Keywords: Transformation, Magic
Species: Dragon, Human
Dreams of Dragons


My first posting to the list.  I think they liked it :)

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Dreams of Dragons
By Wolphin.


It was a different dream tonight.  He was some kind of griffin, 
flying low over the landscape.  On a distant hill his keen eagle 
eye-sight detected a sheep, grazing peacefully.  He adjusted his 
wingtips slightly and began a lazy circle above the unsuspecting 
prey.  When everything felt right, he started to dive.  He pulled 
his wings in and began to plunge towards the target.  The sheep's 
sixth sense kicked in too late and with a scream of triumph, he 
grabbed it with his claws.  And sneezed.

David woke then, clutching the remains of the pillow and noticed 
the feathers drifting about his room.  He sat up and looked 
around, his mind still covered with a sleepy haze.  The room was a 
mess, there were feathers everywhere.  Obviously he had been 
stalking an innocent pillow.  With a sigh he began to untangle 
himself.  Ever since he had found the book, his dreams had been 
getting more and more dramatic, graphic and, dare he admit it, 
exciting.

Suddenly, the sound of cloth shredding brought him back to 
reality.  His fingers were caught in the remnants of the pillow.  
With a hefty tug, he ripped his fingers free and started in 
amazement.  Instead of nails, he had long talons.  As he watched, 
they slid back into his fingers with a very strange, but not 
unpleasant feeling.  

His mind could not handle such things at this early hour and cried 
out for coffee.  It was two in the morning, but David knew he 
wouldn't be able to sleep again tonight, so he got up and stumbled 
to the kitchen.  As the kettle boiled, he stuck his head into the 
shower which woke him up pretty quick.  He wandered back to the 
kitchen and made a coffee - extra strong.  David took the coffee 
into the den, found the book and collapsed into a chair.

The book was very impressive looking.  Bound in leather, embossed 
in gold and with an imposing logo on the cover.  The logo was 
similar to a druidic pattern, full of interleaving and 
interlocking loops, nice to look at but serving no logical 
purpose.  The book would not look out of place in a wizard's 
laboratory, which was the main reason why he bought it.  He was 
somewhat disappointed when he opened it.

Instead of the spidery, hand written script he had hoped for, 
there was neat, machine printed type.  He didn't even read what 
the book was about, but paid the $12 the stall owner was asking 
for it and left.  

When he arrived home, he started flicking through the pages.  It 
was strange, sometimes he would swear the words moved around each 
time he turned the page.

"Just a trick of the light," he thought.  

Now he wasn't so sure.

The book contained short stories.  All of them fantasy and all of 
them involving some kind of animal.  There seemed to be a trend of 
lots of mythical beasts and people turning into strange creatures, 
but there were some tales of heroics and true love mixed in there 
as well.  He started flicking through the pages, but grew more 
absorbed in them and began reading each one in detail.  That 
night, he had his first dream.

The first story of the book was about a warrior who was turned 
into a minotaur by the one of the Greek gods.  Only his love for 
his betrothed saved him.  David didn't think much of the story, 
but that night dreamed about being a minotaur, searching for his 
one true love.  

Next in the book was a tale of a wicked merchant, who was trapped 
in a tree by a witch who he swindled.  The morning after, David 
woke to find himself standing upright in his bedroom.  Strange, 
but David was prone to sleepwalking.

The remainder of the week had followed suit.  On Wednesday he had 
dreamed he was a fisherman turned into a dolphin after falling 
overboard.  Thursday, he was a centaur wandering through the 
forest.  Friday he dreamt he was bitten by a dog and transformed 
into a werewolf.  Each of these corresponded to the third, fourth 
and fifth story in the book, respectively.  

With a groan, David opened the book and read the sixth story.  It 
was called "The Griffin's Tail."  Surprise, surprise, it was about 
a man who was transformed into a griffin.  So, that explained the 
dream, but what about the talon?  David flipped to the beginning 
of the book and began scanning the printing details and 
acknowledgements.

Nope, nothing new about the acknowledgements, the author thanked 
some mailing list on the internet for their contributions and 
support. ;-)  Hang on.  That was something.  In tiny print down 
under the copyright and publisher information.

"No responsibility taken for alteration to reality brought on by 
the words within this text..."  It then entered some legalese 
before concluding with : "...the author and publisher are not 
responsible and accept no liability for readers while the reader 
is in an adjusted form."

What was that???  Alteration to reality, adjusted form???  Just 
what was this book about.  It was time to get serious.  But first, 
he thought, he had better read the next story, so at least he new 
what was coming.  

By this stage, the caffeine had kicked in, and the healthy swig of 
bourbon he had poured into the brew was helping to.  He picked up 
the book and settled back into the chair.  The seventh story was 
entitled "Warning - Dragons Lie Beyond For All Who Enter Here."

The story started simple enough.  Daveo, a lowly page in the 
King's court, had volunteered for a dangerous mission.  David 
didn't like the familiarity between the two names, but kept 
reading.  It seemed that the castle was under siege by the evil 
baron, who was camped outside the gates.  It was up to Daveo to 
leave the castle, sneak through the enemy lines and make his way 
to the dragon who lived in the mountains and beg for the dragon's 
help.

Under the cover of darkness, Daveo left the castle by a secret 
tunnel.  He stealthily snuck past the Baron's forces and 
disappeared into the forest.  By morning he had reached the base 
of the ranges and began the long climb up to the dragon's cave.  

It was mid-afternoon before he reached the lair.

"Hello?" he cried in a nervous whisper.  There was no reply.  No 
sound, no movement, nothing.  He slowly crept towards the mouth.  
Still nothing.  Gritting his teeth, he tentatively entered the 
cave.  A few feet from the mouth, it was pitch black.  Still Daveo 
continued undeterred.  Suddenly, his left foot his something which 
clanged.  He breathed a sigh of relief.  Well, at least it wasn't 
the dragon and it was too hard to be a body.

So absorbed in the story, David had failed to noticed how all the 
lights in the house had dimmed.  The only light not affected was 
the desklamp he was sitting under.

Meanwhile, Daveo had felt around to find a metal box, inside was 
what felt like a steel, flint and a pile of shavings.  He gave 
them an experimental hit together and was rewarded with a small 
spark.  Soon he had the shavings alight and by the light of the 
fire, discovered a torch, ready to be lit.  He stuck it in the 
fire and was rewarded with a bright, yellow flame.

This easily gave off enough light to see by and he scanned the 
inside of the cave.  It wasn't what he expected a dragon's lair to 
be like.  On the downside there was no treasure, but on the upside 
there was no dragon either.  This confused him somewhat.  The king 
had said that on previous occasions, many years ago, men had been 
sent to summon the dragon.  The dragon had always came and the 
dragon rewarded the men in its own special way.  He had said that 
with a smooth, greased voice.  Daveo had remembered he didn't like 
to sound of it then and it sounded as if he was going to be a 
sacrifice.  But, at least it would save the castle.  The only 
problem was the dragon wasn't here.

Hang on, there was something engraved on the wall, near the 
entrance.  Daveo walked over and under the flicking torchlight 
read the message.  It was written in Latin and translated to "Seek 
the monster within thy self."

"Pretty strange," thought Daveo. "I wander what it means?"

Just then Daveo felt his legs begin to lengthen.  A second later 
his shoulders moved apart and his arms began to grow.  His clothes 
were quickly reduced to shreds and the torch fell to the floor.  

Back in the house, the book fell from David's hands as they 
quickly reformed into talons.  A tail began to grow from his back, 
forcing him out of the chair and onto the floor.  Strangely, his 
brain noticed that instead of carpet, the floor now felt sandy. 
The bones in his legs reformed and muscles grew around them.  The 
same happened with his arms.  He could feel his neck lengthen and 
his head grow heavy.  A pair of wings sprouted from his shoulders.  
With a shock, he felt the change start to affect his manhood, but 
he relaxed when it grew in size, and retreated into a newly formed 
sheath.  

He face felt like modelling clay.  His nose and mouth were drawn 
outwards, forcing his eyes slightly to the sides.  Razor sharp 
teeth extended from his gums and his eyes changed to slitted orbs.  
He felt himself grow inside and a ridge of spines extend from the 
top of his head, down his back, to the tip of his tail.  Finally, 
a covering a scales sprouted from his skin, hardening to armour 
plating within seconds.

Then all was still.

The beast which had been David, slowly moved its great head from 
the sandy floor of the room.  It didn't like this place, it was 
too cramped.  It needed to get out.  It watched as one wall 
dissolve away, revealing an opening, not unlike the mouth of a 
cave.  The dragon crawled towards it.  Behind it the room slowly 
faded and was replaced by a normal rock wall.  

The dragon reached to opening and launched itself into the late 
afternoon air.  From somewhere within its mind it remembered 
something about a castle begin attacked.  It had to scare the 
people on the outside.  It sighed, human problems were always so 
petty.  As the dragon rode a thermocline the castle came into view 
with the baron's tents spread out around it.  With a battle cry 
which struck fear into all who heard it, the dragon began to 
attack.  Just before the battle rush set in, the dragon decided 
that after this it would have to find a nice new lair, possibly a 
mate, then he could settle down and begin his new life.

As David dove down onto the terrified mass of men, the book lying 
on the floor of the den began to hum.  After a short while, a 
faint glow began to emanate from the logo on the cover.  Then, 
abruptly, with a small pop it vanished.  

Coincidentally, a few seconds later, a new book appeared on the 
shelf of a second hand bookstore in New York.  A young woman 
browsing the shelves pulled it out and admired the cover.  

"Just what I need," she thought.  "A good set of fantasy stories,  
something to inject a bit of excitement into my life..."  She paid 
the shopkeeper the $12 and headed for home.




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Sheep go baa; Cows go moo.