He felt hot breath on his neck. Slowly turning around, he saw a large eye staring at him. The eye was nearly as large as his head. While it blinked, he took a cautious step back, then another, until he felt something against his back, a table most likely.
“How do you do?” the dragon asked in a cultivated accent. “Would you like a cup of tea?”
“I…” His voice was unnaturally high, and he dared not speak any more. Not that he knew what to say anyways. He had expected that the dragon would want to eat him, not…
“Or are you more of a coffee person? Or hot chocolate? Or… Ooh, I have some raspberry cordial left!”
The dragon’s tail began to hit a wall in the other room, a soft rhythmic thud. He nodded, agreeing to any of the options so long as it kept the dragon happy.
“I’ll go get the cordial. Oh, and I think my wife just made a batch of scones…” The dragon turned around and flew through a doorway – a dragon sized doorway furnished with oak trim. Finally alone, the human released the breath he’d been holding, and looked around at his surroundings. The room was spacious, and all of the furniture quite large. A fireplace large enough to roast an entire whole cow, numerous cushioned chairs, a bookshelf large enough to house an entire village library, and candles as thick as his arm. On one wall were a series of portraits of smiling dragons of various sizes, and presumably, ages.
“Ah yes, that was me as a youngster. I was only a hundred years old when that was painted.” He turned around just in time to see the dragon sigh. “Those were good times.” The dragon set two cups on the central table and poured out red liquid from a crystal bottle, then held out one of them, a cup that was as big as a human head. “Oh dearie me, I forgot to get a miniature cup for you. I’ll be right back.” The dragon returned quickly, and handed over a human sized cup filled with cordial. “There you go Mr… I’m afraid I don’t know your name.”
He watched the dragon’s eye blink several times before he realized what the dragon was waiting for. “I’m…” He cleared his throat and tried again. “I’m Devthan Rallard.”
“Rallard, Rallard… Now where have I heard that name before… Rallard… You aren’t related to the Wirlybrooks, are you?”
“No, I’m not.”
“What about the Waltosmorts?”
“The Fargothrots… No, you couldn’t be related to them since that’s an ogre clan… Just who are you related to?”
“My mother was a Stonath.”
“I’ve never heard of them before. Say, where are you from?”
“I’ve never heard of that either!” The dragon looked rather confused. He walked over to another wall and stared at a map. Devthan assumed it showed the local area where the dragon lived. While the dragon was occupied, he took a sip of cordial, which turned out to be extremely delicious. He had drunk half the cup when the dragon turned back and muttered in frustration, “I can’t find Zithlam anywhere.” He grabbed his own dragon sized cup of cordial and sipped at it thoughtfully. “You must have travelled quite some ways to come here.”
Devthan nodded in the assumption that the dragon was correct.
“Well, I feel honoured. Didn’t think that I had quite that great a reputation. Now tell me, what did you come to me for?” The dragon stared expectantly at Devthan, who watched the dragon’s marvelous purple eyes blink several times. “Hmm?” The dragon cocked his head to the right.
“What do you do?” Devthan asked slowly.
The dragon cocked his head to the left. “Huh?”
“What… services… do you offer?” Devthan tried again, even more uncertainly. He had been starting to feel a little comfortable, but once again, he worried about offending the dragon, or worse.
“I give advice and answer questions,” the dragon answered slowly. “If you didn’t know that, why are you here?”
“I honestly don’t know.” Devthan decided to quickly finish the rest of his cordial in case the dragon suddenly got upset and kicked him out of his house, or maybe still decided to eat him.
“Well, why did you walk in?”
“I didn’t walk in.”
The dragon’s head retreated and he seemed to scrunch his nose. “Then how did you get in?”
Devthan shrugged. He looked longingly down at his empty cup. “Thank you for the cordial, though.”
The dragon sighed and reached for the bottle to pour Devthan another cup. “Well, you obviously came from somewhere.”
“Before I was here, I was in a forest where a leprechaun stole my pocket watch, and before that I was in a castle in the middle of a ball. Luckily I managed to escape before anyone noticed me and tried to make me dance, and before that I was in a cottage… no, wait… I was on a ship, and before that I was in the cottage…”
The dragon was looking at Devthan intensely, his eyes narrowed in deep thought. “I never thought I’d meet one of your kind before.”
“My kind?” Devthan asked loudly. “My… kind? I have a kind?”
“You didn’t know?” the dragon asked, searching his face. “Well, that’s interesting. I had assumed, although I suppose I can’t be totally sure just yet, but I assumed that you are an Anzatol.”
“An Anzatol. A thought-walker.” The dragon looked Devthan over. “A clearly untrained Anzatol. In all of the stories that I’ve heard, the ability is noticed during the toddler stage, and the youngsters are raised by older Anzatols who train them. You are an anomaly.”
The colour drained from Devthan’s face. “Is this kind of ability something that could be blocked? Could it be blocked by a magical amulet?”
The dragon thought for a moment, then nodded slowly. “That seems possible.”
“That would explain everything…” Devthan whispered, realization washing over him.
He began to dematerialize before the dragon’s eyes. His form faded, translucent like that of a ghost, then disappeared like fog under hot sunlight.