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Dragon's Song
In this week's spotlight, a moment of compassion bridges a rift between human and dragon, and begins the healing process of a relationship once doomed by mistrust.

"The dark stone walls of the musty, old cavern became as clear as day as the soft echoes of my whispered 'In Lor' faded away. I looked around, took my bearings, and guided my horse down a passage off to one side. 

"I came upon a body lying near an opening into a larger chamber. Inside, I found several more motionless forms. Judging from their charred clothes and melted armor, these unfortunate warriors had fought a dragon, and had bitten off a little more than they could chew. 

"I dismounted and whispered for any hidden ghosts to reveal themselves, so that I may resurrect them. My call brought forth only more lonely echoes. Any ghosts had long ago fled. I sighed and knelt down to examine a small pool near the center of the chamber. 

"'Blood,' I announced to the echoes, 'Dragon's blood.' 

"I dipped a fingertip into the liquid and examined it, then eyed the size of the pool and whispered, 'A lot of dragon's blood.' Perhaps this battle was not as one sided as it appeared to be at first. The blood was still warm with the dragon's inner fire, and I could see its trail leading into a dark passage. 

"I headed down the tunnel, warily following the gruesome trail. As I passed a shadowy alcove, I felt mighty wings stir the air and I stepped back from their wind, turning to face the wounded creature hidden therein. The dragon was bleeding from a hundred cuts, and though it could barely stand, it lifted its head and looked back at me defiantly. 

"A cloud of sadness momentarily masked the agony on the dragon's face. Golden eyes, as big as saucers, looked into mine and then it turned its head away. 'Finish it quickly, human. I grow weary of this pain.' 

"'No,' I protested, taking a step towards the massive form. 'It is not your death that I desire.' 

"The head swung back as it glanced pointedly to the side, 'Then what is that in your hand, human?' 

"For a moment, I looked at the exceptional katana grasped tightly in my right hand. On impulse, I knelt down and placed the weapon on the ground before the dragon. Behind me, I heard my trusted horse, Mr. Ed II, gasp as I quickly stood and stepped back from the weapon. The dragon looked down at the sword and then back at me, 'You value your life so little, foolish human?' 

"'Believe me. I do not wish your death. Time is short, but I can still save your life,' I practically begged.

"The dragon snorted with scorn, or perhaps it was merely choking on its own blood. 'What makes you believe that I would cherish a life as your slave, human? Better a clean death.' The dragon turned away once more. 

"'No,' I protested again, 'Not as my slave, but as my friend. As my comrade in adventure.' 

"'I have seen the wanton slaughter your kind calls adventure. I have seen how your kind even turns their animal slaves against their own.' The contempt in the dragon's voice hit me like a physical blow. 'I wish no part of that, human.' Its last shred of strength spent, the dragon's legs buckled, and the mighty body crashed heavily to the hard stone floor. 

"My face burned with shame. I knew well how 'my kind' had hunted and misused the noble dragon race, yet nothing could be further from what I wished. I stood there, thinking of a gypsy woman's prophecy so long ago: 'You are a kind man. You will tame the red beast, and he will fight by your sideā€¦.' I searched my heart. Would I, too, turn a dragon friend into a slave, forcing it to live only to kill? 

"The dragon weakly lifted its head one last time and looked at me. 'Begone, human. Can't you see that I am busy dying?' The dragon's eyes closed. 

"Quietly, I sat on the cold floor beside the still form. I placed my hand on the dragon's head, and my eyes filled with tears as I mourned the loss of a friend that I would never know. Ed stepped up from behind me and nuzzled my cheek softly. 

"After a moment, I heard something. It seemed like faint singing. I quickly realized that it was more of a drifting thought than a true sound. I closed my eyes and strained to pick out the words, but the ethereal song began to fade. I softly hummed the notes, trying to grasp their shifting pattern before they were gone forever. Entranced now, I added words, as if from some long forgotten memory, to complete the song:

"'By the lightning's jagged light, 
in the death storm's final fight. 
Spirit flame now heed my cry, 
spirit lift me above the sky. 
Through death's darkness I perceive, 
on wings of fire this world I leave. 
Past the moon into the night, 
among the stars forever flight.'

"As the song's last echo faded, I felt a slight movement under my hand. One golden eye, half open and filmed over, regarded me from the far threshold of Death's door. A questioning, deeply puzzling, thought came to me: How? No human could know. The eye became unfocused and glassy as the dragon's heart beat one last time.

"'No!' I shouted. The darkness echoed the word in agreement. I could not stand by and allow this one to pass. 'In Mani!' I yelled, testing my poor magic skill against this need, trying to turn the high tide of cold death. I bandaged the grievous wounds, trying to put back the dragon's fire. Desperately, I tried again, 'In Vas Mani!' This time, I was rewarded with a spark. I nursed the spark into a burning hot fire. Finally, the dragon lifted its massive form from the ground, healthy once again. 

"I looked into the dragon's eyes one last time, and then turned away to lead Ed back down the dark passages and towards the daylight. 

"'Human.' I stopped at the voice behind me, and turned to look back at the dragon. 'You have forgotten your weapon.' The dragon nodded toward my katana, still lying there on the floor. 

"Silently, I bent to pick up the sword. I placed it in my backpack and then turned back to the passage. 

"'Human.' I stopped again, but didn't turn around this time. Behind me, the voice continued, 'I... I grow weary of the darkness of the caves. It would please me to see the sun and the stars -- something of the world outside. Perhaps I shall travel with you for a while....'"

- Dr. Dolittle of Atlantic
Join us next week for more tales of your adventures in the world of Britannia! As always, be sure to keep an eye on FYI for future spotlight topics.

Published: February 2002
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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