A Land Old with Years and Stories
There were ten kingdoms that ruled the land. These kingdoms were ruled by lords and ladies. Daniel was the eldest of the lords. His land grew ever stronger with the years passing. Sophia, ruled the nearby kingdom where they produced silks and harvested great crops in neat little rows. Hannah, her sister lived 4 days walk and a ride across the ocean from Sophia. Wars had left the sisters leading separate households in distant lands. Leona’s land was all along the Blueberry Eye Sea. It stretched for miles down winding coast. David held the mountains. Jonathon tilled the muddy, unruly lands beside the unpassable ravine. Eli’s people raised herds in the pasture lands. Caleb’s men were brickmakers. Charlotte’s people lived in the coldest upper mountains. And Leah had the small island on the Buford Bellows.
The Sages protected the stories of the kingdoms. It is said throughout the land that the tears of a Sage never lie. They are known to see all and utter only truth. I was seeking knowledge of my origin and if I could help stop the wars.
I met with Sage XXI. She was 6 feet tall but appeared to somehow be petite. Convey a bit of smallness. The Sage XXI was a woman of only 19 years, but cursed with the burden of knowing. Of wisdom. It was a family trait that aged her and her kin quickly. Their youth was only a brief moment that would light upon them like a shooting star before disappearing into darkness. As the first smiles of joy lighted their faces, so the deep wrinkles of weary frowns would come and quickly tattoo themselves onto the knowing faces of the young Sages.
I told Sage XXI I knew that one day I would be a King. She did not laugh as my brother had. She did not try to calm the fear she saw in my face either. Rather, one small tear carved another wrinkle into the rapidly aging cheek of this woman. he tear fell to the ground and was gone, like a sudden hope or bit of excitement that is there but disappears. Her eyes seemed to say she knew. She believed me. She feared the truth in my words, the weight in my haunting prophecy.
Sage XXI stared at me and spoke. “I do not know that you will be King. You cannot befriend an unknown future.” She paused. She did not hurry in her answer, but seemed to have more to say.
“It is–” She said.
“Have you seen the coming of time?” I tried to interrupt.
But she shook her head. She shrugged with all the smallness of her seeming age. The curls around her face fell close to her eyes. Her head was almost waving side to side. For a moment I was fearful. I stopped speaking. She continued.
“You must see the places you are, and not the places you will become. All kings are slaves. Do not build yourself a prison. You are not meant to know what has not been. You are only a dragon.” I curled my tail in front of me, putting a wall between this moment where she was naming me.
Naming was forbidden for 7 centuries and she was hurling “dragon” on me, a word that lacked the acknowledgement of any humanity I might still possess.
“You, dragon, ask questions with dangerous answers.” She looked into my eyes, as if she were trying to catch a thief or hide from a robber.
“I have one gift you will not want. Will you take this gift?”
I stared at her. She had given me no answers, no home, no clarity, just the cruelty of naming. The smog was filling my lungs and breathing was harder. Without trusting a Sage, where could I turn.
“Give. Give it and I will take.” I now tried to demand whatever she had willingly offered. I could fill this room with smoke in an instant.
She stepped forward, unafraid of my rushing breathes. She stared to the East and to the West. She slipped off her sandals and climbed over to the window to cover up the light that came in and hide us from the outside world. She sat – not on her chair but on the ground. Sinking toward the earth so she was lower than me. It was almost a posture made for praying. She looked at the ground, near my taloned dragon feat. She reach one hand to touch my foot.
You cannot touch dragons.
She planted her palm on the top of my calloused, tough skin, and spoke.
“Child,” she said. A word that hinted at humanity.
“You must always be prepared for war.”
I had to run.