Be Dragon - Audio  







Be Dragon

Short Fiction - Written by D.N. Leo

Characters featured in

Stealth Water - TTRPG - One Shot - The Taleweaver Games


Stealth Water - Novel





The Golden Storm heaved and groaned under the wrath of the crossworld seas, its timbers creaking in protest as Captain Sylara Black wrestled with the helm. Waves, tall as mountains and wild as the untamed skies, crashed against the bow, spray stinging her eyes. The ship, sorely needing repairs, was ill-equipped for such violent waters; yet, calling these chaotic torrents ‘nature’ seemed a stretch even for the vast and mysterious crossworld.

Sylara's vision blurred from the salty spray as she looked out at the sea. Through her lashes, she noticed a majestic dragon swimming through the waves. Its obsidian scales shimmered in the faint moonlight, creating a striking contrast against the raging waters. The dragon's movements were sluggish and labored, likely weighed down by the small figure struggling to keep up beside it. The youngling was barely visible amidst the churning foam of the ocean, but Sylara could just make out its tiny form desperately trying to keep pace with its mother.

As she stood frozen, her heart racing with fear and worry, she watched the dragons desperately trying to escape their attacker. She wanted nothing more than to rescue them from their imminent danger, but reality hit her hard. The ship beneath her feet was no match for the raging storm, and it would be impossible for her to take on whatever powerful force was causing chaos in the sea.

How could she possibly save these majestic creatures on her own?

Then it came—a monstrous form surged from the depths, its body cloaked in the roil, formidable and fearsome. As the attacker breached the surface, water cascaded off its grotesque hide, a spectacle of horror and raw power. The creature bared its crooked teeth and headed toward the dragons.

“You’re a bloody ugly creature,” Sylara muttered under her breath.

She recognized what she saw, although she couldn’t recall the name of the creature. It was one of the ancient beasts that ruled over the crossworld seas. Sylara had only heard stories about them, but seeing one in person was something entirely different.

The beast let out a deafening roar that shook the very foundations of Sylara’s ship.

The mother dragon issued a desperate roar; then, instead of fleeing, she ushered the baby dragon away and headed back toward the beast.

“Bad idea, very bad idea, mother dragon!” Sylara murmured to herself, not expecting the dragon could hear her.

Sylara's heart thudded against her ribs, each beat a drum of war calling her to action despite the overwhelming odds. The sight of the mother dragon's protective fervor ignited a fierce resolve within her. 

She couldn’t just stand by; the maternal courage on display was too noble, too raw. Decision made, she seized the wheel of the Golden Storm with renewed vigor, the ancient timbers of the ship crying out as if in response to her command.

Gritting her teeth, Sylara spun the wheel, redirecting her beleaguered ship toward the fray. 

The Golden Storm lurched violently, a groan echoing through its frame as it turned to face its unintended foe. With the sails catching the wind just right, the ship picked up speed, racing across the churning sea like a spear hurled by an ancient god.

The monstrous sea creature, its attention fixed on the mother dragon, hardly noticed the approaching threat. Its ghastly form moved with terrifying grace, preparing to strike once more. But Sylara was quicker, steering her ship with the precision of a seasoned captain. Her eyes narrowed, focusing on the beast as she calculated the perfect moment.

"Come on, you beast. Meet your match," she whispered, a mix of defiance and desperation in her voice.

With a mighty crash, the Golden Storm rammed into the sea creature. 

The ship's sail pole, sturdy and pointed, pierced through the hide of the beast like a lance. The impact shook the ship to its core, throwing Sylara against the wheel. A horrific screech erupted from the creature as it writhed in agony, its dark blood staining the sea.

The mother dragon, momentarily stunned, seized the opportunity before her. With a powerful flap of her colossal wings, she scooped up her precious baby and darted away from the chaotic scene, just as the wounded beast thrashed in its death throes. 

Sylara slumped against the wheel of her ship, panting heavily as adrenaline surged through her veins. She could feel the weight of the fierce battle on her shoulders, but also a sense of awe and respect for the immense creatures she had just encountered. 

As if in acknowledgement, the storm around them seemed to calm ever so slightly, as if even the sea itself was pausing to honor the momentous event that had unfolded. 

But even as Sylara gazed at the retreating figures of the dragon and her young, she couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt and sadness. She had saved them, but at what cost? 

She steered her ship toward the small island where she had seen the mother dragon land. As she approached, she could see the massive creature lying flat on the sand, her body heaving with each shallow breath.

Sylara rushed over. “Come on, don’t you die on me.”

The mother dragon slowly opened her sad, deep-set eyes, which glinted with the pale luminescence of moonlit pearls, and looked at Sylara. In that weary gaze, there was a profound gratitude that transcended their brief encounter, reflecting the depth of her struggle and the relief of being understood, even in her final moments.

"Thank you."

“Don’t thank me too soon, mother dragon. If you die on me, I’ll be mighty pissed.”

Sylara scanned the sandy area with her eyes, searching for any sign of the baby dragon. But it was nowhere to be seen. Turning back to the mother dragon, she asked "What can I do to help? I may not be a healer, but I will do everything in my power."

The mother dragon wheezed and struggled to lift one of her massive scales. From underneath, she retrieved a small vial and nudged it towards Sylara with a weak claw.

Sylara picked up the vial, light emanating from its contents. “I guess this will heal you.”

“No, it’s for you,” the mother dragon rasped, her voice a fragile whisper carried by the sea breeze.

“I’m not the one fatally injured. I’m using this on you. You need to get back on your feet—or wings, rather.”

The dragon shook her head slowly, a mournful certainty in her eyes. “No, my injuries are beyond the help of potions. The beast has wounded more than my body; my spirit falters as well.”

“But this could save you!”

“It is for you. I can see the glow of your spirit. You have a virtuous soul. You will travel far in the multi-realms. You are strong. But there will be enemies stronger than you. At some point, you will need this potion. It can save your life once. So use it wisely.”

“If this is some sort of miracle drug, then why not use it on yourself? You said you’re beyond saving, but wouldn’t you try? At least, for your little one?”

Sylara looked around again and couldn’t see the little dragon.

The mother dragon lay flat on the sand. "Jix is more than just a baby dragon. I can protect him, but I can’t give him what he deserves. He has royal blood..."

"I don’t do babies, let alone..." Sylara paused, a frown creasing her brow. "Wait, what did you just say? He’s a royal dragon?"

As she spoke, Sylara turned and saw that the mother dragon's eyes had closed, her body beginning to fade.

"Hey! You can't just dump your kid on me...!" she shouted into the thin air, her voice echoing unanswered.

Sylara stood in the ensuing silence, the roar of the sea filling the void left by the dragon’s passing. Her hand clenched the vial, its cool surface a stark contrast to the warmth fading from the sand beneath her.

Guilt gnawed at her—guilt for feeling a twinge of relief that the burden of battle had passed, now tangled with a reluctant duty to the creature newly under her care.

She spun around, scanning the nearby landscape for Jix.

Amidst the rustle of the sea breeze, a soft cooing, reminiscent of a pigeon, pricked her ears. Turning toward the sound, she saw Jix emerge from behind a boulder. The little dragon was a beautiful, curious blend of baby dragon and puppy, his large, soulful eyes brimming with tears.

Few things in life fazed Sylara, but tears topped her avoid-at-all-costs list.

"Stop that silly noise," Sylara chided, then instantly regretted her tone. She crouched down to meet his gaze, her voice softening. "Look, your mother... she’s gone to a better place now. And you’re stuck here with me, so you'd better behave, okay?"

Jix blinked, the shimmer in his eyes wavering between confusion and loss. His small body shivered slightly, from either the cool sea air or the enormity of his new reality. Sylara sighed, realizing the harshness of her earlier words to such a young creature.

She extended her hand slowly towards him, palm up, inviting him to approach.

"Come here, little guy. I’m not great with pep talks, but I promise to look after you. Let's figure this out together, huh?"

Jix hesitated, then padded closer, his tiny claws scratching softly against the sand.

He sniffed at Sylara’s hand before nudging his snout against her fingers, accepting her gesture and seeking comfort.

Sylara felt a surprising surge of protectiveness as she gently stroked his scaly head, the weight of her new responsibility settling firmly on her shoulders.

“Don’t expect too much from me, Jix. There’s a reason why I’m alone traveling these crossworld seas.”

Jix made the cooing sound again.

“Here’s rule number one if you want to be on my crew: I don't tolerate lies. So, never lie on my ship. Rule number two: do not make cooing sounds, speak clearly.”

She walked and clicked her fingers, crossing the sand to return to the Golden Storm. She didn’t need to check; she knew Jix was scurrying behind, paddling his little feet.

“Rule number three: do not leave a trail behind with your tail.”

Again, she didn’t need to check; she heard rustling sounds as if he tried to smudge the trail of his tail in the sand. She smiled to herself, silently thanking the mother dragon for trusting her with Jix. She would take Jix wherever he needed to be and help him become whatever it was his mother thought he deserved.