Sunday, 30 April 2017

Dragon Diaries - Z is for Zlata - 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

Z is for Zlata

Zlata had known the gods of Olympus when the world was young and she knows she will see the stars blink out one by one: she is immortal. She was formed from the death of a supernova and the magic of the gods themselves, a creature whose scales are made of stardust itself, a tool to fight their battles, to keep man under the gods’ control.

But she rebelled.

Now the gods are forgotten. Myths told to children.

But they all remain.
~
And So It Goes

Wittegen Press
FREE
Amazon | Other
The gentle bleating of sheep as they settled down for the night drifted up the mountain and told Zlata all was well with her flock. She scanned the reddening rocks on the opposite side of the valley, checking for any wolves, or bears, but any predators would be foolish to attempt to steal a sheep when the scent of dragon was in the air. All was clear, so she settled down, wrapping her wings around her to protect from the chill night air, and prepared for sleep.

That is when she sensed the movement off to her right. The pits just below her eyes told her there was a body close by and, simultaneously, she swung round, spread out her wings and snarled at the idiot who threatened her flock.

The sound of slow clapping was not what she expected to hear, but Zlata maintained her stance and watched as a human stepped out from behind a pile of boulders. She was right not to relax, because the smiling face that greeted her was an old master: Ares, dark hair long and clothing slit-denim chic, walked towards her, still applauding.

“Stand,” she warned, puffing smoke out of her nose.

Ares, for once being sensible, came to a halt and dropped his hands to his sides.

“Guarding farm animals, really Zlata?” he tried to taunt, but, as usual, he didn’t understand.

Zlata lowered her wings, but kept her attention firmly on the ex-god of war.

“I am content,” she replied simply.

Ares shook his head and chuckled. “You must miss it, though.”

“What, the death, the killing? Not one moment.”

“But you were made for it.” Ares would not take her answer and he stepped forward again.

This time, Zlata sent a jet of fire to his feet. Ares stepped back rapidly, raising his palms in supposed supplication.

“That is what you and your family believed I was made for,” Zlata countered as calmly as she could. “You know nothing.”

“We are gods,” Ares snapped back, his frown giving away the arrogance that was something else Zlata did not miss.

“You had your day. Go and drink yourself into oblivion for the sake of the old days,” Zlata dismissed and turned.

That meant she saw the glint of metal in the sunset that was coming towards her, and she reared. It caught her round the front leg and she felt its magic try to take hold, but it had missed its target, her neck, so the magic had to fight. Zlata roared and pulled backwards. The owner of the chain fell forward with a grunt: Hephaestus lay at Zlata’s feet. Now that was a shock, the master craftsman had been a friend, but then, Zlata quickly concluded that no one else could have made such a magical chain. A chain that was trying to control her.

Zlata cried out as the power cut into her, making her dizzy, stopping her using her wings, but she would not give in. She sensed Ares closing in to her right and she rounded on him, striking at him head down with her crest that was harder than any metal. He went sailing away, but her heat sensing pits told her there were others approaching in the twilight. Roaring, Zlata reared once more and spread fire in an arc before her. She heard the cries, she saw men, mortals, catch the flames and she heard them scream, and then she smelt their burning flesh. It sickened her.

She rounded on the fallen Hephaestus and begged, “Call them off.”

Dragon and god stared at each other. Zlata saw pain, she saw regret, she saw the death of their friendship. Whatever Hephaestus saw, he released the other end of the chain. Without its master, the chain loosened and, the magic retreating, Zlata took off. Tiny projectiles followed her into the sky, but they bounced of her crystal-hard scales. Zlata did not look back.

*

After a long night hidden in a cave, Zlata risked returning to her flock. They had wandered in the night without her to guide them, but she called to them and their bleated replies soothed some of the ire in her blood. She was half expecting the tall, quiet figure who appeared an hour of so later, walking up the mountain, clearly unarmed. She waited for him to reach her, she owed their old friendship that much. Hephaestus stopped in front of her.

“I am sorry,” he began.

She said nothing.

“Be careful. Ares means to regain his power by calling mankind to war for him once more, and he wants you by his side.”

Zlata snorted and stamped her foot.

“But why did you help him?”

“Aphrodite persuaded me.”

This time Zlata laughed, but she was not amused.

“It is time you realised that creature uses you.”

“I love her.”

Zlata sat down: this was an old, old conversation and she knew she could not win it. Hephaestus sat down beside her and they both looked out over the mountain in the sunshine.

Eventually, Hephaestus spoke. “I think I understand why you are content here. I will not aid Ares again.”

“Go and tell that son of a donkey if I so much as smell him near my sheep again I will send him back to your wife as a pile of carbon.”

Hephaestus nodded and stood up.

“Goodbye.”

“Goodbye.”


~

For information about Sophie's books, sign up for The Wittegen Press Newsletter:

We'll send you details of book releases, competitions and other news from our authors, BUT we WON'T spam you, or pass your details on to anyone else.
Wittegen Press

We will also give you 2 FREE ebooks just for signing up.

* indicates required

14 comments:

  1. Hi Sophie - lovely story telling and I could certainly feel I was with the sheep ... and the stars - so glad it ended well ... and congratulations on finishing the A-Z .. cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/z-is-for-zebra-zoo-and-zedland.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats to you too :) It was touch and go there for me the last week or so!

      Delete
  2. Congrats for getting through your alphabet of dragons!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very cool dragon!
    Congrats on finishing the challenge again.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well done to you too, and thanks, yay for the finish line, I may sleep for a week now! :)

      Delete
  4. Great end to your posts - a sense of an epic, mythical struggle through the centuries. I've really enjoyed the stories you've shared. Congrats on getting to the end!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm glad I kept you entertained, which is every writer's ambition :)

      Delete
  5. woo! all the way to Z. Well done. I enjoyed your stories

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very intriguing! I love how Zlata tends sheep, which seems strangely appropriate for an immortal, badass dragon. :) Thanks for a fun month, and congrats on surviving to the end!

    A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I kinda went with the flow with Zlata :) Congrats yourself.

      Delete
  7. I know I'm so late, but I wanted to congrat for finishing the challenge. I think writing fiction during the challenge is particularly... well, challanging, more than any other way. So a big congratulations :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) And I enjoyed your theme as well.

      Delete

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