The cavern was still. Silence hung thick in the air. High above on a massive spiraling steeple a massive eyrie sat perched, listening to the silence. Black, razor like talons gripped the crystal edge lip. His slate grey mane billowed softly in the windless air. Golden eyes scanned the cavern. Armorique, as he was known, sighed, unfolded his wings, and dropped off the stone ledge.
Armorique circle down to the crystal floor. Crimson light reflected off his ruffling feathers. The sight was beautiful. The large city nestled deep in the volcano was his home. All was his, the city, the volcano, and even the lake, its shimmering waters reflecting the light all through the cavern. He had an important task that was his responsibility, his duty. He was a spirit, a guardian. He did not ask to be one, but it was his duty either way. He was tied to this mortal world through the volcano. The volcano was by far the largest on this planet and unknown to the rest of the world. It was formed many years ago at the bottom of the ocean. An eruption from this volcano would produce a force so great, that the Earth would not recover. The mountains would crumble the ocean would rise up to meet the land, and the sun would fade from view. Armorique was born to prevent this. He possessed a gift. He could speak to fire. His presence in the volcano kept the long awaited eruption at bay. Every year he coaxes the restless volcano to sleep, preventing the devastating disaster once more. Armorique knew the value of his task, but he was not entirely happy. He tried to hide it, but he longed to return to the surface, to see the fiery sun and feel its warming rays, but sadly he could not leave the volcano. If the volcano erupted, it would not only destroy the world, but destroy itself. The death of the volcano would mean the death of its guardian.
As Armorique alighted on the cavern floor, he felt a fierce rumble. Armorique, startled, listened expecting to hear an angry volcano, but it was not the volcano. The roar was coming from the surface.
The cavern shook and rattled as the sea beat against the volcano's walls. Armorique sensed the restlessness of the dormant volcano as she woke to sea's roar. Armorique lighted next to the cavern lake's shore and became to sing a mournful lullaby gently coaxing the volcano back to sleep. At last she calmed, and Armorique's voice faded into silence. Armorique sat puzzled. No storm could cause such a disturbance in the sea. What force of nature or spirit cause such a disturbance? As Armorique sat puzzling in the silence, he heard small cry. His ears perked up at the nearly undetectable noise. It was coming from the pool that lead to the outside world. Armorique leaped into the air and alighted next to the pool of sea water. Nestled upon the rocks was a small creature. It was a pale orange with sea blue horns and fins and a emerald green mane framing it's face. Crimson blood dripped from scorched wounds. Armorique took one look at the creature, then scooped it up in his talons and carried it to the lake. He placed the little finned dragon into the water, and stepped back. A vibrant light radiated from the tiny creatures body then faded away. The little creature remained still slowly sinking to the bottom of the lake, when it awoke and sprung out of the water. The little dragon splashed back into the surface of the lake, then swam towards Armorique. Armorique smiled. At last he had a companion in the heart of the volcano. He looked at the creature and said one word, "Ser". The tiny dragon looked up at him, eyes still gleaming.
It had been a long six years since Armorique had saved Ser. The days were going by so slowly. If it were not for Ser, Armorique would have fallen into darkness long ago. Her was begining to loose. Never again would he look apon the firey sun and feel her rays of warmth. The volcano never stayed asleep for long. Every year at least she would awaken. Violent storms or harsh waters would awaken her. She grew more and more restless as the days turned to weeks, the weeks turned to months, and the months turned to years. With each day Armorique grew restless. He would spend hours pacing back and forth stopping only to stroke Ser or sing a lullaby to the volcano. When would he return to the surface?
One day, as Armorique sat high above the crystal cavern city, he noticed a disturbance in the water that Ser had come from, the water that lead to the outside world. His golden eyes scanned the surface. To his surprise, a blue beast rose out of its depths.
The beast, mouth agape, swam slowly towards the shore. Cautiously, he raised one foot out of the water and placed it upon the marble floor. He then raised his next one and placed it upon the ground. When nothing happened, he pulled his entire form up out of the water. His talons clicked upon the stone floor. Water rolled off of his sleek form as he made his way toward the towering entrance. As the dragon gazed up at the massive stone guards, he proceeded to enter the city. He placed one foot inside the city's limits, when Armorique dove off the towering steeple. Screeching, he dove at the intruder!
The dragon's knees buckled, as a Armorique's talons dug into his flesh. With an agonizing roar, the dragon whipped around and hurled himself at Armorique. The dragon slashed back at Armorique only to receive a blow Armorique's talons. Furious, the dragon lunged into the air hoping to get a better angle and view of Armorique. Once again Armorique dove at him, but this time it was Armorique who screamed in agony. The dragon's talons had hit his flesh and bone. Armorique buckled beneath the dragon's weight and fell with a sickening thud to the blood stained floor. The beast alighted next to his defeated opponent, Armorique. Armorique lay motionless; his crimson beak lay slightly ajar, covered with thick shimmering blood. Armorique shuddered and opened one large golden eye. The dragon uttered a deep menacing growl and took a few cautious steps back.
The Dragon-Why did you attack me?
Armorique-To see if you were worthy.
The Dragon -Worthy? Worthy of what?
Armorique-Worthy of entering my city.
With a huge shutter, Armorique pushed himself to his feet.
And with that, the two beats disappeared within the city's mists, swallowed up by the fiery light.
As the dragon followed the Armorique, through the towering city, he gasped at Armorique's beautiful city. The giant dragon grunted in pain. Armorique looked back at him.
Armorique-We are almost there.
They rounded a corner and there before them laid a lake, filled with the same glint as the rest of the cavern. Without pausing, armorique entered into its waters. He was immediately engulfed in cerulean light. His flesh twisted and stretched back over his wounds, healing them completely. The dragon didn't think twice. He immediately followed. Relishing the pleasure brought by the healing waters, the dragon looked at Armorique.
The dragon-Who are you?
Armorique-I am Armorique, spirit of fire, keeper of the city, caretaker of the volcano. It has been years since we had a visitor.
The dragon looked puzzling at Armorique.
Out of nowhere a young mara gallion whizzed through the water, splashing wildly and gleefully at the new guest. Armorique smiled.
Armorique-This is Ser. He wandered into my domain many years ago. I have yearned to travel the waters with him, but alas I am not a beast of the sea, and therefore cannot leave this place. I have been waiting for a worthy beast of water to come and free him.
He looked at the dragon.
Armorique -You are that beast.
The dragon was taken aback. This was not what he expected to hear from such an aggressive animal, but he was very grateful. He had longed for a companion for quite some time. He looked back at Armorique.
The dragon-Thank you.
Armorique -Be wary, Dragon. Ser is not an average creature. Keep him close. He has been blessed by the healing waters.
The dragon nodded.
The dragon-I will.
Armorique-You must leave now Dragon. The storm is almost upon us. Go.
The dragon took on last look at the massive eyrie.
The dragon-Goodbye Armorique, spirit of fire, keeper of the city of light.
Armorique-Goodbye Formuko, possessor of a pure soul.
Formuko then scooped up the small gallion and dove into the pool from which he came.
Armorique smiled and turned. He felt at ease at last. He knew who that dragon was the moment he entered the city. He was a guardian and spririt just like Armorique, and he had changed. A old spirit knows many things beyond his own life. Just opening the doors to this knowledge is a mystery. Formuko did not know it, but his precence inside the volcano brough overjoying happiness to Armorique. At last another spririt had found him. He was no alone in this world after all.
Formuko and Ser continued to visit Armorique for many years. They gave Armorique his hope back, his life back. Armorique was no longer restless. As his inner spirit calmed, so did the volcano's. He know's now that someday, someday the volcano will no longer need him, and he will finally return to the surface.
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