Meldrick's Tales, Chapter 2, "I Met a Great Red Dragon
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Meldrick the Elder
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Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:21 pm
Chapter 2
“I met a Great Red Dragon . . .”

Meldrick was sitting on the short stone wall near the gates of Edingtol, feeling a cool breeze on his face that was scented by the salt of the ocean. He smiled as he remembered back to a time that he had been along the shore of the southern ocean.

Several children had gathered around him, “Meldrick, Meldrick, tell us a story. Please, tell us a story.”

He smiled as he turned towards their voices, “All right children, I shall tell you of the day I met a Great Red Dragon.”

There were few gasps and ‘oohs’ at the mention of a Great Red Dragon that had also attracted some of the adults who had been gathered near the gates, they moved to join the children to listen to the blind storyteller’s tale.

Meldrick smiled as he started his tale, “It was the summer of my 12th year and our caravan had stopped near the shores of the Southern Ocean . . .”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Meldrick had slipped away from the caravan to go explore the caves he had seen about a mile back along the shoreline. He knew he wouldn’t be missed as this was a part of his normal routine.

He removed his boots and placed them in his backpack and headed out across the sand. The smooth, warm, wet grains of sand felt good between his toes as he ran along the shoreline, kicking and running in and out of the water.

Before long he had made his way to where the beach met the rocks leading up to the caves. The sun was climbing in the sky as he wiped his feet and put his boots back on. He also removed a bone-handled dagger from his backpack and placed it in his belt, “One could never be too cautious.” He thought as he looked up at the caves.

Walking up towards them, Meldrick pondered as to what he might find in them, “Pirate treasure, dragon’s bones or perhaps a mermaid trapped in a pool inside the cave . . .” he chuckled at the thought of the mermaid as he continued towards the caves.

As he reached the entrance to the largest of the caves he looked about for something to use as a torch. Finding a good strong piece of driftwood and some straw, which he tied together on the end of the driftwood, he took out his flint and was able to light the straw.

Smiling, he proceeded to enter the large cave. As soon as he entered it became evident that the cave had been used recently by something rather large. There was a very distinct odor about the place, one that was similar to one Meldrick had encountered before . . . it was the smell of Dragons!

Meldrick looked about for evidence of his suspicions and found several scales and part of a broken claw. It was Dragons all right . . . but what kind of dragons had used this cave. The scales gave a hint, because they showed a pale red in the torchlight. The claw tip showed a lot of wear and tear, but it was evident that it had come from a very large dragon . . . “by the gods, this was the lair of a Great Red Dragon!” he thought. A sudden chill ran up his spine.

The stories of the cruelty of the Great Red Dragons was well-known. Meldrick sighed and took the bone-handled dagger from his belt. He knew that it would not be much good against one of these dragons, but the feel of it in his hand gave him the courage to continue onward into the tunnel. He could tell by the lack of spoor, that the cave had not been occupied for some time.

As he walked deeper into the cave, he would stop occasionally to pick up a few scales and broken claws, he even found a dragon’s tooth. He placed the scales and claws in his backpack, the tooth he placed in a pouch he kept in the pocket of his breeches.

Meldrick finally reached the back of the cave and was about to turn around and head back out when he spotted something out of the corner of his eye. At first he thought it was a round stone, possibly being an unbroken geode. As he got closer, he realized what it was . . . an unhatched Great Red Dragon’s egg.

He couldn’t believe his eyes or his luck. He knew that any dragon’s egg would fetch a pretty penny, but a Great Red’s would surely make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. Meldrick couldn’t stop smiling as he placed the egg in his backpack. He then gave the ‘nest’ the once over , to make sure he hadn’t missed anything else, before turning to head back out of the cave.

When he reached the entrance of the cave, he put out the torch and smiled. For once his foraging about had turned up a real treasure. He stepped off the stone walkway and down onto the sand of the beach, then sat down in the warm sand.

Removing his backpack, Meldrick could hardly contain himself as he carefully removed the egg from it and placed it on the soft sand. Now that he had it out in the sunlight, he could see that it truly was the egg of a Great Red Dragon. The dark grey shell was flecked in red blotches that appeared to be blood. He stared at it while he softly rubbed the surface, still not quite believing his good fortune . . . when he felt something.

“The egg moved!” he thought, but he knew it couldn’t have. Meldrick knew that a Great Red or any dragon, for that matter, would not abandon a viable egg.

Rubbing the surface again, just to make sure, he felt it again and jumped back away from the egg.

“By the gods . . . the egg did move!!!” He couldn’t believe it, but there was no doubt about it, the egg did move. As he stared at, he could see the surface ripple a little with movement. The baby dragon was obviously trying to break free of his shell.

“crack!” the shell had cracked a little. Meldrick moved a little closer to the egg trying to catch a glimpse of what was inside. “craaack!” the egg split a little more and Meldrick saw the tip of the baby dragon’s wing claw.

“Crackety – Crack!!” the egg shell split and broke into pieces as the baby dragon had finally broken free. Meldrick held his breath as he couldn’t believe how beautiful this creature was. The fire red scales, the black underbelly and those incredible red eyes that seemed to look straight through him.

The baby Great Red turned about as if looking for something, when it spotted Meldrick and locked eyes with him.

Meldrick could not takes his eyes off this beautiful dragon, then he realized that it was possible that this baby thought that Meldrick was one of its parents and that he was probably hungry. Still watching the dragon, he started to root through his backpack, finally finding what he had been searching for . . . his jerky.

“Little one, are you hungry?” he asked as he offered him a small strip of the jerky.

The dragon looked at him and at his offering, sniffing it once then licking it with his long, slender tongue, before grabbing it and gulping it down.

Meldrick smiled as the baby dragon gulped down the jerky, glad that he had something the creature would eat and even gladder watching the movements of this little creature. He reckoned that the baby’s wingspan was about three feet and that he weighed about 6 or 7 pounds. Smiling he fed it another strip of jerky, which the creature took eagerly.

“So, what am I going to call you?” Meldrick mused. “Little One, somehow doesn’t seem appropriate, since you won’t be a little one for long . . . Hmmm . . . ‘Red?’ . . . no too generic.” He looked closer at the little dragon as he fed it some more jerky. Then he saw it. Something that stood out about this creature; one of its wing claws was different from the rest. One was red, while the rest were black.

Smiling Meldrick declared, “Your name will be ‘Red Claw’ . . . How do you like that name, little one?”

With that the baby dragon screeched and flapped its wings excitedly. Meldrick smiled at the dragon’s antics as he reached out to gently touch its muzzle.

Red Claw stopped and gently rubbed his muzzle against Meldrick’s hand, softly licking it causing Meldrick smile and close his eyes. He couldn’t believe the tenderness that the baby dragon was showing. “Perhaps the tales of their cruelty have been over-exaggerated.” He thought as the dragon moved to him and draped its wings about his waist and resting its head in his lap.

Meldrick gently stroked the creature’s back as he realized the little one had fallen asleep. Meldrick closed his eyes as he rested his hand on Red Claw’s back, falling asleep himself.

He awoke to Red Claw’s screeching and flapping his wings again. “What is it Red Claw? Are you hungry again?” Meldrick reached for another strip of jerky when another sound was heard . . . the rustling of wings in flight!

Looking up, Meldrick saw what had excited Red Claw . . . A full-grown Great Red Dragon and it was coming towards them.

Meldrick started to stand, looking for somewhere to hide, but it was obvious that the large dragon had spotted them and that there was nowhere to run.

Red Claw looked up at the Great Red Dragon as it approached, then looked at Meldrick and moved towards him just as the Great Red landed 20 feet from them.

Red Claw reached the feet of Meldrick and turned to face the Great Red, as it slowly made its way to the pair, stopping just short of them, it stared at Meldrick and then at Red Claw and then it screeched.

Red Claw looked at the Great Red and spread its wings as it stood between it and Meldrick, as if protecting him. It screeched in reply and the Great Red backed up a little.

The little one turned and Meldrick knelt down and placed his hand on Red Claw’s muzzle, gently rubbing it. “I know little one, you have to go.”

Red Claw opened its claw and showed it to Meldrick, then he took his other claw and sliced the open claw and looked up at the young gypsy.

Meldrick smiled as he understood. He opened his hand and placed it near Red Claws, just as the little dragon struck, slicing his palm. Meldrick bit his tongue to keep from crying out as the dragon placed his bleeding claw in Meldrick’s bleeding palm, letting their blood mix.

Then Red Claw pulled his claw away and looked up at Meldrick. Meldrick smiled as Red Claw moved to join the large Great Red.

The large Great Red leaned over and licked the bleeding claw and then turned and looked at Meldrick. Meldrick felt a tingling sensation in his palm, but didn’t look at it, he continued to look at the Great Red. There was no longer a feeling of fear . . . it was now a feeling of respect for these beautiful creatures.

Red Claw turned and screeched once more and Meldrick smiled and waved as both Red Claw and the Great Red took flight. He stood there watching until both were no longer visible, then he sat again in the warm sand.

Finally looking down at his palm, he saw that he had not only stopped bleeding, but that the cut had healed and scarred.

- - - - - - - - - -

Meldrick smiled as he finished his story. The gathered crowd came up and thanked him for the story, as he turned his hand over, revealing the long scar that cut across his palm.

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Sit back and I'll tell you tales of Faeries and dragons.
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Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:14 am
Ooooo....Quite the adventurer huh? ^^
That was lovely...wouldnt it of been something if the little red dragon stayed with you. ^-^
Now that you have started your storytelling, I do hope you will not stop Sir Meldrick. I think youve woven a spell on all your stories...
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Meldrick the Elder
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Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:42 am
Meldrick smiles, "I was once known as Meldrick, the Wanderer and my stories are from the known as well as the unknown lands of Zantarni, including a Knighthood of sorts." He chuckles and continues, "I have many stories, and I hope to post them for all to see."
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Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:53 pm
Another entrancing tale, Sir Meldrick… thank you so much for sharing it with us. *smiles and bows*


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Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:13 pm
Absolutely amazing.
You've had quite an experience many years ago that I could only hope to experience.

I truly am happy that you are posting your stories and I can hardly hold my anticipation for the next chapter!
Smile
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Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:03 am
A wonderful story, Sir. One looks forward to hearing more.
Meldrick the Elder
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Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:06 pm
Meldrick smiles, "I thank you all for your comments, I hope you enjoy all of my tales."

"Lady Arrin, I have my first tale posted here, too."

http://www.zantarni.com/meldrick-s-tales-chapter-1-there-be-dragons-here-t21242.html
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HH

HH
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Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:50 pm
*Smiles and grasps the dragon tooth pendant around my neck as I listen to the tale once again*

Sir Meldrick, I could listen to your tales a thousand times over, and never tire of hearing them Wink
Amurita
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Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:31 am
Another wonderful story Elder!
I would have loved to even have a glimpse of a dragon, or even evidence of one. It would have been wonderful though, if you could have stayed with Red Claw a little longer.

I certainly envy you, though I find it hard to picture you as a child, I'm just so use to you as you are now.

I do wonder what you mean though about the knighthood you mentioned. I shall wander off to read your other stories some other time as it's now time for me to sleep.
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Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:34 am
"Such a heartfelt story...your adventures amaze and inspire me so."
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Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:04 am
Selena beams as the story ended, and walks up to Sir Meldrick as she says, "That was truly amazing, Sir Meldrick. I hope you will continue to bless us with your stories."
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Thu Sep 11, 2008 2:25 am
The elf girls eyes danced as she listened closely, entranced throughout the entire tale. "THat was so beautiful Elder Melddrick!" She said softly when he showed them his scar she smiled. and stood to leave "But I really must be going now, I do love to hear you're legends"
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Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:32 am
Meldrick smiles, "I thank you Lady tegypte, take care. I am glad you like my stories."
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Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:38 pm
Absolutely amazing! Awww I was kind of hoping you got to keep Red Claw, that woulda been seriously kool!
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Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:23 pm
Another wonderful story! I wish that Red Claw had been able to stay with you. Smile
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