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A Human Prisoner in the Dragon Kingdom
It looks like this scene needs more context.  These characters are definitely not the main characters.  They are by far the most vulgar characters in the novel - which is the whole point of the scene and the subplot it is setting up.

For contrast, here is the scene that immediately precedes it.

(BTW, Valko's scene is followed by Dragons going out of their way to save Human lives ... so I guess my greatest writing sin is making the message far too obvious - which I'm sure you have already noticed).


Kirilaka always loved watching the Sun rise over the city.

The young Dragon doe used to fly up here at least once a week.  She would land gently on the roof of the Tegani Banking Tower – a hundred Human storeys high – and sit silently as she stared eastward, inland, as the morning Sun rose over the distant mountains, flooding the streets and buildings of Panument with vibrant colour.  

She could have viewed the sunrise from almost any sufficiently tall building; but for her, it had to be this one.  For not only did it provide an excellent view of the sunrise – or the sunset, for that matter, when she faced the ocean – but it also came with a bonus.  Just to the left of her view was her favourite building in the entire city.  Towering over almost everything else around it – indeed, towering over the building she rested on – was the Summit Complex.  It may not have been the tallest skyscraper in the world – or even this city.  However, it was certainly the bulkiest – a mountain of glinting crystal glass and dark, thick masonry.  And at over three thousand years, it was also one of the oldest.  While most skyscrapers were a simple cylinder shape, the Summit Complex resembled dozens of rectangular towers – of multiple heights, facing multiple angles – all fused into a majestically symmetrical whole, its roof tapered into a multi-blocked, many-bladed pyramid.  

Kirilaka recalled the architectural style – Megalithic Fusionism, a rare and extravagant style that taxed even the most powerful Human conjurers and shapers of the time, yet was occasionally revived every few centuries.  And for good reason, since it was the perfect style for reflecting the full spectrum of flame-tones that came with the West Coast sunrise and sunset.
A few years ago, this view alone would have been enough for Kirilaka.  Now, she knew better.  She knew that it was possible to improve on perfection.  All it needed was her joey.

Makilaka, Kirilaka’s three-year-old son, was pacing up and down the broad, flat roof of the Tegani Banking Tower, trying to walk on two legs like a Human but waddling more like a penguin, saying his usual “Walky walky walky” chant – the same walk and chant he had been practising for weeks now, up to and including the Opening Ceremony at Olokuvon Island last night.  Scarlett sunlight glinted with pink and violet on his blue scales and stubby winglets as he waddled back and forth.  It was a perfectly silly sight, and the most beautiful a mother Dragon could ever wish for.

“You know, Maki,” said Kirilaka, “you could walk a lot faster on four legs.”

Maki froze on the spot and turned to his mother, his dark eyes wide with a three-year-old’s outrage.  “But Muuuuum!” he said.  “I want to walk like the walky woo-woos!”

“They’re called Humans,” Kirilaka said with a gentle grin.

“Woo-woos!” said Makilaka.

“Humans,” said Kirilaka.

Woo-woos!” Maki insisted, beginning to jump up and down.  “Woo-woo-woo-woo-WOO-WOOS!”

Kirilaka laughed.  Both knew it was just a game.  Kirikala would challenge her joey with an idea, and Maki would stubbornly refuse to accept it.  After all, his idea was funny, and that was better than being right.  He just loved the attention – and, in the end, had something new to think about.

“Be careful with that jumping,” said Kirilaka.  “Or all the Humans in the building will wonder where all the noise is coming from.”

“I’ll eat them!” said Maki.

Kirilaka laughed again.  “All of them?”


“There are thousands of Humans in the building.”

“Then I’ll eat them all, then I’ll eat all the woo-woos in the city, then I’ll eat all the woo-woos in the island, then I’ll eat all the woo-woos in the sea, then I’ll … I’ll eat all the woo-woos in the world, then I’ll eat all the Dragons and all the dogs and all the cows and all the … all the … all the buildings … and then I’ll … I’ll eat the Sun, and THEN I’LL BE KING!  RAAARRR!”

Kirilaka’s long neck convulsed with laughter.  “How would you be the King if there’s nothing left?” she said.  “You’ll be the King of Nothing!”

“Nooooooo Mum, I’ll eat everyone, then I’ll be King of the World, then I’ll eat the World, AND THEN I’LL BE KING!  RAAAARRRRR!”

“Oh, I see,” said Kirilaka, still chuckling.  “That makes perfect sense.”

This was just one of those stages joeys went through.  Around the age of three, they became obsessed with the idea of power, even if it was just a funny game to them.  By that stage, they had ventured out of the pouch enough times, and had seen a fair slice of the outside world.  The difference between things – especially the size of things – was something that they began to process more thoroughly.  Most of today’s Dragon parents – like Kirilaka herself – reassured their joeys that difference was a good thing, and all part of Tikamath’s wonderful tapestry. Unlike actual marsupials, Dragons did not nurse their young on milk.  While it was true that young Dragons absorbed some of their parent’s energy, the pouch was mainly for protection and transport, as well as occasional healing.  Dragon joeys could eat soft meat from the moment they hatched.  If it was safe and warm enough to venture outside, they could – albeit briefly, under close supervision.  The older and stronger they got, the more they could explore and play outside.       

Makilaka loved to play outside – and not just with the other joeys, although they were always welcome to join in.  He liked to play with everyone and everything.  Less than a year ago, he had mustered up the courage to walk up to Humans and say hello (in simple Varantuan).  Only weeks later, he was walking up to complete strangers and telling them his name and his complete life story (which, of course, was rather short).  Once, when he was two-and-a-half, Maki walked up to the tallest Human he could find in the park (a male in his forties), stood up on his hind legs, and then shouted “Muu-uum, look at me!  I’m taller than this maaaan!” 

Sometimes, he would pretend to be a big adult Dragon.  He would run around and “roar”, pretending to fly (which he would not be able to do for years) and breathe fire (ditto).  Often, Human children would join in and let him chase them around.  Kirilaka would watch closely, knowing all too well the huge disparity in physical strength between the species.

Playing with joeys of the same age was considered safer.  When playing “Goodies and Baddies”, Maki loved to play the Baddie and chase the other joeys around.  Even when there were no joeys in sight, Maki still liked to be in character.  Sometimes, when Kirilaka was lying down in the middle of a crowded park, Maki climbed onto her back and announced to all Humans at the top of his voice that he was King of Everything, and that he was going to eat them all and dig up all their treasures and eat them, too.  This was when Kirilaka learned to love the laughter of Humans almost as much as the voice of her son.

While he was not completely past the “King of Everything” stage just yet (and it seemed that some adult Dragons never grew out of it), he would never exhaust his little mind of new games to make up.  He loved to chase the tip of Kirilaka’s tail, or his own (“I’m gonna get you tail!” he would say as he spun around like a blue pinwheel).  Only a few weeks ago, his favourite game was “Boomp”.  He would sneak up behind Kirilaka and ram his head against her bottom, shouting 

“BOOMP!” at the top of his lungs.  

“You’re boomping your home,” Kirilaka once said.

“Noooo Mum, that’s not my home, that’s YOUR BOTTOM!”

“That’s where the back of my pouch is,” said Kirilaka.  “That’s where you sleep.”

Maki stared thoughtfully at her for a few seconds, pondering this philosophical oddity.  Then he swiftly proceeded to bump Kirilaka’s bottom again, shouting “BOOMP MY HOME!”

Once, when Kirilaka had been trying to converse with a Human woman, she had noticed Maki sneaking around behind the woman.  That was when Kirilaka warned her joey never to boomp Humans.  

“Why?” said Maki.  

“Because you’ll make them go flying off into space,” said Kirilaka.

“Why?” said Maki.

“Because Humans like this lady here only have tiny little bottoms, not big bottoms like Dragons.”

The woman Kirilaka had been talking to – who was rather plump for a Human – had seemed quite relieved to hear this.

Now, of course, his favourite game was “Walky Walky”.  Like many games, it all began with curiosity.  Many joeys would ask their parents simple questions to life’s mysteries, such as “Why can’t I fly yet?” or “How big is the world?” or “Why is the sky purple today?” Maki’s big question was “Why do woo-woos walk with only two legs?”  It was a good question, and had a long and complex answer that many adults had to study to understand.  Kirilaka’s simple answer was “So they can see where they’re going”, which was only partly true.  Sure enough, it was only minutes before Maki had to try this out himself.  “Look Mum!” he said as he stomped around the park on two legs, “I can see where I’m going!  I CAN SEE-” And then he tripped over a tree root.

Today, Kirilaka was happy to let her joey indulge in whatever wild fantasies his dear little head could come up with, so long as he did not endanger himself.  She had noticed that – in the last few minutes – Maki’s “walky walky” pacing had gradually shifted closer and closer to the edge of the skyscraper roof.  Even though he was still a few metres from the edge, Kirilaka decided that it was time to intervene.

“Come closer,” she said.

Maki stopped his pacing and “walky walky” chant and stared at her with his huge dark eyes.

“Why?” he said.

“I’ll show you,” said Kirilaka, knowing that merely lecturing joeys was never enough.  Youngsters of both species thought in deeply visual terms, so teaching had to be visual as well.  Kirilaka knew this from her previous role as a child minder’s assistant, before Maki hatched.  The Human children had loved her to bits, climbing onto her neck and back and tail at every opportunity.  Sometimes they even climbed onto her head, which caused her to finish the day somewhat cross-eyed.  They always – always – behaved in her presence, and never out of fear.  After all, the best-behaved child got a flying pouch-ride over the city at the end of the day.

She took long, slow steps toward the edge of the roof.  Maki followed her, keeping level with her shoulders.

“Slow down now,” said Kirilaka as she psionically cushioned the air in front of Maki.  She peered over the edge of the roof.  Maki did the same, held in place by his mother’s psychokinesis, and chirped in excitement.

“It’s a long way down,” said Kirilaka.

And, indeed, it was.  A full four hundred metres – twenty times her length.  Just to her left, Kirilaka could see the entire park at once – all of its lush green lawn, its towering pine trees and sprawling oaks.  She could see its broad and glistening artificial lake with all its towering, foaming fountains – the central one rising twice as high as Kirilaka was long.  And most of all, she could see its people – the dozens of Humans lazing on the grass or benches, or walking leisurely in a dozen different directions, the four Dragons who rested peacefully among them.  Even they were as small as wasps from this altitude.  There would be more, soon, as the Sun rose.  There always were.  A few more Dragons, a lot more Humans, and countless children.

At the end of the park, towering over everything, towering over the building Kirilaka rested on, was the Summit Complex.  Although purely a Human creation, even its ground floor entrance was on a scale fit for Dragons, framed by columns thicker than any of the tree trunks in the park they overlooked. A massive serpentine machine emerged from behind the Summit Complex, all black glass and metal.  It was a triple-decker train, hovering just barely above an elevated crystal field track twenty metres above the ground.  As the driver’s carriage slid smoothly ever closer, finally disappearing on the left side of the Tegani Banking Tower, Kirilaka could barely sense the presence of perhaps a dozen Humans in each of its many passing, building-sized carriages.  Just like the park it glided past, the train would fill as the day grew older.

“Look at all the woo-woos!” said Maki.

“I know,” said Kirilaka.  “Are you sure you want to eat them all?”

“They look so tiny!”

“Like I said, they are a long way down.  And if you slipped over and fell, you wouldn’t be able to fly back up.  Your Mum would have to fly down and catch you.”

“Can you do that now?”

“No!  It’s dangerous.”

“It would be fun!”

“Not for me it wouldn’t.  It would scare me to death.”


“Because I don’t want to ever see you in danger.  I love you too much.”

“I love you too, Mum.”

Kirilaka lowered her head and gently nuzzled her joey, purring in absolute contentment.  It was moments like this that reminded her how blessed her life was.

The final carriage of the train passed out of sight.  A red Dragon glided into view, slowly descending to the clear green of the park.  A small airship emerged from behind a nearby building, advertising cheap new communication crystals in the stylishly shifting holographic letters of three languages, before disappearing behind the Summit Complex.

“Why do woo-woos make buildings so big?” said Maki.

“Good question,” said Kirilaka.  “Because there are so many of them.  They need places to live and work and do things.”

“But why don’t they do things outside like Dragons?”

“So they don’t have to worry about wind and rain and too much sunlight.”

“Is that why Woowoos ride in Dragons’ pouches?”

“Yes!” said Kirilaka.  “Exactly!  You are very clever, you know that!  One day, you will be Varantua’s first Dragon President!”

“What’s a Prez-tent?”

“Well … like a King, except you have to be the King’s son to be the next King.  Anyone can be President if they’re … clever enough.”

Perhaps she could explain to Maki the concept of voting one day.  There would be plenty of time for that in the years to come.

“I’M GOING TO BE KING!” chirped Maki.  “RARRR!”

“Oh, I know you will!” said Kirilaka.  “But I think the King needs to go back to sleep!”

“But Mum, I want to do the walky walky woo-woos!”

“You can.  But first we’ll have a little rest.  Then you can get up and do the walky-walkies for as long as you like.  Then we’ll fly over to the other end of the city and see the statues.”

“But but but we saw the statues on the … on the … on the ISLAND!”

“These are other statues.  You haven’t seen them before.  You’ll like them.  There’s one of a giant-“


Kirilaka turned to view the park once again.  A young Human female was levitating far above the trees, slowly gliding to the left of the Summit Complex.

“That’s a lady,” Kirilaka corrected.

“IT’S A FLYING LADY!” Maki jumped up and down excitedly.  “A FLYING WOO-WOO!”  

“Settle down, there,” said Kirilaka, gently pushing Maki away from the edge with her psychokinesis.  “You’ve seen flying Humans a hundred times before.  Remember that man on the island?  He was flying too.”


The Flying Lady in question disappeared around the bulk of the Summit Complex.

“Now she’s gone!” said Maki, with a hint of disappointment.  “Why can’t all Woowoos fly?”

“You’re full of good questions today, aren’t you Maki?”

It was a well-known fact that, of the billion Humans who lived on the planet, only about a hundred thousand were capable of sustained flight.  Unfortunately, Humans lacked the stamina of Dragons.  Even the most powerful Human would tire after a few hundred kilometres of flying, which was why they still needed Dragons or artificial transport for crossing oceans.  Coincidentally, there were a hundred thousand Dragons presently living on the planet, most of whom were friendly to Humans.  Most.

“Humans have many different talents,” said Kirilaka.  “Some can fly.  Some can just move things around.  Some can see through walls.  Some can turn water into ice, or sand into glass.  Some can make lightning, like that man last night.”

“Like like like that man who said the naughty Dragon was naughty for wiggling her bottom and the naughty Dragon tried to eat him?  She was funny!”

“Yes!” Kirilaka chuckled.  “They both were.”

“When can I fly?”

Here it is, thought Kirilaka.  The favourite question of joeys all over the world.  It did not matter that Maki had already asked this question a hundred times before.  She could not blame him.  Kirilaka remembered what it was like to be small and bound by gravity.  All Dragons did.  It was the one question that no adult Dragon should ever begrudge the young.

“When you’re bigger,” said Kirilaka.  “Years and years from now.”

“When I get wings?” said Maki as he wiggled his stubby winglets.

“Yes,” said Kirilaka.  “But wings are only for steering.  It’s your mind that lifts you off the ground.”

“Is that how birds fly?”

“No, birds just fly with their wings.  Dragons are much bigger.  We have to make ourselves lighter before we can fly.  Only an older Dragon’s mind can do that, after much learning.”

“Can I learn now?”

“It takes years.”

“But I’m smaaaaart!”

“I know you’re smart, Maki!  But you’re still only little.  Although … maybe I can make you fly for just a few seconds.”

“Can you Mum?”  Maki jumped up and down excitedly.  “Can you make me fly!?”

“Yes!  It would be easy.  I just have to use my mind.  Get ready!”

Her joey was already wrapped up in her psychokinesis to keep him away from the edge.  Now she only had to exert her power upward.

Slowly, gently, Makilaka began to rise above the stone roof.

“Mum!  I’m flying!”

Kirilaka continued to levitate her joey, slowly moving him closer to the edge of the roof, never beyond it.  She stood up on her hind legs and levitated Maki to match her height, turning him around to view the park and the buildings towering all around it.


“I know!” said Kirilaka.  “And when you get older, you could do this all by yourself!  You could even join the Skywatch like your Daddy!”


“Yes!  You might!”


“Yes!  You’ll be King!”  And she roared the way only adult Dragons could roar.

“RAAAAAARRRRR!!” cried Maki, trying his best to out-roar his mother.

Kirilaka crouched down, then rolled over and lay on her back.  She gently levitated Maki down to her waiting embrace.

“That was fun, Mum!” said Maki as Kirilaka enfolded him in her forelegs, holding him to her heart.  “Can we do that again?”

“We will,” said Kirilaka.  “But only after we have a rest.”

“For how long?”

“For as long as it takes for us to wake up.”

“How long is that?”

“Well, how long is a rope?”

“A rope is reeeaaally long!  It … it goes all the way to the Island and the moon and … and the other moon and the other moon and the other moon-“

“There are only three moons.”

“Yes but this rope is REEEEAAAALLY LONG!”

“All right.  So that’s how long we sleep.  We’ll sleep all the way to the moons.”

“Can I fly to the moons?”

Kirilaka chuckled.  “No Dragon has ever flown to the moons.  At least, not that I know of.  But one day you might fly there.  How far away are the moons?”

She released Maki from her grip to let him express himself, knowing where this was heading.

Maki sat upright and stared at her excitedly with his dark eyes.  “The moons are … THIS FAR!”  He outstretched his winglets as far as he could.

“And how much do you love your Mum?”

“I love you … THIS MUCH!”  He stretched his winglets again, straining to outdo his previous effort.

“That’s a lot!” said Kirilaka.  “And do you know how much your Mum loves you?”

“How much?”

Kirilaka gently levitated Maki off her chest and settled him down on the roof.  She rolled over and sat upright, towering over her joey.

“I love you … THIS MUCH!”

Kirilaka outspread her vast, leafy wings to their greatest, fullest span, and lit up her veins like neon fire.

“WOW!!” Maki stared in sheer wonder and joy.  “YOU LOOK JUST LIKE THE SKYMARSHAL!”

“That wasn’t the Skymarshal,” said Kirilaka.

“You look just like the scary Dragon that breathed fire!”

“I know, but I’m not scary, am I?”

“No, because I’M SCARY!  RAAARRRR!”

“Oh no!” Kirilaka said playfully.  She unfolded her wings, rolled over onto her back with her claws in the air.  “Oh no!  The scary Dragon is going to get me!”


Kirilaka gently grabbed him with her claws.  “Now I’ve got you!”


“I know.  But I think the Little King needs his rest first before he goes on a Mum-eating rampage.”  She gently held the little joey to her chest.  “Your Mum needs a rest too.”

“I can hear your heart,” said Maki.

“Really?  And what is my heart saying?”

“It’s saying ‘boomp boomp boomp’.”

“’Boom boomp boomp’?  Really?”

“Yes.”  He poked his nose against her chest.  “I BOOMP YOUR HEART!”

“I know you do,” said Kirilaka.

Long minutes passed under the brightening clouds.  Maki’s playful squirming and wriggling slowed down to a peaceful stillness.  She felt the soft vibration of his blissfully contented purring.  

More minutes passed.  The clouds began to darken as Kirilaka’s membranes covered her eyes.  Her eyelids followed, and there was nothing left but darkness and love.

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RE: A Human Prisoner in the Dragon Kingdom - by DarrenRyding - 08-22-2022, 03:34 PM

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