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Ellean padded slowly into a guest room, his belly full and tail hanging low after his long journey. His hosts had been kind enough to put him up for the night. He nearly repaid them by tripping over their son who lay in a darkened sleeping corner of the cavern. The young hatchling didn't notice him at first and simply remained staring at his paws in silence. Ellean imagined the child was upset and had hoped to find solitude in the rarely used guest room. Quietly, Ellean lay down before him and whispered, ?Hello, little one. I'm Ellean. What's your name??

The hatchling looked up, startled and shy, ?I'm?Raj.?

Ellean smiled warmly, hoping to calm the small black dragon, ?Why are you hiding here??

Raj paused a long moment before replying, ?All my friends have begun to gather their hoard?they tease me for being too weak. I try so hard, but I can't find anything of worth!? The young dragon scratched his little claws against the rocky floor in agitation.

Ellean nodded, thinking for a few moments. ?It's hard to live up to the expectations of others. Come. I have something to show you.? He turned, heading back to the mouth of the cave. Raj followed curiously, and the two dragons emerged beneath a glittering night sky, dazzlingly lit by countless points of starlight.

Ellean pointed upwards to six stars in particular, looking as if they had been purposely arranged into a perfect hexagon in the sky. ?Do you see those six stars, Raj??

The young dragon nodded, ?What are they??

Ellean began to tell a story, ?That is Lyshaan. Long ago, a hatchling named Lysh desired a hoard, just like you. His father was a great Lunus warrior, his mother a great Helian scholar. They were both revered among their community; respected for setting their differences in philosophy aside to become a symbol of the power of wisdom and united strength. They were granted a lair in a prime location: a towering oceanfront cliff with balmy, cerulean waters and blazing white sand as far as the eye could see. Yet their home was modest, without the usual finery that many dragons use to show off. They were often given gifts or payments for their services, but they had no need to display it, often giving it back to others who were more in need. They tried to teach Lysh that true worth comes from within, not from possessions.?

Raj furrowed his brow, ?But is there not a magic in possessions to make us stronger??

Ellean laughed softly, ?Indeed there is a magic, for dragons. Yet it is only a small measure of our true strength. Lysh would visit his friends and see the riches that their parents displayed, and he would become green with envy. Many of his friends had already received small gifts from their parents, while Lysh's den remained barren.?

?One day, Lysh noticed a sparkle near the top of the cliff face, hundreds of leagues above him. The more he stared and squinted, the more he became convinced it must be the treasure he so desired! Try as he might, his claws could not grip the cliff, and his wings were far too small to carry him to his prize. For weeks, he struggled with the unrelenting rock, ignoring the beauty of his home and becoming increasingly depressed and frustrated. Even so, perseverance can pay off: it was only a matter of time before his claws became long and hard enough to bite the rock, each day digging out paw-holds until his talons dulled to uselessness. His parents refused carry him up, thinking this whole ordeal might teach him a lesson, or at least build his strength.?

The little dragon interrupted, ?Did he make it to the top? Was it treasure??

Ellean laughed, ?Lysh did eventually reach the top. Panting and claw worn, he struggled up the last few feet and collapsed upon a narrow ledge of rock. As everyone had told him, there was no treasure, just pieces of shiny quartz embedded in the stone. Lysh roared in anguish, his muzzle falling to the ground, tail lashing against the cliff as if to punish the very stone itself, until even his tail became still from exhaustion.?

?Night had fallen by the time Lysh awoke. When a dragon first awakens, there is a moment when he does not remember his own problems. Indeed, our problems and even the names we have been given are things we must remind ourselves of as consciousness sets in. So it was that for the first time in a long time, Lysh was awestruck by the beauty of the night sky, not remembering where he was or how he got there. It was a night much like tonight, and he found that from his lofty height he could see over the top of the cliff to a part of the sky he had never seen before. There were those six stars, set out as if to form the outline of some shining jewel in the darkness.?

?Lysh's parents had tried to teach him to appreciate the beauty of the world around him, that the stars were the only jewels he truly needed. Yet Lysh preferred to imagine the stars were other worlds, filled with limitless wealth. Suddenly remembering his quest, he took this new constellation as a sign: those six stars must contain the greatest source of wealth in all the heavens. Lysh could be the richest dragon on his world, if only he could reach those stars.?

Raj's eyes lit up, his muzzle hanging open a bit, imagining what wealth each star above might contain.

Ellean caught on and laughed softly, ?Of course, Lysh's friends called him a fool. Not even the ancients could fly high enough to reach the stars! Yet no one could tell Lysh with any certainty that the stars could not contain the riches he so longed for. Lysh became even more obsessed, beating his wings for hours each day, encouraging them to grow strong, knowing of no other way to reach the heavens. Every day, Lysh would exhaust himself with his exercises, and then he would lay curled into a ball in the sand, his body aching and mind filled with longing for the wealth he never truly believed could be his. Yet fear of failure kept him going, unable to face the shame of a second failure in the eyes of his peers. His parents grew truly worried, finally offering him gifts for his hoard, if only he would drop his foolish quest. Yet this would no longer satisfy Lysh; indeed, it never would have. He could not tear his eyes away from the promise of limitless treasure in the sky.?

?Lysh must have given up eventually!? the hatchling chimed in.

Ellean shook his head sadly, ?Nay, he did not give up. It would take two agonizing seasons for his body to mature enough for flight. Eventually, Lysh was able to glide down from the top of his cliff-side home, his wings straining, never able to gain altitude. Finally, one glorious day, he rose! Crying out with glee, he circled higher, beating his wings furiously. Yet he soon tired and came gliding back down, grounded once more to lie in a despondent heap. Each day he could fly higher, and even most of his older friends could not follow, their wings never having been put through the rigors of his own.?

?In fact, Lysh was perhaps the youngest dragon ever to fly! Shamefully, he took no pride in this accomplishment, ignoring the spectacle of the vast landscapes that stretched below him, his eyes seeing only his prize in the stars. One day, his parents watched in trepidation as Lysh finally climbed out of sight. Crying out for him to return, they flew upwards, trying to spot his outline against the black of night. They could not reach him. Young Lysh was gone, never to return.?

The little black dragon's eyes widened in awe, ?He couldn't have reached the stars, could he??

Ellean pointed to the ring of six stars, ?Do you see there, off a little to the right of the center of the ring? There is a very dim star. They say that star appeared the night Lysh flew away, and it has been growing dimmer ever since. Many believe that it is Lysh himself, still on his endless journey towards the riches he can never possess. That is why we call those stars the constellation Lyshaan, the unattainable jewel.?

Ellean turned to look at the hatchling seriously, ?Young one, we must appreciate what we have, and what is around us. Do not lament your lack of hoard, for if you look inside, you will find you have far more to offer than what you seek to possess.?

Raj nodded wordlessly, his eyes bright as they gazed up at the stars above. Ellean smiled softly once more and turned, padding off to rest his weary body in preparation for his own trials to come.