The Great Dragons
“All right Chloe, hop into bed,” Aunt Astrid said to her precocious niece. It was well past the little one’s bedtime, and her usual enthusiastic personality was beginning to show cracks in its veneer.
Chloe did as she was told and nestled into the overstuffed down comforter and pillow. She stifled what must have been the hundredth yawn of the evening and asked, “Well you tell me a story before you go?”
Giving her sleepy niece a mock frown, Aunt Astrid assented and asked, “What would you like to hear?”
“I want to hear about dragons!” Chloe shouted excitedly, almost launching herself out of her nest of blankets and pillows.
“OK, OK,” Aunt Astrid said holding her hands up in front of her in a vain attempt to quiet the child. “What kind of dragon story? I know several.”
Without a moment’s pause, Chloe replied, “One with beginnings.”
“Interesting request. I think I know just the story.” Seating herself on the edge of Chloe’s bed, her aunt began to tell the story of The Great Dragons.
“Long ago, before humans roamed the earth, even before there were stars in the sky or planets spinning through the black abyss of space, two great equal, yet opposite forces emerged from the ether. These forces called themselves Kahna and Theric. We know them as the Great Mother and Father Dragons. Out of nothing they appeared, traveling together for an eternity, spiraling through the nothingness in love’s deep embrace.”
“What does ‘love’s deep embrace’ mean?” Chloe interrupted, snuggling deeper into her fluffy pillow.
Her aunt considered this question for a moment and replied, “It’s like a hug.”
Chloe frowned, mulling this over. “Then why not just say hug?” she asked.
“’Love’s deep embrace’ is more poetic.”
This seemed to satisfy the bright second-grader and she nodded for her aunt to continue.
“I’m surprised you didn’t ask what ether was.”
“I know what ether means. Great Uncle Joe gave me that word on my spelling test last week.”
Aunt Astrid nodded remembering her father’s spelling tests as a child. They were a weekly task during summer vacation, and just like any other chore, they had to be completed before going out to enjoy one’s self in the summer sun.
“Now, where was I?”
“’Love’s deep embrace’,” Chloe answered helpfully
Smiling to herself, Aunt Astrid continued, “Kahna and Theric spun through the nothingness in each other’s arms in a swirl of emerald greens and sapphire blues, until one day Kahna belly, full of eggs began to ache as its cargo strained against her lazuline abdomen. She pulled away from her mate, clutching her abdomen in pain. Theric seeing this exhaled forth from him mighty lungs a great fireball for Kahna to deposit her eggs.
“What’s lazuline?” Chloe inquired sleepily.
“Blue. No more interrupting.”
“Kahna circled around the ball of fire, releasing egg after egg until all had been placed in their fiery nest where they incubated. Shortly after laying her clutch, Kahna became tired and sluggish. She took no pleasure in flying, she began to lose weight, and her beautiful blue scales lost their luster. Just as Kahna closed her eyes for the last time, the first eggs began to hatch.
Theric, filled with grief, held Kahan’s lifeless form tight in his arms, his tears running along her beautiful, sparkling scales. Theirc’s grief was too much for him to bare, before the first of his offspring emerged from the fire, he too died, clutching onto his love. Together in death, they tumbled through the black emptiness of space, forever spiraling.
The first to emerge from the fiery nest was Malik, a bright red dragon with fierce blue eyes. Seeing his parents spinning in a swirl of greens and blues, he flew to them. Soon to follow was a much smaller, orange dragon with a kind face and friendly eyes who called herself Savil. Seeing her brother near the bodies of their parents, she went to his side to grieve with him. She was followed Maric, Tulic, Galve, and hundreds more. Together they gathered around the bodies of Theric and Kahah, mourning the parents they would never know.
Their tears fell upon the elder dragons, mixing with their father’s to fill the low areas to create the first oceans. Their wing beats birthed the four winds whose momentum began to move the pair towards the fireball nest where they fell into orbit, circling and circling without end.
Over time, Theric and Kahna’s bodies became the earth. Their wings became the mountains ranges. Their mouths vast, deep caverns. For an eon or more, the young dragons enjoyed the world created by their parent’s bodies. Here they played, frolicked, and slept in complete happiness. Then one day, Savil desired something more. She thought hard and channeled her longing, creating the first plants, which would grow into majestic forests. Seeing what their sister had done, the other dragons joined her. Maric created the animals of the sea. Tulic produced the birds of the air. Galve fashioned the beasts of the land. Each dragon following suite until the earth was full of creatures great and small, from the largest whale in the ocean to the smallest microbe floating in the air.
The young dragons looked over their wonderful land and were pleased with what they had created. However, one dragon was not content. Malik, the firstborn looked over his siblings’ handiwork with his hard blue eyes, and anger began to fill his heart. No matter how hard he tried, Malik was unable to create anything. Jealousy began to overtake him, and he grew to despise his brothers’ and sisters’ powers. Determined to either destroy all they had created or rule over it all, Malik began to turn his siblings against one another through deceit and subterfuge. The end result was a war amongst the young dragons. One side led by Malik. The other by Savil.
The battles were gruesome and deadly, leaving none who participated untouched. The bodies of those who perished became planets like their parents. Other became so consumed with rage that they exploded in a brilliant flash of flames becoming suns like the one from which they hatched. Scales shed on the battlefields became the stars, sprinkling the night darkened sky with tiny pinpoints of light, shimmering forever in the distance.
Things went on this way for so long that the dragons could scarcely remember the peaceful days they had once enjoyed until only Malik and Savil were left. All their brothers and sisters had lost their lives in the epic battles that had raged on for more than a millennia.
Malik, sensing that his ambition to rule over all the cosmos was at hand, cooked up a scheme to persuade his sister to meet him near their favorite ocean where they had played as children. There he set a trap that would surely kill her. However, Savil knowing that she could never trust a dragon who had sacrificed all of his siblings for power pretended to go along with Malik, suspecting that his arrogance would leave his guard down, giving her the chance to strike. Savil was not disappointed by Malik’s pride and as soon as his back was turned, she was on him, ripping at his ruby scaled back and wings with her razor sharp claws and teeth. Malik tried to dislodge Savil from his back, but she was too quick for him.
Digging her claws in deeper, Savil began to beat her wings fiercely, lifting her and Malik into the sky. Once they were high enough to make the vast forests a green blur below them, Savil released her grip. Malik fell, unable to make his ruined wings work. With a mighty crash, he collided with the Earth, blowing enough dust and debris into the atmosphere that the sun’s life-giving rays would be dimmed for a hundred years.
Malik’s crumpled and destroyed body lay at the bottom of a deep crater, his blood seeping into the soil. From this mixture of soil and dragon’s blood emerged the first people. Savil watched as a few of these new humans wobbled on unsteady legs. She noticing the cool calculating gleam in their eyes and was reminded of Malik’s thirst for power. Wanting to add balance to humankind, Savil opened a vein in her arm and rained blood down upon Malik’s broken body. The mixing of their blood gave those yet to emerge a conscience which the first had been lacking.
Sighing at the horrors of the war and at the loss of her precious siblings, Savil flew high above the Earth until it was just a beautiful blue and green sphere spinning in the abyss and space, and curled herself into a ball to sleep. Her body can still be seen today in the night sky, keeping watch over her beautiful forests and all the creatures created by her wonderful brothers and sisters.”
“It’s sad that Malik never knew he could create things like his brothers and sisters,” Chloe commented, half asleep. “Maybe he wouldn’t have been so mean if he had known.”
Kissing her sweet, astute niece’s forehead, Astrid stood, turned off the bedside lamp and quietly made her way out of the room.
This original piece of short fiction was originally published December 9, 2013 on DuelingLibrarians.net