a passage from The Dragon Epic by Thomas Davis
As Cragdon stood upon the field stone wall,
He felt a wind so cold it drove through flesh.
The weirding in the wind came harrowing
Into his spirit, forcing him to hunch
Against the battering that rolled from mountains,
Past where he stood, into the village humans.
He strained to see the dragons in the skies
Ruanne had said were coming full of rage.
The men had taken up positions meant
To let them fling their arrows from a wall
That would not burn when dragon flame belched out
Toward the vulnerability of human flesh.
The mothers had their children hidden, buried
Beneath the slabs of stone beneath the floors
Of cottages built when the dragon wars
Were devastating human, dragon lives.
He straightened up against the chilling wind
And thought about the blackness of the dragon
He’d fought beside Ruarther in the dark.
Inside Ruanne’s small cottage, dragon eyes had slammed
Into his spirit, forcing him to fall,
But now he stood determined, stronger than
He’d been just weeks ago, a warrior armed
With weapons that he’d use to fight the evil
Swooped raging from a night-black silver sky.
He felt the dragons even though he saw
No trace of dragons in the morning light.
He shifted on the wall and tried to see
Beyond the distance walling in the sky.
He’d fought a dragon once, he told himself.
They’d not use claws and fires to devastate
Ruanne and all the men who’d sought him when
He’d stumbled through the blinding of the snow.
He’d use what strength he had to shield his wife
And child against the possibilities
Horrendous in the wheel of human fate.
The black rage boiled at Mmirrimann and stirred
His blood to mindlessness, Sshruunak’s rebellion
A seething hatred as he turned away
From what the human girl had generated
Out of her mother’s need and looked toward
The mountain skies where dragons rose to war.
Ssuranne, beside him, stared at him in silence.
She stood beside the human rainbow dragon
And waited as he conquered mindless rage
And started calculating what response
Made sense as miracle confronted fate–
Tinged with the promise of extinction facing
Continuance of all of dragonkind.
The other dragons, ringed around the girl
Transmuted to a dragon, seemed distraught,
Eyes shocked by feeling blackness ricocheted
Across the fields of snow, Sshruunak a nightmare
They’d thought would go away, but dreaded deep
Inside their in-most thoughts, rebellion woven
Into the history all dragons lived.
They seemed to hesitate as Mmirrimann
Decided what he’d do to meet the challenge
Sshruunak had sent into the dragon host.
“He’ll end the dragon race,” growled Mmirrimann.
“Responding will create a dragon war,”
Ssuranne replied, her thoughts intense and sickened.
“No dragon’s fought another dragon since
The Time of Mindlessness and Gorgon’s fight
To build the strength of dragon sentience.
We cannot fight the daughters and the sons
We saw break from their eggs into the light.”
The rainbow dragon, still pulsating light,
Looked calmly at the two of them, her changing
Done, humanness a part of who she was,
A dragon on a field where other dragons were.
Her song was softer than a dragon’s song,
Her voice so musical and clear is was
Like springtime winds whooshed through the leaves of trees.
“The dragon race will live,” she said. “The war
Will not disgrace the strength of who you are.”
She spread her multi-colored wings and drove
Them downwards as she rose inelegantly
Into the air above the frozen pond.
As Reestor lit the fires inside the pots
The men would use to light the arrows used
To splash flames over hardened dragon scales,
He cursed the day and said a heartfelt prayer
To Selen, hoping love could overcome
The pain and suffering about to bloom
Into the garden of the wondrous earth.
Ruanne, beside him, said no word, but sparked
The flame into the pot he placed beside
Each man, eyes grim with fear and strength of mind.
He could not hear the children hidden dark
Beneath the cottages, but knew they cried
And pleaded with their mothers for their love
As life became a dream they’d never dreamed
Would change their lives while they were still so young.
He thought about the horror of his father’s death
And wondered why the ancient horror marched
Alive into a time when wars were in the past.
He almost dropped the pot he held when flame
Flared up too high and almost singed his hand.
Ruanne just looked at him, still silent, scolding
Eyes wild with brewing, devastating spells.
Unsettled, Reestor looked toward the wall
Where Cragdon and the others strained their eyes
To see the dragons flying at the village.
Someone would see them coming, shout their warning,
And life would change from what it ought to be,
And nothing would be like it once had been.
To listen to this passage, click on Fate and Sentinels
Note: This is the forty first 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 Shock of Rage to read the passage before this one. To read the next passage in the epic click on The Deadly Dragon Horde.