I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jim Harold for the Cryptid Report.
Talking all about Dragons. Enjoy.
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jim Harold for the Cryptid Report.
Talking all about Dragons. Enjoy.
From the Master, Terry Pratchett
All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”
REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—”
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
“So we can believe the big ones?”
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
“They’re not the same at all!”
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY…
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“My soul is ten thousand miles wide and extremely invisibly deep. It is the same size as the sea, and you cannot, you cannot cram it into beer cans and fingernails and stake it out in lots and own it. It will drown you all and never even notice.”
There are writers who touch us, who teach us, who look at the world in eye-opening ways. Writers who not only reflect the world we live in but also dare to shape it into something the rest of us mere mortals had not even imagined. And when they are gone, and their voices silenced, there is a hole in the world; we are all the poorer for their passing.
For me, Ursula Le Guin was such a writer.
The Lathe of Heaven; Left Hand of Darkness; Tales of Earthsea; The Dispossessed…In Fantasy and Science Fiction, novels, short stories, poetry, and essays, she pushed boundaries and, ahead of her time, challenged us on subjects such as race, gender, love, ethical balance (her translation of Lao Tzu is wonderful), and the power of words. Her use of language was by turns elegant, wry, funny, and profound. Her observations of our human condition were both mystical and realistic, and, to this reader, failed utopias aside, ultimately hopeful. She also understood Dragons as well as any of us.
I could go on, but Ursula’s words are far better than mine. As Harold Bloom said, she “has raised fantasy into high literature for our times.”
She raised commencement addresses, too. The following is the speech she gave at Mills College back in 1983. It was wise 35 years ago and seems positively prescient today.
A Left-Handed Commencement Address
Mills College, 1983
I want to thank the Mills College Class of ’83 for offering me a rare chance: to speak aloud in public in the language of women.
I know there are men graduating, and I don’t mean to exclude them, far from it. There is a Greek tragedy where the Greek says to the foreigner, “If you don’t understand Greek, please signify by nodding.” Anyhow, commencements are usually operated under the unspoken agreement that everybody graduating is either male or ought to be. That’s why we are all wearing these twelfth-century dresses that look so great on men and make women look either like a mushroom or a pregnant stork. Intellectual tradition is male. Public speaking is done in the public tongue, the national or tribal language; and the language of our tribe is the men’s language. Of course women learn it. We’re not dumb. If you can tell Margaret Thatcher from Ronald Reagan, or Indira Gandhi from General Somoza, by anything they say, tell me how. This is a man’s world, so it talks a man’s language. The words are all words of power. You’ve come a long way, baby, but no way is long enough. You can’t even get there by selling yourself out: because there is theirs, not yours.
Maybe we’ve had enough words of power and talk about the battle of life. Maybe we need some words of weakness. Instead of saying now that I hope you will all go forth from this ivory tower of college into the Real World and forge a triumphant career or at least help your husband to and keep our country strong and be a success in everything – instead of talking about power, what if I talked like a woman right here in public? It won’t sound right. It’s going to sound terrible. What if I said what I hope for you is first, if — only if — you want kids, I hope you have them. Not hordes of them. A couple, enough. I hope they’re beautiful. I hope you and they have enough to eat, and a place to be warm and clean in, and friends, and work you like doing. Well, is that what you went to college for? Is that all? What about success?
Success is somebody else’s failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty. No, I do not wish you success. I don’t even want to talk about it. I want to talk about failure.
Because you are human beings you are going to meet failure. You are going to meet disappointment, injustice, betrayal, and irreparable loss. You will find you’re weak where you thought yourself strong. You’ll work for possessions and then find they possess you. You will find yourself — as I know you already have — in dark places, alone, and afraid.
What I hope for you, for all my sisters and daughters, brothers and sons, is that you will be able to live there, in the dark place. To live in the place that our rationalizing culture of success denies, calling it a place of exile, uninhabitable, foreign.
Well, we’re already foreigners. Women as women are largely excluded from, alien to, the self-declared male norms of this society, where human beings are called Man, the only respectable god is male, the only direction is up. So that’s their country; let’s explore our own. I’m not talking about sex; that’s a whole other universe, where every man and woman is on their own. I’m talking about society, the so-called man’s world of institutionalized competition, aggression, violence, authority, and power. If we want to live as women, some separatism is forced upon us: Mills College is a wise embodiment of that separatism. The war-games world wasn’t made by us or for us; we can’t even breathe the air there without masks. And if you put the mask on you’ll have a hard time getting it off. So how about going on doing things our own way, as to some extent you did here at Mills? Not for men and the male power hierarchy — that’s their game. Not against men, either — that’s still playing by their rules. But with any men who are with us: that’s our game. Why should a free woman with a college education either fight Machoman or serve him? Why should she live her life on his terms?
Machoman is afraid of our terms, which are not all rational, positive, competitive, etc. And so he has taught us to despise and deny them. In our society, women have lived, and have been despised for living, the whole side of life that includes and takes responsibility for helplessness, weakness, and illness, for the irrational and the irreparable, for all that is obscure, passive, uncontrolled, animal, unclean — the valley of the shadow, the deep, the depths of life. All that the Warrior denies and refuses is left to us and the men who share it with us and therefore, like us, can’t play doctor, only nurse, can’t be warriors, only civilians, can’t be chiefs, only indians. Well so that is our country. The night side of our country. If there is a day side to it, high sierras, prairies of bright grass, we only know pioneers’ tales about it, we haven’t got there yet. We’re never going to get there by imitating Machoman. We are only going to get there by going our own way, by living there, by living through the night in our own country.
So what I hope for you is that you live there not as prisoners, ashamed of being women, consenting captives of a psychopathic social system, but as natives. That you will be at home there, keep house there, be your own mistress, with a room of your own. That you will do your work there, whatever you’re good at, art or science or tech or running a company or sweeping under the beds, and when they tell you that it’s second-class work because a woman is doing it, I hope you tell them to go to hell and while they’re going to give you equal pay for equal time. I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated. I hope you are never victims, but I hope you have no power over other people. And when you fail, and are defeated, and in pain, and in the dark, then I hope you will remember that darkness is your country, where you live, where no wars are fought and no wars are won, but where the future is. Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing — instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls.
“And though I came to forget or regret all I have ever done, yet I would remember that once I saw the dragons aloft on the wind at sunset above the western isles; and I would be content.”
… The Farthest Shore
I hope you are content, Ursula. The world is diminished by your absence.
Books, Christmas gifts, Dragon Keeper's Handbook, Dragons for Beginners, Fiction, Jason and Robert Hook, Literature, Month of the Dragon, Pleasure-Dragon, Roger Zelazny, Terry Pratchett, WAFDE, Writing
Tell-a-Dragon-Tale Week is coming to a close. I hope everyone spent the chill October evenings gathered by the fireside, swapping rip-snorting, spikey-wikey Dragon stories.In bookstores and on Cyberian e-book shelves around the world, there is a treasure trove of draconic tomes. With Yule fast approaching – and knowing how Dragon and their people love books – I thought I would end the week mentioning a few volumes you might like to pick up for your libraries.
As MotD sponsor, I hope you will indulge me as I begin a few of works of my own…(Though linked to Lllewellyn, they are also available through Amazon and bookstores worldwide.)
The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook: Including the Myth & Mystery, Care & Feeding, Life & Lore of These Fiercely Splendid Creatures (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2011).
Here be Dragons……
Not the slavering, whimsical monsters from childhood fancies, but real Dragons—fierce, complex, wondrous, and wild. They do not require our belief; they never have.
With hard science, and myth, empirical wisdom and original line drawings, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook is the draconic enchiridion for the modern world, providing everything you need to know about these extraordinary beings. From disparate theories of Dragon evolution and the golden geometry of their form to modern conservation efforts and how to release a well-weaned orphan back into the wild, this book answers all your questions, even those you didn’t know to ask. From awe-inspiring Cosmic Creators to wee pisuhänds guarding hearth and home, discover the habits and habitats of Dragons and pseudo-dragons both familiar and rare.
The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook shows us how human and Dragon lives are bound together and why Dragons are now—and ever-will-be—relevant: In their wildness lie lessons for us all.
Dragons for Beginners: Ancient Creatures in a Modern World (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2012).
Welcome to Dragon Country!
Here Dragonfire sears the grass and the wind dances with Dragon-song. Here you’ll find true Dragons, real flesh-and-blood creatures that are as fiercely alive and majestic as they were thousands of years ago.
• Learn about the three true species: Eastern, Western, and Feathered • Explore how Dragons evolved and the various types of pseudo-dragons • Study the science of Dragons: size, diet, temperament, habitat, and more • Discover how Dragons impact religion, art, literature, and occult studies • Find out how to safely interact with Dragons
This essential, comprehensive introduction to Dragons is filled with what everyone must know about these extraordinary creatures. Whether a casual dracophile or a dedicated Dragon keeper, come explore what Dragons have to teach us about the world and our-selves. Discover how, with care and devotion, you can help save them from extinction.
And on the shorter side:
Because the Pleasure-Dragon Whistles, an e-tale. A young Welsh Dragon befriends a young Welsh poet. This is their story, wistful and funny as only Dragons and Bards can be.
For fans of the late, great, Sir Terry Pratchett – and who isn’t?- just out this month, Dragons at Crumbling Castle & Other Tales.
Today, I am pleased to step out of the way and turn the Nest over to another spinner of Dragon yarns, Cathy Sosnowski, and a soupçon from her book, Dragon Fire.
My name is Cathy Sosnowski, and I have been a writer and a storyteller all my life. It has only been over the past ten years I seriously began to put material together for publishing, for myself, my friends, and the children I teach.
Several years ago, as part of an English lesson for first graders, I began writing about an orphaned Christmas elf that got accidentally delivered to the home of a little girl on Christmas day. I enjoyed working out the details of riding the edge between fantasy and reality.Overtime, the one book became ten related stories, branching out into the realm of elves, dwarfs, fairies, pixies, and of course, dragons.
The excerpt I am sharing is from my first dragon story, DRAGON FIRE. There is a companion piece entitled JOURNEYS, which continues the tale, and a later story, HALF LIGHT, which includes more of the dragon story.
I’ve been an elementary school teacher for 37 years, love gardening, photography, reading fantasy, British literature, historical fiction, movies, and new age music. In 2014, I self-published a book entitled KOI GIRLS, which was about 5 girls who overcome the anguish of being bullied by joining together, supporting each other, and developing their individuality.
I’m an avid Facebook-er, and enjoy meeting people from all over the world. I’ve been married to my husband for 27 years, and have one son who loves to write as well.
Hope you enjoy my work!
CHAPTER FOUR: Glowing Is Good
Franklin stopped dead in his tracks.
He turned and looked at Drummon with dread in his eyes.
“Did you break into the chamber?” Franklin asked, his voice was cold as steel.
“No, we weren’t sure what to do. We wanted to ask you first.” Rom said, wondering why the leader was suddenly so still.
“Creator be praise,” Franklin whispered under his breath. “Tell them to stop. Leave the ‘drive’ immediately.”
“What do you think it is?” breathed Rom in wonder and the beginnings of fear.
“I don’t know but I want to be very careful. Tell them… now!” Franklin ordered.
Rom trotted back toward the mine with Franklin’s message.
A crowd was gathering around the mouth of the mine as Franklin approached.
Igo came to the surface and made his way to Franklin.
Franklin looked at Raiden and told her to make her way back to camp.
“Why?” she protested hotly.
“Now! Do as you are told!” he commanded.
Raiden shot her father an angry look and turned away from the mine, kicking rocks as she went.
Drummon’s heart was pounding. Was it possible? A treasure chamber! Could there be something guarding it? Could there, dear Creator! Could there be a dragon?
Miners were clambering up from the tunnels all gabbing with excitement. Dragons never crossed their minds. Franklin had never mentioned… the curse.
Dwarves were hard workers, their lives hammered out in the harsh reality of physical things. They did not waste their time trying to foresee the future or wondering about the past, unless it was a piece of information that could make their work safer or better. They did not rely much on labor saving devices, since labor was their first love.
Their lives were set squarely on the present and they solved problems as they went along. Dire omens, spooky curses were as nothing to them.
But for Franklin, his present was fast becoming a nightmare. He was covered in cold sweat as he crawled through the drives toward the spot where the light had been seen.
His mind was combing through things he had heard about dragons and the only thing he remembered for sure was “…if they were glowing, they wouldn’t be throwing, flames at you”. This silly piece of Dwarfling poetry made him laugh morbidly to himself thinking that THIS was all he had to rely on in such a life and savage death situation!
As he neared the end of the tunnel he saw it: a tiny pool of golden light coming from the crack at the base.
“No, no, no, no…” was all he could think now. He crawled closer, tried with all his might to see through the crack to know what was on the other side. He was too large to get into a good position and he greatly feared knocking any more of the wall down between him and, hopefully, a sleeping dragon.
When dragons were trapped in such a chamber, they generally fell into a type of hibernation or suspended animation until they were awakened. Then, once awakened, they were voraciously hungry and desperately thirsty and, well, you didn’t want to be directly in their path.
He crawled back carefully then called for Darian. Of all the dwarves present, Darian was the slenderest, even more so than Raiden. He would be able to maneuver better than anyone else.
Darian ran to the mine and shimmied through the tunnels with the speed of a weasel.
His eyes were filled with the light of adventure and pleasure at being able to be useful to his father, whom he loved.
Franklin swallowed hard seeing that light, understanding everything and knowing he was putting his beloved son in the face of unspeakable danger.
“I need you to move around and look through that crack and tell me what you see,” Franklin said with a waver in his voice.
“It’d be easier if we made the hole bigger, Father,” Darian said trying to be helpful.
“Yes, I know,” Franklin said now with a tremor in his hands, “But I don’t know what’s there. If it is not safe…” he nearly choked on the word, “then… I don’t want to open it up,” sweat was forming on his brow and beginning to run into his eyes, stinging them, making them tear.
“All right, Father,” Darian said. He squirmed around and around until finally, he got his eye close enough to peer through the hole…
“It’s a big room, Father,” he said in a hushed voice. “It’s all aglow with a yellow light.”
He squirmed a little more and said, “Oh, Father!”
Franklin was almost ready to cry out, “Is there a dragon?”
“Father, the walls are covered with the most beautiful opals in the world! Huge perfect, black, fire opals!”
Franklin’s heart skipped a beat. If that were true, his plan would be complete! Daria would have all the opals she could ever want. She could sell them to the highest bidders! Their lives would be set!
Darian squirmed a little more, then gasped! Franklin’s breathing and heart stopped…
Darian sat bolt upright with stark fear on his face.
Franklin grabbed the lad, thinking he might lose consciousness.
“What is it?” Franklin whispered savagely and shook Darian slightly.
Darian looked like a baby with large confused eyes, looking at his beloved father as if he knew him not.
“Darian!” his father barked hoarsely like a command. “Tell me what you saw!”
“Dragon,” Darian whispered and sobbed. “Father,” his voice was soft and shaky, “ there… is …a sleeping dragon…”
CHAPTER FIVE: Do We Stay or So We Go?
Franklin dragged Darian out of the mine. When the miners and Drummon saw their faces, especially Darian who looked like he was about to collapse, their questions flew loud and fast.
“Enough!” screamed Franklin. “Back to camp!” Drummon rushed to his side and helped him carry Darian back. Raiden ran out crying with confusion seeing her brother in such an extreme state. “What happened!”
Drummon and Franklin got Darian to a cot and laid him down.
“Your brother has had an awful shock. Care for him!” And with that, he left the tent and went to answer the turmoil outside.
Raiden turned tearfully to Drummon and asked, “What is going on?”
“I don’t know yet,” he said in his most calming voice. “Care for your brother now and the rest will… take care of itself, you’ll see.”
Raiden found some comfort in his words. The lack of panic in his voice reassured her enough to concentrate on Darian. “Besides, I might be able to find out from him…” she thought to herself.
Franklin faced what he expected to be a mob outside. Surprisingly, they were silent and listening.
“Clansmen, I’ll get right to the point. There is a dragon…”
A gasp came from the crowd. Even for plain speaking dwarves, that was blunt!
“It is not awakened, but we cannot be sure it will remain asleep,” he paused. “Also,” they all turned wondering what else would matter, “the chamber is lined with huge, perfect opals.”
For almost anyone else, opals or no, it was clear it was time to leave. But this was a clan of mining dwarves. Perfect fire opals weighed heavy on the “maybe we should stay and figure something out” scale.
“There should be some sort of guard,” one burly miner said.
“Indeed, and should that soul be unfortunate to be close by when Draco awakens, he’ll have the honor of being the way Draco’s fast is broken.” Franklin said.
A murmur went through the crowd. Some decided to leave. They were young and had many other mines to work. Franklin bid them farewell with full understanding and thanks for their labor. He also allowed them to pick their share from the already sorted opals.
Others wondered what they might do to distract the dragon. Then they could retrieve the priceless, opal in the chamber, which they now considered their rightful property.
After long debates, they decided to move their camp farther away from the mine under the protection of trees and close to small caves. They posted sentries for the night and planned to think about the possibilities before they made their final decisions.
Franklin checked in on his son and found he had recovered and was filling his sister in on everything. He explained to them that the mine was off limits and that they would probably be breaking camp soon.
“But, Father!” Raiden interjected. “If the opals are as splendid as Darian says, shouldn’t we be thinking of ways to get rid of the dragon or at least distract it until we get the jewels? After all, it is OUR mine and we put a lot of work into it already!”
“Well… technically, if the beast was here first, it would be the rightful owner…” Darian began, ever one to see both sides of a situation.
“Are you crazy?” Raiden retorted. “What does a dragon need with opals anyway? It doesn’t even look at them! It’s asleep, for goodness sakes, Darian!”
“I’m just saying that it might not see it that way…” Darian tried to explain.
“Who cares what a comatose dragon thinks, anyway,” Raiden ranted.
“YOU might, if it woke up and decided you’d make a tasty breakfast, and I guarantee you he won’t care what YOU think about it either,” Franklin butted in. “Besides, there is still some talk about finding a way around this, but I am making it CLEAR that you two are to stay HERE, while WE make up our minds. I want you safe as possible until your mother comes and we’ll decide about you then.”
“I’m staying,” Raiden declared, her jade green eyes glinting hard with resolution.
“We’ll SEE,” her father rejoined sounding more authoritative than he felt. Raiden was as self- willed as her mother.
This thought gave Franklin a jab in his heart. So many showdowns with Daria. So many nights arguing with her in vain, the same stubborn set of the eyebrows and mouth. Daria had won more of those matches than he would ever want to count. And yet… even as she stormed out, usually victorious, he could not help the smile that teased his lips and the admiration of her strength.
Raiden saw the change in her father’s expression. She knew he was thinking of her mother now. Before long, she would be forgotten and her mother would get all the attention. This was fine with Raiden because then she would be free to plot!
Late that night, Raiden crept into her brother’s tent and woke him from a sound sleep.
“What’s wrong!” he said with alarm, his voice breaking, thick with sleep.
“Shhhh!” she whispered hastily. “I only want to wake YOU and not everybody in camp!”
“Why am I so lucky?” he grouched rubbing his hands over his face to chase the mental cobwebs away.
“Because you’re going to take me to the dragon!” she whispered excitedly, her eyes aglow with mischief and adventure.
CHAPTER SIX: Because It’s There
Darian argued with Raiden using every logical and sensible reason he or any other sane dwarf would think of for staying put. Raiden watched him with a delighted smile on her lips, as if he were a cute, baby dwarfling babbling nonsense.
She waited patiently until he finished and then handed him his boots and said, “Let’s get going before the morning crew gets started!”
“Raiden! Haven’t you heard a word I said?” Darian demanded.
Raiden stopped dead in her tracks, put her hands on her hips, stared him directly in his eyes and said, “So you are going to let me go all by myself?”
It was Darian’s turn to stop dead in his tracks. “Are you serious?” he asked in disbelief.
“I’m going whether you come or not. I just want a peek at what we’re dealing with. I’m afraid Father will pull out and leave all that fabulous opal to rot in a hole because he won’t take the time to figure out a way around one, shabby, mangy, sleeping lizard!” she shot back at him.
“What do you care? Why is it such a big deal to you?” Darian asked. “Father already has a great haul of opal. Why do we need more?” Darian demanded.
“Because it’s THERE! Because it’s OUR MINE! Because we’ve worked TOO HARD! Because WE DESERVE IT! Take your pick!” she replied hands waving emphatically as she spoke.
“Raiden…” Darian began.
“Good night!” she said as she turned to leave, honey blonde hair whipping around as she headed for the tent flap, taking the light with her.
“Raiden, wait,” he whispered loudly, grabbing his shoes and trying to put them on as he chased after her disappearing figure, following the bobbling lantern light.
Raiden dimmed her lantern as she got closer to the mine peeking behind her, smiling broadly because she could hear Darian’s crunching steps trying to catch up with her. Her heart pounded with excitement, and was not sure whether it was about seeing a dragon or seeing the legendary opal treasure room.
When he finally caught up, winded and angry, she preempted his tirade by asking, “Which “drive” is it?”
“Raiden,” he panted breathlessly.
“WHICH IS IT?” she demanded.
Darian, with true regret, pointed.
Then Darian heard Raiden gasp! “Darian, I see it, the golden light! It’s here!”
“Shhh! Raiden, for Creator’s sake, keep it down!”
All he could hear was Raiden’s suppressed giggle as she scooted to the floor and tried to see into the crack at the base from which the liquid light poured.
“I’m going to make this hole a little bigger so I can get a better view,” she whispered.
Dread poured over Darian and his knees shook so badly he had to get down on them so he would not fall.
“Don’t… Raiden, please… don’t” he kept whispering to himself since it was hopeless to tell her.
“Darian,” she breathed in a long exhalation not knowing quite what to say at the sight before her. The circular room whose walls were lined with smooth, perfect fire opal was lit by a golden glow from the far side of the room. Next to the wall was a great mound of golden scales, its long neck curved elegantly, it had a rather dainty head, huge, closed, and almond- shaped eyes, with several horns forming a natural crown on the top of its head. Gigantic paws tipped with curved vicious looking claws lay motionless and relaxed.
“It’s true,” she wheezed in stunned wonder. She watched the extremely slow breathing of the dragon verifying that it indeed lived.
“Let’s go now Raiden, please, before something awful happens,” Darian managed to squeeze out of his throat constricted by fear.
“Give me a moment,” Raiden snapped as she tried to commit to memory every aspect of the treasure cave. “Now at least I know what we’re up against,” she declared as she got up.
“Thank you, thank you,” Darian whispered with all his heart.
Raiden pushed past him and was headed toward the surface with as much certainty as she had entered the cave.
Darian laughed weakly to himself. Raiden was always COMPLETELY sure about whatever she was sure about. Doubt was not a word in her vocabulary.
As he turned to follow her, he felt an odd sort of tingling on the top of his head. His hand moved unconsciously to the spot as if to brush away the sensation.
He was frozen with… horror… and slowly turned toward the wall leaking golden light more profusely than before.
Again, the tingling, the thrill, the voice, “Da…ri…an, what … do you dooo… here?”
“Who … speaks?” Darian almost squeaked. His mouth was as dry and dusty as the voice.
“Na…wa…ra….” breathed the voice in his mind and as it entered it filled his mind with golden light, even with his eyes closed, and resounded all through him, filled his soul with strength and power, yet he could tell that it was depleted, not complete…
“What do you do here, Darian?” the voice repeated as it seemed to probe every corner of his conscious and unconscious self, like a robber searching a home broken into for something specific, something of great worth.
Before he could devise a plan, Darian simply said, “My sister wanted to see you.”
“That is true,” answered the voice, now taking on a feminine quality, soft, but still probing.
“My treasure room as well, I see,” it continued.
“Yes, that too,” Darian answered, sadly but truthfully.
“You do not lie to me, this is new,” mused the voice.
“I don’t want to,” Darian replied, truthfully again.
“Yesss, I see that too,” answered the voice with a hint of surprise.
Oddly enough, Darian not only HEARD the dragon’s surprise, he felt it too!
“Darian, what are you?” Nawara asked softly again but somewhat perplexed.
Before he knew it, Darian’s answer came to him as a flash of deep understanding and he said, “Someone who would like to be your friend.”
Startled, the dragon paused a few moments, pondering this new sensation. She had heard long ago how dragons had been beguiled into friendships with humans, elves, or worse yet dwarves, only to be cruelly deceived or killed. But she also knew of those few and fortunate dragons who had bonded, bonded heart, mind, spirit, to a special soul, a Rider.
She had forgotten the rising ire that had awakened her from her long, deep, dreamless sleep. Here in her hidden treasure room that no other creature could claim, for she had made it herself, she lived in self-imposed isolation, too disheartened to walk amid the world of thinking, grasping, killing creatures without becoming one of them.
“Let me see you,” Nawara said, curiosity painting each word.
Darian turned and walked toward the puddle of light. He knelt and peered through the larger hole Raiden had made.
Nawara was looking at him, her pale, orange eyes scanning what she could see. A cloud of yellow hair, huge brown eyes, but not enough…
“More,” she whispered her curiosity growing.
Darian knocked down more of the wall. Suddenly, he, too, wanted a better view.
The crumbling wall fell at Darian’s feet. The dust swirled around and around in the golden light.
Then, as it cleared, Darian could see Nawara’s full size and breathtaking beauty. While the scales that covered her were a golden yellow, he could see that they were also iridescent, and changed slightly as she breathed in and out.
Nawara could see Darian was … a dwarf, a species known to be the enemy of dragons because, oddly enough, they shared the same fatal lust for gems, jewels, and precious metals.
She sighed with disappointment and disgust, closing her eyes and shaking her head but then… she felt a tingling on the top of her head and down her long spine. A voice in her mind said, “So, you are that disappointed in me?”
Her eyes flew open in shock. She looked at Darian who now stood in the doorway between them, hands on his hips… laughing!
Never had any being, besides another dragon, enter her mind as Darian just had!
“I see you are surprised,” he continued without moving his lips which were smiling.
“How…? How are you doing this?” Nawara sputtered.
“I haven’t the slightest clue!” he replied laughing again.
The fresh joy in Darian’s heart flowed into Nawara and she felt young and free again! How long had her heart been closed and dark, scarred with old hurts, so much so, she had wanted nothing more than to sleep her life away!
“May I approach you?” he asked with respect and care.
Nawara felt wary, not ready to go that far, too dazzled by this sudden turn of events.
“No… at least… not yet. I have not recovered fully from my dormancy. Do leave now Darian, but please, come back at sunset tomorrow… Will you?”
Darian thought he had heard a tremor in her voice and was touched by her question.
“Aye, I will,” Darian answered sending waves of assurance along with his words.
Nawara felt the thrill of his assertion and was quite overcome by emotion.
“And Darian,” she returned in a soft whisper, “don’t tell anyone yet, not even Raiden, that I am awake.”
Darian had misgivings about this then answered, “Very well, not yet.”
Nawara felt a wave of trust rush through her. She closed her eyes to savor it and nodded, resting her head, thoroughly exhausted by the encounter.
Darian turned and quietly left the drive, thoroughly exhilarated by the experience and full of wonder and awe.
Animation, Dragon Keeper's Handbook, Dragonkeeping, Dragons, Four Dragons, Fractured Fairy Tales, Month of the Dragon, Reversal of the Heart, Short films, SIntel, Storytelling, Tell-a-Dragon-Tale, WAFDE
The Dragons here at the Nest have decided it’s time to jump into the 21st century – at long last – and include among this week’s tales those told in images as well as words.
So, from the delightfully ridiculous to the draconically sublime, I present a handful of Dragon-centric stories. We start by traveling back to whimsical days in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota when Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle the Moose entertained us with Fractured Fairy Tales. And thanks to the wonders of Youtube, we don’t even have to bother Mr. Peabody for the use of his Wayback (aka WABAC) Machine.
The Thirteen Helmets:
From the other side of the world – and the creativity of T Arts Detroit – there is the ancient myth of the Four Dragons and the Jade Emperor.
In “Reversal of Heart,” we exchange ancient sensibilities for modern ones. Carolyn Chrisman has created a touching tale of karma and being not always as one seems.
And, finally, a favorite of mine that goes right to the heart of Dragons, people, and what it means to be wild: Sintel – Girl With Dragon Story.
I hope you enjoy them all.
Tomorrow, a special treat: Guest Dragon tale-spinner, Cathy Sosnowski shares a taste of her book, Dragon Fire.
Game of Thrones is many things, not least of which is infuriating.
I nearly threw things at my TV when Dany – Mother of Dragons – dared chain her children in the dark. This is not how one treats Dragons!
Imagine my delight when Tyrion released them. (Ok, they’re still not flying free but it’s a start.) And his words to them cannot help but touch every Dragon-lover’s heart. Here is a man who truly understands Dragons.
Well done, Tyrion!
Since my new story for this year’s Tell-a-Dragon-Tale week won’t be ready for this space until tomorrow, I thought I’d offer something else – someting older – today.
For all my e-book savvy friends and fellow WAFDE members – and anyone else for that matter – my story, Because the Pleasure-Dragon Whistles, will be downloadable free from Smashwords through October 24. Simply click on the title above or cover image below, follow the link, and use coupon code WC46J. (It is also available at Amazon, but for some reason they won’t let me give it away. Going to have to talk to the Dragons about that.)
This story follows a young Welsh Dragon and the boy poet he befreinds from the streets of Swansea to the concrete wilds of New York City. It is on the lyrical side, but I hope you all enjoy.
And should you feel inspired to leave a few words of review on its page, this scribe would be forever grateful.
Now…back to finishing tomorrow’s tale….