a passage from The Dragon Epic by Thomas Davis
Inside her cottage, weary from the work
She’d done with all the other villagers,
Alone, the comfort of her rocking chair
Suffusing through the soreness in her bones,
She felt a sudden rush of fear and wonder
Infect her with a dread so powerful
It made her look around in panic.
She felt the dragons fleeing from their caves
And wondered if the war was suddenly
Reality, a monster wolfing human, dragon lives
And leaving devastation in its wake—
But then she saw Ruarther draw his bow
Upon a field of shining, endless ice
And saw his face dissolve into a mask
Of weird bewilderment, as if his life
Was ending as it spiraled on outside
The life he’d lived up to that moment’s instant.
Inside her sewing room she saw him drop
His bow and lose the madness that had made
Him find the witch’s child intending murder.
And then she saw him think of her, Ruanne,
And home and how he’d brought game home to help
The village live its life inside the forest
Where dire wolves came in winter and the dragons
Flew past so high they seemed mere colors specked
Upon the clearness of the endless skies.
But then she saw him stare into the whirling
Intensity of one great dragon’s eyes
And felt him turn away from where he’d lived
His life in honor, flinching from the shame
He felt at having worked obsessively
To kill a girl he’d never even seen.
She felt him kneel in snow and start to search
for where his spirit could find peace again
away from weirding spirit bears and dragons
and even her, the woman whom he loved.
How could she see him? Not through dragon eyes,
Ssuranne or Mirrimann, but through a cord
Of spirit sense that bound her heart to his
No matter how insane or evil he might be
In struggling against the demons fused
Into the human that he should have been.
She put her hand up to her mouth and let
A small cry echo through the sewing room.
But then she felt a sense of miracle
And fear inside the dragons spread across
The fields of snow outside the cottage where
The child Crayllon had brought into the world
Had lived beneath the dragon’s mountain caves.
What could she do? What should she do? The weirding
Was emanating waves of witch’s power
Into the dormant depths inside her spirit
And made her want to use the knowledge she
Had spent her life denying as the world
Swirled change and bridges to a place forbidden
Into a fabric never meant to be.
A black fire seared into Ruanne and bounced
Into Ruarther, ricocheting off
The shields he’d built when exorcizing forcefully
The spirit bear into Ssruanne whose eyes
Were drawn from Wei’s mutation up
Into the skies above the mountain peaks.
A recognition of Ruarther flared
With hate so toxic that it made Ruanne
Sink to her knees upon the cottage floor.
She felt the dragon up so high its lungs
Were straining for each breath, its flight a rage
Containing promised death for humankind.
Ssruanne’s mind blocked the fire that scorched Ruanne.
Surprised, Ruanne heard screaming blistering
Into the cottage’s small space and saw her door
Fly open as a half a dozen men
Came storming in to find out what was wrong.
The last man in was Cragdon whose pale face
Grew paler when he saw how Ruanne looked.
He gasped, “the dragon!” Then collapsed as if
He’d felt the black fire sizzling Ruanne.
“What’s wrong?” a worried Reestor ordered, voice
Commanding, filled with panicked dread.
The men around her looked like spirit beasts,
Their faces wavering with spirit light.
As Ruanne tried to find normality,
Bright rainbows seemed to dance before her eyes
And dragon voices sang their humming songs
Into a universe no longer like
Reality that made life possible.
What could she do? she asked. What should she do?
She looked at Reestor, eyes so bright
They seemed as powerful as dragon eyes.
Outside a crowd had gathered, wondering,
Had Ruanne sensed that war and death was cusped
Upon the flight of coming dragon wings?
Ruanne held Reestor’s eyes and fought
To force the black fire and its burning hatred
Out of her mind into the wilderness
Around the village, but she felt the dragon
Above the earth turn from its climbing flight
Into a hurtling toward the peaks
Where other dragons waited in the snow.
To listen to this passage of the epic, click on The Mind’s Black Fire.
Note: This is the thirty-eighth passage of a long narrative poem, which has grown into The Dragon Epic. Originally 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 The Song of Becoming a Dragon to read the passage before this one. To read the next section, click on The Mind’s Black Fire
3 responses to “38. The Mind’s Black Fire”
Intense reading, Thomas. I listened to the poem. Very moving to hear it read aloud, and I’m still recovering from the last segment. And now I am here with this question: Had Ruanne sensed that war and death was cusped
Upon the flight of coming dragon wings?
Oh my … Thomas, the build-up of suspense and emotion you pen is just incredible … wow. I can’t wait for the next segment, this epic poem is simply awesome. ~ Julie 🙂
Another tightening of tension … a few more steps forward toward? … and then another cliff hanger skillfully managed.