The Beginning

**This is a fragment of another story.**

Namea groaned.

Araine started and leapt from her chair. “Namea.” She slid her fingers through her daughter’s damp hair. “Wake up darling.”

The child’s eyelids rose, but her eyes were covered by the inner-eyelid.

“Mama. He wants me to kill her.”

“There now, my love. It’s just a bad dream.”

One inner eyelid slid to the side. “He wants me to kill her and take him to be mine,” she slurred. “I can’t. I can’t. Boys are gross.”

Araine couldn’t help but smile as she put a cloth into the dish of cool water that sat beside the bed, wrung it out, and placed it on Namea’s forehead. “You don’t have to kill anyone. And you don’t have to have anything to do with a boy.”

Namea’s eyes shut. “I don’t want to. Boys smell bad.”

The door sisked open and Jeonar stood there. “More of the same?”

Araine nodded.

“I can’t help wondering who…” Jeonar entered the room, and sat beside her.

“I don’t want to know. Frotting trees and their plots.” Araine snapped her teeth.

“Arie.”

“I’ll speak my mind,” Araine replied. “Let her have her childhood at least. Cursed gifts.”

“Daddy,” murmured Namea.

“I’m here, ma vie.”

Namea’s eyes opened fully. “He wants me to kill Moira.”

“Moira? Moira who. We don’t know anyone by that name,” Jeonar sighed. “It’s just a dream. A bad dream.”

“She isn’t here yet.” Namea sat up. “I’m thirsty.”

Araine poured water into a cup and helped Namea drink. For a moment, she remembered Namea’s powerful presence even in the womb. She pushed it away. She refused to be afraid of her own child.

“Daddy. She’s coming soon. She’s very beautiful, with golden hair and golden eyes.”

Araine shivered. “That’s very specific.”

Namea finished the water. “He says she’ll be coming with that boy. I’m afraid, Daddy.” She pushed the cup into Araine’s hand and threw back the covers. “She’s so strong. How can I kill her?”

She crept into Jeonar’s arms.

But Araine knew.

***

Namea sat in the window of her bedroom looking out. Mum’s solution to the vision was to keep her locked up. But the Great Tree had shown her that Moira planned to use that boy to do bad things, and then kill him. Even a boy didn’t deserve to be treated that way. That’s what Egil said.

She straighted and stared across the loch at the Keep. A dragon was flying up from the Falls, and someone was on her back. Someone her size. Was that her? Was that the boy?

She pushed through the window and clung to the sill. She kicked out and shape-shifted into flight-dragon form. Glided down the side of the cliff-face, she angled to the right out of view of the village. Finally, she found an updraft, popped into it, and soon landed in the Grove. A Warden was waiting for her.

“This is for you.” He handed her a blade.

“Oh, it’s beautiful.” It was carved black dragonbone. With it was a sheath of dragonhide on a belt that fit perfectly around her waist. “Who is it?”

“The Matriarch Risa O’Niell. She died at the Battle of Rothgon.”

Namea kissed the hilt. “It’s too good to use on that bad woman,” she breathed.

The Warden caressed her cheek. “It’s just the right thing to use on that bad woman. Hurry now, my queen. The Great Tree Egil is waiting.”

Namea carefully wound the belt around her waist, positioned it just so, and put the knife in the sheath. She pulled it and put it back several times, until the movement was natural.

Namea. Come.

She started and then ran towards the clearing that was Egil’s. When she burst into that open space, the portal was already wide open.

Hurry. Lugad is waiting in O’Niell.

Namea darted through and emerged into another clearing.

A branch dropped a scrap of cloth to the ground before her. Namea shape-shifted into tracker form. In many respects, a wolf-like form, with the keen sense of smell. And yet, a dragon. In many respects, like a low-slung creature of the Dark Realm with the ability to slide through the smallest apertures. And yet, a dragon.

She inhaled the scent, devoured the scrap. That bad woman, Moira, would not be able to hide from her.

A Warden spoke. “They entered the Keep on 15-Level, and went to the lilac den there. They seem to be waiting.”

“How do I get there?”

“I will guide you. But I cannot enter. Only you can prevail against her.”

“Why only me?”

“Because you are a child, and she will not realize how dangerous you are until it’s too late.”

“I don’t like killing people.”

The warden hugged her. “Of course not. Nice people don’t like killing. But sometimes you have to in order to save other people. Remember the little boy.”

“Can I keep the Risa blade?”

“Yes.”

“He’s just a little boy.”

“Littler than you.”

Namea pouted. “Okay. I’ll save him. But I’m not going to like him. Boys are gross.”

She reached up and took the warden’s hand.

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Fragment

Revised Aug 8

This is a fragment of a play that I wrote for a class I’m taking.

***

[The bedroom of ETHWIN, a large room occupied by a large bed. On the opposite side of the bed are a bedside table, and a door, an electronically controlled pocket door. The room is bare of ornament save for a kilted uniform hanging on the wall beside a shelf, and below, a pair of dress ghillies over which lay a sporran, knee socks and a pair of daggers. Beyond the end of the bed is another pocket door. The head of the bed is against the wall. In the bed, the figure of NIGEL can be made out hugging one of the pillows, and half-covered by the bedding. At the rear, the door slides open. ETHWIN, his older sister, comes in walking briskly, a mug in one hand and a half-eaten apple in the other. She stops abruptly just within the room and the door slides closed behind her.]

 

ETHWIN: (Takes a bite of the apple, puts it on the bedside table, jiggles NIGEL ‘s hip) What are you doing in here? You have a room of your own.

 

NIGEL : (Opens eyes) Your bed smells nicer.

 

ETHWIN: (Walks to uniform and inspects it while drinking from mug) Yeah, well, maybe if you ran the room fresher once in a while, your room would smell nice too.

 

NIGEL : (Buries his face in the pillow) I do run the fresher.

 

ETHWIN: (Puts mug on shelf. Takes uniform’s jacket off hanger and looks at symbol on the arm) Buzz, sweetie. I’ve got to get ready to go to work.

 

NIGEL : (Pulls bedding over his head) I won’t look.

 

ETHWIN: (Turns to audience, shows the symbol on the jacket. She’s a police officer. She speaks sotto voce) Nigel has been so clingy late. What is his problem?

 

NIGEL : (Muffled) Can I go to work with you?

 

ETHWIN: (Takes kilt off the hanger and holds it in her hand. Again, she addresses the audience sotto voce) Has she been at it again…

 

NIGEL : (Muffled) Ethwin, can I?

 

ETHWIN: (She walks over to the bed, and sits on the edge) Maybe. I’d have to get permission first. (Rumples hair) What’s up?

 

NIGEL : (Muffled) Nothing.

 

ETHWIN: (Pulls bedding down, and kisses NIGEL’s forehead) Huh! I don’t believe you. But that’s fine. If you don’t want to talk, I won’t put a dagger to your throat. I love you no matter what.

 

NIGEL : (Throws pillow and bedding off, and sits up) Even if I’m a pervert?

 

ETHWIN: A pervert? That sounds like Temple-born goat-shite. Who did you hear this word from?

 

NIGEL : (Stares off) Connie. She said that Dad hates me because I’m a pervert.

 

ETHWIN: (Rolls eyes) That shit-wit. Are we superstitious Templars to believe the maunderings of a drug-addled scribe who teaches hatred and exclusion in order control stupid people? You are not a pervert. You are perfectly normal, and normally perfect.

 

NIGEL : (Leaps out of bed, pulls ETHWIN to her feet, and hugs her) Is it perverted to get stiffies all the time?

 

ETHWIN: (Pushes him away gently) I would be worried about you if you didn’t. Your hormones are raging and your lingam doesn’t know if he’s coming or going.

 

NIGEL : (Slumps down on bed) So is it perverted if I want to spend time with someone who… makes me have stiffies?

 

ETHWIN: (Sotto voce) Does he mean…? (Normal voice) It depends. If it’s someone your own age that you like, not at all. But if you think someone is a pervert, it’s probably better to stay away from her… or him. Someone like that might take advantage of your hormones. On the other hand, maybe, if you thought you should… Go tell …. Mum. Yes, tell Mum. Mum would… fix things.

 

NIGEL : (Sadly) I think you’re right. If I know someone is a pervert, I should stay away…

 

ETHWIN: (Picks half-eaten apple off the bedside table and stares at it) Yes. Mum should fix things.

 

NIGEL : (Jumps up.) I’ve gotta go. (Sotto voce) I knew Ethwin would understand.

 

[NIGEL leaves room.]

 

ETHWIN: (Changes into uniform. Stands before the door, hefting the daggers in her hands, mimes stabbing) Mum won’t do anything… She didn’t before… (She puts the daggers in their sheaths at her knees decisively) It’s up to me…

 

[ETHWIN leaves room.]