Otiliah Vuhs

Otiliah Vuhs

Sylvanus’ Coronation

But when he streaked his blood across the first tree, something strange began to happen...

Throughout the dragon’s life, he took on names from his siblings, other dragons, and numerous magical creatures, most of which were impossible to pronounce in our human tongue. But the one he liked best, and used the most in his young adult life, was Sylvanus. It rolled off his tongue easily and smoothly, like the meat of his favorite snack, forest venison. And it was this snack that earned Sylvanus his timeless territory.

Wyverns were rarely seen out of the mountains, and Europeans rarely out the forests. Sylvanus was flying overhead one sunny day when he spotted a beautiful stag wandering at the bottom of the familiar mountains he called home, still in his mother’s territory. Like a silent owl, he swooped down to nab the deer with his talons. However, the sun betrayed his position in the sky, and the stag bolted at the sight of the shadow into the woods. Sylvanus landed at the edge of the dense forest and sniffed around to catch the scent of his prey. He caught the scent he needed, and started to follow the path of the stag. But as he approached the line of trees, he caught another smell. It was strong and rank, and still warm. Another dragon.

His potent scent marked the edge of the woods he possessed, and claw slashes on the trees served as a warning to potential intruders. But Sylvanus’ stomach was bigger than his logic at the moment. He trekked on, following the deer’s scent through trees so thick, it blotted out the sun. Several silent minutes later, Sylvanus came to a clearing where the stag’s scent ended.

Instead of a deer, in front of him stood a heaping obsidian black European dragon with a crown of horns on his head and eyes that could pierce stone feasting on the stag Sylvanus had been hunting. It was easily twice Sylvanus’ size, even with him already being a larger than an average dragon. He looked up from his meal to see this white wyvern approaching and immediately let out a deep, threatening growl. “YOU DARE DISTURB MY MEAL… WYVERN…YOU’RE ON CALAMITAS’ TERRITORY…MY TERRITORY!”

Sylvanus took a step back, ready to run, when the black dragon pounced at him, talons reaching and mouth agape, deer flesh still dangling from his fangs. The white wyvern leaped into the branches of the trees, missing the European’s talons by inches, and kept bouncing up the branches till sunlight blinded him. There, he took to the skies above the trees, whipping back to see Calamitas leap out of the trees to join him in flight.

Sylvanus’ first instinct was to turn tail and fly home, hoping that the black dragon couldn’t fly faster than him. But as the European soared nearer, he had a new idea.

He waited until Calamitas had come just close enough to slash at him, and ducked under him, letting him fly over him, then dug the claws on his feet into the black dragon’s underbelly. Calamitas let out a bellowing roar of pain and fell a short distance from the attack, but his wings caught onto a thermal of air and lifted him back up to the level Sylvanus flew, still reeling from the gashes that scattered his belly. Pausing a moment, rage began to build even more in Calamitas and he lunged for his intruder, spouting dragon-ish profanities, and blood dripping from his fresh wound. Sylvanus dove once again, and let out as frightening as a roar that he could muster, biting into Calamitas’ leg as he swooped past. He screamed in pain, and pulled against Sylvanus trying to shake him loose. After flipping and tossing Sylvanus around, still attached to his leg, he flung him with one mighty swing, sending him flailing toward the earth.

Branches snapped under Sylvanus’ weight and leaves whipped past his face as he fell through the trees, and he landed with a heavy thud on top of a rock protruding from the ground. Blood seeped from his chest where the rock dug in, and he struggled to regain the wind that was knocked from his lungs.

Calamitas burst through the branches of the trees and landed on his feet not far from where Sylvanus lay injured. Calamitas chuckled, “NOW YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO UNWANTED GUESTS, LITTLE WHELP.” He sauntered over to the injured wyvern, limping from his new leg wound. Looming over Sylvanus, he pressed his front paw on his neck, pinning him to the ground, and began digging his claws into his neck tighter and tighter. Sylvanus squirmed under the pain, letting out small cries of anguish as the claws dig deeper. Sylvanus worried that this was going to be his demise, as Calamitas’ eyes burned with excitement at watching the wyvern writhe in the palm of his paw. His eyes….

In one swift twist, Sylvanus whipped his tail up to his attackers face, and the sharp scales that circled the tip of his tail sliced at Calamitas’ eyes, blinding him. The giant black dragon reared back and shrieked, clutching at his eyes which became moist with blood and tears. The white wyvern quickly surged forward in a rush of adrenaline, ignoring his screaming wounds, and leaped at the dragon’s throat, catching it in his jaws and clamping down as tight as he could.

Calamitas writhed and screamed trying to rip off the dragon he could not see away from his throat, but Sylvanus stood fast, dodging the spastic swiping of the black dragon’s paws. After several hour-long minutes, Calamitas began to grow weak, and his throat collapsed under Sylvanus’ jaws. His breathing became shallow and labored, and eventually, he slipped from existence. Only when Sylvanus felt the dragon’s muscles go limp did he release the lock of his jaws. He sat there for a while, catching his breath and letting the adrenaline settle, pondering the events that lasted only minutes, but felt like ages.

Because Calamitas was dead, Sylvanus knew that this territory was now open to claim. So after recovering from his battle, and licking his wounds, he marked the territory with his blood and scent. But when he streaked his blood across the first tree, something strange began to happen. New twigs began to sprout within the streaks and grew at an alarming rate, the ground where blood dripped had sprung with flowers and wild grass, and the forest began to thrive more lush and beautiful than it was. His blood brought a magical life force to this woodland he now called home.

The grounds that Calamitas died on began to grow a mass of branches and thorns around his body, creating a wooden crypt he would forever rest in. The rock that had pierced Sylvanus’ chest became the heart of his woodland, as the biggest tree in the forest grew from the blood that pooled there. Sylvanus was proud of the magic he didn’t know he had, and he spent centuries to come protecting his home, and all the inhabitants he came to know within.

What are your thoughts about the legend of Sylvanus?

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