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Returning to the larger glyphscape of the Tabula Rasa, the Dragon Councillor looked around. There was another dragon present who would also be joining the next phasing shift, Rhizoa. Arkuda went to er and sang about the unfolding of a certain flower, and ‘e sang back about the unfurling of a specific leaf. Flower and leaf, together blooming and unfolding at this moment. The two dragons would each go to places far distant, one to the flower, one to the leaf; never were flower and leaf side by side, yet here on Tabula Rasa their songs were intertwined. These two places, along with the others, were the next activation corners of the Viridian Phasing spanning the Imperium.

Distancing once more, the Dragon Councillor picked an aesthetic perspective to look upon the heart’s-fire breath of delight, the luminous art that was glyphwork. Ephemeral thought naturally expressed to precise understanding; clear to the mind’s eye, a soothing balm of effortless communication at play, any dragon to all dragons. Only here. Hanging in the central space overhead, creature portraits from various parts of the universe sat or stood next to each other in a multiform lineup: evidence of a discussion on beings. Below was an amalgamated cluster of town and garden notions, from splendorous to spare, and glyphs noting other plainespaces. Nothing stayed still, for nothing was real; yet here, it was all that was real.

With that last heavy gaze, Arkuda descended directly back through er Gateway Stair. The dimension set which housed the Pan-Galactic Imperium became near, then evident, then manifest. The capital city of the planet Alisandre was nearby, and the sun was rising. The dragon eyed the flower which had bloomed, sentimentally noting its beauty. The flower’s sweet breath indicated news of all its neighbors: evergreens, head-wavers, long grasses, low crawling greens, climbing fiber, standing stem, branching reachers, and high-point markers. The dragon listened to their denizens, small and large, groundwalking and airborne. ‘E listened all the way toward the capital, the largest group of denizens in this forest. After absorbing for a moment into that cacophony, ‘e was ready to begin.

One breath after another, Arkuda as winged serpentine rose over the treetops. Similar to Arctyri’s rise over the Pyrean Midsummer vision, the dragon coiled upward and leveled to a circular toroidal path, with variances, and not exactly biting er tail as in classic art.

Between a caterpillar’s rustle, a murmuring airwave, and a quivering insect, Arkuda found a song: a diva ballad. From that, ‘e picked a sound frequency, and in the breeze through the leaves were two other songs with a similar frequency. Arkuda picked parts from the structure of these songs to focus on and play through. Music is a part of the universe that dragons know well, and linking songs with sounds was a matter of hearing and speaking. There is also plenty of broadcasted music over airwave spectra that are easily audible to dragons, who often communicate musically. Some dragons enjoy populated airwaves, and others don’t. Though fondness of music wasn’t necessary to project a phasing, Arkuda loved it.

‘E projected over the dragonroads which, in one understanding, are a combination of frequencies with spatial ties. Dragonroads are phenomena which naturally arise from life in the universe as it exists, like rivers. Dragons have different roads available to them according to what they embody.

The participatory inclusion of surrounding vegetation was necessary for power of broadcast, directional scatter, and stochasticity/randomness. Some dragons are better with plants than others, but their communicative properties can be harnessed with basic skill. The delicate angle of a leaf toward its favorite night star, the million tiny breathing mouths on the skin of the greenery, meristematic push from the inner upward flow of water, vibrato tremble under a breeze, the chlorophyll flush of light transformation; properties of plants throughout the galaxies were what transformed simple projection, akin to a phone call, into the Viridian Phasing.

Arkuda continued modulating projections until ‘e heard the echoes of like bouncing off of like. That meant current projections were now intersecting. Taking in the new sounds, ‘e worked via those as well. Arkuda kept ahold of the thread of progress, while losing track of the causal route, which was part of the effective process. Songs, sounds, and cues blended over each other until one couldn’t distinguish a garden from Genoe or Iparia, nor the origins of resonantly familiar songs. The Imperium’s dragonroad routes were thoroughly shuffled and sentried. The phasing also acted as a network of tripwires and response connections in event of hostility. All participants supported the phasing daily at agreed-upon randomized times. Some analogized it to compulsory karaoke.

At times, a dragon in phasing can see through into distances, a visual superimposition. Therefore, the blackgate that appeared in front of Arkuda in the dawning sky wasn’t overly suprising. It garnered an interested eye. Then, there was a slow scraping sound which tripped over something that struck, and a tiny spark of flame kindled beyond the blackgate. A whoosh of recognition blew over Arkuda’s form; this wasn’t a farseeing, but a nearing presence. ‘E continued to sing the phasing while shifting to a battle-ready hover.

This was the first dragon attack since the birth of Acamar, and Arkuda was more than happy to take the charge. The dragon’s approach possessed umistakable elements. Why would Ignivf act the fool and battle Arkuda in dawn? ‘E must have really missed er.

There was time for Arkuda to pulse a detailed alarm to the others before tornadoing mobius arcs of combustion drove er as far back as ‘e would go until whirling to one open side. IGNIVF, Ignivus, was here.

The brightness of Ignivus’ living spark outshone, while Arkuda’s encompassing radiance made Ignivus smaller. They feinted towards each other in torrential sparring, fractal edges of their power meshing and separating. The tender tops of trees beneath them singed, though nothing more kindled.

Then Ignivus found a strong grip on Arkuda, and wrenched free a long stripe of scales which hurtled to the ground as gold. Silvery-white ichor fell from the wound as Arkuda hissed in pain, coagulating into a dark red resinous mess as it dropped. Arkuda threw er head back once more to bugle distress across the phasing channels. A response was already underway.

The edges of the blackgate warped with color as their phasing found and took hold of it. Two of the phasing dragons were on the other side, while three remained in their places, upholding the greater Viridian Phase.

Ignivus was alone, so they didn’t call other dragons to bear. Some of the plants lending themselves to the Viridian Phasing were sacrificed, instantly dry-withering to create a frequency-manipulated energy lattice. This cast a portal-net across the blackgate, held by the two dragons on the other side. Arkuda felt er large wound burning as ‘e grew with the dawn light, keeping Ignivus at bay.

Sightlines to Alisandre Capital were clear, and humans were beginning to send air support. These were the Shield/Amp units that had been prepared. Arkuda’s aim, besides avoiding further injury, was to keep the pieces of conflict in alignment so it could be brought to a smooth close. ‘E acted as both target and prod, a distraction that Ignivus could not avoid.

The Shield/Amp units arrived and positioned themselves around Arkuda. Directionally transforming one kind of power to another, they absorbed blows of Ignivus’ power and sent it in translated waves to Arkuda. The units emitted confusing pitches that made them very hard for Ignivus to target. Arkuda used the added energy to keep erself and er foe separate and in position.

“They protect you now, do they?” Ignivus’ voice was achingly familiar. Arkuda was one of those that nurtured this one’s egg, contemplating er existence before ‘e ever spoke. “Remember… if they claim to protect you, they can just as well chain you.” As Ignivus spoke, the portal netting reached from the blackgate behind to entrap er. “Better prey than friends!”

“We’ve all learned so much together, Ignivf.” The blackgate shrank around the net, closing on a final burst of flame. “Maybe you’ll see.” Arkuda sank slowly into a pool of er own dried blood, listening to er beating heart.

 

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