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DRAGONWARS (PRELUDE)

Spring leaf Tanner’s Journal; Beltaine, half moon eve. Sundown.
 Autumn leaf Rosequartz had us fall back this afternoon. The dragon’s claim they don’t need our help, but I fear if we didn’t stand with them, they might annihilate us all. Of course, the advance attack claims that we help out of fear, which is only partially the case. These dragons are not the aggressors in this conflict. The advance attack started this war. They’re the ones acting out of fear. They think the dragons are evil. That they feed on humans, that they steel our treasure and want our women. I don’t know why they think such foolish things, but they spread their fear and their ranks swell. Their initial attack on the dragons was a huge success. The dragons never saw it coming. They pay no attention to mankind in general so they had no idea that the attack was being planned and coordinated across several towns for months before it happened. It’s hard to believe they didn’t see it coming because they’re so smart. When they do decide to pay attention to men, they can get in our heads and find out what we’re thinking. They can predict our moves like chess masters. They live for generations. They can control the elements. No wonder people are afraid of them.

One of the enemies’ officers; Eagle rank Incarnate says the dragons want to enslave mankind. He uses people’s fear of dragons to get them to give him ultimate authority over them. They give it gladly. Before the war, the dragons used to blacken the sky with their numbers. Just one of them can be the size of hill, so when they flock together in the autumn sky by the thousands, it can be a sight to see.
My father raised me to respect them. He called them the wise ones. There was a family of them in the caves in the cliffs near the village where we lived when I was growing up. He taught me to listen for them. Some nights when I couldn’t sleep, I would tune in and listen as the father dragon; Chiva he was called, would tell his fledgling Uddin the secret history of the world. I would fall asleep and dream of ancient days.
I’ll never forget seeing them launch from their Cliffside lair one Samhain afternoon. Chiva’s hide caught the setting sun as he soared above the height of the cliff and his shimmering, bronze scales seemed to burst into flames as his majestic muscles rippled beneath the eerie armor. They flapped their wings in unison, and moved as if they were a single creature. I doubt they even noticed me; earthbound gathering firewood for the coming winter.
That was years ago. Before you started hearing tales about the abduction of children, the burned villages, desecration of the holy sites. I knew the stories had to false. Dragons were just about the opposite of the things they were made out to be. But why? Who would stand to gain from such fear mongering? I visited one of the holy sites that had been destroyed. It had been the hill where Vlad the reformer had made a peace in the olden days. There had been a war to ravage all of Phan Tao Sea. Vladimir Potemkin had brought the leaders together to broker a truce, ending an eighty year blood bath. They had erected a shrine on the hill, and Vlad had been canonized as a saint. It was said that peace would last as long as that shrine stood. It cast shade on that hill for 500 years until its destruction at the hands of the dragons.

There had been a statue of Vlad and the leaders involved in the truce, wearing their old time garments. There were fountains and gardens, even a giant sundial to mark the endless peace that had ensued due to the event marked on that location. The whole of it had been ravaged. It had been burned and torn asunder with a vengeance. The perpetrators of this crime had taken special care to wreck each element of the place beyond repair. The statues had been defaced to look like demons; a lamb had been skewered upon the sundial. There had been a terrible fire. The dragons had left their claw marks upon the marble works that adorned the hillside.
I examined the whole scene, and didn’t like what I saw. First of all, why would the dragons do such a thing? Why would they take such care to desecrate the statues with such detail? Dragons are not craftsmen. They didn’t have the skills to rework a statue to change its appearance from one thing to another. Such an idea would never occur to a dragon. Also, the marble had not been damage be the fire beyond superficial scorch marks. Dragonfire produced such heat that it melted rock. This fire hadn’t even damaged the sandstone trim in the garden. The claw marks didn’t look organic. They were symmetrical. They had been produced by some mechanical device meant to look like dragon claw marks. This could only mean one thing. The whole thing had been done by humans and blamed on the dragons. But again; why? I couldn’t figure out what reason there could be. And, what human would so desecrate such a holy place? It was Holy to all humans; it wasn’t one faction that had victory over another at that site. Who hated dragons so much that they would want to manufacture a reason to go to war with them? And why choose this site to destroy? And what sort of person could take such joy in utterly destroying so holy a site?
It turned out that these were the very questions that would keep anyone from believing that a human or group of humans could perpetrate such an act. Furthermore; the argument would continue, with the other dragon crimes that had taken place, so many people would have to be in on it that there would be no way that it could be kept secret. People did not want to think that humans had done this. It had to be dragons and there was something seditious about suggesting otherwise.
The enemy was human, and I bet that he was leading the advance attack. I wanted to find out who. I wanted to find out why. And I wanted to clear the dragon’s names.

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