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Old Oct 30 2010, 05:13 AM   #1
McClance
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Draconia, Alpha Quadrant, Milky Way Galaxy
Gender: M
Fan of: Pern & Doona
Now Reading: Fantastic Voyage
Default Fractured Dream - excerpt, SF

This is an excerpt from Fractured Dream, Book 2 in my Draconia series.

To set the context: Bare Peak Range, Varthikes' home mountain range, was attacked by a Human fighter. Then, the colony was attacked by renegade dragons. Varthikes and Audwin are now considered traitors by both sides. They are taking refuge at another Range.

This is a quiet character moment between Audwin and Varthikes, during which Audwin is audience to a Draconian singing performance. I just inserted the whole singing sequence today. I thought it would show a little bit of the Draconian culture. Please, let me know if it works.

=======================

The lair that the honorable Sages provided for Varthikes and Audwin was located on the southern shore of Great Eye Lake. Hundreds of dracfolk gathered around the lake, their eyes glowing gold in the night. Many of those glowing eyes nearby were focused on Audwin. None of the gazes, at least, were filled with anger like those back at Bare Peak. The lake appeared as a vast area of blackness reflecting the night sky and the glowing eyes.

Audwin found a number of blooming fruit bushes nearby, and Varthikes caught a fish in lake for him. As Audwin ate, a Draconian on a nearby shore called out in a high-baritone voice. A second, somewhat deeper voice answered from the east. A third from the west. Finally, a fourth echoed from the north. All four voices joined in a chorus, all going higher, then lower. All four voices faded to a brief silence, after which the north and east voices continued, alternating, then joined as one. Then, the north and east voices stopped, while the south and west voices repeated the verse.

Audwin nearly forgot his dinner as he listened to what seemed to be Draconians singing. The calls carried over the water surface, sounding eerie and alien but beautiful at the same time to the Human's ears. He had no idea what they would be singing about, but he felt himself becoming immersed in their culture.

You are correct, Varthikes asked as all four joined as one again, this time accompanied by softer voices of backup singers. Heavy footfalls and talons scraping rock announced his approach from behind Audwin. They are singing. Surely, you thought not that Humans were the only ones with that ability.

Audwin looked back to meet Varthikes' glowing reptilian eyes. “Not at all. But, seven years on this planet, and I've never heard Draconians sing.” Audwin turned his attention back to the singers. The voices on the shore faded and were replaced by three new voices, calling from the north, but not as distant as the previous voice from that direction. The new singers must be on the island. Then, all singers on every shore joined for the big finish. When all the voices faded for the final time, all those gathered around the lake erupted in trumpeting cheers. Varthikes rose to his hindlegs to add his own voice while Audwin merely clapped his hands. Whether or not the performers registered his tiny claps among the louder trumpets of their dracfolk, he had no idea.

Varthikes returned to all fours and laid down beside Audwin. That makes me forget, for a moment, the troubles we now fly against. He met Audwin's eyes and explained what the song was about. About Draconia's dark history, when dracfolk were divided and set at each other's throats. Then, Rathren's movement to unite their world.

Audwin nodded his understanding, having previously learned about Draconia's history and Rathren's movement. “I wonder what he would do if he was around today.” He lifted his head and gazed at the crystalline night sky and the millions of points of light twinkling in that vastness. Each one much like the other. One would hardly be missed if it were to go missing, yet, to someone on a planet orbiting any one of them, the star was vital for life.

You wish you were still up there?

“It looks so peaceful. I wish we were somewhere else. Just you, me, Ilka, Sonaphing, Amity, your children… Somewhere.” Audwin swept a hand across the starry sky.

Pern?

Audwin laughed at the casual reference. “That'll do.” He turned serious again. “As long as it's away—far away—from all this fighting, greed, suspicion, paranoia. Imagine it, Varth: someone can be looking up at this from another world out there. All they would see of our world is the sun we're orbiting. A single star among billions like it. This fighting, greed, suspicion, paranoia is all nothing by comparison.” Audwin let out a heavy sigh of frustration. He laid back, stretching himself out on the rocky shore, all the while keeping his eyes on the sky. “Oh, Varth, why is it so difficult for some to look beyond our physical differences?”

Audwin meant it as a rhetorical question. But, after a moment, Varthikes answered, From what I have observed in our readings together, Humans and Draconians are similar in this—at least, some of them—not ones like you and me. Varthikes turned a slitted eye down to Audwin. They fear what is unknown. They fail to understand it, so they reject it and fight it. Your kind can understand not that there can exist intelligent beings who resemble creatures out of your own fiction—creatures who were often portrayed as evil. My kind understands not why creatures so different from us physically, as you say, can be so much like us mentally—just as honorable. And, they understand not why Sage Vethes would show mercy to Shelski seven cycles ago.

Both held the other's eyes for a long while, Audwin finding reassurance in the Draconian's. Finally, he said, “I guess I can better understand how difficult it must have been for Rathren, trying to bring a new era to a world.”

Over six hundred cycles did it take for Rathren and his flight to succeed. Now, we are trying to unite this world with the much larger Universe. Like Rathren, however, we are not alone in this. Though it may take hundreds of cycles, our kinds will learn to accept each other and co-exist peacefully. With your kind as well as with others that live Beyond our world, such as these Malcons.

“I have no doubt of that. I just…would like to be alive when it happens.”

I, too, would very much like that, Varthikes agreed. Even better that we were both alive to see it.

“Absolutely.” The two friends shared a companionable silence. Then, Audwin sat up and leaned against the other's scaly arm. “You're a wise creature, my brother,” he told him.

Together, we are even wiser. They watched the starry sky for a while longer before retiring into the lair. Audwin slept, tucked warmly between Varthikes' arm and neck.
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