Minisode 01: “Ofrin’s Dragon”

Minisode 01: "Ofrin's Dragon" Tales of the Echowood

CONTENT WARNING: Themes of environmental collapse, climate change, and extinction, loud noises, and descriptions of fantasy violence At the heart of the longest winter the Echowood has ever known, a dwarf and a dragon wait out the storm… Starring Psalm Morant as the Dragon of Fire and Julian Dailey as Ofrin Old-Stone, with original music by Jesse Haugen and music mixed by Jordan Di Donato and Jason Di Donato. Written Van Winkle and produced by Virginia Spotts, with editing and sound design by Van Winkle. This special was made possible by our supporters at For more information, additional content, and episode transcript, visit "Dark Emptiness" elements created by jalastram (, Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

CONTENT WARNING: Themes of environmental collapse, climate change, and extinction, loud noises, and descriptions of fantasy violence

At the heart of the longest winter the Echowood has ever known, a dwarf and a dragon wait out the storm…

Starring Psalm Morant as the Dragon of Fire and Julian Dailey as Ofrin Old-Stone, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written Van Winkle and produced by Virginia Spotts, with editing and sound design by Van Winkle. This special was made possible by our supporters at

“Dark Emptiness” elements created by jalastram (, Licensed under Creative Commons (CC 3.0 Unported:



CONTENT WARNING: Themes of environmental collapse, climate change, and extinction, loud noises, and descriptions of fantasy violence

[A small, damp-sounding fire sputters in a cave]

[Wind howls outside the mouth of the cave]

[Deep, slow, heavy breaths of a dragon]

Dragon of Fire

You didn’t need to stay this long.


Too late now… couldn’t make it back if I tried, not in this storm.

Dragon of Fire

The firewood is getting low.


Well I’m hardly going to freeze to death with the Dragon of Fire in here, am I?

Dragon of Fire

My fire is not so keen as it should be, Old-stone… nor will—


I’ll be fine, alright! They’ll send another cart down with fresh supplies as soon as the storm breaks, just… leave it.

[The wind howls outside]

[The dragon sighs]

Dragon of Fire

How fare your kin?


My folks? They’re uh… they’re well. Struggling a bit but… hanging in there.

Dragon of Fire

Why do they struggle?


They uh… The people in the village haven’t been… There are some people who say that, you know — with the winter like it is, we shouldn’t be using our coal and firewood to, uh… uh… 

Dragon of Fire

They blame your family for the fire-death.


[he sighs] They blame me. My family’s just in the village more often… easier target. Not that it’s stopped some of my cousins from buying into it as well.

Dragon of Fire

I see.


God I wish I could punch them sometimes.

Dragon of Fire

You wish violence upon your kinfolk?


What? No! God no, it’s just sometimes I… I don’t know, it feels like it would be easier if I could. Simpler.

[Further in the cave, drops of water echo]

Dragon of Fire

Have you ever chosen the easy way before, Ofrin Old-Stone? Have you ever trod the well-worn path, or do you seek your own way? A better way? A way—


Yes, yes, alright… I get it, can we just — not talk about it right now?

Dragon of Fire

What else is there to speak of? The cold? It is unbroken, today as it was yesterday and many days before. The cave? It is unchanged since my arrival. The only events worth speaking of are up on the mountain, where your people dwell… and you seem bound and determined not to speak of them.


Why do we need to talk? Can’t we just sit here?

Dragon of Fire

To not speak when the heart is full says more than silence, Old-

Stone… you know this well enough. 



What about your kin?

Dragon of Fire

Fire has no kin.


The other dragons. You mentioned them when we first met… can you tell me more about them?

Dragon of Fire

Hmm… I… suppose I could. I cannot think of any harm that could come of it… and we do have a night to fill, I suppose.

[he breathes in] 

Very well, Ofrin Old-Stone… I will tell you of my kin.

[The noises of the cave slowly fade out]

It is not right to say our story has a beginning, for we four existed before time… before the foundations of this Echowood were set down, before history, before the sun began to turn and the days could be counted. Earth. Water. Air. Fire. Eldest of all living things, born before the elements and forming them with our being at the bidding of the old god and the maker-child. Ours were the first eyes which opened and beheld the unformed Echowood, in an age so long forgotten it can hardly be said to have happened at all. But if I tell this as a story — that is where it begins.

Firstborn was Earth: the eldest, wisest, and greatest of the dragons. In the west did it rise, formed from the cosmic chaos beyond existence into a shape which stretched across the whole of the world as it was then. Its scales were dark: mottled black and brown, broken here and there with crystal growths that glowed in the dark before the first dawn. Its body was low and wide, with two legs and two short, broad wings upon which it walked — though it would never fly. In those days it had but one head on a long, snaking neck that could reach from the foundations of the Echowood to the roof of the sky — though in time many more would grow, like the Hydra of ancient myth. As it woke in the dark, the first living thing in the Echowood, it moved with slow, deliberate care — but not with fear. For it was the Dragon of Earth, and the earth knows no fear.

Second came Water: closest kin to the chaos which birthed it, vast and mysterious as the sea which formed around its snaking coils as it swam through the pre-existent ether. Green were its flanks, with a sharp crest of night-dark bone black as the fathomless deep atop its head. Leagues and leagues its sinuous body stretched into the sea, though it was smaller by far than its cousin Earth. Its yellow-gold eyes stared out into the blackness before the sun was made, and it saw all that was — Earth, already ancient in the first moment of creation to the west… and Air, just stirring from its slumber far to the south.

And yes… after Water came Air: the artisan, the painter of light, fairest and most beauteous of our kind, swimming through the sky as its flanks began to shine with light of every hue and shade. Before sun or moon or stars, the light of Air illuminated the darkened Echowood from on high. A wingless serpent, but still it flew — its four small limbs trailing beneath it as it cut through the air to the highest reaches of existence, then curled into a twisting aurora far above. The half-formed sea shone in the brilliance of my closest cousin’s art, and the dark eyes of Earth shone almost with tears… and then, last and least of all, came I.

[The wind and droplets of the cave echo]

Fire. Smallest. Youngest. Fiercest. Proudest. My wings stretched barely a hundred feet across. The flame of my breath was bright, but would hardly trouble the least of my kin. I woke almost unnoticed in the east of the world, in the place where the sun was yet to rise, and gave a great roar [the sound of an echoing roar] that shook the ancient Echowood as I expelled a great blast of flame into the half-dark… but a moment later my roar was drowned out by the bellowing call [another dragon roar] of Earth and the storm-like song [another dragon roar] of Air. Perhaps Water sang too, though its cries were too deep and secret to be understood by any of the other Dragons. Our song filled the Echowood, and with it was Echowood fully born… Earth and Water and Air and Fire, rising at our call and filling the void of our birth with the designs of the creators.

The mountains rose high above the firstborn, [the sound of mountains shaking and growing] rich soil giving birth to the shining trees of the ancient Echowood, wreathed in silver and gold. The sea filled its bounds [water rushing] and crashed against the shores, as lakes and rivers bubbled and flowed in the forest beyond. Great clouds formed in the once-vacuum above, [quiet rush of air] and in the dark before day the first stars twinkled to life upon the great disk of the sky. And as I roared again [dragon roar], trying desperately to be heard — the sun rose at my back, outshining any fire I could ever breathe.

Where it shone, other lives began to spring forth from the depths of the Echowood — [chirp of birds] the titanic beasts of prehistory [roar of ancient creatures], whose names were never spoken and whose forms are long buried in the depths of the underworld, consumed by the Dragon of Earth. The small scurrying things [chirp of insects] that live and breath in their billions unseen, unknown, and unmarked swarmed and multiplied

beneath the trees. 

The fish and whales and sharks and crabs of the great sea [sound of waves] rose from the impenetrable darkness of its depths to witness the first sunrise as the first age of the Echowood sprang to life… and all my cousins rejoiced to see it.

But I — I hardly marked its coming. My call had been first in the Echowood, my breath its first warmth — but both had been entirely overshadowed by the roars of my kin and the coming of the sun. Earth, my elder, already laid burrowed in the depths of the Echowood in the deathlike half-slumber of the shades. Water surfaced only briefly from the waves to behold the sun before diving back into the fathomless dark below. And Air — my brother and sister and closest elder kin — curled and danced in the sunlit sky far above, all but invisible to any eyes but mine. And to my gaze, its eyes and thoughts and mind seemed hardly to regard me… and my pride could not bear it.

[He breathes heavily, frustrated]

I could have called to Air. I could have lifted my voice into a song once more and stirred its heart to wonder. I could have realized that, small as I was, I would barely be noticed by such a great and wondrous being. But I did none of these things. I acted without thought, but not without reason — for I will not pretend it was a madness or passion that overtook me. I am a dragon — I am the spirit of fire — and though my reason burns hot with the fire of emotion, it is a reason that is not so easily overwhelmed. And my reason? Pure jealousy. Spite. Pride. And so upon the wing I rose, [flapping of great wings] higher and higher than I was ever meant to fly.

Above the tallest mountains, above the thunderheads already forming at my approach, [gentle crackle of lightning and thunder] almost to the place where the sun turns between the Echowood and the stars — and there my cousin at last saw me, [fiery dragon roar] as I tore through the clouds: fangs bared, talons sharp, flames blazing as I barreled into the side of the Dragon of Air.

[Angry roar]

[The continuous sounds of roars and flapping of great wings]

Long we grappled — the strength and size and patience of my older cousin against the fire of my unbridled rage. I was less than a bothersome sparrow against its titanic bulk, but it did not wish to fight me — or at the very least, it did not want to harm me, knowing the true danger such wounds posed to all the world below. It sought to turn my attacks aside as gently as possible, keeping its claws retracted and its teeth away from my flanks — but I showed it no such courtesy. I bit. [Sound of a harsh bite] I clawed. [Swipe of claws] I scorched [fiery blast] its beautiful, shimmering scales with the heat of a thousand furnaces — and yet it seemed unscathed. It pushed me back again and again, and I tore into it once more with renewed anger. Day turned to night as the sun completed its arc and my kin began to shimmer into azure radiance, stabbed here and there with gouts of orange flame as I poured out my rage — and yet our strength did not falter. In that first day of creation our powers were limitless, and we had both just woken from the sleep of eons. I would not rest until I’d proved myself the stronger of us two — the strongest of all Dragons.

It mattered not that it was untrue. It mattered not that I was weakest and smallest of our kin, and any fool could see it. 

My heart burned with an anger I thought to be well-earned, and as I wheeled into the sky and plunged once more towards my sister-brother, that anger poured out in a roar [fiery roar] and blast of flame that shone brightest blue as it crashed against the head of the Dragon of Air — and in that moment, my kinfolk had opened its mouth. Perhaps it wished to speak a warning. Perhaps it was trying to roar and frighten me off my course. Perhaps it was trying to match my attack in turn — after all, who’s to say my kinfolk cannot breath out the energies of their elements in the same way I breath fire? It has never been seen — but they are far more peaceful creatures than I.

No matter what it sought to do, the Dragon of Air opened its mouth as the flames of my wrath crashed against its head [fiery roar] — and the protection of its scales and thicker hide gave way to the soft lining of its insides. Its flesh bubbled and cracked [sound of singeing] in the ferocious heat, and my kin gave the first cry of pain the Echowood had ever heard — though it was drowned out a moment later, as the air below us turned suddenly to flame.

[A sound like thunder, like crackling: the world on fire]

I had forgotten — or perhaps chosen to forget — that we were both more than beasts, more than animals, more than simple living things. Our forms shaped and were shaped by the elements themselves — air and fire, gave life by our lives. We were more than just spirits of those elements, more than mere representations of their form — we were those elements, in

a very real sense. And the war between Fire and Air in the sky above kindled the air below into a firestorm that swept across the Echowood in an instant. Every inch of the forest blazed and crackled with an oven-like heat, and in a moment all the golden trees of the Echowood turned ashen and black. 

The great beasts — the winged reptiles and the many-tusked titans, the Jötunn of yore and the great trolls above the mountains — caught flame with the trees, [sound of the fire fades] and all animals too large to bury themselves in burrows or caves or the soft earth of the forest were soon little more than ash and soot and bone. Only those living in the depths of my cousin’s great sea were truly safe, and many descendants of that primeval world still dwell below those waves. But upon the surface of the newborn Echowood, the first age of life ended as it blazed into the scorching hell of a false sunrise.

I felt the burning the moment it began — of course I did. It was the first fire to ever shine beneath the trees, and the first which I did not breathe into being. I felt my power and my being pour out into it, shaping and fueling the flickering tongues of death… and I knew what it meant. I knew I’d made a horrible mistake. [the crackling of fire returns] My breath caught in my throat, and the gout of flame which scorched my cousin failed… and yet the flames burned still, fed by the endless fuel of a world, burning. The Dragon of Air convulsed with pain [roar] as it tried to remain aloft, but I… I hovered on wings that beat almost without thought as I stared down at the dead and blackened Echowood… dead at my hand.

The smell of charred flesh and feather and hair rose to meet me as the Dragon of Air fell towards the far-off waters of the great sea. Far above, the stars seemed to flicker and darken, as though they too had burned for the briefest of moments before being snuffed out by my arrogance. And though the fire within me blazed as hot and bright as it ever would — my heart felt cold. [A heavy, dull heartbeat] It felt as if all things were ending, dying before their time… and my power was not strong enough to stop it. 

As I watched, the Dragon of Air drew near the far-off waves, and as it did the Dragon of Water rose once more from its depths. I did not see what happened then — I was too far off, and my eyes were bleary with tears that smoked and steamed from the heat. But I saw the Dragon of Water raise its head to meet the Dragon of Air, and as it did, something new happened. The clouds, turned to thunder by my rage and scattered by my war, began to collect once more in the ash-choked sky, and from them poured a rain like none the Echowood has ever seen or will ever see again. A cleansing rain, which doused the flames consuming the land and washed the ashes down, down, down the rivers and streams and into the sea. In a matter of minutes, the Echowood was dark and quiet once more — yet as I stared in disbelief through the scattering clouds, I heard a deep, rumbling roar [deep roar] from underground as the Dragon of Earth began once again to move. The ground below shifted in slow and rolling waves [deep rumbling] as great rifts opened up in the hearts of burned valleys and at the feet of the blackened mountains as the Echowood itself seemed to turn inside out: the black, dead earth was subsumed and replaced by verdant, growing fields and trees — not of gold or silver, but of green and autumn hues. Not one hour since I had attacked my sister-cousin and burned it in my rage, it and my brother-kin had restored the face of the Echowood — in lesser shades, perhaps, but better than charred ash.

And yet… something still was missing. Something vital.

Upon the surface of the world many insects and small animals yet scurried, and below the sea life still flourished in its uncounted forms — but much of the life that once flourished beneath the sun was gone, and would perhaps take many centuries to return. It had been wiped out all at once within the first day of creation by my pride, and I knew that any number of calamities might snuff it out before it could be fully restored. And I realized then my purpose.

I was smaller and weaker and more foolish than the other Dragons, my kin — but I alone of us four was close enough, near enough, foolish enough to risk myself for the sake of the many living beings within the Echowood. And so I would, and I did, and I will… until the sun goes dark once more, at the ending of all days.

[The Dragon lets the final words of his story land]

[The crackle of the cave campfire returns; the wind outside howls]


You know, you’re not half as clever as you think you are.

Dragon of Fire

[deep, satisfied laugh] Now, whatever do you mean, Old-friend? I was just giving you what you asked for.


[scoffs] What I needed, more like.

Dragon of Fire



I think I’ll head back with the next supply cart… see if I can’t talk some sense into my cousins.

Dragon of Fire

Hm. I think that would be wise, child.

[The wind outside roars]


Storm’s getting worse.

Dragon of Fire

It will end. In its time.

[The sounds of the cave fade out]

[End Theme & Credits]


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