Mother Iwilanga hummed quietly to herself as the dragon child divulged the secrets of her true form to the information-hungry chronicler. Mother would wait with patience practiced to near perfection. She was in no hurry to tell Arliss what she had recently gleaned from the shimmering of the stars or the change in the wind. She withheld her opinion of Arliss' taking up an apprentice. Mother Iwilanga only waited and fed the glowing embers with dried grass and a tenderness that only a mother could match. The fire soon grew as docile as a lamb. She watched it flicker as if with the impatience of a child wanting to grow up.


Mother Iwilanga did not look up from the embers. At that moment she noticed something flash deep within the heart of the fire. It was an angry call to her attention. Mother found herself captivated within the flame's heart. It beckoned her to look into the core of the earth, the flesh and the fire. It writhed with something so dangerous, the young flame could hardly contain it. 

“Mother? I need to speak to you about something that occurred today.” 

The voice was only a white noise that barely surfaced the sound of the crackling logs like feet pounding against the soft skin of the earth. Her guests only touched the periphery of her vision which was occupied by the near invisible emission of heat and its vibrant fluctuations. 

“I need your council, Mother. It is important. It concerns an apprenticeship that was asked of me, and I do not know--”

The young flame reached its breaking point then and the core of it exploded with the deep heat of an ancient anger and the brightness of an unfolding temper. It was too sudden. Mother Iwilanga gasped and kicked dirt into the flame, hoping to extinguish it, but the Terra already had a hold of her. Arliss tried to calm her, but the hatchling's voice was not coming through as a string of ancient words brushed her troubled mind. 

“You must listen to me, hatchling! You must listen carefully!" Mother Iwilanga urged, her voice rasping as she held onto the solid flesh before her. "One will steal the wrath of old and seek what has been concealed; one will drink of the cup of ire; one will face a faceless foe, and all must fight to amend the wrongs of our fathers. The world will be lost and undone! You. You, hatchling, must take your pupil, the one with the leather arm. Together. Together only will you put right an unhinged world!"

Mother Iwilanga felt the presence of Terra drain from her. She let go of Arliss' face and let the hatchling hold her with steadying arms. Mother Iwilanga sighed as a tear forced its way from the wrinkles at her eyes. 

For a few seconds they were silent with shock before Arliss took a hold of the old woman's broad shoulders. "What is it?" the mage asked in a soft, yet demanding voice. "What is it you saw? What does it mean?"

Mother Iwilanga only closed her eyes. "I know not, hatchling. I know nothing but an indescribable grief and the face of your new apprentice." 

The End

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