Age of Dragons By Antoinette Moses - chapter 2
The Dream Dragon
Timucin goes to bed unusually early this evening. Most evenings, his mother has to tell him to go and leave the men to sit round the fire in peace, as is their right. All too often, he stays up until his father puts his foot down. Only then does he do as he is told and goes into his little yurt, pitched right next to his father’s tent. He has been sleeping alone here since last summer. Today, however, he cannot wait to go. He gulps down his dinner, makes an excuse and goes to bed before sunset.
As is always the case when trying to sleep, it takes a long time for him to sink into slumber. He has barely fallen asleep when Sarantuya comes to him. Just like every time, Timucin feels her presence more than he sees it. Well, in the first moments in any case. It is something big, infinitely soft but also infinitely old and strong that steals into his dreams and only slowly takes on a form.
“I haven’t seen you for a while,” he says.
“I didn’t feel that you needed me,” answers Sarantuya. The shadowy figure in his dream starts to become clearer. At the edge of his consciousness, something big, something ancient stirs, glinting like moonlight on silver scales. It touches his soul. He feels warmth and comfort and thinks he almost sees something. Almost.
“Why did you do that?” asks Timucin.
Sarantuya squints, as the moonlight in the dream breaks on her scales and then flows down her flanks, jingling lightly as if, somewhere far away, a thousand cymbals are being struck. It is always night in Timucin’s dreams when Sarantuya comes to him, and there is always a full moon. He has stopped being surprised by it. “What did you say?” she asks him.
Timucin has to force himself not to get angry; despite her huge claws and sharp fangs, Sarantuya hates strong feelings like anger and fury. She is the most peaceful creature Timucin has ever come across.
“You know very well what I mean,” he says, just managing to keep control of himself. “That dog! Why did you stop Chuzir killing it?” “Did I?” replies Sarantuya, pretending to be surprised. Then she laughs quietly. It sounds like thunder rolling in the mountains on the horizon.
“What if your friend Chuzir just missed?”
“Nonsense!” replies Timucin. “Chuzir is the best shot I know. He never misses his target!”
“Not even with a bent arrow?” says Sarantuya mockingly.
Timucin ignores this comment.
“He never misses his target,” he insists.
“Well then, it must be that somebody wanted him to miss,” says Sarantuya, smirking.
“No,” says the dragon, suddenly in a very serious tone of voice. “I would never do anything you do not want, and you know it.”
Timucin says nothing more. Chuzir said nothing after missing. He simply walked on for a few moments, offended. The way he looked at Timucin showed that he knew exactly who he blamed for his unusual failure. Perhaps Chuzir actually knows that it is Timucin’s fault. Timucin has already told him once about his dream dragon, but Chuzir’s reaction was such that Timucin has never mentioned it again. It was years ago now, and Timucin does not know if Chuzir remembers it at all, but you just never know.
“You didn’t really want to kill the dog,” continues Sarantuya after a while.
“But I was afraid of him”, answers Timucin.
“I know,” says Sarantuya with a sigh, “but you don’t need to kill every-thing you are afraid of. Do you remember the first time you saw me?”
“Of course I do!”
“You were afraid of me, too.”
“No, I wasn’t,” claims Timucin, although this is a downright lie. He almost died of fright the first time the dragon appeared to him in a dream.
“So,” continues Sarantuya, “did you want to kill me because of that?”
“Of course not!” answers Timucin, outraged. “I would never…”
“… kill anything that hasn’t done you any harm,” says Sarantuya, finishing his sentence for him. “I know. If it were any different, I would never have come to you.”
Timucin does not really understand what she is saying, but he isn’t in the mood to ask questions. Sarantuya says many odd things that he does not understand.
“What do you want?” he asks reluctantly.
For once, Timucin’s anger seems to amuse Sarantuya, perhaps because she too feels that, in reality, it is only directed against himself.
“Really, it should be me asking you these questions,” she answers. “If I remember correctly, you were the one who called me, and not the other way round. Since I’m here anyway… Tomorrow is a big day for you. A very important day.”
Timucin thinks as hard as he can. Tomorrow? Tomorrow?
“How so?” he asks, skeptically.
“It’s a surprise!” says Sarantuya, teasing him. “You will meet someone. Someone who will become very important to you.”
“Who?” asks Timucin.
Yet Sarantuya does not even answer. She disappears with a silvery, bright laugh.
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