Sunday, September 10, 2006

not quite a "dragon rider"...

...but in keeping with the spirit of this week's flash fiction friday challenge, it draws inspiration from the same place.
big-up jj for making it so:

Her arms shackled to the stone floor and her wings constricted by leather bindings…she was still a beauty. leah bent down and stroked her baby, whispering a reminder that the straps and chains weren’t permanent and that the world wouldn’t hate her once they saw her true self. the shackles and bindings were just to keep her in check until she had learned enough control and artistry that she wouldn’t terrify them. these were limitations imposed with love so that others wouldn’t feel the need to constrain this beautiful creature once she entered their world.
leah kept murmuring to her daughter, whispers licked with the faintest scent of sulphur, a constant reminder that flame could be summoned with mere thought. but everything she was capable of, her daughter would be better, would soar higher, could assimilate while proving her uniqueness…
this child, lena, was the impossible made possible.
even after the fire wars ended and pygmy dragons and humans made peace – each group was the last surviving species in its genus – there was little mingling. humans were still scared of dragons’ ability to destroy anyone unarmed, and dragons remained wary of human technology that enabled them to fight back – especially knowing such technology continued to be developed. there was peace, but little trust even now that both groups spoke the same language since most believed they only lived in such close quarters because the war had left much of the planet uninhabitable. if the choice existed, humans and these little dragons would go their separate ways.
but lena would be the beginning of the end of this fractured lifestyle. leah had kept her pregnancy secret, took care of herself as best she could, nurtured the seed that would become the child that could change the world once again. it made her sad to keep her beautiful baby confined, but she knew it was only for a time and for lena’s own protection, until she understood the world that needed her so desperately, and could fend for herself in it.
leah removed the leather bindings, allowing lena to stretch her wings fully before releasing the shackles so she could stand upright.
“you ready, baby?”
“we gonna fly?”
“yes, we are.”
“am i almost ready?”
“yes, you are. if today goes well, if you can maintain the control you’ve been showing in these past weeks, i think it’s time you started exploring real life. i think you’re ready.”
leah tried to temporarily quell lena’s excitement, just long enough to go over every major lesson she’d ever tried to impart to this precious child: caution, control, care. she was developing even better than her mother could have hoped. her wings tucked away completely onto her shoulder blades when she stood so that she could walk among humans, her breath lacked the traces of sulphur that humans were so attuned to now, and her mind absorbed everything her adoring mother threw at it. she knew she was unique, she knew humans and dragons alike might be afraid, she knew she’d be capable of things that neither group was capable of separately – she knew she was born into a mission to bring harmony to this tentative peace, and embraced it. it was more than leah could have hoped for, especially while still so young.
they went out into the light, lena surveying her homeground with new interest, knowing she might not come back to it again. she’d been waiting for the day when her mother would say she’d learned enough, could control enough, was ready to face the real world. she knew her mother had a home among dragons they could return to, but her human father gave up his seed as a deathbed boon to leah and his people didn’t know he had a child. all they knew was that when he found out he had the sickness that only dragons could produce the serum for, rather than give himself up to death like other humans before him, he went to the dragon safehold to beg for life. his human family didn’t know about his terrible journey, didn’t know about his 3days on the brink of death before leah found him, didn’t know that he’d been cured, didn’t know that he chose to stay with the dragons he came to love as they nursed him back to health…would they ever accept lena? she knew it would be hard, but she trusted her mother, and she felt ready too. she couldn’t wait to see where the end of this day would find her.
leah cut into her daydreaming, urging lena to test herself again, so they could gauge for sure.
lena stretched her limbs and wings again, shook herself, and took off. she moved so effortlessly, it was breathtaking. she started running her drills, even incorporating some attempts at her oddly sterile fire, and leah was moved to take to the air as well. she joined her daughter, wishing for a moment that she could capture the image of the 2 of them against the sky, one pygmy dragon, one brilliantly winged human…
then she heard the shout. she looked down, too late, to see the firestream shoot toward them from the little specks on the ground below. she tried to get to it first, but only got close enough to see it engulf lena, her child's body, finally warm, falling to the ground in a cloud of smoke and charred flesh.
what had now been just a ceasefire was over.

the 9th fire war began with the breaking of one pygmy dragon heart, too big for the world it lived in.

walk good.

3 Comments:

Blogger The Peong said...

"whispers licked with the faintest scent of supfur" - very nice!
Why can't people just allow for compromise... :(

12:34 am  
Blogger angel said...

beautiful, sad, delicate, frightening...
loved it!

3:34 pm  
Blogger crazyfool said...

i really liked this piece. brillant work as usual.

9:09 pm  

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