Thursday, October 10, 2013

Prompt: Raising the dead to save the living

Thanks to Ekaterina for permission to use her beautiful image “Raising of dragonlich”!

Katerran sat cross-legged on the cold stone, where he had meditated and fasted for four days and nights. Not that there was any difference in the dark gray skies. The damp drizzle had long since soaked through his long white hair and baelsplen cloak, despite the clothier’s claims of waterproofing. His heels rubbed sore against the worn leather of his boots.

No more sore than his bony rear end against the stone, he thought with a grimace, then schooled his mind back into the chants. The chants filled his mind and overflowed into his throat, his voice, croaking at first after long disuse before mellowing into a minstrel’s deep timbre.  He slowly rose to his knees, then stood tall, chanting as he held his arms straight out before him, calling the dragonlich fire.

Flickers of green and yellow flame ran along his arms and sparked between his hands, pooling in the air between. As the ball grew, he moved his hands slowly in the ancient forms, chanting the lifefire into this world. He felt the first tremor of weakness in his knees and sternly told himself it was merely from sitting in the damp cold for so long.

The ball grew too large to spin between his hands, and he flung his arms wide. It flew over the rock where he stood and drifted over the deep canyon. It cast enough light to see farther down than Katerran ever had before. Its reflection shimmered against the low, thick clouds that covered the world.

When he lifted his eyes to see it, he lost his balance and staggered back, desperately holding onto the chant and the sigils his hands drew without ceasing. Pushing forward to regain his balance, Katerran felt the blood begin to flow from his nose and his ears. He shook his head to clear it, and bright red drops splattered across his tunic, disappearing into the black fabric.

The chant changed yet again. The flame grew larger, stretching, thinning. Taking shape. He had not expected it to be so beautiful. Thick bones stretched out into a ribcage, then spread across the air in long, wide wings. The neck grew longer as he watched in fascination, and for a moment, he forgot to chant. The delicate membranes flowing across the wings ripped and tattered. Horrified, Katerran continued the chant and wove sigils of strength and healing into his endless patterns in the air. He coughed violently, spasms clutching his chest, and more blood spat from his mouth onto the gray rock.

The dragonlich’s head formed, long and narrow, with curved, twirled horns close to its head. It opened its mouth in a silent roar, exposing long, terrible fangs. It writhed around the fire burning inside. Its legs grew, reaching down into the depths of the canyon to plunge thick claws into the ground. Katerran’s voice gave out with a final bloody cough. He dropped to his knees, still weaving the sigils of purpose, renewal, life.

The dragonlich lowered its head close to the rock where he knelt, head hanging limp, hands weakly moving. It turned its head to regard him with a fiery eye. Katerran rested his hands on his thighs and leaned back, intending to sit, but continuing until he lay on his side, head rolled against the stone to see the dragon. He tried to speak, but his voice was gone. He tried to move his hands, but he had no more strength to lift even a finger.

Was it enough? He had abandoned his oaths, his family, risked everything, given everything to bring the dragonlich to life. Would it save his world, or destroy it? The dragonlich’s lifefire blazed through its bones. Katerran blew out one last shuddering breath and through darkening eyes watched the dragonlich crouch down, wings spread wide, then leap into the air, spewing its lifefire into the dark gray skies.
Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle

Time writing:
40 minutes

October word count:


  1. Prompt: Raising the dead to save the living

    I dreamt. The rocks on which I rested my chin felt soft, like a pillow. The soil that built up over my back felt like a comforting blanket. The sunlight filtered green through grass blades, then moss, then I was deep enough I slumbered in peaceful darkness.

    Tiny footsteps tracked over my buried wings, less and less frequently. Then I was deep enough I no longer felt them.

    The world shifted, slowly, such that while I had lain down to rest flat, I became canted slightly to the left. My tail tried to twitch, but the world had me tight in its grip. I was content.

    Then the dream ended. Burning skittered across my skin and I bucked in the absolute black. The weight above me eased and grey light stung my eyes. I squeezed them shut tight and reared, roaring. Who dare disturb me? I had earned my rest.

    Time writing: ~15 mintues

  2. Ooh, I love this line" the world had me tight in its grip" - beautiful!