• I woke to a splitting headache. I shook my head and dizzily got to my feet. I swayed, off-balance, trying to remember where and who I was. I felt the soft grass under my feet, a cool crisp breeze brought to me the spicy sent of conifer trees, and water. My mouth was dry, my throat rough and sore, so I followed the smell. A gently flowing stream was the source. Its surface was smooth and undisturbed by the gentle currents underneath. I bent to drink, and in the water saw the reflection of a sleek blue dragon. Startled, I leapt back, regaining my wits. I looked in the water again. This wasn’t a mere dragon, it was me. I studied my new visage in the glassy water. What have I become, I wondered, staring awestruck at the fierce dragon before my eyes. I was a beast the likes of which I’d never seen before. Two keen almond-shaped eyes of golden, shimmering with magic. On the deep blue fur of my muzzle shone a constellation of silvery-white flecks. I had slim silver horns, and a crest of stiff silver-white needlelike hairs that stretched the length of my slender neck. I had never seen a dragon with fur before. On my sleek back was a pair of wings that were made of a deep midnight blue leather, speckled with silver swirls and spots, like the night sky. My thin, swishing tail was tipped with a bristle of stiff hairs like those of my crest. I had dextrous paws clawed with sharp, diamond-hard, shiny silver talons. I lifted a blue lip to reveal pointed snowy white fangs like daggers. Overall, I was pleased. I made a fine drei.

    After my self-analyzation, I broke the waters surface to quench my near-forgotten thirst. Something buzzed in the back of my mind; no one would accept me as a dragon. Is it possible to assume my human form? I reached for the magic within me, a familiar action, and found that my power had grown stronger by a hundredfold. I willed the magic to turn me human, and it did. It required little effort, how hard is it to turn into yourself? Everything that happened in the cave suddenly made sense to me. As a dragon, my name was Stelriik, Stardust. A fitting name, I thought to myself, remembering my spangled wings.

    Gathering my newfound strength, I set off quite cheerfully for my next town, my next job. My failed mission didn’t bother me. What does a wealthy lord care if a wandering magician like me becomes a dragonsnack? wink