The Goblin Tree – Eight

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The Silver Door

The Goblin Tree – One

Song Suggestion: Dance With Dragons by BrunuhVille

 

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Eight

“I am the fire of the holy, the beginning and the end of all things. Meet me with wisdom and wisdom ye shall find. Meet me with darkness hidden in your heart and I shall feast upon your soul.” The cat peered at Bethany and she smiled.

“That is no riddle,” she said to him. “It is a passage from the book of Danu.” She shook her head. “Grandmother wouldn’t read from it; she said that the goddess had nothing to do with most of it, that it was just fluff, that most folk didn’t know enough about the real gods. But I used to go listen to the priest in the village, sometimes. That was always my favorite line because it was one of the few things that made me feel better.”

“It sounds far too threatening to be comforting,” the cat said.

Bethany shook her head. “It’s about the god of the sun and his children, who were born in his likeness. It’s about dragons. They guard the innocent and punish the wicked, the priest always said. That passage refers to their fire; it cleanses everything that is evil, but legend says that the pure of heart can stand within it and be safe as babes at their mother’s breast.”

“Dragons,” the cat said.

“I suppose there are none here?” Bethany asked, wondering if, like goblins, this was one of the larger differences between Inìsfail and The Silverlands.

“Oh, we have them,” the cat said. “The real sort and those that are not quite dragons, only wearing their skin.”

Bethany frowned, but the cat didn’t elaborate right away. “People go around wearing dragon skin?” she asked at last.

“In a manner of speaking,” the cat replied. “We call them the riven or Ryven, if you prefer. They wear something very like the shape of a dragon and they are entirely evil. But, we do have the real ones, here, though they aren’t quite as friendly as the ones in your blessed lands. They keep to themselves, for the most part. But. There was a time before I was born when dragons were much more present. There is a city deep in the forest. Naught but ruins, now, but there is a statue there. A dragon, ten feet tall with obsidian claws and eyes of bright emeralds as big as your fist. In his maw he holds a gift from the dragons of old, a promise that they were friends of true heart to the men who lived there. It is a bit of dragon fire.”

“If I had a dying star,” Bethany said, “I would give it dragon fire to eat, for it burns bright and pure.”

The cat nodded and looked at the sun, now sinking red as blood into the horizon. “We must hurry. The city is deep in the trees, two or three hours walk at least. I’ll get the girl.”

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