Good morning, questioning creatures!
After last week’s somewhat drier and more scholarly storytime (though the lessons on the nature of true dragons are of upmost importance), I hope that this week’s answer will be a bit less information-packed and just a bit more entertaining. We’ll see though. On to this week’s question!
Hark, fearsome wyrm! Legend holds that ye dragons gather most expansive hoards of riches. Thy greed is incomparable. Pray tell, hath a brigand or bandit ever been successful in robbing you of any part of thine treasure? If it is true, in what was the method this thief enacted said deed? Robin Hood
Ha! Do not kid yourself, burglar! I know this is nothing but an attempt to claim a piece of my hard-earned treasure for yourself. Be warned though—while it is true that throughout my long life, with all of the wealth I have gained, a piece or two have gone missing from time to time, those who attempt to claim my riches for themselves have all met a terrible demise by my hand. (Er…claw, I guess. Sometimes my teeth. Usually my teeth, actually.)
To show what a terrible idea it is to even attempt stealing from me, and to demonstrate yet another element of what it means to be a true dragon, I will tell you the tale of one of the most frustrating thieves I’ve ever encountered.
This happened only around a few centuries ago. I was in the process of moving lairs as I had so many times before. This process involved multiple trips, many magical “bigger on the inside” bags, and quite a bit of flying. My new lair, which is the same one Geldrin, the harpies, and I currently live in, was a small cave under a bluff in the middle of quite a large forest. After clearing the cave of a few undesirable residents, a few grumpy and tasty bears, I scoured it thoroughly to make sure my treasure would be safe. (Or so I thought. To be honest, the thought of moving once again made me a little too lax in the security department.)
A bit later, satisfied that this cave looked roomy and defensible enough, I began the process of moving. I hate moving. Even with my magic bags and incredible strength, my hoard had grown so large that it would take at least three trips. Can you imagine? It was on the way back from the last trip that I noticed something unusual—one particularly valuable piece of treasure I had already deposited in my new lair was moving! But how, dear reader, could I possibly know this?
Well, a somewhat little-known secret about dragons, and one that is the key reason why stealing from us is such a foolish endeavor, is that we can actually pinpoint our location in relation to our hoards. Once a piece of treasure has become saturated with enough draconic magic, any true dragon with enough years behind his scales can know the precise location of said item. Until the day that we voluntarily either trade or give away said piece (something that I never thought would happen until Geldrin convinced me to invest in this new hoard of books), we can focus our senses and know the almost-exact location of any piece of treasure in our hoard. The longer our draconic magic has seeped into the piece, the easier we can locate any misplaced or stolen item.
The moving treasure was a mithril staff, about four feet in length, with inset purplish jewels and a large obsidian spider topping the whole thing. A beautifully crafted item, and one that I had recovered from a group of mean-looking elves I found roaming around at night. They tasted much like rage, ambition, disdain, and warm bread. A very odd combination of flavors, and one I had not tasted before. Unfortunately, I had taken this staff and a few other valuables from them only a few years before this, thus my connection to it was not quite as strong as it could be. I knew which item was not where it should be, and I knew the general direction, but focus as I might while heading back to the new lair, I could not see the exact location.
As quick as a treasure-laden dragon could fly, I bolted back to the forested cave. Lunging into the treasure room and throwing down the valuables, I took quick stock of my hoard. To a wyrmling, there would be no change at all; the scattered treasure was all still there, or so it seemed. This being the only missing item meant that it must have been something or someone looking for this specific piece, and this piece only.
A different being may have let it go at this point, but by the platinum dragon’s glittering scales, I am Grendel and NO ONE steals from me! I focused my senses as best as I possibly could, momentarily forgetting my rage, and thought of only the spidery staff. I could feel it moving, being carried it seemed, but where? Ah, there! My heart sank. My treasure, for whatever terrible reason, was currently being taken far, far into the deepest, darkest caverns of the unfathomable depths. It was already at least a mile under the surface and continuing to head downwards. Not at all a pleasant place for a large dragon!
A quick search of my cave and I found the place where the thief must have entered—a small hole, only a few feet wide, at the very back of my new lair. Beyond I could see a deep cavern, diving straight down into the bowels of the earth. Unpleasant as it would be, it was time for dear old Grendel to go spelunking!
And here’s where I will have to leave the story for the time being. Geldrin is begging for a break since he just learned that a massive cave system exists below where he sits now. Just wait till I tell him that the entrance is now behind a bookshelf in his room! Ha! Oh, I guess now he knows. Until next time!