DragumanA small shaft of suns light drifted into the mountain crevice exposing a glittering rock. Elvin’s sharp eyes saw the sparkle and decided that he wanted that rock for Della. The sunlight made it sparkle the way her eyes did when she grew excited about something. Using his toes to find good purchase, he scaled down the rock face into the crevice. Kneeling by the stone he noticed how strange it was, and how different from the other rocks around it. The oval stone was about thirteen to fifteen inches long and perfectly smooth. Elvin worked his fingers under the rock and picked it up.
Although it was heavy, it was not as heavy as he thought it should have been. The sun had warmed it and as soon as he touched the smooth surface, he felt the electricity he associated with living things coming from within the stone.
“It must be an egg, but what animal lays such a large egg?” He was bewildered and excited all at the same time. Elvin looked around and could see no sign of a nest or any animal tracks. His curiosity was peeked, and he now turned to thought of how to get this egg home without his step mother seeing it. First, he needed to find a way to climb out of the crevice and carry the egg. Looking around did not offer an easy way to accomplish that task, so Elvin decided to place the egg back in the shaft of suns light until he could return with a sack. The egg wanted to roll a bit so he carefully secured it with some of the smaller rocks, then turned and climbed back out of the crevice. Elvin ran home as fast as he could. He was about to slip up to his room above the stable when his father came around the backside of the stable.
“Where have you been boy? The horses are standing in their own filth.” He tossed a pitch fork to Elvin before continuing, “get in there and get to work. I’ve never seen a more useless boy in my life.”
“Yes Sir.” Elvin ducked passed the man glaring at him and entered the cool darkness of the stable. He loved the smell of the horse’s warm bodies. The musty hay and wood mingled with the manure and made him want to sneeze. He actually enjoyed the hard work, but as his muscles bent, lifted and moved the filth out of the stalls, his mind was in the mountains thinking about the egg. He knew he would not be able to get it before nightfall and he hoped it would not hatch before he could retrieve it.
Later that evening after eating his small dinner, he finally managed to get up to his room. He did not own much, but it was all in the loft above the horses. Their bodies helped warm the stable and the hay made a nice place to sleep. He looked at the threadbare quilt that his mother had made for him the year she died. The colors were faded, but he could still feel her lingering warmth and love whenever he ran his fingers over the threads. His other possessions consisted of a bird’s nest, the skin shed by a snake, some leaves pinned on the wall and a red knapsack that Della had given him for his fourteenth birthday last year. He kept it hidden for fear that his stepmother would take it away from him for her own use if she ever saw it.
Della was only a year younger than Elvin and the only reason Elvin had not run away from home. She was his stepmother’s daughter from her first marriage, and the most beautiful and kind person he had ever met. He did not mind moving into the barn so she could sleep in his old room. Whenever his stepmother complained about him, Della was the one to stick up for him even though it should have been his father to do that. He had never been able to give Della anything to show his appreciation for her kindness to him and that is why he had wanted the sparkling stone. Now he was just as determined to retrieve the egg and see what would hatch. Maybe it would make a great pet for Della.
He picked up the red knapsack and hung it over his shoulder before climbing back down the ladder. It was dark outside but Elvin did not need a light to find his way through the forest to the edge of the mountain range. His bare feet could feel the path that he had traveled so many times. His father was trying to make a farmer out of him, but his heart and soul was in the forests and mountains learning all he could about the creatures that lived on Sendek. One day he would find a way to live on his knowledge and then he would ask Della to marry him. He just had to be patient and keep his eyes open for the right opportunity.
Most boys his age might have been afraid to be alone in the wild in the darkness, but Elvin was not like any other boy around. He loved his time alone with nature; it was what made him feel complete. The rocks of the mountains were still warm from the suns’ light. They felt nice on his cold toes as he began climbing. The first of three moons rose before he reached the crevice, followed shortly by the other two. They were very close together at this time of the year and once they were all up, it was almost as bright as day. He did not have any trouble finding the crevice with the egg hidden in it.
Once again he climbed down into the dark whole and easily found the egg by it’s warmth. He placed it carefully in the knapsack and turned it so that it rested on his back before beginning the climb back up. The egg grew heavier, but it also kept him warm now that the air had turned colder. When he reached the top of the crevice, he felt the egg move a little in the knapsack. His heart fluttered excitedly with that small movement. Whatever it was, it was alive and he hoped it would not be long before it hatched.
As he took his time walking home, Elvin thought of all the hiding places near his home. He would need to find a warm place to hide the egg, somewhere safe from the other forest animals and close enough for him to reach quickly. He would also need to find a way to know when it was hatching. Several times in the past, Elvin had concentrated on an animal while looking at it and thinking of what he wanted. When he walked away, he had still been able to feel the animal’s presence in his mind. He decided to try this with the egg when he hid it. <
At the base of the mountain trail was a large boulder. Years ago, Elvin had hollowed out a basin in the top to collect water. He decided that would be a good place to put the egg. Most creatures that could damage the egg would be unable to see or reach it and the suns light would still be able to warm it. The rainy season was over so after he splashed the water out it would not fill back up for a while. After clearing out the water, he took the egg out of his knapsack and placed it in the basin.
It was just as beautiful in the moons’ light as it was in the suns’ light. He placed his hands on the sides of the egg and let the warmth flow through his fingers. Concentrating on the life energy he could feel coming through the hard shell, he let his mind drift until he could almost see the energy. He focused his thoughts into the shell searching for the brightest spark of the energy. He was not sure if that spark was the brain or heart, but he knew that if he could find that place he would be able to form a connection with the creature growing inside. When he found the brightest point of light, he wrapped his mind around it, sent some of his energy to that spot, and was surprised to feel the creature reach back into his own mind. This being was intelligent and had magical abilities of its own. Elvin only knew of one creature that would lay an egg this large and be as sentient as what he was feeling—a dragon. He had found a dragon egg!
Elvin’s mind raced with the possibilities. If he could raise the dragon, he could take it on tour and earn a living by showing it to people in the villages. He would make a fortune and then Della would marry him for sure, but he must keep it safe until then. He carefully covered the egg with his knapsack and hurried home for a few hours of sleep before his father put him to work again.