In this world there exists an ancient custom: All men and women are expected to leave their hometown for an extended journey at least once in their lifetime.
It is the Journey that they walk, and it is Travellers that they are called.
But they are not alone. An ancient dragon called a Ryuujin watches over and guides them unseen.
The wind stirs.
A sheen ripples across the grassy hills. Up and down their curves, teasing in and out of the shadows cast by the massive clouds that pass languidly over head.
One hill in particular stands out among this sea of green. Not grass, but a mound of flowers for the wind to play with–pools of white, clusters of yellow, speckles of violet and red–the wave breaking upon them, setting their top-heavy heads a-bobbing.
Atop the hill’s crest, several stone slabs lean upon one another, with one particularly overdramatic slab laying askance upon the others, edging as close to flat as its pride will allow. And at the hill’s foot, the tips of boulders form its toes, poking out from the tall blades of grass, surrounding the flower fort in equal measure. It is between a pair of these boulders that two objects move in sync, ruffling a path through the blades like an innocent mimicry of the wind.
They become visible as they start their ascent upon the slope: a pair of wings. Scaly green on their bony ridges, and musky yellow on their smooth flaps. They come to the ascent of the slope, and emerge–attached to a squat dragon, trudging along on its hind legs. Encountering the cacophony of flowers, it changes its gait. Tip-toeing between petals, hopping over stamens, the dragon makes its cautiously haphazard way up. Approaching the stone structure, it enters under the lackadaisical slab, disappearing into its shadow.
There isn’t much room inside, just enough for the hole the dragon squirrels into. Down it wiggles, barely stirring the well-worn dirt as it’s tiny claws pull it in this way and that. It isn’t a very direct route to the hill’s belly. The hole opens into a rotund room from the ceiling, from which the dragon pops out from. Grabbing the hole’s lip, the dragon rolls in a little somersault, pulling its legs out from the hole only to land on its tail. Shaking its head quickly to avoid any dizziness, it stands, brushes itself off, and waddles towards the center of the room.
It is here that lies the structure that dominates the room: a pedestal, of craftsmanship that stands in stark contrast to any of the structures on the surface. Grooved sides with vined leaf engravings, and a cornice that dwarfs its occupant: an egg. The dragon stretches its neck up to allow its nose to inspect the tiny tenant. Satisfied, it waddles over to a rather large desk along the curved wall. All manner of assortments and accoutrements line its surfaces and shelves: vials and jars, herbs dried and fresh, paints and inks, brushes and quills. Dirt stained claws reach up to rest on its wooden edge.
“Now then,” the dragon murrs to itself. “Where to begin…”