It's sunset in the Rockies. A man, maybe thirty, stands on the overlook, staring out at the city below, where the lights are just starting to come on. He's built like an Olympic runner, tall and lean, with carefully careless shaggy blonde hair. His clothes are casual but expensive, and he wears them like clothes were invented to make him look good. He's watching the city below with such intense concentration that you walk over, wondering if there's a fire or a car accident down in the valley.
As you approach, you see that he's taller than you thought, well over six feet, and his expression is more the concentration of someone who has discovered excrement on their shoe and is deciding the best way to get rid of it without actually touching it. He turns his eyes from the city to rest squarely on you. They're the same blue as a Bunsen burner flame, if a flame were made of ice. And are they...? You blink. No, of course not. Eyes don't glow, just a trick of the dying light.
He watches you with his poo-shoe expression, then turns back to the city and sighs.
"I'll kill Malik. He was supposed to set up a barrier, and yet here you are. I suppose after three thousand years, I shouldn't be surprised. You're everywhere." He motions with his arm, a gesture that sweeps the entire valley. Not just the town directly below, but the smattering of others you can see in the distance and the faint outline of the state capital to the north. In sharp contrast to his words and face, his voice is a warm, inviting tenor made even more appealing by a musical accent.
He flicks his icefire eyes at you again, then sighs as if he is Atlas, with the weight of the heavens crushing his shoulders.
I'm late in noticing this one. I'm not sure which one is the character to be interviewed.
Is the "you are everywhere" a comment on humans in general? As it seems but there also seems also to be some intimacy there, like he knows the newcomer. Because of my confusion I'm not sure what to ask or whom.
"Hmmph! We're everywhere? Who's we? I certainly didn't sign up for any group before coming out here. I just wanted to get some air. And why don't you set up your own dang barrier? Got to do something yourself if you want to do it right, that's what I always say."
[This message has been edited by nirele (edited September 05, 2011).]
What part of the Rockies? What city? And how did a guy calling himself "Garan ap Than" (Welsh?) wind up there, if that's what he's calling himself after three thousand years?
Posts: 8626 | Registered: Aug 2005
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@LDWriter- yes, he means humans in general. He refers to them collectively as "you" when speaking to one. Garan is the one being interviewed.
* Garan eyes the impertinent humans. "Very well," he says. "I suppose there is no harm in talking to you. I hear you talk to your pets, do you not? I suppose this is much the same." Despite the insult, he flashes a congenial smile, a white crescent in the gathering night.
He turns to Nirele. "No one signs up to be a member of their own species. More's the pity, really. At least for you. I would set up my own barrier if I could, but unfortunately, I am of the Elemental clan, not the Azhdahā, and unable to do so. Elementals have other... gifts."
He shifts his gaze to Robert. "Your guess is correct. I was born in Wales, though it has been called many things in my life. We called it Eryri. It was our home for millions of years, until you came along.
"I came here to find someone. A cousin. I've been looking for him for a long time, and almost had him twice. His father, my uncle, stole my birthright. I killed him, but not before he passed it to his son. Does it matter which city this is? Which country? Your boundaries and laws do not apply to me or my kind."
He blinks, waiting, half a smile playing about the corners of his mouth. The further the sun slips behind the western mountains, the more obvious it becomes that his unnerving blue-flame eyes are, in fact, aglow.
"Other gifts? Like what? I knew a man who claimed to be able to talk to wolves - he ended up dead on the ground with his throat torn out. I'll believe it when I see it. And what's a birthright anyway? You own some sort of land?"
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Getting out of character again but mythique Do you know something about Welsh legends? They seem to get left out in stories but I may use some for a story or two. And my last name might be welsh so some family might be from Wales.
Posts: 5093 | Registered: Jun 2010
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LDWriter, I know a little about Welsh legends. What I know I found online. This story started out as a mash-up between a really, really old idea I had in high school, legends of Y Ddraig Goch (the Red Dragon), and the legend of Prince Madoc. All of that combined gave me most of my back story, and I went from there.
You might check out the Mabigonion, if you haven't already. That is the earliest written record of Welsh myth, I believe. Everything I've learned about Welsh myth I learned from Google. As far as family history, that's really cool. I have one guy from Wales somewhere on the tree, but that's all I know. Google works for that, too, in general terms. My maiden name was Scottish.
@nirele - Thank you for your posts! I'm not forgetting you. I don't have time to post a good response right now (must sleep), but I will tomorrow!
Instead of replying, Garan picks up a palm-sized stone. He holds it in front of him, his stance casual and bored. Within seconds, a rime of frost has collected on its surface, turning the rock almost as white as his teeth. A beat later, a series of sharp cracks snap the air, like the sound of ice cubes dropped in water. The stone has cracked in a dozen places. He lets the pieces slide through his fingers, and they tumble to the ground, skittering outward. One bounces off your flip-flop-clad foot. Though the ground, and presumably the stone, should still be warm with the residual heat of the late-summer day, it feels like a chip of ice.
"Gifts," he shrugs. "Elementals have the most variation within a clan. What you'd expect from the name. Powers to do with earth, air, fire, or water. A few times every hundred thousand years we'll get seers, who account for the fifth element. None of them are quite like me." He smiles again, both charming and patronizing.
"Of course, we are only one clan. There are a dozen or so. The Azhdahā, though there are only two of them left, manipulate minds. The Unktehila call storms and sway weather, the Mo'o and Tatsu both have to do with the ocean, the Derkin are renowned healers and warriors... your eyes are glazing, annwyl," Garan's teeth flash again, but it looks less like a smile this time.
"I'll move on to your next question. No, I don't 'own land.' What a ridiculous concept. Only humans think they can 'own' the earth, like it can be chopped into bits and taken home. No, my birthright is power. Millions of years ago, when the clans were consolidated for the first time, they elected to give one family the power to command and control the entire race. Only the head of the family can use it to its full capacity. Why? We are not... social creatures. Our race was dying out because of war and low birthrates. One being, total control, no more bloodshed. Our numbers stopped decreasing. Until you appeared on the evolutionary stage, that is." He pauses and smooths a hand over his lips, and flicks his eyes at you. The glow flares, then dims again, though his face is devoid of any emotion except for a smug quirk of his mouth.
"But that is neither here nor there, is it? That power, the Mantle, was supposed to be mine. My uncle murdered my mother and stole it. I killed him, but he'd already given it to his son. My cousin. Rhys." His condescending mask slips for the briefest moment, and the expression behind it is ugly. "Rhys, who still isn't even old enough to use the Mantle. That is my birthright; the power to control every living dragon on the planet."
@mythique890 - sorry for the delay of my own - life got in the way.
"Impressive, sure. But it seems like all you care about is being better than everyone else and your Mantle dragon whatever you call it power. I mean, don't you ever do anything else but show off and hunt down the guy that took your stuff?"
@nirele - Totally understand. I'm up to my ears in kid stuff all the time. Right now it's Halloween costumes and my upcoming turn to teach the small "preschool" a few other moms and I formed on top of daily stuff. Ugh.
P.S. You are great. Your questions make me laugh out loud. My husband thinks I'm crazy.
For the first time, Garan cracks a genuine smile and lets out a quiet chuckle.
"My 'Mantle dragon power.'" He shakes his head. "As for showing off, you asked, didn't you? Just a demonstration. A small one.
"No, I don't care about being better than others, and I would say it's likely I'm no more self-interested than any other... person. It's a matter of what is right. I am best suited for the Mantle. Rhys is like his father, afraid to act. More concerned with humans than their own people." He eyes you again, and the smile fades. When he resumes speaking, his voice is low, almost mournful.
"You are destroying everything, you know. The balance is undone. With the Mantle, I can restore it. Humans would suffer, yes, but it would be for the good of every other species in the world, and for the planet. Well worth the sacrifice. It's not like we'd kill all of you. I'm not evil; you've just gotten out of hand. Besides, we need you, at least until our population is back to a sustainable level."
"Um, hold it there just one second. I haven't destroyed anything - lover not a fighter, that's what I say. You're the one talking about killing humans like we're some kind of sport. And what do you need us for anyway? Is this some sort of 'To Serve Man' kind of thing where you use us for food? Or for dragon food? I ain't cattle, I'll have you know."