Author's Note: I'm back! This has been a long time coming, mostly because of school keeping me busy (and it will continue to keep me busy. Week after next is dead week) but I'm sorry for keeping you all waiting. This is a project I've been considering taking up for awhile and it's a bit different in format from my other stuff. Here are a couple of notes on this:
1. This fanfictions owes a tremendous debt to my favorite fanfiction of all time "Lamentations of a Starry-Eyed Twit" by She's a Star (a Harry Potter, Snape/Sinistra fic) which is also a diary set up. It inspired this and it is excellent.
2. Dates are there moreso to get a feel for the passage of time than anything since we don't know (or at least I don't know) what kind of calendar they operate on in the Slayers Universe. I considered making up my own calendar, but decided to go with the familiar. As such, don't assume that weather or holidays that exist in our world will match up with the dates here. Also the first day mentioned is my birthday. I'm the writer so I can do that :P
3. Unfortunately Xellos's appearance is probably several chapters off in the distance (it make me sad too). So there will have to be a wait for Filia to start scrawling X + F in little hearts in the margins (that's what's going to happen, right?)
With that said, I hope you enjoy this first installment and continue on with me. Thanks for reading!
Diary of a Dragon
Chapter 1. Into the Unknown.
Sunday, February 19th.
Bountameer Inn. Dining Hall. 4:16 pm.
…I'm not sure what to write. I've never really done this before.
Well, I guess that's not really true. I've probably started a diary at least half a dozen times. It just always seemed like such a good idea to me ever since I'd read the suggestion in a conduct novel growing up. I mean, it would be nice to be able to go over the events of my day to be able to better puzzle over them—and of course to look back on and remember years down the line. And diary-keeping is supposed to be excellent for guiding the spiritual journeys of young ladies and keep them accountable for their behavior. But… I don't think I've ever stuck with one journal for more than a week. I always meant to keep it up but it's so much harder to do than it sounds. Some days it would seem like nothing would happen that was worth writing down and other days it seemed like so much had happened that I didn't know where to begin to write it all down. And well… after awhile I'd found I'd let the diary lapse so long between entries that it didn't seem worth it to continue from the same journal. So I'd start a new one. And… well, let's just say that Sister Vesma always said that between the diaries and the origami that I was a gigantic waste of paper.
Which I never thought was entirely fair, to be honest. After all, I'd always use the spare sheets from the diary eventually. It's not like I just let those empty pages sit there. But I suppose she never felt a folded paper armadillo was their best use anyway.
But I'm getting off topic. The point is that I must not let this journal lapse like the other ones. This time it's not just about personal or spiritual reflection or even about the art of folding paper. This is for the Supreme Elder and the fate of the world. I must record everything that happens and I must stay focused.
Oooh! There are so many different teas on the menu here! I wonder if they have Blue Archard tea or if they can't get that in the barrier countries…?
I have my tea (Lemon Zinger. Blue Archard was absent from the menu) and I'm ready to be focused now. I think I've realized why it's so hard to properly start this diary. The thing is that so much has already happened that it's impossible to get everything straight in my mind if I just dive in right in the middle of things. No! I have to start at the beginning—lay out the framework of everything that's led me away from the temple and to this inn in Elmekia; and everything that will lead me to my destination.
It began last week on a day that started out pretty ordinary. I'd been asked to take some of the children from the dormitories out on a flying lesson—a difficult proposition all on its own since all the boys already think they're expert fliers and won't listen to any dragon without a beard. They were a more difficult bunch than usual because they couldn't help but talk to one another about the pillar of light, which was not-so-conveniently-for-the-sake-of-class-attention-span framed against the distant mountains. I couldn't really blame them though; it worried me too. All anyone really knew at that point was that the highest class of seers was devoting all of their attention toward finding out its cause. We all placed our trust in the elders to navigate us through whatever might be looming over the horizon, of course, but it was still so foreboding.
I'd been about to take the children on a circular course around the temple when a dragon I recognized as one of the Supreme Elder's clerks flew up to us. He told me that the Supreme Elder wanted to see me immediately, which was reason enough to hurry but not terribly unusual. What he said next was. He told me that the Supreme Elder had asked specifically that I meet him in my human form.
It seemed rather peculiar to me. I mean, I've used my human form many times—anyone who can do it really has to just because it saves space in certain rooms like the dormitories. I take it more than a lot of dragons because smaller hands make handcrafts easier, but I'm by no means perfect at it. When I get well… frustrated my tail tends to pop out and sometimes my fangs even show. At least I haven't bursts through any roofs which, just so you know, is not something every dragon can say. Still, I couldn't imagine why he'd want to see me in my human form since he'd asked to meet me in the Great Cathedral, which is in no way a human-sized room.
In any case, I went to the Great Cathedral, feeling rather small, swallowed up by the vaulted ceiling and the crushingly large statue of the Fire Dragon King in the center. When I got there I saw not only the Supreme Elder sitting behind the conference table, but all the rest of the elders lined up alongside him. It was then that I realized that this had to be something far more serious then the Supreme Elder simply advising me to work on my human form or quizzing me on the five holy spells of exorcism.
The Supreme Elder greeted me pleasantly and asked me to please sit down in the chair in the center of the room. When I sat down it struck me that because of the rounded shape of the table I couldn't see all the elders very well, but they could all see me—or glare at me, more like. They all looked so very grim except for the Supreme Elder. …Well, I suppose he did look a little grim too, but he manages to look grim in a kindly way.
He asked me how I was doing and how my training was coming along. I answered him as best I could, but I knew this couldn't be the reason he'd called me.
"Sir," I said tentatively, "could you please tell me what this is all about?"
He looked at me very seriously and what he said next I have repeated to myself so many times over the past week that I will probably never forget it even if I don't write it down.
There shall come a controller of a dark star who shall call forth the light and the world shall be flooded with darkness. Dragon's blood shall spread and, following the struggle between light and darkness, a single star shall be awakened. Around that star shall spin five lights. And the power will be a darkness beyond twilight, a brilliance beyond the dawn. When the power is unleashed we shall yield to an arrow-like force which will split the heavens apart.
He gave me a very serious look as the echoes of his strange chant reverberated through the chamber. "Filia," he said, "what can you make of this?"
I didn't bother to ask for more information. The Supreme Elder had tested me many times on scripture and prophecy interpretation and I knew he would only tell me more after I had given him my answer. Still… this couldn't be a simple test. Not with the rest of the elders there.
I stopped trying to figure out what his angle was and simply tried to focus on finding an interpretation. "Well," I had tried hesitantly, "I think to start off with it sounds like the world is being threatened by some kind of destructive force."
"That much is obvious," sneered Elder Balius. He spoke not to me, but to the Supreme Elder. "If this is all we can expect from her then I don't know why you bothered calling her."
"Give her time," the Supreme Elder answered, not taking his eyes off me. "Go on Filia. What sort of destructive force?"
I tried to focus entirely on the passage and batten back the flush that I was sure had risen in my face. "Classically darkness refers to black magic," I thought aloud, "or the monsters." I thought about that some more and it stopped making sense. "But wait a minute," I added, "Light by contrast represents holy magic and the Gods." I looked up at them, unsure what to think of this riddle. "How can a dark force bring light that floods the world with darkness?"
"It is a problem worth thinking about," the Supreme Elder answered cryptically. "Yet, you are right to recognize both the servants of the Dark Lord and ourselves, the servants of the Gods, within that passage. 'Darkness beyond twilight' is, as you know…"
"The Dark Lord's spell," I murmured, preferring to say that over its true name.
"And 'Brilliance beyond the dawn?'" the Supreme Elder asked.
"That's…" I began in a hushed voice, "the spell of…"
"Of Ceifeed, yes," The Supreme Elder finished.
That had just made matters more confusing. "How could one power have the force of monsters and of the dragons?" I asked.
"Impossible," one of the elders insisted in a tone that made it clear that it had better be impossible or someone would be in a great deal of trouble.
"Think of it a different way," the Supreme Elder suggested. "A single star—a single vessel—shall arise to answer this grave and mysterious threat to our people and to the peace of the world itself. The passage says that this star follows the struggle between light and darkness. Think, Filia. What is neither wholly sacred nor irredeemably profane? What beings strive between the two poles, never quite able to become one thing or the other?"
I tried to think of all he'd taught me about the world. 'Not one thing or the other…' It reminded me of something he'd said to me long ago about… about…
"Do you mean… humans?" I ventured.
I could hear a great exhale from the council of elders. For some it was a sigh; for others a groan. I felt as though I'd finally given them what they were so desperate to hear from me.
"Yes," the Supreme Elder had said, with a somewhat triumphant expression. "Humans are indeed what we believe that passage refers to. Well done, Filia."
I couldn't help letting out my own sigh of relief. I hadn't wanted to embarrass the Supreme Elder by getting the answer wrong.
The Supreme Elder folded his hands in front of him and went on: "That passage is a prophecy that we received from our top scryer two nights ago. He was consulting the Gods about the reason behind the pillar of light that stands in the far distance over the sea and about what should be done concerning it."
"So it's true?" I asked. I knew it couldn't have been just a test, but I didn't want to believe that such a frightful thing would really happen.
"Yes," the Supreme Elder said, nodding his aged head. "A time of great trial is ahead of us. The fate of our people and the peace of the world are both in check and if our interpretation of the prophecy is correct, then a human being is the only thing that stands between us and destruction." He looked at me gravely. "Filia, we must find this human who can stand against the destruction and guide him to the pillar of light in order to face whatever resides there. That is the only way that we can protect the peace of this world."
The weight of this revelation was heavy on me, but I found it difficult to believe that if we could do nothing against this force that there could possibly be a human strong enough to overcome it, and I said so.
"That is where you come in, Filia," the Supreme Elder said.
"Miss Ul Copt," one of the other elders said in clipped tones. "Your part in this is to scour our records for a candidate possessing enough power to be the human race—and the world's—champion."
"But why me?" I asked. It was out before I had time to think any better of it.
"Duty before questions, Miss Ul Copt," the same elder answered severely.
"I have every confidence that you will find an appropriate option for us to consider, Filia," the Supreme Elder said. "We will reconvene in three days' time to hear your findings."
I wasn't sure if I was dismissed or not, shaken as I was by this monumentally important task being dropped on my shoulders. I got up slowly and was about to leave when the Supreme Elder said one more thing.
"With an eye to the future," he said, "maintain your human form for the next three days. It will be good practice."
It was good practice. It's only thanks to being able to take human form that I can hang around in this crowded inn and kill time before dinner without causing a panic. It's a very strange feeling to be outside the temple like this… before I'd barely ever even seen a human and now all of a sudden they're everywhere. It's gone from all dragons and no humans to all humans and no dragons. It's very… isolating. Which is I suppose one of the reasons for this diary. The Supreme Elder said that it would help me maintain my devotion to the dragon race even while I'm out of the temple—so I won't fall into the evil ways of the world. Plus it will aid in my report once I return.
But I haven't gotten there yet, I suppose. After I met with the elders I dutifully researched human heroes… or at least what humans call heroes. Most of them seemed like muscle-bound bullies to me. Shouldn't a hero represent an ideal?
After much searching I finally found someone that seemed like she'd be a good fit. She's a Knight of Ceifeed, so she must possess quite a lot of power and be virtuous to be chosen to have the power of a God. As soon as I read about her I knew I'd found my winner.
I reported my findings to the Council of Elders and they seemed reasonably pleased by my choice. The Supreme Elder congratulated me on my work and then told me that the next step was to approach the Knight and ask for her assistance. "Filia," he asked, "will you be the one to make that journey?"
I gulped. I'd had a feeling this question was coming and had prepared myself in advance. I was scared of leaving the temple and what I might face out there (or here, now) on my own—In fact, I'm still scared. But this was important and I was burning to help however I could—to do my part to save the world from destruction.
"Yes, sir," I said.
"Are we to trust this entire mission to some hapless neophyte who's hardly even stepped beyond the temple grounds?" another one of the elders cut in.
I have to admit I… bristled at that comment. I know it's not my place to disagree with the council of elders. They are our wisest and their guidance is what holds us together and gives us the strength to act in trying times. And it wasn't as though I didn't have my doubts too. Still, I am a priestess of the first holy order. A hapless neophyte I am most certainly not.
"Yes, Filia has never been out of the temple on her own," the Supreme Elder allowed, "but she's well studied in terms of geography and culture, her magical and physical combat skills are exemplary, and her nature is suitable for interacting with humans. I'm sure she will not disappoint us."
Even though the rest of the council didn't seem as sure as the Supreme Elder, it really bolstered my sense of self worth to know that he thought I could do this and that all my hard work had been noticed.
So they gave me instructions to find the Knight of Ceifeed, persuade her to help us, and bring her back to the temple so the council could see her in person to be sure that she is the one the prophecy spoke of. They even gave me a reward to offer her to make sure she agrees! Imagine that—a reward for saving the world! Isn't saving the world its own reward? I'm sure the Knight of Ceifeed will laugh over that and say that no reward in necessary for such a noble task.
Still, it seems like the elders don't want to take any chances. The Supreme Elder told me that if by some chance I'm unable to persuade the Knight of Ceifeed that he leaves it in my hands to find someone to replace her. I hope it doesn't come to that. Ordinary humans only have so much power, after all. That's why the Knight of Ceifeed is really our best and only option.
It was after that that he told me to start keeping this diary on my journey and I'm going to do my very best to follow his advice. Maybe this will finally get me in the habit of keeping a journal after all!
He also advised me to travel as efficiently as I could—but not to fly the entire way, since it's important that I soak up the human culture so I can better blend into it. And anyway, I prefer walking to flying, to be perfectly honest. Flying just takes so much energy—if I walk I can travel for longer periods of time without needing rest.
Still… I probably packed too much to take with me, so there's a lot to lug around. Maybe I didn't need to bring my own tea set but… well, you never know when you're going to be out in the middle of nowhere and just dying for a cup of tea. And of course cat's cradle and other craft equipment are a must in case I get bored. Clothes, cooking equipment, toiletries, camping gear, assorted knickknacks, a few guide books and language dictionaries… Well, when I started packing it was hard to stop. It was like I had the strange feeling that I'd never be able to come back to my room, so I had to snatch up everything that would be useful or was important to me. Which is crazy, of course. I'm just guiding the Knight back to the temple—after that the rest will probably be up to one of the higher ranking dragons. Or even if I do guide the Knight to the pillar of light, she'll be the one doing most of the work and I'll be right back at the temple in no time. ...Hopefully.
Of course, the item that's the most cumbersome to carry around is my mace. A girl on her own can't be too careful, after all, so of course I had to bring it. But it wouldn't fit in my pack and I get a lot of weird looks from people carrying it around. I think it makes them uncomfortable and they don't see how someone with my frame could lift it. I don't exactly want to start alerting people to the fact that I'm a dragon (hence the headdress to cover my ears) so I'm going to have to figure out some more inconspicuous way of carrying my mace…
Oh well! I'm sure something will occur to me on the road. At least I'm well prepared if something bad does happen. And it's best to keep positive about this. I will make it to Zephilia and I will persuade Luna Inverse to save the world and she will triumph against the destructive forces threatening the world.