Mortals were, and always had been, some of Loraeza's favorite beings. They lived life so fully, without procrastination and with so much... well, life, ironically enough. When she had been a younger woman, she had daydreamed fantasies of finding a mortal love and having him until the end of his days, where she would weep over his frail body as he said his final goodbye. But as she got older, she realized that the morbid fantasies of human affairs she'd entertained in her mind were something of a child's love for great romance stories.
Three thousand years came and passed and she had still not found any great purpose for her existence. Her kind, as she knew, were of the immortals. Not only were they fierce warriors and passionate scholars, but it was also true that they were usually weary of the world they grew to know as time passed. Some of them, it drove mad. It was a sickness that all lords of her kind possessed inside of them. It was a sickness that she herself had thought about many times while she lay in bed, hoping that the next day would be more interesting than the one she'd just made her way through.
Three thousand years passed, and then one day... it happened.
Malrys; it the home of her family. Once upon a time it had been a giant castle, surrounded by guards and patrolled heavily during the dark ages. Yet now, it sat in the lower region of Rome, Italy. It was still beautiful, that was for sure. But once the Roman Empire of Man fell, it had lost it's luster. Or at least, Loraeza thought it had. Now, only known as Malrys Manor, it was less than half the size that it once had been, but it was still her home and she loved it dearly.
However, that never stopped it from growing tiresome and boring during the hot summer months. It was during the time where the light of the sun faded into the cool silver dark of the moon that Loraeza found herself leaning against the railing of the balcony that led from her rooms. She had spent most of the day there, just thinking and listening to the sounds of the estate. No one had bothered her that day, since her father was gone and her brothers had long since left their home years before. The only family member that she knew for sure was in the home was her mother, and there were doubts in Loraeza's mind that she was even there. It was unusual for her mother to be so silent.
But that didn't stop her from enjoying her peace. Or she tried to. It was unfortunately interrupted when she saw a flash of light down in one of the fields in front of her, and she frowned slightly. There was no reason for there to be any sources of light near that direction.
Normally, she would send one of her father's men to go check it out. After all, it really wasn't her problem and she had found enough trouble in the past to last several lifetimes over to make her parents nearly sick with worry. That night it was different though. She was far too curious are way too bored to just not go investigating.
With her skirt in one hand, she rushed out of her room and down the marbled halls of the great mansion. Her bare feet made a soft padding sound as she all but flew down the steps. She knew that it was likely that she could very well have imagined the flash of light, or maybe there was a completely logical explanation for such light. But then, there was that voice in the back of the head that slowly grew as she made her way through the field and into the grove of trees that it came from. What if it was something that changed everything? What if it was something grand.
However, a man dressed in a beggar's gray threads was the last thing she had expected to find.
He was shorter than her. Though, most men who weren't her kind were. And just like his clothes, his long beard and stringy hair were both gray with age, yet his eyes as he turned to look at her were full of life. There was something about this man who made her step back, take in her surroundings, and narrow her eyes ever so slightly in annoyance. Had she really gotten all excited for a wandering old man?
"Hello my dear!" He greeted cheerfully, as if he knew her well.
Despite where they were, he greeted her in English. It was something she found odd, just as his accent was odd, but Loraeza brushed it off without a second thought. An accent surely wasn't the strangest thing about this newcomer.
"You're not supposed to be here. This is private property." She spoke back to him after a beat of silence, crossing her arms as she did so. The old man shrugged and looked around, looking at the overhanging trees that blocked out most of the moonlight.
"Is it? I hadn't known."
Loraeza waited for a minute. It had seemed that was all he had to say on the matter, and that fact alone made her quirk an eyebrow at him. "Yes. It is. So if you could... I don't know... Leave, maybe, that would be very nice." He only smiled in return. "Or I could call security and they can help you on." She told him sternly.
"Oh come now. I haven't harmed anything. No, I was just about to come looking for someone for help!"
"Were you now?" The old man nodded once and looked her over, as if he were appraising her. Despite it not being a vulgar stare or anything like that, it still made her uncomfortable. "I take it you wandered in and got lost?" Loraeza asked, her voice losing some of its edge as she spoke. There wasn't really any reason for her to be cross with him, she knew that now. It still wasn't every day that you found a weird old man on your property, though.
"Oh no, no. Not lost at all. I've found just who I was looking for! And that person my dear, would be you." He said and she couldn't help the undignified snort that came out of her at his words.
"Me? I don't know you. And I would remember an odd fellow like yourself. So..." She trailed off, tilting her head at the end of the sentence. Instead of taking offense to what she said, he simply laughed and nodded. It was like they were both in on a joke. Except there was no joke, and she wasn't laughing.
"How rude of me. My name is Gandalf the Grey." This made her chuckle a little. It was a fitting name, that was for sure.
"Yeah? I'm Loraeza the Confused and Slightly Annoyed. Pleased to meet you. Now get off my property please." Were her words just before she turned and started walking away. Her arms fell to her sides as she took long strides, still feeling the gaze of the old man on her back.
"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure." He called out to her, but it never made her slow her pace. If anything, it just made her shake her head and laugh a little.
"You're not my type. Try the city, I'm sure there'll be someone adventurous who likes whatever you're offering." She called back over her shoulder. But his next words, as few as they were, made her stop completely.
"It concerns the fate of a great and terrible dragon."
"So let me get this straight. You, Gandalf the Grey, are from another world. A place called Middle Earth where there are Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, and god knows what else. And you want me to join this... company of dwarvenwarriors on this extremely dangerous adventure to try to reclaim their mountain. Said warriors want to kill thedragon-"
"The dragon Smaug." Gandalf interrupted from his spot beneath one of the trees.
"Yeah, sure. Smaug. The dwarves want to kill Smaug. But I'm supposed to go along to help save him. Am I getting this all right?" She asked, sitting on a bench that hadn't been too far from where she'd found Gandalf.
"Yes, my dear. You're very correct. Smaug, as he is terrible and a nuisance to the dwarven race, is still a being of great power, and I am hesitant for him to be killed, though it might prove futile. There is no sure way of saving him, but I must try, you see. You must try." He explained gravely, tipping his head down as he spoke.
"Mmm... yeah, that seems... I don't know, dangerous? For me, I mean. I can't simply go in there and say 'oh hello, I'm a dragon lord's daughter who doesn't care about you or your plans, I'm just here for the beast you wanna kill.' and get away with it." She paused briefly. "At least I'd hope I wouldn't be able to get away with it. I'd hope warriors are more careful than that." She blinked at the wizard, who'd only revealed himself to be a wizard after she'd scoffed in his face.
"Of course not. I searched for a willing heart to help the beast out, and yours was what I found. You just happened to be one of his kind. Or some species of his kind, in the very least. I have yet to figure out just what you are." He said, the unspoken question hanging in between the two. It made Loraeza roll her eyes in annoyance.
"You could've just outright asked what I was instead of being annoyingly subtle." She told him before clearing her throat and folding her legs up under her, letting the end of her skirt fall over the edge of the bench. "I'm a dragon, yeah. But... we're not like the dragons you're used to. At least, I don't think so. We're the two natured. Both dragon and man, both human and beast. We live forever, but we can die. We have great strength yet so many weaknesses plague us if we're not careful." Loraeza spoke as if she were reciting from a book, noticing Gandalf's amused expression. "I guess you could say we're the greatest race on earth, since we're also the strongest. But... Half of us go mad after a millennium or two and start attacking people. It's just something that happens. I wouldn't say we're anything special, but we're not horrid." Her lips were pursed.
"I never said you were."
"No, you didn't wizard. But from what I gather I'm not exactly the same as the dragons you speak of in your world, nor would I feel very welcomed going on this quest." Loraeza told Gandalf.
"You would not have to out right tell them what you are. All I must do is say that you are special, that you can help the company in many ways. I assure you, we have much time to figure out why you would be useful to the company without telling the truth." Gandalf said as he got up, leaning on his staff as he did so and putting his hat backon his head. Loraeza frowned at him.
"Are you really so willing to lie easily to your friends?" She asked, brows disappearing into her hairline in slight shock. This man had seemed loyal from what she'd heard in his voice while he spoke.
But all Gandalf Greyhame did was grin at her and shrug. "In matters such as these, I find it that keeping a few bits of truth to myself goes a very long way. Now up, up, up, Lady Loraeza! We have an adventure to be getting to!" He shuffled over to her and pulled her up, barely noticing that she was resisting in the least bit.
"What, now? I'm not even wearing shoes! And I haven't agreed! And I haven't told anyone that I'm going anywhere!" She argued, but was pushed along in front of him to a large stone that she hadn't remembered being there before that night.
"All will be fixed upon entering the door."
"...But, Gandalf... that's a big rock."
"Is it?" He asked from behind her, and she turned to frown down at him when she caught notice of the orb at the end of his staff glowing white. With a flash she was familiar with, she turned back to see a door settled into the rock. If she were being honest, it completely blew her mind when magic like that was done.
"This is a one time offer, Loraeza. Come and save Erebor, save Smaug, and find the life you've wanted fora long time." Gandalf rumbled behind her, obviously growing a little impatient at her hesitance.
And just like that, she knew, just knew that she had to open the door and walk through. So that's what she did.
Oh look at that, I've started a new story. This tale is one I've had floating around in my head for a while now, and I thought, well, why not give it a shot? More about Loraeza will be revealed later, and she will indeed meet our favorite dwarves and the one and only Bilbo Baggins later on.
But hey guys, be honest and tell me what you think. Yay or nay? Do you like Loraeza so far? Do you think she's annoying? Do you think she should've talked a little more with Gandalf before jumping head first into Middle Earth? What do you think of her being there for Smaug and not the Company? These are things I want your opinions on. So review! I might answer reviews in the next chapter, too.
next time on Dragon Tales and Dwarf Quests...
"Are all humans 'round these parts that short?" She asked, and he too stopped walking and turned to see the group of eight who had been trying to get the duo's attention. He laughed, realizing who the men were.
"Of course not, my dear. Why, those are some of the dwarves!"