Today I am sharing a small exerpt from The Strange Matter Sword, yet another story from the upcoming The Inclination to Destiny. On that note, I am presently reviewing the final galley, if I aprove it today, the book should be available by the end of the month.
“You know, I heard a statistic somewhere,” Rian said. “That like eighty percent of all gold that has ever been mined is currently in dragon holdings.”
“Sounds accurate,” Jason nodded. “Scaly brutes do love their shinies.”
“It’s probably more like ninety,” Hunter corrected.
“So there’s like, what a few hundred dragons in each flight, yeah?” Rian continued. “Each one probably needs a few tons of gold.”
“Needs, or wants?” Hunter put in. “Cuz however much they might actually require, I guarantee each one wants a heck of a lot more.”
“Is that why you have a bunch of gold bricks stashed under your bed?” Cindy inquired.
“Maybe, I just know I want more,” Hunter replied.
“Yeah, so each one’s probably got a couple of tons, easy,” Rian nodded. “So the whole flight—a small flight—has probably fifteen hundred to two thousands bloody tons of the stuff!”
“Depends on the age of the flight,” Hunter remarked. “Keep in mind they collect the stuff, whether they have enough or not. The longer they’re in business, the more they’ve got. You also have to remember that dragons never stop growing, so the older they get, the more gold they need. And five hundred dragons is a pretty small flight, the High Mountain Flight is two thousand, easy.”
“Just what would constitute a ‘big’ flight?” Jason asked.
“They don’t get much bigger than that,” Hunter explained. “There’s a lot of influencing factors, but that’s basically the upper limit. Any bigger and some of them will break off and form a new flight somewhere else.
“Tracing Dragon flight lineage is as complex as a single person’s family tree, it just goes back further. High Mountain Flight in Arindell is one of the oldest flights in the verse, a direct offshoot of Lowland Hills Flight, one of the old nomadic flights that are now extinct. High Mountain probably has records of where Lowland Hills descended from, and so on, probably back to the beginning of time.
“All of the ancient flights—that is to say flights that date back to at least the First Chaotic Period of the Mage Wars—can trace their lines back to a nomadic flight. Of course, there are only a handful that old.
, Warsong, and Kodiac, to name a few. Other flights are off-shoots of them.” High Mountain
“What about Ozork?” Cindy asked. “I think I’ve heard that name somewhere in a sentence with ‘dragon’.”
“Don’t mention Ozork Flight,” Hunter cautioned.
“Yeah, but just imagine all that gold!” Rian reiterated. “Mountains and mountains of the stuff!”
“Don’t steal from dragons,” Hunter shook his head. “They’ll hunt you to the ends of the earth to get one single coin back.”
“Well, couldn’t you, like, kill off an entire flight and take their gold?” Rian asked. “I mean hypothetically, if you killed every last one of them—”
“Then their offshoot flights would come to claim it,” Hunter replied. “And their off-shoots. Or if you targeted an offshoot, then their heritage-flight would come, and all of their off-shoots. Basically you’d have to wipe out like forty percent of the dragon population before they’d let you keep any of the gold. Unless it was an extinct lineage to begin with.”
“The who with the what now?” Rian asked excitedly.
“There are rumors,” Hunter began. “And we’re not talking dragon rumors here, anymore. But rumors so old they’re more like legends. Rumors of so-called ‘lost flights’, flights destroyed during the Mage Wars. Flights that had no offshoots and no heritage flight. If these flights were totally eliminated, then I guess the gold would be free for the taking.”
“DUDE!!!!” Rian whistled. “All that gold!”
“Not just gold,” Hunter corrected. “They covet gold above all else, and do collect it for practical reasons, but they’ll take just about anything treasure-wise. Silver, precious gems, not to mention the super-valuables like Mithril and Adamantium. They don’t even use the stuff but darn it all if they can’t get enough of it.”
“So basically most dragon flights are super rich, and somewhere out there, these riches are just laying around waiting to be mined?” Rian grinned.
“Since its already refined and crafted material, I wouldn’t say ‘mined’,” Hunter replied.
“Sure, I would,” Rian insisted. “I pick it up, and make it mine. Hence: mining!”
“Well, there are no reports of anyone looting a dragon horde,” Hunter said. “But I know there are some ‘lost flights’ somewhere out there. It’s just finding them that would be the trick.”
“Oh, I’ll find them,” Rian grinned. “I will find the $&%# out of them!”
“Good luck,” Hunter rolled his eyes. “The flight would have collapsed all the entrances before being destroyed. And that’s if they didn’t see the attack coming, if they did they’d lay down a few in hibernation, then collapse the entrances and go fight. If the warriors fail, the flight is protected and can be resurrected years down the road. If not, and if the sleepers never wake up for whatever reason, then it’s gone. No trace. There’s no starting point. No clues. Any random mountain could contain a lost horde. There are no geological clues, no hints on the surface.”
“All right, here’s my idea,” Rian said resolutely. “We’ll each take a shovel and one eighth of the multi-verse. We’ll meet back here in sixty years, our bodies broken and our lives wasted.”
“Good plan,” Hunter chuckled.
“So come on, story time,” Cindy clapped. “Tell us a tail of a lost flight!”
“Well, I guess the popular one would be the Rama Flight,” Hunter mused. “I mean, so I’m told. They were destroyed by, of all things, Unicorns, back during the First Chaotic Period.”
“No kidding, Unicorns?” Cindy laughed. “That’s like the greatest moment of dragon-failure in history, right there!”
“Don’t discount them so easily,” Hunter warned. “Unicorns are powerful beings. Easily the match for a dragon. And at the time, they had a major numbers advantage.”
“So what eventually happened?” Cindy pressed.
“Well, Rama Flight happened to have a clan of human worshipers hanging around them,” Hunter continued. “An extremely devoted clan, willing to channel the darkest powers they could find, even at the cost of their own souls, for the dragon gods.”
“Sounds sticky,” Cindy wrinkled her nose.
“It was,” Hunter nodded. “These are the folks who basically invented so-called ‘dark’ magic. They had no fear or respect for the forces they were meddling with. And they used those forces to… well, how can I put this mildly? They used it to melt the Unicorn’s faces clean off.”
“Wowza,” Cindy stumbled.
“Yeah, dark times,” Hunter nodded. “Anyway, according to legend, the Rama were eventually defeated by an alliance of rival flights—yeah, the Rama were so bad that in the midst of fighting a war against all Unicorns, a bunch of flights got together and bumped off the Rama.
“Now, in an ordinary dragon war, the Rama’s horde would be divided up against their conquerors, with reparations paid to any offshoot or heritage flights, of which there were none. Rama was an offshoot of the Green Hills flight, a nomadic flight whose lineage was not known, and who had no other known offshoots. Rama, in turn, was a young flight with no offshoots of its own. So the gold should have gone to the conquerors.”
“Shoulda’ bu’ didn’a,” Cindy whistled.
“Well, it might have,” Hunter admitted. “But according to the old legend, Rama’s Eerie was ‘sealed off for all eternity, to be never opened or thought of again’. The worshiper’s village on the surface was also wrecked, and all their followers killed. But, since it was descendants of the Rama’s worshipers who went on to teach or become all the greatest dark wizards of the Mage Wars, its probable some survived.
“Of course, the whole thing may be pure legend. The Green Hills Flight and the Rama Flight aren’t anywhere in recorded history, and aside from this one story—written down two thousand years after it happened—we have no proof that the Rama worshipers ever existed. No one knows where their tower was, no one knows where the Eerie is; there is not one single shred of historical evidence to support the tale.
“But then, if the story is true, that would be the case, since the rival flights that eliminated the Rama Flight were supposedly hell-bent on erasing them from history.”
“That’s a nice little bedtime story,” Jason snapped. “It’s not true because it can’t be proven, but the inability to prove it is the best evidence for why it’s true.”
“Hey, I never said I believed it,” Hunter waved. “I’m just telling a story.”