Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Excerpts and Snippets: from 'Dragon in the Snow'

Today’s excerpt comes from “Dragon in the Snow”. I don’t know yet if it simply a novella or a a novel. It isn’t finished yet. But, yes, the story comes from the same realm as “Dani’s Song”. I told myself  I would write it if “Dani’s Song” found any kind of audience but changed my mind. I’m writing it anyway. What follows is the prologue I wrote.
Prologue: The Beginning of Myth

Once upon a time high up in the Mayatan Mountains dragons lived. In great abundance once but even in that long ago time there weren’t many left... Solitary . . . quiet creatures they bore little resemblance to the fiery, combative creatures of human myth. Given their choice, dragons would have avoided humankind and its kin altogether. There was, however, no true choice about the matter for dragons remember what humankind has chosen to forget.

Back in the Days of Creation when the Maker still walked the land . . . before the forming of the Willow Garden, the Maker made thousands of creatures before humans were made. Fantastical creatures. . .griffins. . .unicorns. . .flying horses. . .all the kith and kin of faerie. . .and, yes, dragons. When the Maker finally formed the first of humankind there was a pause before the awakening. The Maker looked around at all the fantastical creatures and thought deep and long.

“I wonder if I haven’t made a mistake at last. All of you are so strong and beautiful. I have given you so much magic. There isn’t much left. Strength . . . wings . . . years of life counting into the hundreds . . . even thousands. Humankind will look upon you with awe and wonder. Perhaps even a touch of envy. They will know their own weaknesses.”

“Perhaps so,” rumbled the griffins, shaking their manes of fire. “But is there not something unique left You can give them?”

“Perhaps,” the Maker murmured softly and tapped fingertips together for not an inconsiderably long time.

The creatures gasped as the Maker opened a fingertip and three drops of celestial light formed. The first was the palest iridescent blue, the second a rich golden, and the third a shimmering rose. Slowly the drops fell, illuminating the air then disappearing into the newly made form. Sheets and columns of light seemed to flow and dance through the sleeping figure.
“What? What have You given them?”  There was a loud outcry from all the creatures. “Us You simply made. What have You done?”
The Maker smiled. “The only thing I could do . . . the only thing I could give . . . part of Myself.”
The creatures were appalled, rocked. Some went almost crazy with jealousy. This fragile skinned thing now shivering in the cold unable to warm itself was the vessel for part of the Maker? What made it worthy of such a gift? Why? All those questions and more the other creatures asked and asked again but the Maker just smiled and walked away.
“Unjust!” The chimeras protested.
“Why them and not us?” The phoenix roared.
“Intolerable!” The serpents of the deep declared.
And so, out of a pique of jealousy and ignorance, the Great Tribulation between humankind and Creation began. Battles of epic proportions at first then smaller skirmishes as the creatures began to realize their rivals were more than a match for them. Thin-skinned, humans learned to clothe themselves. Hunted and tormented, they learned how to fight back with amazing cunning and remarkable perseverance but even so the other creatures did not relent. Simple jealousy had turned into a burning rage bent on humankind’s total destruction.
The conflict was both successful and unsuccessful, depending on one’s point of view. Human adaptability and ability to learn eventually drove most of the creatures into far off, unreachable places or into the very land of misty myth. For all their strength and long lives they could not match the human creation. Jealous rage was replaced by angry fear and deep felt pain, for none of them reproduced at any frequent interval. Young ones and hatchlings came rarely so each loss was deeply felt. No, they were no match at all for humankind’s ability to reproduce in just ten short moons.
For some centuries, as has been told, the dragons were able to hold out in the high mountains. They unsuccessfully tried to reason with the others. The most they could do was keep to their selves but still it did not keep them from being hunted by the humans for the crimes of their kin and sometimes for no reason at all. Soon, even in the fastness of the high mountains, there were less than a hundred left. Blessedly, as the dragons became more and more reclusive, humans forgot about them, except in song and story. And yet dragons remembered . . . everything.
Is it a love story? Oh, yes . . . always.

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