And here we are again, entertaining my favorite subject and answering your burning questions!
A very surprisingly astute question, bartender, and one that has a very interesting story attached to it.
It was a few days after I had met my first and only friend Geldrin the gnome. He had still been interviewing me and scribbling notes when we arrived at the subject of a dragon’s hoard of treasure. I began to explain a dragon’s innate need to gather gold and gems and the like, and how our magic could flow in and through the hoard itself if it had grown big enough, sustaining a dragon physically, though we still enjoyed the taste of creatures big and small.
At this he began asking about specific treasures I had been resting upon: A jeweled dagger I had claimed from a desert prince’s caravan, a silver bowl that had been used for temple rituals while the building had still been there (I destroyed it!), and even a fine crystal orb that was created to keep dragons away from a human settlement (good job thatdid! Though it does still give me a little headache when I touch it.). I was in the middle of describing how I procured a magical, mist-filled mirror when Geldrin pointed out some tiny, pink book covered in hearts. I had been sitting upon it for some time and it was nearly squashed, but Geldrin seemed incredibly interested in it.
“Ah! A cute little book!” he said. “Looks like a dairy…”
“Oh, little Geldrin…” I replied. “I’m sure this has nothing to do with cows.”
Geldrin had shown himself to say foolish things from time to time, but this was a new low for my new friend.
Editor’s note: Before I send this letter out tied to the claw of our carrier phoenix, I must add in here this note—I obviously said DIARY not DAIRY, but just try correcting a dragon yourself. See what happens.
Geldrin asked to hold what he apparently thought had cows in it but was disappointed.
“Ah! This DOES look like a dairy.”
(I said DIARY!)
“But I think it’s in Elven,” lamented Geldrin. “I never learned the language of the ageless ones.”
“Let me look at it. Maybe I can reveal its secrets…”
Geldrin handed the book back to me.
“Ah, yes. Looks like it had belonged to an elven princess.”
“How in all the upper planes do you know that? Can you read it?!”
“Of course I can read it!” I said. “Though why I would ever want to waste the time is beyond me.”
Editor’s note: I later learned that Grendel learned the Elven language either because of some innate draconic gift or because he had eaten so many elves that he somehow absorbed their knowledge. Or maybe he just learned it as a wyrmling. He’s never revealed the truth on this.
“Amazing,” said the little pointy-eared one. “Where did you get it?”
I thought for a moment. “Oh! I remember ransacking an elven tree castle a few years ago. They had surprisingly powerful magicks and nearly drove me out. I only had a few moments in their treasury to myself before their druids put up enough of a fight that I grew annoyed and flew off. Apparently, in my haste, I grabbed this worthless thing,” I said, tossing the book back down at Geldrin’s feet. “You can take this and throw it in with the rest of the dusty, papery things.”
“Oh, but my dearest and most fearsome friend! I would not be so quick to dismiss this dusty, papery thing! Though it may not glitter, the tales within contain entertaining and invaluable knowledge! And you must know that knowledge is power!”
Geldrin here again. Granted, I DID correct Grendel here, but we had moved past the dairy thing, and I figured this correction was much more important. Especially since, at this point, I had not brought up the subject of exactly WHY I was taking notes about everything nor my idea for the book.
“Nonsense! How could simple words contain power?” I replied.
“Well, brilliant dragon, read me a passage from that book and I’ll see If you can prove my point.”
I flipped through the tiny thing, trying not to rip the pages beyond legibility with my massive claws.
“Hmm… there’s talk of what someone ate for breakfast… an absolute fascination with unicorns, which is ridiculous. Unicorns taste like glitter and their horns get stuck in your throat.” I flipped a few pages ahead. “Apparently the princess was betrothed to an elven prince from a neighboring kingdom, but it says here she was in love with some orc…”
“OH! There!” Geldrin nearly yelled as he raised a pointed finger into the air. “That’s VERY powerful information! I think I remember hearing of some scandal years ago in the elven community. Something to do with a runaway princess! Yes!”
Geldrin was very excited upon hearing the tale scribbled in the book. He went on and on for a while on how I could use the information in this book. How much folks would pay to know what it said. How this was a fantastic example of the whole “knowledge power” idea. He droned on for a bit, but I stopped listening as an amazing realization entered my magnificent mind.
“Geldrin! Shut it!” I said, prompting the gnome to look somewhat abashed “You know what this means? I can read this book, but you cannot. I can glean very personal information about creatures through these books. Information that I can then use to my advantage next time I want to raid them or even just guess which creature might taste better than the next. For example, if I read a dwarf’s book and he’s been seasoning himself in a paprika bath every day, then I’d want to go find that dwarf and eat him right away!”
“Grendel… that’s not what I meant about—”
“Silence, mortal!” I roared, temporarily reverting to my ferocious ways in my excitement. “But on the other hand, if a human has been basting in pure cinnamon her whole life, then I will know to throw her into a volcano instead!”
Geldrin blinked, apparently surprised at my outburst, but he quickly regained his composure and somewhat meekly asked about the other papery things I had mentioned.
“Oh! Yes! I have thousands of other books in the rubbish room!”
As I directed him to the little antechamber I had thrown a century’s worth of garbage into, his eyes lit up like I had not seen. The amazement on the little gnome’s face was somewhat adorable, I must admit, for though he called it a “tremendous, but painfully untidy mess”, he was still thrilled by the countless tomes, books, scrolls, and manuscripts of all sorts I had collected.
And though he seemed very excited, I think I was even more thrilled at the possibilities of it all and of the newfound ability I had discovered in myself.
“Just think of how much ‘knowledge power’ I can gain from grasping all of the information contained in these books!” I exclaimed. “I will know something about nearly every tasty creature in the world! My future meals will tremble before me and my personal knowledge of them. My omnipotent brain! My memory-reading sight… my… All-Seeing Eye! Yes! I shall now be known as Grendel, the All-Seeing Eye! Write THAT down on your little parchment!”
Final Editor’s note: That’s the long and short of it. I would have told my dragon friend about how most of the books in his collection are of fictional characters, historical romances, or spell tomes, but I figured it best to, again, not correct a dragon, especially when he’s already salivating at the possibilities. And hey, now that the library has been organized, I have a nice place to read and write in the lair. Just be wary if you send any stories to Grendel. He may use the words within to learn how best to season YOU!