“I am Jdal, caretaker of this refuge. No, ‘temple’, I think,” the young man finally said. “Apologies. I needed some words to process your language. I am told we are quick, but we are not as good as the great ones with language.”
He paused, then smiled serenely.
“Welcome, Al, to a temple of the Techall. Dragons,” he added the last at Alaric’s apparent confusion.
Alaric noted, suddenly once the initial shock was over, that Jdal had a mix of blue and silver auras. So, he was the source of the place magic, and the strange new one.
“Thanks,” he said. “What did you mean ‘refuge’?”
“A mistranslation, I think. Your pardon, I am still acclimating to your language.”
After all, you’ve only been speaking it for a few minutes.
“Forgive my impatience, but since you are here and passed through the wards, I assume the War is over? And it is safe for the great ones to return?”
“Hmm. About that . . . Yes to the first. To the second, well, it’s complicated. But, how’d I get through the wards? I just touched the door.”
“No one told you how to pass through the wards and open the door?” Jdal’s brow furrowed, “Has the knowledge been forgotten? The doors and wards open when they recognize a great one or a servitor of the great ones, with the correct family line and heritage.”
“You mean genetics?”
Jdal’s head tilted slightly to the left as he considered.
“I believe so, yes.”
“Ok, I’m gonna need a few minutes.”
It seemed, Alaric thought amidst the tornado in his mind, that they both had quite a bit to talk about. Assuming the guy could be trusted to be honest.
“Of course. I suspect there is more that I need to learn than I, or the Great Ones, had anticipated. If you will follow me, there are side rooms upstairs with, reasonably comfortable, seats.”
In something of a daze, Alaric nodded and followed his guide up the sweeping stair to the left. They ascended to about a third the height of the room, he absently noted, before the steps stopped at the next floor.
There he found both sets ended at a wide corridor, easily broad enough for nine or ten people to comfortably walk side by side. His eyes and mind, seeking something to focus on, settled on the frescos and murals painted on the walls. Brilliant colors, amazingly strong after uncounted centuries, depicted what he assumed were supposed to be great or important moments in dragon history.
Alaric only managed to see a few before a door, that had looked like part of the wall, silently swung open. Jdal stood beside it, patiently waiting for him.
The robed man bowed his head briefly.
“There is much I wish, need, to ask, Al. But, I understand you have traveled far,” Alaric caught the other man’s eyes sweeping over his sweat and dust encrusted clothes, “and are tired, perhaps even surprised. Please, be comfortable in this room. We have some store of provisions. I will endeavor to assemble suitable refreshment. But, I must ask, first, how much time has passed since the War ended?”
“Honestly? No one is entirely sure. Sorry.”
“Ah. Then, perhaps . . . who is king of the crescent lands?”
“There are,” Alaric tried to do a quick count in his head, “several nations in that area now. Only a couple have kings. I think.”
“I see,” Jdal bowed his head, in thought. “I will have to consider further, and find another touchstone. In the meantime, please, be comfortable.”