She looked into the tunnel and verified there was indeed light. After what happened underwater, she didn’t think she’d ever go into a completely dark place again—at least not alone. Within a few minutes she emerged into a room that glowed with dragon fire in the center and twelve smaller, younger dragons prone on the ground looking her direction.
Hello Chameleon. Hello Chameleon. Hello Chameleon. Twelve hellos echoed in her head. We choose, we choose, we choose.
She put her hands over both ears to stop the chatter. “Stop!”
Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry...
“Okay. I thought the rule was only one would speak. What’s the deal?”
We, we, we, we.
She held up her hand and they all went silent again.
“It figures that whatever the rules are they somehow don’t apply to me. Please decide among yourselves which one will speak and choose. And, if at all possible, please do it without talking to me.”
She looked at each of them and smiled her appreciation.
Colors traveled between them, circling and dancing from one to the other. On occasion, a red would turn half blue and then become red again. Then a gold would become one-quarter black before returning to its original color. Intuitively she knew it was a way to communicate without talking. When one dragon spoke the one who listened would absorb the color of the other in deference to gain true understanding. It then returned to its own color when speaking or when not listening.
Camryn watched for a while and then closed her eyes to stop the kaleidoscope of color and the fast moving conversation she did not even want to try to follow. After only a minute or two, she heard what sounded like a throat clearing.
Chameleon, we apologize.
It was a single dragon’s voice, a female very clear in her head. The purple. She wasn’t sure how she knew, but she was sure it was the purple dragon whose shades included swirls of dark amethyst melding with pale orchid.
We are surprised, but not surprised, that you hear all of us. We are happy and sad that you can speak to all of us. It seems we are yours and not yours.
Camryn shook her head. “You talk in riddles. Please explain.”
A different dragon spoke in her head, this one a crimson red male.
We are young and have not encountered a Chameleon before. So we forgot the stories and all spoke at once. We humbly apologize.
The stories tell that a true Chameleon can speak to all dragons when she comes full into her power.
“But I’m not full in my power. I don’t even know what power I have. Do you?”
The colors passed quickly around the twelve, weaving in and out faster and faster.
We do not know. We only know it is the strongest and brightest power of all in the forest. Perhaps the gift of life accelerated your growth? When you find your bond, she will help you learn more about your powers.
Camryn sighed. Right. It seems that no one could tell her what powers she had or how to access them or what to do with them. When she’d rescued her father, she’d used powers but she didn’t know what she was doing. It seemed all she had to do was think of what she wanted to happen—like melting prison bars—and it just did.
Maybe all this brightest power stuff was myth. The thought of mythological dragons and faeries having their own myths boggled her mind. Her world was certainly upside down now.
Are you feeling well? The purple thunder dragon was back in her head. What is boggle? Are you hysterical?
“No. I mean yes. I mean…I’m okay. It’s just my life and everything I thought I knew has been turned upside down since I left Starlight Center. It’s a lot to take in.”
We understand. All the dragon eyes circled in a kaleidoscope of colors.
Camryn closed her own eyes to block out the dizzying image. “You’re not the first ones to be unhelpful in the magical powers department.” She opened her eyes and looked around the circle of twelve. “So, which one do I get to bond with?”
We are sorry. It is none of us. The female’s purple color darkened to a plum as she spoke.
“What? Wait a darn minute. The rule was if one talked to me, that was the bond—the choosing. Are you saying I don’t get a thunder dragon because I can hear all of you? That’s not fair!
“I need to fly. Ohar said I must have a dragon.” Camryn paced in front of the gathered brood. “Please, I’m not picky. I’ll take any one of you. I’m not hard to get along with.” She looked down and swung her foot across the cave floor. “Well, most of the time anyway.” She moved toward the gold. “How about you? Nice color. Good size.”
The gold, a male, bowed his head before her, his color deepening from a sunglow to a dark goldenrod. We are sorry. It is none of us, Chameleon.
“Then I’m doomed before I start.”
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