Click here to read Part One, here to read Part Two, here to read Part Three, and here to read Part Four.
Come in, said the voice behind the evil eyes, and see the true Isle of Dread.
Matt stepped shakily into the cave, and as he did, everything went pitch black. Whatever dark powers were in this cave, they extinguished the sunlight immediately. Shivers ran up and down his spine uncontrollably.
The eyes turned so that their dim light shone further into the cave. Follow me… said the voice into Matt’s head. Matt stood there, not sure what to do. As the creature began to walk, a scaly tail brushed passed him and made him jump back in terror. Come, human, said the voice again, to see one of the wonders of the world.
Matt walked cautiously through the dark, always staying close to the glow of his enemy’s eyes. Stand back, said the voice. Then the eyes rose higher than Matt thought possible, and white flames shot out from just beneath them, deep into the cave. In the white light, Matt could see the creature clearly. It was an enormous emerald dragon, taller than the mast of the tallest ship. He swung his head from side to side, spewing fire around the chamber, and as he did, the light of the fire danced and flickered off his scales until they shone. Matt decided there and then that the dragon was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
The white flames shot through the middle of the chamber, lighting forty huge torches, twenty on each side of a long stone pathway. Beyond the path on either side were enormous piles of treasure. Heaps of gold and jewels filled every corner. To the left, Matt saw a huge ship resting in the treasure, its flag hanging low and defeated, as if it were frozen in time right before it sunk.
Matt looked up at the huge beast, “Who are you?”
Valinar, said the dragon. Then, lifting his head and roaring, he sent echoes bouncing off every wall until Matt thought the sound of it would shatter the mountain.
“You’re so huge! I never thought a dragon could be so…..majestic.”
The dragons you know of are nothing more than fakes, said Valinar. I assume that even a human like you knows at least a little history, how at the end of the first age, Dahn, the first man, killed Bethoch and brought about the fall of mankind. What the legends do not say is how, after the fall, Bethoch’s wife became the first Drake and subjected herself to the human scum! Valinar spat. In her desperate state, she doomed herself and all of her descendants to grow into the weak worms that they are. Now they are nothing more than the other worthless kindred of Bethoch, who have slowly become more docile over the ages. Even the ones that call themselves Dragons are nothing more than grumpy housepets. But Gelidor, Bethoch’s son, did not let his hate be lessened by time... Valinar grinned. He did everything he could to teach his descendants the truth about humans and the evil they can cause. Most of his descendants are gone now, hunted down by the humans. I am one of the last.
“Just because Dahn killed Bethoch, it doesn’t mean all humans are bad!” said Matt.
You remind me of a young reckless dragon I once knew, said Valinar, a faraway look in his eyes. His name was Valley. He lived with his grandfather, here on this very island. Though Valley was not his birth name, when he stretched out his wings on this land, his grandfather said he seemed more like a part of it than a living thing. Valinar smiled. His grandfather did everything he could to protect Valley, even confining him to this desolate island for his safety, far away from the evils of man. The young dragon did not take heed of his grandfather’s warnings. He believed it was wrong to judge a race for one human’s misgivings. If only he had known how wrong he was.
As Valinar was speaking, the two had walked down the chamber between the torches until they reached the far wall, where a single painting hung.
“What happened to them?” asked Matt, forgetting caution in his curiosity.
The grandfather suffered what he had always warned about. Valinar’s eyes looked sadly at the painting. He suffered the same fate as his father.
Matt looked closely at the painting. It was truly a masterpiece. On the left lay the dying Bethoch, blood seeping from his chest. In his last moments, his head was lifted to the sky, eyes closed taking in one last breath of precious air. On the right was Dahn’s hand, stained with blood, and on the top of the frame was written two words: Bethoch’s Demise. Across the painting lay a scratch mark trying in vain to hide the hand from veiw. For the first time, Matt noticed a terrible truth: the dragon in the picture looked almost exactly like Valinar. I take after my great-grandfather, don’t you think?
Matt gasped, “But that means that the grandfather was Gelidor, Bethoch’s son, and you are…”
One day, interrupted Valinar, Gelidor was out near the shore, but Valley had gone to the other side of the island, to enjoy the forest and watch its creatures. Suddenly, Valley heard a roar. The roar turned into a screech of agony that was cut off unnaturally. Valley raced to the top of the mountain as fast as he could to see what had happened. He looked down to see his grandfather, dead on the shore, with humans celebrating around him. He rushed down to them and became their last nightmare... That was the last anyone ever saw of Valley. The docile Drake was gone forever. He returned to his birth name, Valinar, and vowed to avenge his grandfather.
“It was you,” whispered Matt. “You were Valley.”
I have kept my vow. I have destroyed every human that has come anywhere near this island, and I will not let Gelidor be forgotten. Now, tell me that I am wrong in what I am about to do. Tell me that I am wrong for killing you… Valinar looked down at Matt to see a single tear make his way down his cheek. Pathetic human, crying that you shall never leave. Be a man and face your fate.
“I’m not crying for me. I’m crying for you.”
Ha! How could you possibly cry for me, your murderer? scoffed Valinar.
Matt met the dragon's gaze, “Because I know how you feel… to lose someone you love and not be able to stop it.” The evil glow in Valinar’s eyes dimmed just a bit. “When I was little, my dad was an amazing sailor. He used to take me out on his little boat and teach me what to do to keep it afloat. But, when my mother died, the boat trips stopped. Then a few months later, he told me we were going to go boating. I was only four, but I still remember how excited I was. He walked with me to a grey building and told me to wait there while he left to get something. I sat down on the steps and watched him walk away. When he was almost out of sight, he turned and waved one last time. Then he was gone.
“I waited and waited. That night, someone came out of the grey building and took me inside. The next day, they told me that this place, the orphanage, would be my new home. I told them they were wrong, that my dad was coming back for me, but they just smiled sadly. I lived there until two years ago. No one would hire me because I was never taught a trade. My father left me with nothing. A few days ago, I was ready to give up. I woke up and told the Creator that if I didn’t get a job that day, there was no use getting up the next morning at all…” Matt sighed. “That was the day I met Mr. Tickleten and signed on with Franklin, Franklin, & Smith.”
I am so sorry, young human, but don’t you feel hate for your father? Don’t you understand why I made my vow? asked Valinar. Don’t you want to make him pay?
Matt paused. “My father made a decision, a wrong one, and I had to pay the consequences for it, but I have made mistakes, too, and my friends and the Creator have forgiven me more times than I could ever deserve. If I didn’t forgive my father for what he did, what kind of person would I be, what kind of son? I learned to forgive a long time ago, but you still haven’t.” Matt locked eyes with Valinar, “Now it’s up to you, Valinar. You can kill me or forgive us humans and put the past behind you. The choice is yours.”
Outside of the cave, blinking in the sunlight, Mr. Franklin lay dazed. Matt’s words had carried all of the way down to him, echoing off the cave walls. Though he couldn’t hear the dragon, half the conversation was all he needed. He dragged himself to his feet, trying to process what had happened. Though his leg was twisted at an angle that worried him, he knew what he had to do. Dragons don’t show mercy! I have to warn the others before he destroys us all!
Written and Illustrated by Sabina B.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Welcome to The Flabbit Blog! Here you will find writings by the many members of The Flabbit Room, most of which will be set in the world of Ildathore.