39: Truth Teller

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At some point in their journey through the caverns, Blayre and Caval came upon a multifaceted treasure trove of crystals. They appeared to be attached to the stone floor and walls of the cavern, like a miniature rainbow city of sunset citrine and ruby, morning amethyst, and midnight sapphire. There were clusters of them in the deepest emerald of the lush tropical forests that Caval had once described on the southern continents, and some the turquoise blue of the ocean.

Blayre felt breathless at the sight of them, and at the feel of the magic they contained as they glowed softly, shimmering like multifaceted stars against the dark stone backdrop. And the power that emanated from them - Blayre felt tears prick at her eyes at the sensation of it. Both young and ancient and warm and cool all at once.

"Caval," She murmured "You had said that the crystals were a product of compressed scales. But these are... they're growing out of the cavern floor and walls."

Caval had been watching her, and deep in thought, had one long finger pressed to his cheek, elbow propped on his other hand. "What if..." He trailed off, and she could almost see the gears turning in his head, and smell the smoke as he pondered the perplexity before them. He unslung his pack from his shoulders and began searching through it until he procured the book that he had been using since they had arrived in the mountains. He flipped through the pages and squinted at them a bit, holding the mage-light over them. "What if these were once dragon scales?"

Blayre made a face. "You're suggesting," she said succinctly, "That these beautiful things, are from the decomposed bits of dead dragons?"

Caval threw one of his wild grins her way and she felt her insides go slightly liquid. "Yes, my dear, Blayre. That is precisely what I am suggesting. Dragons are - were creatures of magic. Perhaps when they died, there wasn't the same rot and decay that occurs when humans do."

"Aren't you a creature of magic?" Blayre pointed out.

"It isn't the same kind of magic." Caval said explained. "You said so yourself, these feel ancient - different somehow."

Blayre swallowed and nodded. Different was an understatement. This magic made her both giddy and ready to cower in fear all at once.

"Natural creatures go back to the earth, to continue the life cycle of other natural-born creatures. Perhaps the dragons, who come from magic, return to magic to continue the life-cycle of other magic creatures." the sorcerer continued.

"That egg - the one Bartley ran off with - it was nestled into a bed of crystals. Do you think the magic of the crystals was growing it... or preserving it somehow?" Blayre inquired. Her mind was fit to burst with all this theory and speculation. She needed a nap. Not that she could take one.

"Either could be true, I suppose. The books on the breeding of dragons which had been practiced centuries before us were destroyed for the most part. This one," He held up the tome in his hands, "Doesn't say much in the way of the life cycle of a dragon."

"And what of the scales we found in Port Roubeles? Why were they still in...scale form?" She wrinkled her nose.

"You're asking a lot of questions that I don't have the answers too." Caval said, looking at her softly. His hand rose, making it halfway to her face, and then he dropped it. She bit the inside of her cheek, wondering if she wanted him to touch her or not.

Blayre hung back as Caval began to move on. She feigned dropping something on the ground and instead, with a good deal less effort than she expected, plucked one of the midnight crystals from the group of shimmering geodes, and tucked it into her pocket, the cool ancient magic making her feel instantly calm.

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