It started with a map.
I still remember my sister’s glee as she unrolled an ancient-looking map of Earth in the room above our mom’s tea shop. On the map, emblazoned across a vast swath of ocean were the ominous words—Here Be Dragons.
Poppy’s love of dragons had been well established long before we started grade school. This fascination only intensified once she was introduced to maps—especially old maps where warnings of dragons and other monstrous creatures were boldly proclaimed.
That afternoon, it was no different. Poppy was determined to visit Earth and to see these wondrous creatures for herself.
I, naturally, pointed out that there was no proof that Earth ever existed.
Poppy, being Poppy, didn’t need proof. If she believed it—it was so. She just needed to find Earth. Then, she could find the dragons.
Of course, neither Earth nor the dragons proved to be as easy to find as Poppy had hoped.
Even after we discovered the Magic that allowed us to create a working model of the Earth—and explore its many distant epochs—there was still no sign of the elusive beasties.
Eventually, Poppy decided that instead of searching for phantasms, she would embark upon a quest to create her own magic-born menagerie. These wonders of her own fierce soul found their way throughout the Gypsy Groves and Icon Worlds—they never made it to Earth.
I, though, didn’t forget her dream.
After arriving in the Creators Realm, I discovered three things:
One, I discovered how to take the model of Earth that Poppy and I had created, and turn it into a real portal that allowed me to actually visit the planet we had hitherto only eavesdropped on.
Two, I discovered that, though dinosaurs may have indeed roamed the Earth in prehistoric times, there were never any dragons—nor were there any actual maps making such claims (despite the fact that forgeries and fantastical imaginings abounded).
Three, I discovered that, though Poppy was gone, she wasn’t done creating. I discovered that Poppy, much like her beloved dragons, had a secret hoard. In that hoard, I discovered a cache of Soul Orbs. These orbs contained the essence of creatures created, but not yet born. The orbs contained dragons.
Upon making these discoveries, I embarked on my own quest. Map in hand, I visited Earth.
On the day of the Winter Solstice, I hovered above the Pacific Ocean, I wasn’t sure of the era of which I was visiting. Was it after the great dying that led to the creation of the icon worlds or before? Either way, I hoped that no soul—on sea or in the air—would pass close enough to spy the ritual that I was about to perform.
Wearing a heavy velvet coat and hat, I deposited the cache of Soul Orbs into the dull, blue water and watched as they sank below the surface.
I then recited the words that would bring them to life.
I rolled up the map and smiled. Next time, when I visit, there truly will be dragons here—if the current inhabitants of Earth take care of them.
I could only hope they would.
—Jellybean Reds, Creator of Little Creatures