Monday, 10 April 2017

Dragon Diaries - H is for Harshada - A to Z Challenge 2017 #AtoZChallenge

Dragon Diaries

elcome to my contribution to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2017:


So, what does that mean? Well, each day, I'm going to tell you about a dragon - a dragon inspired by a name that I generated randomly using a name generator (I haven't looked up the derivation of any of these names, I have just run with how they make me feel, their sound on the tongue).

I'll tell you all about my Dragon of the Day, and share some flash fic about their lives. Any genre, any character, any look - prepare to be surprised and (I hope) entertained by my dragonly inspirations :).

~
Previous Posts

H is for Harshada

Harshada has lived in the desert for as long anyone cares to remember, which is longer than most recorded history. She lives in the cliffs that overlook the dunes that eventually roll down to the sea, and those who live below can hear her roaring song echo over the rocks and through the stifling air. Long gone are those who can understand dragon speech, so she sings alone, looking out to the sun dropping in the western sky, her huge black wings outstretched to her ancestors.

No-one knows what Harshada sings about and no-one has attempted the dangerous ascent to her isolated roost for hundreds of years, but legends say she awaits the return of her people.

~
Family

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The sand whisked off the rocks by the wind hurt her eyes and stung the wounds across her back, but she gritted her teeth and reached up over the rocks. At last she felt the space ahead, and hauled herself the last few yards up and over the edge of the cliff. There she collapsed, face down in the dirt, all her energy used up, all her stamina gone: she could run no more, she could only hope her pursuers would not follow her here.

She shivered, despite the uncompromising heat that threatened to burn her skin off her shoulders, but she was too exhausted to find shade. Fever and death threatened, and all she could do was surrender. The world was fading into pain and confusion when, for a moment, there was relief: a shadow fell across her, blocking the burning sun. She was too tired to even open her eyes to see which of her chasers had found her.

Her senses were so far away that when her body was lifted gently, she groaned a little of her pain, but did not resist as her torso was held above and below by warm dampness. The world moved around her, but she did not understand it.

Her surroundings cooled and darkened. Then she was put down on her side. She passed out.

Fever slipped into her body, bringing with it unbidden dreams: of watching the deep yellow tongues of flame dance up and out of a pile of leaves in the orphanage yard, seeing them spark silver; of running into the street away from the men who came to examine her; of begging; of going hungry; of stealing the bread; of being chased; of fear leading to a wall of flame; of the beating; of fists from all directions, kicks, sticks; of blood and pain, and then the rope on her throat; of the flames saving her one more time.

The flames stayed with her, heating her body, ravaging every cell and growing in tandem with her nightmares. She could stop neither of her torments as their intensity grew, scourging her mind and her flesh. She was dying, there was no stopping the pain, not until, at the centre of the inferno, she met a stillness, a large, calm presence. She clung to that mighty serenity and could do nothing but surrender to the tumult until it swept her mind away.

Water trickling over her cheek and into her mouth woke her. She gasped and gulped at the rivulet, throat dry, body parched. She tried to turn her head to take more, but it hurt too much, so she just had to lap at the sustenance. The cool freshness continued until she had had her fill, then its source moved up and away from her. This time, she slept unhindered.

She woke slowly the next time, body still aching and tired, but also strangely refreshed. Her muscles shook, weak like they were new, and she struggled into a sitting position, blinking around at the walls of a cave. The scent of charring and sulphur tickled her nostrils and, wiping her nose, she looked down and around: the floor and stones she was lying on were black, but it was her body that made her breath hitch in her throat and her pulse quicken. She was naked, apart from a few scraps of rags, also singed, but where she had been bruised and cut, her skin was mended, only now it shimmered a silver grey. She touched her own leg, her fingers brushing the faintest trace of velvet-like scales. She held her hands up in front of her face, watching as the dim light danced off the delicate almonds, and she smiled.

Her waking thoughts dallied on the pretty rainbows of her skin until a snort of smoke blew over her face and she looked up as a dark shadow dulled the light. Above her, a head bigger than half her body bent down and she found herself gazing into one yellow eye. There should have been terror, but she knew this presence, she felt her deep inside her soul and she sensed kin. Hand trembling from birth, rather than fear, she reached out, her palm coming to rest on similar, but much more leathery scales, and for the first time in her life she knew she was home.


~

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20 comments:

  1. Hi Sophie - the rolling mists bringing life back to Harshada - I'm glad she found solace and home with her protector ... I certainly could see the dunes high above and their home away from easy attack. Cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/h-is-for-horse.html

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  2. Really liked it. I was expecting soem dialogue, but I like that you didn't use it. The emotion are stornger.

    Sorry I disappeared. I had a problem with the computer for a few days. Of course, it had to happen during the challenge...

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

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    1. Computers can be a drag - I judge no one, because I don't have a computer excuse for running to catch up with all my fav blogs, just being ill and then trying to catch up with work.

      In this story, it just came out in this way, it's quite an internal story and I rather liked it :)

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  3. Home is always good. Lovely.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - Shapeshifters and Werewolves

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  4. I really like that. Nice story, nice idea for A to Z! There is a strong sense of sadness in the description of Harshada, but the story suggests something much happier--maybe from the far past?
    The Ninja Librarian’s Favorite Characters

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    1. And also maybe the future :) Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Great stuff. I love that your dragons run the gamut, from lyrical to domestic, from amusing to melancholy. You're testing your range this month. ;-)

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    1. Thank you, I am trying to find a mixture, trying not to use the same motifs over and again. :)

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  6. Yet again words that capture my imagination and my emotions. Love your dragons and look forward to each day to see who's next.

    Pamela @ Highlands Days of Fun

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  7. Sounds like Harshada has been through the wars. Glad there's a hint of a happy ending!

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    1. Things are turning around for both dragon and human now.

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  8. Lovely, so glad Harshada found peace. That was quite the journey!

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  9. This story is rather pheonix-like. Nearly succumbing to to flames/fever, to be reborn. Lovely. :)

    A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

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Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear from you. :)