SONG TO LISTEN TO WHEN READING THIS STORY:
Ashuton and Aaron built a town called Carver Dan, and it was Ashuton’s intention to break away from his family and use the town as a hideout, but that wasn’t going to work. Only those loyal to the Empire of Antonin were granted access to the small town. Nobody knew of this town and the disaster that had befallen it on Narcissus’s birthday. If there are any errors, please point them out.
(image is Snow town by dev_MaTuS)
Sometime in early morning, before dawn’s first sunlight, Carver Dan had been hit by a disaster. The town’s main speakerphones had constantly played the Bob Crosby record, Way Back Home, and a few songs by ALI PROJECT (most notably Platonic). Nobody would be hearing the town because all of it’s inhabitants would be dead. Detective Grey, under the guise of Shell Wanderbanger, accompanied by four people from the DA, visited the town to investigate the disaster forty years after it occurred. She would be meeting someone special here, someone who knew what happened.
After opening the rusted gates, the car rolled into the ghost town. The cluster of buildings was the first sight, and they were no longer vibrant like before. The car pulled up to an old wooden house that was already showing signs of extreme aging. Steel poles had supported the house and underboards to keep it form falling down. Shell got out of the car with her four friends in tow. Sitting on an old creaky swing on the porch and fully dressed in winter-wear and a long coat was Ashuton Karrucci. It was not surprising, but what was surprising was seeing him without Narcissus.
“Mr. Karrucci? It’s me, Shell.”
He looked up at her, his features had aged a bit since those forty years ago.
“Must we go through this? Do I have to relive that horrible day?” he asked.
Shell nodded, “there is a Partling Crew coming here with more than two thousand people. The Cleanup crew has just arrived and want to make Carver Dan livable again.”
Micah, a man from Shell’s group, piped out, “We have to know what really happened here, Ashuton. We can’t let innocent people die if the threat is still active here.”
Ashuton sighed, “fine. Where do you want me to start?”
“Start with that night the record started playing. Scientists don’t believe a Dragon assassinated the whole town, they want to say it was that record and a virus that came from the forest.”
Ashuton chuckled, “it was no virus from the forest, nor was it that song. It was Misery. I remember that night as clear as day. I had escaped the clutches of Derek Poe’s henchmen. Derek was a mad man. He wanted to experiment on the whole town in hopes of finding a cure for the virus. After gathering the whole town in the planthouse dome, he used slave dragons to maul everyone. The remains were buried under the dome.”
Shell asked, “where did you escape to?”
“I went to Crater Fields. It was where Narcissus and I went to have our time together whenever my father gave us stress. Jonathan found me there and his voice wasn’t normal. The dragon within him had taken over. He told me that Carver Dan would be wiped away because Misery wished it so, and that I wouldn’t see him again for a very long time. I went to see Misery in the forest and she told me, “this town has turned for the worst. My name has been pushed into murky waters, my teachings have been misplaced by a heinous ceremony, and the citizens have forgotten my true calling of the Angel I have forged. I am now nothing but a nightmare to all their skeletons.” I knew every word she meant.”
Shell stopped him, “What Angel was she talking about?”
Ashuton shook his head, “you know nothing of my precious town. The Angel she crafted is the so-called Dragon Syndrome.”
Jamil, another one from Shell’s group, had spoken, “everyone believes that the Mosswing Trees and the black cicadas in the forest had entered their peeling stage. They say that’s what killed everyone.”
Ashuton looked at him curiously, “peeling stage?”
Shell informed him, “when Mosswing Trees turn fifty, they enter a peeling stage. That is when the bark peels off and unleashes smelly gases like as if you just popped a zit. The gas is usually toxic and can cover a thirty-mile radius. The gas doesn’t clear until fifteen years after it’s released. The original evidence shows the trees had been peeling around the time of the disaster.”
Ashuton sighed, feeling tired and overwhelmed, “I remember those trees. The assassinations didn’t start until five in the morning, and at six the trees started peeling. I remember that because I laid Narcissus there to rest. She had been captured and tortured by Derek and was dying from the bullet wound in her stomach, but what really killed her was knowing our child that she carried was dead. I left her in the forest because I know the gas from the trees would heal her internally and bring her back, but there was no hope for our child.”
Jamil interrupted, “Where did Misery originate?”
“What?” Ashuton was caught off-guard b the question.
“I-I-I-I’m not sure.” He said.
“Don’t lie. Tell us the truth.”
After a long sigh Ashuton said, “She originated from my mother. A month after we arrived my Father took us to the highest shrine on the hill. It was early morning and my mother had to be restrained. She had…given birth to a deformed white dragon. When I touched it, it infected me with the virus.”
Jamil’s stare seemed to deepen, “you lie again, you treacherous dragon!”
Ashuton immediately stood up, his anger mounting, “why is her origin so important to you? Are you or are you not concerned about what happened that day?”
Poe came between the two, “we’ve gotten all the information we need. All we need now is Derek Poe.”
Ashuton chuckled, “that old bastard hit Stage 7 of Misery’s virus. She used it to manipulate him into wiping out the town because everyone was disobedient and didn’t follow her rules, like I had said earlier.”
Shell was shocked, “he’s dead?”
“Yes he’s dead. I’ve given you your information, what more do you want from me?”
“One final request,” said Shell, “take us to the Crater.”
The ground of Crater Fields was nothing but snow that had hardened upon itself. Ashuton’s little house had survived the harshness of nature and was still standing proud atop a mound of snow.
“That’s it.” He said as his voice began to tremble, “that’s where Narcissus and I had conceived our sixth child, a little boy that wouldn’t see daylight.”
Shell saw the tears that streamed down his pale face. It was the only truth of how cold this dragon winter had become.
“We left the house with nothing but a bag of blankets and our children. We were so happy to get away from my Father. We bought a pizza at the only pizza hut in town and ran off to this little house that I made on our arrival day. She was so calm…she waited until the kids were sleep and I let her do whatever she wanted with me. I held her close that night, I didn’t know how tumultuous the next three months would be.”
Shell spoke out, “I’m so sorry, Ashuton.”
He let a narcissus daphodill slipped from the sleeve of his coat, “Don’t be. She’s not dead, only resting.”
He started to remember Jonathan and the horrific death they shared.
“Derek will burn in hell for what he has done to us. He killed my brother, killed my son and tried to kill me and my wife.”
Shell patted him on the shoulder, “burn in hell he will.”
They could hear the call of the Infantry Dragons above, whom were sent to cleanse the town of the tree gas. Ashuton mentally said goodbye to the town he built.
Carver Dan, built by Ashuton and Aaron, is infamous for it’s Dragon Syndrome. The unlucky people entering the town would be infected by the airborne illness. Ashuton, Narcissus, Seraphina, Aaron, Julis, Rico, Jonathan, and all the others in the Karrucci family have roots in the town (and in Rome as well). Carver Dan is the home of Misery, a fabled dragon that keeps the town on ease. Every year a Birthing of the Dragon ceremony is held in dedication to Misery. A woman is chosen to hold the child of a dragon that will be born on the day of the party. The ceremony is started off with a ceremonial dragon dance (usually lead by Jonathan Karrucci), and the chosen woman gives birth to the Dragonchild of Misery in the sacred shrine. This shrine rests atop the highest hill of the rural village and is where Jonathan lives.
The town’s inhabitants are nice, they know Narcissus and Ashuton very well, and their town song is Way Back Home by Bob Crosby. Dr. Jerrad Derek Meeya Poe (sometimes called Derek), the father of Rueben Poe (refer to Dino Macro), studied the dragon syndrome in question. It’s symptoms were acute paranoia, paralysis, high resistance to medication aimed at strengthening the immune system, and can transform your mind to “become one with the dragon.” Becoming one with the dragon is what most patients in Stage 7 would say happened to their mind. The dragon Misery began to “speak” to them, telling them what to do.
The sickness has seven stages, the seventh being where Death and Rebirth occurred. (Note this is not the same sickness as the one that overrun New York.)
Stage 1 is where minor paranoia would occur. Stage 2 is where all your memories suddenly return, causing extreme trauma in those with a bad past. Stage 3 is where paranoia becomes full blown and noticeable. Stage 4 is where little dragonants begin forming in the body. In Ashuton’s case, black cicadas were forming inside his body. Stage 5 is where paranoia, nausea, diarrhea, and dehydration occur. The immune system begins to weaken and eye pupils become dilated. In some cases, a patient will throw up the dragonants or cicadas. Stage 6 is when your body will begin to become increasingly hot and your mind will go into relapse. This relapse can cause a week-to-month-long a coma. Stage 7 is when the body will die and then reawaken from a coma. It is this stage where Misery’s takeover begins.
Ten years after Ashuton and Narcissus (and plenty of other’s) arrival, the dragon syndrome began to formulate itself. Many want to believe the virus is Ashuton’s doing for the “event” that occurred in Rome.