Dragon Tail

dragon

The final epic in The Dragondivers of Porn

By Mort D. Arthur

As told to Howeird

Other Books by Mort D. Arthur:

The Dragondivers of Porn

Dragonfright

Dragonmess

The Wide Dragon

Morego: Dragonlazy of Porn

Dragon Dumbs

Prologue

Rugrat, in the Orion sector, was a puce F-type star. When women first settled Rugrat's third planet, they called it Porn. It is now called much worse things. Bioengineering by the settlers of Porn changed the innocent geckos native to that planet into fire-breathing, flying dragons. As the women got lonelier, Dragon engineering took an odd turn. The innate psi talents of the gecko, along with their ability to turn the color of their surroundings was enhanced, as well as their sensitivity to the needs of their mistresses. To "impress" a dragon started to take on a whole new meaning.

Fort Weird

Anomaly had never been to an impression ceremony before, and the feel of the sand under her sandaled feet was hot, even through the dragonskin soles. Not everyone could boast a pair of real dragonskin sandals, much less ones of bright puce, which were her grandmother's deathbed gift to the child whose birth had caused her mother such great pain. Anomaly shuddered when she thought about it. Her mother's scream had shattered the family's crock pot, spewing its lethal, steamy contents all over grandmother. The results proved fatal.

The sharp cry of a baby dragon snapped Anomaly out of her reverie. It was Sh'na'na, a 1-year-old bronze from the Outer Weird. Anomaly could read the mind of any dragon. This one's mind was confident, and assured her she would Impress at today's hatching. "'bout time," Anomaly said. She had been waiting for almost a week now. Born two months premature, Anomaly had never been one to wait for anything. The little snot had whined and kicked and screamed until finally her Uncle Wimpy sent her to Fort Weird on her own, for the Impressing.

It was early in the day, and only a few peasants were at the hatching ground. The crowd would gather toward high noon, as the incredible heat of the high summer sun stirred the life inside the smooth, hard dragon eggs. Taking in the view of the eggs, neatly laid out in a grid on the sand, Anomaly's eye was caught by a very unusual egg, pure white, perfectly-round, at the exact center of the grid. She had a strange feeling, like deja vu, about that egg, and knew right then and there that this special egg was meant for her. Oh, she had heard the stories, she knew in her head that there is no predicting an Impressing, but her heart refused to let the idea go.

"No use hanging around here all morning," she said to herself, and headed for the Fort Weird kitchens. Anomaly was no stranger to the kitchens. At a very early age she learned that there was always food there. Sometimes, if she looked at the Kitchenmaster with those big doe eyes of hers, and raised her skirts in just the right way, it could mean an extra morsel, or maybe a swig from the wineskin, whose tingling contents Anomaly always enjoyed, along with the lighter-than-air feelings it produced.

She carefully looked around the corner of the hallway to see if the coast to the kitchen was clear. Spying no one, she snuck into the vast cooking area, and made a beeline for the sweets basket. Just as she expected, it was stuffed to the brim with all kinds of confections, meant for the dignitaries at the Impressing. Carefully, she started transferring the little tidbits one by one into the lining of her robes, for later enjoyment. Suddenly the full weight of the Kitchenmaster's hammy hand made itself known to Anomaly's shoulder. When she looked back, and way, way up, she saw the face of Master Slobber, glaring down at her.

"I'll be thanking ye to put most of those back, young lady," came his booming basso voice. Was that a twinkle she saw in his eye? No, it was just his glass eye catching the sun's rays from the barred window overhead.

Anomaly counted out her ill-got gains, back into the sweets basket. "One ... two ... three..", until she had deposited twenty of the goodies. With each number, unseen to Master Slobber, she would squeeze what was in her hand. When there were twenty squished morsels in the basket, the Kitchenmaster lifted her up, to his eye level, and said, "All right ye little wench, I'll spare yur hide fer now, but let me catch you pilfering again, and it'll be nothing you will want to be telling about to yer momma."

"I don't have a momma," the girl answered, turning her big brown eyes on "stun."

"Oh, really, now? Then where be ye from," asked Master Slobber.

"I'm new in town," Anomaly answered, alligator tears beginning to stain her peaches-and-cream cheeks, "and my only hope is to Impress a dragon so my Uncle Wimpy won't sell me to the evil Lord Squeamish to service his eunuchs."

"In that case," Master Slobber chuckled, "Here are your sweets back." He reached his massive maw into the basket, and stuffed about fifty of the tidbits into the lining of her robe, smashing them to a pulp. With a friendly pat on her pert behind, which sent her clear to the kitchen door, he bid her on her way.

The Hatching

It was finally High Noon. It seemed like the whole of Fort Weird was crowding into the hatching grounds for the Impressing ceremonies. Anomaly joined the exactly one hundred robed would-be Impressors at the edge of the hatching circle. Suddenly, there was a keening from all the ragons on the parapets of the Fort. It grew louder and louder, and the crowd hushed. One of the larger eggs started to rock. Then another. And another. Cracks began to open in the tops and sides of some of the eggs, and the Initiates gravitated closer to the grid. All, that is, except Anomaly, who somehow knew it wasn't her time ... yet.

One by one, the fledgling dragons poked their heads out of their eggs, and one by one their eyes would spin, and flash, and another Initiate would become an Impressor. And one by one, the pairs of dragon and dragondiver-to-be would exit the hatching ground, leaving behind them a diminishing number of hopefuls. Green dragons with pink-skinned girls, brown dragons with muscular young hard- bodies, bronze dragons with keen-eyed adolescents, and even a gold dragon, with her Queenly mistress. And still, Anomaly stood alone at the edge of the circle.

The Ending

It had been at least half an hour since the last pair had left the hatching grounds, but in Anomaly a spark of hope still burned. The pure white, perfectly-round egg still lay unbroken at the exact center of the now- deserted grid.

"There, there now, young-un," came the voice of Master Slobber behind her, as a huge hand wrapped around her shoulder, "that's sure to be a dead egg, and no sense wastin' o' precious time over it."

As the Kitchenmaster started to guide her away from the hatching grounds, and toward his private rooms, Anomaly suspected he had in mind the pilfering of another kind of sweets -- her secret ones.

Suddenly the dragons on the parapet let loose a keening several times louder than had ever been heard before. The very walls of Fort Weird shuddered at the sound. And then it started to happen. The pure white, perfectly-round egg began to hatch.

First, it started to rock slowly back and forth. Anomaly was drawn inexplicably towards it. It rocked, and it rolled, and finally settled itself at the absolute center of the hatching ground, just over the magic Talisman which Phlegm, the groundskeeper, had hidden there. Then the pecking sound started. A small crack appeared.

Anomaly found she was holding her breath. She also was holding the egg, trying to pry apart the tough shell where it cracked. First a beak poked through the hole, and, clear as day, she heard the voice in her head which could only be the newly hatched dragon.

"Hi, toots, my name's M'Caffrey. What's yours?"

When the shell fell away, Anomaly was stunned. She couldn't believe her eyes. It was one thing to read the stories and hear the legends from the flaccid lips of her Uncle Wimpy. It was something else entirely to hope with all one's young heart to impress the nearly mythical White Dragon, and wait for days on end seeing the pure white, perfectly-round egg on the sands, just knowing it was meant for her, and finally, after hours and hours on the hatching ground sands, see the egg open, and hear that Voice inside her head. There are no words to describe the anticipation which she felt inside, except, possibly, the words in this paragraph, which only a First Class, A-Number-1, best-selling writer like yours truly, your humble Dreamslinger, is capable of transferring from thought to paper.

This was the last egg to hatch, and everyone had long gone home, so when Anomaly turned and dumped her lunch on the sand, she alone knew she had impressed...

...The Plaid Dragon. dragon

the end

Copyright © 1988 by Howard Stateman


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