by Kaa-Hahhnn Starhunter


>From the Journal of Sargas, Date Unknown:

The torches around the cavern burn lazily as I listen to the sounds of an almost silent night.

Snow falls outside the cave; a storm rages. I thank the spirits for the spell that keeps the cave warm and the storm out -- even the noise of the wind does not goes past the entrance. It is not something I have done-- my mind cannot comprehend the magics. I pity the poor souls that may have been caught without a shelter under this weather. I pity them even more if they ever see this cave and decide to take refuge here. Not that any sentient lives around, so far up north. If they do, though, must be some of the pelted mammals -- none of my kind would ever survive.

The thought of mammals brings thoughts of my people... how long since I gazed upon their faces, heard their songs, their laughter... smelled their food, their pheromones. Sometimes I feel the urge to press my female under my weight and mate with her. It is fitting that they are not around, in a way. My life has changed so much. They would not recognize me if they saw me... if anyone lived, which I doubt highly. Years? Yes; how much, is hard to tell. The thoughts survive, will always do. I hope they do remember me. It was my choice what helped them.

With nothing else for me to do but to write my memories, I ponder the events that led me to my place today...

* * *

It was the "Age of Prosperity", and our clan was dying.

Our clans' stories told of a different Age... one where we the egg-layers dominated the world. And the fur-pelts, those who give birth to live offspring, were barely above the level of sentience.

But then came a time when our world went terribly ill. The old stories tell of a big upheaval, when a big "Egg of Fire" was delivered upon the land. Upon touching the ground it hatched with a huge explosion. Many perished on the moment of the Deliverance, as it was known; many more died soon after. Our ancestors suddenly found themselves unable to cope with the sudden changes which altered the world's climate. Hunting grounds for the meat-eaters; herding places for the leaf-eaters... all disappeared under the white blanket of the cold death. And thus began the migration, towards lands of warmth. Some refused to leave; nothing more was ever heard of those. Those who trod the path to survival were pushed to lands that could barely sustain a small clan, even less whole herds and packs. Hunting was scarce, and vegetation even more so.

It was obvious that radical changes needed to done. The meat-eating packs made a pact with the grass eaters. They would not hunt the leaf-eaters if the weak and infirm among these would give themselves voluntarily to the meat-eaters as food. In exchange, the bodies of all meat-eaters would be to the leaf-eaters to nourish the barren ground, so crops would rise for the leaf-eaters to eat. Thus they joined in survival, and thus the inevitable was delayed.

That was countless years ago. Our numbers declined slowly.

Eons passed, and the clans noticed that the world was slowly beginning to right itself. Explorers were sent back to the lands we were forced to abandon during the Deliverance. They all came back with wondrous news. Many of the old territories were luscious, green as far as the eyes could see, and covered with plentiful game... and how the fur-pelts now held claim to them.

We thought of ways to reclaim our rightful lands. The most radical among the meat-eaters demanded for the fur-pelts to be hunted down. But the clans were not in a position to wage war; our numbers were too few, all our species too weak. We were honorable, though, and we only killed for survival. Never was a meat-eater feeding on a grass-eater seen as a sin, nor did the families of those fallen harbor any grudges against the hunters. For it was the will of good Maia and the order she instituted to keep all Her children strong.

Emissaries were sent to the new holders of the lands, professing good-will and peace. Understandably, the fur-pelts were wary of us, and only seemed willing to hear our pleads after they verified how close to extinction us egg-layers really were. Our time on the world was past -- our numbers would never increase to a point where would even remotely threaten the fur-pelts' domains. No, we only wanted a place where we could live our last in the peace we, the first children of Maia, deserved.

Most of the fur-pelts agreed to have us buy back part of the lands. Alas, what they asked was beyond the reach of our impoverished clans. The only other viable solution was our total servitude to the fur-pelts... and that was unthinkable.

The clans gathered. A solution was to come, and soon.

There was heated discussions about what was right or wrong. Again the radical hunters, small meat-eaters possessing a terrible claw on each foot, demanded we attack the fur-pelts and take back what was rightfully ours.

"Maia put us to the test," said one of the leaf-eaters. "We all failed to survive in the lands She gave us. We are not fit to live, and thus Her second children now live there. We are not to take what Maia has given to any of Her children!"

Shouts of "Blasphemy!" rang all around. How come could Maia, an egg-layer like us, ever forfeit her real children for some fur-pelts? Whether the leaf-eater was right or wrong was, however, drowned by the shouts from the radical hunters again demanding we hunt the fur-pelts.

"Better for us to die in the hunt than skulking like mindless lizards, or to be slaves from the abominations!"

"The lizards are also Maia's children! We can do no wrong following their path. What you propose is sheer folly!"

"It is our only hope!" the radicals insisted.

Soon, the gathering degenerated into a loud cacophony. For the first time in countless years, the bound that united all saurians threatened to be broken... meat-eaters were on the verge of killing the leaf-eaters.

Then someone raised his voice above the noise, suggesting we go hunting for a dragon. All that was heard soon after was utter silence.

We all knew what dragons were. There was no hatchling who was not told about them. Egg-layers like us, they were different creatures altogether, more than any of us could ever hope to be. It was believed they had evolved from one clan who had found some secret knowledge, and thus had moved onto a different realm of life. This was, of course, mere speculation; something that could never be proved. As far as we could remember, the dragons had always been there.

The clans disagreed which species had been the dragons' original stock. (Each species sustained claims about why their species was the true ancestors to the dragons. Nevertheless, they all agreed that dragons lived for far more time than any number of our generations could measure. And that over their long existence, dragons had accumulated treasure that would allow us to buy the lands we desperately needed.

And then came the hardest part -- to find a dragon's lair, so its habits could be studied and see if it had a weaknesses or any other way for its treasure -- if it existed -- to help the clans.

A radical hunter soon stepped to the center, roaring that he was brave enough to accept the mission. Rontrag was his name. The sight of his toeclaws, twitching as he walked and talked -- radical hunters seem to burst with energy, for they rarely stay immobile while they talk -- wowed and convinced the entire assembly. All except me, that is. I never had much sympathy for meat-eaters. I raged silently, thinking the hard-headed bastard only wanted to gain renown for his name, and his species to go down in history as saviors of Maia's children. Quite a change from their current reputation as greedy killers.

Rontrag prepared himself for his journey. Old maps were given to him, pointing to the existence of a dragon lair someplace beyond what was now known as the Desert of Sorrows -- a vast expanse of dry land which had claimed the lives of more than half of Maia's children when they migrated to the place we now live in. There was no way to verify the lair's existence, for no one had ever crossed the desert since our ancestors did. Rontrag ego was not fazed by this, so sure he was of his survival skills.

Two days later, all of the clans were there to bid him farewell on the day he set out for the nearest dragon lair. Praise and prayers were heaped upon his name as he departed. Slowly at first, then he began trotting in the manner his kind does when it goes on a hunt. Soon after he was only a speck in the horizon, and then he was gone. I imagined he would be dead within a week, his bones bleached white by the desert's carrion bugs.

* * *

More than one season-cycle passed, and nothing was heard from Rontrag. During that time I had a mating dance with Ikee-Nam, a female from my species.

It happened early one day, as I worked in the fields. She was a short distance from me, busy in her task too. My nostrils flared as the first whiff from her pheromones hit me. She had suddenly entered her rutting period. Her back plates had turned a deep red, also signaling her readiness. I approached her.

"Maia has called to you, Ikee," I told her softly, swishing my spiked tail sideways, letting her know what I felt. I have always been one short of words.

She turned to look at me with soft, eager eyes -- spirits, I do miss her look. "That She has done, Sargas."

"And has She shown you the mate to help you raise hatchlings?" I asked, hardly able to contain my lust.

"She has put me one right in front of me. I would be proud if you were to be their sire."

I nodded. To my surprise, she took out her meager clothes right there and then, and propped herself on the ground and lifted her legs, moving her tail to the side. I looked at her vent, red and swollen with her mating phase. I moaned as my cock emerged from my slit, hard and hot, painfully visible beneath the loincloth that was my only clothing. I ripped it off and promptly held Ikee-Nam under my weight, my tail pushing her aside as my cock lustily searched for her vent.

Ikee-Nam hissed with delight as my cocktip rubbed against her vent. My lust overcame my mind; I pushed half my member inside her with one strong shove, then started to penetrate her deeper. She moaned as something ripped inside her. Nothing serious -- just that she was no longer virgin. Her moist flesh pressed against my hard member as I moved inside her. Soon I was rocking her, hitting her hard with my loins as I thrusted deep and hard.

The other leaf-eaters tended to the crops while we went about our thing. They stopped their work momentarily to look at us. Some gave us a casual glance and smiled... there was something about the sight of two future mates, each losing their virginity. I paid no attention to them, only to my thrusts and to the female pressed under my weight.

Though it was my first experience, by no means I was unprepared. I had seen my parents mate several times when I was a mere hatchling, as nothing was ever hid from us. In fact, they had taken to show me and my other sibling what it was to sire, and went about showing us in full detail. I remember that moment when I saw my father's cock disappear into my mother's vent, their rhythmic movements. From the look of their faces it was obvious they enjoyed it, as their words were cut short by their passion.

Of course us then hatchlings were eager to try it, but we had to wait long years, as only the scent of a female unlocked the desire in a male for the first time. After that, it was possible to mate at any time.

I was determined to make this last as long as I could. Blood rushed through my cock and my head as I thrusted. The pressure of her wet flesh stroking mine was intense, and so it felt to her as I filled her vent, my cock stroking her pleasure zones. I kept impaling her, faster and faster as I came closer and closer to climaxing. I gasped and hissed with intense delight as I shot my seed inside her. Shortly after, I felt her shudder and go limp as she too climaxed.

We savored the orgasm for as long as we could. I dismounted, panting heavily. Ikee-Nam licked my snout, and she smiled. I nodded, agreeing to her silent request. We took our meager clothes, not bothering to dress ourselves as we walked away. Some of the other leaf-eaters smiled as they watched us depart. No doubt we had given them something to fire their own passions, which they would quench later on, in private.

Ikee-Nam and I walked to a more secluded place, where we went about to continue our passion in other ways. Her rut continued for five more days; each day I lost count of the times I buried my cock into her. Each night we went to sleep; every day the sun greeted us with I buried deep inside her, already having done it several times. We climaxed every time; a few minutes later we were again in the heat of passion. We did not stop to eat-- we did lose some weight, although we fed on each other's juices, she more than I. And when we finally returned to our clan, to share a home, we went to our room... and we did it one last time, as her rut faded... but never our love.

Days passed. I watched, fascinated, as Ikee-Nam prostrated herself on the ground, her vent swollen and red, but this time for a different reason. The soft, leathery shell of an egg started to emerge. I called for assistance; strangely, none came. I took then to help her deliver her egg. I touched it almost reverently as it laid in my hands, guiding it carefully to the nest. Then another egg emerged... and another... and another... and then a fifth one! At a time when clan members were lucky if they laid two, it seemed that Maia had blessed us. To me it was a great event I wanted to tell the whole clan.

I soon found out why no one answered my calls. Of all days, that bastard Rontrag had chosen precisely that one to return.

Unscathed, and healthier than ever. Almost instantly all of the species that made up our clan gathered to hear what he had to say. I seethed with anger as the radical hunters preened and cooed to their pack mate.

Rontrag told the clan about his journeys. He admitted being lost for several days, cursing the map makers, until he realized that the Desert of Sorrows had shrunk to a fraction of its size during the days of the Deliverance. The clan members all voiced their delight at the good news, and even I conceded that was good to hear.

He then spoke of the lands. He avoided the fur-pelts, preferring to go on his own rather than getting help from such abominations. Our hearts broke as he told how fertile the lands were, and how all were taken by their new owners.

"It was then that I came upon an uninhabited sector of land. Big enough to sustain our clan five times over! I was about to call it quits with this dragon-searching business.

"I saw a large beast. Fur-pelted, yet unsentient. Don't know what it may had been, but I sure was hungry, and had my fill of eating rations that would only please a leaf-eater."

Rage nearly overcame me as Rontrag's pack mates snickered.

"Naturally, I was readying my senses for some real hunting, prowling, trying not to alert my prey, when it suddenly bolted, running. I cursed, wondering what I had done wrong, when a dark, red shape suddenly dropped from the sky and over my prey, killing it instantly.

"His skin was a fiery, almost blinding red. It stood on two legs, like us, but easily larger and stronger than a long neck leaf-eater. At his back, two large wings were folded as it ate. I knew I had found my dragon."

The clan was silent, listening with rapt attention to Rontrag telling how he had followed the dragon back to his lair, then set up camp some distance from it, but still within easy view. He spent days on end, studying the dragon's habits. The dragon, it seemed, abandoned his lair about every month or so to seek nourishment, only to return about three days later, his belly heavy with food, almost unable to fly. More days were spent days inside the lair, obviously digesting his meal, coming out only to stand at the entrance of his cave to sun himself, or to watch the movements of the stars. Rontrag said the dragon seemed forlorn even.

"Never did I hear a word from him... only the roars of a hungry beast. Neither did I ever see him in the company of any other of his kind."

Rontrag continued by telling how he waited one day for the dragon to leave, so he could take a look to the inside of the lair. Even then he waited for hours to make sure the dragon would not return before he dared venture to the entrance of the lair and had a glimpse of the treasure inside. Rontrag then pulled a large, jewel-studded goblet from his pack as proof. All around me the saurians drooled, I don't know whom I hated most -- the dragon for hoarding it, or Rontrag for gloating.

There was much heavy discussion afterwards about how we would go about claiming the dragon's treasure. Clan members talked about going in masse and empty the lair from every coin. Some of the more experienced meat-eaters said that a large group would never be able to conceal all of its marks. No doubt the dragon would follow our trail, and Maia alone would know what he could do to destroy us. No, it was best if at most two clan members were to go and fill every sack they could carry with something from the dragon's hoard, things we could dispose easily.

Rontrag, who self-proclaimed himself the authority on dragon behavior, said he would be going back. Someone else was needed.

I had seen how Rontrag kind was getting renown in the light of their member. I felt envy. I wanted the clan to congratulate my mate for her whole clutch of eggs.

Well, I thought. You will not take all the credit.

I volunteered.

A time would come, later on, when I would regret my decision...

Proceed to Part Two