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Begin Again - Chapter One

The Ripple Effect

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 21 min read
5
Begin Again - Chapter One
Photo by Alma Snortum-Phelps on Unsplash

There weren’t always dragons in the valley.

Scooping water from the lake, I hardly noticed as the water rippled back towards me. Although almost undisturbed, it was noticeable enough to cause pause.

Slowly I raised my head, looking the beast in his bright blue eyes. They echoed the turquoise colour of the water, around him. His charcoal coloured scales glimmering in the rising sunlight.

He paused mid motion, as did I.

We sat motionless for a moment, waiting for the other to make the first move.

Him perched on the waters surface and me standing at the edge, with the water dripping from my hands.

Neither of us dragging to breath.

An eternity passed before he finally let out a breath from his warm nostrils. Involuntarily blowing the hair out of my face, as I still refused to move even an inch.

Finally blinking, I also drew a breath.

But neither of us moved, still unsure of the other.

Finally, I gave in.

Slowly lowering my now dry hands back into the water and scooping it up for another sip. Watching the dragon as I did so.

My throat ached, as it had been days since I had a good drink of water.

Observing my movements, the beast followed suit. Not breaking eye contact, he stuck his tongue out to slurp a bit of water with caution.

The pair of us let a settling breath out as we carried on drinking. Still watching the other.

In this moment I am reminded of the stories my mom used to tell me. The stories of when dragons were our saviours and when they ruled the earth like they were meant to.

It was only recently when humans began to hunt them and drive them into near extinction. Which is why it was so shocking to me to see a water dragon before me. Like an illusion as it sat across from me, motionless. Likely trying to decide if I was a hunter or not.

The pair of us fell motionless again, feeling each other out.

Realizing he likely wasn’t a threat to me, I finished my water.

Then slowly reaching up, pushing my long black hair behind my ear, hoping he would see my pointed ear. Letting him know I was an elf and that I was almost as endangered as he. If not more so.

But then again, I don’t remember hearing about how intelligent dragons were. Or not.

And this made me nervous. Thinking that if it weren’t and it felt threatened, I would be turned to ash in a matter of seconds. Or whatever form of that a water dragon was capable of.

Letting nerves get the best of me, I closed my eyes in preparation.

But nothing happened. Nothing changed. Nothing came of it.

I opened my eyes to see the snout of the dragon, mere inches before my face. Now knowing he didn’t think me a threat but an object of interest.

Still nervous with its mouth so close, I barely dared to breath.

My chest grew tight with the lack of oxygen, I finally let out a breath. Sucking in and holding the next one with anticipation. Thinking this was when the dragon would grab me in its teeth and end my existence. I watched close, frozen in anticipation.

But nothing happened again.

The dragon continued to snort back and forth with his warm, encapsulating breath. As though smelling me and trying to decide what he thought of me for himself.

For some unknown reason, I looked back into his eyes. Seeing my own reflection in them, I let out another breath.

Without thinking, I reached up and placed the palm of my hand upon his nose. Right between his nostrils. I felt my stomach turn itself into knots and I silently said good bye to my arm that would be bitten off.

But he didn’t. Instead we paused again. As though unsure what to do with my presence.

Suddenly a blue glow came from the palm of my hand and a red one from my abdomen.

My body felt like it had been submerged in a warm bath, tingly. A calm, soothing almost numb feeling over took me.

Something I can’t say I’d ever felt before.

Remembering what danger I must be in, I snapped out of my stupor.

My hand still upon his muzzle. I looked up to see a red glow on his abdomen as well.

Wondering if he carried the same symbol as I do.

As if able to read my mind, the dragon gave a nod.

Dumping my hand off and ending the connection.

Causing me to quickly reclaim as my hand. Remaining in my crouching position as I looked up at him.

“Show it to me.” a great thunderous voice requested, his eyes gentle as he appraised me.

Doing as I was told, I slowly stood up. Pushing my cape to the side as I pulled at the strings of my corset. My hands were steady and unwavering as I did this.

Feeling no fear of the beast anymore.

What kind of fool am I to not be afraid of something that could swallow me whole?

I wondered to myself as I pulled up the bottom of my corset to reveal my birthmark. A faded rose red symbol in the shape of a circle with a humanoid and a dragon shape overlapping.

I allowed him to observe it for a moment or two before putting the corset back down, to cover myself.

“What is it?” I asked, looking him in his turquoise eyes as I held my corset in place.

“Your hand now?” he asked in his deep grumbly voice that somehow still sounded gentle.

Again, I was uncharacteristically obedient.

I secured my corset with one hand and flipped my left hand over.

This birthmark was different than the other.

It was ice blue in colour and rectangular shaped. With a dragon and water symbol over lapping.

This was where my elemental symbol was supposed to reside but this was not it. In fact I didn’t have one and I found it curious that he must have known this.

“Fix yourself and we will talk.” he commanded, moving elegantly as he walked on the water. Moving towards the land so he could be next to me.

Again, I did as I was told.

Quickly tightening and doing up my corset from the side. Spinning it around to the front before turning away to adjust myself, accordingly.

I began to wonder if he might be using some kind of mind control on me.

I was never this obedient to anyone, not even my own parents when they were alive.

“It’s not mind control.” he spoke again, settling himself down beside her. “Yes I have telepathy but no I cannot control your thoughts and actions.” he clarified, his voice casual and in a low almost calming growl. Something like the purr of a cat.

One of my suspicions confirmed, I nodded my head in acknowledgement.

Following his lead, I sat at the waters edge but chose not to face him.

Sighing, the dragon’s warm breath encircled me where I sat.

“What do you know about your symbols?” he asked, his wise turquoise eyes watching me in analysis.

Not bothering to look at him, I gazed beyond the lake out to the mountains that encased the valley we resided.

“I know that my elemental symbol isn’t what it’s supposed to be.” I stated, now looking at the beast beside me.

Wondering to myself why I wasn’t as afraid of him as I should be.

He had to be the size of a large elephant but with black scales and these almost human- like eyes. Behind their turquoise appearance, I could tell there was an untapped knowledge within.

“That is because it is my symbol.” he spoke in a low purr, now turning his foot over to show me. Revealing the symbol I was supposed to have on my palm.

A rectangular shaped crest with an elf and water symbols inside, overlapping.

“Why do we have each others symbols?” I asked, clearing my throat nervously. Looking down at my palm, the ice blue symbol gleaming back at me.

“Because we are soulmates. Two halves of one soul, if you will.” he explained. With all the patience of an old grandfather, telling his grandchild a bedtime story.

I looked back at him, feeling my heart rate quicken again.

“Nope.” I stated, before I could even allow myself to process what he was trying to say. Springing up onto my feet, I hightailed it into the thick forest behind them.

“What?” the dragon asked in what seemed like shock, but I was too focused on getting out of there to look back.

“Thank you for your time Mr. Dragon-“

“Bolin” he corrected, as he rose to his feet as well.

Following behind me, slowly.

“Bolin, but I am in no mood to become part of some scheme today. Thank you.” I finished. Entering the edge of the covered forest. Wanting so desperately to make it to safety, I didn’t dare look back.

“Young lady,” he started, with an unexpected snap that followed.

Suddenly I was bound around the midsection, with my arms pinned to my sides. Looking down the long scaled black serpent -like thing that wrapped around me. Picking me up like a small doll and bringing me back to the dragon.

“I don’t think you understand.” he finished, now holding me in front of himself with a stern look. His mouth was down turned in such a way it looked like his whiskers were a thin grey moustache.

“Look Mr. dragon-“

“Bolin.” he corrected again, not appearing angry but more growing with impatience.

“Bolin,” I accepted, feeling that warm sensation return and our symbols start to glow again. “I don’t want any trouble, I just want to live my life in peace.” I stated, trying to ignore the glow we both emitted. As well as the warmth I felt from our connection.

Bolin sat up, showing me his symbol on his upper abdomen. “I have the same one. Have you ever seen anyone else with our symbol?” he asked, pointedly. Watching my every move as he continued to hold me in place.

“No.” I answered, squirming under his tails grasp uncomfortably.

“Why do you think that is, Yrsa?” he inquired, squinting his eyes at me in suspicion.

I wondered how he already knew my name. But if he could read minds then that was an easy one for him. I also wondered why he was wasting his time on someone like me.

Maybe he just liked playing with his food before he ate it?

“I’m not going to eat you, now focus. Would you?” he half scolded me but his voice still seemed rather gentle for a dragon. His brows were furrowed in what I assumed was annoyance. “Why do you think we have the same symbol? One you’ve never seen before. And why do you think we have each others elemental symbols?” he asked again, baring down on me with his large frame.

“I don’t-“

“Think about it.” he demanded, a low growl present in the back of his voice.

“We might be connected in some way.” I finally agreed, looking away in defeat. As my eyes followed the length of Bolin’s tail back to his body. Then up his stern face, with his furrowed brows and bulging impatient turquoise eyes.

Snorting hot air on my face as his eyes seemed to burrow through me, in a simmering sort of rage.

“Fine, we are connected. Happy?” I admitted, chewing my cheek angrily. My eyes wandered down to his symbol in avoidance.

Bolin’s tail uncoiled from around me and slid back to his side as he laid himself back down. “Yes.” he growled, still looking displeased as he let out another warm snort.

“What does it mean?” I asked, taking a seat across from him. Somewhat uncomfortably. Now knowing there was no escape.

“As I said we are soulmates.” he repeated, appraising me with analysis.

Something like a predator, worried he’d scare away his prey. Or rather waiting for me to try to run again.

“But I thought soulmates were the same species, meant to be lovers.” I half argued, taking in his large size and not wanting to know how that would work romantically.

Bolin let out a chuckle and his lips curled into an charmed smile. “Not necessarily. This is a different type of soulmate, nothing like the type you are imagining.” he explained, looking entertained by the idea.

I had forgotten he can read my mind and knew exactly what I was thinking. My cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “Right.” I agreed, lowering my eyes awkwardly.

“We have been soulmates since the beginning of time. This is more than an emotional connection. Our souls are connected.” he explained further, regaining all the patience and composure he had earlier.

“But how can that be when I’m merely 50 years of age and you are… you are…” I paused, realizing I had no idea how long dragons lived. “How old are you, anyways?” I asked, impatiently as I tried to stay focused enough to make the point.

“I am 500.” he answered, sitting up in a regal if not pious position.

“500?” I repeated, absorbing that thought and then shaking it from my mind. “If you’re only 500 and me a mere 50, how can we have been soulmates since the beginning of time? And how come only you know about this?” I inquired, hoping to poke a hole in this theory of his.

It just simply couldn’t be true. I had never heard of such a thing in this way.

“We have been reincarnated this whole time, most powerful when we are together. Each time one of us dies, they are reincarnated in a similar form but always the same species.” he explained, as though this were mere fact.

Something, anyone with half a brain would know.

I sat quiet for a moment, absorbing this. Unsure what to say or even think about all this.

Logically it didn’t make sense for him to make this kind of thing up. What would he get out of it?

“Can you prove it?” I asked, tentatively as I chewed my lip nervously.

“Beyond this?” he clarified, flashing me his elemental mark.

I gave a nod.

“I thought so.” he remarked with a nod of his own. “You haven’t changed.” he stated with a half smile as he looked at me in admiration.

“I wouldn’t know.” I stated with a sign, feeling annoyed that I seemed to be left out of an inside joke.

“Touch my claw and I will allow you to read my mind.” he stated with a still entertained smile. Now holding it out for me to take.

Standing up, I walked over and sat in front of him.

Still feeling too leery to do as he asked.

“Why didn’t you do this earlier?” I asked, feeling like wasted time could have been prevented.

“As I’ve said, you haven’t changed.” he stated again, still smiling in adoration.

Huffing in annoyance, I reached out and grabbed it. Fully intending to absorb his mind reading power and use it to see what truth there is to all this. If not then a way to get myself out of this fantasy.

Suddenly I am thrown into a flashback montage.

I see multiple versions of myself flashing before my eyes, or I guess Bolin’s eyes.

I see myself with blonde hair, grey hair, red and every colour imaginable. I have green eyes, blue and even purple eyes. I see versions of myself as tall and thin, short and thick. My name changed along the way too. Sometimes I would even appear in male form. No matter what my symbols remained the same and in the same positions.

I don’t know what to make of this.

I am unsure how I recognize these versions as myself but I somehow know they are, or were me. This much I am sure of.

Then the montage seems to take a turn to what might have been my memories of Bolin or the various versions of him as well. Blue scales, green, red and all colours imaginable. Red eyes, orange, black and every colour in between. He also appeared in female form too. His names also changed but it seemed not as often as mine did.

He didn’t seem to have nearly as many identities as I did.

I wondered if maybe this was due to our fatality rate, being that I would be easier to kill. But why wouldn’t he protect me, if I was his so called soulmate.

This started to feel like a ploy again. As though I was just his willing sacrifice.

The flashback began to change again. This time it showed the various versions of us together, seeming to be comrades in combat as we fought side by side. But also healing each other after a battle.

This was confusing for me as these vague, yet almost familiar memories swam before my eyes.

Suddenly the flashing of the multiple images ended and a more steady image came to the forefront. A girl with long golden hair and emerald green eyes was appraising a small green dragon with blue eyes.

Obviously another version of myself and Bolin.

The girl was reaching out and to touch the green dragon on his forehead. Their symbols glowed, just as mine and Bolin’s had.

Then, just like the big bang had occurred, at the beginning of time. Our worlds collided. The blurred montage began again, this time too fast to catch anything of importance. Finally ending in darkness.

I didn’t know what was going on now. Was this the end?

Should we roll credits?

“No Yrsa, this is our beginning.” Bolin’s voice echoed in my head. “Or rather the beginning of the last time we were together.” he reiterated.

The image of girl with long blonde hair, caressed Bolin’s snout lovingly. Then suddenly they were in battle, using their water element as both defence and attack. Fighting an unseen evil, together.

But the blonde girl, me, was struck down by an earth element attack.

Bolin was able to end the fight and tried to carry her to safety.

Laying her down in a bed of soft grass, he touched his claw to her wound. Hoping to heal her, but was unsuccessful as she passed away before him.

It was like I was watching a play about myself but still couldn’t recognize it this way.

I still felt sadness for the scene before me, thinking of the pain Bolin must have been in. Seeing his soulmate die before him.

Another version of us appeared.

Well another version of me, with the same Bolin.

This time I was a boy with russet brown hair and lilac purple eyes, a long nose and abnormally pointy ears.

Bolin was taking his time, teaching me all the key steps of water bending and elementalism. I was quite young this time, no more the 20.

I got to watch as I aged, well beyond 100 and even 200 years.

Then finally my death scene started to play out.

I could feel the unease and heaviness of Bolin’s energy in this moment.

I squeezed his claw with my hand, in the real world. Hoping he could feel it and know that it would be okay. That I was there for him.

An avalanche was threatening a village just below one of the large mountains.

I was clearing some of the snow while Bolin, found large boulders to make a small wall to shield the town.

A yell in the valley was enough to set off the avalanche.

I out ran it by several miles. Using what water I could to make ramps and redirect the snow to another path or stop it all together. Only able to do this in small spurts, as the falling snow would soon catch up to me.

Without warning, Bolin had come in and scooped me up. Saving me from a snowy grave.

But as we flew over head the village, it became apparent that the snow would not be stopped by the boulder wall.

“We need to evacuate the village.” I stated, pointing over his shoulder as I did so.

“We don’t have time.” Bolin argued.

“We have to try.” I stated, still out of breath from my earlier attempt.

Bolin dropped me off at the boulder wall and began evacuating the village as best he could. Meanwhile I used the water from a nearby well to build a couple primary walls before the boulders. Hoping they would slow the snow down and save the village or at least most of it.

In the real world, Bolin let out a low growl as though he were nervous. Possibly even unable to relive this part.

My stomach turned to knots in anticipation. My heart rate quickened, nervously. I could only guess what would happen next.

This part seemed to play in slow motion.

The snow slowed as it ran through the two barriers and was stopping at the boulders. Saving the village.

But as it broke through one of the ice barriers, a piece of ice snapped off and impaled me. Knocking me to the ground before the boulders. Soon after I was buried under the snow that collapsed into the wall. Unable to be recovered right away, Bolin couldn’t save me and I perished below the snow.

The flashback ended and we opened our eyes simultaneously.

We sat in silence for a moment.

I was still absorbing everything I witnessed.

Wanting to feel some kind of connection to what I watched but still finding it hard.

Bolin seemed to be struggling with the pain of reliving his soulmate dying multiple time.

He swallowed hard and looked away in avoidance. Almost seeming to choke back some tears.

We continued to sit in silence for an undetermined amount of time.

It felt like we were in limbo. Time was both moving too slow to understand and too fast to comprehend.

Finally Bolin spoke first.

“Do you have any questions?” he asked, looking to me with sad eyes.

“Why would you continue to seek me out if my death causes you so much pain?” I asked, without thinking.

Immediately regretting my lack of tact and forethought.

“What do you mean?” he asked, both taken back and suspicious.

Furrowing his brow in confusion as his sadness seemed to wash away.

“I mean what is the point of putting yourself through that pain? What is our purpose?” I asked, leaning into how blunt I was being.

But I couldn’t understand why we would do this to ourselves over and over again. What could be so important that we would do this.

“Wait, you mean you don’t remember our purpose after all that?” he asked, looking even more confused.

“No.” I answered, wondering if I missed something.

Clearly I had, with the look he was giving me.

“Your memory didn’t come back to you when we did the flashback?” he asked in suspicion. His eyes narrowed and whiskers twitched, as he focused on my reaction.

“No.” I stated, feeling dumb at this point. “Should it have?” I asked, now searching my brain for anything that felt different.

But I had no such luck.

“Yes. It should have.” he stated, still looking perplexed.

I sat for a moment, thinking harder. Maybe it came to me and I didn’t realize?

“No, you would know.” he stated, seeming puzzled by this turn of events.

“Does it sometimes take a while to come back?” I asked, feeling guilty for some reason.

“No.” he answered bluntly, his eyes squinting as he thought hard and steam came out of his nose.

Seeming to not be present as a thought was simmering in his brain.

“Maybe we did it wrong?” I asked, reaching out to touch his claw again.

“No.” he stated, retracting his claw and the foot attached to it. Huffing again, as more steam came out of his nostrils.

“This has never happened before.” Bolin stated, seeming almost flustered by this turn of events.

“Oh.” I replied, not sure what to say but feeling the gravity of the situation.

“Usually-“

“Usually, you know everything at this point.” he interrupted and clarified.

Still not making eye contact as he seemed to be lost in thought.

I imagined what he might be thinking about, but also felt confused at that thought.

I wondered what he was trying to piece together. Was he unsure of the procedure after all this time?

Then I wondered how that couldn’t be? Because he’d done it some many time before. Especially in this current life time.

“I don’t know what went wrong.” he admitted, in a quiet almost inaudible voice.

Bolin looked humbled by this. The corners of his mouth sagged and his eyes looked vacant.

This might have been the first time ever that he had to admit he didn’t know the answer. But I wouldn’t know for sure as my only memories of him were the ones he implanted.

“Couldn’t you just give me all my memories back like you did, in the flashback?” I asked, starting to feel bad for him.

Knowing his ego had to have taken a hit in that moment.

“It wouldn’t be the same.” he explained, looking disappointed.

Something like hearing the love of his life had passed away and was never coming back.

Which, I suppose, in away was what he was going through or feeling.

“What can we do then?” I asked, feeling drawn to the cause.

Wanting to desperately to help him.

“Our first course of action is to restore your memories. It is imperative that you remember how this started and what we are fighting for..” he stated, a look of determination burned in his eyes.

And this is where our story truly begins…

Series
5

About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

Thank you for stopping by!! 💚💙💜🩵

If you are interested in longer works by me, I have two books published on Amazon.

Jogger's Trail and Fox in The Hole.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (4)

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  • The Invisible Writer5 months ago

    If it were up to me this would have won. The opening scene was so beautiful and vivid. I was very intrigued by this story. I found myself constantly wanting to know more. You did an amazing job with the conversation carrying it all the way through. I really wanted their to be a chapter 2 so I could keep reading. Seriously, I couldn’t put this down. Their conversation had the intimacy of old friends at the same time feeling like a first meeting. I loved the snarky humor you gave Yrsa and the impatience of Bolin. I think you were really on to something. I had the feeling of being at the beginning of a grand epic.

  • I really loved the name Yrsa! I've always been fascinated with reincarnation and past lives so I really loved the concept you used here. It's so cool that Bolin's claw can show Yrsa the past lives memories. I felt so sad that Yrsa did realise their purpose like she did the previous times. This story simultaneously reminded me of the Tamil movie, Anegan and Japanese anime, Rave. I loved it so much! Would you continue this story?

  • L.C. Schäfer11 months ago

    I loved the descriptions you opened with. The scene was very vivid 😁

  • Novel Allenabout a year ago

    Interesting plot. Well written story.

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