Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dragon's Heart- Story of the Brethren

by LaVerne Thompson

From fire we’re born,
from fire we thrive,
from fire we breathe,
by fire we die.

Once, these majestic beasts soared through the heavens at will.  Masters of wind, rain, thunder, and lightning. Favored by Mother Earth and ruling over her domain, but all that happened before man embraced the coming of the one God and Earth magicks slowly disappeared. Or so legend had it.  
Once, dragons numbered in the hundreds thousands, but only a handful of hatchlings had been born in a thousand years. Their number slowly dwindled.  
Once, predators now prey. With their magic weakening, humans—with the help of one of the brethren’s own—hunted and killed dragons, their mates and any offspring.  The survivors of the purges had to leave Mother Earth or die. Earth was no longer safe. Only one place left they could go. 
The brethren had to return to the lost land of their beginning by opening a gateway to another realm. Earth was merely one of many worlds existing on parallel planes and those with the knowledge and the power could travel through gateways connecting them but at a great risk. They were unsure how to open such a gate or where they would end up if they succeeded. Memory said it could be done. They had to try or die.
Still, some decided to stay. Earth was home. To remain behind and survive, they would willingly forgo their birthright, forever shed their dragon skin, drain their remaining powers and become fully human. 
Some simply wanted to die as dragons on this world. They were too old for change. Dragons had roamed Earth’s skies for ten thousand years. The brethren could not imagine a sky without dragons in flight. Some would not surrender this heritage. They refused to live as anything other than what they were on the planet of their birth. 
Before the first of the sun's rays crested the eastern horizon, dragons gathered at their sacred place high in a remote, hard to get to area in the Sperrin Mountains of Erin, an area few humans had ever seen, but every dragon knew. It was a special place, a circle of power controlled by a ring of stones with no name where the first dragon appeared.
Those who would journey in search of the world from whence they began formed a circle around one dragon. The strongest amongst them stood in the center of the stones, his massive twelve foot frame dominating the area. Like the first dragon who opened the portal, a Dark Dragon Lord led them. As dark as the deepest night, as memory said the first Dragon Lord to have been. Unlike other dragons, whose scales shimmered with a spectrum of colors, his scaled massive form seemed to absorb light. No color whatsoever reflected off a hide appearing as smooth as silk but impregnable as titanium. 
His raised great head showed a spiked ridge running from the bridge of his nostrils over his skull down the length of his body. Green slitted eyes—the only color on him—filled with emerald fire, looked around at the dragons gathered just within the circle and outside it.  He turned so he could survey them all. No great number remained.
His father—their leader—dead, killed by treachery. His mother’s dying roar of rage still echoed in his blood, but before she died she destroyed the one who killed her mate.  Draakar had come to their aid too late. He was young for a dragon, but as their son and the most powerful among them, he led now as their Dark Lord, and he would not let the brethren down. But, so few of them were left to lead. So many dead or their magick weak. He could wait no longer.
He’d mated last night, joining with the strongest female amongst the remaining brethren, a mate who could call forth his powers. Draakar hoped it would be enough. He would make sure of it. In one last effort to save their race, he would use his powers to open a portal to another world.
The Dark Lord turned to look down at the smaller golden dragon standing at his side. The realization of what he had done fractured his heart. The pain something he would have to endure for the rest of his long life. The golden dragon was now his mate for life, but not by choice. His sacrifice for the brethren. Their needs over his own.
The dragons gathered channeled all their power to him, helping him open a gate to the beginning world. It had not been done in the time of any dragon alive, there had been no need, but it had been done in the long ago past, and dragons were long-lived with boundless memories. Need drove them to attempt it now. The memories in their blood, passed down to them from the first ancestors, promised it could be done. The first dragons, the forbearers, the ones who came from another place, showed them the way.  To a place not of this earth, not of this world.
Now the Dark Lord and his remaining brethren used those memories as a guide to their realm of origin. They dug deep within themselves to the part of their souls still binding them to a past left behind. From a time so long ago, no dragon living remembered this place, yet no living dragon could forget its existence.  Time to go home, back to their beginnings. Home to the birthplace of fire, the birthplace of the heart of the dragon—Akgon. They had to return home to survive. The time of dragons on earth was over.
As the sun glistened high in the sky, above the Dark Dragon Lord the very air trembled, a swirling gray cloudy mass appeared. They had done it, created a portal, but the Dark Lord had to maintain it. The only one strong enough to do so. He had to hold it open till all who wanted to go crossed over. One by one the dragons flew through and disappeared within the cloud until he remained the last of those who wanted to leave. Before leaving he tried one last time, sending a mental plea to his brethren who watched from the ridge. His great body shuddered with exhaustion from using such strong magicks but, by will alone, he would hold the gate open a while longer.
Come with us. It is not too late.
A unanimous response to his plea floated into his consciousness. No. But we wish you all a safe journey.
The Dark Dragon Lord had no choice. Even his great strength could not hold the gate open much longer. Then I wish you speed beyond the wind. Goodbye.
With a heavy heart for those electing to stay, for the life they left behind, Draakar raised his wings and followed his remaining brethren through the gate. A bright flash of silver lightning appeared to swallow him as he crossed over. The swirling cloud folded in on itself, forever closing the gateway behind him, leaving a faint scent of smoke upon the air.
   The ones staying behind had little time for regret, much too late for that. Their combined strength would not equal the power of a Dragon Lord, and rarer, even those magicks available to the Dark Dragon. Only three had been born in their thousands of years on earth. Two were dead and the last survivor now gone.
With the sun hovering above the other horizon, casting the sky in a purple haze, the day ended. Tomorrow would be a new beginning. Those who chose to forsake their brethren heritage and become human shed their dragon skin for the last time. They changed as they turned, walking away from the stones on human legs, using the last of their magic to get down the mountain. A few others spread their iridescent wings and took to the heavens, one more time. For a short time, for the last time, dragons rode the currents in the night sky until those too were gone.
 Gone to die. 
Those who chose life joined with humans and never passed down the secret of their dragon ancestry to their offspring.
The dragon blood lay dormant. Even those with great promise of magicks were never taught. Those brethren now lived human lives, with human life spans. They had given up their magic. Finally, all who remained to teach their offspring and to show them the way of the dragon passed from life. And while the blood passed from generation to generation, weak in some, strong in others, it did not stir. There was no one left to call to it. Dragons became a thing of myth and legend. A fairytale.
Yet the dragon blood waits…it sleeps…
Dragons are known for their patience. 

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