[Story] Story a Week 50

[[ Prompt: A creation myth ]]

Harvian didn’t explain anything, not at first. He insisted on walking on his own, despite his injuries, and Tamazi had no choice but to allow him. It was not until they had put the village several miles behind them, and the Huntress’s eye opened in the sky, that he finally spoke.

“What do you know about dragons?” Harvian asked.

Tamazi frowned, puzzled. “Not very much. Aren’t they all gone?” She had never seen one, nor known anyone who had. The only dragon she knew of was the one from the tale she’d told Harvian before, but that had happened many generations ago.

Harvian clicked his teeth and sighed. “No, I guess you wouldn’t.” He glanced around and pointed to a small stand of trees across the path. “We can rest there for the night.”

Though they had no food to cook, Harvian started a fire for light and warmth. Tamazi was relieved to see him do this magically; perhaps whatever damage the dark creature had done was only temporary and going away. But she did not ask about that now, she was more curious about the dragons. “What about the dragons?” she insisted, after they had settled down in front of the fire.

“It’s best I start at the beginning,” Harvian said. Tamazi turned her ears forward curiously. “A very long time ago, before any of us can remember, the world was empty. No birds flew in the sky, no fish swam in the seas, and no animal walked upon the ground. There was only the sky, the sea, and the rock. They decided there should be a caretaker, a keeper for the world, and they set out to make one. The body was formed out of rock, the sea brought it to life, and the sky lifted it into the air. The child was called Mahra, and she was the first dragon.

She was at home on the rock, in the sea, or in the sky. She kept watch over the world and guarded it from danger. But in time she grew older, and she yearned for children of her own. She mated with the sky, and she tended her nest as gently and carefully as any mother could. From that egg hatched Aurilahn, his scales a brilliant glowing gold. He basked in his mother’s warmth and love, and she placed him in the sky that she might see him every day. Though she was happy with her child, Mahra saw that the world was empty and lonely. She raised another nest with the sky, this time there were three eggs: Burakhar, Lakahari, and Miralana. Burakhar was wild and swift, stirring the sky into fluffy clouds and rainstorms. Wherever the rain fell, plants began to grow and cover the rock. Lakahari was a shy and secretive child, always hiding and playing tricks on others. She went to live at the very edge of the world, where the mists could hide her. Miralana, her scales a shining silver, was delicate and wise. Mahra placed her in the sky beside her brother, but they were both so large that they had to take turns — one flew at night and one in the daytime.”

Here Tamazi made a face, but she didn’t interrupt.

“The world began to feel full and alive, but Mahra knew she was not yet finished. She mated with the sea, and raised another nest of three: Ellikhova, Karmiaki, and Tuhlmanna. Ellikhova took to the sea immediately, splashing and creating the waves and tides. When he went to visit his mother on the rock, he left scratches in the rock that became the streams and rivers. Karmiaki was blessed with very good luck and a love of all things beautiful, and Mahra chose her to give her riches to those most deserving. Tuhlmanna loved the plants that grew on the rock, and tended to them — she could heal them when they were ill and help them grow fuller and stronger.

Mahra looked over the world and was very pleased with it, but still no creatures ran upon the rock, or swam in the sea, or flew in the sky. She gathered from the plants — twigs, leaves, flowers, and moss. She took them to the sea and built them into creatures, using sand to hold them together and the water to bring them to life. She made them in different shapes, using different plants. Some were soft, made from moss, while others were spiny and made from twigs. Some were beautiful, adorned in flowers, while others were rough like mud. Mahra breathed gently upon the creatures, and they began to stir. They began to walk out into the world on their own. Some went into the sea, others into the forests, and others flew away into the sky.

But now Mahra was old, and she wanted to finish making the world before she died. She had one final clutch of eggs with the rock: Tahkarith, Ramador, and Nahrinah. Tahkarith was rough and fiery, and Mahra set him on the highest rocks, where he chewed and dug them into mountains. Ramador was proud, strong, and dangerous. He taught the animals to fight and defend the world from danger. Mahra’s last child, Nahrinah, was very strange. Peaceful yet strong, and most of all very wise, she was chosen to tend to the animals after they had died.

The world was no longer empty, but full of life, and everything was as it should be. Mahra told her children to guard and keep the world well when she was gone. Ancient and tired, she lay down upon the rock and died. Her blood ran into the rivers, and those animals that drank of it gained some small part of her wisdom. They became wise, and able to use weapons, and stand on two legs. Most important, they were able to speak with Mahra’s children, the keepers of the world.”

Tamazi waited until Harvian was finished before she spoke. “So those children were dragons?” she asked. It still didn’t make any sense to her.

“No. Not as we know them. The dragons are their chosen, to speak for them here.”

“That still doesn’t make sense,” said Tamazi.

“There is only one dragon for each god,” said Harvian. “They choose him, or her. They gain some of their power. Well, normally there’s one. Miralana’s died some time ago.”

“Then how do they choose them?”

Harvian grinned, his teeth shining brightly in the darkness. “That’s the mystery. No one knows exactly. There have been scholars that study it who have an idea, but they don’t know for sure. They believe that a drake is chosen and undergoes a physical change.”

“Like that one in the swamp,” said Tamazi. “Is he going to turn into a dragon?”

“I hope not. But yes, one of those. As far as anyone knows, it hasn’t happened yet. The Temple of the Moon stands empty.”

Tamazi looked at Harvian intently. “That’s the place you want to go.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“That’s… complicated,” said Harvian. “It’s already late. We should rest while we can.”

Tamazi frowned. Why would he not answer? But it’s true, she was exhausted from the ordeal and the village and from the journey. Her injuries still ached, but not nearly so much as they had. The moment she lay her head down, she felt herself drifting away to sleep.

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