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Week #10: Creative Writing Challenge – Future Foretold

March 14, 2021

Write about a character who’s had their future foretold from birth – but isn’t sure if they believe it.

The Queen’s Story:

I snuck the dragon prophet into the castle last night in anticipation of Azaleh giving birth. No one could know he was here. The dragon people didn’t exist anymore, or at least no one remembered them. I’ll explain.

The dragon people, full of helpful and life-giving magic, disappeared two turns ago when King Calis refused to free the evil sorceress Ricinia. The King had used a relationship with Mrystica, the sorceress’ daughter, to obtain a magical tome that could make anyone subservient to the reader. King Calis had used the tome to imprison Ricinia and rid the land of evil influences. Mrystica vowed that she would destroy Calis’ kingdom, starting with the dragon people that us humans had come to depend on for healing, growing our food, and education. The dragon King, fearing for his constituents, arranged to have the dragon people go into hiding, to erase the memory of themselves from all humans. The arrangement was to be temporary; just until Mrystica and Ricinia could be dealt with permanently.

There were a few of us, chosen by the dragon King, whose memories were left intact and were tasked with protecting records, keeping lines of communication open, and when the time came, to release the memories of the dragon people back to humans. As the Queen, I have been entrusted with this knowledge and these tasks. My best friend, head librarian of the kingdom, and the dragon King’s close friend, Azaleh is also entrusted with this knowledge and tasks. We work to keep a secret library of dragon people lore and knowledge, and manage a network of others. They call us the memory keepers.

Anyway, I digress. Azaleh is due to give birth very soon. A week ago, she pleaded with me to send for a dragon prophet to be present at the birth. A dragon prophet is present at the birth of every dragon child. They are there to read the child’s entrance into the world and record their destiny for the Library of Dragon Lore, a magical center of learning and memories and futures, that fuel the powers of the dragon people.

Azaleh is a human, so I was confused when she asked for the prophet. Azaleh had been purposefully secretive about her trip to the dragon lands a year ago. She had journeyed there to hide my son Elias. His life had been threatened by Mrystica, and thus a safe life in the hands of trusted friends seemed like the best course of action. Azaleh’s purpose had been to settle Elias with a good family that would take care of him, a trip that should have taken a month at most. She had been gone for almost 4 months.

Azaleh had pleaded with me to not ask any questions, so I didn’t. I sent for the prophet through appropriate channels and managed to sneak him into the castle.

The prophet and I were currently at Azaleh’s bedside, watching the arrival of a little baby girl. She came quickly enough once the labor started in earnest. The child was silent. Not silent as death, but silent in contemplation. She looked slowly around the room, as if cataloging everything her big brown eyes could distinguish. The midwife placed the curious child in Azaleh’s arms and left the room.

“I will call her Kayla.” Azaleh declared softly, followed by a nod to the prophet.

At the direction, the prophet stepped up and placed his hand on Kayla’s little head and closed his eyes. After a minute the prophet opened his eyes wide and said incredulously, “It is her.” He glanced at me and then back to Azaleh. “She will hear whatever you have to say prophet,” Azaleh said in my defense.

The prophet took a deep breath and then spoke in clear tones. “Kayla’s prophecy has already been foretold. The complete prophecy is located in the Vaults at the Library of Dragon Lore, but this much I can tell you: Prepare her well, for she is foretold to mend the kingdom and connect our two worlds in peace. No one outside this room must know of her origins or her prophecy, or all will be lost.” With that the prophet pulled out a “dragon” tooth mounted on a hemp necklace and held it out to the child. “She will need this on her journey.”

With that, the prophet left and I was alone with Azaleh and the now-sleeping Kayla. Azaleh sighed and told me how Kayla had come to be. As Azaleh finished her tale, I swore softly at her and the danger she had just placed us both in.

Azaleh’s Story, 10 years later:

Kayla careened into my study, panting slightly. She immediately launched into a litany of excuses about why she was late. Most of them involved her best friend Diddeon and something about a frog and a girl’s dress. I kept my “stern” face on, even though I was giggling inside. Children should act like children when they have the opportunity, but Kayla was 20 minutes late for her lesson.

I gave Kayla frequent “lessons” about dragon lore. She thought they were just stories. No one she interacted with had ever heard of or could remember the dragon people. She likely thought I was crazy, but I was okay with that because it would protect her as she grew up. Kayla knew that I was the highest ranking librarian of the land and loved stories, that I was a keeper of stories. My hope was that when Kayla grew that I could tell her about her prophecy and that every story I ever whispered in her ear was real. That she would save us. But until she was ready, the dragon people were just stories and she was just the daughter of a librarian.

“You are 20 minutes late Kayla. Excuses are not the first thing that should be coming out of your mouth. Remember, honesty in all things breeds forgiveness in compassion.” I recited to her one of the Dragon People’s guiding principles, although she didn’t know it.

“I am sorry momma. I was playing with Diddeon and lost track of time. I apologize if I worried you or upset your schedule. I know you’re very busy.” Kayla replied dutifully as she found a seat on the rug in a patch of sun. She had always sought the warmth of the sun just like the dragons and it always made me smile, remembering warm sunny afternoons of comfort and contentment with my dragon friends years ago. I had not ventured to visit since Kayla had been born and missed them terribly.

Lost in thought, Kayla prompted me. “What is our lesson for today Momma?”

Smiling at her, I replied, “The Library of Dragon Lore.” Kayla looked at me with eager anticipation. She really did love the dragon people, even if she didn’t know they were real. I hoped she would make a loyal champion oneday.

So I began, “Once upon a time, there was a great library; half dedicated to learning and growth, the other half hidden in shadows with knowledge and secrets. The Library was built by Eltanin, one of the great dragon lords who united the dragon clans and ushered in a time of prosperity, growth, and hope for all the dragon people. The Library was a gift to the people, to help guide the dragon clans through peace and learning.

The dragon clans sent their most gifted scholars and creators to study in the Library. The scholars learned about the healing arts, dragon clan history, soil fertility, they ways of water, and the basics of prophecy, among other things. They did so in the great marble halls, lit by soft natural sunlight and warmed by the dragon people’s magic. The Library was tucked into the side of the Tulsi Mountains. Hard to get to, but all were welcome once they found their way. Dragon clan elders were available to guide those who wished guidance and to support those whose learning was more personal.

Below this bright light of scholarly learning, in the underbelly of the mountains, lay the Vaults, which held a vast library of old and powerful magic, incantation, and prophecy from time immemorial. The lessons held in the Vault were available to all who had the talent and proficiency to wield them, and only then to those who passed the trials. The trials were designed to make sure that only those of pure heart and strength could enter and gain the most powerful of magics.

Eltanin was a kind and generous leader for the dragon clans, but soon it was clear that there was unrest stirring in the east. A dragon lord named Rastaban came forth, full of rage and greed in his heart. He yearned for power, and had heard of the immense wealth of knowledge held in the Vault of the Library. Rastaban, with a small hoard of battle-worthy soldiers, made his way across the dragon lands to the Library in search of power.

Rastaban and his soldiers easily took control of the Library, as there were no guards to protect a place meant for peace. Eltanin heard of the capture and made his way to the Library with only his personal guard. He was confident that words and diplomacy could solve whatever issues Rastaban may have had.

Upon Eltanin’s arrival, Rastaban demanded his surrender of the Library. Eltanin calmly pointed out that Rastaban needed neither control nor ownership of the Library to discover the secrets of the Vaults, he had only to pass the trials to be granted everlasting access. What Eltanin did not foresee was that, in addition to rage and greed, Rastaban also craved ultimate power. He wanted the secrets of the Library to be his, and his alone, exalting himself with knowledge and casting everyone else into ignorance. Rastaban captured Eltanin and his guards and locked them in a room deep within the mountain. And legend has it that there they remain, waiting for their freedom.

It is said that Rastaban sought the Vaults to receive instructions about the trials. Instead, the Vaults gifted him a prophecy, one about how he could gain unimaginable power it was said. Soon after, lured by the possibility, Rastaban locked the Vaults, and with his cache of guards, traveled North. He was never heard from again and was thought lost for dead in the ice-fields of the Northern Meers.

Eltanin and his guards were never found in the mountain and the Library slowly wilted from lack of love and trust. Students no longer yearned to study in the gloom that had become the Library and soon the Library fell out of human memory and out of all but the most honorable of the dragon clan memories. Those that do remember, send caretakers to watch over the knowledge of the past, hoping that one day it could be used to right the wrongs of the world and let light back into those who are dark.”

I finished and looked towards Kayla who was now fully stretched out on the floor. The look on her face told me she was busy contemplating what I had said. Even though the child thought I told just stories, we finished each one looking for lessons. I waited patiently for her thoughts to coalesce into words.

“Momma, I don’t understand why Rastaban would want to keep people from learning. Learning makes me feel good and confident and helpful.” Kayla said thoughtfully.

I responded carefully. “Rastaban was a bad dragon person. There are people in the world who have the same hunger for power that no amount of convincing or compromising can quench. Some people need more of everything and can never stop taking things from others, even when they already have everything. When people like Rastaban have power, it takes very brave and very smart people to figure out how to remove their power and free everyone from under their control.”

Kayla considered my words. “Momma, can I say something without you getting upset?”

“Of course my little fire-lizard,” I responded quickly.

“Do you think that King Calis is like Rastaban?” She said very timidly. I had to think quickly about what it was appropriate to tell her about the position King Calis had gotten himself into. “I think that King Calis is a good man at heart who has been influenced by bad people and cannot figure out how to remove himself from the situations he has created. Sometimes people are not strong enough or clever enough to hold power, and they need help. We are loyal to the King and if we are presented with an opportunity to help him, we will do everything in our power.” I ventured, hoping that it would be enough for now. Kayla wasn’t quite old enough to understand the intricacies of jilted lovers and sorcery, but that would come.

“That makes sense.” Kayla said with a look of relief on her face. She continued, “Do you think that if the Library of Dragon Lore actually existed that it would have a way to help King Calis?”

Kayla looked at me with those bright brown eyes and I smiled big right back at her. “If it did, would you travel there to find out?” I challenged her.

She considered. “Maybe. It seems like the right thing to do, but it might be scary. Would I have help? Could I bring Diddeon?” I laughed. She was only ten and a maybe was good enough for me right now.

Kayla’s story, 10 years later:

What the flipping fuck just happened?

I’m going to paint you a picture. I’m on my horse Arctrix and we’re currently fording a small stream deep in the forest a couple hours ride from the castle and main city of Eddiot. A couple hours ago I had to outrun a whole contingent of guards that the steward sent out after me. Luckily Arctrix is one of the fastest horses in the city and the moon is almost full, so I have some light to navigate. I’m trying to get as far away as I can, as fast as I can.

I have a bag with a change of clothes, a couple days worth of food, my mother’s personal journal, my sketch book, and a map. I’m wearing my leather jacket, the one with all the pockets, and my thick brown riding pants, and I’m still freezing. My belt is full of knives, including the ones gifted to me by my mother on my 16th birthday, and I’ve got my bow and a quiver of arrows on my back. With all my training, I think I’ve got a good chance of surviving against 4 to 5 trained guards if I need to. Better to run than fight though.

About 6 hours ago my mother died. She was killed by the King’s steward, who I now know to be the sorceress Mrystica, but who everyone else seems to think is a right fine gal. Fuck.

Before my mother died she detonated a bomb over my head. All those stories about Dragon People… Yeah, not stories. Holy hell, I can barely put everything straight in my head. Every story my mother ever told me about Dragon People is real. No one remembers them. Something about wiping everyone’s memories so that Mrystica couldn’t find them and destroy them. But not only that… There was a prophecy that I was gonna fucking save everyone. Me. Kayla, the court messenger, the librarian’s daughter, is slated to save all of humanity and dragon kind. This is me laughing hysterically.

The steward, I mean Mrystica, apparently found out that my mother was running communications and magical objects for the supposed Dragon People, who actually exist. My mother told me she had been cornered in the library by Mrystica who demanded to know where the Dragon People were hiding. My mother refused and Mrystica apparently stabbed her. She managed to make it back to her rooms and called the Queen who’s her best friend. The Queen found me and brought me to my mother’s bedside. Apparently the Queen knows all about the Dragon people too, but not the King. I’m feeling like there are a lot of holes in what I know.

I want to believe that blood loos made her a little loopy in the end, that maybe she wanted to believe so much in her stories that she actually thought they were real. I want to believe that when my mother suggested I get an ancient dragon tattoo on my chest that she thought it would just be cool, and not identify me as a “memory keeper” like she told me hours ago. I want to believe that the ancient dragon tooth I wear around my neck is just a family heirloom and not given to me by a real dragon prophet to help me on a quest. I want to believe that my mother just loved me so much that she thought I had the strength to save everyone from this shitty world, not that it was foretold and I don’t have a choice in the matter. I’ll figure all that out later I guess.

Right now I just have to focus on the facts and stay alive. My mother is dead. I have my horse. I have enough food for a couple of days. I can’t return to Eddiot castle unless I want to get tangled up with Mrystica, which I definitely do not. What the hell do I do?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Yael Kisel permalink
    April 15, 2021 3:43 pm

    Wow wow wow what a start to a story! I sure hope this one becomes a novel, because the world is fun and I love Kayla as narrator!!

    • mlwattsupp permalink*
      April 19, 2021 5:38 pm

      Working on it! Or at least I will be come May 28th!


  1. Week #19: Creative Writing Challenge | A Cup of Creative

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