I know we don't very often go fantasy here at Sunday Scribblings, and this doesn't have to be if you don't want to go there. It is inspired by this J.R.R. Tolkien quote: "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."
by C. Deanne
Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved
Pragmatism, child. I have taught you since you played as a hatchling in the trees.
Yet another harvest, my daughter. And still, you do not listen. You will see for yourself if I am right in so teaching you.
This stone shelf is warm. The sun loves it here, high on the mountain, above the trees. Your bones and flesh will warm on this smooth stone well into autumn. Keep it clean, my child. It does not belong to us, really. Lord Arawn has not come here in many good long years but he will one day. They always do and out of politeness and regard for their courtesy, you must keep the shelf clean. He and his people have never once hunted you or your brother. For that matter, they have never bothered me, your father or any of your sires; that means something. Do not forget. This is their holy place.
There are many things that I will miss. I have many memories here, most of them are good. Just the few bad ones from my youngest days. I befriended a little girl at the root of one of the mountains. Her hair was gold, like armor on your chest and she was sweet as ripened berries in summer. Many a fine talk we had when she was a little one and I a dragonling. We walked the tree line. We hid, or we thought we hid, from her mother. Her mother said nothing, bowing her head towards me; she never said a word to me. And the little girl—what was her name, it's been so long? She used to run to me, her curls bouncing in the summer fields when the wildflowers were in bloom. So pretty she looked, so pretty that I forget how sick I would get from the flower dust.
The winter was particularly harsh that year and their days from the Flood were young. Their hovels were dirty and drafty and a fair one could become sick. Quickly. Like a sudden wind from the North, blowing the leaves away. No more bouncing curls. No more little walks. Her mother's vacant stare. She wouldn't look at me. Even when she was bent with age.
And now listen to me, daughter. You are your father's daughter. I try to spare you such pain. It has never left me, after all these long years. The hot summer sun should comfort my old bones, the fields swelling with grass and I still catch myself thinking about a mother's loss when I was a dragonling.
I have cleaned the ancestral home as best as I could. I put all the dried bones in the privy. The tunnels are smooth from many sires. You would do well to keep them tidy. The tunnels are smooth from many sires; will you remember them? They had all gone before and many of them had left by the time you hatched. Now there are the three of us and now, there will be only two of you.
I have tried to reason with your brother but he is lusty with greed. Balor has promised him the Jewels of Arawn and he listens. Perhaps he will listen to you. Understand me. He will die if he holds to this promise and maintains the covenant. For what has Balor to offer him that he does not have already and more? His hoard is ten times what Balor offers. Greed. It has been the bane of many of my cousins. Many more left and crossed the great sea; more moved to other mountains and other kingdom. The spring wind blows from the waters but I feel their presence no more.
Balor will cause you trouble, but not the way that you think. He will not dare to defy you or gather your blood. He may be blind, but he is cunning like a snake. Like us, I suppose. He offers jewels and riches that he does not have. He seeks to regain glory; glory that he never had. He claims that the land belongs to him and his people. Bah! His people were starving to death before the outsiders. He taxed the outsiders, bullied the peasants, and gave them earls that couldn't grow a clover in the middle of a field. Who didn't know the land. Who forced those poor people to grow wheat crops in hardened clay. Stupidity. And the lowlands, where the water remained, they left untouched. Better they had raised cattle and sheep instead of scratching weeds. Better for us, aye? Ha. Yes, of course, better for us.
Balor will cause division. I have seen him go back to the henges. I have heard rumors for the jackdaws. He has started the sacrifices again, but he is smart. He uses the children of his enemies because he says they are pure and will be raised by the goddess. Did he even ask her if this is her will? He asks the fickle moon; she changes her mind at every turn. Foolishness.
The outsiders bring the cult, as they call it. The New religion. Mother and Father, Lord Arawn, we worship the same Chreawdwr and have for time forgotten. His Lordship comes to this very spot to summon our God; if I remember correctly, God will answer him right here. You might remember the last time. It was just before Balor wiped out the Nemedians. Arawn asked for guidance, if he should be involved. Fool. He asked too late and could not, would not wait. Bloodshed everywhere and our kindred flew in from all parts to feast. Balor killed many of them, dear friends, draining their blood and storing it away. My brother, your uncle wouldn't listen; he fell and I felt his loss deep in my heart. The Nemedians are gone and those that survived sailed the Western Shores. They weren't all bad. No. But they are all alike, my daughter, all of them; they are like the cornflower and speedwells blooming in the summer and perishing in the new moon of fall. You must protect your golden heart from them or it will be broken.
These past months I flew the length of the Range and back. I glided the turgid currents until I thought my wings would fold in the air. I built up my strength, daughter, for my long journey.
We knew this parting would come for it is part of who we are. We may linger for an age and there comes a time inside us to leave and forsake. To push the memories and the past behind and soar to the new. I am going to your father and his people. I feel his presence yet, strong and vital. They have strange ideas, being from the west. He had a keen interest in relationships with men and women, particularly with children. He enjoys helping them and serving them. I always admired that their brevity never scarred him as it has me. Perhaps admired isn't the right word. Respected. Yes. I respected your father's pragmatism.
The winds between summer and autumn will go with me so I must leave now. You may visit anytime you wish. You will not, of course, but you are always welcome to fellowship with me. I will feel your presence during this time of year; you have only to send your thoughts to the wind and I will hear them as you will hear me in the early spring.
Ah, daughter. You are beautiful and strong, wise and kind. How proud I am of who you have become. How proud your grandsires would be. In my heart, I feel they are proud of you even now.
One more thing. The jackdaws are our friends; they will bring you news from all over the realm and from Dyfydd and Rheged. Their constant chattering can be irritating but they are good company and loyal. Do not forsake them in their time of need.
Your father told me when you were a dragonling that his home was so different. He lives in the water and makes his home in caves beneath them. He once told me, though, that caves such as ours dot their mountains. Still, he told me his land is harsh, with taller mountains and few meadows. As beautiful as they are and as many painful and pleasant memories they bring, I will not miss them. Every spring, every year I become sick.
I haven't forgotten anything. I thought I would. Only heed my words. You are a dragon and you are long lived. Pragmatism will keep you alive; do not trust your heart to men. They do not live long and each time you love one of them, your heart will be crushed. The Chreawdwr blessed us and punished us with long life and strong memory. Take heed.
How proud I am of you, my beautiful child with the golden heart.