And suddenly this dormant part of me, this locked up Lochness, was finally free. Finally, like the flying dragon that circles a majestic island mountain with reaching wings and a soaring, I had caught the wind.
I didn’t know where the wind would take me. I knew there were battles to the East and feasts with great warriors to the West. I knew that all great stories of good dragons would become drinking tales of towering feats and fallen knights. Unforgettable quests driven by love in its purest form. Conquering accomplished for the sake of one undeniable beauty and the madness of jealousy. I knew these tales like the grooves in my dinner goblet. I knew that journeys might take you to lands raging with sickness, famine and villagers dining daily on breakfast despairs. It was all the before me, swimming in that surrounding moat of my mind. Those memories of the time before I was a dragon, before I was a peasant, before I was asked to be king. Now, I was miles straight up- past the stone gates that encircled castle towers. Now I was spinning around surveying this vast and hungry land. The waters were spilling out before me, far toward the horizon. The rugged, rolling and chaotic hills and ravines were stuck in an argument of rise and run, of gravity and ascension.
The prophecies were returning. Muddled and blurry each would come. Some tinged with fear, some dripping with sadness, some bursting forth like the announcement of a newborn babe. Silence would be better than these visions.
What is a dragon to do with a flashing of light wherein you see a subject – a simple and brief moment, before a tide will wreak havoc upon a friend, upon your kin. But maybe it was just the tangle of the untempered bits of landscape and the languid mist of tide lingering long. It could all be that mirage of desert, of dreams defiled, of hopes beaten into a pulp of near misbelief.
I took my talons and dug curled long toes into bits of dry and dirty rocks.
The dragon strength let me crush those earthly metals into finer pieces. I liked destruction. Wide, wide I opened this mouth and breath and heated the earth with all the bitterness that came from within this protruding monster belly. FIRE. I cooed like baby uttering first sounds – but sounds designed to destroy. FIIIIIIIREEEE. Out, out came the languid gray and black and saliva filled smog from my throat. It burned and soothed the ache that was left from my memory moat.
FIIIIIIRRRREEE. The trees nearby were wet and so blackened by my breath. But these did not ignite with flame. I’d spent my breath and seen how I could engulf a small patch of land in flames. And while I love how I could lick the earth with my black tongue and tear and the bursting vegetation, unleashing the agony and ash that would cough up from within. While that taste and scar left me with the richness of power, dominion and destruction, I could not stay long to see death start to eat at the trees.
And so I ran until these armlike wings beat hard against the wind. And the prophecies beat against my mind as the wings beat against my side. My wings captured wind and threw air back hard, propelling me forward. Each lunge parallel to the horizon of the earth pushed me up higher. It was like there were two open flapping mouths on either side of me that vomited gusts of hot wind. These loose and muscular wings spread – they sucked the air like thirsty sails. The pushed the air back down like angry squalls that spit upon the ocean back.
I rose. I rose.
Lifted toward the vast blue of uncertainty. A dragon. As I rose higher, my perspective grew. I could seep deeper into the mouth of the horizon. To the South, the horizon sneered at me. There was a kingdom in that distance. That evil wolf and master tended a village oozing with hatred. From up here I could see the reach of the master’s villainy. My dragon ears could hear widow and orphans screams. And tiny hoards of fearful men poured out from the poisoned village seeking shelter, stealing food and shield and hope from one another in a maddened grasp for survival. My dragon ears had heard too much.
I took the wing on my left to cover the noises from seeping into my dragon head, threatening to poison the newly formed will of my dragon soul. Immediately my balanced flight was disrupted and I plunged 20 feet toward the ground, almost as if inviting a sideways slap of land against my body. I threw the right side of my body outward. All the vertebrae in my tail were suddenly at attention and curving quickly like an airborne rudder. I captured just enough wind to steady myself, to turn from the village and head North toward home. My home might be a cave, an abandoned ship, a hollow castle or some other unvisited den. But it was far from the South, far from that place I’d lived as a page and witnessed the bloodlusts of entertaining jousts, wild dance, amusement and empty laughter.
Sometimes finding home means knowing the place you are leaving and not where you will land. And that was my first lesson as a dragon.