- (From the “Kitsune, Dragon and Yissen” by Nendenaki Takashaiwa)
Year 17,358 Imperial (Mortal calendar), 26 days since the Sky smote the Earth.
“And so, the huge dead human bore an axe of flame and struck the door with all his rage, bending its internal magics enough that it opened to them, and allowed us all into the monster's treasury.
And what a hoard we found. Coins of every type, mintage and metal lay strewn about in huge drifts, glinting beneath a veil of dusty ages, whilst rare metals and fine grained woods shone in the sides of coffers, chests and delicate vases – themselves stuffed with riches. Weapons, armours, and arcane devices that chuckled and fidgeted with magic were sprinkled throughout, and I must admit, that even I, a beast with little use for mortal treasures, could feel the lust for their possession stir within me.
With effort, the mortals closed the door to the chamber, and rudely, bade me begin again the ritual to open a door from this dimension to the mortal world. Hungry, dirty and eager to be gone, I managed – somehow – to swallow my indignation at their lack of gratitude and their simple lack of manners, and began the Opening Chant once more.
I shall not lie; mortals are idiots. As you, dear reader, almost certainly know, any ritual, especially one worked by oneself, requires a huge amount of concentration. Well, imagine trying to concentrate when the small chamber you are in is filled with battle!
Yes, even in here, the mortals found something to fight!
It seems that some of the coins, and one of the larger coffers, were in fact guardian creatures. They called them “Mimics”, though this word has no meaning to me. Whatever they were, they were able to perfectly imitate the items they were spoofing, and so were able to surprise everyone with their opening attacks.
I shall not wallow in the details of battle, except to say that it was a tough one. The monsters were quite resilient, and the larger one made life miserable for all by spewing blinding, stinging gas, and at one point, disturbed my ritual by giving out such a terrible shriek that I was quite unable to think of anything for a moment.
And of course, no sooner had they been dispatched, then the dragon himself appeared outside the chamber; roaring, coiling and railing against the Arjiin portal with his claws and spirit fire.
Well, we were as good as dead I thought, and though my instincts told me to try and flee, or to offer the mortals up as some kind of bargaining chip, I continued with the door making, hoping that the mortals might at least slow Gasharo down enough that I could escape.
At first they seemed to pin their hopes on the door holding the raging T'ien Lung back. However, they realised with horror that the monster would destroy it long before I could weave my portal, and so they began to panic.
“Is there a secret way out?” Screamed one idiot.
“Maybe there is a powerful item we can use against him!” Screams another.
“Maybe we can threaten to smash something he loves!” Bleated a third.
And then a frenzy of activity whilst they search for non-existent exits, non-existent super weapons and non-existent treasures.
A moment then, the door denting and warping in its frame, the air filled with the deafening rumble and bellow of the dragon's rage, where the mortals simply seemed dazed by their predicament; the realisation that they were going to die in that place finally settling into their minds.
And then something amazing happened.
All at once the mortals began to scream at the dragon, the water spirit translating the words of their woman, whilst the others chipped in with ideas for what to say. He spoke of mistakes and pacts – words that Gasharo spat down in his rage, reminding them that there had been no mistake when they had slain his three captains, freed his prisoners and murdered scores of his troops. They spoke of misunderstandings and apologies, but Gasharo merely railed against the door some more.
And then they threatened him!
Even lost, as I was, in the casting of my door, this seemed like suicide. However, I fancy their words had baffled the dragon; a creature used to seeing his enemies flee at his mere presence. So, to have the soft little mortals then seriously threaten him, seemed to give him pause – long enough, I am pleased to report, for me to masterfully weave my escape portal, and for the mortals to grab some treasures before they fled.
Gasharo did however, have his revenge.
He had actually begun, as a fine, golden mist, to flow into the chamber as we left, and sent a burst of spirit fire through that singed my tails. However, this was naught compared to the revenge he then took on the village the mortals had sworn to protect – already aflame from the vengeance of the dragon's Oni. It was too terrible to tell of, and the mortals - shameful, dishonourable things that they are - decided to leave the site of their failure alone, and to seek new lands far away from their disgrace.
I had planned to follow them a little while, to see what they would do in the face of adversity. However, so disgusted was I with their cowardice and lack of accountability, that I left them to fend for themselves. I believe they are heading south, to seek a port. I suspect they will sow even more ruin before something stops them.
May the ancient masters keep them far from my door."