Wisdom of the Ages. Experience of Eternity.
Saving the Universe Extra.
Mundane was the catchword for creatures from the non-magical side of the Gap that links our two universes. And if you think Mundane is insulting, just try calling a barbarian swordsman from my universe a Faerie. Now, I may have had the wisdom of the ages (at least what my good deeds have earned back for me), but even I didn’t understand the physics. What I did know was that a nuclear experiment here somehow interacted with a High Magic experiment in my former world and boom! We’re connected. It was a rough time for both sides: a lot of technology, especially iron, is harmful to the Faerie, and more than few magical items have crossed into the hands of inexperienced Mundanes with disastrous results. A lot of strong trade and environmental laws had settled things down, though there were still movements to close the Gap. Most of us have adjusted. Some, like me, have even benefited.
Still, there were those who had to try to break or at least bend the rules. Bet Princess’ Coming Out Party had lots of Mundane industrialists attending.
Costa seemed to be thinking along the same lines. “Didn’t I see a picture in the paper of Princess Galinda wearing these at some party? You’d think they’d take better care of them.”
“Flaunting their religious beliefs–or lack thereof,” I explained to my friend. “The Tavendors are notoriously atheistic. I doubt the royal household has a single person who ascribes to any religion. Which, when you think of it, makes them the perfect caretakers, since so much of the power depends on belief or the twisting of belief.”
We finally got our drinks. “St. George!” Costa raised his glass and took a huge gulp.
“St. George!” I replied.
“His curse is our blessing.”
It’s an old ritual between us, and one of the reasons I liked life on the Mundane side. See, Faerie dragons can’t be killed. Ever. Pierce us, we heal. Burn us, we rise from the ashes. Slice us to bits, whatever’s most alive will grow back. Not always easy, not always fast, usually painful, but we cannot be killed. Didn’t stop folks from trying, though, which was why so few of us were out and about to “terrorize the land, devour virgins, and steal treasure,” as Princess Galinda so delicately put it.
St. George, though, was smart, and it didn’t take him long to figure things out, so he tried a different approach. He cornered me in Ethiopia–the Faerie Ethiopia, that is. What a great gig. They really respected dragons there. Just show up at the gates and they’d toss out the livestock. Better than take-out Chinese. Anyway, St. George bound me with the Power of God and his own personal will. He took everything from me–my size, my flight, my power, my fire–and gave me only one way to return to my former glory. I’ve got to earn back my former powers through constant faith and good deeds. And you can imagine how hard that was in the land of Faerie. Throughout history, dragons were The Enemy. Who was going to believe one had changed? Few wanted my help; the ignorant wanted to kill me, or to try, anyway. Used to be an annoyance; after George, it was downright hazardous to my health. It took fifty years just to find a priest willing to listen to my confession. Eight hundred years of trying, and I’d gotten back a third of my height, less than that of strength, some of my wisdom, and let’s not talk about my puny healing abilities. At least I could smell properly again. Handy skill.
Mundanes, though, were more than willing to accept my help. I might not get paid well, but my store of good deeds was on the rise, and being a P.I. was interesting work. The Gap was like an answer to a prayer–and believe me, I’d prayed.
Meet Vern, a Faerie dragon on the wrong side of the Interdimensional Gap. Fighting crime. Doing Good. And trying to keep his belly fed, his soul clean and his friends alive while he earns back the lost glory of his dragonhood.
Vern is one of my favorite characters to write. He’s savvy and sarcastic, easily annoyed, yet very fond of the humans and other sentients he’s been compelled to protect. His dry wit and propensity for trouble make it easy for his adventures to span flash fiction to novels. Check one out. He’s betting you’ll love him as much as I do. How could anyone not? He’s a dragon, after all.