Tidbits from Gary

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Rise of the Dragon King

"The Rise of the Dragon King"
an excerpt
Gary Baker, March 2013
(part of a much lager project in progress)

Lithomir's arm streaked across the sky, then ducked in and came to a sudden stop near his chest before arcing out again in what seemed an endless ribbon of movement.

Then his other hand fell forward to grasp the darkness, and the two limbs became a torrent of fluid, precise motion. He looked over one shoulder, turned his body that way, and felt his arms wisp into orbit until their speed outraced his body. At once his arms pulled him into a deeper spin and he felt the forces pull his hair out in centrifugal motion.

He let the force carry him around and around, lifted one arm high to bless the heavens, then struck it down like a felled god of the forest. It brought his whole form toward the ground and into a low crouch, where he pushed off with his feet and
rolled over oblivion while his unused arm brought the rotation back to him, again carrying with it the lost power of orbit.

The motion shot his arm around and up, trailing the rest of him like the tail of a comet.

It was a dance. His body moved through the motions of the sacred swirls and incandescent use of physical energy primarily meant as a sorrowful glimpse of lost souls and subsequent exorcism. The stars high above him longed for him to join them, and this show of grace and fortuitous awe brought him one step closer. But something kept him back, something unseen kept him grounded, something as misplaced as time itself.

His long blonde plait defied gravity before his very eyes as he dropped his torso back and out of the way as the comets of his hands arced over. Always were his hands held in cylindrical negative shapes, appearing as though holding something between his palm and fingers, and always was their haste not easily recognized, carried solely by momentum and orbital force. The placement of his feet was simply a way to stay stable and grounded, a way to keep himself from succumbing to the needs and desires that he felt would finally accept the daring invitation of the heavens to place him amongst them.

Finally he gave in to temptation to let himself be lifted, and aloft he became. One leg rose high, arcing just across his path, and caused him to rotate mid-rise. Then his other leg swung out and around, orbiting like his hands had, until his foot reached him around to watch as it touched the sparkling white light. He landed hard, using both hands to stabilize him like wings as he knelt with one knee down.

..and finally he opened his eyes.

The searing bright light of daylight hit his pupils at once, causing him to duck his chin under just slightly. As he brought himself back to the moment he found himself panting with energy coursing through, found the slick-yet-worn grip of hardy leather in each hand, and felt the beads of sweat plot their course down over most of his body.

He shook himself loosely and rose from his bent knee until he found himself standing. In his palms he held two blades, the blade of his homeland in his right hand and a stout knife held backhand in his left. His hair had come partially undone and now hung at his shoulders with the leather thongs still cinched to a much-smaller portion. He felt the weight of his armor begin to hang on him and noticed the added display of bestial horror strewn over the resplendent plate mail; silver now set beneath a harsh crimson.

All around him lay bodies of those he had slain.

Their faces stared disbelievingly into the unseen abyss even as some still fought to hold onto their lives. A man on the ground at Lithomir's feet coughed blood through a sliced trachea and reached for a light that only he could see. His armor wasn't even touched, instead having been missed entirely as the weapon skidded up and over to make the knight a new mouth.

And how the dying man's new mouth grinned wide at the irony.

Another knight, just a pace or two away from Lithomir's boots, twitched with his face crushed as though by a horse hoof. Moans of agony broke around the would-be king while the circle of gathered knights watched in fear.

No one moved toward him. No one dared.

His blades like extensions of his fingers dripped with the gore of their comrades onto the very earth that seemed to defy their attack. Further on, bodies had been felled with great tears through their armor, some missing entire limbs, others portions of their face, neck, or torso. It wasn't something any man could do, wasn't something a god would do, and yet the knights looked him over as though it were all Lithomir who had achieved such a feat only seen by the ancient god of war.

Tecuelhuatzin chose that moment to heave aside bodies of the dead and dying to stand faithfully at his master's feet. On the beast's jaw clung pieces of human flesh, tendons like string, blood like rain on his fierce snout. The young dragon stood no larger than a typical wolf hound, yet something about the black armor scales and various ivory stakes protruding from his back, elbows, and face, all intermingling with the overtones of human death had the attacking army lifting crosses and idols to their own lips.

Seizing his chance, Lithomir growled at them with the blade of his homeland raised toward the men at arms, "This is my land!" He took a step toward them, with Tec right behind him, and the men shifted back as one. Behind them all Lithomir could see the Southern Baron making his way through the knights on horseback with more cavalry archers tucked in around him. This time it was to the Baron that Lithomir raised his blade. "Leave me and my own, or risk life and limb at the expense!"

The knights all shied further away, some completely deserting as they bolted away in fear, while the thought of leaving their lord to die in vain held most in their place. The willingness to die for a man commanding them gave Lithomir an insight into what he could expect from these men. The fact that this man saw the once-bandit lands as a new enemy meant there would be more coming later. He didn't bring enough to conquer so much as an upraising this time but the next, after seeing such a display of man and beast, he would bring an entire army as an act of war.

And war there would be, if he had anything to say of it. Lithomir had been well trained in his homeland, the sole land infamous for solitary squadrons holding off entire legions for a moments pause while the rest of the battle-hardened Centurions rode in. There was no lack in his training just because he'd once been heir to the throne; if anything, it had only made him learn faster, train harder, and prove himself every chance he was given.

Oh, he would teach these wild bandits. If the need arose he would force them to become more afraid of their own king than the others who would try to bring them all down... yet just the same the men would never even realize their own fear of him.

But that would only come if the need was given.

"Dragon King," some of the knights whispered, "we were brought to face no real man, but a legend!"

"That's no legend," another said, "he's a nightmare."

Suddenly the rest of the Baron's attack force burst into a chorus of clamorous shouts as they all tried to speak with him. "The beast, make it stop looking at me!" "What if we killed the dragon? would he die too?" "I'll face no demon!" "God help us!"

But what had Lithomir fixated, was the constant sound of men whispering and chanting "Dragon King" as they stared in awe at his power to control the young monster.


  1. I'd like to know more. Now I have to look up Mercuric. :)

    1. I will admit that 'Mercuric' is not entirely a preexisting word. In this case it is meant as a reference to the Greek god, Mercury, though I realize now that you point it out that such may have been a mistaken nuance. For some reason when I wrote this I was under the impression that Mercury was, in fact, the Greek god of war... when it turns out that it really isn't.

      Just one downfall of my "schizophrenic writing"*, I guess.

      *"Schizophrenic writing" is a term I began coining for my own style long ago, where once I fall into my writing trance I tend not to realize what exactly I'm writing about until I after reread it all at the end. In such a situation it can seem as though I step backward in my mind to allow another version of myself to do the writing, while my true mind wanders aimlessly. Add music to the mix and I can lose whole hours doing much of the same thing.

    2. There we go, fixed the error.

      It seems odd, though, that the English language doesn't have any words relating to the Greek and Roman gods in adjective form. I mean, seriously, is it too much to ask for a word like 'mercuric' meaning: of or related to the Greek god, Mercury. Or how about aric, meaning: of or related to the Greek god, Ares.