Ssruanne’s claws touched the ledge. The summons came.
She did not hesitate, but walked toward
The tunnel that would lead into the mountain.
She felt the gathering that moved before
Her through the caverns, tunnels, endless caves.
The movement of the mountain dragons seemed
More powerful than any storm the world
Has borne throughout its endless history.
She blanked her mind from thought and dream.
She hardly saw the other dragons as she joined
Into a stream of colors walking through
The ghostly lights the young ones mined from veins
Of crystal near the mountain’s granite cliffs.
The thunderous noise of dragons walking through
The tunnel’s passageways hummed through her bones.
The young girl’s eyes kept flickering and shining
Inside her consciousness. It made no sense,
But in her blood she felt the young girl’s heart.
The dragons parted as she walked into the cavern,
The sea of necks and spines, the glittering of eyes
Electric as a thousand lightning bolts.
Mmlynn’s bright eyes watched as her mother walked
Into the storm of fear surrounding her
And flinched to see her mother’s absent eyes.
Her mother looked as if her nightly dreams
Had entered day and burned with unwilled fire.
Ssruanne walked up toward the round, black dais
Where nine huge elders sat, their whirling eyes
Upon her as she did not hesitate,
But climbed the nine huge steps to tower over
The conclave’s rumbling, restless energy.
Upon the dais she turned to dragons she
Had known from when she’d quaked inside her egg.
She was the oldest. Still, the nine had lived
Through years of war with humans, then the moment
When dragon isolation ended deep
Inside this cavern in the mountain’s heart.
Old Mmirimann looked deep into her eyes,
His dark green eyes a swirl of radiance.
He turned his head toward the dragon sea.
Ssruanne’s eyes swept toward the ceiling where
The spoils of other ages were embedded
In melted stone, then looked down at the silence
That had descended as bright dragon eyes
Stared in their thousands at the place she stood.
She felt the bristling of thought and fear inside
The minds behind the eyes, the wondering
That after all these years her dreams were powerful
Enough to bring them to this spirit place.
“You’ve dreamed. We’ve felt the prophecy of dreams,”
Old Mmirimann said, thundering in silence.
Dread rose like bile into Ssruanne, her hearts.
She felt the child inside the cavern, saw her hands
Weave light as if the light was more than light
As boundaries between the universes
That could not ever bridge were bridged and songs
Not of this world were echoed from the past
And future in repeating symphonies.
Her thoughts flowed out of her into the thoughts
Of every dragon there as long necks swayed
In rhythm to the storm her thoughts had made.
A moan rose from the gathered dragons strong
Enough to tremble rock inside the mountain.
Dismayed, Wwilliama, standing next to where
Old Mmirimann’s eyes whirled emotions dense
With fear into cavern’s echoing,
Cried out, “the human girl must die!” as males
Throughout the cavern roared assent and rage
The way Mmlynn had said they would the night
She’d forced Ssruanne to tell about her dreams.
The girl’s blood beat inside Ssruanne’s two hearts.
The girl won’t die, she said inside herself.
Her thought had power like the power burned
Into the light that flowed from young girl’s hands.
It cut into the rage and silenced it.
The nine old dragons looked at her, eyes shocked.
No one had ever silenced dragon rage
In all the ages dragons had existed.
“Your foolishness will bring about our doom.”
Ssruanne was shocked to hear her voice ring out
Outside the working of intent or will.
The voice of prophecy was in her words.
“New days are coming on all dragonkind.
The human girl is part of powers stronger
Than fire and claw. She will not, cannot die!”
The silence was intense, devouring thought.
“The males cannot accept your dreams,” Sshruunak,
The leader of the young males boomed into the silence,
His great voice raw and ugly in the cavern.
Black scales shined power from his whirling eyes.
His neck was rigid challenging Ssruanne.
“The girl is one of us,” the voice of prophecy
Said, slicing once again through strength and rage.
Sshruunak’s great head swayed, fear replacing rage.
He tried to speak, but could not speak, the geas
Of prophecy so powerful it shattered
His will and forced a silence in his hearts.
He forced his legs to move and bumped against
The male beside him, moving back toward
The tunnel that would let him find a ledge to leap
Into the air and stretch his reason into wings.
A movement vast as nightmares stirred throughout
The conclave, shattering community, the dragon
Society’s great unity a chaos
Of fragmentation, swirling individuals
Into the fears in ancient enmities.
The tunnels filled with dragons fleeing prophecy.
Dismay rose up into Ssruanne and echoed.
She felt the pain of times long past as steel
Brought death past scales to dragon flesh.
What was the human girl to her? she cried.
She was a dragon, not the mother of a child.
Audio of The Dragon’s Conclave
Note: This is the tenth installment of a long poem. Inspired by John Keats’ long narrative poem, Lamia, it tells a story set in ancient times when dragons and humans were at peace. Click on the numbers to reach other sections, or go to the Categories box to the right under The Dragon Epic. Click on 1 to go to the beginning and read forward. Click on 10 to go to the tenth section. Click 12 to go forward a section.