an epic poem, The Dragon Epic, by Thomas Davis
The weirding shocked Ssruanne awake and stirred
Inside of her a fear that made her hearts
A double drum vibrating in her bones.
Beside her Mmirrimann was sleeping like
A dragon slept, not like a dragon caught
Inside miasma’s cold, chaotic winds.
He twitched to feel her movement, stirred,
But stayed asleep, his eyelids fluttering.
She softly moved away from him and stood
Upon the ledge outside his cave, her eyes
As restless as the beating of her hearts.
She spread her wings and launched into the air.
Disturbances seemed everywhere, the signs
Of abnormality small waves in drafts
Beneath the surface of her golden wings.
She looked toward Wei’s cottage, felt the wilding
That seemed frustrated as the human girl
Attempted magic far beyond her skill;
Then turned her neck toward a copse of pine
That seemed to swirl with chaos not unlike
The chaos Mmirrimann had fled to find
His life again inside the dragon caves.
The swirling seemed to buffet her with winds
That were no winds, repelling her to heights
She hardly ever tried to reach in flight.
Behind her, deep inside the mountains, stones
Scorched black from dragon fire grew tangible
Inside her mind, their silence testament
To how the dragon race would face extinction.
She shuddered at the death they emanated
Into the cold, high beauty of their valley.
Downhill she felt the fear inside the humans
That huddled in their village cottages,
But also felt the strength infused in bows
They’d use to face unwanted dragon threat.
They would not face Sshruunak oblivious
And unprepared, she thought. His plans had gone
Awry without his knowing once again.
The clarion call from Mmirrimann inside
The caves stirred deep in dragon blood and tipped
Her wings so powerfully she almost plunged
Toward the fields of snow beneath her flight.
Her neck whipped round toward the ancient call
And wheeled her in the air toward the caves.
She shuddered at the implications buried
Inside the call, the threat of dragon war
Where dragon’s faced each other in the skies
And tried to force their will through claws and fire
Into the hearts of spirit, sentience.
How had their peace devolved to this? She thought.
They all were there: The nine huge elders sat
Upon the round, black dais, their eyes a-swirl
With patterns troubling to look at, each
One grim with seeing Mmirrimann perched high
Above them on the dais where, during peace,
Ssruanne, the oldest one alive, presided
While conclaves delved into the wisdom born
Of dragon dreams and dragon sentience.
Before the nine of them the dragon race
Was gathered, restless, angry, filled with fear
Born from a dread that overwhelmed the hall.
Ssruanne walked in the massive cavern
And took her place below her lover’s mass.
He’d shed the weariness he’d felt before
And looked as if he’d never faced a time
He doubted his own strength and dominance.
“The younger males are stirring dragon blood,”
He said, “and taking on another war
That adds another chapter in the long,
Long history of battling the human race.
“I’ve journeyed deep into our memories
And tried to see if they could find a way
To victory that would not threaten all
The strength of dragonkind with racial death,”
He said. “But in the chaos where the dead
Are gathered in a storm of chaos empty
Of who we are upon this splendid earth,
I saw despair without a shred of hope
If dragon/human war erupts again.
I’ve called the call against our senseless sons
Not out of love for humans, but for our eggs
Still incubating in the birth cave’s warmth.
“If any can convince Sshruunak that he
Must not continue in his path, I ask
You for your words and passion. Otherwise
I’ve seen no way that dragons will survive.
The puny humans are like swarms of wasps
That sting and sting no matter how we sear
Their lives with dragon strength and claws and fire.
I’ve warred upon them time and time again,
But dragons dwindle every time we choose
To face our foe with war instead of peace.
“We must choose peace to build our population’s strength.
That’s what I found inside miasma’s chaos.
I saw no other way to keep our eggs alive.”
The nine great elders stared into the mass
Of dragon eyes that whirled perplexity.
As Mmirrimann kept staring at the eyes
That stared at him, a clutch of males positioned
Toward the passages into the cavern,
As silently as possible, began
To turn and leave the hall to join Sshruunak.
Williama sighed so loud she forced Ssruanne
To turn her head to look at her dismay.
At least another dozen males had left.
At last, his voice so sad it seemed to flood
Miasma from the chaos through the hall,
His whirling eyes uncertain, Mmirrimann
Rose to his hind legs, larger than Sshruunak
Or any other male alive, and roared,
“We cannot fail. We must succeed. To war!
To war against our brothers and our sons
And all their unwise dance with dragon deaths!”
To listen to this section of the epic, click on Mmirrimann Inside the Conclave He Called
Note: This is the thirty-second 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 Doubt to go to the section previous to this one. To read the next section of the poem, go to Vertigo and the Moment of Sudden Truth.