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and the return of the Ghost Dragons

By Negomi Oak RhettsPublished 11 months ago 3 min read

Her eyes were closed when Arwen found her. The tiny being loosely wrapped in cloth that was so dirty and marked by fire and mud you couldn’t tell its original colour anymore.

Rapid shallow breaths came and went, but apart from her chest she was still and quiet, as if the ruin around her didn’t exist and she hadn’t been knocked and battered by it all. Her parents, long gone by now, perhaps even turned to ash, were not there. No other humans were with her. No one was there but her.

Arwen had been part of the battle. Her fire and talons burning and cutting into the mayhem. Her tribe, in their many flanks, came to defend. For honour. For tradition. For the reasons told to them over centuries. The cause and effect of living alongside so called enemies.

This was the first battle where Arwen had been badly injured. Dragons were always slightly chipped and torn in battles, but their granite like scales, razor sharp senses, and agile speed protected them well.

However this fight had been different, it had been more intense and devastating than any other Arwen had fought in. Plus, there had not only been one opponent.

No sooner as Arwen’s tribe had descended on the human community, who had gathered their metal weapons and burning sticks, but another force had joined the battle - Ghost Dragons.

Arwen had only ever heard of these beasts from her elders. No other dragon she knew today had ever seen one, let alone fought one. Her elders remembered their youth and remembered the fear of these disturbing creatures. They made no sound, appeared in great masses, and destroyed almost everything they touched.

After years of loss and sacrifice to protect Arwen’s tribe, her elders recounted one day when the Ghost Dragons had suddenly retreated without warning. They were never seen again, but the scars they left were deep. Arwen’s elders retold their stories again and again for fear that the Ghost Dragons would return one day, and hoped that the memory of them would be protection enough if that day came.

Arwen had never been grounded before. Her left wing had been slashed by burning ash and rubble, pelting her from all sides. Deep gaps in the sail like skin gave passage for light to cast through, making spotlights, long and thin, on the singed and burnt ground as she made her way, flightless, back north.

The air was crisp and silent. There was nothing. Even the timber burning in orange flames only a few hours before was not only black and done, but already turning to cool grey ash that drifted like snow and hung in the air that barely moved. The only noise came from the last brittle twigs and crunching stones beneath Arwen’s heavy weight, each step taking all that was left of her.

Arwen’s indelicate path led her abruptly to where the child lay, almost directly at her feet. Arwen would have stepped on the tiny human and not noticed her at all if her great horned head was not bent with exhaustion. Now, she would have to step over the child to move between the piles of debris so as to not crush her. But she stopped, unable to move forward.

This child’s ancestors had been one of many human tribes to fight with Arwen’s elders, brothers, and sisters. So many lives lost. So much destroyed. So much pain, anger, and fear. But there was something else, another feeling within Arwen. It stopped her and drew her in. The compassion that links all beings to one another, and which directs the moral compass within was pulling at Arwen’s mind and body.

She gazed down at the child, the small human with no talons or weapon in hand. How could these simple beings grow into such a threat? Would this one do the same?


About the Creator

Negomi Oak Rhetts

Herbalist & holistic health coach

Ex biodynamic farmer

Amateur poet and short story enthusiast

Self-published author of two free-verse poetry books: Weaving Roots and Wild Sanctuary

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