One of the dragon types is a Klimbanen-Swimman, which is translated as climber-swimmer, because they're good at both activities. A Klimbanen-Swimman is a small dragon that often walks on his hind legs and is an intelligent dragon. The Klimbanan-Swimmans don't think humans have much intelligence.
From the cave ahead hurried a muddy-brown dragon with mahogany-brown stripes. Half the height of Einarr and thin, he shuffled quickly along upright. At first Einarr thought he lacked wings, but then he noticed they were camouflaged, tucked against his back.
“You found him! Wilcuma, which means welcome in our language, Lone Hero,” said Shuma with a slight bow, talking with clicks between words. “What an honor, here in my humble lair, and I’m to teach him.”
Einarr considered this creature. He’d never seen a dragon like this. Shuma’s stripes ringed his long torso and short limbs. Fluffy white tufts, feather-like, sprouted on his head.
He studied Einarr too and Einarr noted that Shuma’s light green eyes glowed red around the edges. His small talons on all four legs had tiny hooks and the toes were webbed. Einarr counted five small pin-sharp spurs on each. The petite animal seemed completely at ease balancing on his hind legs, his chameleon tail wagging, changing hues as it waved back and forth. When he smiled, the top and bottom of his mouth displayed double rows of mini jagged teeth.
Einarr smirked at Zavat. “You call this is a dragon?”
“I can give you a week, maybe two, that’s all. Can you do it?” asked Zavat.
“If he is smart as is rumored about him, I should be able to instruct him in some things.”
Einarr poked the lizard-like creature in the stomach. Shuma swatted Einarr’s hand away. “No, no, hut-fellow. No jabbing.”
Zavat nodded at Shuma. “Educate him first in our types and in our language. He only recognizes us by colors, but he can understand us quite well.” To Einarr, he said, “I wouldn’t jab him again. He’s feisty and agile, and his teeth are extremely sharp. You’ll lose a finger. He’s a dragon with a brilliant mind, the smartest of all of us, a Klimbanen-Swimman. He can climb anything or swim rapidly. Don’t disrespect him, I’ll know, and don’t harm him. He’s the Keeper of our Records.” At that, Zavat left Einarr with the small critter.
“I imagine you’re hungry. That’s all primitives seem to want besides sleep. What else have you simple minded folk to live for? Quickly, yongling, there’s a lot for you to absorb. I have fruit and burned you a fish. You may eat while I lecture.”
Shuma ushered Einarr into his home and Einarr ducked through the rounded entranceway. To his surprise, the well-lit cavern was immaculate. Many torches fixed high along the barren brown walls shed a faint golden light even in the nooks and gave the room a tranquil glow. Tiny footprints ran in every direction; along the walls, the ceiling, and the floor which was filled with thick layers of peach sand. A roaring fire sat in the middle, the firewood stacked evenly by the entrance. Piles of large books were scattered and stacked everywhere and shelves held neatly arranged scrolls, ink bottles, and quills in bundles. Baskets filled with fruit, leaves, and nuts filled the empty spaces between the books. The fire cast shadows on additional nooks also crammed with books of all sizes, the doorways carved too low and several were only wide enough for Shuma to fit through. Here and there, shiny objects buried partway in the sand gleamed.
Shuma settled himself, crossing his legs and pointed to a thick mound of blankets bunched on the ground. “I thought you’d be more comfortable on those. I think that’s how your simpleminded species sleeps. Sit or recline, whichever you like. I don't mind as long as you pay attention. Remove those shoes or you’ll track my sand outside.”
Einarr smirked at the comment. Where-ever he went, bare-footed or in shoes, sand was going with him. Still, he removed his shoes as asked. The dense sand and blankets made the softest seat and he sank down feeling quite comfortable.
“Help yourself to my food. I keep plenty around. I’ve put a fish in this one.” Shuma scooped a handful of nuts and popped them in his mouth. He pushed a basket to Einarr, who immediately ate, not caring that the crunchy fish was beyond charred.
“Did you start this fire so I’d be warm?”
Shuma cackled with clicking noises. “No, my famous student. We Klimbanan-Swimman chill easily. Are you uncomfortable with heat?”
“It’s perfect.” Einarr yawned. “Why are your footprints on the walls and ceiling?”
“Such a curious question. Watch, nipper.” Shuma darted around the walls, ceilings, and floor. “We cling easily to any surface. Sadly, our wings are too small for us to hover. When we extend them, they only support our hopping long distances.” Shuma opened his wings, fluttered them a couple times, and he leapt to his seat.
“Why all the sand?”
In a whisper, Shuma answered. “It conceals my treasure. Mustn’t steal any though. It’s all mine. We’re most protective of our hoards.”
We'll look more at the Klimbanan-Swimman species in future blog posts.
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