© Catch Tilly, 2019
Silver Dragons are native to Meldin, their history stretching back further than the Drazim races they shape-change into. There is a theory that Drazim descended from Silver Dragons, created when Silvers chose to mate and give birth to their mammalian babies as Drazim not dragons. I think the theory is wrong but it’s existence proves how long Silver Dragons have lived on the world.
Black dragons are alien, brought to Meldin by the Darazine and abandoned when the invaders were defeated, absorbed, or driven off (depending on which theory you ascribe to). For at least 10,000 years they have lived in the Navali desert, coming together to mate and watch over their eggs, spending the rest of their time as solitary hunters.
Silver-blacks are a half-breed and though Myrann was born as a dragon his daughter Elouise (whose mother is drazim) came into the world in her human form, indistinguishable from a drazim infant. The point is she was born. Just as Silvers, Blacks and Reds are born. Silvers as living babies, blacks as eggs and reds as a swarm of living lizards, instantly abandoned to cannibalize each other.
Gold Dragon’s aren’t born. They don’t mate or reproduce. In a biological sense they don’t exist. Like gryphons and chimera’s and your imaginary friend (who is clearly a dragon because, hey, dragons are awesome) gold dragons are only real in the world of myth.
Yeah, right. Tell that to the last person who was scorched by a Taleri turning into a gold. Tell that to the Yaramite tavern owner who’s watching his inn go up in flames when a Taleri pub brawl escalated as half the combatants turned into dragons. Or tell that to my cousin, Danielle, who can shape-change into a creature the size of ballroom with metallic feathered wings that spread out like a football field, a fire-resistant fur the colour of newly minted coins and the ability to breathe aethe out of a broad-based skull with retractable ridges that can fan out like a peacock’s tail.
Not that Dani would burn you because she’s a peace-loving girl, unlike her mother, Cassowye Taleri: The Gold Dragon of the Apocalypse.
Given that gold dragons are mythical creatures it’s hardly surprising that they appear in the legends and myths of Meldin. On the world I was born on we had the four horsemen of the apocalypse, sent out to reign destruction across the earth. On Meldin dragons carry the apocalyptic riders (including my father). Four dragons for the forces of chaos and one dragon to stand against them.
It’s disconcerting when you have family on both sides of the apocalypse.
The skyline is filled with dragons. Some of them are physically present, a flock of blacks under Dad’s control, dive-bombing Nick’s troops and dodging the attacks of three Gold Dragons and the streams of pure force that come out the Battlemaster’s sword.
Some of them only exist in my reality: the wraithlike silver, half-starved with his rider’s shoulder-bones straining through empty flesh; the troop of three reds, bites carved out of them, wounds already rotting under a pale-faced Nedrezim’s hand; a small silver-black, shaped like Myrann but shooting ice and fire and the burning black of damnation out of his mouth while his rider surveys the battleground. And Dad, in a split reality, fighting on the ground, but also riding the final dragon: face leeched of colour, blue eyes empty and his hair, like the animal beneath him, the soft black colour of the walls of death.
‘Get out of my way.’ Dad’s voice echoes into time and the battle stills. ‘We are here to finish this.’
‘Not in this lifetime.’ It’s a single Gold Dragon, back-winging to face the four riders. ‘And not on my watch.’ She was one of the Golds fighting, and I see Dad’s shock as she transcends realities.
‘Who are you?’
‘I am the Gold Dragon.’ She spreads her wings and light strikes the hovering dragons. ‘And I am here to stop you.’
‘You’ll die if you fight us.’ Dad’s voice holds the certainty of death and I wait for the gold to retreat.
‘You think I don’t know that?’ Her contempt strikes like fire. ‘You think I don’t know I will die at Zepail?’
‘Then why not leave?’
‘Because, Dameral,’ his name flicks through him and is lost. ‘I’m Cassowye Taleri and, unlike you, I’m not a coward.’
The riders move forward and the air ripples with colour. I see rotting green and empty white, the flash of silver on red and over it all the hint of roses and lavender that is the smell of death.
‘Oh, nechx off, Dameral.’ The words are profane and edged with courage. The dragon sits back on her tail, wings outstretched in attack and her head swings round like a striking snake. ‘Nechx off all of you.’
She didn’t die. That time. She drove the dragons off and the Blood Wars ended. They wrote about it in the history books—though they cleaned up the language—and my aunt was granted the heraldic device of Dragon, gold, apocalyptic.
It was sixty years ago, now, and the story should be over.
Unless Dad restarts the war.
I’m a fugitive with a curse on my head and being a large, powerful dragon instead of a puny, defenseless human would be a good career move. But I don’t think it’s going to happen. Dad is a Death Lord not a dragon, I don’t know how to shape-change and given that my friends now call me death-girl I don’t have the correct spiritual alignment to be a gold.
Always be a dragon, unless you can’t be a dragon.
Guess I’m stuck being myself.
NOTE: If you are wondering why I haven’t mentioned Red dragons that’s because no-one in the family has ever been a red. Except once when my Great Uncle Rannaryn shape-changed into a red dragon by accident and it was two months before he changed back. I’m told it was scary but not as bad as the time he was a mushroom.
That was terrifying.
NEXT POST: Red dragons, reality storms and why Taleris are scared of mushrooms.