“There Be Dragons Here” Writing Contest – Entry Ten

by darkjade68

“There Be Dragons Here” Writing Contest

Entry Ten

by Leslie Hyla Winton Noble @ Colonialist’s Blog

Heyulong picture


The picture of the magnificent winged black tiger came into Val’s mind – and had an answering image from ‘somewhere’ off to the ‘side’.

‘We need to move out of this Wind now, and cross to that smaller Wind, don’t we?’ he found himself – to his own astonishment – suggesting.

He felt them move out of the wild current and into a more placidly drifting area.  ‘Well done!’ Thorne said.  ‘Your talent for this is quite remarkable.’

‘Not far, now,’ Val said, and could feel a sort of nod of agreement from Thorne as they homed in on a pinpoint of force they could sense on what appeared to be a convergent course in another Wind.  They joined that Wind, and the pinpoint took shape in Val’s mind as the reality of the Tiger Dragon.  He found himself thinking that the image in Empressive Palace simply hadn’t been able to do him full justice.

The powerful tiger body was elongated into a long, barbed tail.  The claws at the ends of the feet seemed to be more like talons.  The head seemed to be a mixture of cat and dragon, with the nose more elongated than a cat’s, and the jaw rather more dragon-like.  What struck one most, though, as with Thorne, was the wisdom and nobility that seemed to shine through.

‘Hello, Heyulong,’ he found himself forming.  ‘We had quite a job finding you.’

‘I greet you, Heyulong,’ Thorne said.  ‘I am Thorne, and this is Val with me; and we did, indeed.’

‘I sense another?’ said Heyulong.

‘That is Trisha, who’s with me.  She says hello.’ Val responded.

‘Human children who have ridden The Winds to the Centre!’ exclaimed the dragon.  ‘This I find amazing.  I am not, of course, surprised to see you, O Glorious First-Gone Thorne, but I am honoured indeed that you have come thus to lead me there.  I have found traces of The Way, but have kept losing them.  Each time is clearer, though, and I know that in time I would have found it.’

‘You would, indeed,’ said Thorne, ‘and you would have regretted it deeply.  Let me tell you, now, that we are here not to take you to what you think of as the Centre of Being.  We are here to take you home.’

Heyulong provided excellent proof that the face of a Tiger Dragon can register shock and horror.  ‘This cannot be!’ he exclaimed.

‘There is only one way I can enlighten you,’ Thorne said.  ‘We must ride two Winds together toward two destinations, neither of which we will reach, but the trying will do more than anything I can say to convince you.  Are you ready?’

There was a long pause.  Then, ‘I am ready,’ said the dragon.

Thorne led them slightly hesitantly at first, as if feeling his way, but then he switched from Wind to Wind with increasing confidence.  Finally they came upon a mighty rushing force and entered it.  ‘Tell Trisha to be ready to dig her heels in and pull,’ Thorne warned Val.  ‘Without her, now, we are in the greatest possible danger.’  He addressed Heyulong.  ‘You agree that this is the route you have been seeking?’

‘It is; it is!’ came rapturously from the Tiger Dragon.  ‘Oh, thank you for showing it to me.  It is wonderful!  This is what I have sensed but not quite succeeded in coming to.’

‘Fortunately for you,’ Thorne said.  ‘Now, place all your attention on where we are going, the further from it we are when you know its true nature, the better.’

Val could tell that Heyulong was puzzled, but not convinced, and that he was desperately eager to move forward.  Then, abruptly, he felt that eagerness change to alarm and then to stark horror.

He tried to cast his own attention towards the direction in which they were headed (which is the best way to describe it, although it wasn’t a direction and nor were they actually moving in the normal sense) and the images which came into his mind gave him a terror beyond anything he had ever experienced.  He now knew exactly what Thorne had meant when he referred to ‘The Void’.

He had learnt in school, and from reading, that matter and energy are indestructible.  All things can change their nature, but they carry on being something and somewhere.  The Void was a contradiction of natural law.  Anything going into it would simply cease to exist.  Completely, utterly, and forever.

‘Trisha!’ he called desperately, and felt her reassuring presence, firmly rooted in Fabulous Forest , ready to guide them back.

He could feel that Heyulong had now linked with Thorne, and with the chain of his link to Trisha the Unique Horn was able to exert his powers in taking them away.  There was a ‘whooshing’ sort of feeling, and the menace of The Void simply receded and was no longer perceptible.

‘Thank you,’ said the dragon, and managed to put enough feeling and meaning into those two words which he projected into their minds to have filled a volume of poetry and a dictionary.

‘We need to ride the other Wind to the other destination I mentioned,’ said Thorne, ‘for you to come to the full understanding I have now reached.’  The navigation now reminded Val of an experienced taxi-driver taking a short route from one end of a large city to the other using all the back roads.  Then they were on another ‘motorway’ of Wind.

This Wind gave an impression of wafting rather than rushing, and yet still carrying them at a fast rate.  It had a feeling of tranquillity and rightness about it that no previous one had given.

‘Look ahead on this one,’ Thorne said, ‘until you, too, know what is there.’

For what seemed an age Val could sense nothing beyond the infinitely pleasant sensations of the Wind itself, and then, all at once, a complete awareness of what lay ahead came to him.  There was beauty, and restfulness, and the same sorts of feelings of sheer ‘goodness’ they had experienced in the water of the Crystal Fountain.  Yet there was still purpose, and energy, and happy activity.

Then a ‘voice’ came to them, filled with joyful love.  ‘We are all looking forward to you coming here as soon as you are ready.’

Immediately, Thorne had them out of that Wind, and was again using Val’s link to Trisha to direct them towards others which would take them back to Fabulous Forest .  ‘Are you now prepared to return?’ he asked Heyulong gently.

The dragon nodded.  ‘Of course.  The message is clear.  That was the true Centre, but we cannot go there yet.  We have been fools.’

‘No more foolish than were my Unique Horns, when we allowed our ambition to reach another world to override our responsibilities towards the one we were in,’ Thorne said, and added sadly, ‘Now, I am the only one to have escaped The Void, and that is not by my own effort but due to a chance encounter with a tiny human boy dreaming on The Winds.  Just that occasional connection saved me, to become the last surviving member of my race.’


Leslie Hyla Winton Noble


9 Responses to ““There Be Dragons Here” Writing Contest – Entry Ten”

  1. Thanks to all that read and register that they liked this entry!
    As may be guessed, it is an extract from a full novel – Forest Circle Quest. It is from Chapter 30 of 40 chapters, so I am taking the chance that it may act as a ‘spoiler’ for the book. However, it did seem ideal in that the exact word count of 1200 gives a fairly rounded story of the meeting with Heyulong (which is a Tiger Dragon in Chinese).

  2. Thanks! It is part of the cover design.

  3. Simply magnificent Col 😉

  4. Magical! I love this variety of dragon. And the concept of wind-switching.

  5. So glad you like it. I do think ‘The Winds’ were one of the best developments that have ‘happened’ to surprise me while writing!

  6. “A motorway of wind” sounds really exciting, Col. Good luck. 🙂

  7. Seriously, I’ve read all the winning entries now and I think this is my favorite. Very good, and I really love the dragon in this one. I like his name.


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