Carpathia III: Episode 107: Story Dragon
Ryuu flapped his wings and arced into the air, landing softly on the bed. Slowly, he padded close to Jaze and sat, swinging his tail in front of his legs. Jaze reached to him and scratched behind his ears.
Ryuu: What do you want to know?
Jaze sighed heavily, knowing that each word he spoke was bringing him closer to the thing he dreaded most, which was show everyone what an awful failure he had been. Finally, with great effort, he forced himself to speak.
Jaze: You remember when we met? You held up a little sign asking if you could have my language and then you touched my head and then you could suddenly speak.
Ryuu's ears perked on his head and his eyes twinkled with delight.
Ryuu: Of course I remember! That was a very exciting day!
In spite of everything, Jaze couldn't help but smile at Ryuu's enthusiasm, though he quickly returned to the matter at hand.
Jaze: So, you can take any memory you want?
Ryuu paused and scratched his chin with his paw.
Ryuu: Technically, yes, but only with permission. Taking a memory without permission would be the rudest thing a dragon could do.
So far, so good, Jaze thought. That was one issue solved and it was time to move on to the next.
Jaze: Can you share these memories with others?
Ryuu: Oh, yes. That's the job of white dragons like me. We share the history and memories of other dragons with each other.
Suddenly, Jaze considered a horrifying possibility that he hadn't thought of before. Was receiving a memory the same as living it? If the answer was yes, this would completely derail Jaze's plan.
Jaze: What is it like to receive a memory? Would it be like living the experience?
Ryuu: No, not like that. It's like...
Ryuu stopped and scratched his chin again, deep in thought.
Ryuu: It's hard to explain. Let me think.
Jaze stroked Ryuu's fur from his head down to his tail, content to allow him to take all the time he needed in order to answer him well. Once in awhile, his hand brushed up against something hard on Ryuu's body. When he looked, he could see that there were scales he did not notice previously coming in under Ryuu's fur. Engrossed as he was in observing Ryuu's fur and scales, Jaze lost all sense of the passage of time and did not know how long Ryuu took to consider his response.
Ryuu: I guess the best way to put it... It would be like watching a vivid movie, with the owner of the memory as the main character. The receiver wouldn't live the memory, but would have a strong connection to the events.
Jaze sighed again. This notion wasn't perfect, but it was still much better than living the experience. His mind made up, Jaze flipped the bed covers from his body and slid to the side of the bed, putting his feet on the floor.
Jaze: That's fine. Thanks for explaining that to me. Everyone should be gathered by now, so we should go.
Jaze now realized that his hands were shaking and he rubbed his sweaty palms together to try and calm himself. Ryuu put his paw on Jaze's leg and stared at him with a concerned look in his eyes.
Ryuu: Are you okay, Jaze?
Jaze sniffled loudly and rubbed his eyes, trying to keep himself from going to pieces for as long as possible. Impulsively, almost instinctually, Jaze leaned over and put his arms around Ryuu.
Jaze: You'll understand soon. Just... please stay close to me?
Ryuu suddenly leapt from Jaze's arms onto his shoulders. Snuggling up to Jaze's neck, Ryuu lifted his head and nuzzled his face.
Ryuu: I'm with you.
Jaze stood, determined to force himself to carry forward.
Jaze: Thank you.
Without another word, Jaze stepped deliberately toward the door, knowing that each moment carried him closer to his fate. It was a very short walk to the foyer of the hotel, where everyone was gathered. For a moment, they were all chattering in hushed tones, but as soon as Jaze entered, the entire room went silent. One plush chair by the wall was unoccupied and Jaze made his way toward it.
Trying to ignore all the eyes in the room upon him, he turned and sat, bringing his feet onto the seat of the chair with him. Jaze squeezed himself together as tightly as possible, trying to become as small as he could while Ryuu perched himself on the arm of the chair. After one long, deep breath, Jaze spoke.
Jaze: I know you are all wondering what happened. To explain would mean that I'd have to tell you the entire story from the moment I arrived on Yseri. It would take days for me to get through everything and I don't think I could take it. In a minute, I'm going to ask Ryuu to take all my memories from the time we entered the portal until now. He can share those memories with any of you who wants to see. Ryuu tells me that it will be like watching a movie with me as the main character.
Jaze scanned the room at all the faces looking at him, all in various states of either concern or puzzlement. He was almost finished and pressed ahead, resigned to allow whatever happened next to happen.
Jaze: Before you decide if you want to see, just know that what you will see is going to have terrifying images beyond your imagination. After Ryuu takes my memories, I will go back to my room. I want you to decide whether or not you still want me around. If even one person says no, I will leave...
Kaoru: We could never do...
Jaze held up his hand and Kaoru's voice trailed off.
Jaze: Please, Kaoru, I appreciate it, but really... don't say anything until you've seen what I've done.
Jaze looked down at Ryuu, who stared back at him, wide-eyed.
Ryuu: Are you sure about this? If I show them everything, it really will be everything. What they see can and will only be the absolute honest truth.
Jaze: I'm sure. I can't hide anymore. It's time everyone knows the truth. What should I do?
Ryuu slowly stood and gently stepped from the arm of the chair onto Jaze's lap.
Ryuu: Just be still. This is going to take a few minutes, so try and relax if you can.
Jaze did what he was told and remained still as Ryuu reached up and placed his paw on his forehead. Just like before, Jaze felt a warm sensation on his forehead. Suddenly, the room seemed to disappear and his entire life for the last two years began to pass through his mind in fast forward. Most of it was a jumbled mess, but, once in awhile, he could clearly make out what other people were saying.
Mirage: Why... Why did you help me?
As soon as the image of Mirage faded, another one immediately took its place.
Jump: Mirage, this guy is pathetic! What am I supposed to do with him?
Again, the image faded and another immediately replaced it, all while the rest of his memories swirled around haphazardly in the background.
Keast: Oh, "Chaos," is it? You must have raised some ruckus to get a name like that.
Pestilence: YOU TOOK EVERYTHING FROM ME!!!
Mirage: Well, it won't be simple, so keep your guard up.
Mitani: Do it, Jaze.
Thirteen: Kill him!
Maelstrom: I know what you fear.
Mirage: I know my first name is Rhoskel. I think my last name is Leonar.
Nita: Don't worry about that. Just take your time and eat. I have a few things to do first.
Roose: You stink!
Jacob: Yup. The sun's starting to go down.
Aten: Nita said you need lotsa hugs.
Rhoskel: I love you, Jaze.
Kagurain: Aw, c'mon. You're supposed to bow to the Pharaoh.
The cacaphony of memories began to dissipate and soon the last one passed through his mind. The warmth on his forehead faded and, slowly, he opened his eyes as he wondered how anyone could make sense of what he saw, assuming that it must be different for the receiver of the memories. The first thing Jaze saw when he opened his eyes was Ryuu, still sitting on his lap, with his eyes wide and his tiny mouth hanging open.
Ryuu: This... This can't be!
Ryuu hopped from Jaze's lap onto the floor. Not wasting any time, Jaze rose from the chair himself and quickly made his way toward his room.
Ryuu: He was supposed to be dead!
Jaze wasn't sure what Ryuu was talking about, but he was more interested in being alone and continued to the hallway.
Ryuu called out to Jaze just as he put his hand on the doorknob. Jaze stopped, hoping that whatever Ryuu had to say would be quick. Ryuu whipped his head back and forth between Jaze and everyone else, as though he were trying to decide what to do next.
Ryuu: Can I give a few extra memories of the dragons along with yours?
Jaze was only vaguely aware of the question, as his mind was focused almost entirely on getting into his room.
Jaze: Whatever works.
With that, Jaze hurried into his room and quickly closed the door. Flopping onto the bed, he curled up into a ball and, lacking even the strength to cry, he simply lay where he was and whimpered. It was done. Soon, everyone would know everything that happened and his fate was now in their hands.
All city pictures from SimCity 4