from The Stone Dragon
In order to warn off an invading armada, a dream mage dreams a glass dragon.
Walking to the water’s edge, Glimmer felt the energy of the sea, a huge watery beast breathing its rolling exhalations onto the shore. The moon above him cast its pale scimitar of light onto Glimmer’s uplifted face, cool reflection of the sun, stars distant cousins to the fire hidden by the earth. Huge and terribly beautiful had been the dragon-star as it had stooped to earth like a falcon to its prey! Huge and terrible, its wings outspread and its eyes jewels of fire, its mouth moist with the flames of creation!
Glimmer turned away from the sea and looked upon the sleeping shadow of the town, the sea-grassy bluffs above. He had not awakened the dogs, but by dawn men with crimson robes and sun-bright swords would. But what if they beached to find a totem that advised caution? What if they stormed the shore only to find heralded an even greater storm, huge and terrible in its beauty, with iridescent wings stretched wide to enfold and protect the town?
Glimmer closed his eyes and looked down at the sand with the essence of his eyes. Each particle of sand was a beach unto itself, glowing energy, particles of matter, each upon each an infinite universe within the crescent of sand upon the earth of Delta upon the Quill. The dream mage sank within the myriad universes of sand, mingling the speckled luminescence of his being with the glowing galaxies of each grain. He reached into the flesh of his thigh and pulled forth the glowing essence of the bone, reshaping its molten form to that of a blowpipe, draining the dream-marrow from its core. Sand before and within him began to swirl, dark night whispers of shadow warming at the vortex, warming and glowing, brighter and hotter.
Extend the blowpipe and let the winds flow, winds that blow between planets, the distant fire of suns. A body forms of red hues of molten sand, head and torso; then reach with hands to mold the legs, the talons, the head reptilian with its graceful arch of neck, rear legs strong and spread to hold the weight; lift the mass to the bluff overlooking the distant sea and its horizon, ships beyond the curve of the earth. Plant the body, reared in terrific power to crack and crush. Let moonlight and starlight anneal the mass as you construct the bones of the wings, the tendon and cartilage.
Then rise from the glory hole of fiery, molten glass and leap with your body’s dream to the empty-bellied ships beyond the horizon, sailor-warriors asleep except steersmen, fall upon the ships like a falcon upon its prey, snatch gold rings from ears, gold laced round seamen’s necks, silver of gorget and greaves, copper breastplates and bronze fittings from ships. Sleeping, all of them, their dreams not your dream. All but one! Eyes open, and those eyes see you, know of your presence! Know you for what you are! Like smoke through a lattice, you are gone before more than eyes follow you, perhaps with dream-arms and dream-knives.
Quick as thought, return to the beach and offer metals to the fire. Never mind the ocean’s horizon and eyes in the dark dreams of the night. Focus and forge dragon scales of glass with metal connectors; add whispers of metal to the glass to tinge gold and silver and copper; mix with minerals within the sand: verdigris green and amber hues, blues of lapis lazuli and yellow sulfur. Scales hang to ripple with a wind and chime a beautiful music of maim and misery to those with ill intent….
And then it stands upon the bluff, ready to flame with rising or setting sun, obsidian eyes like pits of light burning darkly for the death of those who transgress.
Glimmer breathed in the fire and roared a solar flare of flame over the huge glass sea drake fixed upon the bluff, annealing the terrible beauty of the translucent beast to a magical hardness, a diamond-like sharpness, infusing within the glowing glass the mettle of the people of the land between the mountains and the sea, a warning tone to the beauty of the chimes that peace is not weak, nor is happiness helpless. The fires began to subside within the mage, his dream cooling, the tide of his passion subsiding. Night sounds returned, sea upon beach and wind among grasses. Glimmer’s thoughts turned to mage and apprentice sleeping in a room overlooking the ocean; he stood beside the bed and saw the somnolent forms before him, lay down beside the younger, closed his eyes and became the dreaming mage, the sleeping mage, the young mage sleeping, dreaming with fists clenched around the dream of his defiance, his defense of the land, dream magery drifting to dream and to slumber and then to dawn.
Copyright 2010 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved