I had the opportunity recently to walk the far isle, the isle where the lone dragon lives. As I was exploring the oak forest, I spied a hole in one of the trees! I looked into this hole but could see little because it was a deep recess untouched by the light of the day. Although fearful, I decided to reach into the tree to try to discover additional treasure which might help me in my journeys in the Land. Carefully, I inched my hand deep within the ancient tree. Just as I reached the farthest length my arm could extend, I felt a smooth edge resting against the inside of the anterior portion of the hole. Searching with fingertips only, I felt a smooth object about two inches thick. A book perhaps? Tamping down my growing excitement, I gently grasped the edges of this mystery item protruding from the interior of the hole. To my great surprise, it slid out easily!! It was an ancient leather book! My excitement instantly gave way to paranoia as I quickly looked around the island. I tucked the ancient leather book away in my haversack and raced back to my safe site.
Arranging the light in my small, safe burrow, I eased back onto the ground and opened the treasure I had found in the tree on the dragon island. I sat in my hiding place, ignoring the calls of my friends for help as well as the taunts of my enemies, completely mesmerised by the story unfolding before me on the yellowing pages.
The ancient tome is apparently the journal of a woman named Brighid, a high priestess of the druids. I will read the passages in the book to you, since it is in the Celtic language which you might not be able to decipher otherwise. Perhaps I was selected by the great immortals of this Land to find this book because of my unique ability to read this ancient language. Perhaps, however, I have stumbled across something even the immortals do not know! For Brighid is in fact the lonely dragon of our infamous island here in the Land! But I am getting ahead of myself....allow me to translate the story for you.
We are at sea. My assistants and I are ever vigilant for attack from the evil ones who travel these waters. The holiest of holy islands is nearing and these waters are very dangerous. It is the reason we use this island so infrequently. The Land nearest our holy place is in view. The crew is on alert with full armour and weapons. It is our hope to get to the island and light our sacred fire in preparation for the gathering of all the high priests and priestesses of the druid world for Imbolc, the festival of the Return of Light.
We have passed the vicious rocks and will be landing on the sacred island soon. I have not been to this, our most sacred island, since my youth. The honour bestowed upon me to light the fires for Imbolc is humbling. I had a disturbing dream last night. An adventurer from the nearby Land invaded our sacred island while the circle around the sacred fire was poorly attended. Perhaps this is a reminder from the gods of the sea and forest that I must be ever vigilant against any mortal other than me and my priestesses entering the circle of the fire. To help prevent discovery, I have cast a spell on the route to the island from these vicious rocks. The sea traveller will forever be confused in their directions if they do not pay careful attention to the way.
We have entered the small bay which gives us access to the sacred island. I hear the great ancient oaks calling to me. We will unload at the steep slope leading up to the mainland of the island and bid farewell to our brave captain and crew. They have managed to elude the many adventurers from the nearby Land and get us to the island undetected. We will then go to the most sacred of arcane forests to the west of the slope. By midnight, we will have our great fire burning to guide the ships of the druid priests and priestesses to our beacon.
We have been delayed in building our sacred fire and have only tonight to light it to be able to perform all the ceremonies necessary to get ready for Imbolc. An adventurer has invaded our island but was unable to find this sacred forest. My dream was a prophecy, I fear. To prevent disaster, we have set poisonous herbs on the island for protection. We have gathered the sacred mistletoe from the great mother oak trees and set them in a circle of protection around our fire site. Tonight, at midnight, we light the sacred fire regardless of the risk for if we do not, the three boats of druids, passing close now, will not see the beacon and know the way for among the druids, only I was trusted with the directions to this island by my namesake goddess. The inhabitants of the nearby land have obviously found a way around my sea spell, cast to confuse the directions.
We have killed two adventurers. Four of my nineteen guardian priestesses have been mortally wounded in the battle and lay dying beside the sacred fire. Unfortunately, the fire is also a beacon to the unbelieving inhabitants of the nearby Land. My only hope is that our brothers and sisters will arrive in time to save us. We dare not put out the Light and we dare not let any but the chosen enter the circle of the light. I must plan some great way to thwart these warriors from their intent. I will hide the sacred gems below the sacrificial rocks high on the island. Perhaps if they see only the priestesses and circle of mistletoe, they will leave us to our peaceful worship. I have prayed to the sea to call upon its mightiest creatures to help protect us and hope that that will give us the time we need.
The moon is full. The sacred fire still burns uncontaminated within its circle of mistletoe. We have been invaded by a might force of warriors and magicians from the bordering Land and all but one of my priestess sisters lies dead around us. My last sister lies dying in my arms of such great wounds that even the sacred mistletoe cannot save her. The warriors are gone for now but I know they will return soon. The great assembly of high priests and priestesses of druids will never arrive in time to save the sacred fire. I must think of a way to keep this fire burning forever to memorialise the loss of my beloved assistants who fought so very bravely. I will use all of my powers to cast a protection spell on this island even though it means the ships carrying the great assembly will not be able to enter the forest if they arrive in time (which I do not feel is possible now). Unfortunately, this spell will last only one day but that will give me time to bury my friends and prepare for the final battle.
The plan is in place. I will transform into a mighty dragon, taking the fire within myself. I do not have all the required objects nor a blood sacrifice to make the transformation without risk and there may be some way to kill me because of this omission, but this cannot be helped. At least the fire will be safe as long as I am safe. I will then set a trap within this great oak forest for the force gathering in the small bay to make the final assault on me. The fire they have so greatly endangered will be their doom on this very sacred day, Imbolc. I pray to my namesake goddess to give me the strength to make this change, to give me the immortality to protect this island forever from the evil warriors from the nearby Land.
I set this journal aside now within its hiding place. I will be able to break this mighty spell only one day per year and then only if the appropriate sacrifice is laid on the sacred altar. No druid will ever be able to return to this island since the knowledge of its location is within me alone. Therefore, I am leaving this one time, Imbolc, for the inhabitants of the nearby Land to atone for their evil with the hope that the beauty of the sea and trees of this island will inspire one pure of heart to save me from this eternal battle. If one is brave enough to leave me a token of cloth on the altar and then give the changed cloth to the mighty dragon, that mortal will be able to transform me back to my mortal form, ending the eternal battle with the inhabitants of their Land.
Brighid, High Priestess of the Light
The journal ends there. I close the leather bound, ancient book and begin to imagine the mighty battle which must have followed Brighid's transformation into the dragon of the isle. The arcane forest in which she built her sacred fire is now an awful hideousness of a forest, its trees misshapen collections of charred and splintered branches, the area laid waste by some immense fire-breathing creation. But she can be freed! From my studies of the Druids, I know that the Imbolc festival is February 1. That day will soon be upon us. I share this journal with you today in the hopes that you will join me as I attempt to provide the appropriate sacrifice to the dragon with the hope of changing her once again into the druid priestess, Brighid!
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