– 51 –
There’s an edge. Every time I gear up, I hit a slowdown, so I know that an edge lays beyond. A sword slowing as it nears its mark. Seems it’s working on me more than I’m working on it. Like I imagine watching my own sun go nova: details sharpening in the final moment’s arrival, beautiful, beautiful always. Amazing steps of amazing effort in this hyperbolic downward frontline towards nothing-not-nothing. Seconds protract, the transmission of time condensed into a line, fiber into thread. The stun of conclusion when the line’s end appears.
Listening for a change, she hears nothing. Soleil is running without stopping, but there’s nothing. Then something arrives, and she can see nothing but the writhing scales, seamlessly enfolded within their grasp.
Stoically standing, she knows there is nowhere to hide. Eyes emerge in a draconid face, fresh and delicate, fascinating and fascinated. Then, the rumble of a strangely familiar-sounding voice beginning to communicate.
I noticed you, moving around.
I caught wind of you…
I ate your mother,
when I was born.
I ate a lot of people,
It was emerge or die.
They were waiting for me.
They would have killed me.
I chose to live.
Yours is not the only mother I ate,
doubtfully the last,
with so many mothered beings in existence.
Now we meet.
I am Acamar.
Without thinking of the significance of her words, Soleil asked, “Did you seek me?”
The dragon admitted, “Yes.” This revealed to them a new understanding of their positions in the nature of their meeting. The dragon wanted to give her something.
– 52 –
Soleil recalled her lessons in the voice of her dragon teacher, Arkuda:
There is a common trait in new dragons – they are curious. They grant more boons in order to learn about the world. As hungry for knowledge as they are for food, they effect their part in this natural exchange by enabling capabilities. It makes them vulnerable, but they must learn humility in order to gain their maturity. New dragons have to learn their reality and become known in it. This means meeting life forms halfway. Older dragons grant fewer boons than the newly hatched, because they understand the consequences. New dragons make more mistakes with greater extravagance, and they have to make up for it. They have the ignorance of those newly born into power, which they must endeavor to grow beyond. Granting a boon is like giving away a scale, leaving a vulnerable patch. One doesn’t see scales missing, but the vulnerabilities remain, and add up. Some humans say we have that in common with regards to getting older. If we appear to you somewhat like lizards, to lizards we appear somewhat like you. We are sufficiently alien, to everyone including ourselves. We are sovereign, and clearly so. Even to each other.
Soleil realizes this is only the second dragon she’s truly met. She’s not entirely believing what ‘e said about her mother. Is ‘e trying to twist her mind? She’s been out of touch with other humans. Just trying to get to her, maybe? There is something so familiar in er voice, but dragons are both strange and familiar.
The dragon asked:
What do you want to do?
We are inside one of your confusing doorways.
I won’t keep you here.
Is there something you’re going to teach me?
Looking into the dragon’s eyes was like looking into all the eyes that those had ever met. By choice or consequence, er gaze was thusly open to the Princess, completely surrounded by the movement of scales. With a wave of her hand, the fielded sled approached Acamar’s face.
The face grew defensively enormous as she appeared. The sled’s field flickered away, and Soleil, surprised, stood her ground for a full two breaths. Moving to perch on the edge of her platform, Soleil faced a black tooth her size. Forgiveness, she decided. Before you destroy any more of us, I want you to know we’re capable of forgiveness.
She leaned forward and kissed the tooth. It seared her lips like an acid caress, soaking through the heat of her skin. In the gigantic tooth’s black polish, she saw Acamar in a humanoid form, holding scale-clad hands to er face as though ‘e had lost a tooth. Stepping back, Soleil reached up to touch her lips. Under her fingers, they felt as smooth as the dragon’s tooth.
I’m giving you something that will protect you,
and you can fly free.
What you’re feeling, where you…
is a barrier of still nothingness.
It’s the kind of blank the mind reflexively fills
with something that makes sense,
to your degree of suggestion.
You can move among the planets as anything or anyone you’d rather,
Or you can show yourself.
See the barrier,
or not see it;
or not feel it.
You won’t ever need to be rid of it.
You can never use it,
and always have it.
Just as I now keep what you gave to me,
our gifts to each other now given.
I will put you back on your way.
Can you remember your stars?
Though tired, she replied that of course she could…
Like she knows her mother’s face.
Remember your stars then,
and hold onto that.
There are people there to meet you.
Don’t be afraid.
The scales parted, receding and shrinking, to reveal the most familiar of skies. Alisandre was before her, small enough yet near enough to cup inside her two hands. It was moonrise over the edge.
– 15TH SEQUENCE –
– 53 –
In his office, Draig Claymore received a call over a particular dedicated line. He picked up and listened without saying anything. The caller spoke: “I saw something. And then it was gone.” It was the private investigator Derringer on the other end. Claymore appreciated the succinct summary delivered in nugget order of importance. As though this fellow had experience receiving important yet patchy calls.
Claymore responded, “It is also reported gone by my alerting sources.”
Though uncomfortable on many levels, Derringer told it straight. “It looked very much like the Princess in some kind of planet atmosphere cruiser.”
The General masked his reaction with nonchalance. “That’s weird.” His desk was very clean, so there was nothing nearby to grab. Instead he just stroked the surface of his totally clean desktop.
“The target slipped me either on purpose or by accident, after I declared myself. I got one scan and a series of images.”
“Okay,” replied the General. “I need you to send those to me before leaving the ship in its home, with logs intact. Then, go back to doing what you do. Continue as you were.”
“Thanks. I will.” Draig found Derringer’s dry candor refreshing. He ended the call. Swiping his hand over the clear surface again, he got out from behind the desk, heading toward his armoire. He donned a lightweight cover, and went to go have a look.
– 54 –
Arkuda begins passage via the Gateway Stair to the Level Plaine, Tabula Rasa. The way is framed in thought and realized in transformation.
Now, the sky is still dark. The many suns in the sky are distant, but if Arkuda can see them, they’re within arm’s reach. Sunlight penetrates the deepest vacuum of space, if not the lowest ocean. In darkness, the dragon Arkuda sees light, and is the light seen. This light endures as long as day, as long as life.
Arkuda knows all these places within reach of er being, though not the way that memory recalls a place already visited. They’re as near as the next step, part of the elemental world of this dragon’s existence. Worlds of worlds: draconid reality.
The dragon has chosen a place in er Seat: where ‘e is known in many ways, by many, and knows many. The seat is strongest around the root existence, but is also much wider; its nearness to root is defined by myriad relations.
In this place of Seat, ‘e can see er place of work: a certain conception of function which humans chiefly ascribe to, and which is an interactive process of the peoples of the Pan-Galactic Imperium, the currently flourishing connective. The time phase during which Arkuda has been deeply involved in Pan-Galactic endeavors has been as happy for er as the one in which er current name was given.
The dragon breathes deeply into er channels; a hundred pollens or so, the blending of breezes in tiny streams, a tinkling sense to each thing. Outlines of pre-dawn hue begin to dim yonder city lights beneath the rugged slopes, scars of a planet.
This particular place holds a meeting of factors which allows for a certain fluidity of being, a transformational autonomy. Dragons seek this the way people seek privacy. To everyone, dragons are so unlike, and yet so like; as familiar and unknown as one’s own molecules. They live under the tension of alien kinship, as a consciousness of something that is a part of other things (or do other things arise from dragon-being?). A dragon is a distinct person of memories, feelings, and parts, but also something elemental in all its aspects everywhere.
They are mysterious also to each other but share many understandings, the greatest of which can be achieved on Tabula Rasa, or Level Plaine. Arkuda feels an eagerness both warm and cool, like an elysian breeze. A drawing together is much needed, energetically speaking, for this dragon. ‘E wonders who else is of the same mind. Divides have grown.
The King Ascendant is unlike the recent scion line in draconid relational attitude. The Dragon Councillor is adapting through a difficulty of difference. Grant Vario was not inculcated with association until as an adult he joined the scion line as Soleil’s father, and he has never engaged in a Studious Tradition. At times he makes strange requests, believing that a dragon can know or do things ‘e cannot, or demanding unusual endeavors of discovery. Whether Arkuda can gain something on the Tabula Rasa to give to these inquiries is ancillary. ‘E’s going to see the others in the place where only they can go.