The Snotling and the dragon

A New Story:

 

The Snotling and the Dragon, A Tale of Terror and of Redemption.

 

 

 

 

 

By: Louis R. Sauer

Editor: Carver Louis Means

copy write 2016

all rights reserved

April 2016… and beyond…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One:

 

The Miserable Life of Snotlings

 

 

 

Snotling

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Snotling is a fantasy creature from the universe of the Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 books and games.[1]

 

Oh really?

 

So, you think all Snotlings are fantasy creatures? Cousins of Goblins and Orcs only smaller and dumber?

 

Well, Dear Reader, prepare yourself to be better informed!

 

There is One Snotling who would beg to differ!

 

His name is Marcus.

 

This is his miserable life story.

 

Hmmmm, maybe that is too depressing.

Well, it starts off depressing because the daily life of a Snotling is about as much fun as the Flu. Worse actually, because you can get over the Flu, but not being a Snotling.

 

Our story begins in a garbage heap. Yuk, right?

 

The sun was probably bright, somewhere. But not in the Orc village of Green-Vile.   The gloomy, foreboding sky was just the way they liked it. Thanks to Mt Doom, the not so dormant volcano that overshowed this and the other Orc villages with its ever belching clouds of soot and ash.

 

Greenskin society was fairly routine and predictable. The larger the creature, the worse the bully.   Larger Orcs bullied Medium Orcs. Medium Orcs bullied Smaller Orcs.

 

Smaller Orcs bullied Snotlings.   In fact, everyone bullied everyone, especially Snotlings and bullying Snotlings was one of the few enjoyments of being an Orc.

 

Today was a little different because half of the Battle Orcs were off battling the Goblins.   Many of the nastier Snotlings were dragged along into battle to be used as ammo-fetchers, or, if they didn’t bring a large enough armful, as ammo.

 

Marcus, however, was a house pet.

 

Mr. and Mrs. UglyOrc were too poor to have more than one pet, so they mistreated Marcus extra to make up for it. There were two UglyOrc children in the household, Griselda was the girl and Nuggly was the boy. Both were Orcs so they were already rather nasty and would probably grow up to be as nasty as you would expect of an Orc.

 

You might wonder, then, how Marcus developed any of the good character attributes we will read about as our story progresses.

 

“Bring me more fungus, you sniveling scum!” yelled Griselda to Marcus, as he was sweeping some rotted cabbage off the cave floor.

 

Nuggly aimed a kick at Marcus’s backside, but it was so tiny that he missed and flipped over on his head. “Owww! Look what you made me do, Mucus!”

 

“Ha, ha,” laughed Griselda, “You called him Mucus!”

 

“Yeah,” said Nuggly rubbing his knurled noggin with his hammy fist, “It fits!”   And from that day, adding insult to physical abuse, he was called Mucus by one and all.

 

Now you might wonder how Mucus… opps! Sorry, I mean Marcus escaped this miserable life?

 

Day after miserable day it was “Mucus, do this” and “Mucus do that” and slaps and kicks and punches.

 

Well, nothing short of a cataclysmic catastrophe would be required to break this feudal cast system of misery. Orc life in this garbage dump was about to explode!

 

It was the DOOMINATOR!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two

 

The Cataclysmic Catastrophe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gloomy sooty sky turned blacker than even usual as Mt Doom belched up a huge flaming thing the size of a meteor and twice as hot!

 

The flaming blob hit the cave area with such force that roofs caved and walls collapsed and fire spread rapidly.

 

The Orcs tried to put it out by throwing in Squigs and Snotlings into the flames but all that did was make it worse. Each time a Snotling popped, the fire increased.

 

Orcs are not too smart.   But they didn’t want to run out of Snotlings to use as slaves or pets, so they stopped throwing them in before Marcus was “Smored”.

 

Most of Green-Vile was rock and stone so the fire eventually diminished, but the destruction as extensive.

 

This was not the cataclysmic catastrophe, however, it was only the precursor.

 

As the meteor, if I may call it that, began to cool, the real catastrophe began to be revealed… the molten red turned more and more – oh NO!

 

To the color of gold! Horrors! It was gold! A huge gold nugget. Perhaps the largest single chunk of gold that ever was! This was terrible!

 

Gold is of no value to an Orc, but it is a well-known fact that gold attracts dragons and the largest Gold lump would attract the largest dragons, maybe even, (Shiver!) THE DOOMINATOR!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

Meet the DOOMINATOR

 

 

 

 

The blackened sky above the Orc city burst into flames as the Mega Dragon, fearfully known at The Doominator exploded into the atmosphere above Green-Vile.

 

“RRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!”

 

“Roll the Gold! Get it away from here!” commanded Krork, the Commander of the Orcs.

 

Almost as big as a The Goblin King himself, Krork was thought to be a half breed descendent of the Orks. Everyone feared him, but they feared the dragon more!

 

Orcs ran in all directions, crashing into each other, walls, trees, and many squigs and snotlings were trampled underfoot in the panic.

 

Two large Orc Warriors, in full Orc Armor, smashed chest to chest right in front of the Commander. He grabbed them up like they were stuffed unicorns and tried to shake some sense into them.

 

“Use the Squig kapalts, you Scum!”   screamed Krork to the warriors, tossing them twenty feet in the air to the base of the huge wooded contraption. “It’s already loaded with Attack Squigs! Fire them! Fire everything!”

 

But before they could cut the rope to launch, The Monstrous Dragon swooped down, grabbed both Orcs in his talons and ripped them into halves and quarters. The Dragon’s flames fried the 50 or so Attack Squigs in the deep bucket and the entire wooden machine was one big bonfire of wood and Squig.

 

The Dragon landed right onto the burning inferno and sucked in a huge gulp of air. With another massive bellow, flames shot out and engulfed at least half of the fleeing, panicked Orcs and their prey along with them.

 

This all happened in less than a minute!

 

Kronk stood over 19 foot tall and raising himself to his full height, stood his ground in the face of certain death. Why run like a coward just to be burned fleeing like the others.

 

He would not run!

 

The Dragon, turned toward him and instead of sucking in another inverted hurricane of air to blast the defiant Orc Commander to ashes, he “spoke”.

 

Well, to say he “spoke” would be like saying, an F-16 Fighter Jet just went snap when it was hit by a SAM.*

 

Which is to say, the words were more like a sonic BOOM!

 

“So, YOU would stand up to me, Orc Commander?” Boomed the Dragon. “I am DOOM! I am THHHHEEEE DOOMINATOR!!!”

 

“Take the Gold, DOOMINATOR! We care not for the soft shiny metal. We use Iron and Steel,” replied the Giant Orc boldly.

 

“Ah, I have seen your kind once before, You are one of the Old Ones. I have respect for the C’tan and may allow you to live.” Then the Dragon looked left and right. “You have a snotling I wish to speak to. Bring him to me and for the sake of your Ork ancestors, do so quickly!” Then the Dragon added, “I respect your courage, as well.”

 

“Nay, DOOMINATOR,” answered the increasingly arrogant Orc, “Take the Gold, and be gone, but the snotlings are our food, our slaves, our weapons and they are OUR PROPERTY. We will not let them go!”

 

 

*(SAM = Surface to Air Missile)

“You dare defy me, stupid Orc? FOOL! I did not come to free the snotlings, I came for the Gold. I only wish to speak to one particular snotling. However, if you wish, I will kill you and every Orc and Squiggly Beast that pollutes the millions of acres at the base of this pathetic mountain! “

 

At this the Dragon began to inhale!

 

“Wait, DOOMINATOR! Perhaps I was too hasty!” spoke Kronk ‘hastily’. “Your, uhh, wish is my command! I will fetch the snotling and you may have him and the Gold, if only you will be gone this day!”

 

“Very well,” snorted the Dragon, causing little fire balls to shoot from his nostrils and setting a few trees on fire in the distance. “You have 2 minutes. No tricks!”

 

“Who is this snotling that you want?”

 

“You call him Marcus, I believe.”

 

“Mucus??” replied the huge Orc in sneering derision. “What use is that miserable pet to one as mighty as you?”

 

“That is none of your concern. You now have One and One half minutes!”

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

 

It’s Not Good To Disappoint the DOOMINATOR

 

 

 

 

Kronk dropped the Squigpipe* he had been absent-mindedly holding, squeezing in his hand. Just was well, he squeezed all the air out of it’s bag-like body and it was never going to inflate again anyway. Running toward the cave of the UglyOrc family, he stepped in some gore from the torn warrior Orcs and almost fell into their entrails.

 

 

 

 

 

*Squigpipe – This special type of Squig is used by the Orcs as a musical instrument. Several tube-like proboscises emanate from this Squig’s bag-like body. The Musical Squig can be tucked under one arm and inflated by blowing down the proboscis. Then, by squeezing the Squig, weird and terrifying sound scan be made through the creature’s proboscis pipes. This turns the Squig into a musical instrument, much like the bagpipes, but a thousand times more cacophonous.

 

 

 

 

Arriving, he kicked away the Guard Squig at the cave entrance.

 

Inside Mr. and Mrs. UglyOrc were cowering in the darkest corner of the stinking Orc cave. Griselda and Nuggly were nowhere to be seen.

 

“Where is that worthless scum pet, Mucus?” demanded Kronk in a fit of Rage and fearsomeness. “Give him to me NOW!”

 

“He… he.. he..” stuttered Mr. UglyOrc.

 

Kronk grabbed the smaller Orc by the throat and lifted him 12 feet in the air to be at eye level. “Speak, Putrid creature! Give him to me now!”

 

“Arrrgggg” gagged the Orc unable to speak, on account of being strangled.

 

Mrs. UglyOrc managed to speak, “Please My Over Lord, Kronk, The children, they took him…”

 

Throwing Mr. UglyOrc to one side so violently that his brains oozed out of his ears, Kronk now smashed his fist into the wall next to her face, “You whattttt???!!!”

 

Crying, pitifully, she managed to say, just before he killed her too, “I sent the children and Mucus out the back cave hole, to run for very their lives!”

 

(I know this all sounds very brutal, but, well, they are Orcs and.. well, what happened next makes it kind of moot…)

 

“Times up, Orc Vomit!” Roared the Monstrous Dragon, who was at the cave entrance and heard it all.

 

Blowing super charged flames like a Nitro Race Car blows flames out it’s exhaust pipe, the UglyOrc cave was instantly engulfed in Hell-fire and brimstone.

 

So intense was the Dragon’s rage that the entire mountain above the cave actually began to melt sending huge boulders, some the size of a castle crashing down, many striking Doominator’s own body.

 

Howling with anger and pain, Doominator let loose with so much Dragon fire that a 1,000 Hecht acres* was scorched that day.

 

Wounded and bruised from his own insane violence, Doominator took to the skies.   He was in search of a lowly snotling and equally vile two Orc children. Though he did not know their names we will hear more of Griselda and Nuggly in the next chapter.

 

 

 

** one hectare contains about 2.47 acres. ‘Hecht Acre‘ is the Middle Earth version of the term.

 

 

Chapter 5

The Lesson Griselda and Nuggly Learned

 

 

Well, you probably guessed it, right? The rear cave hole was not very big and although Marcus hopped right through, Griselda had to be pulled at one end and pushed from the rear. Nuggly was still inside pushing when he heard the shouting of Kronk back in the cave proper.

 

“Hurry, get me out quick!” he squealed like a little girl Orc.

 

But Griselda was having none of it. Like the life of another Orc meant much to her, even it was her brother.

 

But Marcus was made of better stuff. He could have run off and left them both in that cave. It’s what either of them would have done. But as I told you in Chapter One, “You might wonder how Marcus developed any of the good character attributes we will read about as our story progresses.”

 

“Griselda, you WILL help me pull your brother free!” said Marcus with a firmness that the Orc child had never heard from a snotling before. Ever!

 

In fact, it shocked her so much, she didn’t pound him with a rock. Instead, she turned back and grabbed Nuggly’s out stretched hand. Marcus grabbed one of the boy Orc’s hammy fingers on the other arm with both of his tiny hands and shouted, “One, Two….”

 

At that very moment, deep inside the cave, was THE moment that the Doominator let loose his explosive blast! The shockwave not only loosened rock around the hole, it literally blew Nuggly forward like a Champaign cork on a well shook bottle!

 

THREE!!!!

 

All three, He and She Orc and Marcus tumbled end over end for numerous rotations, finally landing in an ever widening crevice as the earth itself was actually splitting open.

 

“Curse you Mucus!” hollered the humiliated boy Orc while rubbing his fried back side, “Look at what you made us do!”

 

“I saved your miserable hide, you ungrateful Orc,” replied the snotling with almost a hint of pride, “And the name is MARCUS! From now on you will call me Marcus, or I will leave you to die out here in this…”

 

Before he could finish, Griselda lashed out with her fist to strike the strident snotling, but before she could complete the blow, the crevice opened even wider! Fear replaced rage in both Orc children as they tried to grasp the surface which was slowly slipping away.

 

Only Marcus had any hope of not falling into the earth crack, as he held tightly to an extended root with his scrawny hand.

 

Even though the smallest of the three knew he had not the strength to save more than himself he shouted, “Grab my legs, try to hang on!”

 

Griselda and Nuggly looked below and saw what looked like only a bottomless pit. As much as they hated depending on lowly snotlings, they hated falling to a certain death much more. Griselda locked her fist, the same one she was going to strike him with moments earlier, around the snotlings ankle and just before plunging to his death below, Nuggly managed to grab on to Griselda’s rough Bison skin Orc boot.

 

It was a precarious situation! It would have been hilarious, in fact, to other Orcs to view from a safe distance, but none of these three were laughing!

 

And yet, something had happened. Somewhere, deep within the recesses of their corrupt, stupid and evil Orc minds, a transaction registered. Not only had this always abused and hated creature heroically helped them escape the hole, he had now just offered his own life in a hopeless gesture to preserve theirs!   Maybe there will be hope for these Orc children before our story ends. I think, Dear Reader, that our Orc youths have learned a lesson this day they will not soon forget!

 

 

 

Chapter 6

 

Mysterious Voices From Below!

 

 

As the three survivors of the “Devastation of The Doominator”, also referred to in Orc Legend as “Dooms-Day” flailed and cried and counted down the seconds to their own doom, a very odd sound echoed up from the blackness of the yawning crevice.   It sounded very much like a loud SNEEZE!

 

This was quickly confirmed by a “Gesundheit!”

 

“Did you here that?” asked Griselda though clenched teeth?

 

“Did you hear that?” came a voice from below.

 

“I think there’s someone up there?” Called another between a series of seven sneezes.

 

“Hey we are up here! We need help!” shouted Marcus, though his voice was very thin and his left leg was about a foot longer than it had been five minutes earlier.

 

“Who are you?” echoed a voice from the darkness.

 

“What are you? Sneezed the second voice.

 

The two Orcs looked at each other and started to reply but Marcus shook his tiny head violently, “Let me”, he whispered.

 

“I’m a snotling. Perfectly harmless! Who are you? Can you help us?”

 

“Saa, Saa, Saa Snnnnotling?. AH-achoo!?” sneezed voice number two. “Like a Orkoid?”

 

“There’s no Orcs up here!” Lied the two Orc children rather unconvincingly.

 

“He’s just our Pet,” added Griselda stupidly.

 

“We escaped from Orcs centuries ago! We, Ahh-CHOO! We live underground to avoid all Nilbogs! Go away!” shouted voice number one.

 

But it was too late. Griselda’s Bison boot finally came off her club foot and Nuggly went tumbling down into the abyss. With the loss of her boot, (not her brother so much) Griselda panicked and lost her grip on Marcus’ scrawny limb and tumbled right after him. Wompidy womp womp was the sound they made as they fell.

 

When there was no immediate scream or ‘thunk’, Marcus shrugged his shoulders and released his grip on the tree root and went slide, slip-slidey over the edge as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7

 

The Eyes Have it!

 

 

Here’s the answer to your question, the crevice was not a Bottomless pit and the floor was not rock hard. It was moss soft. It fact the moss was so thick that both Orc children were totally submerged in the sweet spongy moss with only Nuggly’s nose and Griselda’s Big toe sticking out. Her boot being missing you will recall!

 

But it was as dark as an orc cave at midnight when the Gas-squigs go out. As the two “we are not Orcs” wrestled and churned within the massive mossy compost pile (for that was what it was), trying to unsuccessfully to extract themselves, Marcus landed lightly as his toes spread into webs and cushioned his fall, preventing him from sinking like the heavier Orcs.

 

“Hello, My name is Marcus,” he said calmly to two sets of glowing greenish eyes some ten feet away from where he landed. “I apologize for my two friends. They haven’t learned how to play nice yet!”

 

“You shouldn’t be here!” said green eyes number one. “No one from the Land of Light should ever know about our peaceful world down here!”

 

“Ah Choo!” sneezed the other, than added, ”And yet here you are. We must see to our guests, Schnuzzle.”

 

That’s when the glowing green eyes suddenly rose higher and higher until they were more than twice the previous height. At almost the same time the room, for that is what it was, became a bit brighter.

 

The two hosts had uncovered some kind of luminescent stuff on the end of a stick, like a torch, but without fire.

 

Clearly they had been sitting and were now standing. Though extremely thin they were nearly the height of Kronk!

 

By now the Orc children were at least upright and able to see over the moss pile, but there was no way in Middle Earth they would ever get out of that herbaceous quagmire without a pulley or a crane.

 

“Leave them there for now,” said Schnuzzle. “They will be safe and cared for until we decide what to do with them. But you, Mr. Marcus, you are a most interesting creature to us! Come along now!”

 

 

 

Chapter 8

The Subterranean

World of an Unknown Race!

 

 

 

The two tall and very polite subterranean creatures lead Marcus into an adjoining room.   It was populated with hundreds of squig-like creatures, all busy in activities apparently related to mining. Unlike snotlings which are undernourished in appearance, these were quite the opposite. They were not just fat, they were round as balloons with very short skinny arms and legs. But with pleasant faces, unlike almost every squig, squog and nilbog* type he’d ever met. He couldn’t tell if that had hair on the heads because they wore construction or miner type hard hats.

 

 

*

Squigs (short for “Squiggly Beasts“) are the simplest known form of life in the Orc world. There are many types of Squig, each generally filling some functional or utilitarian role in the Orc ecosystem. A Squog is what they used to call Snotlings before they invented the more descriptive and derogatory term.   Nilbog is Goblin spelled backwards. Squigs refuse to say the word “Goblin” out loud. Back luck.

 

Marcus barely had time to take all this in before the most incredible thing happened!

 

“Ah choo!”

 

“Cover your nose, Schnaazle!” shouted Schnuzzle.

 

But it was too late!

 

One after another, the rotund little miners caught it, sneezed and passed it, one by one, to the next in a series that went around the large room like a dog boomsie.

 

No sooner had the last in line sneezed than the first ones started again.

 

Within a minute the entire cavern room was filled with a deafening volume of sneezing balloonish critters!

 

Covering their noses, Schnaazle and Schnuzzle quickly lead Marcus out a side door into what could best be described as a throne room.

 

With the door closed behind them, each tall creature sat in one of the two high chairs.

 

“Sorry about that,” apologized Schnaazle. “I am afraid that will go on for hours.”

 

“What are you, who are they?” asked Marcus

 

“Need you ask? Why we are Sneezals, of course,” replied Schnuzzle. “I think we were squigs of some sort centuries earlier before fleeing the upper world of light.”

 

Schnaazle added,” But after many many years in this damp world and with abundant fungus and pure water…”

 

“And no natural enemies!” said Schnuzzle. We Sneezals have grown quite fat and happy!”

 

“Excuse me for saying this,” asked Marcus timidly, “But you don’t look like the other Sneezals. And what are you mining, anyway?”

 

“When you live underground, without trees or plants, you have to make everything from rocks, of course!” replied Schnuzzle

 

“Sneezals are really quite inventive, you see. But as to your other question, well, it’s a little embarrassing. You tell him Schnuzzle.”

 

“Oh very well. I suppose you’d call in a birth defect. When we come out of our mother’s belly button, most Sneezals just inflate and pop right out like a bubble, and float around until the arms and legs and head pop out. Get it?”

 

“But on rare occasions, like Schnuzzle and me, we didn’t pop out, they had to pull us like taffy. So we got all stretched out like this.”

 

“Belly Buttons? What are those? We reproduce like bugs. At least I think we do.” Said Marcus scratching his knobby head thoughtfully.

 

“Not important. Anyway, Sneezals seem to think that being taller makes us smarter…”

 

“But we are not really….” interrupted Schnaazle.

 

“So they make us the Leaders.” completed Schnuzzle.

 

“Now enough about us. What’s your story and what are we to do about you I wonder?”

 

Marcus told his story. I don’t need to repeat it because you have read enough background, but then he added something even he didn’t expect to reveal.

 

“I know we were chased by a terrible Dragon who destroyed where I used to live, and I should be terrified, but I always wanted to meet one. A good one that is. If there is such a thing,” said Marcus with a shyness that made it seem less incredible.

 

“That is most interesting!” replied Schnuzzle contemplatively. “It’s almost as incredible as your even being here.”

 

“Because,” Schaazle continued, “There is a Prophesy. Isn’t it carved on the Great Stone in the Secret Room, Schnuzzle?”

 

“Indeed.”

 

“And doesn’t it say something about a dragon and a way-faring stranger?”

 

“Sure does! It’s been years since we were shown it, in fact no one has entered there in decades. We should check it out!”

 

Marcus was about to say, “I’m game!” But the last time he said that Nuggly shot him with a dart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 9

The Secret Room

 

“Sure does smell funny back here. Guess it’s because the door has been sealed shut for a few centuries!” said Schnaazle to the Keeper of the Keys, who was a very round (even for a Sneezal!) but no nonsense Official, who had yet to sneeze since leading them to the Secret Room entrance.

 

Marcus was hanging back. It was not just that he was used to being last in line all his life. There was something ‘not right’ up ahead. He could sense it.

Big Schnooze, the Keeper of the Keys was in the lead, paused in front of the stone door.  He held up a tiny twig like arm with palm out to indicate they should stop.  Then he waved the lumi-torch several times and the others saw what he had seen.  The stone door was opened a crack!

 

Then with a finger to his fat flabby lips to indicate silence he pointed to the bottom of the door frame.  Oooooozing out of the door crack was a blackish substance.

 

The four stood there in total shock for a moment when Marcus broke the silence, “What is that stuff?  It stinks!”

 

That was all it took!  The three Sneezals grabbed their noses in a panic and turned to run as fast as they could….. when a low guttural sound came from within the Secret Room.

 

That froze them in their tracks.

 

At first it was indistinguishable.

 

Then two things happened that added to their shock and dismay.

 

One is that the guttural sound evolved into a growl and then a deep frightening voice, the words of which I will tell you in a moment.

 

But the second thing was much worse!

 

The black ooze began to bubble, increase, accumulate and rise before their very eyes.

 

And faster than you can fall off your bike when you hit a pothole going too fast downhill , it grew as tall as a man and roughly the same anthropomorphic shape!

 

It had no eyes or mouth or such human features and yet there was that deep frightful voice, “So, you’ve come at last! We have waited many years and centuries.  Now the END of ALL THINGS come.”

 

The very long skinny legs of tall Sneezals were shaking so badly that you couldn’t tell which leg belonged to which Sneezal.

 

The Keeper of the Keys, whose only job was to be in charge of the Door, hold safely the keys to it and pass the keys and the story of the Rock of Prophesy to the next generation, bravely turned back toward the black bulbous blob of goo.

 

Don’t ask me why he did this, but the heroic little balloon guy with nothing but the lumi-torch rushed forward!

 

He poked it!

 

As the luminous powder on the end of the torch touched the black Glob it let out a howl like from ‘Well of Undead Souls.’

 

In reaction, Big Schnooze, was repelled backwards with such force that he pooped.

 

Er, I mean he popped.

 

Mostly.

 

Which is to say he kind of deflated like after you blow up a balloon and hold the end and don’t let it go but you only half squeeze it and the balloon deflate with a funny ‘ppffffaattttt’ sound.

 

Marcus was close enough to grab the stick that had fallen to the floor and while Schnaazle and Schneezel rushed to the aid of their now crinkled comrade, he snatched it up.

 

The black goo was now a bubbling puddle again, but was starting to spread across the floor.

 

Using all the strength of his pathetic Snotling body, he jammed the lumi-stick over and over against every edge of the now retreating black ooze.  This drove the goo back though the partially opened door with Marcus pursuing, poking with quite a fury for such a little dude!

 

Now alone inside the Secret Room, the goo was a puddle no bigger than deflated Sneezal, who, by the way was beginning to recover as the two tall ones bend over him and breathed back into him the breath of life via multiple self-induced sneezes.

 

The goo was backed up to the only item in the room, a huge boulder with writing on it.

 

No time to read for Marcus quite yet, however, the goo was now contracted into a long thinner string and snake-like began wriggling toward a small crack in the rocks base.

 

It slithered rapidly, prodded by Marcus’ severe prodding and in an instant, SSSUUULLLOOOPPP! ,,,, like the last slurp from your straw in a purloined Frappuccino, it disappeared into the small hole and was gone!

 

 

Chapter 10

 

What was That Stuff and Where to Next?

 

 

“What was That Stuff?” asked Marcus catching his breath.

 

Thanks to the quick thinking of the two tall Sneezals Big Schnooze was about ¾ reinflated.  He spoke gaspingly and with some hesitation.

 

“We used to call in “Black Mold”, but it was never in my memory more than bad smelling powder until today.”

 

“But it stood up like an Orkoid,” said Schneezal.

 

“And it spoke with a voice!” shivered Schnaazal. “A very creepy, threatening voice!”

 

“It’s much worse than that,” said Big Schnooze.  “The Black Mold, we have been told by our ancestors, if they are to be believed is a sort of “pre-dragon”

 

Huh?” said the other three at the same time.

 

“Hundreds of years ago, when we first arrived, Black Mold covered every inch of this dark world.  Our forefathers invented and used the lumi-sticks and over a period of many months pushed the Black Mold further and further back into the far corners until in congealed into goo.  We were told the goo was the stuff of dragons – it slipped out of the cracks and soon dragons were reported just above our caverns.”

 

Big Schnooze now was fully inflated, except for his nose which was hanging like a wet sock from his balloonish head and he added, “I always thought that was a made up story to frighten young Sneezals so that they would never want to return to the surface of light in future generations.”

 

“I think it must be true,” replied Marcus pensively.

 

“What are we to do?” asked the two tall leaders of the Sneezals.

 

“Well, you can’t leave here, so I think I must pursue the goo or pre-dragon, or whatever that awful Stuff was.” added Marcus although his skinny short legs were shaking and his little weak chin was quivering as he said this.

 

Big Schnooze nodded.  “Yes. I think the violence and earthquake above has awakened something terrible.  Only the Snotling will serve, if he is willing.”

 

But Marcus had already turned back to the Large Rock within the Secret Room and now without the Black Mold the writing was clearly visible.  Some of the words were in Elvish but as best Marcus could tell, it said something like this:

 

 

 

“On top of Old Mordor

All covered with fire

I lost my poor *&^%^ when I couldn’t climb any higher.

 

It fell out of my *&%^*

And rolled down the hill

And then my poor *%%^ was really quite ill.

 

But early next summer

It grew into a tree,

It grew lovely *&%^$$

With hair like spaghetti “

 

(As you can see, some of the words were so Elvish, I could not translate them).

 

“I know what I have to do next,” said Marcus trembling with fear. “I must travel to (shudder) Mount Mordor!”

 Chapter 11

 

The Underground Railroad

 

“But how am I to get to Mt. Mordor with that Doominator dragon flying and frying everything above us?” cried Marcus, wanting to be brave but quickly realizing the hopelessness of his predicament.

 

“Now that we CAN help you with,” smiled Schnaazel. “We are miners, after all.  Wouldn’t you know we would have an underground rail system to haul our ore?”

 

“And it goes all the way to the base of the horrible mountain.  The important thing is to jump off at just the right moment.  After we tunneled as far as the base, the rock was so hot, the rail takes a hard right and goes on the LaaLaaLand.  At least I think so.  I’m too tall to actually ride the mining tunnels.”  Schneezal said as he added the last poof of air to Big Schnooze’s schnooze. (Which now was twice it’s original size and nearly as big as all the rest of him).  [And thereafter a source of great pride]

 

They lead the way to a well illuminated large hole in the cavern wall mostly obscured by hanging vines that needed no sun light beyond the lumis. (Marcus learned that’s what they called the abundant phosphorous that was now glistening on the other side of the entrance as if it were the day time.)

 

The rail car was quite small, from a human point of view. Not quite as big as a refrigerator turned on its side.  But Sneezals are not very large and Marcus was smaller still.  In fact, he had to be lifted, just to get in.

 

Marcus stood on tippy web toes and looked over the rim of the rail cart at the miles of up and down rail track that went on and on as far as the eye could see.

 

“What will happen to the two Orc children, Nuggly and Griselda?” he asked, showing amazing concern for others who were very mean and quite unworthy.

 

“Oh, they said they liked it in the Moss Pit and want to stay.  I think we will keep THEM as pets!”  laughed Schnaazel. (Trash deposal was actually a problem underground, hence the massive compost pile.  If the Orcs would stay in it and eat their fill, the garage problem would be resolved for the foreseeable future).

 

“Umm,” spoke Marcus quietly, “Ooooookay.   But I don’t see an engine or any way to power this cart.  How am I supposed to get it to go all those miles on the mining tracks?”  (Orcs you may remember, used crude engines)

 

“That’s my job now!” grinned Big Schnooze.  We call this the Ah Choo Choo!”

 

And with one scrawny foot on the lip of the rail car and the other inside he let go of a sneeze that would have put the Big Bad Wolf to shame, even on his best day!

 

The rail car exploded forward with such a jolt that Marcus was thrown to the floor with the G forces an astronaut experiences when Endeavor launches from Cape Canaveral.

 

And they were OFF!

Chapter 12

 

The Ride of His Life

 

You may think that The Eagle Rollercoaster at Dollywood is the pinnacle of all thrill rides…. But until you have ridden the ore cart that Marcus rode through miles of twisting, turning, up, up, up and down, down downs… You are still uninitiated!

 

To say it was extremely fast would be too easy.  Imagine going so fast that your eye lids peel back!   You can’t, right?

 

And just as the cart would slow down to about 60 miles an hour, Big Schnooze would let loose another sneezing blast that rocket the rail car nearly into orbit!  How it stayed on the tracks I cannot even imagine! (I tried, but it would slow down the story to explain.)

 

What you do need to know is that it didn’t take very long to travel all those many miles and Marcus knew they were getting close to the underground base of Mt Mordor because the temperature was rising!  A lot!

 

 

Big Schnooze was between sneezes and they were almost down to 60 when he shouted, “Almost to the sharp right turn, get ready to jump!”

 

“What???” Cried Marcus fearing instant death.

 

“There are vines and roots, grab hold of one, if you can.  They should take you back to the sur… sur…SURFACE AH CHOOO!”

 

The rail car banked so hard to the right that Marcus did not need to jump.  He was thrown out of the cart being tossed end over end through the increasingly oppressive heated air – and since hot air rises – so did the tumbling Snotling.

 

Big Schnooze and the Underground Railroad were quickly out of sight as he tumbled upwardly.  He tried but failed to grab at any vine or root- in his headlong rush to a pin point of light above him.

 

Faster and faster the now supercharged air propelled him!

 

Instinctively he knew he would be blown out the top of the mountain and if not baked to a crisp before he was expelled, he would certainly fall to his death from whatever dizzying height above Mordor he was sure to be blown.

 

As it turned out, our mini hero will survive this terror ….  I thought I should tell you that because we have a couple more chapters ahead where he is still the main character and his “Ultimate Selfless Act of Bravery” (USAB) is still ahead!

 

You see he was wrong about one thing, this was Mt Mordor, but he was not in the exact center – that was all bubbling lava and death would have been instantaneous.

 

His was a dormant lava vent.  Still terribly hot and still shooting him cannon ball-ishly- and without question – would probably blast him a mile (or more) higher into the smoky Middle Earth air.

 

The light of day blinded him as he exited the red rock hole, one of hundreds that spewed stream and stench – and still upwards he was rapidly propelled – his little arms and legs flailing helplessly.

 

 

And then…   And then…

 

And then, It seemed to him that time had slowed down –  he accepted his demise – a sense of peace that passes all understanding came him and it almost felt like he could see all of planet earth beneath him –

 

 

 

 

 

And for good reason!

 

 

 

Chapter 13

The Green Dragon from LaaLaaLand

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcus knew he was floating in the clouds. Oh! What a thrilling sense of peace he was experiencing! Trance-like, he let his small mind drift aimlessly. “If this was the Hereafter”, he thought dreamily, “it was sure better than the life he had lived as a pathetic Snotling!”

 

“Wakey, Wakey!” said a soft but very strong voice.

 

Slowly Marcus opened his eyes and saw that he was indeed in the clouds and the earth was far below him. Only it was not the harsh, rock-strewn forbidding gray and brown Orc lands he had known.

 

It was green, very green! And with sparkling rivers and lakes of blue!

 

And one more important observation: Marcus appeared to be flying!

 

“I must have wings!” he exclaimed.

 

“After a sort,” came the reply again for the soft but powerful voice.

 

By now Marcus was regaining full consciousness. And the realization hit him that he had not become an Angel or grown wings. “Am I riding on a magic carpet?” he wondered out loud.

 

“I have been called many things,” laughed the voice softly, “But that is a first.”

 

Marcus knew he should look up or side to side, but he didn’t want to lose the beauty of the view below. He wanted to preserve the lovely dream a few more moments if he could.

 

“Do you see the white glistening tower? It is just coming into view on the horizon?’ whispered the voice almost reverently. “That is called the Pinnacle of Peace. Beyond is our destination!”

 

“Are we in Heaven? Are you Gabriel?”

 

“Oh my little friend, have you never heard of LaaLaaLand?”

 

Before Marcus could reply, they began their descent and it was so rapid and steep that it took Marcus’s breath away.

 

Now slowing, just above the tree line, coasting, wings extended but not flapping, just upheld by the wind currents, Marcus, dared to sneak a peek.

 

First he saw gigantic talons gripping his midsection. But it didn’t hurt. Then he let his eyes follow the talons to the massive green scaled legs.

 

And then he fainted.

 

Again.

 

 

 

Chapter 14

Meet The Family!

 

As Marcus again opened his eyes he found himself on verdant terrafirma surrounded by what I can only call Munchkins!

 

There were many dozens, probably hundreds!   Some were singing LaaLaa Songs. Others simply smiling, waving a friendly greeting. Mothers holding up baby Munchkins to see better. Dad’s with juvenile Munchkins on their shoulders. And all focused on HIM!

 

Well, that is only partially true. Behind him was the Awesome Green Dragon. By the way, “Awesome” was the dragon’s name. Or that was the name that the population of LaaLaaLand had given it.

 

“Well, what do you think?” asked the soft voice from behind him in almost a whisper. “Would you like to meet your long lost relatives?”

 

Marcus was so dumbfounded that he could not speak. But one of the Munchkins, clearly the Mayor or something of the sort from his officious-looking clothing and confident stride, stepped forward.

 

Oh, hold on a moment, I forgot to tell you one very important difference between LaaLaaLanders and Munchkins. In place of hair, they had grass, ferns, clover and other decorative variations growing on the top of their heads!

 

The Mayor, for example had tall Hosta* and ferns, combed straight up (to make him taller and more important, no doubt).

 

“Ahem. Welcome!” he shouted. He meant to say more but the crowd cheered so loudly that he had to wait a full two minutes before continuing.

 

“Ah, Yes, Welcome, Most Honored Guest from FarAwayLand! I am Mayor Dimwit. Please join us in the Peace Banquet Hall for a Celebration of your Return!”

 

“My, my, my …Return?” Marcus was so confused and overwhelmed that he nearly fainted a third time but the Dragon had his back. Literally. He was propping him up.

 

Now Awesome spoke, “Good People of LaaLaaLand, this is Marcus. He does not know of your history or his importance. He was a slave and very ill-treated in FarAwayLand. But I have chosen him above all of that Land because I think he is the ONE, the fulfillment of the Prophesy.”

 

*Originating from Japan and China, Hostas are one of the best perennials for shade in the garden, grown in either pots, containers, boarders, or trolls heads.

It was so quiet you could hear a feather drop.

 

Stunned, Marcus looked up into the dragons face, for the first time and saw that it was a kind, loving and wise face.

 

“Marcus,” now spoke Awesome directly just to the Snotling, “Tell me. Do you not have dragon dreams?”

 

Marcus could only nod in agreement. Awesome was not a creature that you could do otherwise to.

 

“And did you not wonder why? After all, all you knew about was The Doominator. And yet…”

 

“And yet,” spoke Marcus almost as if in a trance, “I wanted to be one. All my life.”

 

“But not an evil one. That is prophetic. To have not known of my kind? To have only known of the Red and Terror? Do you remember what was written on the Rock of Prophesy?” asked the Green Dragon.

 

“Yes, but I don’t understand it. I mean I didn’t understand it. Except the Mt. Mordor part,   and … ah…”

 

That’s when a young Munchkin boy and his sister, each with blue and pink hair, respectively, stepped forward and said, “Blah, Blah, Blah, Laa, Laa, Laa. C’mon let’s go eat!” And taking Marcus hand lead him to the Banquet Hall where all would be explained in the next chapter.

 

(Mostly)

 

 

 

 

 

                                    

“Blah, Blah, Blah, Laa, Laa, Laa. C’me on let’s go eat!”

 

 

 

 

Chapter 15

Dragons Weren’t Always Evil

 

 

“Blah, Blah, Blah, Laa, Laa, Laa?” mused Awesome. “Such simple folk! They have no idea of the evil that exists outside of their sheltered world.”

 

The T-Rex sized Green Dragon was hunched on its stomach, its massive rear and legs outside the Hall, only his neck and head and smaller “arms” extended into the Banquet Hall through the large portico built just for its front half. With its head resting pensively on its smaller arms, it sighed. It was time to tell Marcus the “hard part” now.

 

Marcus had never eaten so well. As a Snotling he was always under fed and skinny. After only three days here at the Banquet Hall he was beginning to fatten up. In fact, he was starting to see a faint resemblance to these “Distant Relatives” as Awesome had called them.

 

Except for the hair.

 

“It is time for you to know why you have always wanted to be a dragon in your dreams, Marcus.”

 

Marcus sensed something important was about to be revealed and put down his bowl of Shrimp & Grits.

 

“Marcus, There are two kinds of dragons, just like everything in Middle Earth. There is Good and Bad. Goodness and Evil. Do you understand?”

 

“Yes, I think so. You are a good dragon. I had no idea there were good dragons. The Doominator is a bad dragon. Evil.”

 

“Well, it wasn’t always this way. Once this whole world was green and pure and sweet and innocent.”

 

“What happened?” asked Marcus. “Why isn’t all of Middle Earth like LaaLaaLand?”

 

“Ah, that is a question for the Ages, is it not? But this I do know. There came one day, Evil. It was not invited, it was not even noticed at first.”

 

“The Black Mold?” said Marcus, his large eyes growing even wider.

 

“Yes. The Black Mold.” The dragon looked sadly pained as it spoke the words. Marcus thought a tear formed in its eye.

“All creatures once lived in Peace. There were many of us then. Dragons that is,” said Awesome.

 

“One Dragon, however, was more open to the evil of the Black Mold. He was filled with pride in his own awesomeness, if you will excuse the phrase. He was arrogant, prideful and glorified himself.”

 

The Doominator!” exclaimed Marcus.

 

“Well, yes. And my Brother!”

 

“Your brother?”

 

“Yes, we were both Green back then and lived in peace with the other creatures of Middle Earth. At first the Black Mold just infected the Orcs and they were almost completely overtaken by it. No creature that breathed the spores was unaffected, however. Although all had Free Will, the Orcs had given themselves over to Evil. It was a choice. Do you understand?”

 

“I think so, but…”

 

The Dragon continued, “I resisted but my Brother filled his lungs every chance he got. He eventually began to turn red! And he developed an insane covetousness of the shiny metal you call gold.”

 

“Orcs as you know and others once mined the metal. My Brother went mad in its presence. I think that is where the fire came from.”

 

“Don’t you breathe fire?” asked Marcus

 

“Nay. Only the Red Dragon is a fire breather, for the fire is used for Evil, to burn and to destroy.”

 

“My Brother then terrorized everything and everyone. He killed all the Dragons.”

 

Now Awesome wept bitterly.

 

“Except you.” Replied Marcus quietly.

 

“Yes, a spark of good may have remained. I rescued many of your kindred and we fled to this verdant valley. It is by agreement that he stays in the FarAway.   But now that has changed.”

 

“Because of the Gold that exploded from Mt. Doom?”

 

“Yes, and, how do I say this? It has stimulated his sense of reproduction. I think he is dying.”

 

“Wait! Is that the Black Goo?”

 

“I’m not certain, but I think the goo is an attempt at replicating himself.”

 

“Pre-Dragon,” whispered Marcus, “They called it ‘pre-dragon’.”

 

“And then there is…. the Munchkin Prophecy”.

 

The Dragon paused dramatically.

 

Chapter 16

Marcus Learns of His Destiny

 

The Dragon continued. “When my Brother first turned Red, the more Gold he consumed, the more fire he was able to produce.”

 

Gold equals fire?” asked Marcus.

 

“I’m uncertain of the exact connections. What I’m about to tell you, however, will shock you. It is about your DESTINY.”

 

Marcus trembled. Somehow he sensed what was coming.

 

“My Brother killed all the other green dragons, as I have told you. What I did not tell you is that he wanted to create a race of his own kind and populate the planet with Red Dragons.”

 

“But that would be the end of all other creatures! If there were many Doominators, all of Middle Earth would be destroyed!” cried the Snotling. “Even LaaLaaLand!”

 

“He made a number of attempts to recreate himself in his own image. All failed but he is now trying again.

“Gird up your courage, Marcus,” said the Dragon now staring hard into his eyes, “You are about to be asked to do what no Middle Earth creature has ever been asked to do.”

 

Marcus had never thought of himself as brave. But since our story began, we have been seeing his selflessness developing. This would be the supreme test.

 

The Dragon explained, “My Brother would breathe in Black Mold and expel Black Goo. Over and over. Sometimes the Goo even seemed to take on a life of it’s own. But it never became more than standing Goo. I think you saw some in the Secret Room.”

 

“Yes. It was awful!”

 

“Horribly, he began to experiment with consuming bits of gold mixed with Black Mold. And Fire and-.”

 

“And?”

 

“And, YOU!”

 

“What?” the Snotling slapped his head with his hand so hard that his ears rang.

 

“My Brother began snorting in Mold and Gold and snorting out Goo and YOU!   That is why you are called a Snotling, Marcus.”

 

“It was the Fire, wasn’t it?” he said in resignation.

 

“Yes, in some bizarre combination.

He blew out great flaming gobs of goo and in between ….”

 

Marcus now at last understood. “He ate so many of my Kindred, some of them undigested…. UGH! I can’t say it. It is too terrible!” The Snotling fell to the floor and rolled and wept bitterly.

 

The Dragon allowed a few minutes for Marcus to recover enough that it could continue. “There is more…”

 

The others in the hall were oblivious to the drama unfolding here.

 

“Marcus, you have to go back. You have to return to The Doominator.”

 

 

 

Still crying, Marcus whined, “And then? What must I do?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You must crawl into his nose.”

 

 

 

Chapter 17

Marcus and the “Ultimate Selfless Act of Bravery” (USAB)

 

 

 

 

“My Brother will not immediately destroy you. He desperately wants to succeed in replicating himself.   You came out of him and a part of him is in you and you in him. Hopefully, he will sense that.”

 

“Hopefully? Are you kidding!” Marcus was now on his feet and pacing frantically. “This is certain death!”

 

The Green Dragon looked at Marcus sadly, “Yes, Marcus. It is.”

 

Without any response, it continued, “You must crawl into his nostril. It will be very slippery, but you must make your way into the cavity behind his mucus gland…”

 

At the word ‘mucus’, the Snotling fidgeted, but did not interrupt.

 

“You will take this dagger which is made from lumi dust. It required many Munchkins and many years of toil to fashion it. There is only this one and only this one chance. There will be no other.”

 

Marcus nodded. He knew where on his body it would hide it.

 

“You must time your entrance into his nasal cavity between fire bombs. He often snorts little fire bombs when he laughs or mocks. Then you must plunge the lumi-dagger into the organ that produces the fire. I don’t know what it looks like but I’m sure it will be red, gold, and pulsating.”

 

 

Silence.

 

 

“My Brother will probably try to illicit information from you, than fry you,

so you will have to talk to him and get him to let you enter his nose willingly.”

 

More Silence.

 

“Are you willing to do this?”

 

Marcus stood up straight and sucked in his somewhat budgie tummy from three days of feasting. Locking eyes with the Green Dragon he said, “I think my chances are poor and I am much afraid. But if it would save LaaLaaLand, I have to take the chance. Yes. I will serve.”

 

 

“USAB!” shouted the Dragon and all the Munchkins stopped eating and singing and leaped in the air for joy!

 

“USAB!” “USAB!” “USAB!”

 

The great Banquet Hall rang with the chanting and it went on and on.

 

“USAB?” asked Marcus quietly.

 

“Ultimate Selfless Act of Bravery” replied Awesome. “They have a Prophesy of their own that says that one of their own will restore the Balance to Middle Earth.”

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 18

Goodbye LaaLaaLand,

 

I cannot tell you, Dear Reader, how long the USAB celebrations went on in LaaLaaland. Many days had passed since Awesome had explained to Marcus his Destiny and the history of The Doominator.

 

By now Marcus was actually as well filled-out as the other Munchkins. He had made many new friends among the simple folk who lived in LaaLaaLand but alas, it was now time.

 

Mayor Dimwit called for a Parade and they hoisted Marcus on their shoulders and carried him to the white tower, which is as far as they were allowed to go.

 

Awesome was waiting there for him.

 

His two original youthful friends, simply named Pinkie and Code Blue and had prepared a large picnic basket of goodies (called ‘Munchies’ – for obvious reasons) for his journey.

 

“Please come back to us,” they begged.

Marcus didn’t have the heart to tell them that he was going on a suicide mission.

 

So he smiled, kissed their little wrinkled foreheads and stepped over the short stone ramp and waved good bye to all.

 

In preparation for his mission, some of the Munchkin craftsmen had fashioned a tall round basket of reeds that he was to ride in on the trip back to Mt. Mordor. Once inside, he found a kind of crude parachute.

 

“Marcus, I cannot be seen by my Brother in his domain. I will fly you as close as I dare, then drop your basket. If we have calculated correctly, the prevailing winds will carry it practically to his door step before it touches the ground. From there you must go alone.”

 

Marcus nodded and as Awesome took flight, waved Good Bye over and over to the cheering Munchkins.

 

He wondered… no, let me rephrase that. He “prayed” that he might one day see LaaLaaLand again.

 

Perhaps he will!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 19

The Confrontation!

 

 

I’ll skip the frightening flight back and his harrowing basket parachuting adventure.

 

The basket landed with a smack about one forth the way to the top. The volcano was quiet today.

But there was movement on the escarpment high above him. The Doominator was in!

 

“Well, said Marcus to himself, “Here I am. In Mordor. Again.”

 

As he began to scale the rough rocky slope, he reviewed again in his mind what he had to do. Somehow he had to last long enough without being cooked to engage Doominator in conversation and convince him to let the Snotling crawl into his nostril.

 

Marcus found new strength in his resolve and the fact that he had some meat on his bones didn’t hurt either! Climbing hand over hand was very difficult and his hands and knees were very scraped up by the time he reached the ledge.

 

“So,” said a booming voice just above him, “you have come at last!”

 

Marcus climbed over the ledge and brushed himself off. But he said nothing. He was too scared.

 

“Didn’t I warn you? The End of All Things is Come!” roared the Monstrous creature. A couple of tiny fire balls shot over Marcus head, almost catching his hair on fire.

 

“Yyyyyeeessss…” Marcus tried to get the courage to face such Doom. And then, just as he had practiced, “I am here, Oh Mighty One!”

 

“Are you indeed?” The dragon belched a large black blob of tar-ish substance off to one side was a person would spit tobacco. It burst into flames as it landed on the rock.

 

Marcus looked at the Red Dragon and shivered. The head was high above him. There was no way to be found to get into the nose unless the dragon laid flat on the ground.

 

“Oh Doominator, Chiefest and Greatest of All Calamities,” Marcus began, “I am here to restore the BALANCE!”

 

“Balance? BALANCE!” shouted the dragon with such anger that flames were forming around the forked tongue inside his multi-toothed mouth. “What do you know about BALANCE? You are not here to balance anything! I will DOMINATE. I WILL POPULATE! RED DRAGONS WILL COVER THE PLANET!”

“And yet, you are the only one.” said Marcus a bit more calmly to the dragon and in a softer and more polite voice.

 

“That will change when I have eaten enough of your kind!”

 

At this the dragon lowered himself so that his massive and cruel face was just inches from poor Marcus. It was the same position Awesome often took back at the banquet hall, thought Marcus. It must be a dragon thing, he told himself. And certainly convenient!

 

“How many have you eaten so far and what good has it done you? I don’t see any little dragonettes hanging around.” he added a touch more boldly.

 

“You would dare MOCK ME!” fumed the dragon. Literally fumed. Marcus was sweating under the heat the dragons face was giving off.

 

“Your Sister says there is still some good in you,” added Marcus. “Maybe I represent that, eh?”

 

Now the dragon was curious enough not to fry him just yet.

 

Instead he asked,”Oh? You have met my ‘awesome’ sister?

How is she? Did she send you?” (The dragon was thinking about all the tasty Munchkins he could eat if he could trick or frighten the Snotling into revealing their exact location and when his sister would not be present, you see).

 

“I am here on my own. I can make you complete. If you want me too, that is.”

 

Now the dragon assumed that meant reproducing himself. He was so consumed with his own selfish ends, he didn’t really think through this entirely I suppose.

 

“And just how would you propose to assist me?”

 

“I am a Snotling.”

 

“I know what you are. I have eaten hundreds of you, along with Orcs and Trolls and…. Wait!” The dragon smelled something.

 

Instead of breathing out smoke and soot, The Doominator now was inhaling deeply. He held it in his lungs and raised his eyebrows questioningly.

 

“I think I smell Lumi. Did you bring that foul substance to MY MOUNTAIN!?” As the dragon said this his belly and neck began to glow brighter and brighter. Lifting his head up toward Heaven the dragon expelled such torrent of flames that the volcano itself rumbled back in response.

 

Marcus stood his ground, amazed that he was not incinerated that very second himself.

 

“As I said, I am a Snotling. Your Snotling. I am what is missing, the one missing ingredient to bring you balance.”

 

Again, the dragon’s focus was so keen on reproduction that he missed the double meaning that was actually in Marcus’ mind.

 

Lowering his head again until his putrid lips actually touched Marcus’ forehead and not forgetting the Lumi oder, the dragon stuck out his long slimy pink dragon tongue and began to run it over Marcus face!

 

“You have spent much time with the Sneezals, as I can smell their disgusting fairy dust all over you, Snotling”

 

Internally, Marcus breathed a sigh of relief that his Lumi dagger was not discovered. Now if he could just get into the dragon’s nose!

 

“Your error, Oh Chiefest and Greatest of All Calamities…” *

 

“You already used that one…”

 

“Oh, sorry. I’m a little nervous…Your error is that you eat us. You need to have us, er , I mean me, ah, inside your nose. That will, uh, that will, ahh…” But Marcus could not say any more without lying or giving away the mission. And he had too much integrity to do either.

 

Perhaps the dragon was not as stupid as we thought. He immediately pulled his face back a dozen feet.

 

 

*Quoted from Bilbo, if you recall

 

“You mean, you Snotling you, I should let you come home? Make your home inside my magnificent head? And you, stinking of Sneezals!” The growl that came with this was terrifying.

 

Marcus realized that his moment had passed.

 

He had failed.

 

What could one so small, so meek, so pathetic do against such monstrousness? His countenance dropped and tears rushed to splash down his face.

 

This made the arrogant dragon quite happy to see.   He laughed a huge heaving laugh. The ground heaved with the heaving dragon and shaking violence caused the Lumi dagger to fall from the hidden recesses of Marcus’ abundant ‘hair’.

 

He caught it just as it was falling and hurriedly put it behind his back, clenched in his tiny fist. Had the dragon seen?

 

“You! You pathetic worthless piece of garbage,” said the dragon in a low threatening voice. Again the red heat was building in the dragon’s chest as he spoke. “I would not allow such scum as you to so much as clean the dung from between my toes! You think I would let you in my glorious head?”

 

Marcus breath was coming in short gasps now.

 

“Before I fry you, what is your name again? I’d like to remember this moment.”

 

“Marcus.”

 

“HAH!   HAH, HAH!”

 

 

“My name is Marcus.’

 

 

 

“Did you say, MUCUS?”

 

 

 

This the dragon thought was original and quite funny. But it had quite the opposite effect.

 

MY NAME IS NOT MUCUS! IT IS MARCUS!” shouted the diminutive Snotling.

 

And with a burst of speed and energy such as the humongous dragon had never see in a Squig, Sqoug and Orkoid, Marcus launched himself forward, rushed straight into the dragon’s nostril and finding the pulsating red and gold fire organ, plunged the Lumi-dagger deep into it, burying the hilt and his hand up to his elbow.

 

**************************************************

Chapter 20

 

A New Hope

 

 

 

 

The skies above LaaLaaLand were are as bright and cheerful as he had remembered.

 

Below were the green hills and pastures, sparkling blue rivers and lakes.

 

And there! There! Now he could see it! The white tower!

 

What would the fair folk think when they saw him this time he wondered!

 

That was his last thought before the razor sharp talons struck him from above. Hitting him by surprise, knocking him into a horrific, tumbling tail spin.

 

Unable to recover, he crashed to the ground with such an impact that all the Munchkins in LaaLaaLand, miles away, were all knocked off their feet.

 

As the red dragon lay crumbled in a smoldering heap, Awesome landed lightly beside it, talons forward, at the ready in case The Doominator was only faking.

 

But there was no faking the damage that the crash landing had inflicted. And yet, the red dragon’s painful and labored breathing was enough to dispel any fear that she had killed her own Brother.

 

He had been warned!

 

Stay away from her Protectorate!

 

As she stood guard over the fallen monster that had once been her sibling, a tear run down her cheek.

 

Then, with a moan and a groan, her Brother spoke, “Awesome? Is that you?”

 

 

“You know it is, I am the only Green Dragon left in the world, thanks to your villainy.”

 

“There may be two, if you will show me mercy,” this came out in such a weak and humble tone of voice that Awesome was taken aback.”

 

She bent her head low and looked deep into the fluttering eyes of the massive head and noticed also that it was not as red as she remembered. There was even a hint of green coloring around the nose and lips.

 

“It’s me. Marcus,” said the broken dragon.

 

 

 

 

 

THE END

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epilogue

 

It took several days, and much cajoling, but Awesome was able to persuade the sweet natured Munchkins that they could at last safely go beyond the White Tower Gate and bring the formerly Red Dragon that was Marcus into their community.

 

They ministered to him and gradually he was restored to health.

 

The Doominator was no more The Doominator.

 

His fire was quenched permanently.

 

More importantly, all the goodness that was in Marcus brought balance back to the once terrible and terrifying dragon.

 

Now, far removed from the old world plague of the Black Mold, breathing the free air of LaaLaaLand, the dragon was becoming more Marcus with every passing day.

 

“I knew there was some good in him,” said Awesome. She was speaking to an as yet unknown, tall figure, with an impressive and extensive gray beard and a most unusually pointed hat.

 

Mayor Dimwit who had resisted longer than the others in allowing Marcus to remain in their land added, “He was family.”

 

“My Brother thought he could expel the part of him that was moral, but it survived… in Marcus,” she added with a wry smile.

 

“Marcus, that wonderful hapless creature. He was the least among you, the lowest of all, and yet he still had a conscious.” said the tall figure.

 

In the end, it found it’s way back to him,” the Mayor replied with a tear of his own.

 

And this was the final word from the tall figure: “I think we have not seen the last of such USAB in Middle Earth. This is only the Beginning!”

 

 

****************************************************

 

 

 

 

Pinky and Code Blue stayed with him every day until the dragon was able to finally stand and walk on his own.

 

Back in FarAway (Mordor) the Sneezels were still happily mining underground. The Orcs were still having wars and being Orcs. But things were changing. Soon a new Darkness would creep into the redeemed innocence of Middle Earth.

 

Elves would be entering the land one day soon.

 

There would be Hobbits and Wizards.

 

And eventually, Men.

 

Would there even be a place for Dragons?

 

Even Green Dragons?

 

Marcus hoped there would be. As he scratched his still tender shoulder and unfurled his mighty wings, he leaped into the skies.

 

If this was Heaven, he never wanted to leave.

 

 

THE END ?

 

 

 

 

 

“Redemption comes in many packages, even to dragons” – the author

 

Published by

carverman

Official Editor-in-Chief of Zebrabird Publishing, owner of the ImaginaryCreatureAuthority blog, leader of the C.H.Z. Comic Club, and aspiring webcomic creator. I enjoy drawing mythical creatures (the stranger, the better!), preferably battling anteater warriors.

6 thoughts on “The Snotling and the dragon”

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