30. Valley of the Scorched Black Stones

an epic poem, The Dragon Epic, by Thomas Davis

The great black dragon banked and hurtled down
Toward the ring of valley stones, his silence
So disciplined and fierce it seemed a fire
Inside his belly ready to be flamed.
Behind his plummeting Ssshraann and eight
Great dragons followed, silent, disciplined,
Intent on coming on their enemy
So unexpectedly that he would have no time
To organize an orderly defense.
A hundred feet above the stone, Sshruunak
Swerved hard, his flame scorched black into the circle
Inside the cold, black stones, and soared back up
Into the air, each dragon following,
Emitting flame at different spots pre-planned
Before the drill had started in the dark.
Around the stones the earth was bare and soft
In spite of ten foot snows inside the valley.

Sshruunak veered from the circle to a pattern
Where claws extended to the ground and flame
Burst down into the hordes of made-up men,
Death chortling inside his hearts as chaos
Defeated enemies as old as dragonkind.
Behind him every dragon took a pattern
That spiraled from the center out to points
Designed the make the enemy despair.
Sshruunak then trumpeted retreat and flew
Toward the rendezvous inside a hollow
Below a great, snow covered mountain peak.

Inside the hollow in a wind that howled,
He grinned to see each dragon land exactly
As he had ordered them to land, their eyes
Awhirl with colors fiery with delight.
The dragons planned. Their days of passiveness
Inside the mountain caves were nearly done.
The joy of rage and battle lust was burning
In dragon hearts and dragon strength again.

The eight great males around him waited, eyes
Locked on his eyes, their frenzy disciplined
By how he’d forged their senses to his will.

“We’re ready,” he announced, his triumph edged
Into his voice. “We’ll wait until the moon
Is new and blacker than my scales, then strike
The village near to where we’ve cowered all
The years since Mmirrimann invoked his peace.
We’ll see how strong our tactics are before
We use our skills and strength to decimate
The King of Tryon’s vaunted capital.”
He paused. “We’ll win this war and start to end
The human’s dominance,” he said. “But when
We burn the village to the ground, we need
To see that every human in the village dies.
We need to test what we have learned, but if
A single human gets away, they’ll flee
And warn the armies that the peace is done.
We won’t possess surprise, a weapon needed
With only nine to score a victory.
Ssruaane and Mmirrimann still lead the dragons.
To win the war we need the ones that hide
And live their lives in peace inside the caves.
To bring them to the war we have to kill
Each woman, child, and man inside the village
Or else face armies greater than our numbers
Can beat inside Tyron’s stone city gates.”

Stoormachen smiled and shook his head. “I am
A dragon male,” he said. “I won’t hold back
From tasting human blood and crunching bones.”

“We’ll hide until the night of darkness comes,”
Ssshraann said. “Then we’ll meet inside the circle,
As you have said and start another war.”

“We’ll end the human dominance and breed
Like dragons ought to breed in open air,”
Sshruunak said. “We will make an age that dragons
Will celebrate as long as dragons live!”

Stoormachen roared as nine great dragons let
Their voices smash into the mountainsides
And loose great tides of snow in avalanches
That roared back at their thunderous roars.

“To victory!” Sshruunak screeched. Then he flapped
His wings and shot into the air and flew
Toward the valley of the scorched black stones.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Valley of the Scorched Black Stones

Note: This is the thirtieth section of a long narrative poem, which has grown into The Dragon Epic. 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 below to reach other sections, or go to the Categories box to the right under The Dragon Epic. Click on Dragonflies, Dragons, and Her Mother’s Death to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to Another Dragon Scale to go to the section previous to this one. To read the next poem in the epic, click on Doubt

9 Comments

Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

9 responses to “30. Valley of the Scorched Black Stones

  1. Julie Catherine

    Oh wow, Thomas! This leaves me perched on the edge of my chair, trembling at the fate that awaits humankind – and the fear that these renegade dragons will forever annihilate their own species with their act of hatred borne of fear …. such tension and emotion you evoke with this! I can’t wait for the next installment! ~ Julie 🙂

    • Julie, the readership for this seems to be dwindling, but I’ll keep posting to keep the few, the brave, and the loyal moving toward the finish. Thanks for the comment.

      • Julie Catherine

        Thomas, thank you so much for your generosity in continuing … I would be devastated if I couldn’t continue reading this wonderful epic. I still say that you need to compile the whole into a book, though – and I would definitely buy it … if I could get a signed copy. 🙂 As always, keeping you and Ethel in my thoughts and prayers daily. ~ Love, Julie xox

  2. Ina

    Oh wow, I listened to it and it is amazing! 🙂

  3. Things are gearing up!! Looking forward, as always, to the next chapter. I’m glad you’ll continue posting them. I print them all out as keepers and want to see how the story ends. (In peace once more, I hope…? But how this is accomplished is in your hands! Your story-telling gift is amazing.

  4. Anna Mark

    Thomas, I really enjoyed the blackness, the silence and the exactness in this segment. It read so quickly. I felt as though this piece in itself was slick and fierce.

  5. My wife is wondering whether you have any thoughjys of publishing this epic?

    • I would probably love to publish it, Ben Naga, but whether I will have the patience to try to find a publisher is another matter. I have published with university presses in the past, but finding a publisher for poetry is another kettle of fish altogether. I might do some hand published books. I did that with Salt Bear, a novel for young people, and try to peddle it at arts fairs in the United States. But we’ll see. I am so thrilled the few people who have been following it are following it that I can hardly stand my excitement. I am so indebted to the few and the brave. Tom

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