A Distressed Treasure
Ashes-Ablaze had to admit that she was starting to panic. As she stared into the massive emerald eye of her captor, she figured it was probably alright to panic, if not begin screaming in fear, so she decided she should get right to it.
Taking a deep breath, Ashes-Ablaze inhaled sharply-
“-shh! Shh sh, no- we were doing very well, hmm yes, very good and well without the screaming, yes,” a deep sigh came afterward from the beast, “I am not liking when do the screaming so, perhaps maybe, yes, do not scream.”
Deflating slightly, Ashes-Ablaze run her hand over her flaming head, then asked, “But what else can I do? We been staring at each other for a while now-”
“For two-” Ashes-Ablaze went breathless for a beat “-you ain't serious.”
“Hm, see, I am not doing the exaggeration of things, yes,” replied the beast, “I was enjoying the resting but then you looked as if you were going to commence the, hm, screaming, hmm? Yeees?”
Pulling her knees to her chest, Ashes-Ablaze shook her head, “Ain’t like there anything else to do. We just been sittin' here and I don't even know where here is.”
“No, hm, wait in silence, yes, this is what you will be doing now, the waiting,” huffed the beast with an exhale that sent Ashes-Ablaze’s flaming hair to fluttering.
“You wanna at least answer something for me?”
“Hm? No, I will not answer-”
“-what’re you supposed to be anyway?”
It was then that the beast heaved another large sigh yet, it seemed taken aback slightly by Ashes-Ablaze's ignorance. Slowly, it began reorienting itself within the darkness of the cave. Ashes-Ablaze could hear the scales and body of the beast scraping gently across the smooth stones, with such a heavy sound that she knew it must be massive- far more so than she could see from her light alone in such dim surroundings. As the beast moved, a few hollow clatters sounded out from the inside of the cavern, and Ashes-Ablaze eyed her surroundings warily, slightly fearful that-
All those stacked boats, rafts, and other rudimentary sea-faring vessels, which were piled high from floor to ceiling along the dark cave walls- in amounts that were more numerous than she cared to count- looked stable enough around her. Perhaps the beast had instead knocked loose some of the stray oars, sticks, and poles that were collected in the massive pile behind itself?
“I am Tisslith the Dragon, of the Wings and Flight innumerable, from the Immortal Mother of Dragons, Sathira, may her name be ever blessed and eternal,” declared the beast, holding its scaly head and neck high within the confines of the cave, “Mm, ah, yes.”
“You ain’t got wings,” Ashes-Ablaze pointed out immediately.
Tisslith then deflated slightly but flexed her mighty fins outward. Along her serpentine body, those webbed crests and fins, caught the light in a dazzling display of blue and silver, as it showed off its form proudly. “These are the wings of flying, yes you see, I fly through the waters and seas, mmhm,” Tisslith replied haughtily.
“Nah, them fins,” Ashes-Ablaze shook her head at the Dragon, “We Porry know what fins is. You a fish-”
“-am not fish, no, you are doing the. Wrong. Assuming. Yes, for you see, you are incorrect, yes,” Tisslith said then, rather self-consciously coiling her body onto itself, stacking her long serpentine form before the Porry.
Sucking her teeth, Ashes-Abalaze scoffed, sensing the subtle shift in power, as she went on to insist, “Nah you a fish and you got all these boats- what you got all these boats for if you ain’t no fish?”
“Wrong and incorrect still, yes, for you see, I am to collect treasure, as the Immortal Mother of Dragons, Sathira, may her name be ever blessed and eternal, has told all of us, yes, my brethren, to gather precious treasures from across all the lands!” Tisslith gestured to its collection of boats, with a triumphant lift of its head, “I have observed, yes, that you mortals do value and love and cherish, see, these boats as you call them, hm? And is it also not true, yes, that the sticks and log-flaps-”
“-oars and push-rods-”
Scoffing yet again, Ashes-Abalaze rolled her eyes at the dragon, “And you don’t even know what you collecting either? You even know what I am?”
“Yeah, but I told you that,” Ashes-Ablaze shook her head, “Only a dumb fish don’t know what no oar is.”
Tisslith scrunched slightly, a hesitant pause lingering, before it spoke again, with uncertainty weighing heavily in its tone, “Treasures… these are treasured things. They. Are.”
“Bet you don’t even know why I’m still here do you, fish?”
Letting out a SHARP hiss, the Dragon declared in a show of intense insecurity, “Tisslith is NOT a fish? You keep calling it a fish but It Is Not! How dare you?”
“Nah, you still got me here cause you a bored and lonely fish. Keepin’ me hostage to talk to, huh fish? Bet nobody even wanna talk to you-”
“No, you foolish stinky Porky-”
Uninterrupted, Tisslith went on, “-I am keeping you for the collector of precious creatures will come to here, yes, and will come for you! For you see, Porky-”
“-you are also treasure!” And Tisslith laughed then, in the manner that the unclever tended to when they believed themselves to be clever, “Ha! HO! Ha!” Its head waves side to side, in a mesmerizing manner, as bioluminescent lights flashed across its fins to convey its joyous emotion.
A beat of laughter passed before Ashes-Ablaze, edging slightly back toward panic, mumbled, “Weird compliment but aight.”
“Yes! Mmhm, you shall be given to my brethren which collects those kids of treasures for Mother! Those treasured beings who are much and many loved. We have seen how so many come in boats for you, little Porky-”
“-porry,” though Ashes-Ablaze swallowed nervously.
“-and we know that love means value! Therefore, as with the others my brethren, Yalisith has collected, which he tends to very kindly and with gentle givings, yes, of good food and meals, for they must be, mm, very nice and well taken care of to keep their value, yes, due to diminishing returns, see, yes.” Tisslith’s head wavered slightly as it steered its digression back on track, “You are treasure and will be going to our Immortal Mother of Dragons, Sathira, may her name be ever blessed and eternal!”
And so it was that Ashes-Ablaze finally admitted she was going to panic, any moment now, and that there was nothing to be done for it but to take a deep breath, once more with feeling, and-
“Do not perform the screaming! For that shall only tire you out and you will need such rest, before the flight to Yalisith’s collection- whenever it is that the Yalisith arrives- hm,” Tisslith hissed with far more aggression than before.
For the first time since having woken up in the cave, Ashes-Ablaze finally realized just how massive the Dragon before her was. The mouth of the beast was large enough to bite her in half and she could see its curved fangs- every single one of them jagged for tearing lesser creatures apart- and its scales looked like the razor skin of a shark- then she could see how muscular its serpentine body was- how the stones beneath its dripping maw bubbled and eroded with the contact of its acidic spittle- death...
She could see death slithering before her and it was a long. Fish.
Tilting its head back and fourth as it stared at Ashes-Ablaze, who had grown frozen and tense with fear, Tisslith nodded with satisfaction.
“Very good, Porky, you shall go to mother," Tisslith hissed in amusement.
"You shall go to the Mother in silence and alive, yes.”
Tisslith, a dragon, has begun hording boats and seafaring vessels as they are Treasures for Mother. It also captures important people to give to a second dragon, Yalisith, because people are Treasures for Mother, too. Somebody should probably do something about this.