Sharon’s note: So, as we were leaving the house yesterday, I told my husband, “A lizard crawled out of the dragon’s mouth.” His response was, “Cool first line, I want to hear the rest of that story.” This exchange is slightly less strange if you know what a dragon head door knocker. So . . . here’s the story. Warning: Characters with a half-baked crusade.
The lizard crawled out of the dragon’s mouth to glare like only an unhoused reptile could.
“Oh, look at the cute little lizard. He thinks he’s as fierce as a dragon.” Cordelia said in a syrup sweet tone. She repositioned the skull on its white plastic table and the lizard hissed.
“That’s a speckled flame tongue.” Isk peered around the giant case of recording equipment in his arms. The orc often got roped into carrying things, but he rarely seemed to mind. “There’re some theories that they are actually distantly related to the great grays that were prominent in this area. We should get some shots of them.”
“Is this a great gray?” Peaceblossom picked the little reptile up before it could disappear into the eye socket of the dragon skull. She squealed and dropped it when it snapped at her and it scuttled away into the nearby underbrush.
“That little thing couldn’t hurt you if it wanted to, Peace.” Cordelia snickered, and Peaceblossom considered hating her for just a moment. Cordy wasn’t bad, she was just . . . Cordy.
“Well, I didn’t know that. Why are we even shooting outside today?” Peaceblossom glared at the surrounding forest. It was objectively lovely, and supposedly this was the ancestral homeland of her people, but she was not a wood elf. She was a dark-room-lit-only-by-computer-screen elf. She didn’t do nature.
“I really want people to get a feel for the creatures we’re trying to save.” Cordelia was getting that mad gleam in her eye that always preceded a speech about her passions. “If we’re going to stop the destruction of these majestic animals, we have to make people connect with them.”
“Crazy human.” Peaceblossom muttered. “Why do we keep letting you drag us out on these projects?”
“I’m contractually obligated,” Isk said, digging through one of the cases. “It’s a clause of the boyfriend code.”
“Okay, then why do I keep going along with it?”
“Because you loooooooove me!” Cordelia threw her arms around Peace’s neck and tried to kiss her cheek. Peace groaned and shoved at her.
“As funny as that is, we need to get started.” The orc held up a tiny microphone with a clip. “I promised Nikhol in the biology department I’d get the skull back to him by five tonight.”
“Come on people, let’s save some dragons!” Cordelia crowed. Peaceblossom rolled her eyes.
“Cordy, Babe? Why don’t you do a little rehearsal while I get things set up.” Isk smiled at his girlfriend, and handed Peaceblossom a handful of thin black cables. “Peace, could you untangle those please?”
“Ah, now I see why you brought me.” The nerd elf grumbled and began picking at the Gordian knot. What she wouldn’t give for that sword that cut everything.
“We brought you because you’re our friend, and you’re good with computers and stuff.” Cordelia gave a little oh-you wave and took position behind the table.
“Not that kind of computer geek.” Peaceblossom grumbled and glanced at the orc. “How do you know how to do this? You’re a biology major.”
“I can have hobbies.” Isk wrinkled his nose and lowered his voice so Cordelia couldn’t hear. “Hobbies that I’m just now picking up and am figuring out as I go.”
Peaceblossom snorted and turned to watch Cordelia as she practiced.
“This skull belongs to a Great Gray Northern Arcadian Dragon. They are the smallest breed of Greater Dragon on the Arcadian continent, and up until twenty years, they were most prevalent here, in the Casius Springs Nature Preserve.” Cordelia stared off into the middle distance, speaking in a tone usually reserved for people talking about abused animals in shelter commercials.
“They’re actually more prevalent in the area south of Camelot,” Isk said while looking back and forth between the camera and his phone.
“Right,” Cordelia pulled her phone from under the table and made a note. She mouthed through some lines and then put the phone back where she got it. She shook her hair out to make it extra fluffy, then arranged her bra to make her boobs look extra perky. When Peaceblossom groaned, the human hissed, “What? Boobs equal views.”
“And you’re okay with this?” Peaceblossom asked Isk.
He smirked. “Am I okay with people seeing that I have the world’s hottest girlfriend? Hells yeah.”
“You two are disgusting.” Peaceblossom returned to untangling her cables.
Cordelia made a quick air kiss at her boyfriend before resuming her super-serious stare at an invisible camera.
“When the Protected Magical Species Act was passed, it was supposed to make these preserves a safe place for all magical creatures and there has been an increase in population for creatures like unicorns and wolpertingers. What most people don’t know is that the PMSA specifically leaves certain creatures off its lists. Creatures our government finds ‘undesirable’ are not just left to fend for themselves, but have bounties places on their heads. Dragons, one of the most culturally significant creatures in our world are now tottering on the brink of extinction, and I’m here to tell you what is happening, and what you can do about it.”
Cordelia turned to look at her friends. “So, what do you think?”
“You’re going to knock ’em dead, babe.” Isk beamed. ‘We’re going to get a lot attention with this.”
She turned to Peaceblossom. “Well? What do you think?”
Peace stopped fiddling with her knot and looked her friend up and down. “I think you have another one of those lizards in your hair.”
“EW!” Cordelia squealed and swatted at her head, looking for the non-existent lizard while Peaceblossom laughed.