nearly lost in awe

“You have power that comes so close to being unlimited, it might as well be.  You have a cave full of ancient treasure and amazing magical artifacts.  You have a source of water.  You have no problem obtaining the sustenance to survive when required.  You have your preferred isolation, hidden here as you are in these spiny treacherous mountains.  It would appear that there is nothing you lack and nothing you ever go wanting for.”  The sorceress couldn’t help the small twitch of a smile that tugged at the corners of her lips, even as she felt the fury of the dragon’s patience growing thin. “These are all known, yes, witch.  There is no wisdom in speaking the obvious to me.  Get to your proposal quickly, or I’ll test my teeth against your magic again.  We both know how that will end.” Its voice left her trembling but she held her ground against the wash of heat pouring off the beast’s scales and she kept her gaze steady into the swirling orange and purple pools of its eyes.  A tendril of smoke rose in a spiral from the dragon’s right nostril.  The sorceress, from the periphery of her magically altered eyesight, saw it as a smudge of darkness against the otherwise radiant snout.  It seemed wrong to her that the smoke should mar the beauty of the creature in front of her, and she finally looked beyond the danger and noticed its brilliant aesthetics. The dragon, however, quickly pulled her out of her revere, snatching her in a giant claw that would have crushed her instantly if not for her magical shields.  Even with the protective barrier she could feel the pressure closing in around her.  It imploded towards her in short bursts of inches as layers gave way to the beast’s sheer strength. “I’m sorry for momentarily letting my awe get the better of me, dragon.  Though, that does tie-in nicely to my proposal, if you’ll hear it.” The pressure didn’t decrease, but it didn’t increase either, and while the dragon spoke no wards of ascent, she knew that was the sign that it was still willing to hear her out.  She had deduced, based on her previous interaction with the creature, that it was arrogant, supremely confident in its superiority, and a key part of arrogance is vanity. “The world has forgotten about you.  Children no longer tremble at the mention of your name.  Towns no longer pay you homage.  You are considered a myth, a superstition, a conjured apparition used by the elders to keep their youth in line and since distorted by the passage of long years and forgetful minds.  Perhaps that has suited you so you could enjoy some semblance of peace here in your cave, but now that you are forgotten, it means you are no longer respected.” The dragon’s eyes narrowed to razor sharp slits and it snaked its snout so it was level with the sorceress.  Burning rage sizzled from its hide and singed the magician despite the remaining layers of protective spells she had woven around her.  She nearly faltered and dropped her gaze, she nearly stepped backwards into certain death, but she found the same strength of resolve burning in her core that had seen her survive her tormentors through the long years of school and she stood her ground. “What exactly are you saying, witch?” She had no recourse to keep from cringing against his thunderous voice.
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