Monday, 24 April 2017

Dragon Diaries - T is for Theodora - 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

T is for Theodora

Theodora is a grandmother twelve times over, and her four children and all her grandchildren are the apples of her eye. She lives a modest life in a cave system on the edge of the forest, surrounded by her clan, young and old. The whole family earn their living making charcoal, a mucky job, but one perfect for dragons. As a result, they were known as the finest charcoal makers in the county and merchants came from far and wide to buy from them.

Now her legs were getting weaker, Theodora deals with the merchants and minds the little ones with her husband, Caleb. The couple have been together for so many years that they do not even have to speak to bustle on around each other, and they spend their days in contentment.

~
Fairytale

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“Granma Theo, Granma Theo!“ Gabriella shrieked as she bounded in through the mouth of the front cave, her brother, Jamie, close on her heels puffing smoke at her.

She dashed over to her grandmother, who was breathing up the hearth fire, ducking under her legs and hiding below her belly. Jamie skidded to a halt as Granma turned and snorted her surprise.

“Gently now, young ones,” Granma scolded firmly and Gabriella puffed as Jamie’s head dropped a little bit.

Gabriella stayed close, but came out from under her grandmother as much bigger legs stepped carefully around her.

“Now, what is the matter?” Granma asked as she straightened up and dropped her wing over Gabriella.

“Jamie bit me,” Gabriella whined.

“You splashed me first,” Jamie defended himself and stamped his foot.

“Now that is enough,” Granma tutted. “Both of you go and sit down on the hoard."

Gabriella shrunk a bit then, because she didn’t like making Granma upset, and she glared at her brother as they both slunk over to the family bed. Once on the furs, she sat down with her back to Jamie and stuck her nose in the air. She heard Jamie huff as well, and that is how they stayed.

It felt like ages as Granma went about preparing dinner, and Gabriella very quickly grew bored, but she was not going to lie down, not with Jamie right behind her. She stared at the wall, repuffing out her chest every so often as she realised she had slouched. Eventually, though, Granma turned to her and Jamie and raised her eyebrows, her eyes glittering.

“Oh look at the two of you,” she tutted, but she sounded much less upset now, and she crossed over to the bed. “Come now, settle down the pair of you.”

Gabriella sagged as Granma came up around behind her and Jamie, settled down on the furs and urged both her and Jamie in to her.

“Now that’s better,” Granma Theo soothed what was left of Gabriella’s anger and the soft sound in her voice made Gabriella bold.

“Granma, tell us the story of the princess and the minstrel, pleeeease,” she asked in her sweetest voice.

Granma chuckled and nuzzled Gabriella, which made her giggle as well, because she knew she was going to get her way.

“Say sorry to each other first,” her grandmother urged.

Gabriella looked across to Jamie, and the argument went away at the prospect of the story.

“Sorry.”

“Sorry.”

“Good,” Granma praised and her voice changed to the sing song sound that she used when telling stories as she carried on, “Well, she was not a princess to begin with; there was once a rich merchant’s daughter, who was so loved by her father that he could refuse her nothing. So, she grew up spoilt and liking all the finer things in life.

The merchant’s daughter was loved by everyone she knew, because she was also very beautiful, her scales shone gold in the sun, and her eyes were deepest green. She knew she was beautiful and she knew her beauty would find her a mate.

Her father allowed the young dragon freedom to do as she wished, and her favourite thing was to go out into the meadows and play in the sunshine. She danced to music made by her best friend, an apprentice minstrel, who the servants said could sing the stars out of the skies. The friends would spend summer days singing and dancing to their hearts’ content and he would then entertain the whole household with his master in the evening.

Those great days, though, came to an end when the daughter came of age and suitors began to arrive at her father’s dwelling to seek her hand. She was beautiful and proud and wanted a mate who could give her the finest things in life, and, one day, a prince dressed in fine jewels and with a dark, handsome head arrived to court the merchant’s daughter. She saw his jewels and she loved what she saw.

That night, the minstrel warned her that her suitor was cruel, that he had seen him burn a servant who had displeased him. Yet, she had been blinded by the finery and her father was very happy when she agreed to marry the prince.

The prince carried the merchant girl away to a land so far from her home that she knew no-one. He showered her in jewels and fine cloths, proclaiming she was the most beautiful of all his possessions, and then he locked her away in her fine rooms and claimed her for himself alone.

The princess, as she became, was very unhappy in her gilded prison. There was gold on the bars to her window, and the locks were studded with jewels, and the servants called her their Beauty of Chains, because she was not even allowed to walk in the palace gardens. The only time she was allowed free of her fine prison was when she sat beside her mate in the great hall where he entertained his guests.

One night, a troupe of minstrels arrived to sing for the prince. One of the dragons was dressed in a dark cloth that covered him from his brow to the end of his tail, and the rest of his troupe revered him as a great singer. He stepped forward, bowed and then lifted his snout to the skies. A low rumble cascaded from his throat and all heads in the chamber lifted towards him. Young and old, servant and rich, all grew silent as the rumble began to rise and fall.

The princess, too, found herself drawn in towards the singer, but not for his song, but because she recognised the voice. She did not know the tune, but as the notes developed, she knew the dragon who made them. She stood up: no-one else moved, not even the other minstrels, and the princess walked up to her friend, the young minstrel she had left behind for the prince's fine things.

The princess looked into the hood that hid his face and his eyes twinkled back at her, even as he kept singing. She raised her brows in welcome, and, still echoing his song around the hall, the minstrel nodded towards the door. The pair ran away then, and when they were a way away, the minstrel told the princess how he had searched for her everywhere. On his travels, he had met a witch who had offered to teach him how to sing a room to statues in exchange from the scales off of the end of his tail, which she would use in a potion. He had agreed and the witch had also told him where to find his love.

The princess and the minstrel went a long way from the prince’s kingdom and lived simply and had a family of their own. The princess had learnt that she cared more for her minstrel than she did for pretty cloths and jewels.”

Gabriella sighed as the story finished and she looked up as, just then, Granpa Caleb came in. He crossed to their hoard, nuzzled Granma and then shorted down at Gabriella and Jamie too. She giggled.

“Hello my urchins, and why aren’t you outside playing with your cousins?” Granpa rumbled.

“Granma told us a story,” she told him proudly.

“And let me guess, it was the story about the princess and the minstrel,” Granpa guessed and Gabriella giggled again. “Well, off you go then,” he urged gently.

Gabriella nuzzled Granma a thank you and then scrabbled off the furs. She bounced down past Granpa, along the length of his long tail, and then she saw it, the little light patch of skin where his scales were missing. Gabriella came to a halt in shock, she had never noticed that before, but that meant Jamie tumbled into the back of her.

“Gabby!” he complained, standing on her tail.

She squealed and snapped at her brother, instantly forgetting about Granpa’s missing scales.


~

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6 comments:

  1. Hi Sophie - glad to read about Theodora ... and poor Granpa is obviously not doing so well - I hope Theodora can help him. Cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/t-is-for-turkey.html

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  2. Sounds like Theodora has had a good life and with all those grandbabies to watch over, plenty to keep her busy at this stage.
    Discarded Darlings - Jean Davis, Speculative Fiction Writer, A to Z: Editing Fiction

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