In the captivating world of fan fiction, Marissa Letizio-Rossi weaves a mesmerizing tale that delves into the origins of the enigmatic Purple Dragon. As a submission to the prestigious Purple Dragon Fan Fiction Contest of August, her narrative promises to unveil the secrets and mysteries surrounding this iconic character, inviting readers on a journey of imagination and discovery. Get ready to embark on an adventure like no other as we explore the remarkable genesis of the Purple Dragon.
I am the last defense from death.
The voice in the air cut through the smoke and carnage of the battlefield, grabbing the attention of every remaining living creature within seconds. There were no victors remaining, only survivors and scavengers. In the three days after the surprise attack, the dead had been buried, and a small camp of survivors had risen near the banks of a nearby river. The water’s current was fast and dangerous should anyone wander out or fall in, but it offered some illusion of safety. Should the attackers return, the encampment would not be entirely unguarded. Trapped; but not surrounded.
For what is truly dead until it is forgotten?
From their place in the sky, the dragon had spotted the smoke of ruins from many wingpaces off, the measurement ironic in that this dragon boasted no wings. More than the smoke, it was the sharp smell of despair and desperation that guided them to this encampment. A long purple body, two front legs tucked in neatly under them to offer the least wind resistance descended down in a circular decline. They were not surprised upon landing, when a small unit of humanoids formed poorly organized ranks in front of the shambles of tents on the river bank. Curling up in a reptilian pile, the Purple dragon planted their feet on the ground and merely waited. Better to not provoke anything backed into a corner, not worth the hassle or mess.
Eventually what could be assumed as an elder of the village stepped out from a tent and raised their arms in a shaky greeting, remaining behind their last remaining warriors. No, not warriors- most of the creatures holding the weapons in the defensive maneuver looked far too frail or small for the weapons that they held. The Elder’s voice broke as he began to speak.
“Great dragon of Purple. We have nothing to offer in terms of greeting or tithe. Please allow us some time to find you a suitable offering.”
Steam scorched the ground under the dragon as they huffed. Never once had they asked for sacrifices or offerings, and yet once one of the red dragons had begun their stupid rituals centuries ago, the myth had encompassed dragondom as a whole. Knowledge spreads quickly fueled by fear. The ignorance of it was infuriating as usual, but it was swallowed.
It is with ignorance you would make such an offer. I am here to offer sanctuary.
“Sanctuary?” A human girl spat from the front line of the maneuver, wielding a mismatched sword and shield shakily. The dragon blinked at the venom in her voice, cocking their head to the side as the elder looked mortified and her colleagues shushed her to no avail. “Where were you days ago? We have already bled and died. This land is our home, where we have buried our dead, and where we will rebuild. We will not leave.”
The dragon grinned without meaning to, a few creatures that had been peeking out of tents wailing at the sight of large and pointed fangs. A mere millennium ago she would have been a good candidate for a Rider, it had been many a century since a humanoid had dared raise a voice to the dragon. They found it quite noslogic and a nice change of pace from the sniveling they had begun to expect in every encounter.
You have a good fire in you, child of shield and sword. What you are unaware of however, is that your enemy will return. A weapon clanged as it hit the ground. This river flows from the north to the homeland they have hailed from. It is likely they will use it to return.
“But… the current is too strong for boats.”
The current is too strong for your boats.
With this new knowledge hanging in the air the elder once again spoke, a younger boy next to the girl grabbing her shield arm, trying to withhold her from speaking anymore. Possibly a brother or childhood friend the dragon surmised.
“What would you have us do?”
For those willing, over the next few days I will transport most of you to a safer city. The Green Dragon is in charge of it, and in exchange for cultivating his fields you will be given shelter and substance. The green’s dragon’s horde is plant life and requires much maintenance. Those of you who are educated with ink and quill will return with me to my horde. I require documentors and organizers in the Paramassë.
Entire nations, cultures, and belief systems survive only in my horde. The other dragons grow their horde’s value quickly, but lose it just as fast. Gold will tarnish after a few moons, knowledge is infinite.
The threat of the enemy returning was too large, and about half of the encampment began to pack what meager belongings they had left. The other half looked nervously from one to another uneasily. In the end about two thirds of the survivors would agree to be taken to the Green City, the remaining would rebuild by the river. They had no reason to trust a dragon after all.
The purple dragon remained in their spot as the humans scurried around, once again reminded why some of the western dragons referred to humans as ants. They were surprised, however, to see the sword and shield girl congregating around with those who would be heading to the green city. They lowered their head down towards her, pleasantly pleased as she was the only one who did not flinch at the closeness. Her subtle movement to place herself between their head and the boy was not lost on the dragon either.
The girl looked confused for a moment at the softer tone of conversation, realizing suddenly she was the only one who could hear the dragon's voice in her head this time.
“I would stay and honor the dead, but safety for the living takes priority.” Her hand resting lightly on the sword at her hip, “And if this is a trap or a trick they’ll need someone to protect them.”
Horrified looks from the people around her at the very poorly concealed threat, turned to absolute terror as the dragon reared their head back and began laughing. The laugh shook the tents and sent ripples across the water as the purple dragon tilted their head back and just laughed hysterically.
Child, your needle would not save you. If I wanted you roasted, you would already be burning. Do not believe that all dragons are the same. Stand off to the side with your boy, I require your presence.
The girl looked confused, and finally fear seemed to reach her as her hand quivered, placing it on the boy’s shoulder who looked up at the dragon with wide eyes. She opened her mouth to argue, perhaps just for her brother's presumed safety when the dragon wrapped around those who had designed to go to the Green City. The tang of magic was iron in the air, as people and their belongings were magically lifted onto the dragon. Sections of the people were separated and placed around spikes large enough to hold onto. Careful to keep their ascent slow the Purple dragon took off heading toward the west.
I will return for those who are mine.
And they did, the next day. The number of humanoids who could read and write in this village had been a much smaller amount than the dragon had hoped for- they had forgotten that in the human lands it was a luxury and not a necessity. Typical of the warring clans to keep their people subdued and weak with their ignorance. The conceptual idea had the dragon fuming once more.
In addition to the girl and her boy there were about ten others that would be useful including the elder and a man that obviously smelled like an elf. To the amusement of the dragon, the man wore a thick hat covering his ears. Perhaps the humans could not smell his secret yet. Again the magic in the air grew thick and tangible as the educated few were lifted and placed behind spines.
My horde is a few days of flight at a speed which will not harm you. We will rest midday and at dusk so as not to harm your fragile bodies. Humanoid bodies will not hold onto my spikes properly without rest.
There was no reply but a hint of disdain from the girl at being called fragile. Twelve pairs of hands suddenly grabbed at their spikes as the dragon carefully lifted into the air and began flying off. Conversation was hushed and limited between groups, the dragon themselves remaining silent until the dusk resting time. At dusk they landed in a meadow, the edge of it nowhere in sight. The Purple dragon laid down in the field creating a circle, their nose resting just beside their tail.
We have left the human lands. Do not wander, though you will remain safe in my cover. Never trust anything that asks for your name. We fly again at dawn.
The humanoids unrolled cots and cloths of sorts from their packs and settled down together in the center of the circle. The dragon silently watched taking note of who preferred whose company the most, and just generally watching how they all interacted with each other. Within a few moments most of the traveling party had settled in for the night, the remainers being the girl and the secret elf. They each sat on opposite sides of the group, holding guard. The elf wouldn't need sleep anyway, but the dragon was displeased that the girl would stay awake. Speaking only to her once again the dragon hummed.
Your fire is admirable, but do not burn out. You will fall off in flight if you do not rest.
The elf looked over anxiously, as he seemed to always be, at the first hint of magic in the air. The girl struggled against the sleeping spell for only a moment before succumbing to it. A scowl written across her face to the continued amusement of the dragon.
On the morning of the third day, the group arrived at the base of a tall mountain. As the dragon approached the mountain shuttered at their presence and a doorway opened as part of the mountain just moved away. Unfazed the purple dragon just floated right in. Torches on the walls sprang to life as they passed in this narrow tunnel. The tunnel opened up to a large chamber, surpassing that of the encampment entirely. Bland and empty buildings followed the curving walls, a break in the pattern only when another tunnel entrance appeared.
As they landed, a loud skittering came from a tunnel across the cavern, and a much smaller reptilian head appeared from around the corner. Followed by another, and then followed by ten more. With quiet sounds of horror from the humanoids tinged purple kobolds came running over to the Purple Dragon making a cacophony of chirps and high-pitched whines. The Purple dragon hummed a command, and the group dispersed quickly back down their tunnel.
Kobolds. Totally harmless to you, The Dragon explained. They will be gathering and hunting for your necessary meals in order for you all to focus on your documentation.
They motioned toward one of the buildings on the side of the cavern.
Each building was intended for groups of three to five. Until our numbers grow you are welcome to live in whatever groups you deem fit. I will return with your work shortly.
Leaving the humanoids to themselves to get situated with their belongings and each other, the dragon disappeared down one of the side tunnels. This began a cycle that they would follow nearly every day. The torches would light, indicating the sunrise and the dragon would appear with two floating crates. Inside the one would be old tomes and moth-eaten scrolls and the other would be new parchments, writing utensils, and even blank books. Those with good writing skills would spend the day recording and rewriting information. Everything from documentation of lost wildlife to the history of kingdoms would be recorded and rewritten.
The girl and her brother would be taught their letters and numbers and once capable they would also be encouraged to write what they could. Once half the torches went out, it was free time. To exercise or socialize, or whatever the group preferred to do. The only exception was to never enter any of the side tunnels that had been marked off with a large X on top of the entrance. Such as the Kobold’s den entrance. A few of the tunnels were marked for exploration explicitly, something about the humanoid need for adventure, and those always had lit torches on the walls. There was also one which contained a hot spring and one for what was discovered as a sick house should anyone fall ill.
In the beginning the Dragon would leave the cavern after some time as everyone went about their day, but after what was assumed a few weeks the dragon began remaining in the cavern. Somedays as the Purple dragon, somedays taking on a more humanoid shape. They still towered over the others, and their skin was always a deep violet, but eventually with patience the humanoids relaxed in their presence. Often with a book in hand, the dragon sat beside the humans during the first half of the day copying documents that were in languages other than common.
This was their pattern for a long time, though time became hard to track with no seasons. The temperature and humidity never changed within the mountain, another tactic to protect the books and parchments. Eventually the dragon called the humanoids to the center of the cavern, even the horde of kobolds lined the room, their numbers constantly growing and shrinking.
It has been a year since you have entered the Paramassë. I have received word from the Green Dragon that your friends and families are well. The war among the human lands has been declared over. You have been a treasure to house in my horde. The only difficulty with building a sizable horde of this nature is the maintenance and initial collection. My magic spans far and wide but there is a limit to what even I can absorb. After some discussion with the Green and Teal dragons I had decided to incorporate their hive methods, with a few adaptations of course. Documentation and organization is important to any Parmassë. But, the time has come to offer you some choices. It is seen in history that when humans are held against their will, the struggle is often not worth the reward. If you wish to return to the river bend where you had been found I will take you. If you wish to remain, you will be welcomed with open arms.
As if on a cue the kobolds all made a hugging gesture while shrilling. Those who remain will be offered more choices. To stay and continue rewriting documents, or to head into the world itself and collect information for the horde itself.
The humanoids looked around at each other, before shrugging with smiles on their faces. It was the girl who stepped forward, never the leader but always the first to speak.
“We are keepers of knowledge and secrets. We are the last defense against death. I, for one, like this life better than fishing.” The dragon laughed and lowered their head to the ground looking at the girl eye to eye. They flashed a fanged smile at her and she flashed one right back. “We would like to visit family in the Green City though.”
I will offer names then. It is a high honor to receive one from a dragon you know. It is considered a binding of sorts, like a show of trust in the human lands. Step forward to receive one.
One by one the humanoids stepped forward to receive names; Cayna for the elder, Haldir for the secret elven man who still somehow managed to keep his hat, Feregenol for the little brother. As the fiery girl finally stepped forward, the dragon seemed to pause for some time.
Ruinëelwen. It is a good name for one with fire in their heart.
“I have one for you too.” The dragon blinked, taken by surprise for the first time in many moons, even the chattering of the Kobolds stopped. “We want to call you something as well. Something in that old Language that you prefer.” Ruinëelwen pulled a small notebook out of the inner pocket of her coat and started reading through it.
“I think…Istailu. All-Knowing being. Don't let it go to your head too much.”
Istailu grinned and nodded knowing without a doubt that this Fire-Heart would be irreplaceable when it came to the future of the horde.