Interpreted by Countess Alys Katharine, OL, OP

Throughout the history of the world a number of species of dragons has existed. Most have disappeared and the lore of dragon hunting has been forgotten. Once the sport of the highest of kings and emperors, we are left to contemplate the somewhat inexact drawings and embroideries that attempt to depict this mystical[1] beast.

The most illustrated and the least seen in the flesh is the Draconis Mediterraneus. Virtually the only physical sign of the beast is its fewmet[2], two samples of which serendipitously fell into this researcher's hands and will be described later. Due to a recent discovery of an ancient manuscript, we are now able to ascertain more information about this species of dragon.

About twenty years ago archaeologists made an accidental discovery of an 12th century manuscript while reconstructing a garderobe in the royal apartments of a castle in northern England. Tucked into a stone recess next to the "throne" in the garderobe, or privy, was a portion of a parchment written in Latin.[3] this sole remaining fragment of an obviously longer work has recently been translated into English.[4] The translator noted that not all of the pages remained intact, but that bits and pieces from the sides and bottom were missing, making a complete translation impossible. While most scholars believe rats to have done the damage, some academicians argue that it appears pieces were deliberately torn off, little by little. What remains of the original document are some of the customs and ceremonies surrounding the hunt of a dragon and some details of how to "read" a fewmet.

According to the anonymous author, the king was expected to participate fully from the beginning of the hunt until the end. This differs from other hunts where the prey would be chased past the spot where the royal party waited. "It is the king's duty to be first to horse and last to dismount, leaving the saddle only when the dragon is sighted. Should the king fail to follow these precepts, he will have little chance of spotting his quarry."[5]

Fewmets were virtually the only sign of a dragon. The manuscript spells out part of the ceremonial procedure when fewmets are located. They were not to be physically touched, but carefully lifted up (by what means appears to have been on the part of the document not extant). The most senior huntsman was enjoined to present the spoor to His Majesty on a fresh leaf of cabbage.[6]

Ceremonial words preceded the presentation by the kneeling huntsman. The king, still on his horse, followed a prescribed manner of inspecting the fewmet since its color and size indicated the sex and age of the dragon. Careful inspection by a fatigued king could reveal much about where the dragon had been, its physical state, as well as how long the fewmets had been "shat".[7] Using some of the information presented in the manuscript, this researcher was able to elicit certain facts from a close inspection of the two fewmets in her possession.

The larger fewmet spans approximately twenty-five centimeters and rises some nine centimeters. The other is some sixteen centimeters in diameter and is flatter, being about six centimeters high. Their relatively small size reveals the youth of the dragons. The larger carmine, or red, fewmet is that of a male. The color is due to a frequent diet of red-blooded warriors and an occasional blushing maiden. Dragons, especially young males, were not totally carnivorous, but often ate fruit, especially that of a species of palm tree. Since dragons are well-known to be faithful mates and life-long partners, this fewmet reveals that this young dragon has not yet found a mate. Close observation by this researcher's not-so-experienced eye shows that he recently had a date.

The manuscript noted that females of this species generally produced green fewmets due to their presumed diet of vegetation, vegetarian animals such as cows or sheep, and untried, green fighters. Upon inspection of this fewmet, one can notice an unchewed leaf of romaine, clearly indicating that this particular female is not actively searching for a mate and prefers males to leave her alone, witness the lone lettuce that she leaves behind.

More might be revealed by an expert, which this researcher regrettably is not. The manuscript refers to specifics which were apparently spelled out on earlier pages (and so discommodiously torn, or eaten, off). It does explain, however, just prior to where it breaks off again why a king who fatigued himself by a lengthy hunt would have greater powers of observation. The translator had difficulty with the Latin, he admits, but it appears that His Majesty would be more likely to see one of these beasts since he himself would be draggin'.

[1] This word is often corrupted by those with a speech impediment into "mythical".

[2] For those unfamiliar with dragons and their ilk, "fewmets" is the name given to the byproducts of draconian food processing. Some authorities claim the word to have been derived from an ancient king's exclamation that "they are few but well met."

[3] Found in the privy, scholars have therefore considered this to be part of the king's "privileged information", a term which is still in current use today.

[4] There was a paucity of material for documenting these fewmets. Searching the library stacks one final time for anything that may have been overlooked, this researcher became frustrated. She recalls muttering "Oh, poop!" just before laying eyes on the obscure Ph.D. thesis that contained the translation of this 12th century fragment. The researcher speculates that there is truth in the university hypothesis that BS is similar to a fewmet. MS is purported to mean More of the Same, and Ph.D. is equivalent to Piled Higher and Deeper.

[5] It was noted that in the margin someone had added "Fors fortis..." and the remainder of the unidentified scribe's note was missing due to a torn, or nibbled, leaf.

[6] Cabbage was thought to be one of the dragon's staple foods, as it is widely known to be a gas producer, an item necessary to the dragon's flaming abilities. Some authorities have been heard to muse that all drawings of dragons, however, show flames issuing from the other end.

[7] The correctly declined old English term for draconian fewmet production, contrary to modern declensions.

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