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The Dragons


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     Two dragons  flew through the skies above the multiverse. The pair comprised first of the elder dragon, the oldest of those who roamed the skies and looked over the many realities below. The other dragon was very young, his time in the skies only just beginning.


     "You look wary," the younger dragon said to his elder. "The color fades from your eyes more and more by the day."


     "Yes young one, I feel my time folding in around me." The elder looked down into the multiverse, spotting his ward beneath him. "Soon, I will be forced to bring my universe to its end. I have already closed it off to all other times and space."


     "Must you elder? It is such a grand universe." The young dragon looked above him, into the clouds overhead. "All of your wards have been so grand. I wish just once to have one quite as impressive as yours."


     The elder dragon laughed. "It will happen. All dragons have their grand universes, and all dragons have those that are just the opposite. I have presided over many of those above us that have amounted to nothing more than a few solid bits of gas."


     "But so many of yours have been so enticing, so interesting. This one, it may be the best to have ever existed. The dragons here will tell stories of it for many cycles."


     "Perhaps. But I will not think of that as I bring this ward to its close. It is time for this universe to come to its end." The elder looked over it thoughtfully, great things had come from this latest ward. 


     "Will you give them the warning elder?"


     "Yes, as is my custom. I will give the mortals their time to say goodbye to their universe as they know it. Their souls," he said, looking up, "will go with the Great Dragon. That is where their judgement lies. Their stories will be chronicled above us, frozen forever within the clouds for all dragons to see as they so wish."


     "I hope," said the young dragon, "that when I reach your age, I will be able to look so fondly upon my ward."


     "It is impossible to tell so early in a cycle. But do remember, when I awaken you will be my elder. Perhaps then, I will be looking upon your ward with the same sense of astonishment you have now."


     The young dragon turned the thought over a few times in his head, then returned to the matter at hand. "Where will you be basing the end?" The younger dragon knew the answer before asking, but desperately wanted to hear it. "Whose time will you base their goodbye on?"


     "There is a place in this universe that has always intrigued me. On a little rock around a little sun. A strange center of so much grand activity." The elder paused for a moment, finally cementing the decision. "The end will be based on Khazan's time. I will start soon, and give my ward ten of Khazan's days to say farewell."


     "It is a strange thing you do, allowing them the knowledge of their end. Wouldn't it be so much simpler to forgo such a ritual?"


     "Perhaps, but it gives me a sense of closure at every ending. To see them accept their fates, or fight them, allows me to better accept the end of every ward I've had." The old dragon sighed. "It is a hefty task, to tell the sentient mortals of their oncoming end. But in the seconds between seconds, I will allow them this knowledge. Through all time, I will tell them." The elder sighed again before continuing. "The process is hard, it results in so many split timelines within my one, but I cannot imagine doing this without my ritual."


     "You are sentimental to a fault my elder." The young dragon said. "But, in a way it is this practice which gives your wards so much splender. We can view the timeline as it goes, from beginning to end. And then, we can see it split in every moment, as the mortals discover in all times of their life that the end is upon them."


     "It is strange to see, but in these moments the true nature of a mortal comes out. Those of great heroic virtue may become ruthless, and those whose lives have been devoted to villainy may try acts of incredible self sacrifice to stave off the end."


     "And this one?" The younger dragon asked. "How do you think they will act this time?"


     The old dragon again laughed at the younger. "That," the elder said, "is still to be written."

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