Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chapter 7: Communication (Cont'd Again)

    "I do not mean to insult Fulkar, but do you know what a dirt dog is?"
    "I'm afraid I do not. I have never seen anything like you. It is not an insult. Please enlighten me on your species, I find it most interesting," Fulkar said, his enormous head leaning closer to the little dirt dog who was slightly smaller than one of the great eyes that was studying him with such interest.
    "A dirt dog is a mammal as is probably obvious. We are not a species of dog, but were named such because of our similar appearance. We are all relatively the same size and males and females are only discernible by the length of the tail. Males, like myself, have a tail, that as you can see, can wrap almost all the way around under my chin. Females, on the other hand, have short tails that do not curl when carried, like males, but point almost directly upwards. We are magical creatures and are incredibly gifted at hiding. Our fur changes color depending on the surface we are standing on."
   "It used to be one of my favorite games when I was a child," Ardan informed Fulkar. "I would lay down different colored blankets and watch as he changed color. I was never allowed to tell anyone though."
   "If I may be so bold," interjected Fulkar "may I ask for a demonstration. It sounds incredibly fascinating."
   "Of course. May I?" Rheto gestured towards Fulkar's giant paw and after a nod proceeded to gingerly step over the talons and onto the scaly skin. After only a few seconds the fur on Rheto's feet turned a deep blue, followed by his legs, belly, back, and ending with his head and tail. His fur even mimicked the appearance of scales and the metallic texture of them. Fulkar gasped, his eyes wide and shining.
   "Most amazing!" Fulkar exclaimed "if it weren't my own foot, I don't believe I would know you were there at all. Has there ever been a surface you could not duplicate? A pattern too complicated or a texture too rich?"
   "None that I have come across."
   "Astounding. Truly astounding." Rheto leapt lightly off of the great paw and within seconds his color returned to that of the sand.
   "We have a life span of just under a century, though many have lived mush longer. I myself am only a child. I will be twenty-three when it turns cold again. And you Fulkar - I know in tales that drakon lives spanned centuries upon centuries - is it true?"
   "It is. I myslef am young. I am 167 years old, but my grand-sire is still alive and will be 632 in a very short time. I've never known any that lived too 1000, but there have been stories." Ardan had been speechless for moments, but this left him dumbfounded. In his village you were inducted into the ancient table at fifty and most man lived no more than sixty. There was a woman who was near eighty, but 167! Not to mention 600! That was incomprehensible.
   "And you Ardan. you are 12, am I right?" asked Fulkar
   "Which in human years is almost grown, so we are all young. But do not feel downtrodden young man. Just because we are young does not mean that we are not important." Ardan lifted his eyes fro the sand. He had trouble believing that he could be important, but when Fulkar said it, it wasn't as hard.
   "Now Ardan I would hear about you." Fulkar switched his gaze to the young man, who was seated, legs crossed, in the sand.
  "There's not much to tell. I was born in the village just over the dunes, near the oasis. My mother is young, her name is Arta, but my father is dead. He died of a disease just before I was born..." Ardan stopped because Rheto had flinched noticeably, a barely audible whine escaping his throat. "Rheto, what is it?" asked Ardan, looking at the small dirt dog with large, round eyes.
   "I feel... now that I can truly use it, i cannot hold my tongue. Your mother would be furious with me, but I cannot help but feel you must know the truth." Fulkar tilted his head, obviously interested and tried his best to look at both of his new friends, but was having trouble.
   "What are you talking about Rheto?" Ardan was growing nervous. He was happy in his life, he didn't want that to change.
  "I believe..." Fulkar said soothingly "that whether for your own good or someone else's that you have been lied to." Ardan's mouth hung open. He couldn't believe it. For twelve years he had lived among the people, believing they were just that, his people. Now, he would doubt everything.
  "Please don't be angry with anyone Ardan." Rheto began, placing his tiny paw on Ardan's knee. "Your mother and everyone else who knows the truth lied for your own good. You are not of the desert people. You were born in the village, but your mother was not. She came here only a few months before you were born. She had no choice. It is a long story."
   "Please Rheto, I am expecting to be upset, but I must know," Ardan pleaded.
   "It is best," Fulkar agreed.
   "All right Ardan, but do not interrupt or I might lose my nerve and never finish." Ardan nodded and Fulkar inclined his head. So, the little dirt dog cleared his throat and began.

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