Adventures in Thargothras

A dragon's due

and a missing crone

Quintar 6, somewhere near the Blackwyrm Mire.

It was not customary for Wicked Peggy Knucklebones to be so late on her delivery, mused Durvininth. His mate, Indryrth, was quite frustrated, and had sent him to find the hag to make sure she was still holding to their bargain. He was supposed to have every other skeleton that came her way, and since the accident, he was down to ten. It was enough to polish the treasure or his and his mate's scales, but not both, and a dragon with dull scales simply wouldn't do. What if they were to have a visitor? Or be happened upon while hunting? The embarrassment and indignation! Of course, right now it would do. He would use the anger from his dull scales to frighten her and demand two out of every three from now on, just for being late on her delivery. She would be made to cower before him, half-polished scales and all, and remind her why he allowed her to live in his marsh at all. It didn't matter who she worked for. It didn't matter who she worked with. It was his (and Indryrth's) marsh, and her hovel existed at his convenience. As he approached her impressively large mud-hut (with a raised walkway, no less), he noted none of the usual smells that accompanied her presence. No smoke, no stink of sweat, no lizard-meat boiling, no scent of heated iron. It was as if she hadn't even returned. Durvininth took a smaller form, in order to fit through the doorway of her home. It was similar in shape to a werewolf, but black and scaly, to remain frightening and recognizable. Satisfied with the result, he stepped up the stairs and along the walkway to the curtain of rough leather and strung bones she used in place of a door, and flung it to the side. "PEEEEGGYYYYYYYYY!" he roared.

But the hag was nowhere to be seen. Only a pair of little skeletons, one patching the ceiling, one sweeping the wooden slats that served as a floor, resting half-embedded in the clay foundation. A third entered behind him and set a stack of freshly chopped wood onto an already oversized rack. Durvininth looked around the room in bemusement. She should be back by now. He could hardly go out looking for her with his appearance so tarnished, so that was out. And if she'd moved away, she'd have taken all her things with her, wouldn't she? Unless…

Durvininth recited an incantation he'd had the fortune to learn long ago, and the three skeletons in the room jerked to attention. He commanded them, first in draconic, and when they failed to respond, in the local human tongue, to follow him. Three by three, he found the rest, and after a couple more recitations, they were all under his control. Saying nothing else, he walked home, skeletons in tow. It would help to have a few extra hands, barring more accidents, but eventually he'd need to replace them again, and who knew how long it would take to get a new supplier? He hoped his mate would be pleased enough with his haul to overlook that and not destroy half of them in a fit of rage when he told her the hag had gone and her location a mystery. For all her wits, Indryrth did not like mysteries, puzzles, or brain-teasers. Her intellect was mostly used to compose angsty poetry and cruel traps for trespassers. At least for the time being, he would finally be able to have his scales polished along with hers and the treasure, so that would be nice. Perhaps once his scales were shiny enough, he'd retrace her steps to her meeting place and piece it all together from there….

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