Ulfsild’s Log: The Dragon

I’ve never had a mind for riddles. But there’s something about them, isn’t there? Something that pricks the ears, even to those like me. An irresistible allure to find that hidden meaning.

That’s what I grappled with after hearing the fable of Mizbi. It was told to me by a moon-singer among a band of nomads we met when traveling through the jungles of Malabal Tor. Just listening, I knew there was a layer deeper than the riddles in the story. I could almost see it! If only I had it committed to page somehow. I’d pore over the words until the solution took shape before me.

When we stopped that night, it was hot and humid, even for those unaccustomed to the climate. A Nord like me would have lost sleep even had I not been thinking of Mizbi and her Dragon. Their riddles. I left Shal’s snores to our tent and wandered, hoping to find the nomad who told the story. Perhaps I could catch her early, and she’d tell it to me again.

But the only one I found awake in those small hours was gazing up at the stars—a springy little Cathay Khajiit, so young his stripes had only just started to come in. I settled across from him at the fire-pit, which must have died hours ago. “Shouldn’t you be asleep, young one?”

He kept his eyes lofty and told me he liked to watch the stars move across the sky. I asked him if he had a favorite star or sign, and he grew shy, hiding his face. “I wonder if she sees me!”

“Who?” I looked up, as if I might catch whoever he was talking about staring down at us.

“She’s not there now,” he said. “Under the thunder of galloping hooves, she raises her gaze twice nightly to wink at me.”

A riddle? How fitting. And a child’s riddle, so I actually stood a chance of solving it. Galloping hooves—the Steed. Twice nightly? “The Twilight Star? Azura?”

“Azurah,” he repeated. He put a hand on his chest and sighed a dreamy sigh. Only then did he really seem to notice me. He sat up. “You’re that witch!” he said with reverence. The other nomads must have spoken of our passing through. “Can we trade?” He skittered over and pressed something heavy into my palm. It was a lustrous piece of well-polished moonstone the size of a winter plum.

“Trade for what?”

“That feather!” he said, pointing at my hat.

Oh. That feather. I was quite reluctant to part with it, and said as much, to his dismay.

He closed my hand over the moonstone again. “But the trade,” he said, like we’d already agreed to it.

“The feather is very dear to me. I’ve had it since I was as small as you!”

And perhaps it was the curious look in those big, blue eyes, but I found myself telling him the fable of the Indrik. Which bled into my story of finding the Indrik, both when I was a child, and then when I was grown. And when I tried to press the moonstone back into his hand, he refused to take it.

“A fair trade for your stories,” he said, like I’d won some sort of game we’d been playing.

I looked down at the moonstone. “I can trade this for a story?”

“A story. A song. A feather. Anything within reason,” he said. Maybe it was a child’s understanding of trading and commerce, but if he found it fair, then so did I.

“Do you know the tale of Mizbi and her Dragon?”

“That old story? Who doesn’t?”

I didn’t. Not by heart, like he and the other nomads must. Not yet, anyway. I caught his wrist and pressed the moonstone into his fuzzy little palm. “Then tell it to me,” I said, reaching for a quill, ink, and parchment. “And tell it slow. It’s my turn to find that Dragon.”

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