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Never Again by Tabitha Spiritsong

My name's Tabitha Spiritsong. My story's short, sweet, simple. See, there isn't much to my name for now. But you see, I love it that way. My parents are thought to be Silvia and Malistaire Drake, but no one knows for sure. All they know is that soon after they discovered me in the graveyard, being protected by my favorite firecat, Millie. They had to bring in Professor Falmea to assure that nobody got hurt trying to take me away. Eventually, they struck a deal that Millie could come with me if they took me away. Apparently, from what Professor Dworgyn could tell by watching before they took me away, my cries drove the hostile spirits who had resented me for laying on their graves all those years away. They named me Tabitha Spiritsong. Spiritsong, because when I was old enough to sing, agitated banshees and wailing souls would hush and listen. There was a lullaby that I would sing to especially agitated spirits. I think it went a little like this-

"Will you, will you,
meet me tonight
under the pale

Will you, will you,
meet me in the yard
where they left a man
under undead guard?

Will you, will you,
see me at dusk
where the dawn will shine
and the sun will glow rust?
If you will
meet me here
you will have
nothing to fear..."

I was never sure what the song meant, or where I got it. Never once have I sang that and not been able to calm a soul in distress. Proffessor Dworgyn says this is a "strange habit," but I know there are a lot of vengeful ghosts who would love nothing more than to turn on me. Millie was pretty good about keeping the ghosts in check, for a while, but eventually they grew stronger over the years. I'm trying to find a way to repay the souls whose graves hosted me in adolescence, but it seems that nothing will ever be enough.

I've always loved dragons. They're beautiful, magnificent creatures who deserve to be treated with more reverence than they get. There are mount dragons and pet dragons, but the original dragons are the ones that I look up to. Not that I don't favor the other two. I raise them.

I guess maybe my raising them started my story. Some people found it unusual, but that's how almost everything begins...

Every dragon is different. I have the mother dragon, Rina, who is pretty obvious. Then there are the hatchlings. Cenita is albino, and Georgiana is a little stronger than the others. The other two are identical twins, Loxie and Meye. I can only tell the apart because Loxie is more social than Meye, who prefers to be solitary. Cenita is weaker than the rest, and I usually keep her close by, just in case. There are also two drake eggs, whom I've named Tyno and Recu. The strange names are an ancient Draconic tongue. "Cineta" means "Barren snow bank," while Meye means "Fiery dawn." "Rina" means "The Mother"; "Georgiana", "The Coldest Night"; "Loxie," "The Gossip"; "Tyno", "Silver Dusk"; and "Recu," "Smallest". Recu is the smallest egg I've had.

My dragons guard much treasure along with the host dragon. He usually sleeps on the mounds of gold. I can imagine many thieves wouldn't mind getting their hands on some of that, and believe me, they wouldn't be the first ones, but my dragons are pretty good about that.

They say at one point, Malistaire captured me and brought me with him to Dragonspyre, and left me under the care of one of the hatchling mothers there. She taught me to read, write, speak, and understand the Draconic language, tell me the difference of eastern dragons, or wyverns, and western dragons, commonly known as drakes or the "True Dragons". She taught me to love and value the dragons, and I was in the middle of learning how to hunt fireflowers for healing potions when one of Headmaster's spies saw me and took me back home. They say the dragon died of grief, but her soul still rests on earth in hope that I will return. I was just a toddler then, so of course I can't remember a bit of it. But it seems pretty real to me, with my everlasting love for the dragons as proof. One particular day, I went out to groom Rina and the hatchlings when I saw a shadow slip into the dragon cave. "What...?" I whispered. I crept into the shadows after it, my necromantic powers concealing me. I watched as the figure darted around at the various rare treasure all around the heaping mounds of gold. The dragons were outside, so they couldn't catch him unless he managed to make it out away from their stationary...

The shadow stopped at Gamma's Goblet.

It picked it up and turned it around in long, slender fingers. It seemed spectacle of this item, and slipped it into the pocket of his coat. I watched with narrowed, glaring eyes. I pulled out my staff, smirked, and shot out a ray of blasting Mythical power. The figure was knocked to the ground and I shot out of my hiding place. The figure was in a black cloak covering most of his face. He sat up and rubbed his head with pale white, almost skeletal, fingers. "What," I snarled. "Do you think you are doing?" The figure jumped and whirled around.

"I- Ah, nothing!"

I glared at him. "Oh, really? Taken an interest in my fine collection of valuables, I see?"

He looked up at me and I could see his piercing yellow eyes full of fear, like a crazed cornered animal. "I-uh, I was just-"

I cut him off with another blast of my staff next to him. He jumped. "Speak up! I haven't got time, and neither do you! If I keep my dragons waiting they'll return here by themselves and they won't like the sight of a robber!" He shook his head vigorously. "No! No, don't call them in! I was just- looking for you."

My eyes widened. "Me? For what?"

Just then, Rina snorted behind me. Cineta and Loxie were behind her, all of them glaring. "No, no, it's okay Rina!" The dragons stopped snorting but they didn't waver their unblinking gaze from our visitor. I turned back to him. "You were saying?"

He got up and dusted himself off.

"I'm Tyler Pheasant," he said. "I'm a grandmaster necromancer, and I was looking for a Gamma's Goblet. But not just any. I'm looking for one with a ring of purple velvet around it-torn velvet. And I think you might have it..." I looked at the goblet, which had rolled around on the ground since I had blasted Tyler. I noticed a little torn ridge around the end. "But it's guarded with dragons! The velvet is most likely to tear!"

Tyler shook his head. "No, no. The velvet around Gamma's Goblet is indestructible. Except one... It was my grandfather's, Rich Pheasant. He crafted that one himself. It only had one flaw...its ribbon tore while it was being made. Thereby, its power was minimized- but its value maximized. It was a family pass-down item, and I recently lost it! It might have been possible that the crown shop dealers found it when I dropped it and had sold it to you." I was so confused by it all. "But how did you know it was me?"

"I asked them if they had sold it. They said they sold it to someone who fit your description- bright, laser blue eyes, dark skin, midnight black hair... Everything! I asked Merle Ambrose to track you... And he said you lived here." I was in very much shock. "But- but why me? I mean, I am just a dragon rancher! What- How-" my jaw felt numb and drop as I was at a loss for words. "But... I put an enchantment on the goblet. If it gets stolen, well, it'll return to me, or else..." I glanced back at the dragons. The other hatchlings were behind the first few. I sighed. "First, take off your hood."

Tyler hesitated but undid his black hood. I blinked as I saw the face of a true necromancer- he had a scar under his left eye, and his face was pale. His piercing eyes darted left to right, and there was a small, thin black ring around the irises. His thin lips were pressed into a grim expression. His black, stringy hair hung over his face a little.

I made a mental note of his face and nodded slowly. "I don't know how to undo the spell. But I think I can ask someone..."

Late that night, I slipped into the secret door to Nightside. I hugged my night cloak closer over my shoulders against the cold chill. I looked around with weary eyes and motioned Tyler to follow. He wore a similar night cloak. We quietly entered the death school hall. We found Professor Dworgyn sitting at his desk, examining a paper. "Professor..." I whispered. He started and looked up and smiled.

"Oh! Tabitha!" he cried with glee. My eyes widened and I looked around, and motioned for him to be quiet. Naturally, I am quite paranoid. I like to stick to secrets. He laughed heartily. "Oh, Tabitha!" he chuckled. "No one can hear us."

I glanced back at Tyler and nodded. "Yes, well... Dworgyn, I've ah, enchanted something so that it will either return to me or summon one of my dragons. Is there a way to undo this?"

Dworgyn closed his eyes and brought his fingers to his lips. We stood waiting for six uncomfortable minutes until his eyes reopened.

"I can only think of one way."

My eyes widened with excitement. "And?"

"And it includes the Stone of Dreams."

I froze. Time seemed to stop. Stone of Dreams...? Why did it feel so familiar? It was like an empty pocket that is supposed to have something inside it, but there is nothing there. "Tell me more."

Dworgyn nodded grimly.

"It all started in MooShu. They found a stone that glimmered like nothing anyone had ever seen before, which sparkled unearthly colors depending on the holder. It revealed their aura, their essence, in beauty, no matter what evil or purity revealed underneath. They would often use it to crown the next ruler of their World. Many flocked to MooShu to see what lie in their fates. But this power would corrupt or destroy those who found uncanny fates. Eventually, they entrusted it with a dragon named Ethris, who hid it in her stash of priceless jewels and guarded over it for many years. It is said that if the holder's aura gleamed pure white, it would grant them five wishes. has only happened three times in recorded history. And the only wishes it would grant were the Forbidden Wishes, such as granting life, influencing death, breaking strong enchantments, and wishing for love. "

Silence for a minute.

"I've walked into the middle of a dime novel," I murmured.

Tyler just nodded his head, a shade paler than before.

And thus began our journey.


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