Dragon Flame

Alanya stood on the hillside watching the destruction in the valley below. She drew her red cloak close around her body and shivered in the damp twilight. She drew a deep breath and turned to face the dragon.

Imposing, large and red she sat on the hillside next to Alanya huffing warm tendrils of smoke into the cooling evening air.

“What can we do?” She asked her old friend.

Melancor huffed again, this time with the distinct tone of disdain.

“What can we do?” She responded, her deep voice rumbling over the hillside.

“We must find a way to put an end to this war!” Alanya responded, speaking in the ancient dragon tongue. “My people have lost their way. Dragons and humans no longer speak the same language, no longer share the same stories and legends, they no longer understand each other.”

Melancor nodded her head in agreement. “But how Dragon Flame?” she addressed her by the name the elders had called her many years ago when she had been a child. When she had been valued for her ability to speak to dragons.

War had broken out months ago, human warriors hunting dragons to their lairs and killing them in their sleep, breaking unhatched eggs, murdering the young! Dragons making raids on villages full of innocent people, those having nothing to do with the warriors.  Both humans and dragons were dying at alarming rates. The dragon population was in danger of becoming extinct. Truth be told, so was the human population.

Alanya had grown up a privileged child, a princess as it were. Yet privilege was not what she was taught. She learned at her mother’s knee that a leader is not there to indulge their own whims and desires but to toil tirelessly to protect and improve the lives of the people they serve. The people were her responsibility. All of these deaths were on her head now. It was her job to put an end to this.

It didn’t help that she was the last human to speak to the ancient dragon tongue, just as Melancor was the last dragon to speak any human tongue. They both had tried to speak sense, tried to avert the war but to no avail. The young among both species had no memory of the shared past, no belief in the ancient tales of the past. The dragon population was already in decline, leading many humans to disbelieve in their very existence. Until they didn’t.

Once fear had taken root, the course was set. Now that there had been atrocities committed on both sides, each side felt justified in their rampages. Alanya feared that this was the end.

“Take the younglings,” she advised the old dragon, “take them and hide. Fly far away across the mountains and find a place where they can grow in secret.”

“They should not have to hide!” Malancor roared.

Alanya shuddered but stood firm. She knew that her old friend was right, but what other choice was there? The dragons, that had once been their friends, their allies, their companions, were now their enemies and she saw no way to repair that. All she could do now was find a way to minimize the damage.

“You know I’m right. Go and I’ll made it my life’s mission to convince humans that dragons never existed. In a generation they will be nothing more than myth.”

If she could get the dragons to retreat, she could save what was left of her people. If the dragons left, Melancor could save what was left of hers. If people stopped believing in the dragons again, then none would go looking for them. Both species could live in peace.

In the end, Melancor saw the sense of it, just as Alanya knew she would.

Alanya walked through the smoking desolates ruins of the last village of her people. There were a handful of people left. Wounded warriors, women, children, a few elders. She blinked back her tears as as her mind raced with plans for rebuilding. Rebuilding and rewriting human history.

In the distance she heard a great dragon roar. The last of the great ones. She lifted her head and watched as the last of the dragons flew out of sight.

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful!

I’ve been doing a series of writing prompts and I’d thought I’d share this one. The prompt was Outise the Window: What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be? If you’d like to try them yourself, you can find them here: http://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but that’s plagiarism. And it’s not really that frightful….yet. It’ll get there. Maybe. This is Texas, so who knows? Words do that to me though. I hear things all the time, every day that remind me of quotes. From a song or a book, a poem or a movie. I’m a walking fount of trivia that way. When my father in law lived with us, I had to walk past where he watched tv to get to the laundry room. I prided myself on calling out the title of the movie between the time I walked in one side of the room and out the other. Several times I correctly identified a movie I hadn’t even watched. Either from previews and extrapolation or because plot lines or actual lines or even characters that had become part of the pop culture lexicon. I hear things and I absorb them. I read and I know things. People ask me random questions all the time because they think I’ll know the answer. I often do.

I do this too. Deviate, wander. The prompt said write about the weather and I immediately go to quoting movie lines. My best friend and I use to go back and trace our conversations and I do this now with my kids. “momma, how did we go from a question about a song to nazi germany?” and we’ll go back to the beginning and trace it. This topic led to this one which led to that one and so on. It’s amazing sometimes to draw the lines between the dots. A friend in high school once asked me if the song Rambling Man meant anything to me. He was hilarious.

But the answer to the question is yes, there is a place I wish I could be, weather wise. Ireland. Mild and temperate.  When it’s too hot or too cold, I hear those words in my head and see the Emerald Isle. Even the term Emerald Isle feels like a cool breeze, doesn’t it? Mild and temperate. Green and lush. The heart of the world some believe. My ancient home, my roots. At least some of my ancestors hail from there and I’ve always felt a strong pull to all things Celtic. To the Pagan traditions, to the art, to Stonehenge and Easter Island, to the Arthurian legends. I feel like there are answers there. I’m not sure what the questions are. I feel like it’s home, though I’ve never been there. I feel its pull. Mild and temperate, that’s where I belong.

In My Dreams I Walk

“In my dreams, I walk.” He tells me.

The simple, raw grief in that statement shatters my heart.

~~~~~~~~~~

It is several weeks after the accident; I am in my bed drifting off to sleep. In that twilight world halfway between sleep and wakefulness I can hear the sound of the tires of the road, I can feel the rhythmic, swaying movement of a car. My eyes close against my will, sleep heavy and demanding. I’m so tired, so very, very tired. The part of my brain that is telling me I have to stay awake is no match for the part that knows how badly I need rest. No match for that comforting, rhythmic rocking of a moving vehicle. Just for a moment, it’s ok, I tell myself. Sleep pulls me under deeper and deeper.

Suddenly there is a loud crash, my entire world spins as I’m rudely jerked from sleep by the terrifying sensation of the car rolling over and over.

I sit upright in my bed, heart pounding in my chest and tears rolling down my face as I realize I have come as close as possible to experiencing what my son endured, without actually falling asleep at the wheel and wrecking.

Helicopter VS. Free Range Parenting

Today I realized that I trust my almost 14 and 12 year old with their siblings. Let me be more specific, as I was getting ready to take a quick shower, they wanted to go outside to play. I was ok with the older kids keeping an eye on their siblings, 9 and 5 for the ten minutes it would take me to shower. A year ago I wouldn’t have been and that got me thinking.

It got me thinking about how everyone has an opinion, how if I were to post it on face book, I would most likely get criticism from both sides. There would be those who say well come on! You should have given them a longer leash years ago, this helicopter parenting will cripple their emotional development. How will they grow into competent adults if you can’t leave them alone for 10 minutes in your own yard?

Then the other side, OMG, do you know what can happen in ten minutes? What if they ran into the road? What if a kidnapper came by? Anything can happen at any moment!

The thing is, they have a point. Both sides have valid arguments. Yes, children need to learn independence and self reliance as well as responsibility. And yes, any random thing can happen at any given time. So how do parents balance this? They seem to be two competing issues.

There is no simple, one size fits all answer. The best any parent can do is know their kids, know their environment and make the best choice possible for their family. We live in the county, down a private road. The odds of a stranger hanging around waiting to nab a child are just about nil. Traffic is also very, very light. And we have a fence around the yard. If we lived near a busy intersection, my decision may have been different.

Parents also have to know their child. Every child is different; one might be uber responsible at 10 while another is unreliable at 16. Don’t give me the “it’s the way they are raised” because anyone who has raised more than one can tell you that you can do the exact same thing with your kids and have them turn out wildly different. Because they have individual personalities. In fact, I would go as far as to say that you should NOT raise all your children exactly the same because what works for one does not work for the next. But that’s a subject for another post entirely.

The point is, you can’t judge another parent by your standard because you don’t know their kids and their situation. Not intimately. You may think your neighbor is a neglectful parent because their kids walk unattended to the park or you may think your sister is damaging her kids beyond repair with her helicopter parenting style. The truth is, you don’t know those kids the way the parents do. So you can’t judge. The best you can do is to know your own kids and make the best decisions possible for them.