Many are the tales of the Infinite Ocean of Azuria, but there is none so dear to those seeking shelter on the high seas than the legend of Isla de Como: the dragon and the siren queen.
As told by Captain Teodric Adhemar to a new crew member aboard his ship.
There was a time, as legend tells, that a powerful green dragon dwelled on this island until he was driven away by the siren queen of the sea.
After she acquired all the riches and power the sea could offer her, the siren set her sights on land, to the horde of the dragon king. This dragon did not compile riches of gold or gems, but power though a store of magic. It was said that the dragon’s power was so great, he could turn the wheels of time and fate.
The siren stepped onto the dragon’s island and climbed up to the highest peak. “Lord of land and air,” she called, “I request an audience with thee.”
It’s not every day that a siren queen appears to even a powerful dragon, and he was intrigued. The dragon stepped out of his lair and transformed himself from a great hulking beast to the form of a man with smatterings of green scales and thick black hair. “What is it you would ask of me, siren queen?”
For a moment, the siren faltered. She had never laid eyes on one so striking, save perhaps herself, on land, air, or sea. “I wish to share in your power, to change the weave of fate,” she answered. “For this, what would you ask of me?”
The dragon smiled at the queen. “The magical spell of your voice will not work on me,” he said, and the queen’s eyes widened in surprise. “Would you offer me riches? Renown? I have all this and more.” The dragon stepped nearer to the siren queen and reached out his hand for hers. “Offer me something I do not yet possess, and what you desire shall be yours.”
She thought long and hard, the siren queen. After consulting with her court beneath the sea, she traveled the realms of land and consulted with scholars and elves, but they had not the answers she had journeyed to seek. They suggested she visit the wizened fae, but the ancient beings of lands bright and land of shadow could provide her with no gift to offer the dragon with which she was willing to part.
One night, a mage appeared to her in a long cloak woven from shadow. “There are two trinkets you might offer this dragon that he does not currently possess,” the mage said. “But what will you give me in exchange for my aid?” A night and a day passed as they set their terms, and finally, they reached an accord: In three days time, the siren queen would speak with the dragon, and the prince of shadow would return to claim his reward.
The dragon grinned as the siren queen returned to his lair. “You are here to make me my answer, are you not, my queen?”
“I am,” she said, “though you may think me a fool to have not seen it sooner.”
“We are all prone to foolishness when the right prize crosses the path before our feet,” the dragon answered. “Come, speak to me of what I seek.”
“I will give you my heart,” the siren queen said to the dragon.
“The heart of a siren queen is not easily possessed,” he answered in return.
“Love and betrayal are the key, my dear,” the prince of shadow had said. “Offer your heart, a prize rare indeed, but deception is the true gift, and one the dragon has yet to receive. The third night of your union, bring him hence. I will strip the dragon of his power and grant it to you. In return, you will serve me—and your own whims—till such a time as I see fit.”
The power of the dragon was more bountiful than the siren queen had bargained for. She had seen his great horde, but his wisdom of spirit, his abundance of magic, was what she longed to possess.
“Serve me faithfully,” the shadow prince said, “and in the mortal realms, your power will be rivaled by none save mine alone. I have no desire to limit you, my queen.”
The queen raised her chin to the dragon. “Do you accept that which you do not yet possess?” Her eyes sparkled with the light of the sea.
The dragon smiled at the bewitching figure before him. “If only you had reached this conclusion on your own, beautiful siren, I would have granted you riches beyond your wildest dreams. But you have been won by power alone, and in this, you have spelled your doom. I will not unweave that which you have set in motion, avaricious queen. Indirectly, he who waits to subdue me will do the same to you. Wait and see.”
The prince of shadow appeared before them and cast a spell on the dragon great and green. The amber eyes of the dragon bore into those of the siren queen, and his magic wove itself around her, intertwined so long as she lived upon land or sea.
As the ritual neared its end, the dragon king fell to his knees before the dark mage and the siren queen. “Remember what I have said, my queen. Power is not always what it seems.”
The prince of darkness grimaced as he neared the end of his spell. The edges of the dragon’s soul were slipping away. He glared down at the king on his knees. “What is this magic by which you resist me?”
With a chuckle, the dragon shook his head. “There is much you do not know.” His spirit burst forth from the handsome body he had wrought to woo the siren queen, a great winged beast covered over in scales copper and green. The dragon’s spirit flew off and away, hidden somewhere beneath the earth of his island where the siren queen can never find it. All power has its limitations, as the queen soon discovered. She collapsed into the arms of the shadow prince, and he carried her from the island. For her treachery, she cannot bear to walk this hallowed ground, for when she does, the hole in her heart grows too vast, the result of her pledge to the dragon king.
He dwells still out of sight on the island where his spirit found home. Here he offers respite for all who wander and search, for those who know not the answer to the desire of their heart. Take no more than you leave behind, respect the union of land, earth, and sea, and the dragon’s spirit will smile upon you and help you to find the desire of your heart that you seek.
Make sure you’re caught up with the series! Click here to learn more about Aurora, the prequel novella! And here for Buried Heroes, book one in Age of Azuria!