“If you hear a myth passed down from ages past, never assume it’s not based on something real.” Jeremiah Delalande, lecture extract from Elder Legends.
It struck me writing this scene that I’m actually well into an unwritten story arc. Not only this, but as I discovered quite some time ago this particular narrative (Dragon Stone and associated stories with the dwarf, Naz, and elf sorceress, Yish) blends into manuscripts already written as books. This particular piece has reached into these as lore referred to by a beast known as The Black.
For those dipping in for the first time it might seem a strange read. To those seeing it through BlogBattle then that might be true too. Most are not linear stories. They flit back and forth in timelines. Often randomly. In this way my own head is piecing together character arcs, back story and a world build that’s starting to get too big. One day I shall attempt to write the actual story. Hopefully that won’t emulate Winds of Winter in terms of time….
“What it it?”
Yish was eyeing the ground. “Not sure Naz. Something’s amiss with the trail.”
They’d been following a gully for three miles trying not to discuss the Barrow Woods or the field of crows feasting on the dead. The stench had been foul. Nothing glorious in war when you trod the aftershock. Not quite the Elysium fields warriors aspired to find at the end. Clear who won too. Their side burnt bodies, the others didn’t. It seemed once Morgan had been found they retreated back south. No advance, no desire to push on even though there was precious little to stop them.
“In what way?” Naz scanned the mountain ahead. Home of The Black, a wyvern he knew of from folklore.
Then again the woods were too and they hadn’t been any less real. Something a cleric once told him in passing, “Ye can choose not to have faith dwarf, but that doesn’t make demons flee.”
True it seemed, without Yish he’d now be wandering the woods with the other lost souls.
“His tracks end at the foot of the mountain. Nothing left or right.”
Naz almost queried that out of habit. His eyesight, by comparison was flawed. “He climbed then.”
“It’s sheer though. I can’t see how.”
More his territory, “Mountains often have ways if you know how to read them. Get us there and I’ll get us up if need be.”
Yish cringed inside. Heights were way down her agenda of things to embrace. “It’s more than that Naz. I’ve been here before.” She continued to stare. Far away she could hear something tasting the air. It had their scent already. This she knew too.
“Then surely you know what’s there already.” More a hopeful statement, but he knew Yish well enough to sense something was wrong.
“Not yet, I’ve been here in the future.”
Naz opened his mouth finding no words to offer. Instead he spat on the ground out of habit and subconsciously stroked the haft of his axe.
“I can see a sorcerers haze where the tracks end. I think it’s Elder Magic, maybe a portal.”
“You think Ras passed through it?”
“No… maybe… when I entered it was unidirectional. I became stranded because the counter portal is…” it clicked home, “… up there.” She pointed up toward a ledge. “There’s a cave up there somewhere, concealed in the shadows.”
“But you couldn’t reach it because of your fear of heights?” Naz strained to see what was clear to her.
“We should reach the foothills by dawn.” Naz broke kindling and cast it idly onto the fire. A pipe clutched in his mouth with no weed to smoke in it, another habit once gained hard to throw.
Yish nodded. Her mind was flowing toward the looming crags. It was there watching them again.
He’s long gone chylde.
Naz looked on, he’d seen this before. Not quite the sorceress at work, but touching on the subject of thaumic influence.
“He came this way though yes?” She replied aloud. Naz frowned, but remained silent.
Aye, his sense of loss blinded him to the portal you will pass through one day.
“Is he safe?”
She saw a forked tongue snaking from a maw lined with teeth as long as her arm. It was as though she was sitting in palaver with the beast itself.
From this time yes, in another no.
“Cryptic dragon. What does that mean?”
It hinges on the girl. If she turns then worlds will fall.
“And you know this how?” Smoke drifted from its mouth. A gesture she took as mirth
You know the lore chylde. Of how my kind fell to yours.
“Not my kind, Dökkálfar. They were deceived.”
Aye, the girl again in one possible future…. or past.
“You speak in riddles Dragon.”
Time chylde. It flows both ways into what was and what will be from the here. Worlds separated by skins that few can see. Each connected and yet separate. The Elder Mages knew this long ago. Tamed it and forged bridges between them.
“The portals?” No answer was needed so none came. “How could Ras use this one though? I thought it was a sorcerers path.”
He was more than a surgeon. He knew of the girls ancestry and guided it.
“Was? You speak as though he is dead.”
In this world he is.
“And the girl? Why is she so important?”
Lore chylde. Search it. The answers are there.
“But lore speaks of darkness under a puppet witch dominated by an abomination tied to necromancy.”
Indeed. You miss a detail. Concealed in the myths are chronomancy and, now lost to your world, doors between world skins.
“Can it be stopped?”
Not here. That battle was lost. They have two pieces now. A third is a girl in another world. A twin become one.
“It’s hopeless then? We lack the skills of the Elder Mages.”
You have time to learn. There is one who can unlock all worlds. At the core of chronomacy time blinks. A battle seen through that glam runs to the next. The rest of time flows slower. Our kind fell thousands of years before you, The Elders followed, your battle has just run, the prison of ice is long in the future.
“I think I understand. But who is the person that can turn things to our advantage?”
You have yet to meet him.
“Then I will?”
Naz sat long into sunrise waiting for Yish to return from a deep sleep. Half a conversation told him already their pursuit of Ras had ended and matters had taken a turn for the worse. He stared at the cliffs searching for the myth that she had clearly been connected to.
“Naz,” she sat upright, “I feel sick.”
He offered her a canteen. “It’s not illness is it Yish, more a case of despair.”
“It all seemed clear, now it’s very blurred. Ras is in another time.”
“Am I right in saying the girl is Morgan?”
Yish nodded. “We need to try and get her back and find Ras.”
“Find someone we haven’t met yet.”
“Should be done before lunch then.”
Yish looked at Naz. Their eyes locked and for the first time since the eve of the battle they laughed.
Great as always, Gary! 🙂 Each piece of the puzzle slowly pulling back more of the curtain.
I’m not sure I trust the dragon. It seems helpful, yet dubious… I’m wary of it. It seems to be resentful of the loss of its kin (perhaps rightly so) — could it be spinning a yarn to misguide the adventurers? I loved the ethereal conversation between elf and dragon, as dwarf sits by and watches. I do admire Naz’s patience and peace — if I were him I’d be constantly butting in with, “What’s he saying now?” and “What’d he mean by that?” and “What’s going on?”
I do hope Ras is okay — more than a surgeon… I knew it! Dead in this world, though? Gah, I’m eager to learn more! As I am about Morgan’s fate, too. A sense of fate closing in — time is (quite literally) of the essence. The last few lines gave me a good chuckle. “Should be done before lunch then.”
Excellently written, as ever. I also really liked the use of the word “chylde”. Almost onomatopoeic.
Too kind Joshua. Although you’ve actually followed much of the BB pieces so it may make a bit more sense to you than just appearing and thinking eh?
The dragon, of this one, is not giving away too much in terms of it’s personal motivation. The region it guards was the dragons graveyard. It was where they were forced to retreat at the end. Yes they can fly, but the younglings couldn’t. Created a catch 22 and ended up in genocide.
Naz is patient yes, but he also knows when Yish is sending or receiving. He knows not to interrupt from previous. It can be life or death…as it nearly was with Ras. Part of their understanding so to speak.
Ras I’ve yet to explore deeper. Might be he has quite an exotic life…hmm… prompt word maybe… Morgan I do know though. Certainly if they can’t rescue her. Her fate then fits another scenario which is not exactly pleasant and could impact the twins I’ve mentioned before.
Re Chylde…isn’t that the Browning Poem that King based The Dark Tower? Something like “Chylde Roland to the Dark Tower Came” can’t remember if that was the title or a line in it!
Dude…you realise you have a whole EPIC series here…
These glimpses are so tantalising…Yish is totally
fab…almost reminds me of a certain Goth girl..
I echo what people above say..xx
Err, what to say? I realised epic was being forged as soon as The Amanuensis appeared. Rather annoying as I’ve no idea where to start now 😳
Did you read the one where Yish meets her “father?” That created a very strange Damphyre elf. Obviously I was merely dabbling there with stuff. Yish is also a favourite of mine too. But a gothic elf… now there’s a lineage thought. I assume you’re referring to Rowena the Goth from a previous tale…although according to that blasted scribe all my stories are connected 🥺
Thank you for the encouraging words too x
I really must sit down and catch up properly with my reading – I am somewhat incapacitated at the moment as I am having to wear my old specs as my usual ones are being updated. Thus I am having to wear these ones halfway down my nose to see properly, I have absolutely no depth perception or peripheral vision and couple that with the wearing of a mask and I feel I am quite lucky to make it through to the end of each day without being knocked over by a bus…let alone a virus….x
That you must…ummm….as should I. I’ve hardly read anything for months never mind actually write anything! I’ll warrant you’re not alone with the old spec situation too. Not a good time to be needing appointments and such like really.
Ah… Gary. You never disappoint. 🙂 Once again moving the story forward, yet leaving the reader wanting more. At this rate you’re going to have one heck of a story that will be epic 🙂 I loof forward to the day when I get an email saying….I’ve finished – you want to read it 🙂
Thanks Helen, not sure about moving it forwards though! Seems to be drifting backwards and forwards in the time line adding more and more to the world build!
Well, it’s hard to get much juicier than a conversation with a dragon! I loved the line where Yish says ‘I’ve been here in the future’, and then she tries to sort it out with a riddling wyvern. I was glad to learn a little about what happened to Ras, even though that opens more questions, and the little more glimpse at Morgan is making her very interesting … it seems the fate of the world revolves around her. A twin become one? I hope to learn more about that! Naz’s remark at the end how they should find somebody they haven’t met yet by lunchtime was certainly droll. It put me in mind of a scene in the Return of the King movie where the dwarf Gimli remarks along the line of ‘Small chance of success, chance of death large – what are we waiting for?’ Nice touch!
This dragon has been dropping in and out of stories for what seems like eons! There’s a section growing in this slowly evolving blog revamp called Dragon Stone. It struck me there that it’s not just controlling the place I first wrote about. The blasted thing keeps turning up all over.
The Yish part I found tricky too. Writing about a future visit she’s not yet had in a past tense. Not sure I got that quite right. Ras on the other hand was supposed to be easy to catch up with too. Funny how it rolled differently when it got going. I find that happening a lot. I’ve even figured out what Morgan actually becomes…if nobody gets to rescuing her first!
The twin become one is also written somewhere on here. It was the first thing I actually wrote on this writing journey. The first book on that part is actually written too. Just needs pushing harder to get into the finished article.
Thanks for the Gimli reminder too. That’s exactly the sort of thing I was thinking toward the end. Must be a dwarf thing ha, ha.
Sorry, Gary, but I have an almost completely closed mind to this genre. But, as they say, it’s not you, it’s me 😉 However it is clear that you write well and I wish you all the best with developing this into a full blown novel.
Ha, ha! No worries Doug, we all have differing reader genres. I do actually write more in horror, this one caught me out a bit. I’ve used BB, rightly of wrongly, to explore it in a very non-linear fashion. I ought to dip into different areas really and not get to wrapped up in this one…the muse thinks otherwise though once words start to form.
I do appreciate the comment even if it’s not your bag too. Never feel obliged to reply though. I don’t do this necessarily expecting everyone from BB to drop by if I’ve commented on theirs. Genres differ and I do appreciate that.
In your case, Gary, I’m always happy to return the favour to someone who has often taken the time to comment on my work. What goes around comes around. 🙂
Then I’ll take it Doug ha, ha! Hopefully I’ll divert into new territory once I’ve run out of ideas to keep procrastinating with ever increasing back story. 😳
I was intrigued by the trance-like interchanges between the dragon and Yish that hint at multiple worlds and outcomes . . . as well as Naz’ understanding and support of her gifts and the work ahead. I also liked the contrast between the very real battle scene at the beginning and the laughter of friends at the end. More to come?
Thanks Beth. This particular concept has been used quite a bit of late. The characters in this piece are well known to me. BB has helped develop them in scenes over time in a way I’ve found really useful and, more to the point, fun. The Black, which is a term given to this wyvern because of the stone colour with which it’s associated. The working title is Dragon Stone. Definitely hoping to explore the world build more too, so yes to your question!