Since the last age of cold, the Amethyst Lake has been frozen. Stretching the length of a whole valley, it is a four-mile sheet of thick, steaming ice.

In the morning, clouds of vapour rise from it, as the sun rises. At all times of day, you can hear rustling from it, as though a thousand tiny creatures were running over it, while more ice crystallises in the topmost layer.

To the most fertile imaginations, there appear dark shadows beneath.

One of those is the shadow of the Amethyst Dragon, or so the legend has it.

Hundreds of years ago, He came to Askharnn in search of gems to eat. His ravenous appetite led him through the densest seams of gem-rich ore, leaving little or nothing for the jewel-miners, who grew angry and envious.

Hoping for a resolution to the problem, a brilliant young gem-smith by the name of Zhanimus visited a high mountaintop and sat by a lake to ponder. After many hours, he found no inspiration and rose to leave.

'Stop,' he was commanded.

Looking around he could not see whence the command had come, so he made to leave again.

'Stop,' came the voice again.

'Whose voice is that?' he asked, 'Show yourself or I shall leave regardless.'

Even as he stood there, he realised he was not alone, but that a young woman was standing by him and that she was wet.

'I am Zhanimus Gem-Smith,' he said, 'I come here seeking unfound answers.'

'I am Zvaresh, Naiad of the Amethyst Lake. It has been a long time since any have visited my pool and an anguished loneliness cores me like an apple. I seek a husband who will dwell with me in the cold waters of my lake and talk to me in the long hours of Winter when the slick ice locks me in.'

At these words, Zhanimus drew back and started to leave, but then realised that this was indeed an answer to his problem. He spoke the Naiad a little longer, formed his plan and then left.

The next day, Zhanimus found the Dragon at the rockface.

'Dragon,' he yelled, 'I have found a rich deposit of amethysts in a lake not far from here, but I cannot reach them. I thought perhaps you would like to take them: certainly they are of no use to us, and we need access to the rockface to cut gems for ourselves.'

The Dragon thought about this, dislodged a ruby from its fangs and reluctantly acquiesced. It crawled with Zhanimus to the Amethyst Lake, stomach grumbling the whole way. When they arrived, Zhanimus pointed into the depths of the Lake and indeed the Dragon could see that there were enormous gemstones in there, sunken amethysts as large as heads.

Spurred on by the sight of such delicious morsels, the Dragon leapt into the water and fixed his enormous jaws around one of the gems.

Zvaresh realised that this was the husband Zhanimus had found for her, and she embraced the Dragon. Confused and angry, the Dragon savaged her, ripping her head from her neck and spilling her blood in the waters. Instantly her life left her and all warmth left the Lake. The frigid waters froze and encapsulated the Amethyst Dragon in a cage of ice, from which he has never escaped. Brooding and angry he lurks beneath the ice, digesting his amethysts for sustenance, plotting his escape.

Login or Register to Award ephemeralstability XP if you enjoyed the submission!