The Phantoms of the Dragon Caverns

Whereas the elves learned to bury their dead along with a young willow tree, the dragons took to the depths of the mountains.  There were caves that riddled Dragonridge Mountains through and through.  From its highest reaches down to the lowlands, the mouths of the cavern were an entryway to a world both dark and deep.  If one was not careful, it was easy to become lost inside… and never get out.  The dragons, though, knew their way around.

The caverns were warm places, which suited the dragons quite well; they hated the cold. Some rumored that the tunnels went down so deep that there was an opening to the magma that flowed beneath the land.  For most of the dragons, however, the caverns were a place to nest their eggs and lay their dead to rest.  The tombs had ledges that held the bones of dragons who had long ago passed on.  They were meant to be visited and honored, but never disturbed.

One such dragon was Guthrix, who had fallen in an ancient battle.  Some said that it was even a battle from the time when Goddess Jenh was trapped in the crystal, but not everyone believed that.  Either way, Guthrix had once been a grand and majestic red dragon, and he was known for the ruby he possessed, set in a crest of the purest gold.  There were stories of it being with him when he was laid to rest, and the treasure-hunters who went deep into the mountains in search of it.

It became a problem having so many elves looking for the jewel, and after a few decades the other dragons had had enough.  They did what they had never done before: moving a dragon’s remains to a different tomb.  He was moved deeper into the mountains, treasure and all, and for a while the elves lost interest in the ruby.  There was but one problem: nobody had noticed the tiny piece of tail-bone that they had left behind in his former resting place.

After another century or two, tales of the dragon’s ruby resurfaced, and again the elves went into the mountains to look for it.  Again the bones and jewel were moved down, deeper into the mountain, and again the elves lost interest in going to such lengths.  …And again, a small bone was left behind, this time a piece of a finger.

A couple centuries more, and the story repeats itself.  Elves looking for treasure, the living dragons moving Guthrix’s remains and his jewel as far down as the possibly could, and a small bone being missed in the commotion.  It was a tooth, some day.

By this time, the spirit of Guthrix was becoming frustrated.  He had expected his bones to be cared for and respected, not moved about like a child’s toy.  He hardly thought that his ruby was even worth all that trouble.  He decided that it was time for him to guard his bones himself.  The problem was, with his remains spread apart, he could not stay in any one place.  He was forced to wander between his tail-bone, his finger bone, the old tooth,  and the rest of his desiccated body.

Every now and then, an elf saw the phantom of Guthrix, and fled as fast as he could.  When he saw a fellow dragon, he begged him to find his bones and put all of them together.  Sometimes they would try to help, but give up before they found anything, and sometimes they would be too busy to help.  Guthrix managed to bribe some of the braver elves to help him, on reward that once he was whole again, he would let the elf see his ruby.

Rumor has it that a there were several deaths caused by traveling to close to the magma flows, and that many other elves passed out from the heath of trying to find the jewel.  Whether or not that is true, today there are very few treasure hunters willing to risk their lives just for a glimpsed at a ruby.

More importantly the dragons have learned never to move remains again, for Guthrix’s phantom still wanders the depths of Dragonride Mountains.

About Legends of Lorata

Eleanor Willow is the author of the high fantasy series Legends of Lorata, which takes place on a medieval-style world filled with elves, dragons, and faeries. There is also a fourth race, one that is rare and magical: the angelic Starr. Lorata is a distant planet watched over by four deities: good, evil, elemental, and celestial-- and there are plenty of legends about them all! One of the most important ones is the prophecy of Jenh's champion, Loracaz, who is promised to return to the realm whenever evil threatens to take hold. There are currently three books completed, and the first one can be read online. Book four is currently being written, and a fifth will most likely be in the future.
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