Book the One (Dragons of Histh)

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The Dragons of Histh
Book The one

Author: Harethe

Copyright © 2001 by Harethe

Aurelio King is a bit of a recluse.The residents of Cultus Creek, Ontario usually gossip about why that foreigner would pay good $ to lease thousands of square miles of useless sand. He never ever seems to stay in town as dawn approaches, but goes off in a blaze of burning rubber tires as he heads back into the desert he calls home.

Although the locals regard him as a foreigner,he is anything but. Some of the oldtimers recall their great-grandparents talking about the arrival of Aurelio Brown's pioneer forefather who arrived in the 1950's. It's a funny thing about the Brown clan, they all spoke in a version of the english language which was well spiced with dutch and a bit of german. Those King's were definitely foreigners.

But they were also extremely thrifty. They had always paid in silver, gold and precious stones. Most people were content to leave them be, why look a gift horse in the mouth. Of those who would not leave well enough alone, some simply vanished in the desert wastes and others came back different, and soon left the town, never discussing what happened to them out in the desert. Once they left town they very rarely made contact with the ones they left behind. Thus, although many a legend or rumor circulated around town about what Aurelio Brown did out in the desert wastes, his gold, silver and jewels were pretty effective at sealing loose lips and prying eyes.

One winter night as Aurelio roared back into his desert wilderness, a group of reckless youth decided to follow him and pry his secret from him. They kept a discreet distance back from him and when they approached the road leading into the canyon, they started dreaming of the secrets they would soon uncover.

In his big heavy cube van, Aurelio looked over at the blinking warning light which told him he was being tailed. Soon he would enter his own domain where all sorts of sensing devices would keep track of any human intruder who strayed in. One thing Aurelio had learned was that it was not wise for humans to catch him by surprise, as this invariably caused him to revert to the more primal being who dwelt within him. Surprises were definitely not welcomed by Aurelio, and his desert wilderness was well equipped with ground radar, motion detectors, infrared cameras which his precious metals and jewels purchased.

For Aurelio was not alone in this wilderness, other creatures called this desert their home, and if they had been detected, the world religious and scientific communities would be shattered. Some secrets were not meant to be discovered by the human race.

Aurelia floored the gas and quickly the van leapt forward with a speed one would not expect of it. After many twists and turns, Aurelio shook off his pursuers. Just to make certain, at one point he stepped out of his van and placed his hands on the rock walls of the canyon he had passed through. The walls cracked and flowed, and the canyon was no more.

He drove on for several more miles, checking that his charges were snug on their shelters, and then he drove to his own lair. Beside him lay the electronic voicebox that he used to reproduce human speech, because Aurelio himself was incapable of breathing, let alone speaking. Aurelio was the Master Castle Builder, a living statue who had once been a human artist and scholar, but who now was anything but human.

He drove the van up to a cliff face beside a large rocky hill where he got out and placed his hands against the rock and willed the rock to flow. It flowed outwards, revealing a tunnel leading down into the earth. After driving in and resealing the entrance he drove a few miles down the tunnel into a large chamber where he parked the van and strode over to a wall covered with video monitors and alarm systems. A quick check of the screens showed that the inquisitive teens had given up and were heading back towards town. A check of the other monitors showed that his charges were coiled up asleep in their lairs. An alarm now went off and a light started flashing. In 15 minutes the sun would go up and Aurelio knew where he had to be when that event occurred. Thus he stripped out of his human clothes while his form still resembled that of a human and started to enter the tunnel leading to the communal and ceremonial caverns. As he took his first step in, his clay like stone flesh started to darken and ripple and swell.

What emerges from the other side of the tunnel is a living statue of the dragon goddess Histh. The statue is life size, and walks like a dragon and thinks like a dragon. For when Aurelio transforms into an idol of Histh at nightfall, a bond is formed between Histh and the transformed Aurelio where he becomes a focus of her celestial power. Histh herself may be too busy saving an inquisitive rat down in New Zealand, but her idol is much more than several tons of rapidly hardening basaltic rock. To the dragon worshipers who will pay homage to it, Aurelio is Histh.

Unfortunately mobility isn't part of the package for Aurelio during the day, and as he shuffles along a stone ramp to his pedestal of honor, his gait slows as his body hardens and becomes less fluid. After perching himself on the jewelled globe, he tries to pose himself in an dignified manner appropriate to an idol of a dragon goddess. He extends out his wings, raises one clawed foot with outstretched talons and just before he freezes solid,turns his head slightly to stare at the witch dragoness Maegrethe. He opens his maw in a silent dragon roar of greeting and then solidifies. Only the flickering glow in the rubies which make up his eyes indicate that he still lives and sees what is before him.

Like any good dragon Maegrethe utters a quick but loud roar in response and then makes preparations for the Serpent Dragon Dance and the Initiation Ceremony.

There are a total of 6 ceremonial chambers in the world, and the one in Canada is devoted to the descendants of the dragon goddess Histh.

To understand the purpose of these gathering places for dragonkind, one must understand that there are 600 races of dragons in the world. Histh is actually a pretty recent deity in the dragonic religious order. Four other tribes of dragons have their own deity, which they alone worship.

What all draconic creatures have in common is the protoserpent from which all draconic races sprang. Dragon mythology states that this Great Serpent was born out of a volcano back in the time when king lizards stalked the earth and the human race was represented by proto-mammalian ratlike things. It was said that the Great Serpent spawned offspring which ate everything in their path and would have destroyed the world if a fiery comet had not plunged out of the sky and driven the race to near extinction. It is believed by the dragons that many a long low hill could be the fossilized remains of a Great Serpent. Since this cataclysm occurred 10's of millions of years ago, no living dragon actually met a Great Serpent, and until a few years ago most doubted that the creatures were any more than a myth. The old myths also state 2 more things. The proto-dragons known as serpents were descended from the Great Serpents. When seven Great Serpents have been reborn, the end of the world will come.

The Serpent Dragon dance is a ritual dance performed by dragons all over the world. It is in honor the the Great Serpent from which the 600 dragon races sprang. The Great Serpent is one deity all the differing tribes commonly worship. Every six years the dance is held at the Canada caverns, and it is an occasion for dragons around the world to come together and celebrate what they are. In other years the other 5 chambers are the site of gathering dragons.

In years past the ceremonial caverns devoted to the tribe of the Serpente had fallen into disuse.It,s a liitle difficult to maintain a ceremonial cavern to a dragon deity when young ones start to question the very existence of a Serpente Deity.The dragons were straying from the path of the Great Serpente.

As Maegrethe turns away from Aurelio's frozen greeting,she notes that all the tribes are present in the caverns,as well as creatures with no tribe to call their own.Over in one corner some witch dragonesses are discussing the latest in spell casting.In a pool fed by the salt waters of the gulf she sees several sea serpents playing and splashing water on an annoyed French Skye dragon who is setting up a 500 gallon drum to use to beat a rythm.Over in another gallery a were dragon is trying to coax his terrified twin sister to transform into her proper shape.In her human form his sister has no memories of being a weredragon,and is terrified of the reptillian which won't eat her,but is definitely roaring and displaying his sharp teeth .Unfortunately for the two of them.she just can.t seem to get out of her human mode.There are huge crows with the heads of a dragon and dragons with the head of crows.There are serpentes with 3 heads,dragons with two tails .Off in one corner a visiting kothoga sits all by himself.He pushed himself too far and transformed into the pure demon form of his race,a huge skull attached to a rotting skeleton with a healthy beating heart in his ribcage pumping nonexistent blood.The dragons avoid his smelly living dead carcass and no doubt he's hoping that a witch dragoness can reverse his transformation.Off on a stone shelf specially reserved for her, an ancient bipedal carniverous dragon named Margaret sleeps off a good nights hunt.her wings spread at her sides,ready to strike at any foolish dragonet who should venture too close.

All around the cavern slide and crawl serpentes.This tribe of primitive dragon is not very well developed.Serpentes have a intellect somewhat higher than a toad but no more than that of a dog.The smarter ones can be trained to do tricks and the feeble minded ones are left to wander about as they will.Up till a few years ago they were regarded by dragons at best as pets and at worst as vermin.This last classification is what brought the plight of serpentes to Histh;s attention.If the rest of the dragon race would turn up their snouts at them,than she'd do just the opposite.Her first divine form was as a serpente and she adopted them into her family of servants and followers.Being an adopted runt herself,one could say she became soulmates with this primitive dragon race.In doing so she infused in herself a bit of the heritage the Great Serpentes left to their descendants.Thus any dragon decscended from Histh has a more primtive and primeaval aspect to their nature than some of the most advanced dragon races.

Having probably descended from the Great Serpentes through the serpente race,there is one aspect that dragons will never ever escape from,that heealthy roar.Serpentes bellow all the time and the ceremonial cavern was no doubt filled with their roars and hisses. A dragon likes to get out a window pane shattering bellow ,but they are smart enough to know to keep quiet if humans are passing by.

Being primitive creatures,the life of a serpente boils down to eating,sleeping,mating and roaring away,activities they occassionally do all at the same time.They are serpentes after all.Thus one might wonder why all the other dragons and creatures in the cavern tolerated serpentes slithering all over the place and poking their snouts where they ought not to be..There were heraldic dragons leading pet wyverns by the leash in that crowd,but even the dimmest lowliest serpente was treated as if it were royalty.It didn't have anything to do with a long dead Great Serpente.It had everything to do with a sweet young French Skye dragoness named Ida.

The cavern in which this communal gathering occurs in is thousands of feet wide and hundreds of feet high.In the centre is a 150 foot diameter saucer shaped depression with a stone ramp leading from the edge to a pedestal in the center.On this mount is perched the black statue of Histh.The depression is 15 feet deep and is filled with a yellowish liquid.Susoended high from the ceilings are two cages filled with a screaming human boy in one and a senseless girl in the other.They are about to become unwilling participants in the Initiation Ceremony.Had they been a little more willing,a set of stone steps leads down from the pedastel on which Aurelio is perched into the pool below his claws.Surrounding the edge of the depression is a bank of stone along it's rim,raised 6 feet off the ground.This barrier to entrance to the pool is a recent addition. There are 16 tunnels leading into the ceremonial cavern,and a space in the rock face where a 17th tunnel used to be.The 16 tunnels are filled with much roaring ,hissing and dragons and dragoness,s looking for a secluded dark damp spot away from prying eyes,but from the former 17th tunnel only a faint crackling can be heard.

Finally the ceremonies begin.Maegrethe is assisted by her fellow witch dragonessws and by their 5 aids.Maegrethe herself does not have an assistant,unlike the other 5 witches.Their assistants are young french skye dragonesses,and someday they themselves will practice the craft of dragon witchery.

Maegrethe speaks in a common dragon language which is a combination of roars,hisses and body movements.She repeats the old Great Serpente prophesies,and when she mentions the part about the end of the world coming upons the rebirth of six Great Serpentes,the five skye dragonesses start to tremble and glance at tunnel 17,as does most everyone else in the cavern.

After having tuned up his 500 gallon oil drum the French Skye dragon by the sea serpent pool starts to pound out a rythm "tappetytap tap boom,tappetytap tap boom,tappetytap tap boom,tappety tap tap boom…".Soon the weredragon standing by his terrified human sister gives up on her and concentrates on the beat.Every time he hears that BOOM he lets out a lusty roar,soon accompanied by other dragons.

At this point the 5 skye dragonesses glance at tunnel 17,hoping it will stay silent,but it is not to be.Feom the other side of the sealed entrance comes a muffled roar,which follows the beat of the booming drum.This is shortly followed by a pounding of a different sort as a heavy mass inside the tunnel crashes against it;s stony prison with such force that the cavern shakes as if hit by an earthquake and chips of stone fall from the ceiling.

Maegrethe is also glancing at tunnel 17,but then she returns her gaze to the 5 skye dragonesses.They have evey reason to tremble, because the creature sealed forever in tunnel 17 was once their sister Ida,now she is a Great Serpente.

Ida had been a superior kind of dragon.She was one of a clutch of six eggs laid by a bipedal carniverous dragon after a successful mating with a French Skye dragon.Her mother was a descendant of Margaret the Dragon and her father had the blood of a divine feathered serpente in him.Thus in Ida flowed the heritage of some of the best dragon races in existence.

Being a mere carnivorous bipedal dragon,her mother did not respond in a motherly fashion when the six eggs hatched.Her young did not look or smell like bipedal carnivorous dragons,so she quickly abondoned the nest and left the weak squirmy little things to their fate.

At this stage Maegrethe became aware of their plight.Since their other was of the race of Histh,the witch dragoness was attuned to the needs of followers of Histh and rescued them from a quick death in the Sahara desrt.She took them back to England for safekeeping.After some enquiries she discovered that the hatchlings most resembled newborn French Skye dragons.Thus five of the six were quickly adopted into the clan of French Skye dragons and had a happy dragonhood.The sixth dragoness Maegrethe kept for herself and named Ida in honour of a long dead human relative.

Over the next few years Maegrethe discovered that her young charge was not just any Skye dragon.Although she had the superior intellect of her father,she also had a bit of humour,rare in natural born dragons.But at the same time she had all her mothers carnivore and migratory instincts,as well as a more complex biology than a mere Skye dragon.She was a fusion of the worlds ultimate dragonic killing machine and ultimate dragon intellect..Maegrethe knew that this hatchling was destined for some higher purpose.

Maegrethe thus taught Ida all which she had learned after 9 centuries of existence.When she had taught her everything she knew, Ida demanded more.With the instincts of a migratory carnivore,Ida quite happily left the english isles and went with Maegrethe on dragon gatherings and explorations.Fear was not in her nature. Any opponent who attacked this diminutive dragoness discovered that Ida had all the fangs and claws and venom stingers of a bipedal carnivorous dragon retracted and hidden in the folds of her scaly flesh and tail.With strong jumping muscles in her hind legs and hollow bones reinforced internally.she was lightning fast and agile in the attack.Unlike her Skye dragon brethren who soared in the sky all day to avoid being attacked on the ground,Ida was equally at ease on the ground,in the air and in the ocean.She was. simply put,the most superior dragoness that dragonkind ever created.

As it dawned on Maegrethe that her charge was a new saviour for dragonkind,she quickly contacted the French Skye clan to check on the fate of the other 5 adopted dragonesses.Yes,they were very much alive and running circles around their kinfolk,showing all the same potential that Ida showed.

Maegrethe quickly convened a gathering of the witch dragonesses from the 6 races of dragonkind.Maegrethe kept Ida,and 4 witches from the 4 other tribes adopted 4 of the dragonesses and promised to mentor them and teach their pupils about their new adopted tribe. The thought of a dragoness being adopted by the serpente clan was offensive to all concerned except Maegrethe.Maegrethe had once been a serpente herself,and being a servant of Histh,did not turn her snout up at this primitive dragon race.In the end a reluctant witch dragoness agreed to take the last remaining young one to live with the serpentes on condition that food be supplied by the other tribes and that she be allowed to teach the young dragoness the ways of the witches dragon tribe as well as that of the serpente tribe.This was quickly agreed to.

In 1993 another gathering of the dragon clans was to be held at the Canadian ceremonial caverns.By this time Ida had grown into a fetching young dragoness.Standing on her hind limbs with snout reaching for the sky,she measured 15 feet tall from the ground to the tip of her beak hook.Measured from the tip of her tail to the tip of her beak hook she was much longer. She was just approaching mating age.Many a young French Skye dragon glided over the English Channel in hopes of fetching her to his lair,but she would have none of it.An dragon archeological dig had discovered sacred tablets on a ritual called the Serpente Dragon dance,and it's first performance in countless millennia was to be held in Ontario,Canada

Thus while countless lovestruck Skye dragons sailed above the Cheviot hills of Northumberland,Ida was down in the caves of Maegrethe prancing and leaping and looping and coiling,hoping that she would be chosen to participate in the ancient dragon dance.With her superior dragon body she was capable of performing undulations and movements that other dragon dancers could only dream off.

There was only one problem which disturbed her,the old tablets said that the Serpente Dragon dance was a celebration of serpentehood. Ida loved the dance ,but not serpentes.They were such primitive creatures.Whilst Ida had fine feathered wings,they had none.Where she had light but strong bones,they were big boned and clumsy.Where she had a fine pointed snout ending in a beak hook,they had wide blunt nosed skulls only suitable for crushing and tearing prey apart.Her talons were retractible and protected whereas theirs were fixed and extended.Throw in the fact that the only vocalization they were capable of was never ending roars and hisses,there was no way around the fact that whereas she was a supeior kind of dragon,they barely deserved to be honoured with the title of dragon.So WHY had some ancient dragon tribe created such a wickedly exotic ritual in honour of mindless stupid serpentes.

This question dwelled on Ida,s mind as she and Maegrethe flew in over the Texas coast to the ceremonial cavern.Once inside Ida rushed off to practise on her Serpente Dragon routine in one of the unused side chambers.Imagine her surprise when she found her 5 sisters there as well,all writhing and coiling and eager to be one of the six dragon dancers required for the dance..Being superior dragonesses,the six sisters quickly taught one another their moves and discoveredthat individually their dancing was good but as a team ,they were unbeatable

In the meantime Maegrethe had set of down one of the tunnels to the ossuary.Here in alcoves clawed into the walls lay dragon skeletons and skulls and other skeletons of creatures not of dragonkind,but still honoured by the 6 tribes.If one were to look closely at the dear departed one would notice that there were a lot more skulls than other body parts.Although dragons honour their dead,they are still ravenous practical beasts.The reason no dead dragons have been found is because other dragons eat the body,bone,guts tissue and everything.All they leave is the head,and this much lighter burden is carried to the nearest ossuary.Eat the big bulky and hard to transport dragon body and honour the skull.Nobody said dragons were wimps.

Around this time the elder dragons who would decide which dragons would take part in the Serpente Dragon dance came upon Ida and her sisters cavorting about the side chamber.To make a long story short, it was agreed that the six dragonesses would perform the ceremony.Ida was overjoyed,it was going to be her big day,dragonkind would worship the ground she ran on.

By 1993 the fortunes of the serpente tribe were at the lowest point they,d been at for thousands of years.Although the tribe itself traced it's beginnings to an event which had occurred 10's of millions of years ago,they had definitely not advanced in social standing.

Although the Serpente Dragon dance was supposedly being held in their honor,the reality was far different.In one cavern was held pens of mooing,baaing and oinking cattle,sheep and pigs whilst in the other side were pens holding roaring hissing serpentes.Dragons would wander around herding stray serpentes back to the pens whilst at the royal feeding trough the nominal head of the serpente clan was leashed and kept sticking his smelly snout in the middle of a communication between the leaders of two tribes and mindlessly roaring away.As much as the two dragonesses would have loved to sink their jagged teeth into his throat,they had to settle for savage hisses and nips in order to shut him up.Basically nobody wanted these stupid creatures crashing through their party,so it was much easier to lead them on leashes or pen them up.

The Serpente Dragon dance itself was a complex affair.and many dragons seriously doubted whether it could be pulled off.It required six concentric circles of serpentes to coil around a centre point,with each band travelling in the opposite direction to it's adjacent band of slithering serpentes.Thus the serpentes travelling in the inner circle travelled counter clockwise,the next circle travelled clockwise the 3rd circle travelled clockwise,etc.The serpentes had to move to a rythm :slide slide slide and then they had to rear their heads off the ground ,unsheath their fangs and spit venom in front of them.At this point they lowered their heads to the ground again and slide along to that rythm.after 6 revolutions around the circle they coiled over their head and tail and sank the tip of their tail into their maw and convulsed their bodies before straightening out again and resuming the dance.It was very primal and no doubt many a dragon and dragoness got hot under the scales just thinking about it.

The problem obviously was,were the serpentes up to the task.Could they pull off such a complex routine.Many years of training serpentes were envisaged but the trainers were in for a pleasant surprise. Serpentes from the tribe of Histh are the more advanced form of srrpente,with the intelligence of cats and dogs.After much hard training these serpentes could only partially get the routines right.Yet the more primitive serpentes,with longer and thinner bodies,non retractible fangs and the brains of a toad,took to the routine like a fish takes to water.They didn't need any training and just needed that beat of the rythm to get them going.

As the preparations for the dance began dragon handlers led the serpentes out of their pens and set them up along the 6 circles set in grooves around the pool of Histh with its frozen statue perched in it's place of honour.All the serpentes chosen for the dance were of the original serpente race.The serpentes of Histh were allowed to finsh off the scraps of flesh,blood and offal in the feeding troughs.Being serpentes,both kinds were happily roaring and hissing away and no doubt would have engaged in other activities if not restrained by their handlers.

Down in the side chamber,Ida and her 5 sisters had finshed perfecting the dance and were running on all fours to the ossuary in search of serpente skulls to use as masks.Down in the boneyard they discovered that of the two kinds of serpente skull they found there, the more ancient skulls made a more comfortable fit,The skulls from Histh serpentes had higher foreheads,forward slanting eyes,a more triangular appearance and retractible fangs.These skulls were more dragonlike ,more shaped like the skulls of Ida and her sisters. Unfortuneately they were not as roomy on the inside and Ida found she couldn't slide her snout into the space between the jawbones.

The more ancient serpente skulls however,were a different story. Their venom fangs were fixed in a strike position,they had low foreheads and the eye sockets were sideways oriented.They were also blunt nosed and broader,not refined and delicate by any means.They were also heavy,and no normal French Skye dragonesses neck could have carried that weight.Being a superior sort of dragon however,Ida and her sisters discovered that their neck muscles were just strong enough to do the job.Thus Ida slid her snout and head into the ancient serpente skull she was holding and engaged in a little play,slashing at her sisters with those wickedly long venom fangs of the long dead serpente.After play was done,she and her sisters bounded and leaped down the tunnel back to the ceremonial cavern,necks held high,skulls bouncing up aand down on their heads.

As the six dragonesses bound into the ceremonial cavern,the Skye dragon by the sea serpent pool starts tapping out the rythm of the Serpente Dragon dance on an old 500 gallon oil drum"tappetytap tap BOOM...".This gets the attention of all the dragons and the 17 tunnels quickly empty as the crowd of dragons gathered round the 6 serpente circles grows larger.The serpentes themselves grow restless and a few break their leashes and stray away from their handlers.Down in the feeding troughs,the leader of the serpente tribe removes his snout from the gutted carcass of a cow and slithers over the edge intent on going where the action is.As he reaches the edge of his leash he rears up on his hind legs,lunges his long torso forward and snaps the restraint holding him back.He pushes his way through and heads toward the pounding beat of that dragon drummer.

Ida and her sisters take their places between the space between the circles.Ida takes a middle space between the 3rd and 4rth circle lies down on her belly.Not being a serpente she can't flex her torso as easily as a much longer and sinuous serpent,but she can more easily use her more muscular legs to drag herself along the ground.She lays her head,nestled in the serpente skull,flat along the ground ,along with the rest of her body.Her body is tense and oily with anticipation

Having got the rythm the drummer cranks up the volume,the handlers release their serpente charges and the dance begins.The serpentes slide to the tap,and rear up and spit out venom to the BOOM. Ida herself does likewise,and is surprised that she had that much venom in her.She feels her heart pounding and her venom glands throbbing to the beat of the drum.The beat seems to be rousing the carnivore within her and all about her body dormant venom quills and stingers unfold and slide out of their resting places,dripping with venom.Out of her paws slide her talons of their own free will and her torso wiggles a little more loosely than her serpente heritage slowly awakens.After 6 complete revolutions the serpentes change the routine slightly.Up to that point they'd simply spat out venom as they reared up.but now they utter lusty roars as they rear up their heads.The mood is infectious and soon the dragon crowds are flickering out their forked tongues and bellowing out every time they hear that BOOM.Ida herself has exhausted her venom system by this time but the quills and stingers all over her body stay poised in position. She's no scholarly little dragoness in this state.Needless to say.her sisters are in a similar state of excitement.

In a long sinuous hill near Emmen,Holland.a tremor in the ground begins"rattlerattily rattle thump"a beat in perfect harmony with the drumbeat in Canada.The snow begins to melt from the surface of the hill and waves of heat start to pulse from the core of the hill. The stones begin to rattle and rise and fall to the beat of the throbbing ground.Then cracks appear along the surface of the ground, revealing the glowing interior of the ground.A flash of light and red hot rock erupts from the hill and vanishes and dissipates into the air.The hill cools and is silent once more.

In the air,the reawakened spirit of an Great Serpentess wends her way towards the drumbeat of a Canadian cavern.

Back in the ceremonial caverns,Ida and her sisters add a new dimension to the Serpente Dragon dance.Leaping and bounding on all four legs,they hop over the undulating coiling slithering serpentes beneath them.As they land on the other side of a band of serpentes, they stand up tall on their hind legs,take a few steps forward,throw out their wings and roar louder than they've ever roared before in their life.They then spin on one taloned foot and coil over their neck and coil into a tight a spiral as they can force their bodies into.They then collapse back onto the floor where they straighten out again.The dance slides forward and on the next BOOM the serpente coil up on themselves and try to swallow their tails.Ida and her sisters try likewise,and sink their jaws over fully extended tail stingers.Their tails convulse and try to pump nonexistent venom out of the stinger.Although they no doubt tore flesh,they're too caught up in the dance to notice.

At this time the frozen statue of Histh,Aurelio in actuality senses that a POWER is present in the cavern.Being bonded to Histh, he is attuned to the existence of deities,and this POWER is throbbing through the very atoms that make up his stone.The deity he senses is both alien and familiar,and she's not Histh.She's much more powerful than Histh.He wants to roar out a warning to the dragon crowds,but is just a frozen mute statue.Thus all he can do is wait.

The Great Derpente spirit was not THE Great Serpente,but she was one of his first six descendants.Although she represented raw primal power,the knowledge of how to use that power was not hers.Thus as her invisible coils looped about the cavern,she searched for the means to bring back her own tribe.Coiling over to the statue of Histh,she learned the arts of metamorphosis and transformation of that deity. Being an ancient deity,this Great Serpente spirit was more powerful then Histh,and the other 4 dragon gods and goddesses.She learned,and she bided her time.

At the same time the statue of Histh started to warm and throb to the beat of that drum.It eyes started to glow brighter as the ancient Great Serpente spirit channeled all the powers of Histh and the other 4 dragon deities into herself.Under normal circumstances the crowds of dragons and serpentes and other creatures may have sensed her existence,but in the fever of the dance they were too busy writhing and coiling on the floor to notice.Only Aurelio the statue knew ,and he probably was stunned senseless with all the divine powers that were being channeled through him.

Had the dragons quit the dance right there and then,probably nothing more would have happened.The spiri would have gone back to her fossilized body in Russia and gone back to sleep for another 10 million years.But Ida had to spoil things.

As she and her sisters continued to bound over the serpente circles,she swung out her wings as she bounded over the innermost band of serpentes and this caused her to overshoot and glide and slide towards the edge of the sacred pool.She was coming in fast and slid right over the low protective barrier set at the rim of the pool.Her tail and torso slid over the edge and as her forelims clawed for purchase on the barrier,her neck and head snapped forward.This caused the ancient serpente skull to fly off her head and tumble into the yellow liquid below her.Her tail was only a few feet from the surface of the liquid and drops of yellow goo spattered onto her tip. At this point the crowd of dragons all froze and stared at her and at the liquid below her.Slowly the skull sank into the liquid and dissolved.The pool began to boil and the yellow liquid turned reddish black.At the same time the yellow pus on Ida's tail turned red black and sank into the surface of her skin.

All present knew what that meant,one of the dragon deities had awakened and was about to grant a favour of the dragoness who had just awakened it.Since this was the sacred pool of Histh,it probably meant that the vermin goddess was about to reform the dragoness into a shape appropriate for the favour.Since a serpente skull had been tossed into the pool,it probably meant that Histh would interpret this as a request by Ida to be turned into a serpente.With Histh though,you could never tell.If Histh misinterpreted the favour requested,she could just as easily transform Ida into a mosquito or cockroach.

Ida clawed her way back out over the edge and fled to a remote corner of the ceremonial cavern,in shame and in terror.If she was about to change into a serpente or Histh forbid,a mosquito,she didn't need hundreds of dragons looking on as it happened.She was a superior form of dragon,and the thought of transforming into a stupid serpente filled her with terror and revulsion.This was supposed to be her big day,she wanted to be the centre of attention.Now it looked like everything was going down the drain.Thus Ida curled up in a ball near tunnel 17 and hoped desperately that the dragon deities would pass her by.

Ida was not the centre of attention.Dragonkind can be merciless, and frankly most of them could care less what happened to Ida.Even Maegrethe soon forgot about her pupil as all the celebrants headed back to the feeding trough.Even Ida's embarassed sisters forgot about her as they crunched down on lamb and calfs and piglets.It was time for tidbits.At the same time the sacred pool returned to it's yellow colour.

Whilst the crowds munched away at the feeding troughs,the deity who had been called up was searching for the supplicant who had sacrificed the serpente skull into the pool.This deity was of course the Great Serpente spirit,and as she scented the crowds for the scent of the dragon or serpente whose scent she picked up off the skull,she came upon the 5 young dragonesses who had so recently partaken in the Serpente Dragon dance.The dance is much more than just a dance,and these 5 dragonesses would have attracted her attention.They had symbollically tweaked a slumbering spirit awake,and as she caressed them in her spirit paws,their scent changed.Their scents became that of Great Serpentes,and they would have trembled at this rather minor metamorphosis.But they did not have the wanted scent,and so the spirit headed for a remote corner of the cavern,where a terrified Ida lay waiting.

There was still a few hours before nightfall,so the dragon crowds decided to resume that new ritual dance that had really got their venom flowing.They all lay in circles on the ground and started coiling and slithering to the beat of the drum"tappetytap tap boom…" For once the serpentes weren't herded back to their pens or leashed, but were allowed to participate in one social activity they excelled at.The cavern was a scene of venom spray and roars and hisses from all directions.Those serpentes were real party animals.Pretty soon the throbbing of all those pounding bodies seemed to deafen out the sound of the beating drum.But by that time the rythmic beat was in their blood .They didn't need the drum to get in the mood.

Down by the remote corner of the cavern the first hint that Ida had that something was happening to her was when the dim beat of the drum got louder and louder in her ears.Except to her it sounded more like Thumpitythump thump boom thumpitythump thump boom.The Great Serpentess had found an heir.

Ida metamorphosizes to the beat of that pounding drum.First her breathing rythm changes.Three quick intakes of breath are followed by one deep rumbling exhalation.Then her heartbeat changes to match the pattern of the drumbeat.

Then things get serious.It feels to her that her blood is pounding too and fro along the length of her body.First it slams into the tip of her tail and then it rushes into the other direction and slams into her beakhook.Her tail and torso and neck start stretching from this pounding.She digs her talons into her red dragon hide and tries to resist the process ,but as her body continues to lengthen her talons tear through red dragon flesh and into the silver serpente hide forming underneath.

She stands tall and erect on her hind legs and utters a howl of terror and despair.Her serpentehood will not be denied and that howl quickly turns to a roar of joy and anticipation.Her torso and tail double in length,and beneath the torn dragon skin is revealed a lean and slender serpente body.At this point she topples to the floor as her thinning legs collapse under the weight of her body.Her wings fall limp to the floor and there is a gush of blood and venom as her flight muscles and quills tear free from her body.

The pounding in her skull increases and it splits in half from her beak to between her eyes.New bone and tissue quickly form between the split and as her skull becomes broader and blunter,her eyes oriente to the side.Her forehead sinks into her snout and wipes out much of her intelligence at the same time.Her fangs unsheath and fuse in a fixed position.Her venom fangs lengthen,her teeth lengthen and her swelling talons bulge out of her feet.

Ida is now a brainless serpente,and is angered at being clothed in a limp sac of bloody dragon meat.She tears at her dragon hide and soon starts consuming those meaty feathered wings.Other serpentes soon slither over and help cleanse her of the dead dragon flesh.

Once freed of her dragonhood her overriding urge is to make a kill and she coils over to the feeding troughs.By this time the serpente dragon dance has finished and Maegrethe is squatting in a trough,feasting on a calf she decapitated mere minutes ago.Ida pushes her aside and sinks her jaws over a stiffening calf leg and starts to tear it off the carcass.Maegrethe gives a warning growl when she doesn't recognize the scent of this interloping primal serpente.Ida doesn't waste time with a warning.With a roar and a loud snap of her jaws,she bites empty air where Maegrethe's neck was a second ago.Her bite would have decapitated Maegrethe and the witch dragoness wisely backs away from this bloodthirsty brutal beast.

Inside that serpente body Ida is undergoing a further devolution and she is ravenously hungry as her internal transformation demands fuel.There is a sound of tearing flesh inside her,and she jerks up her head and utters a roar of pain before she collapsed lifeless into the trough.

The skull starts to split open just between the eyes and a bony beak pokes it's way out.After the beak emerges a thin long body 9 inches wide and 100 feet long flows out of the crack.It is slimy and looks like a segmented earthworm.It has no legs or teeth and the only visible appendages are a pair of weaving bobbing tendrils and a mucous and saliva laden set of tendrils where it's mouth is. As it plops down onto the floor and oozes away from the troughs,the dragons stop feeding and stare open mawed at this sickly alien creature in their midst.They are looking at the most ancient biological ancestor of dragonkind,and it looks like prey.

It is prey.Although Ida retains her serpente brain and mind,the only visible means of defense she has is that bony beak of a skull protecting her head.The original dragonkind were little more than big earthworms,with no skeleton but that bony head.The only senses she possesses are her photosensitive tendrils and her sense of touch from her mouth tendrils.Newly emerging instincts tell her to ooze towards the dark,where she can burrow into the earth and safety. Located in the first segment of her body is a cloaca which secretes a slime and mucous trail beneath her,on which her long body slides. Her slime glands are very productive,and secrete hundreds of hormones into the slime trail.Protoserpentes were an easy meal for carnivores, and the slime trail was their first means of defense.As the dragons and serpentes in the cavern scent Ida,s slime ,it elicts different reactions.A serpente smells the scent of a rutting serpentess,a sea serpente is reminded of a catch of rotting fish on the beach,a Skye dragon can smell the pine scented air of his mountain aerie, and Maegrethe smells the yolk covering 6 newly hatched dragonets.

There is confusion in the cavern and Ida is briefly ignored by the crowd as they fight amongst themselves over possession of none existent mates,food and lairs that the slime reminds them of. Ida makes it halfway across the cavern floor when a young serpentess leaps upon her worm tail.Although Ida has thin silver skin and the hormones of serpente and dragon inside her,to the serpentess the slimy thing oozing across the floor is just another meal.Soon others leap and bound in for a kill and a easy meal.

Ida's second defense mechanism comes into play at this time.With a sickly tearing sound,the last 20 feet of her body tears off at the segment diaphragm and goes wiggling off in an other direction.After repeated attacks several portions of her body are wiggling about the cavern,being pursue by dragons and serpentes alike.The remaining portion of her body with that bony beak head is just about to enter tunnel 17.The crowd is too busy pursuing the other mindlessly wiggling segments of her body to notice.

The head and the first segment with it's slime glands are the important parts of the protoserpente body.If Ida were allowed to burrow into earth and live her life as a protoserpente,eventually she would regrow the rest of her body.However her reproductive organs and brain are in the head and 1rst segment,and were irreplaceable.

Somewhere in dragonkind's racial memory are repressed memories of a life as a weak defenseless wormlike creature which made easy prey for any two bit carnivore which came along.Their response to this existence was to do a u turn in the evolutionary path and be 6 times the carnivore of anything else on the planet.Behind that blustering roaring venom dripping claw slashing exterior is a terrified worm seeking safety and shelter.

Ida slid deep into the interior of tunnel 17 and when her photoreceptors could no longer detect light,she ceased fleeing. Although she may not have been able to detect her attackers during her flight to safety,her serpente brain was well aware of the damage caused to her body.Fear,a emotion dragonkind refuse to acknowledge exists,was a prime emotion in this protoserpente.

Ida's body began to contract and flow back into her skull.At the same time her weaving tendrils lengthened and grafted onto the rocky sides,floor and ceiling of the tunnel.Her head began to pound and swell to the rythm "thumpitythump thump BOOM ...".Where the tendrils had touched the tunnel the rock began to glow and pulse to that self same rythm.As the last of her body entered her now spherical head,the bony surface flowed over and sealed the hole which her body had slid through.

The walls around the pulsating sphere began to move and flow over the metamorphosizing remains of the protoserpente.Millions of new tendrils erupted from the sphere and inched and branched along the tunnel.Where they fused,the rocky surface glowed and flowed together to form an ever lengthening,widening and deepening Greate Serpente body.

Once the transformation was complete,Ida's mind was housed inside a rocky hill of a body.She was 2800 feet long,60 feet wide and deep and had a skull 120 feet long with 15 foot rocky fangs jutting from her jaw.Her legs were crouched right beside her body like a dogs and from a distance blended right in with her surface contours.Where her eyes would be were deep dark lifeless pits.Her talons were of black basalt and she had canines of copper.Sprinkled throughout her rocky scales were veins of silver.

Except for some leftover erupting geysers and lava pools on her surface,she appeared as lifeless as that long sinuous hill in Emmen.It would take either a miracle or a supreme sacrifice to bring this volcano to life.

The Great Serpente spirit which had created her descended like a phoenix into Ida's magma heart chamber.In the centre lay a lifeless caldera.The spirit curled herself up into this depression, took one last scent of the world she was about to leave,and then with a decisive squeeze of her coils ,contracted into a pinpoint of infinite nothingness and burst into a wave of heat and energy which washed over the heart chamber.Slowly at first,a faint trickle of magma swirled out of the caldera "swishtyswish swish" and then with a woosh it retreated back into the caldera.It repeated this process again and again.Each time a little more magma crept out of the caldera,and the pulsing of her magma heart grew louder and stronger.Soon her vents and pipes and veins were coursing with her lifeblood as it raged and roared through her.Her rock scales began to rise and fall as she started to breathe,as they rose,the red hot magma just coursing beneath her surface could be seen glowing.The dark eye pits in her skull lit up and her maw slowly creaked open.The Great Serpentes lived again.

Ida started to dig her talons into the floor and push herself forward.Her sapphire scutes on her underside found purchase and she slid back to the entrance of the tunnel.

Her organic brain had undergone a transformation at the same time.The ancient gods who had originally created the Great Serpente knew that such a creature was built for show,for theatrics.They were not built for survival,but for display,Thus although her body may have appeared like a mobile hill of dull glowing rock,her brain was built for the ritual.She was all instinct,and her brain was telling her to perform the Serpente Dragon dance.What had taken months of hard practice to learn as a dragoness now came without thought or effort as a Great Serpente.This time dragonkind would learn what the Serpente Dragon ritual dance really was.

At the same time that Ida was coming charging up the tunnel for the first performance of a Great Serpente in 60 million years another dragon and his mate had a grouping of sea serpents gathered around a 45 gallon drum and were tossing fish to the young converts whilst the dragon and dragoness explained how the Goddess Histh could make their lifes more bountiful.

The young sea serpents were eager to eat the fish,and completely ignored the combination of roars,hisses and body movements that the two ancient French Skye dragons uttered and displayed as they tried to impart what they had learned to the young converts.

This type of social interaction is extremely rare amongst dragons and was thousands of years in the making.The two ancient Skye dragons were just common dragons like 66.7 % of dragonkind and for them to have clawed their way to this level of thought would have taken them practically all of their 10,000 years of existence.

In the dragon intellectual hierarchy there are three classes of dragon thought.

There are the metamorphosized servants of Histh,humans have been transformed into dragons with most of their human thoughts and brain intact.Maegrethe the Witch dragoness is one of these.She thinks like a human but must deal with the dragon instincts and urges of her body.For a dragoness like Maegrethe life is a constant struggle to not give in to the primal serpente drives coursing through her blood and which would reduce her to a savage bloodthirsty lusting beast.

The second class of dragon is a freak of nature.Ida the dragoness was one of these,as are most of the witch dragonesses which lead dragonkind.These dragons possess a brain with superior memory retention and are quick learners.There is not a shred of humanity in them ,they are intelligent carnivores.

Then there is the third class,to which all the other dragons, serpents,sea serpentes,wyverns,wyrms,etc belong to.With the gift of a lifespan ranging from hundreds to 10 s of thousands of years comes a heavy price.99.99 % of dragonkind is cursed with a poor memory. Dragons short term memory only extends back one day while serpentes can't even remember the meal they had one hour ago.They possess good long term memory,but it takes decades to centuries for a thought to be registered in long term memory.Their instincts are long term memories and dragons are very good at recalling how to kill,eat,sleep mate and roar.What they can't do is recall where they hid their kill the day before or the dragon communal gathering they left briefly and then forgot all about.The witch dragonesses have to expend quite a bit of energy rounding up confused stray dragons who wake up in the evening and wonder what they're doing in a strange lair with strange dragons.

The common dragon has no speech beyond roaring and hissing.What they have are body display instincts leftover from the days of the Great Serpentes.They communicate with their bodies.Warnings are given by low growls,hunger may be indicates by tapping the tail on the ground while the tongue flickers in and out of the wide open jaws.Pride is displayed by standing up on the hind legs and stretching the wings or forelimbs out wide and roaring whilst rage is shown by a quick forward thrust of the neck and a loud closing snap of the jaws.Dragons are not dumb animals and have learned to link together these body movements into a language all dragonkind can understand to some extent.

A hungry dragonet might thus greet his returning mother with the body movements for "pride,pride,hunger,hunger,hunger,rage ".In human terms what he's saying is "mother i like you,i really like you,now feed me,please please feed me,i'm not getting fed fast enough,hurry it up ".

Many centuries ago,after Princess Margarets transformation into Maegrethe,the servant of Histh,the new born dragoness spent time studying the customs,languages and teachings of the other five dragon tribes.Being a born again dragoness,she no doubt intended to gain some converts.Using her dragon body language,she could convey hunger,lust,rage,terror,pride and satisfaction.What she couldn't do is express more complex concepts.She could not for example,tell a sea serpent that crossing over to Histh would give him life everlasting, or that he was a sinful beast for worshipping the wrong deity.She was expressing human concepts in a language never designed for the human race.The dragon language is a language of the pulse of venom glands pumping venom through the fangs into a captured prey animal,it was the scent of spurting blood gushing into the jaws of the predator,it was the hormones released by a rutting serpentess or the scent of the piney dew in a mountaintop aerie.Maegrethe's attempts to bond with the other dragons was a complete failure.

She was losing faith in her Goddess and felt like an outcast, neither human nor dragon.Thus she went back to her cave in the Cheviot hills and turned her back on the dragons.One day a visiting Skye dragon invited her to a reading of a dragon saga at his lair.She came and found that the dragons and serpentes were passing around some sacred tablets.From a distance the scratches on the tablets looked like stick figures of sea serpents wiggling and coiling and she recognized the poses the figures they were displaying as the common language "pride,danger,danger ,danger,rage and finally satisfaction".The problem was her scholarly human mind couldn.t interpret the tablets.It was only when her neighbouring dragon friend handed over one of the tablets to her that she saw the light.Her human brain went out the window.In her mind she felt the sensation of her huge sea serpent body as she coiled through the waves.She could feel the sun shining on her dorsal fins and smelt the scents of her 3 hatchlings.Suddenly a pack of killer whales was heading for her hatchlings,intent on a kill.With a savage thrust of her tail she coiled over and defended her young with savage snaps of her jaws.She felt her fangs sink into the hide of one careless whale and the hot pumping venom being aqueezed out of her venom glands.She then felt the satisfaction of knowing that there would be good eating tonight.When she came to her senses,she found herself writhing in the dirt,fangs and claws unsheathed and pools of venom lying all around her.Her first reading of a sacred tablet was an eye opener.

The tablets were the key to Maegrethes mission ,and she sought out the lairs of the witch dragonesses who knew how to make them in order to learn their secrets.The respnse was unpleasant.Many a dragoness met her with unsheathed claws.She was not a dragon.They could detect a near human mind behind those slitted eyes,and were not about to share secrets which had taken millions of years to discover with an interloper who to them was just a big scaly human.

Thus Maegrethe went back to her caves and tried to write her own tablets.These she tried in various combinations of the body language script.Being a dragoness,she didn't have to worry about pen and paper.She'd just grab a lump of rock,unsheath her talons and start scratching away.To her human mind,she had written the gospel of Histh.Yet the tablets elicted no emotional visceral response from her.Unlike the Saga of the Sea Serpentess,she felt no bonding to these tablets.They were just educated scratches on rock.

The big break came in 1515 Ad.For centuries she had been visiting the great great…great grand dam and grandsire of her Skye dragon friend.She showed them countless versions of her writings and eagerly awaited a sign that they grasped the concept. No such response came.To them,she had just handed over a rock with meaningless scratches on it.Since her tablets appeared the same as the sacred saga tablets,she was one frustrated dragoness.The elderly dragons had no time for her tomfoolery,and only tolerated her for the fresh killed sheep and lamb she brought with her.

The old dragon and his mate would fall asleep and by the time they reawakened usually had forgotten all about Maegrethe,sacred tablets and Histh.What slowly percolated into their memory after centuries was thoughts of the scent of mutton and visions of rocks with scratches on them.There were times when the elderly dragons solved the puzzle,but by the time they reawakened the solution had vanished from their minds and was just a ghost of a memory.But slowly afrer after enough repetitions of the solution it wiggled it's way into their long term memories.

One fine evening they reawoke and eureka,they realized that Maegrethe was trying to create a sacred tablet.Yet the tablet had no scent.All sacred tablets scent of the story they are trying to tell.Maegrethes tablets were sterile and lifeless.

When dragonkind communicate through their body language,they do more than just wiggle their tails and snap their jaws.The listener can also scent the blood ,the venom and the hormones being released by the communicator.Not being an expert in dragon biology,Maegrethe had failed to realize that when she communicated with other dragons, her body was releasing a whole smorgasboard of scents that her listener was picking up and interpreting without concious thought. Since she thought like a human and repressed her dragon instincts, she'd missed out on most of what her dragon instincts were trying to tell her.

The sacred tablets were scented with the venom ,blood and other fluids of dragons.It was only when Maegrethe mastered the art of scenting the tablet that she could bond to her listener.

Her first tablets would no doubt have elicited strange behaviours from her listeners.She handed over trial versions of her scented writings to the aged dragon which he interpreted as a dragoness who wanted to mate,a dragoness who viewed the grand dam as a suitable meal and as a dragoness who wished to seize his lair for herself.No doubt Maegrethe learned to keep a large supply of fresh killed prey nearby to pacify the quickly shocked and raging ancient Skye dragon pair after they read her tablets.

By 1655AD Maegrethe had advanced enough in the art of tablet writing that she had made the ancient Skye dragon couple aware of the existence of a powerful Skye dragon named Histh who would provide his followers with freshly killed lamb outside of their lair each morning.This wasn't exactly what Maegrethe was trying to say about Histh,but after centuries of failure,Maegrethe was happy to have gotten to this stage.Maegrethe had gotten her first converts after four centuries of effort.

By this time the aging Skye dragon pair were about 9000 years old and were not as sleek and oiled as they used to be.Their winged feathers were getting tattered and their paws and talons weren't quite as firm and sharp as they used to be.Thus around 1755 Maegrethe convinced them that Histh would provide them with many sheep and cattle if they crossed the ocean to the new land.

The pair tagged behind Maegrethe as she winged across the Atlantic and brought them to the promised land.No doubt they strayed from the true path many a time,but Maegrethe slowly herded them towards the Canadian coast.

In the Gulf of St Lawrence live colonies of sea serpentes and serpentes,and is to these dragon tribes that the ancient Skye dragon pair preached the message of the bountiful Skye dragon Histh.

It is this pair that laid the foundations for the coming of dragonkind to North America.Whilst Maegrethe winged her way back to England,they stayed behind and searched for a lair to call their own in the Texas dessert.This would one day be the location of the tribe of Histh's ceremonial caverns.

Ida came charging out of the tunnel like a locomotive with it's boilers ready to burst.The crowd barely had time to finsh eating the last fragments of the protoserpente before the cavern stated shaking to a rythmic "boomityboom boom BOOM...".A few seconds later the Great Serpente came out and charged in a straight line for the feeding troughs.Her skull crashed into the walls behind the troughs and her whole mountainous bulk hurled forward and crashed against the wall.Geysers of steam and magma jetted out from her loosened scales. After a few seconds pause she coiled over back to the centre of the cavern and formed a circular loop with her body around the statue of Histh and the pool.The ancient Skye dragon pair and the young sea serpente converts had been caught by her hurtling body as it slammed into the wall and were killed instantly.There were dozens of other killed and maimed dragonkind scattered near the feeding troughs.

Ida had swiftly encircled a crowd of dragons near the centre of the cavern and proceeded to give them a performance of the true and proper Serpente Dragon dance.She began by moving in a circle six times around her chosen prey.She then looped back her body and circled around in the opposite direction 6 times.The dragons and serpentes she had ensnared noticed that she wasn't moving in for a quick kill and the more sensible ones merely flew out or tried to claw up her rocky sides to freedom.The great Serpente ignored their escape.Killing prey for a Great Serpente was a ritual,and the ritual was more important than the prey.At this stage all of the crowd within her coils could have fled and she still would have continued with the ritual.

She then coiled up her body into a spiral with six bands.The space she had encircled was diminished in area and serpentes clawing up her sides felt the waves of heat her body was pumping into the diminishing circle.Few of her prey succeeded in escaping the furnace they now crouched in.Many of the serpentes near the top of her torso went limp and fell back senseless to the circle 60 feet below.

With the booming of her massive heart ida coiled in a clockwise movement.On every boom she raised her neck and head hundreds of feet in the air,her sapphire scutes flashing in the light.She was staring at the prey she encircled and ignored the crowds fleeing through the tunnels.She opened her jaws wide and a shrieking blast of superheated air erupted from her gullet.Although she didn't roar,witnesses present knew a roar when they saw one.She lowered her head and performed the ritual 5 more times.

She then ceased and swung over her tail and began sucking on it.Her tail throbbed and pulsed as it emptied magma into her magma chambers,and hot dripping magma spilt out of the sides of her mouth onto the floor far far below.

Having filled herself with the lifefluids that fueled her,she swung her head over one last time and bathed her prey in a fountain of magma.After a few seconds to allow the prey to vaporize and dissolve in her digestive fluids,she lapped up the pool of blazing fluid she encircled.After checking that no magma or charred and burnt carcasses remained on the floor,she uncoiled herself and slid back into tunnel 17 and the huge cavern which had been created with her birth.Once inside she coiled up to conserve heat.Her eye pits dimmed her breathing became more shallow and her heartbeat slowed.She went dormant.

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