Crosslink, the story I am about to tell you, is a grisly, bitter tale.
The faces you meet along the way may meet tragic or violent ends
before you are ready to say farewell.
I certainly wasn't ready to say farewell. Not to a single one of my friends.

I am no hero in this story. I am merely the one who lives on to tell this tale.

But, though a hero I am not... A narrator I most assuredly am.
Though my paltry retelling may not do them justice,
I will give it my best shot. Here goes.

I suppose... I could begin in the woods, couldn't I?
When I was a mere hatchling, Aden used a nuclear weapon against another nation, Teth.
If you want to know more, I am certainly willing to tell you.
Were it not for that singular moment in history, I may have led a very different life.

My homeland, at the north pole, grew wary that Aden may turn its gaze northward next.
At the time, I did not know this was the true reason for my journey there.

I had crossed the legal border into Aden's northernmost reaches six weeks earlier.
Local law forbade the use of my wings, and so, this long journey had been made on foot.
Branch by branch. Bush by bush. Vines by vines by endless tangle of vines.
I was tired. Exhausted beyond compare. Hungry. Thirsty.

A cardinal sings from a branch, with woods behind it, out of focus.

This is not me. I am not a bird.

The camera zooms past the Cardinal, towards a green dragon wearing a tattered jacket and scarf.

This is me. I am a dragon.

I had been in those woods for what felt like years.
This journey was the first time I truly learned what hunger is. I had been hungry before.

This was different.

I could, under normal circumstances, last about a month with no food.
But it had been two months since I had last eaten.
I was delirious. I was so far gone, that when I saw the edge of the woods, I shrieked.

A dragon leaps out from a group of trees and bushes, into the light, smiling.


My wife, a fae folk named Satyra(sah-TEE-rah), had been at my side for this journey.
Unlike me, she does not need to eat.
She was however quite concerned over my predicament (and deteriorating mental state).
On several occasions, she offered to charm the wildlife into offering itself as a meal.
I refused on moral and ethical grounds.
This was good for my conscience, but bad for my hunger.

I still don't understand why you won't fly.
We could have completed that whole trek in just one week.

It's illegal under Adenian law to fly without a permit!

Dumb. You're a dragon. What will they do, arrest you? I'd like to see them try.

Right, I'm sure I'd escape instantly.
I'd probably screw up and end up glassbound if I got arrested here.

View over Arcturus's shoulder, showing a valley with a coastal city beyond.

Wait. That... It's a city! A real city!!

It was then, that I saw it.
Tolikra(TAH-lih-kruh). The city I would call home.
The city where I met the heroes of this tale.
Those heroes... they were my best friends.
In the long, long time since I left, I can safely say I have never met such wonderful people elsewhere.
My wife... Was not so impressed.

Enjoy your funny little mortals.

Hey now... Technically speaking, I'm a mortal too.

Perhaps a little longer lived than they are...

Each fragment of your existence lasts thousands upon thousands of years.
You are reincarnated in a cycle without cease.
I have loved every incarnation of you. I will love every one there is yet to be.
When I do not have you at my side, I am lost. But I am a patient spirit.
I shall wait for you, as ever, until you return to me.

My heart aches when I remember her.
I never dreamed I would survive that which she did not.
I shall see her on the other side of this eternity I have been cursed with.
I can be patient, too.

You're making it sound like I'm going somewhere you can't follow.
You can go down there, too, you know.

Iron around every turn...
That cacophanous zoo is no place for my kind.
Furthermore, something foul lurks beneath the soil beyond this point...
I can feel it scraping away my very being. I dare not venture further.

So dramatic. I get it, you hate sapes.

I simply find them irritating on an existential level, polluters of the nine winds,
destructive, violent, short-sighted, and also a waste of the gift of life.

... And perhaps this world would be a better place with none of them.

But I do not hate them. They are too insignificant for me to bother with hatred.

... What are you gonna do while I'm gone?

I shall lounge in tranquility upon beds of verdant moss.
My ears, treated to dulcet birdsong by morning, and the calls of the undergrowth by night.
Should you get bored, my dear, you are welcome to join me.

Oh, I don't think I could ever get bored there.
There will be sapes! Real sapes!
Ah, I have so many questions!!

You're such a blockheaded dragon...
You're going to make me say it, aren't you?
I shall miss you, my darling scalehide. Do not forget me.

Arcturus walking down a hill, waving farewell to a shadowy figure in the woods behind him.

I love you, my dear wife.

I love you too, you dork.

Now, I will introduce the other newcomer to Tolikra.
A peculiar swordswoman named Addie.