Good evening, Draconic Inquirers!

     Hopefully you’ve all been enjoying the various stories from yours truly! We’ve had a wide variety of questions from an even wider variety of question-askers, and only a few bags worth of junk mail that were promptly incinerated! (Looking at you, “Want to sell your cave for cash?” guys!) Today’s question is another good one and apparently comes from a very interesting individual—a talking cat!

     How do you get your petto feed you more? Leave it to a cat to ask such a question. If I were in your place, I’d probably have just eaten the human before the option of it feeding me even came up. Or… Geldrin is reminding me of my vow. “No sentient being shall ever again be consumed by me as long as we work together, so help me.” Yes, yes. Now, come to think of it, Geldrin is kind of my own pet! And he DOES feed me sometimes. We’ve tried deer, elk, berries, chicken… quite a few unintelligent meals, though I’ve been missing the complex flavors of the more intellectual species.

     Ah, but there I go again reminiscing about past meals when this was not the point of your question. Have I ever had a pet? Yes. A few times one or two critters in my possession have probably counted as a “pet.” The most recent of these was part pet, part draconic study. It was only a few decades ago, before hiring the harpies and starting this whole company, that Geldrin asked what I knew of chimeras.

     For those of you who don’t know, a chimera is a conglomeration of different animals, combined through magical means. No one seems to know where they came from, or what the original chimera was, but mad wizards to powerful otherworldly beings have all been blamed for these monstrosities. They can have a variety of forms, usually sporting multiple heads and limbs of different animals, though by far the most common has the body of a lion, the back legs of a goat, with both a goat and lion’s head in front. The weirdest thing, though, and the reason Geldrin wanted to study these odd creatures, is the addition of a red dragon’s head and wings.

     Obviously, the dragon parts are the odd element out in this bizarre combination, and without them a chimera would be no more than a miserable beast, but how much draconic power did the dragon head actually possess? We had heard tales that the wings allowed the creature to fly, albeit clumsily, and the head was even able to expel fiery breath! But could it talk? Was it sentient? Or was it yet another unintelligent beast simply in the shape of a mighty dragon? Capturing one was our way to find out.

Though I didn’t care nearly as much as Geldrin did, I figured that getting him answers would stop him from chattering on about chimera this and chimera that and back to asking the important questions—anything and everything about yours truly!

     A few days of scouring known chimera territory and asking local rangers (which I was NOT allowed to eat, mind you!), and we found our triple-headed, goat-tushied monstrosity in a clearing, consuming a freshly charred elk. I grabbed both the creature and its meal, throwing what was left of the elk in my massive maw as the dragon head tried helplessly to engulf me in his fire breath. All the way back to my lair I flew, ignoring the bites and headbutts from the thrashing beast.

     We had prepared a room in the cave for our new pet, complete with a thick stone door, plenty of soft, natural bedding, and a fully stocked herd of woodland critters to keep it fed. We decided to name it “Hlar,” which is draconic for “Roar.” For weeks it paced around the room, roaring, bleating, and roasting everything. Though this creature was impressively violent, scratching and tearing at everything in its cave, over the noises of general violence was the never-ending racket of the goat and lion. For days this continued. When the lion slept, the goat bleated. When the goat slept, the lion roared. The dragon made not a sound that we could hear. I slumbered not a wink in those terrible days, and multiple times I almost destroyed the beast in my exhausted rage. Only for the friendship of my gnome friend did I stay my fury.

Geldrin, bless his tiny heart, tried absolutely everything to see about communicating with the dragon head. Though it eventually calmed down after we demonstrated that we were not trying to hurt it, the beast never let the gnome get close. For days Geldrin researched every book we had on the subject, trying to find some evidence of how to possibly approach the furious creature.

“If I could simply get close enough to ask the dragon a question,” he would mutter to himself. “But even the few times I’ve tried, the endless roaring and bleating… there’s no way to talk to it!”

Eventually on a whim, and mostly to be done with this whole situation, I was helping him with his research when I came upon a passage by some dull scholar in an old tome. In it, among details of chimera diet and hunting methods was a passage about the creature’s amazing regenerative abilities. Yes, just like the troll from the last storytime, this beast can regenerate itself as well! I scanned the page, gave an approving nod, and glided into the chimera’s lair.

Geldrin must have been pretty worried about our new “pet,” as the sounds of violent roaring and bleating, followed by a viscous ripping and tearing reverberated throughout the lair, causing him to rush into Hlar’s room. I must say, seeing me holding a lion’s severed head while a goat’s horn was sticking out of my chewing mouth must have looked prettysuspicious. Geldrin’s pale face said he was feeling somewhat betrayed, so I reassured him through bites.

“Just wait,” I told him, tossing the lion’s head into my mouth. “Iff fine, buff”

I stepped aside, showing him the still writhing head of the dragon, untouched and still attached, though reeling somewhat from the recent removal of two of its brains. I swallowed my mouthful (which tasted like meat and just a little bit of pride) and continued reassuring the gnome.

“These heads can grow back! One of your books told me. Now you can talk to the other head. Now ask away so we can release this obnoxious thing.”

Geldrin’s shock turned to appreciation as he told me a very false and nonsensical, “Ah, Grendel… there’s more kindness in you than you realize. Thank you, friend!”

He then cautiously approached the dragon head, it being somewhat covered in lion’s blood, and began his first question. So sorry about that, dragon. Are you alright? Can you speak?”

The red dragon head lulled for a moment, then seemed to regain its facilities. It thrashed violently, causing Geldrin to retreat to safety behind my tail. A moment later, the head stood straight up, blinking with a kind of intelligent realization we hadn’t seen from it before. Then, it spoke. It had the most regal of accents, speaking in draconic, but with a shockingly intelligent air.

“Oh, good sir! Yes, I am capable of speech… at least for the moment! And a great THANK YOU to you and this here true dragon!” The creature gave the most magnificent bow, spreading its wings in a sign of respect and continued. “Though I fear this shall only last for but a moment. Already I can feel my other parts beginning to regrow, as my mind is once again beginning to dull to the point of bringing back my beast-like nature. Though, for the time being, I retain my full facilities! Pray tell, for what reason doth thee have for elevating me to this advanced state of being?”

Geldrin and I gave each other a surprised look. Apparently, three heads can be worse than one! I nudged the gnome back ahead, encouraging him to ask what questions he had. He produced his signature parchment and quill and began asking the dragon head every question he could think of, from the origins of chimera, to diet, to mating habits and beyond. Hours later, his parchment was full, and the dragon’s head was matched with a tiny, mewing kitten head next to the bleating head of a lamb. Already the dragon’s speech was beginning to slur as its mental facilities were forcibly shared between two dimwitted beasts.

Eventually we decided to release Hlar back to the habitat we took it from. Tearing off the other heads every few hours was too much effort, and we found out it still caused it great pain despite the regeneration, so Geldrin demanded we stop. We left the creature back in the same clearing with a few elk carcasses as a thank you. I swear to this day, that as I flew away, Geldrin on my back, I looked back down at our temporary pet and thought I saw the dragon head wink at me.

So that’s the story of one time I had the oddest of pets. Though honestly, I think my gnome counts as a pet as well. Hopefully this answers the question! As always, continue seasoning your minds with draconic knowledge, chimeric of otherwise!