A Storm of Dragons

Posted on May 20, 2010

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This week’s #FridayFlash was inspired by a #Storystarter by Clifford Fryman. The prompt appears in italics in the story. Be sure to check out the #Storystarters hashtag on Twitter for a wealth of great prompts.

This story follows from a previous #FridayFlash, The Old One. Please feel free to read that one as well.

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Lightning flashed across the sky as the dragons celebrated, or mourned. To the humans in the village, it was just another storm, one that made taking the boats out too great a risk. So the fishermen stayed home, grumpy and bored, trying to steer clear of the chores their wives or mothers attempted to press on them.

Findol was no different. He sat at his mother’s kitchen table, listening restlessly to the rain drumming the roof, the thunder booming overhead. He knew the dragons were in the storm, and he wanted nothing more than to run to the cliffs and try to glimpse them through the heavy clouds. But there was no climbing in this weather. As experienced as he was, it would be too easy to slip on the wet rocks and fall to his death in the surf below.

He fingered the iridescent black dragon scale that hung around his neck on a leather cord. It felt hot against his skin, as if it called to its kind in the clouds above.

His mother, Lourlan, came in from outside, rain leaping around her like surf, and pushed the door closed with her foot. She carried a large bowl full of fish, onions and garlic from the storeroom. As she set it on the table, her dark eyes fell on Findol and read his mood immediately. She shook her head like a seal, scattering more water. She put her hands on her hips.

“Well, my boy, you have two choices. You can stay here brooding and fillet fish and chop vegetables for me, or you can go down to the strand and gather seaweed for the stew. I’m fairly sure what that talisman of yours would choose.”

“I won’t be able to see them from the strand,” he said, but he was already on his feet, lifting a basket down from the shelf. “They won’t come down that low.”

Lourlan smiled.

“One dragon scale to your name and you’re an expert,” she chuckled. “Go on. Just don’t forget to bring the seaweed back once your adventure is done.”

He kissed her damp forehead and went out into the storm.

No one else was on the strand when he got there, except for a few gulls and some seals playing in the choppy waters. The seals looked up at him when he waded into the surf to look for seaweed. He smiled and waved at them.

“Hello, cousins,” he called. “Mother sends her greetings, too.” The seals barked in reply and took no more notice of him.

Soon Findol had filled the basket with the wet greens. He took it up the shore and wedged it between two rocks. Once it was secure, he sat on the tallest rock to watch the sky.

Thunder rumbled through the clouds, but Findol heard a dragon trumpeting, and another answering. When lightning leapt from cloud to cloud, he saw a dragon’s breath. He watched the storm for a long time, feeling the scale brush against his chest occasionally, hot as a coal. The very air felt charged with fire.

Findol saw the dark clouds churning in a slow dance across the sky. The rain stopped abruptly, and the silence that descended muted even the sound of the waves. He heard the unmistakable flap of giant wings, and then he saw it.

A dragon, its scales coppery against a patch of blue sky between the breaking clouds, glided towards the sea. Then another followed the first, this one blue-green, and another with a golden body and red wings. They banked just above the water’s surface and turned toward him.

He scrambled to his feet, breathless. The copper dragon called to him, making the ground shake. Instinctively, Findol held up the scale he wore for them to see. One by one, they landed on the rocky shore near him.

They studied him, peering into his eyes, staring at the black scale. Findol felt images crowding his mind, and a noise like thunder. Soon the images and the noise melded and quieted, and he realized he was hearing the dragons speaking in his head. A few moments more, and he understood that the copper one, a female, was addressing him.

“You wear the token of our father,” she said. “We have been looking for you.”

“I’m here,” he answered. “My friend and I found him dead in the caves. A scale fell from him, and I took it. Would you like it back?” He took it off and held it out to her. She and her companions looked at each other, and she turned her golden eyes back to him.

“It was a gift, yours by right. You are our ally?”

“Yes,” Findol answered, and put the cord around his neck again. “I am your ally. My people have respected you and yours since the old days.”

“It is good,” she told him. She cocked her massive head, sniffing the air between them. “You are born of two worlds, earth and sea. Now our father’s gift to you is the blessing of sky and of fire. You are more than you know. Give me your name so that we may keep it in honor.”

“I am Findol Grey, after my father, Malen Grey.” She bobbed her head and snorted, sending a puff of white smoke against the rocks.

“It is a fearless name. I am Aurmid, daughter of Griel, whose scale you wear. We will meet again, Findol Grey.”

“I’ll be waiting for that day,” he said. “Thank you.”

Aurmid called to her companions, and with a flapping of great wings, they rose into the sky and flew west over the sea.

The storm was over, gone as quickly as it began. Findol stood in the sudden sunlight and watched the dragons until they disappeared. He took his basket of seaweed and headed home, knowing his world had changed.

He wondered what the future held.

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