched all of the visions the firelizard showed her. She saw strange creatures, volcanos, and evidence of a famine caused by a long drought that forced the firelizards to roam far and wide. Jija also showed her dragons, and three dazzling rainbow spheres in the sky, like strange stars. 

That spring, gold Jija mated with a bronze (named Ayfith) and clutched.  Inez impressed a gold (Blodi, meaning flower) and a brown (Cadno, meaning fox), while the rest lived free but remained friendly. Jija disappeared forever a few months later. Inez eventually convinced her firelizards to go back to Pern and tell the starving, wild dragons that there was plenty of meat and water on her land. It wasn’t long before a bronze dragon made it to Sakaria, which Inez named Durion (meaning brave). She spent the better part of a Turn befriending the wild dragons who came. Eventually, she was able to ride a green (named Rhaydi, from rhedyn meaning fern) and was carried back to Pern.

She spent many Turns there before making her way home and sharing her discovery of dragons, some one hundred years before the Rebellion.

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