Not An Icicle

by Atticus Dragon aka Addison Godel



(A shapeless, formless, dark, empty void.  Atticus is here.  Obvious exits:None.)

Atticus: (shapeless, formless head reeling somewhat)  Wha---?  Where am I? Why am I speaking out loud?

Mysterious Booming Voice: You are here.

Atticus: (turning his shapless, formless body around to look)  Who said that?

MBV: I did.

Atticus: Well, that's obvious.  Who are you?

MBV: I am me, obviously.  Who else could I be?

Atticus: (scratching shapeless, formless chin with shapeless, formless green claw)  What happened, anyway?  Last I remember I was pulling some sort of crazy stunt to get me and the help out of Zail...

MBV: Sorry, can't help you on that..I just work the desk.

(Atticus blinks his shapeless, formless eyes.)

Atticus: Work the desk where?

MBV: Here?

Atticus: (sighing) Where is here?

MBV: Good question!



(The scene is a bare, yet warm office located somewhere vague.  Behind a desk sits a man wearing a fashionable yet practical suit of black
techno-armor.  He's flipping through a leaflet entitled "Eternal Blister" when the hazy door of the office swings open and an uncharacteristically irate dragon steps in.)

Atticus: Excuse me...

Volatios: Ah, been expecting you, Atticus Dragon...

Atticus: Uh, yeah, I'm just wondering: Where the hell am I and what the hell happened?

Volatios: Hold on...lemme check the file real quick...

(Volatios takes a while to read through a big folder, so Atticus takes a seat on the couch and begins reading outdated magazines with headlines like "Eric Earthman To Be Named First Avatar" and such.  Finally, after an eternity of reading incredibly detailed stories about the once-newsworthy topic of Blackthorn, Atticus sees Volatios put the folder down.)

Volatios: All right...sorry that took so long.

Atticus: problem.  (walks over and takes a seat at the desk)

Volatios: Well...let's do I begin.  You've got quite a file, Atticus Dragon.

Atticus: That's...good?

Volatios: Good and bad.  Neutral in places.  Having a clone of yourself really gets the files confused.

Atticus: I can imagine.

Volatios: Well, ah, sorry...should introduce myself.  I'm Volatios.  New here in the wave just after you and they gave me a temporary job to  handle all the new arrivals after your little "accident."

Atticus: What accident?  I can't remember a thing.

(Volatios blinks.)

Volatios: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....I see.

(There is a pause.)

Atticus: Um, what

Volatios: You accidentally destroyed your universe.

Atticus: WHAT!?!

Volatios: Now, now...don't get excited.  You didn't destroy the /multi/verse, just your universe.  Your Britannia, your Rockwell dimension,
your Earth (he gestures at himself) That's where I come in.

Atticus: Earth?  What a crummy name for a planet.  But!---

Volatios: I agree.  Now...before you get all worked up---

Atticus: Too late.

Volatios: ---I should tell you that the boys in the back are working on a way to fix this thing.  Budget's not what it used to be, so we're not gonna have a complete fix, but what can be done, will be done.

Atticus: I....see.

Volatios: You may as well mingle with the other corpse-vacaters.  Although---

Atticus: What?

Volatios: Nothing.  I was gonna say don't give out your name, but it wouldn't matter, since I note you've lost your Blackrock body, and that's
what's in the footage.

Atticus: (looks himself over) So I have.  Well, thank you for your time.

Volatios: Good day.




(Goofball Dragon stands atop an unimaginably tall golden tower, the tallest on the planet.  The only purple dragon with green horns and spikes, Goofball is nonetheless quite ordinary as Dragons go.  He gazes out over the landscape which for a few miles at least is all light residential construction.  Just like SimCity, I suppose.  Anyway, the buildings are a cross between Sosarian design, which is fantasy-medieval with Cinnabon bars and such, and Earth skyscraper design, which is sleek modern metallocrap.   Goofball surveys the cityscape with more than a little upsetness.  He turns to his companion, the somewhat somber Kunac, who stands about the same height as Goofball---six feet or thereabouts---and wears pale white scales and red spikes.)

Goofball: You know...

Kunac: Yes?

Goofball: All this...(gestures at cityscape) was NOT here a few seconds ago.

Kunac: Hmmm...(nods slowly)'re right.  Shall we check it out?

Goofball: Sure!  (he begins flapping his wings, but does not move) Ummmm....It seems...gravity has changed as well.

Kunac: This could be trouble.

(An Aircar suddenly ascends next to the tower balcony, taking the two Dragons by surprise.  At the wheel is green-skinned Atticus, and in the
front passenger seat is a red-skinned Atticus.)

Atticus Green: Ah, hello you two...

Goofball ∓ Kunac: *pause*  Hi!

Atticus Red: Just passing by, thought we'd see how the weather was up here.

Kunac: Just fine, thanks.  Hey, I've got a bit of a question for you...

Atticus Red: Shoot.

Kunac: How come there are two of you?

Atticus Green: It's a long story, maybe you should come over to our place to talk it over.

Kunac: O-kay...

Atticus Red: Goofball, you wanna come?

Goofball: Sure.

Atticus Red: Hop on in, then.

(Goofball and Kunac hop rather unsteadily into Atticus' vehicle, which moves at an unsettling speed over the city and towards the more untamed wilderness.  Meanwhile, far away, in another part of town, Addison Godel and a couple of friends are out walking around.  Addison is a human youth around age 15 or 16, wearing all black and a consistently thoughtful expression; on his left is a male Dragon about his age and height with white scales, wearing black clothes (with holes for his wings in the shirt); on Addison's right is a male half-human, half-dragon crossbreed (fleshy skin but with horns and wings and such) wearing all black as well.  They walk down the street in unison, muttering to each other from time to time, with no apparent destination but an air of purposefulness; finally they reach a small cemetery, where they are greeted at the gates by another dracohuman with a meatball-shaped haircut.)

Meatball Head: (sadly) Hi, guys.

(All three guys nod somberly.)

Addison: I'm not sure if I've introduced everybody...

(Our meatball head shakes her meatballed head, not only because she hasn't been introduced, but because you haven't either..)

Addison: (pointing at dracohuman) Well, this is Canuck...(pointing at dragon)..and this is Shodan.  Guys, this is Userena.

(All nod again.)

Addison: Well, I suppose we may as well go ahead.

(The four of them walk into the graveyard and approach a fairly new stone with a burning crescent moon on it.  Userena sheds a tiny tear, before all four of them bow their heads and place flowers on the grave.  After a long pause, Addison speaks.)

Addison: I'll...miss you, Brannon ShadowFire.


Not An Icicle, Chapter Two:


(Scene:  The Palace of Wonder, heavily redecorated.  Atticus Red, Atticus Green, Goofball and Kunac file into a comfortable living room.)

Atticus Red: Look, ah, this is the sort of thing to discuss over a mealyou two okay with watching TV till we’ve got something put together?

Kunac: Sure.

Goofball: Fine by me.

(The two Atticuses nod and walk into the next room; Goofball picks up the remote control, fiddles with it for a second, then walks over and turns the TV on.  Fine remoter control is not one of the claw’s strong points.)

Kirk Loader: (on TV)and for those of you just joining us

(How convenient!)

Kirk Loader: (on TV)a joint committee of humans, dracohumans, and dragons has brought up charges against the Winkler World News.  The committee, which has the support of the New Rockwellia Air Force, argues that the publication is bulging with libellous commentary and should be investigated immediately.  Dragon Duchess Murmur, committee spokesperson, said this:

Duchess Murmur: (on TV) The Winkler World News has printed utterly untrue statements about various citizens of this community, with the claim that these statements are facts.  LOL!

Kirk Loader: (on TV) Doughfidian Dragon, who operates the Winkler World News, could not be reached for comment.  However, a company spokesperson was willing to speak with us.

Company Spokesperson: (on TV) Well, the simple fact is, this publication only prints what Doughfidian thinks.  So it can’t be wrong!

Kunac: This is dumb.  Change it!

Goofball: You change it.  I’m not getting up again.

Kunac: ..maybe it’ll get better.

Kirk Loader: (on TV) And now, back to you, Tyran-Rex.

Tyran-Rex Dragon: (on TV) Thanks, Kirk.  Well, this next band may be familiar to some of you.  They toured last year with Pegasus, and

Kunac: WHAT?

Tyran-Rex Dragon: (on TV) are now on their own.  Their debut single, “Legal Avatar” shot to the top of the charts in the Month of the Sept, and now they’ve got a new one coming your way.  It’s the An Wis Lords, with “Claws”!

(Trashy video begins, with the An Wis Lords, who look like emaciated dope fiends, racing up and down a big ladder.)

Kunac: This is BS.

Goofball: Well, I admit the lyrics aren’t all that great but the beat is pretty catchy (taps foot).

Kunac: No, I mean, I was Pegasus.  Well, me, Lobos---

Goofball: That’s LoBos.

Kunac: I know.  Habit.  Let’s see, me, LoBos, Enchy, and Dusty, except Dusty never existed, which was the part I never really understood but Atticus seemed toI’ll ask him sometime.  Anyway.

Goofball: Yes, anyway.  Don’t you think it’s possible that that other band might have come up with the name themselves, seeing as how you never produced any music anybody heard?

Kunac: .

Atticus Red: (from kitchen) OW!  OW Ow ow ow OIEEEEE!

Goofball: You okay in there?

Atticus Green: (sticking head into room) Just fine!  Be ready in a second!  No need for you to come in here, we’ve got everything under control LOOK OUT!  (jerks head back inside, general screeching and crashing can be heard)

(Kunac sighs.)

Kunac: Think we should check on them?

Goofball: No.

Kunac: My thoughts exactly.


Goofball: GOD, that’s awful.

(The video suddenly ends, as if the tape machine had been switched off.)

Tyran-Rex Dragon: (on TV) Hey, we’re here in Buccston, New Maginciathat was the An Wis Lords, with “Claws.”  The video was trimmed off to spare the viewing public’s collective ears, but if you buy the album, you can hear the full thirty minutes.  Our next video comes to you from a band who, last year, scored eighteen Richies for their debut album, “Fell On Tall Trees From Mah Flying Carpet.”  That’s right, it’s the Crashing Bumpkins; this is “Two Million, Four Hundred Sixty-One Thousand, Three Hundred Fifteen”

Kunac: I really hope this isn’t one of those songs where they just sing the title.

(well-produced but abstract to the point of uselessness video begins)

William Dragon: (on TV) Cast the spell, two million, four hundred sixty-one thousand, three hundred fifteen

Kunac: Oh, sweet Felucca.

Goofball: I think we’re going to have to make an exception for this one.

William Dragon: (on TV) Faster than a step through the void, Castle British seems so empty, two million, four hundred sixty-one thousand, three hundred fifteen

(Kunac and Goofball simultaneously leap at the cable box, with the result being that it gets knocked behind the TV and becomes inaccessible.)

Kunac ∓ Goofball: Oh, CRAP.

William Dragon: (on TV) Despite all the age, it is still just a bacteriophage, two million four hundred sixty-one thousand, three hundred fifteen

Kunac: The volume!

(Kunac and Goofball simultaneously lunge for the volume control, with the result being that they break the set casing around the knob in just such a way that the knob is locked in position.)

Kunac ∓ Goofball: OH, CRAP!

William Dragon: (on TV) Like yourtwo million four hundred sixty-one thousand, three hundred fifteen, two million four hundred sixty-one thousand, three hundred fifteen, two million four hundred sixty-one thousand, three hundred fifteen, two million four hundred sixty-one thousand, three hundred fifteen

Kunac ∓ Goofball: FLAME ON!

(Kunac and Goofball simultaneously rear up and spew flames at the TV, with the result being that the set melts into a pile of slowly cooling metal and plastic bits.  William Dragon’s soft, lilting voice is quite abrubtly cut off.)

Kunac: You know, I’ve always wanted to do that to this channel.
Goofball: Me too.

Atticus Red: (from kitchen) Dinner’s on!


Not An Icicle, Chapter Three:

Total Saznac Romen

(The scene is the dinner table at the Palace of Wonder; said table is meant to seat about 100 or thereabouts, and with four clumped together it seemed rather silly, so all present decided it would be best to spread everyone around, with the two Atticuses at the end chairs and with Goofball and Kunac placed at midway points between the ends and the middle of the table.  Confused?  Maybe if I HTMLize the story it will become clearer, but that’s probably not going to happen.  Suffice to say that I’ve got four characters at a dinner table who are quite a ways apart from each other, which is funny!  Or at least that’s what the book says)

Atticus Red: How are  you enjoying your meal?

Goofball: No, I already have a seal, thanks.

Atticus Green: Tanks?  No, we rely pretty much on magic for defenses.

Kunac: No, the roast is fine, thanks.

(Okay, so maybe the book’s wrong.  Screw the big table.  They’re sitting around at a normal little table in the dining room.)

Kunac: (chewing food) So, mind explaining everything?

Goofball: Yeah, inquiring minds wanna know.

Atticus Green: Well, the two Atticuses is a simple bitI cloned myself several years ago.  (gestures at Red).

Atticus Red: Right.

Kunac: If he’s your clone why’s he a different color?

Atticus Green: (chewing) Hold on, I’m getting to that.  (swallows)  See, the thing is, the universe was destroyed sometime yesterday (waves fork around to indicate vagueness)  Around noonish.

(Atticus Red simply nods, but Kunac and Goofball seem to have difficulty swallowing the roast.  They manage, though.)

Atticus Red: Is something wrong with the roast?

Goofball: No, but there’s something wrong with this story

Kunac: Much.

Atticus Green: Let me finish.  You see, a number of crises had rocked the world in the last couple of weeks, and I had taken my enormous submarine towell, to make a long story short, I ended up trapped in my own base with you (he waves his fork at Goofball) and Sun Wizard.

(Goofball blinks.)

Goofball: I don’t _remember_ this happening

Atticus Green: I’m getting to that too.  See, I tried a last-ditch maneuver to get us out, but it ended up causing an energy discharge that blew up our universe.

Kunac: Really.

Atticus Green: Really.  (snaps a bite of lobster) But apparently the powers that be weren’t too happy with the whole mess, and decided to fix it.

Goofball: Really.

Atticus Green: Really.  But the budget isn’t what it used to be, and so they ended up, ah, merging the histories of all the populated worlds of our universe together, and dumping us on one planet in some other universe.

Kunac ∓ Goofball: Really.

Atticus Green: Really.  The reason why you don’t remember but sort of feel disoriented is that this new history really did happen, only it only became history today.

Kunac: Okay, that really did _not_ make sense.

Atticus Green: I figured it wouldn’t.  So anyway, here we are, with our world made up of a recombinant history of Pagan, Ceeria, Earth, and the Sosarian worlds, and a few other dirtball planets I don’t remember.

Goofball: I.see.  One question: How come you know all this?

Atticus Green: Since the whole thing was my fault they had to question me about it and to do that they had to take me out of the new history loop..and since Red is a clone of me, he got  brought along too.

Kunac: So how come he’s red?

Atticus Red: I can explain that.  In the old universe, we were on different planets most of the time so no one ever really noticed us.  Except you, Goofball, but you wouldn’t remember that.

Goofball: This is true.

Atticus Red:  But when we got called on the stand there needed to be a way to tell us apart at the proceedings, so we flipped a coin as to who would be what color, and well, here we are.

Kunac: This is all very confusing.

Atticus Green: Expect it to get worse.  With my cosmic powers having been turned down I can’t sense exactly what’s going on but it appears that there definitely some gaps and folds in the fabric of reality (he makes a strange gesture with his hands which is apparently supposed to be a diagram of something).  Inconsistencies.  We’ll see.  Anyway, I hope this clears things up.

Kunac: right.  Okay, well, um

Atticus Red: Maybe we ought to show them the Shiftomatic.

Goofball: The Shiftomatic.

Atticus Green: (finishing meal) My latest invention.

Atticus Red: I helped.

Atticus Green: Like I said, my latest invention.

Goofball: What’s it do?

Atticus Green: Well, it’s pretty complicatedbasically

Kunac: No!  Your basicallies are always reaaaaaaly complicated.

Atticus Green: Well, the long and short of it is it analyzes the fabric of reality around an area.

Kunac: Okay.

Goofball: Can we see it?

Atticus Green: (shrugs) Sure.

(Everyone is conveniently just finished eating (always happens in these stories) and so they rise and follow Atticuses Red and Green down a long, dark staircase.)

Kunac: (after the first hundred steps) Has it ever occurred to you to put your laboratory on the -ground- floor?

Atticus Green: Well, ahm.this is to, ahhere we are!

Goofball: How convenient.

(They stand before an enormously enormous door, some sixty feet high, twenty feet wide, covered with braces and bars and barriers of all sorts.  Goofball and Kunac gasp in awe at the massive door.)

Goofball ∓ Kunac: *gasp*

Atticus Red: Oh, don’t worry, that’s just for show.

(Atticus Green walks over and opens a little wooden door about six feet tall and four feet wide.  The dragons walk through, with Kunac and Goofball looking a bit disappointed.  The Atticuses lead them into a bare stone room, a bit chilly, where stands a triangular Etherstone platform with a metal pole sticking out of it.)

Atticus Green: Walla.

Goofball: It’s, um, great

Kunac: Yeah, spiffy.  Every bit as amazing as your other gadgets.

Atticus Red: Oh, you don’t need to shower the false praise.  The fact is, as I explained to Green while we were building it, that a good invention doesn’t need all the weird frills he puts on them.  Bare necessities and all that.

(A bizarrely-proportioned bear and a strange human youth seem to appear and dance on the platform for a few seconds, then vanish.)

Kunac: What was that?

Atticus Green: (stepping onto the platform) One of those discontinuities in reality I was talking about.  Come on, you three.  (he grasps the pole, and closes his eyes.  After a second, three more poles sprout up from the corners of the platform.)  Each of you, grab a

(The other three dragons step onto the platform and take a pole firmly in their grip.)

Kunac: What is this supposed to do?

Atticus Green: Well, the idea is that if we channel our Draconic energies at the same time, we should be able to draw up enough magic power to locate the most significant reality twists on this planet.  Then we can go to them and eliminate them.

Goofball: Sounds.Atticusian.

Atticus Red: Hm.

Atticus Green: Now be quiet, all of you.  Close your eyes, relax, and let your mind flow.

(They all close their eyes, and therefore fail to see the room around them turn into golden lights.  Nor do they see the platform oscillate wildly and sink suddenly into the light.  Only a slight breeze and the sounds of battle indicate to them that they’ve become misplaced, and each opens his eyes to see below them pure Britannian field, which has been temporarily transformed into battlefield.  More immediate than the concerns of why they’ve arrived here, though, is the thought in the dragons’ minds that the ground is coming up awfully fast)


Not An Icicle, Chapter Four:

The Ultima Cornicles


 Chieftain Fragh-Kar stood atop the hill facing down at the battle below.  It was a hot and bloody day at the field of Ehpor T’sopa, and many men had already fallen.  He stared out over the landscape and wiped the sweat from his furrowed brow.  The time had come.  He slowly brought his old, scarred hand down to take up his sword Emanmud, and raised it.  It caught the sun’s light and with a low roar, Fragh-Kar raced down the hill to join his men in combat.

(He never got there.  A few seconds earlier, an Etherstone platform carrying several metal poles and four Dragons had materialized in the sky above Ehpor T’sopa, and was travelling quite fast when it impacted into Fragh-Kar’s skull.  The chieftain buckled like a twig being hit with a city.  Only his big, ugly feet were sticking out from under the platform as the warriors in the battle slowly calmed down to examine this new situation.)

Atticus Green: (looking around calmly) This was not planned.

Goofball:  Oh, really now?

Atticus Red: Where ARE we?

Kunac: This isummmmmmmmhold onBRITANNIA!  Yeah, it’s all coming back

Atticus Red: Ah, that explains it.  I never spent much time in Britannia.  What’s going on?

Atticus Green: A battle, apparently.

Goofball: Not anymore; they seem to be stopping.

Warrior #1: (stepping up boldly) Excuse me, dost thou mindest?  I am not sure if thou’rt aware of it, but thou hast killed our commander, and thus the battle ended.

Kunac: (whispering to Goofball) Dig this dude’s lingo.

Goofball: They never talked like this in the Britannia I’m beginning to remember

Atticus Green: Yes, hmit appears that we’ve timeshifted.  I place us roughly at (smudge), during Britannia’s feudal era.

Kunac: I don’t remember that period much.  Something about Baron Armlic.

Atticus Green: It was quite vague.  In fact, I’d always assumed it was some sort of historical hoax

Warrior #1: *ahem*

Atticus Red: (to Warrior #1) Just a minute, would you?  (turning back to Dragons) So exactly what’s happened?

Atticus Green: (examining pole) I don’t knowlooks like instead of just analyzing a fault in reality, we got sucked into one by mistake

Atticus Red: (examining pole) You thinking temporal physics?

Atticus Green: The Illyana Effect?  It’s *possible*

Atticus Red: Too bad we all had our eyes closed, we’d know for sure

Kunac: I peeked.

Goofball: Cheater!

Atticus Red: What’s you see?

Kunac: Golden light.

Atticus Green: (nodding, as is Red) Illyana Effect.  Has to be.

Warrior #1: AHEM!

Atticus Green: Oh, sorry, ah, we’ll be going now.

(He grabs hold of his pole and begins flapping his wings.  The others follow suit and soon the platform is airborne.  The field of Ehpor T’sopa is left behind, and what became of the feudal squabble is not known.  Soon, in midair)

Kunac: So, um, where are we going?

Atticus Green: Weyrmount.

Goofball: Weyryeah, I remember.

Atticus Green: If we want to get back home, we’ll need to build a Rasputin stabilizerwhich requires a good quantity of ethereal mineral.

Kunac: And?

Atticus Green: In this time period, blackrock isn’t mined heavily, and the only ethereal mineral around is Etherstone, which I synthesized from traces of Blackrock.  We’re going to get it from me.

Goofball: I see.  No, wait, that’s a lie.

Atticus Red: Give it time.

(They approach the mountains where the Weyrmount lies secluded, and findabsolutely nothing but mountains.)

Kunac: Sweet Felucca.

Atticus Green: Blast it!  I was afraid of this.

Goofball: What?

Atticus Green: Well, as you know, our universe was destroyed.  I was hoping that this universe’s Britannia was close to ours, but apparently it’s not.

Atticus Red: You mean?

Atticus Green: Yeah.  There is no Dragon society, not yet at least.  If one ever does start up, it won’t be tillI don’t know.  My records of other universes are sketchyall I’ve got is a complicated incident after the Black Gate period.  And that could easily be some other universe from this one.

Kunac: Oh, GREAT.

Goofball: What NOW?

Atticus Red: Well, we could attempt to locate some ethereal mineral ourselves

(At that moment, the four rather disheartened dragons see above them, for a brief instant, the shape of a man, vanishing through space, through time, and he is gone.)

Atticus Green: QUICK!

Goofball: Huh?!


"Mono -- look." Skyblade pointed with a trembling claw at the moongate. It had begun to pulsate, throb; yet looked the same as before.

"We wanted to know where it went," Vengeance coughed. "Looks like we're about to find out."

There was a sharp, high-pitched keening, and a platform fell out, and with it four extremely small and bizarre humanoid Dragons.  They glanced around swiftly, and a green one who appeared to be the leader said, “Ah, excellent.”  The other three looked highly confused.

“Dragons?!” rem muttered.

“Ayebut they are not Britannian.  Their sizes, their colors, their proportions, all are strange.”

“They are lost, or confused,” said Skyblade.  “Shouldn’t we aid them?”

Mono looked at the strange faces.  “Nothing is for certaineven whether they are Dragons or not.”

The green leader-one coughed.  “Ah, well, ah, yes we are.  Although not like you.”  He turned to the others and seemed to be explaining something, which even keen Dragon hearing could not detect.

Atticus Green: Okay, here’s the thing.  I managed to shift us over to the history I told you about by replacing some wayward Earth traveller with ourselves.

Kunac: What ARE those things?  They look like enormous lizards with beaks!  And those wings!

Atticus Green: That’s what dragons are in this universe.  Let’s see what we can’t get out of this.

The four strange ones’s quiet conversation ended, and the leader turned back to face the  Dragons.  He cleared his throat.  “Well, ah, hello.  We come in peace, etc. etc.”

Monomolecular stared down at the man-sized Dragons.  “Mine instincts tell me ‘trick,’” he said to the others.  Lady Skyblade scratched the ground with her right front claw, contemplating.  “Perhaps t’would be wise to hear them out.”

The purplish stranger appeared to be suffering from a nasty headache.  He scratched his head slowly.  At once, he seemed to suddenly remember something and took off into the air excitedly with his tiny wings.  “I recognize that voice!  You’re Lady Skyblade!”  The
leader and the scrawny white Dragon both leaped into the air as well.  “Yes!” cried the white one.  “It IS Skyblade!”  He craned his neck upwards at the leader.  “But that’s impossible, isn’t it?”  The leader frowned, and lowered himself to the ground.  “Split timelines,” he said after a tense moment.  “The big one with the instincts also bears a slight resemblance to Monomolecular.”  The white one squinted at Mono.  “Lord Monomolecular?  I don’t see it.”

Dark Vengance exhaled slowly, releasing a thick trail of smoke.  “I grow weary of this,” he remarked threateningly.

Monomolecular waved a claw at him.  “Hold thy temper, mine friend.  If these strange small Dragons have our names, perhaps there is more to this than there seems.”  Vengeance hunched down angrily, but accepted Mono’s decision.  The leader of the strangers finally addressed the Dragons again.  “Well, ah, my name is Atticus Dragon.”  He then introduced his companions.  The small white one was named “Kunac”, the purple one was “Goofball,” and the quiet red one was “Attico”, Atticus’s cousin. Monomolecular recorded the names in his mind quickly, then squinted down at Kunac.  “He bears more than a passing resemblance to Indiana,” he half-growled.  Kunac looked up with wide eyes.  “You mean Canuck?  Kinda short, big fangs, wears a fedora sometimes?  He used to call himself Indiana”

At this Lady Skyblade reared up and fluttered her wings.  “You speak indeed of Indiana,” she said to Kunac in an surprisingly soft tone, “but this explains not the comparisons between thy visage and his.”

Atticus coughed and said rather sickly, “Well, that’sprobably because they’re the same Dragon.”  Kuanc wheeled around and cried out to Atticus, “What?”  Atticus sighed.  “It’s a bit like me and, ah, Attico.  When Canuck was a hatchling it looked like he might not survive, so I made a duplicate of his genes, on command from the Wizards.  It was kept very quiet from the start, and when it turned out you would both survive I saw no reason to tell you.”  Kunac sighed, shrugged, and turned away, mulling over this new information.

Monomolecular scratched his Dragonly chin and looked to Atticus.  “I do not mean to sound insensitive to such matters,” he said, “but now that I see that thee and thy party are indeed kin to us somehow, what can we do for you?”


Not An Icicle, Chapter Five:

Densetsu no Altima!  Warrior Dragon Earth?

(Several hours laterAtticus, Attico, Goofball, and Kunac are seated in a stony, uncomfortable cave, door closed, conversing)

Atticus: Well, that Council business may be inconvenient, but it works.

Attico: Mm hmm. (glances over at the enormous pile of Blackrock in the corner)  I suppose we ought to get to work building the Rasputin.

Kunac: Hold on.  Before you do that, got any other surprises you want to spring on us?

Atticus: Hmmmnow that you mention itnone.

Kunac: *sigh*  Let me rephrase that.  Have you got any other surprises which you could, in theory, spring on us?

Atticus: (walking over to examine Blackrock) Yes.

Goofball: Well, could you please?

Atticus:  (shrugs)  Why not?  We’re gonna be here a while.  Attico, could you give me a hand?

Attico: (joining Atticus) Sure.

Atticus: Now, where was I?  Oh, yeah, surprises.  Lesse.  I got a few dozen, but for relevancy’s sake, I’ll cut the list a bit.

Kunac: Okay

Atticus: Okay.  1) Goofball, you’re a clone of me, 2) We’re not here by -total- accident.

Goofball ∓ Kunac: WHAT?

Atticus: You heard what I said.  (to Attico)  Okay, now let’s get a low flame around here

Attico: Right.  (breathes deeply, then begins to lightly flame the pile of Blackrock around where Atticus pointed)

Goofball: His clone

Kunac: Now you know how it feels.

Atticus: (turning to face Goofball and Kunac) Yes, well, you know it is tradition in genetics to make the first Dragon test on yourself.  Trammel knows why, it’s a pretty stupid procedure, but I’m not one to break tradition---draws too much attention to yourself.

Goofball: I can imagine.

Atticus: I raised you in my own Weyr, but I haven’t the time for such things, so when I was certain that the cloning process worked, I reverse-aged you to fit the maximum age level for the orphanage, and you went in with Kunac.

Goofball: I see

Kunac: I’m assuming that’s settlednow about this “not an accident” business.

Atticus: (coughs) Well, here’s the thing.  The only reason I got off the hook with the Powers That Be for causing them all this trouble was that I agreed to fix the problems that had come up due to it, as well as doing some odd jobs around the universe.  The composite planet job was done under my supervision, though the actual work was handled by a couple of crews from Earth.  Now I’m the head of the debugging team.
Fixing the little inconsistencies in reality.

Goofball ∓ Kunac: (subdued) Uh huh.

Atticus: Unfortunately, since the old universe is destroyed, I have to gather my data from planets in other universes, whose timelines are close to ours.  So Attico and I built that (points a thumb behind them, at the triangular platform in the far back of the cave) to get a bead on the reality holes.  It honestly wasn’t intended to bring us here, but now that we are here we can do the job anyway.  I’ve already picked up the data we need (pulls out a small purplish translucent cube and points to it) and once the Rasputin is built we’ll be moving on to another universe and another planet to gather data from.

Goofball ∓ Kunac: (subdued) Uh huh.

Atticus: I’m glad you’re so calm about this.  Oh, and the bad news is that the Powers That Be won’t let us back in to our universe until the job’s done.  So we won’t be home for a while.

Goofball: Oh well.

Kunac: I was in the mood for an adventure anyway.

Attico: (looking up from work) Well, don’t expect that much of one.  It’s pretty much just a boring information-gathering mission.

Kunac: Oh well.

Goofball: I was in the mood for a boring information-gathering mission anyway.

Atticus: Good.  Well, I better work on the Rasputin.  I want out of this world in a hurry.

Goofball: Why?

Atticus: Call it a hunchI’ve got a feeling that the fellow who we piggybacked to get here was rather important to the future of this timeline.  If it runs similar to the story I read, anyway.  So things may be getting really bad around here really soon.

Kunac: Ah.

(Atticus rejoins Attico, and within a few hours the pile of Blackrock has been reshaped into a weird set of gizmos and doodads which have been carefully attached to the trans-dimensional platform.  Finally, each dragon takes his place at one of the metal poles in the platform, and concentrates)


(Despite the help of dragonly wings, the platform crashes again, due to gravity.  This time it crushes a rather dull shrub of a salesman in the process of hawking his latest invention, a suitcase-styled-contraption designed to carry razorblades and other shaving equipment.  He was not missed.)

Atticus: (stepping off platform into suburbia) O-K, by my estimations we are onEarth.

Goofball: Really?

Kunac: Cool!  Can we meet the Avatar?

Goofball: No, remember, he turned out to be a jerk.

Kunac: Oh yeah.

Atticus: We wouldn’t be able to find him anyway; remember, he was from our old universe.  This universe may not even have a Britannia, and even if it does it doesn’t necessarily have an Avatar.

Goofball: Oh.

Atticus: Anywayin order to gather my data I need to have a common ground to walk on.

Goofball: Huh?

Attico: Well, on Britannia, we could get our temporal figures by comparing the gene-patterns of the Dragons there to our own, and running that information through the Cubulator.

Kunac: So we need to find Dragons here?

Atticus: Or something else that we can reference against.  Anything from the composite planet will do.

Goofball: I see.

(Atticus nods, and tapping an until-now unseen button on the Cubulator, is suddenly dressed in an array of techno-gear, which clicks and blinks for a minute before disappearing in a black flash.)

Attico: Pick up any signs of Dragons?

Atticus: Well, there appeared to be some sort of bizarre organization which calls itself The Dragons, but it turned out it was just a bunch of humans arguing about idiotic topics and trying to make themselves important by drawing silly conclusions about electronic entertainment.

Goofball: Aw, man

Atticus: BUT I have picked up a gathering not too far from here which appears to be organized around the topic of Dragons.  If there are Dragons on this planet we should be able to pick up data on them there.

Kunac: Cool!

Goofball: When do we leave?

Atticus: Now.  Follow me, Attico, take the upper position.  Goofball, Kunac, carry the sides.

All: Right.

(They zoom up into the sky in a cool-looking flight formation, and flap in a generally southeast direction.  Soon they find themselves above a bustling and smoggy metropolis, zeroing in on an enormous, packed-looking inn.  Fortunately, due to the pollution conditions, no one notices the strange creatures in the sky, but unfortunately, it leads to poor visibility, as Atticus and Attico discover as the pop out of the smog directly above the hotel, alone.)

Attico: Hmm

Atticus: I’ll try contacting them mentally.

/Kunac, Goofball, do you read me?/

/Loud and clear, where are you?/

/Just above the roof of the inn, you?/

/Uh..well.We seem to have gotten a bit misplaced./

/Never mind, we’ll find you later.  Just stay out of sight and out of trouble.  We’ll be at the Dragon-gathering./


Atticus: Okay.

Attico: What happened?

Atticus: They just got lost.  We’ll find them later.  Let’s go.

(Attico and Atticus quickly slip down into the building and lose themselves in the oddly dressed human crowds swarming through the hotel.  After trying a few rooms filled with obsessive people to no avail, they decide to try one more before going to get Kunac and Goofball to speed the search.  They step into the room quietly)

Richard Marriott: yes, I’ve been to every DragonCon since the convention first got started, and it’s really honestly great to be back.

Starr Dane: That’s right.  Okay, well, the way we’re going to do this is we’re going to start off with a question-and-answer session, then around noon those of you who are Dragons will start moving into the restaurant with us for lunch, then we’ll reconvene here for some autographs and maybe a few prizes.  Okay?

(audience, consisting of obsessive fans of all ages, quietly nods)

RM: Okay!  So, the questionsokay, you.

Altima Fan #1: WHERE’S ALTIMA NINE????????!

RM: Well, ah, see, ahmmmmm.

Altima Fan #1: (growls)

RM: Good question!  Starr, would you take that one?

SD: AH, ulp!, well, ah, (mumbles) expect it around Christmas 2000

RM: And it’ll be really, really good!  Oodles of real-world physics, trust us!  Okay, next, um, you, behind him.

Altima Fan #2: Will you be able to stand on your head while casting ‘Hop’ and gargling ale in Altima Nine?

RM: We’re still out on that one.  Starr?

SD: Uhm, well, we talked about that last week and the decision was that, given the resources it’d burn, it’s just not worth it.


(Altima Fan #2 leaps insanely at the employees of Orangin, but is blocked by a swift kick in the stomach by a fan in the first row.)

AF #2: Owie.  (collapses)

RM: Any more questions?

(The questions continue, while in the back Atticus and Attico slowly slink into chairs, seating themselves to the left and right of a young, bucktoothed human.)

David: (whispering) Hey, nice costumes

Atticus: Um, ah

Attico: Thanks.  What’ve we missed?

David: Not muchJust that Altima Nine will be out around Christmas 2000.

Attico: I see.  Thanks again.

David: No problem.  (turns to face front)

(Attico and Atticus nod to each other, and then begin communicating by a series of hand gestures to avoid attracting human attention, as the materials of the building limit psychic communication.)

RM: Okay, you there in the back.  With  the snazzy dragon costumes.

Attico: Oop!

Atticus: Ah, yes, I was just wondering, if, ah (has flash of inspiration) You’ll be able to play a dragon in Altima Nine?

RM: Good questionsorry, no comment.  Next?

(Attico and Atticus quietly slip out, then shuffle through the convention to the rooftop.)

Attico: That was a close one.  How’d you pull that one off?

Atticus: *shrugs*  It’s pretty easy with stuff like thisjust ask a question that probes content just enough that they can’t answer.

Attico: Smart.  So, what now?  It’s obvious there are no Dragons here

Atticus: I’ve got some other leads to check outI’ll send Goofball and Kunac.

/You there?/


/You bet/

/What’s your situation?/

/Well, ah, we ran into just a bit of trouble, nothing we couldn’t handlehow about you?/

/The DragonCon is a bust.  Checking out another lead.  Meet us back at landing point.  Atticus out./

Atticus: Okay.  We’re meeting back at the landing point.

Attico: Right.

(They take off, and move into the smog layer.  Dropping out of it, coughing, they land at the platform, still sitting on the body of Devin Russell.  After a minute, Goofball and Kunac, both wearing weird-ass leather gear and Goofball with a nose ring, arrive as well.)

Atticus: I’m not even going to ask.

Goofball: Good.  Let’s go.

(All nod, and Atticus takes off in lead.  They follow him, and after a few minutes of flying, they come down at an enormous, glass-domed, generally cool-looking building.  With a bit of skulking about, they manage to make their way in without paying the high ticket fare, and soon find themselves at the top of a flight of stairs leading down into an enormous, airy rotunda, with big, big skeletons in the middle.)

Kunac: Hey!  Nice aerie!

Goofball: What’s with them skeletons?

Attico: Skeletal Dragons, I think.

Atticus: A nasty sort, those were.  Dungeon-dwellers.

Goofball: Look who’s talking.

Atticus: Look, I---never mind.  Let’s just get this taken care of.

(Atticus walks down the stone steps to the floor of the rotunda and steps up to the platform where one of the Dragons is on display.)

Atticus: I beg your pardon, sir


Atticus: Excuse me, sir Dragon


Atticus: Look, ah, hello there?


Goofball: (reading from plaque) The Turr-ay-nos-auras Rexbla bla blabeen extinct for millions of years, bla bla bla

Atticus: Extinct?  Ah, that would explain his laryngitis.

Attico: Well, guess this was a bust.

Atticus: I can still get the data anyway(pulls out Cubulator and pushes a button.)  Well, our work here is done.

Goofball: Good.  I really didn’t like this planet anyway.

Kunac: Yeah.  Buncha weirdos.

Atticus: Mm, my calculations this planet is probably gonna tank soon, too.

Goofball: Cause of our interference again?

Atticus: No, cause of the the humans’.  (shrugs)


Not An Icicle, Chapter Six:

A Bit of A Departure For The Story

(And so the task of the four timespun Dragons---Atticus, Goofball, Attico and Kunac---continued, taking them from one universe to another, gathering data from extrauniversal counterparts of the inhabited worlds of their home universe.  Britannia, Earth, Mars, Talorus, all with what could be called ease under certain belief systems.  And now, the final such mission draws to a close, as the four stand atop Pagan and look down at the ruined world below)

Goofball: Hm.

Kunac: “Under my guidance this world will flourishand all the people shall rejoice, and pay homage to their new Guardian”

Atticus: Hm?  Felucca 3:01?

Kunac: Just thinking how ridiculous it isthe Avatar is supposed to be stopping the Guardian for the good of all, but in doing so he’s ruined this world completely

Atticus: The ends justify the means.

Kunac: Figures you would say that.

Atticus: Excuse me?

Goofball: Well, we did just half-destroy this mountain trying to get at the local dragon-life

Kunac: And you have a history of this sort of thingall I’m trying to say is that maybe you could be a little less disruptive

Attico: They do have a point.

Atticus: Yes, but it’s wrong.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few; it’s logical.  If, in the end, we serve a greater good, then the fact that in the process we did harm to the lesser good, then we’ve done right.

Kunac: (angrily) What greater good are we serving?  Whose needs?  Yours?

Atticus: You would be wise not to question my actions, Kunac.  I am dealing in matters far above your level of power and understanding.

Kunac: Try me, and then see if I understand.

Atticus: I would, except we’re on a clock here.  We’re going back home now.

Goofball: If you don’t mind, I’d prefer we had this settled first

Attico: It would be helpful to have this matter out of the way.

Atticus: Not going to happen.

Kunac: Don’t you need four people to run that platform gizmo? (gestures at the platform resting on the rock behind them)

Atticus: Four focusing bodies, yes.

Goofball: I follow you, Kun-kun.  (to Atticus) We’re not focusing anymore, not till we get a decent explanation.

Atticus: (sighs) There simply isn’t time to explain it.

Kunac: Make time!

Atticus: Enough of this.  We are leaving -now-.

(There is a blue flash, and Goofball and Kunac’s eyes glaze over.  In a trance, they walk over and place themselves at their stations on the platform.)

Attico: What?

Atticus: Damn.  Forgot your psychic resistance is higher than theirs.

Attico: Look, man, you’re not acting like yourself.

Atticus: You don’t know what my self is.

Attico: I know it doesn’t go possessing people rather than explaining itself.  Bit cowardly

Atticus: This is a matter of time.

Attico: You and I both know there’s enough time to explain and get back in time to present our findings!

Atticus: Yes, but not enough to do that and rebuild the Void Projector.

Attico: The Void Projector?  What does that have to---oh, sweet Felucca

Atticus: Just get on the platform.

Attico: No.

(Attico glows a bright white for a second, then undergoes a strange transformation; his entire body lengthens, particularly the tail and limbs, his wings and horns extend further, and he acquires an impressive golden glow.)

Atticus: (bored) DragonMorph.  I see you managed to fit in a bit of training.  You know, I could help you improve on that

Attico: You forget yourself.

Atticus: Oh, really?

Attico: You know that I’ve long been opposed to your Void Projection ideas.  Now I have the power to stop them.  (glows again very briefly)  Without my cooperation you can’t get off this world to carry out your scheme.

Atticus: (shrugs) I don’t need your cooperation; any Dragon will do and as we’ve seen today there are plenty living beneath this world.

Attico: (takes a step forward) I don’t want to have to do this

Atticus: If I guess you properly, it’s not a question of not wanting, it’s a question of not being able.  I am on an utterly different power level than you are.

Attico: Shut up!  I have had enough of your scheming and manipulation.  I declare a Dragon Challenge against you, for the sake of all whose lives you have destroyed, and plan to destroy.

(Atticus laughs, coldly and shortly.)

Atticus: A Dragon Challenge?  You’re barely even fit to Challenge one of the Wizards, and you want to Challenge me?  Very well.  I see no purpose in further attempts to convince you of the intelligence of my Void Projection Plan.  Your Challenge is accepted!

(Attico growls and begins to move into fighting stance; in the time it takes him to send the message to his arm to draw back, Atticus glows and transforms into a much larger, glowing version of himself, similar to Attico’s transformation but with apparently greater results.)

Atticus: Shi ne!

(Atticus lunges at Attico and with a fantastically fast swing, rips his now-enormous claws through Attico’s left wing, savagely shredding it beyond any hope of repair.)

Attico: ARGh!

Atticus: Give it up.  You’re only fighting yourself.  Figuratively and literally.

Attico: What’sthatsupposed to mean?

Atticus: I assume you’re intelligent enough to figure out the literally.  Figuratively, you know, somewhere inside, you’re fighting me because you don’t want to admit that the Void Projection plan is the only way to make things right in the universe.

Attico: Iknow no such thing.

Atticus: Very well.

(Atticus raises a fist, and with a flash of light, Attico’s flesh is ripped off, scattered into Pagan’s lower atmosphere, leaving only a clean skeleton.  But the skeleton movesand speaks.)

Attico: By the eyes of Monomolecular

Atticus: There.  With your psychic energy now being diverted to keep your body animated and your mind in one place, it shall be a simple matter to control that mind

Attico: Notquite.

(The skeleton collapses into a pile of bones on the ground, and the very faint glow which had surrounded it dissapears.)

Atticus: Damn his eyes!  Letting his mind drop integritynothing for me to work with now.  Well, so much for my scheduletime to find a new Dragon

(Suddenly, Atticus is engulfed in a simply -enormous- fireball, the size of, say, Castle British, coming from behind.  Sheer surprise, and the power of some unknown force, hold him in place, forcing him to take the full brunt of the blast.  The attack manages to singe the tips of his ears.  With a trifling psychic effort, Atticus breaks free of the telekinetic hold on his body, and turns around with lightning speed to see a DragonMorphed Kunac and Goofball, standing on the platform.  Both are Atticus’s size and both glow as brightly as he does.)

Atticus: Ah, very impressive.  Kunac, you’ve lived up to your ancestry.  If Canuck had ever learned to focus his tremendous energy he could have produced a very impressive DragonMorph.  As for you, Goofball, you seem to have inherited my natural ability with abstract energies.  Though not my skill or my power level.  Still, with a bit of training

Goofball: I’m not interested in your ‘training.’

Kunac: Me either.  We’ve been duped long enough.  Tell us about this Void Projector business.  Now.

Atticus: I’m not telling.  Any attempt by you to delay my endeavors any further will result in your death.

Kunac: Maybe so.  But as they say, today is a good day to die!  I take up the challenge issued by the late Atticus of Rockwell!

Atticus: (laughs) Oh really?  You are both quite powerful, it is true, but you are well out of your league.

Goofball: And I join him!

Atticus: Come now.  You can’t possibly beat me.

Kunac: That’s not what honor is about.

Atticus: Honor.  Honor.  Pathetic.  I am in the right.  And I am going to win.

Goofball: We’ll see.  DRAGON HENSHIN THREE!


(Goofball and Kunac both grow, again, to more than twice their previous size, and their energy-glows both brighten as well.)

Atticus: Now who’s disruptive?  A battle at this level will cause far more damage than I did rooting around for Dragons on this world.  But so be it!  DRAGON HENSHIN THREE!

(Atticus grows similarly, now equal in size to Kunac and Goofball, but with a far brighter power-glow.)

Atticus: Let’s get this taken care of quickly.  (raises fist)

Goofball: No!

(At a speed unheard of---even in this chapter---Goofball dives towards Atticus, slashes at his wrist, and leaps back to stand by the platform.  He’s back in place, a good thirty feet away, before Atticus’s body even knows it’s been hit.  But Atticus has no cry of pain, and he continues the attack which defeated Attico, and there is a flash of lightbut no result.)

Atticus: Oh, this is interesting.  More astrally capable than I’d thought.  No matter.  I will win nonetheless.

(With Goofball recharging and Kunac apparently waiting for something, Atticus has the few seconds he needs to draw energy into himself, and focus itwith a terrible roaring noise, the mountain they stand on begins to break apart---but instead of sliding downwards, as broken mountains tend to, this one begins to fly upward, in great stony chunks.  The air is turned into a mass of high-speed stone, ripping through the sky and up into the heavens.  But as the entire mountain, and most of the island, passes away, Atticus sees Goofball and Kunac still standing, on a huge column of stone somehow protected from the onslaught, with nary a scratch on either of them.  Atticus stands on a similar column, equally unharmed by his attack.)

Atticus: More than impressive, to be able to withstand such an assault.  You are now not only opposing the good of the many in spirit, but showing yourselves to be capable of slowing down my work in practice.

Kunac: Damn straight.

(With still-impressive speed Kunac aims his head and releases his fire before Atticus can make a move to stop him.  With more white psychokinetic force guiding the flame, this time it is not a great fireball which explodes from his craw, but a beam of pure heat energy, which races towards Atticus and strikes him in the chest, audibly roasting his flesh.  With a scream and a hole in his belly, Atticus is down on his knees.)

Goofball: Do you surrender?

Atticus: Do you?

Goofball: No.

(It is Goofball’s turn to attack, and as he focuses himself the entire sky glows white, but suddenly it is apparent that it is not from any peculiar property of the air, but from millions of tiny sparks of energy, summoned from the energy of Pagan, and moving towards Atticus.  Wave after wave of these small yet powerful charges strikes him, and each impact breaks his flesh, opening a hole from which a faint but steady stream of purple mist can be seen flowing.  As the final round of particles strikes him, the mighty Dragon is barely visible amid the mist.)

Goofball: Do you surrender?

Atticus:  (hoarsely)  I’d sooner die.  Which may well be soon.  The wounds you’ve already dealt me shall kill me soon enough.  But (coughs) you will have to live with the guilt that you have halted

Kunac: Halted what?  Are you going to tell us now what this whole Projector business was about?

Atticus: ..supposeno point now in not telling you.  I was gathering this datanot just for this little composite planet projectI plan to build a Void Projector device, as he dubbed itit would draw out allsources of black etherinto the Multiuniversal Void.

Goofball: Black ether?

Atticus: Theside of ether which can beaccessed by mortals.  Allmortal magicin all universeswould be gone.  Ended.

Kunac:  What?  But why?

Atticus: People died and suffered before there was magic, yesbut magic makes it so much easierwere it not for magic, Britannia would still standthe Guardian would not threaten so many worlds

Goofball: And many who would have been healed by magic

Atticus: would not have beenyesthat’s why he opposed it

(His body relaxes.)

Atticus: but it doesn’t matter nowthe alignment has been missed, the opportunity lost

(He sighs.)

Atticus: and I amunable to mastermind the project anymore

Kunac: But

Atticus: Quiet, my childthat is how it is.  Perhaps I was wrongperhaps not.  But I will fulfillmy responsibility.

(He smiles weakly.)

Atticus: Among all my actionsthere is but one I trulyregretand I will see it corrected.

(He opens his fist and drops the cubulator on the rock where he stands.)

Atticus: You are strongand youngyour power will only grow.  The Cubulator containsthe information needed to rebuild our old your skill level risesyou must practiceand you can undo the damage

(With another sigh, he closes his fist again.)

Atticus: I am notsorry for many of the thingsI have donebut for this one actI am sorry.  Forgive me, if you may.

Goofball: ATTICUS!

(With an explosion of blue sparks, Atticus is gone, leaving only the Cubulator sitting on the column of rock rising above the stony surface of Pagan, and two Dragons mourning the loss of one who was once friend, once enemy, and perhaps both at once.  As the days go by, the memory of their losses passes, and their eyes turn to the future.  Once the immediate task of seeing that no Pagans were seriously injured in the battle, the two take up residence in the enormous rocky plain where once a mountain stood.  Among the stones, the lava, the heat and the unforgiving planet below them, they begin training, practicing, focusing their energy with greater and greater skill, until one final day when they silently take up the Cubulator, hear its instructions within their minds, and activate the spell of reconstruction, and suddenly they fly once again over Britannia.  Their Britannia.  Days go on for the Dragons of the Weyrmount.  There are good times and troubled ones, conflicts and agreements.  Such is life, and thanks to a single Dragon swallowing his pride, they enjoy it as they might never have.  Such is life.)


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