The White Dragon

My Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey fan fiction: The White Dragon, I wrote as an assignment for my high school English class. 

 

the-white-dragon

 

Dance little lizard

To your heart’s content

Sing Little Lizard

‘Til stars become stones

Love little lizard

For your life may be short

But never reveal the horrid truth

‘Til reality proves it true

The night disappeared so quickly from Lord Jaxom’s closed and tired eyes, he hardly remembered falling asleep at all. The cool breeze from the window slightly agape encircled the rims of his baby blues and brought life back to them. Without so much as a light rub, his eyes opened and he blinked in sunlight.

He found himself awkwardly lying in his terribly messy cot — reality a mere dream and so distant from his mind. That horrible dream he’d had last night fluttered away any recollection of what he’d done the night before.

Propping himself up with his lazy arms, he yawned and managed to sit upright. He stared out the window six feet from his left side and thought. The dream still lingered is his ephemeral mind, and for some reason, he couldn’t push the wisps of it aside. Looking out the square shaped hole in his wall into the sparkling blue sea, he reminisced trying to put the dream together.

It was a bright day, as usual, the sky was clear of Thread. Thread – the storm that destroys every living thing it touches.   He was pleased that there was no sight of that catastrophic rain. It seemed like it would be a beautiful day. Seeming being the key word. Lord Jaxom walked along a winding path in a thick forest. As he paced, the air thickened, making it hard to see, while the bright sky dimmed. Slowly and gradually the hovering trees closed in, blocking the sun completely from view. The Lord came upon a path of heavily layered leaves, twigs, and branches. Before taking another step he looked up and a drop of large Thread plopped onto the thatch. It exposed a gaping hole in the ground — below Jaxom saw mist. With slight hesitation he looked into the hole. He squatted down to see through the misty fog, where a large vague form came into view. He squinted. His eyes widened as he saw a large, skeletal wing flapping into view. Slowly, the horse-like head of the creature appeared.

               The gold dragon that sat beneath him peered up at him through the hole, then looked down again. Jaxom stepped closed to the hole to see what it was. It was an egg, with a thin crack along its side. Jaxom looked up again and saw the endangering thread heading straight for the cracked egg.

               “No!” He screamed in terror and jumped into the hole to save the dragon inside. He felt something strike him on his leg. The thread burned his ankle and pricks of blood starting spewing painfully from 1,000 tiny holes. There was a viscous green slime along the crack of the egg and the gold mother dragon roared so that all of Pern could hear her cry…

Lord Jaxom shook his head in an attempt to shake out the dream out as well, but it was impossible. He knew that. He also knew that reminding himself it was just a dream was going to be problematic. Having a surreal dream like that one was not going to stray from his mind on the day of a huge Impression like today.

“The day is so beautiful, isn’t it Beauty?” Menolly asked her gold fire lizard who sat on her shoulder. She gazed upon the new day through her bedroom window. She sat down on her bed with Beauty — the lizard’s eyes dull and slow. They weren’t as calm, and cheerful as usual. “Why the worry, Beauty? Are you not feeling well?” she asked her gazing into her round green golf-ball like eyes. Their colors were always changing mysteriously, but today they seem to appear sluggish and lifeless. “Beauty, is anything wrong?” Menolly asked worriedly. Beauty’s strange state disappeared when Menolly had said her name a second time.

Beauty smiled, and the speed of her whirling eyes grew. “Oh,” said Menolly with a sigh, “I’m glad you’re feeling fine. You had me worried for a minute there.” Menolly hugged her gold fire lizard, and shortly heard the sounds of eight other lizards flying through her window.

“Rocky, Diver, Lazybones!” she called out, “I supposed you’ve come to escort me to the Impression!” Menolly was looking forward to attending the Impression at the Weyr today. She wasn’t Impressing a dragon, and she’d prefer her fire lizards over a dragon any day, however, she’d always wanted to see what an Impression was like! Besides, she could not handle the responsibility of a dragon, with 9 fire lizards of her own. They were a handful! And had gotten her in trouble plenty of times — not intentionally, of course!

Excitedly she jumped off her bed and onto her feet. “Ouch!” She practically screamed. Her feet hadn’t fully healed yet from her being caught in the Thread storm a few days ago. Who knew traveling to Harper Hall for music school would be so dangerous. She had almost forgotten the nurse told her to stay off her feet as much as possible. She suddenly remembered what Lessa had given her: a pair of healing comfort shoes made from the bark of the Fellis tree. If she was going to attend the Impression, she should at least be comfortable and enjoy it.

Menolly randomly searched for the shoes next to her bag of belongings on the floor of her room. Her fire lizards sat quietly scattered around the room. One on her crumpled bed covers, another on her vanity, a third licking its scales on the windowsill while three others fought for a nut to share.

Menolly practically had to crawl to avoid the pain of her ailing feet.

“Ah! Finally!” she said when she reached the vanity and took out the pair of shoes from her bottom dresser. She sat on the hard floor and tied on her soft shoes. Menolly heard some hushed noises outside — quiet chatter and 4 sets of light footsteps. “I suppose it’s time for us to leave for the Impression.” The fire lizards cooed in delight. “Come along now.”

Menolly stepped outside into the narrow hallway and saw two people walking toward the door that led to the courtyard – a young boy and girl. She was dressed in royal, formal dresswear of maroon with golden tassels, and a teal tunic with olive green capris. She followed them quietly as her fire lizards perched on her shoulders, flew along her sides and behind her.

Before she knew it, the boy and girl led her near a forest of large drooping trees and strange organisms. She was not afraid of the forest but this time she felt something jump inside of her every time she took a step toward the huge trees. What if another plop of thread dropped right next to her, or ate the remaining flesh on her feet?

She was walking along a patch of thick trees bearing an acorn sized fruit when she heard a noise — something that sounded like cooing. Almost like a fire lizard. She looked to her right when she caught sight of a small, gaunt, gold fire lizard. For one micro second she looked straight ahead to find the boy and girl, but they were gone.   She looked back at the tiny fire lizard. It looked like it was trying to hide under one of the bushes. Menolly stepped closer to it. The lizard, not seeing her, looked to its left and saw…a human. Menolly. It jumped back slightly.

“It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you.” Menolly assured it. It looked like she didn’t have any back-up. Beauty stayed on her shoulder but her other eight fire lizards had found a place to hide and watch from a tall tree. She stared into the face of the tiny gold fire lizard. Its eyes were whirling, slowly, dully. Just like Beauty’s had that morning. But this one’s eye color had drained completely.

She wondered how a stray, gold fire lizard could survive in a deep forest like this one. She took a closer look and noticed it’s wing had been damaged.

In one sudden motion the lizard disappeared. It was obvious that the lizard had gone between, but could a lizard do that when it’s so weak? Fire lizards had a knack for knowing things humans couldn’t perceive. Menolly wondered if the slow speed of her eyes was the cause of her weakness….or something else.

There would be so many people gathered at the Impression. That made Lord Jaxom’s heart tingle with excitement. But knowing that he would Impress a dragon today brought even more happiness to him.

He walked down the halls of the incredibly large home as he mulled over the exciting events that were to take place today. He knew it was a very special day for him, just as it was for many other people in Benden Weyr. “Lord Jaxom! Lord!” He heard someone yell from a 100 feet of him as he dodged people in the hall making a bee-line for Lord Jaxom. He spotted a man who appeared to be very old in age, a short white beard, necklaces of various colors, and dozens of multi-colored bracelets around his wrists. He pushed past many people in his state of panic and finally reached Jaxom.

“Lord Jaxom,” he began breathlessly. “I have been searching for you since yesterday. I have some incredibly bad news for you.” Jaxom waited for this man, who looked senile to him, to continue, the old man looking dumbly in his eye.

“Lord you need to know that the Impression today must be stopped!” Lord Jaxom’s jaw dropped.

“Are you insane?” He replied shocked at a man he’d never seen before.

“Yes sir,” He continued breathing shortly. “I had a horrible vision yesterday.” Oh No, thought Lord Jaxom. It was one of those Oracles. The old man was a fortune teller. Fortunetelling was not in Lord Jaxom’s vocabulary; it was all fake and based on superstition as far as he was concerned.

“There is one egg…”

“No thank you,” Lord Jaxom replied, a little too harshly. “I’d much rather suffer the consequences.” He paused. “In fact, there will be none today. Thank you good man.” He was still clearly upset, but the old man didn’t seem to want to stop.

“But sir, this is likely to change your life forever!” Too late. Lord Jaxom had already made his exit. As he continued to walk down another hall he saw a sudden flash of the dream he had last night re-materialize the image of that roaring gold dragon and its defenseless egg in his brain.

For some reason, he got this odd feeling that something bad could actually happen at the Impression today. Maybe it had to do with the dream he had had.

“Nah!” he shrugged at the thought and kept walking.

His nagging thoughts wouldn’t quit, so he found himself in Artisan Mason’s room an hour later.

“You know about the history of dragons, right, Mason?” Mason put down his quill and shook his head. “Well, is it….I mean, is it likely….um, could it be possible that Thread could attack a dragon and um, change its color.”

“Raining Thread devours any organic matter wherever it lands, but I’ve never heard of such a thing as you speak of. Dragons have tough, thick skin, so it takes longer for the Thread to devour them, then human beings. But I’ve never heard it changing a dragon’s color. At least not permanently. ”

“What about white? Has there ever been a white dragon?”

Mason shook his head. “Not in known history. You see, our ancestors engineered these fire lizards to become dragons to protect us against Thread — there are only 5 types of fire lizards — red, green, gold, blue, and bronze. If a white dragon were born, he would not have the strength of our dragons. I’ve studied these dragons extensively, and it seems their color gene gives them strength, endurance, steel-like wings and perhaps even their innate fire breathing capabilities.”

“Impressions are the pride and joy of my Weyr, it’s my power, my life, my duty. I’ve never owned a dragon nor been a rider, but I’m responsible for the greatest ceremony of Benden’s people. What if Thread destroys one of the dragons and its born a different color?”

“Well, based on my studies, if a white dragon were born, we don’t know if he’d be able to breathe fire or fly. We don’t know if they’d be able to protect us from the only thing that posses a danger to the human race of Pern. Thread. Without that purpose, what are dragons for? If you think about it logically, Lord Jaxom, they can’t possibly exist.”

Why would that lizard have gone between like that when she was so weak? Menolly couldn’t get the thought out of her head. As she found her way out of the thick forest she kept wondering why and how the lizard could have appeared to her like that and disappear again.

As she walked along she looked around her, trying to spot the Weyr somewhere. She remembered what Lessa had told her about Benden Weyr but she couldn’t seem to find it anywhere. Maybe it was because she was pre-occupied with the gold lizard. Even though, she tried to concentrate on the day ahead. Today she had to hold her seat at the Impression and that’s what she was going to do.

Once she had gotten her mind off the gold fire lizard she found her way to Benden Weyr. It seemed that she had been distracted from what had happened earlier to concentrate on where she was going.

When she arrived at the Weyr, a man had stopped her and asked that she leave her fire lizards outside so as not to disturb the people at the ceremony. Which is what she did, but Beauty and her were too close to part from each other. So Beauty fit snugly underneath Menolly’s soft red hair.

Menolly made her way up to one of the tiers and stood looking down at the patch of large dragon eggs below her with many children her age, plus some men and women who were about 25 turns old crowding the patch.

There was a lot of noise making and so much chatter that Menolly could not think straight. She hoped an egg would hatch and finally everyone would quiet down, when suddenly she felt someone tap her shoulder.

“Hey, did you hear about Lord Jaxom’s dream?” a little boy asked. Without another word from either of them Menolly’s sensitive ears heard a crack.

‘The egg is hatching!” She almost shouted. It was as though everyone had heard her because the noise seemed to die down. Menolly watched intently, it was as if something sparked in her head and her heart.

The tiny arms were the first to hatch. Talking began once again and people yelled out its color. An overly excited young boy grabbed a piece of meat and ran to the blue baby dragon.

Once it’s head popped out Oos and Aas were spread around the room in an echo. There were a couple of Awws from the girls and young women. Menolly couldn’t help one “awww” herself. After the young boy had fed the newly born dragon Menolly felt a tug at her clothes. She looked down to see the same boy she had been talking to, the one she practically ignored, wanting to talk to her.

“So, did you hear?” he asked again.

“Umm, no, I don’t think so.” Menolly replied. He had seemed anxious in telling her about the dream so she let him have his fun. “Why don’t you tell me?”

By the time the little boy finished telling his tale, Menolly was mesmerized and astonished at what he had explained. A gold dragon sitting underneath Pern’s surface? This was too strange. But then again, it had only been a dream. Besides, who knew if the boy was telling the truth!

When she looked down at the patch of eggs again there were only two eggs left. One of them was already into the hatching process. When she saw a gold head pop out of the broken eggshell she felt a shiver down her spine which started from her neck, Menolly figured that Beauty had slithered down her side. It was strange, though. Why would beauty do that? Beauty was sure acting strangely today.

—-

Everyone clapped as the beautiful gold dragon was born, but now, it was time. The time has come for the last egg to be hatched. By this time Lord Jaxom had almost completely forgotten about his dream, he had gotten too caught up in this Impression Ceremony, which wasn’t exactly a good thing at the time.

Lord Jaxom sat royally in the seat on a low tier, laughed and chatted away with his friends in the moment of silence following the hatching of the second to last egg. Slowly the noise quieted and everybody in the large area watched the very still egg to make its move. Silence.

After the first 4 minutes of dead air, one of the fellow Lords said, “If I were that egg, I’d want to hatch right away and see all these people starring at me!” What a vain Lord, thought Jaxom. Another long moment of silence passed.   Lord Jaxom couldn’t take the silence much longer. He tapped his feet impatiently as he waited.

“Um, Sir, I don’t believe it’s going to hatch.” Said a young man sitting next to him.

“Do you expect me to believe that?” yelled Jaxom angrily, “That’s absolutely impossible!” he yelled, and most people around him heard. He got up out of his seat and went to the edge of the tier. “What’s going on here?” Jaxom shouted. He looked around the huge patch of eggs at each and every face, desperate for an explanation.

Going through most of the crowd he found he found the person he had been supposedly looking for. The old man he had talked to in the hall of his home. “YOU!” he yelled. The old man ran as his fast as his weak legs could take him and hid.

He was getting tired of just standing there. What had he run for? Jaxom asked himself.   He jumped out of the tier onto the hatching ground and ran after the old man in a rage.

Everyone in the vaulted hall was silent. Not a whisper came from any mouth. No lips even moved. They were all taken a back at Lord Jaxom’s reckless behavior;

“Ugh!” He growled after he realized his chase was futile. Without much thought, he jumped into the large patch and ran to the unhatched egg. He angrily kicked it but barely registered the pain that came to his foot. He pushed it once then took out a long, silver sword. He slashed the egg. Once, then again. His blood rushed in his system.

Finally dropping the sword to the ground he attacked the large, hard egg -his hands like claws. It turned over a little. Jaxom noticed a tiny opening in it. It was a small, ragged crack in the shell. There was something unusual about it — Jaxom looked closer. He stared at it until he understood what it was. He blinked. “No, it’s impossible.” he whispered to himself. There was a slimy, green gel that rimmed the crack. Jaxom looked.

Thread.

Jaxom looked up and remembered his dream.

“It’s true.” He whispered. “It can’t be true!” He yelled to the stadium of people.

Suddenly there was the sound of a crack, then another. And finally, the eggshell collapsed. The shell had completely broken open. A small. white dragon in an oval, egg shape was revealed. It slowly opened his left arm Then his right. For every minute that went by, a part of the dragon straightened out.

Lord Jaxom felt something wet hit the back of his head. He looked back and picked the object up. When the dragon had straightened all the way and stumbled as he got to his taloned feet, Jaxom fed him the piece of meat that had hit him.

The tiny, sad looking dragon peered up at him weakly, but lovingly. Impression.

Menolly supposed that Lord Jaxom hadn’t noticed the roar of fear and astonishment that arose from the crowd when the strangely white dragon broke out of its shell. Menolly was anxious to learn about this creature. She hurried out of the crowd behind her and arrived at the patch of newly hatched dragons. Jaxom was gone. She scanned the crowded area. When she finally spotted the old man who had made his entrance earlier in the day — she ran into him. Her feet still hurt a little, but was determined to find out what this is all about.

“Ow!” She said in pain. Her feet had had about enough of running. She stopped for a short rest.   Before she knew it, she had lost the old man.

She scanned the room once again and ran to a hall on the other side. She stopped near it and walked into a small dark alcove. She heard two voices.

“Tell me, wise man. Tell me now. I am willing to listen.” Menolly turned her ear to the source of the voices. “Lord Jaxom and I had the same dream.” She said to herself and looked in the direction of the voices. She stepped back when she saw Lord Jaxom talking to the old man.

“Do you remember your dream?”

“Yes.” Jaxom replied.

“That’s what happened.”

“What?”

“You know what I’m saying. The dragon you saw in your dream is the dragon you have Impressed today. His egg cracked and was attacked by Thread and he lost all of his color, and with it, his strength and perhaps ability to fly. It’s true, he belongs to you now, but he is awfully weak. Are you ready to handle the dragon?” The old man asked.

“Yes. Yes I am.”

“You must love the dragon or it will die. You must take care of it as it will take care of you. If one piece of thread lands on you, or it, it will die and so will you. You have made that bond. If you go between there’s high possibility you will be lost there for eternity. Yes, you have much to learn about it, but just love it, feed it, take care of it, and you will know all its secrets.” The old man walked behind a wall. When Lord Jaxom looked to see him again – he was gone. The words seemed to echo in the room. Love it. Feed it. Take care of it.

“I will.” He said to himself.

Beauty appeared on Menolly’s shoulder. Smiling and her eyes happily whirling at the speed of light.

==END OF STORY ==