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    Andy78
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The Ddraig-Cyfrinachau - 3. Chapter 3

“What is that!” yelled the small child, pointing up into the night sky.

The head of the village looked up and had to shield his eyes from the glare; it appeared as though the sky was on fire. Then he saw it! It was huge, some kind of monster blotting out the moon; like the old tales of the demons that used to walk the Earth. It had a long snout from which bright orange flames were issuing, and a long tail, which ended in barbs. The creature was a chartreuse colour and appeared to be covered in scales. It was truly ferocious looking; in his fear, Altarn could not help but compare it to the stories he had heard of the Lernaean Hydra1 or the Afanc of Llyn yr Afanc2.

The creature flew over the village at a low altitude, and the inhabitants fled in abject terror as they felt the draft created as the creature passed over them; a few even felt its wingtips grazing their hair. The creature had a wingspan almost as wide as its entire body was long, yet bizarrely the villagers could see the full moon through its wings; presumably, the skin (assuming that this creature had skin) was pulled so taut at the wings that it was semi-transparent.

The creature made two more circuits over the village before finally landing just outside the perimeter fence, and it curled up around itself and fell asleep.

The village elders called an emergency meeting to discuss what to do about this creature.

“How can we possibly protect our village from that thing?” said Altarn, leader of the village clergy.

“I don’t know. But I would have thought if it were going to destroy our village it would have done so already,” said Olvarn, the head of the village council.

“Are you suggesting that that . . . that . . . whatever it is, is docile! Have you seen it! It’s monstrous! In the name of the great god Toranos3, it breaths fire!”

“Calm down my friend. At your age, it does not do you good to overexcite yourself. Besides, we need calm and rational minds to be able to work out how to handle this situation.”

Olvarn turned to the village protector and said, “Mornas, I think we need to keep a close eye on both the creature and those in our village. I suggest we temporarily house everyone in the village hall. It is large enough to accommodate the entire village, and we can see from it in all directions.”

“I agree, Olvarn. I’ll put your request into effect as soon as this meeting is over. We may also want to consider sending a scout party to the creature while it sleeps; try to collect some information on it.”

“What else do we need to know! The creature is evil and must be destroyed!”

“For the head of the clergy, for a religious man, an enlightened man, a man of the gods, you seem remarkably intent upon the annihilation of this creature.”

“It is an abomination! Given the choice between saving us and saving it, I will choose to save us every time. It is clearly a servant of one of the dark ones!”

“You base that purely on its physical appearance?”

“We all know what the evil gods look like. That creature is clearly one of their servants.”

The meeting of the elders continued into the early hours. As soon as the meeting had adjourned, Mornas moved from house to house gathering up the inhabitants of the village and began the process of re-housing them in the village hall.

The entire village, which was inhabited by a mere eighty-three souls, was huddled inside the village hall. The adults trembled in fear at the unknown threat, which was laying not thirty feet outside the village perimeter.

The children of the village, all eleven of them, were clustered together chatting excitedly. They were wondering where the creature had come from, what it was, if it was a blessing or a curse upon the village. They were scared, but since they had not yet come of age and therefore had not yet been indoctrinated into the religious order, they simply saw this huge beast as yet another one of the creator’s beings; they had not yet been taught about the evil the world holds or about the demons of the underworld.

The villagers finally fell asleep as the dawn approached; everybody that is, with the exception of Olvarn and Altarn. They continued to discuss how to handle the creature; Olvarn as level-headed as before and Altarn, worryingly to Olvarn, as hostile as ever.

By the time the sun had reached its zenith, the villagers were awake and had begun their day. Even though they tried to keep themselves busy, they found themselves constantly looking at the creature asleep outside their village.

By dusk, the villagers were bordering on hysteria. There had been talk of simply packing up all of their belongings and fleeing, some had spent the entire day in prayer beseeching the gods for deliverance from this creature, and a few had even talked about arming themselves with whatever happened to be close at hand, and either they would destroy the creature or die trying.

The large chartreuse-coloured creature slumbered on; its sleep undisturbed by the growing animosity, paranoia and fear around it. It dreamed of stories and deeds long forgotten, and it dreamed of ancient times and of the ancient gods, for this creature was as old as they come. It had lived through the sinking of Atlantis, the building of the first Babylonian temple dedicated to Ishtar, the founding of the great city of Sumer, the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Pharaoh Narmer, and the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza.

The villagers had all returned to the hall before nightfall, following the advice of Mornas, the village protector. Mornas had also set up a defence team, whose job it was to stand guard and protect the hall and the other villagers at all costs.

It was another restless night. Some of the villagers were staring out of the openings at the beast, watching it for any indication that it might attack. The children were also staring at it, however they were more interested in looking at a creature they had never seen or even heard of before.

On the morning of the third day of the creature’s arrival, the council had decided that they could no longer stand by and wait for the worst to happen.

Olvarn and Altarn had taken charge of a small scout party and began moving in on the creature. The creature had remained in a peaceful slumber ever since it had first appeared above the village two nights previously.

“Look at it Altarn. How can you believe that majestic creature is evil?”

“I have seen the gods. I commune with them on a daily basis. I know the face of the evil ones.”

The creature opened it eyes and slowly raised its head, almost as though it had heard Altarn’s comments and was insulted by them.

Olvarn held his hands out in front of his body, hoping to convey to the creature that he had no hostile intentions towards it. The creature watched Olvarn as he slowly approached one step at a time.

The creature looked at Olvarn; the fear coming off of him was almost palpable. Olvarn’s outstretched hands trembled as he neared the creature, and it was only at this close range that he truly realised the size of this behemoth.

The creature reared on its hind legs, unfurled its wings, and let out the roar of roars; the noise could be heard on the other side of the village. The walls and doors of nearby huts rattled, the perimeter fence collapsed under the concussive force of the roar and Olvarn cowered on the ground, believing he was staring at the instrument of his death.

The creature settled on all fours and looked directly at Olvarn.

“I warned you Olvarn,” said Altarn. “Defence team, stand by.”

“Ignore that, defence team,” Olvarn countermanded, “hold your positions.”

Altarn looked on in horror as the creature lowered itself to look Olvarn directly in the eyes. Olvarn prepared himself for the inevitable; whilst Altarn invoked the names of every deity he had ever heard of, beseeching them to protect Olvarn.

“Yes, I understand,” Olvarn said.

“Olvarn!” Altarn yelled.

“Altarn, there is nothing to fear. I hear it.”

“What do you hear?”

“I can hear her thoughts, her feelings . . . as though she were speaking aloud.”

“What do you mean ‘her’?”

“This creature is female. She tells me her name is Yddraigfawr.” As Olvarn spoke her name, she rubbed her snout against his face. “Her species is something called a dragon. I can feel her calmness and serenity, yet I also get this overwhelming feeling of magic and protection coming off her. Come closer Altarn.”

Altarn, in all his years, had never been as nervous as he was. He approached the dragon, calling herself Yddraigfawr, as timidly as he remembered approaching his mother when he had misbehaved during his childhood.

As soon as he was within twenty feet, he dropped to his knees. “I can hear her.” He crossed his arms over his chest and bowed to her. “I have never felt the gods like I can I can feel this one. I have never felt such love and compassion coming from one being.”

The news of the dragon’s love rapidly spread throughout the village. There was dancing, feasting and merriment for seven days and seven nights. The adults carved statues and children crafted jewellery in her honour.

One child in the village, a young girl called Awen who was the daughter of a pig farmer, created an amulet that the dragon loved so much, the little girl decided to call it Ddraig-Calon; the Heart of the Dragon. Awen had no way of knowing that her amulet design would survive into the twenty-first century and that it would become one of the most sacred symbols of the Ddraig-Cyfrinachau; the symbol of the Ceidwadwy.

The benevolence of Yddraigfawr spread throughout the Celtic world, and she quickly became the protectoress of not only one small village in the Gower Peninsula, but of a people. Her name was venerated by all who knew her love and compassion. Shrines sprung up throughout the Celtic world, and she was quickly elevated to the status of a demi-god.

 

 

Chapter notes:

1: The Lernaean Hydra (the offspring of Typhon “The Father of all Monsters” and Echidna “The Mother of all Monsters”) was a water beast of ancient Greek mythology that was said to have more heads than painters could paint (though it is generally accepted that the number of heads was nine). For each head that was severed, it would grow two new ones, and was said to have a breath so poisonous it could kill, even its wake was said to be lethal. It was the second of Heracles’ twelve labours to kill her (Heracles is identified with Hercules in Roman mythology). Once she was slaughtered, she was placed in the heavens as the constellation Hydra.

2: Afanc (pronounced A-vank) also spelled Addanc (pronounced Ath-ank) is a lake demon of Welsh mythology – which some have equated to The Loch Ness Monster of Scotland. It was said to live in Llyn yr Afanc, a lake near modern day Betws-y-Coed that was named after the creature. He is part of the Celtic flood myth (similar to the story in Judaism/Christianity of Noah). He is portrayed as a giant/God/faery depending upon the version told (he has also been portrayed as a dragon). It is believed he was once worshipped as a deity, however recent mythological scholarship has reduced him to an evil faery or demi-god. In modern times in Wales, the word afanc is used to describe any evil fresh water-dwelling faery.

3: Toranos is the reconstructed ancient form of the name Taranis that would have been in use at this time. Taranis was the Celtic god of thunder and he was one of the supra-regional deities, meaning he was worshipped by multiple tribes – he was worshipped in Gaul, The British Isles and as far away as Bulgaria. His name is the etymology of the modern day Welsh word taran, which means thunder.

Copyright © 2012 Andy78; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

Great background chapter. I can only imagine the suspense and fear I'd feel if a dragon sat down outside of my house.

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On 04/07/2012 06:28 AM, Rebelghost85 said:
Great background chapter. I can only imagine the suspense and fear I'd feel if a dragon sat down outside of my house.
Thanks for the feedback Rebel.

 

I wasn't sure about writing this chapter initially, but I wanted to include some of the background story to help explain how the dragons first appeared.

 

Glad you liked it.

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I think I sent an empty review. Sorry for that.

Thanks for your detailed answers to my previous review. It's all very interesting.

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I could say something about the demonisation of pagan deities by other religions but I will concentrate on the things that don't make me cross. That was a lovely story

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On 06/12/2012 06:20 PM, Nephylim said:
I could say something about the demonisation of pagan deities by other religions but I will concentrate on the things that don't make me cross. That was a lovely story
I have tried (and will continue to try) to treat the pagan deities with respect. I hope I manage it, but if I don't, then please forgive me.

 

I enjoyed writing this chapter, and I'm glad you liked it.

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On 09/13/2012 05:03 AM, Taliesin69 said:
I like how you've brought in this back story chapter and still made it feel part of the story.
It took me while to get this chapter to feel like it flowed as part of main story, and not to seem just like a story within the story.
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