|The Transformation Story Archive||Mythical Beings|
Dreams of Dragons
It was a different dream tonight. He was some kind of griffin, flying low over the landscape. On a distant hill his keen eagle eye-sight detected a sheep, grazing peacefully. He adjusted his wingtips slightly and began a lazy circle above the unsuspecting prey. When everything felt right, he started to dive. He pulled his wings in and began to plunge towards the target. The sheep's sixth sense kicked in too late and with a scream of triumph, he grabbed it with his claws. And sneezed.
David woke then, clutching the remains of the pillow and noticed the feathers drifting about his room. He sat up and looked around, his mind still covered with a sleepy haze. The room was a mess, there were feathers everywhere. Obviously he had been stalking an innocent pillow. With a sigh he began to untangle himself. Ever since he had found the book, his dreams had been getting more and more dramatic, graphic and, dare he admit it, exciting.
Suddenly, the sound of cloth shredding brought him back to reality. His fingers were caught in the remnants of the pillow. With a hefty tug, he ripped his fingers free and started in amazement. Instead of nails, he had long talons. As he watched, they slid back into his fingers with a very strange, but not unpleasant feeling.
His mind could not handle such things at this early hour and cried out for coffee. It was two in the morning, but David knew he wouldn't be able to sleep again tonight, so he got up and stumbled to the kitchen. As the kettle boiled, he stuck his head into the shower which woke him up pretty quick. He wandered back to the kitchen and made a coffee - extra strong. David took the coffee into the den, found the book and collapsed into a chair.
The book was very impressive looking. Bound in leather, embossed in gold and with an imposing logo on the cover. The logo was similar to a druidic pattern, full of interleaving and interlocking loops, nice to look at but serving no logical purpose. The book would not look out of place in a wizard's laboratory, which was the main reason why he bought it. He was somewhat disappointed when he opened it.
Instead of the spidery, hand written script he had hoped for, there was neat, machine printed type. He hadn't even read what the book was about, but paid the $12 the stall owner was asking for it and left.
When he arrived home, he started flicking through the pages. It was strange, sometimes he would swear the words moved around each time he turned the page.
"Just a trick of the light," he had thought.
Now he wasn't so sure.
The book contained short stories. All of them fantasy and all of them involving some kind of animal. There seemed to be a trend of lots of mythical beasts and people turning into strange creatures, but there were some tales of heroics and true love mixed in there as well. He started flicking through the pages, but grew more absorbed in them and began reading each one in detail. That night, he had his first dream.
The first story of the book was about a warrior who was turned into a minotaur by the one of the Greek gods. Only his love for his betrothed saved him. David didn't think much of the story, but that night dreamed about being a minotaur, searching for his one true love.
Next in the book was a tale of a wicked merchant, who was trapped in a tree by a witch who he swindled. The morning after, David woke to find himself standing upright in his bedroom. Strange, but David was prone to sleepwalking.
The remainder of the week had followed suit. On Wednesday he had dreamed he was a fisherman turned into a dolphin after falling overboard. Thursday, he was a centaur wandering through the forest. Friday he dreamt he was bitten by a dog and transformed into a werewolf. Each of these corresponded to the third, fourth and fifth story in the book, respectively.
With a groan, David opened the book and read the sixth story. It was called "The Griffin's Tail." Surprise, surprise, it was about a man who was transformed into a griffin. So, that explained the dream, but what about the talon? David flipped to the beginning of the book and began scanning the printing details and acknowledgments.
Nope, nothing new about the acknowledgments, the author thanked some mailing list on the internet for their contributions and support. ;-) Hang on. That was something. In tiny print down under the copyright and publisher information.
"No responsibility taken for alteration to reality brought on by the words within this text..." It then entered some legalese before concluding with : "...the author and publisher are not responsible and accept no liability for readers while the reader is in an adjusted form."
What was that? Alteration to reality, adjusted form? Just what was this book about. It was time to get serious. But first, he thought, he had better read the next story, so at least he new what was coming.
By this stage, the caffeine had kicked in, and the healthy swig of bourbon he had poured into the brew was helping to. He picked up the book and settled back into the chair. The seventh story was entitled "Warning - Dragons Lie Beyond For All Who Enter Here."
The story started simple enough. Daveo, a lowly page in the King's court, had volunteered for a dangerous mission. David didn't like the familiarity between the two names, but kept reading. It seemed that the castle was under siege by the evil baron, who was camped outside the gates. It was up to Daveo to leave the castle, sneak through the enemy lines and make his way to the dragon who lived in the mountains and beg for the dragon's help.
Under the cover of darkness, Daveo left the castle by a secret tunnel. He stealthily snuck past the Baron's forces and disappeared into the forest. By morning he had reached the base of the ranges and began the long climb up to the dragon's cave.
It was mid-afternoon before he reached the lair.
"Hello?" he cried in a nervous whisper. There was no reply. No sound, no movement, nothing. He slowly crept towards the mouth. Still nothing. Gritting his teeth, he tentatively entered the cave. A few feet from the mouth, it was pitch black. Still Daveo continued undeterred. Suddenly, his left foot his something which clanged. He breathed a sigh of relief. Well, at least it wasn't the dragon and it was too hard to be a body.
So absorbed in the story, David had failed to noticed how all the lights in the house had dimmed. The only light not affected was the desk lamp he was sitting under.
Meanwhile, Daveo had felt around to find a metal box, inside was what felt like a steel, flint and a pile of shavings. He gave them an experimental hit together and was rewarded with a small spark. Soon he had the shavings alight and by the light of the fire, discovered a torch, ready to be lit. He stuck it in the fire and was rewarded with a bright, yellow flame.
This easily gave off enough light to see by and he scanned the inside of the cave. It wasn't what he expected a dragon's lair to be like. On the downside there was no treasure, but on the upside there was no dragon either. This confused him somewhat. The king had said that on previous occasions, many years ago, men had been sent to summon the dragon. The dragon had always came and the dragon rewarded the men in its own special way. He had said that with a smooth, greased voice. Daveo had remembered he didn't like to sound of it then and it sounded as if he was going to be a sacrifice. But, at least it would save the castle. The only problem was the dragon wasn't here.
Hang on, there was something engraved on the wall, near the entrance. Daveo walked over and under the flicking torchlight read the message. It was written in Latin and translated to "Seek the monster within thy self."
"Pretty strange," thought Daveo. "I wander what it means?"
Just then Daveo felt his legs begin to lengthen. A second later his shoulders moved apart and his arms began to grow. His clothes were quickly reduced to shreds and the torch fell to the floor.
Back in the house, the book fell from David's hands as they quickly reformed into talons. A tail began to grow from his back, forcing him out of the chair and onto the floor. Strangely, his brain noticed that instead of carpet, the floor now felt sandy. The bones in his legs reformed and muscles grew around them. The same happened with his arms. He could feel his neck lengthen and his head grow heavy. A pair of wings sprouted from his shoulders. With a shock, he felt the change start to affect his manhood, but he relaxed when it grew in size, and retreated into a newly formed sheath.
He face felt like modeling clay. His nose and mouth were drawn outwards, forcing his eyes slightly to the sides. Razor sharp teeth extended from his gums and his eyes changed to slitted orbs. He felt himself grow inside and a ridge of spines extend from the top of his head, down his back, to the tip of his tail. Finally, a covering a scales sprouted from his skin, hardening to armor plating within seconds.
Then all was still.
The beast which had been David, slowly moved its great head from the sandy floor of the room. It didn't like this place, it was too cramped. It needed to get out. It watched as one wall dissolve away, revealing an opening, not unlike the mouth of a cave. The dragon crawled towards it. Behind it the room slowly faded and was replaced by a normal rock wall.
The dragon reached to opening and launched itself into the late afternoon air. From somewhere within its mind it remembered something about a castle begin attacked. It had to scare the people on the outside. It sighed, human problems were always so petty. As the dragon rode a thermocline the castle came into view with the baron's tents spread out around it. With a battle cry which struck fear into all who heard it, the dragon began to attack. Just before the battle rush set in, the dragon decided that after this it would have to find a nice new lair, possibly a mate, then he could settle down and begin his new life.
As David dove down onto the terrified mass of men, the book lying on the floor of the den began to hum. After a short while, a faint glow began to emanate from the logo on the cover. Then, abruptly, with a small pop it vanished.
Coincidentally, a few seconds later, a new book appeared on the shelf of a second hand bookstore in New York. A young woman browsing the shelves pulled it out and admired the cover.
"Just what I need," she thought. "A good set of fantasy stories, something to inject a bit of excitement into my life..." She paid the shopkeeper the $12 and headed for home.
Dreams of Dragons copyright 1997 by Wolphin.
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