**You step into the room and are surrounded by a forest. Surprised, you look around to see that the door you just came through is still there behind you. Standing between two trees, this side also bears the symbol on the other side of the door. You notice that stone walls can be seen behind the trees, and remember that this is just a memory within a stone hall.

**A small path leads in two directions. One heads off past a pond to what looks to be a village in the distance. The other way disappers between a dense growth of trees. You head this way, not really wanting to meant any memory people. If that's even possible, you wonder. Just past the first couple trees, the path ends inside a small circular clearing formed by the forest. In the center stands a stone pedestal, nothing fancy about it except for the perfectly smooth top. You step up to it and see a reflection of you in the forest. You reach out to it and as your fingertips touch the surface an image appears in it. It is the same dragon symbol as on the door. A quiet female voice begins to speak. As she tells a story you can see images in the pedestal's top that match the narration. They appear a little fuzzy, unreal, as if you are watching another person's memories of events.**

The tale of Cira Pendragon is one shrouded in mystery, even to this day. So common is the story that its age and origins have been near impossible to trace. But as with most tales, there is at least a grain of truth to it. The date and circumstances of Cira's birth have been lost in the countless tellings and retellings. But every legend claims that she was descended from the great Pendragons of yore. And so it was that she could hear the pain and outrage in the cries of the dragons as their kin died at the hands of dragonslayers. Her Pendragon blood boiled at these injustices and soon she could think or speak of nothing else. At last the time came when Cira took up sword and shield and set off to right the wrong being done against dragonkind.

Her work was quiet and unnoticed at first. She took up jobs along her way and used the money she earned to pay dragonslayers to leave the dragons be. Often a grateful dragon would swear loyalty to her and thus Cira gained a small band of supporters across the land. But soon it became evident that the problem of the dragonslayers could not be solved by bribes alone. Many earned a comfortable living from terrified townspeople and would not be swayed by Cira's pleas or offerings. So Cira and her comrades decided harsher measures were in order.

Cira began traveling from town to town and speaking to the people, exposing the dragonslayers for what they were. She had seen enough of them to know how they worked, preying on people's fears of dragons then charging exorbitant fees for the slaying of a perfectly peaceful dragon who had never so much as killed a sheep. Many villages would not believe her, but some were tired of paying the dragonslayers' fees and eager to hear that they were unnecessary. When the dragonslayers next came to the villages, they found themselves much less welcome.

In this way, Cira gained something of a reputation. To most dragons, she was a hero and one of a very few humans they trusted. To some people, she was seen as a good person who had exposed the greedy dragonslayers for what they were. But to the dragonslayers, she was a troublemaker. Several of them attempted to seek her out and some even threatened her. But Cira's resolve would not be broken. She ignored the warnings of the dragonslayers and continued her work.

There was one thing that kept Cira from her tireless crusade. As every version of the tale agrees, she had a daughter. But none of the storytellers can agree on where the child came from. Some say the girl was a foundling, brought to Cira by one of her dragon companions. Others claim that one of her dragon friends could take a human form and thus became the father of the child. There are many other theories, but the important point is that there was a child, a girl child. And this child was Cira's morning and evening. The dragons adored her too and often allowed the child to play on their backs and go on short, low flights in their arms. Some said that Cira had a secret home where she stayed with the child when she was not traveling. Others claimed she brought the girl everywhere and only let her out of her sight when there was danger near, sending her to safety with a protective group of dragons.

There was danger aplenty in those days. The dragonslayers were on the offensive and Cira often found herself in combat with one of them. It is said that she never did more than wound her opponent and few of her fights lasted very long. Usually, one or more of Cira's dragons would enter the fray and her opponent would make a hasty exit. Fighting a surprised, scared dragon was easy enough for them, but few were willing to face a dragon ready for battle.

Many years passed. Cira continued her travels, exposing the dragonslayers wherever she could and fighting them when necessary. She learned the art of healing and was able to save many a dragon who came close to perishing by a dragonslayer's sword. Cira's daughter grew into a young woman, as skilled and as passionate as her mother. The girl was eager to continue her mother's work and help in her effort by being places her mother could not. Despite her misgivings, Cira allowed her daughter to travel separately from her, but always escorted by one of her trusted Dragon friends. The child was very skilled at healing, perhaps even more so than her mother, and many a dragon owed his life to her curing potions and healing balms.

On one day, a dragon unknown to Cira approached her, greatly distraught. He told her that he had been sent by one of Cira's dragon friends, the one who had been charged with guarding her daughter at that time. The messenger told Cira that her friend was injured and needed to see her right away. Cira and her troops took the air and followed the dragon to their comrade's side. Cira set to work binding her friend's wounds, but the dragon would not be silent. There had been an ambush, she told Cira, by a group of humans. They wore long robes and scarves that covered their faces, so the dragon did not recognize them. But she had seen that they fought like dragonslayers. They had taken the dragon and Cira's daughter by surprise. The dragon had become separated from her charge then found herself in a vicious battle. She had seen Cira's child being overtaken, but could not reach her to help her. The sound of a nearby clan of dragons, approaching to investigate the commotion, had scared the attackers off and spared the dragon from being killed. The friendly dragon clan had tried to help her, but she had refused to lie quiet until one of them went to find Cira. The clan had searched the area, but there was no trace of the attackers or Cira's daughter.

The word went out. Throughout the land, nearly every dragon and many humans sought for any trace of Cira's beloved daughter. But despite these efforts, little was found. The only reliable information came from dragonslayers who sought out Cira or one of her friends. They informed Cira that the kidnappers were a group within the dragonslayers' guild, seeking to frighten Cira into stopping her crusade against them. The informants had left the guild, horrified at what their fellow men had done. Some were able to provide possible locations of hideouts, but all turned up abandoned. Cira's health was failing. She ate little and slept less. Her skin grew pale, she became thinner, and her hair became almost white. But even as she searched for her daughter, she did not abandon her work. No threat had ever made her leave it and even one as serious as this would not sway her.

One night, Cira's oldest dragon friend came to the spot where she was camped. He did not speak, but only looked at her with great pain in his eyes. Cira gave him no response. She simply got on his back and let him take her into the woods. It was there that she found her daughter, bruised, bloody, and pinned against a tree by a sword that had pierced her heart. The sword was a plain blade, with no decoration on the hilt. There was only a short note: "Thus to all who would side with dragons." So it was that Cira lost her child of fourteen years, the last casualty in her crusade.

For Cira was not seen in those lands again. Some of the dragonslayers rejoiced, but their happiness faded quickly. Word had spread of the murder of Cira's child and those responsible. Soon even those who had not listened to Cira were turning the dragonslayers away. There was little work, even for those who swore they had known nothing of the plot. A few, shamed and disgusted by the crimes committed by their peers, left their trade and took other occupations. Most moved on to other lands, never speaking of where they had come from. Soon, they had all but disappeared from the lands and the dragonslayers' guild was no more.

Another remnant of the tragedy still lingers in those distant lands. In one of the forests near a small village is a pond of salt water. The villagers will explain to any bewildered traveler that it was in this forest that Cira found her daughter and the pond was formed from her tears and those of the dragons. The village is called Dragons' Tears to this day.

And what became of Cira? The stories vary so much that it is hard to know which, if any, holds truth in it. Some say that Cira's fury grew uncontrollable and in a fit of rage and grief, she stormed the halls of the dragonslayers' guild and killed half their number before she herself was slain. Some believe she moved on to teach other lands about the wicked ways of the dragonslayers. Others claim that she taught several people all that she knew and let them continue her work, herself retiring to the mountains with her dragon friends. Still others will tell you that she is still helping dragons in some far secluded place and never speaks of her past or fights anymore. One tale says Cira's already failing health grew worse until she died by her daughter's grave and another says she joined a convent and spoke no more until her death. But most people agree that she continued to help the dragons in some form or other. For as the dragons themselves say, "a passion that burns that brightly cannot be extinguished, even by the greatest grief."

**The pedestal returns to it's reflective surface. You linger just a moment. Then you turn and head back along the path to the door and the hall.**

Written and Copywrited by Sara Allen, 1999.