The Curse of the Orthana by Nick Tamboia

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Jadis had the dragon scale placed in a large stable within the walls of her fortress. This was the only area large enough to house it. Once this was done she called upon all those who were blacksmiths, craftsmen and those skilled in making weapons to work on the dragon scale.

It quickly became obvious that this was going to be a difficult, if not an impossible task as no known tool had an effect on the scale. Not only could those working on the dragon scale, physically touch it without bursting into a cloud of smoke and turning into a pile of ash—which had happened twice, no known tool had an effect on the scale. Cutting blades broke without leaving a scratch on the scale, hammers shattered, grinding wheels and saws dulled or wore down, and of course being a dragon scale, fire had no effect on it at all.

Not only did it appear as if the dragon scale couldn’t be worked on by any known tools, but anyone who lingered by it for too long, withered and died, much the same as appeared to have been happening to Iron Boot just before Jadis had ended his life.

Perhaps her killing him the way she had, had been an untended act of mercy on her part.

Jadis herself tried to use her magic on the scale, but that as well, had no effect. Outraged by this, Jadis went to see the old hag to get an answer as to how she could turn the dragon scale into weapons, but the old blind woman was gone.

“Where is she!” Jadis had raged when she saw this, pacing around in a circle in the now empty prison cell.

That etching of the hourglass on the wall seemed to mock her.

“Where is she!”

“I don’t understand,” the rat guard said, confused as to what was going on. “She was here this morning. She was right here.”

Jadis flew into such a rage that she was hardly aware that she had turned both of the guards who had stood watch on the old woman, into stone.

So angered was she that it was actually snowing in her throne room as she sat on her throne, brooding over her current situation with the dragon scale. Eventually, as she grew calmer, an answer to her problem came to her.

Narvios! The Shadow Lord had retrieved the dragon scale for her from the Lonely Island, and he was from the Underworld. He might know a way she could work it into weapons, so she went out to the Island of the Broken Hand to speak with him.

“It’s useless,” She raged as she paced back and forth. “No known tool can so much as leave a scratch on it. Anyone who lingers by it for more than a day, freeze-dries and dies.”

Narvios stood in the center of the disk where she had first called him to, a hulking shape, draped in shifting flame and smoke like shadow, all by his head. Behind him, in the forest his Shadowlings lurked in the gloom, silently watching.

“You asked us to bring you back the dragon scale,” Narvios told the witch in his deep, rumbling voice. “Not to turn it into a weapon for you. We have done as you asked.”

Jadis glared at him for a long moment, before saying, “not even my magic has an effect on it. It seems to repel me. Do you know how it can be worked?”

“We are destroyers now,” Narvios replied. “We do not create.”

“You must have some knowledge,” Jadis insisted. “You are from the Underworld. The dragon scale is from the Dragon of Darkness, who guards the gate to the Underworld.”

Narvios appeared to think that over for a long moment before saying, “you need someone gifted with the magic of crafting.”

Jadis scoffed at that. “I used my own magic on it. It repelled me, as I said.”

“Because you have ill intent,” Narvios replied. “The scale is still linked to the dragon it came from, and the Leviathan can sense your intent and block your efforts. You need someone . . . someone who is both innocent and ignorant as to why they are doing what they are doing, to work their magic on the scale. We believe this will work.”

Not long after that conversation, Jadis returned to her throne room, in a worse mood than before, so angered that the air around her was freezing cold, and the walls behind her and the floor around her frosted over.

She called Noctis and his wolves, and many others to her, shouting at them, demanding that they do as she now commanded or face death.

“Find me a child gifted with the magical ability to craft things!” She roared.
Someone was foolish enough to mutter, “where should we look?”

“EVERYWHERE!” Jadis screamed, and when she had, blue-white lighting seemed to flash in the air around her and an icy wind swept around the throne room. In that moment all those present saw her in her form self before she had come to Narnia, and glimpsed what she would soon become, a great and powerful, giant jinn, one who was both beautiful and terrifying to behold.

“Search all of Narnia if you have to! Find this child and bring it before me. I command it!”